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Pereiras

Zuiderdam.. horrific food. March 12, 2005

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We were on the Z last August and the food was OK. Nothing to write home about. I believe the days of great food on cruise ships is a thing of the past unless you said on one of the true premium lines (Crystal, Seabourn, etc).

 

As far as air reservations, tatoo this on your forehead - NEVER BOOK AIRLINE RESERVATIONS WITH THE CRUISE LINE. BOOK YOUR OWN AIR FOR ABOUT HALF THE PRICE WITH NO CONNECTING FLIGHTS (IF POSSIBLE) AND ALWAYS ARRIVE AT LEAST ONE DAY EARLY AT THE EMBARKATION PORT.

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Hi there,

 

We were on the Zuiderdam (tortola as one desination) March 12. Wow. The food in the main dining room is absolutely horrific. Not 'average'. Turf in the surf and turf on the formal night tastes like chrome cleaner they must have used to clean the steamers. We had to upgrade every other night to the Pinacle restaurant. The food there was good, but should you have to pay $40 US a couple to eat every night? Also, HOL management gave us a real hard time regarding our air.. which we had bought through them. Gave us tickets a week before leaving a day early and coming back a day late, both leaving at 6:20 am.. one with 2 connections, the other 3. Hotels were on us! Told us too bad. Spent days trying to resolve, and finally threatened to dispute... and finally cancelled and did. Then we get a call .. lo and behold.. they have air.

 

Never again. Holland America is absolutely at the bottom of any cruise we have taken (5). Don't do it. You will be sorry. Others who have posted issues with food are absolutely right. We aren't fussy eaters. I will take a nice steak, or a big mac. Just make it edible. This was absolutely horrific.

 

Cuisine is certainly a matter of individual taste, experience and sophistication. We too found the main dining room on the Westerdam lacking in many respects. It was good but it was not worthy of being the main dining room of a Holland American Luxury Liner. It was more like an annual Bar Association awards supper. Remarkably decent bread however.

 

We tried to upgrade to the Pinnacle after the 2nd dining room meal but it was sold out, we did get there 1 night. I would gladly have paid the $40 a couple again. We ate at the Lido one night and the Bar-B-Que and found it pretty good. We had friends on the cruise the week before ours and we called them as we were getting on and they were getting off, their advise was to avoid the main dining room on the 1st and last nights. We actually had our best dining room meal the first night, though we did avoid it the last night.

 

As for the snide and adolecent comment about the maggots, I guess we all use hyperbole to make a point sometimes. I certainly understood the word horrific with in the context of your comments.

 

What I don't understand is why posters feel the need to denigrate your opinions.While I didn't find it horrific I could certainly understand how you could.

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Hi there,

 

Please read earlier. Chrome cleaner taste in the steak..

 

 

 

The onion soup was "small" and the red sauce was "watery" and this makes it "horrific"?

 

I was expecting maggots and mold. Perhaps your title line is just a tad over the top?

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What happened?

 

Sailing on Zui on August we had pretty high expectations ...(I always compare food to my favorite Celebrity).

 

We found dinners pretty close. Really nice lamb and fish dishes, appetizers etc.

 

IMHO Buffet even exceeded X 's. Different food stations , 8 - 10 kinds of juice, sushi on lunch menu etc. I thought buffets were exellent.

 

(Much slower service in DR though)

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Quite honestly, it was horrific. We were in a suite, paid more than $5000 and did expect the food to be edible. Our experience in the main dining room was that it wasn't.

 

I am not offended by comments. My intentions here are just to inform our experience. You are right that cuisine is a matter of individual taste.. but too many times, people will say that a vacation was great because they paid good money for it, and it is human nature to say you had a great vacation. We have been on wonderful trips on other cruises. This just wasn't one of them. I don't have any axe to grind with anyone. Just letting people know our experience.

 

Cuisine is certainly a matter of individual taste, experience and sophistication. We too found the main dining room on the Westerdam lacking in many respects. It was good but it was not worthy of being the main dining room of a Holland American Luxury Liner. It was more like an annual Bar Association awards supper. Remarkably decent bread however.

 

We tried to upgrade to the Pinnacle after the 2nd dining room meal but it was sold out, we did get there 1 night. I would gladly have paid the $40 a couple again. We ate at the Lido one night and the Bar-B-Que and found it pretty good. We had friends on the cruise the week before ours and we called them as we were getting on and they were getting off, their advise was to avoid the main dining room on the 1st and last nights. We actually had our best dining room meal the first night, though we did avoid it the last night.

 

As for the snide and adolecent comment about the maggots, I guess we all use hyperbole to make a point sometimes. I certainly understood the word horrific with in the context of your comments.

 

What I don't understand is why posters feel the need to denigrate your opinions.While I didn't find it horrific I could certainly understand how you could.

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We booked Holland's air because they had it available at $415 US. As it was March break.. much of the air was sold out when we went to book, and were happy that they had it available. That is why we used them. They were actually much cheaper than the full fare tickets we saw..

 

We were on the Z last August and the food was OK. Nothing to write home about. I believe the days of great food on cruise ships is a thing of the past unless you said on one of the true premium lines (Crystal, Seabourn, etc).

 

As far as air reservations, tatoo this on your forehead - NEVER BOOK AIRLINE RESERVATIONS WITH THE CRUISE LINE. BOOK YOUