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Zaandam 2/19-2/26 Review


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We returned to New York on Saturday evening from our cruise on the Zaandam. We were very fortunate to have met karensj(another contributor to this forum) and her family and had a great time with them. As she has stated in her review, the cruise was good but there were several areas that could be a lot better. Someone said that HAL has been bought by Carnival and since then things have gone downhill.


We chose to fly down to Orlando on Friday night ( we being myself, DH and DS age 15). The flight was uneventful and arrived early. We took the shuttle to the Marriott and spent the night. Saturday morning we were told our bags were to be ready at 10AM for the bus to the pier. It was due to arrive at 12 noon but was 45 minutes late. We arrived at the pier Port Canaveral at out 1:35 and joined the long line. We were handed at the end of the bus ride another form that needed to be filled out for Tortola. The line moved quickly and we were onboard by about 2:10. Our cabin was ready (7062). Our bags arrived about 15 minutes later. Our cabin steward introduced himself to us and I asked that we have a full ice bucket every night (we like cold water by our beds). This was the first and last time we saw him and the ice was there about 4 of the 7 nights. The room was always clean and the beds were turned down each night.


We sat at a table for 10...the 3 of us karensj and her family of 5 and another couple, Mary and John. We had the early downstairs seating (6:15). The timing of dinner was fine for us except on the night dinner was very late for our table and for the other nights where orders were wrong or not delivered. It appears that there was a shortage of wait staff and many folks were agreeing that there were several problems with the evening meal service. I can only vouch for our table where my husband's file mignon was served 10 minutes after everyone else, where an order of strawberry ice cream was delivered as chocolate, where the wrong soup was delivered and where poor John's order of meatloaf (his favorite) was forgotten altogether. On several occasions we had to ask for our water glasses to be filled and getting ice in that water was hit and miss. The waiter and his assistant seemed nice enough but were very busy tending to all their tables.


The entertainment on board was varied. I enjoyed the energy of the Zaandam singers/dancers...the magician and his monkey were good as was the comedian/ventriloquist, Bill Robinson. The singer, Paul Tanner, was okay, but appealed to a large number of our fellow travelers. We even heard that many folks could not get into see him because the first seating didin't leave the first show because they wanted to see him again.


Our son enjoyed the new teen area, the Loft and the Oasis. Unfortunately, there were those on board who felt that the "Teens Only" sign wasn't meant for them...I understand from the Cruise Director that the "Teens Only" policy for that tiny piece of the ship will be more strictly enforced on future voyages. Parents/guardians are encouraged to take a peek at the areas, but it is expected that those not in their teen years will find another part of the ship in which to roost. There was always supervision there by a member of the activities staff and there were a few activities planned throughout the day.


The Casino was quite busy most of the time and we did fairly well there...especially with the Poker Slots. Bingo was popular, as always, and the Snow Ball Jackpot was over $4000.00!


Most of the lines moved rather quickly. The only one that seemed to drag was by the pool where the hamburgers and hot dogs were cooked. There, you could wait 20 minutes for a burger, even if you were 3rd or 4th on line. The sandwich area of the Lido was very popular at lunch time.


We had signed up for 2 shore excursions. The one in Tortola (Sea and See) was very informative and we all enjoyed it. However, the on in St. Thomas (mountaintop and Blackbeard's Castle) was terrible. The guide told us next to nothing, and when he did speak no one could understand what he was saying. We, as well as several others on the same tour, lodged a written complaint about this particular tour/guide. Ofcourse, we did some shopping in St. Thomas. My DH was looking for a new Digital Camera. He went looking for a specific model which no one had anymore so he bought a different model but same make. When we arrived home, he looked it up and we saved some money, but not nearly as much as they would like you to believe in St. Thomas. So, word to the wise, do your homework so you know prices before you get there.


Our disembarkation was fairly uneventful. We were #1 but never heard #1 called. We heard letters and then 7-10...so we scrambled off the ship and on to a Mears bus to the airport. We were still several hours early for our 2pm flight back to New York.


I know this is a fairly short review but if anyone has specific questions, I will certainly try to answer them.

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Sorry to hear about the problems you had, but to clear up one thing - did you go to the disembarkation talk, or watch it on tV? The CD should have said (more than once) that numbers and letters aren't necessarily called in order. i.e., #1 is not necessarily the first number called.


Glad to hear they'll start inforcing the "teens only" rule. Now if they'd only do the same (enforce the rules) at the aft pool. Or the main pool, for that matter.

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Thanks for your review!


Did you attend any of the cooking demonstrations? Did you happen to notice if they had the bartending class offered during your cruise?


How about older teens, college-aged, did you notice many onboard??





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Hi dakrewser- yes we did go to the disembarkation talk. The problem was that some of the numbers/letters called were not piped throughout the ship and some were...so we were sitting in our cabin and thought we heard something being said but figured it couln't be part of the disembarkation as it wasn't loud like the previous letters called.


Hi TinaLee-we did see some college age kids. I don't think they were involved in the "teen" stuff which is geared to 13-17 but I know they were in the Casino (over 18 is allowed) and at the bars.

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TinaLee-I forgot to mention the cooking/bartending. There were several cooking classes. My friend karensj and her two DDs took one. I understand that they only take up to 12 in each class. I did not see any bartending classes, but I wasn't really looking.

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Thanks for the feedback on the teen area.:D We will be on one of the Easter break cruises and I am sure there will be plenty of teens to use the place. I myself would like to take a look, but have no desire to hang out there with my teens....:) It's there space as long as they use it with respect.:)

Counting the days till we board!!:cool:

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Yes, Localady, they were very respectful...it's all brand new and the seat cushions are better than those at either pool, which was probably part of the attraction for the non-teens who insisted on spending much of the day up there. My son went up there one evening and came back paler than a ghost to report that there were a pair of "old people" making out in the hammock in the Teen Oasis. We thought it was kind of funny, but understand his concern and the concern of other teens that were talking about similar issues.

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One clarification-


It has been many, many years since the Carnival Corporation bought HAL. Its unlikely that any of your problems were the result of recent Carnival ownership. Someone else here will probably know how long its been since the purchase.


Thanks so much for your review. I have been anxiously waiting to hear about the teen areas.



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did a 'old Zaandam' 11 day New Year's cruise ..got off the ship on their last voyage before it went to the Bahamas and dry dock for the three week major overhaul...


heading on the Zaandam March 5th sailing.. just because we're curious to see what they did to her...normally we've been doing 10 day sailings the last few years.. 7 seems to be too short... all I know is that the Sky Deck on the stern ( overlooking the Lido Pool) is most likely gone .. or should I say 'converted' now for for kid's stuff.... that was 'my spot' to lay out there..chill out.. relax, not be bothered and read when I cared to...... I guess they call it progress...:confused:


this will be our 24th on HAL... over 200 days.. we have yet another sailing on her sister ship... Volendam ...the end of March ...it'll be our #25 HAL... been on RC and Celebrity a couple of times.. we'll stick to HAL... like the smaller-medium class ships a lot better than the behemoth monster-class 3K people type ships of the other lines....plus we love the Indonesian-Philipino crew.. great folks... the way we see it.. everyone's likes and dislikes are different...


will give our take on the 'new Zaandam' upon our return...

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Sorry to hear about your dining room issues -- we were on her over Christmas and had none of that -- hope they have it together by March 26 when we will be there again!


Thanks for the review

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Hi Stakeout,


Yes, part of the area at the stern overlooking the Lido is gone for the Loft and Oasis teen areas, but there is still some area up there. In fact, we stood there and looked down on the sailaway parties. There are still a few tables and chairs up there for everyone.

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Lucyt1207...thank you for that update...glad to hear part of that deck is still usable... when we were there on our next to last day (Jan 7th) on the New Year's cruise, they were starting to dismantle parts of the Sky Deck that surrounded the HAL kid's club.. taking down light fixtures etc...


thanx again..:D

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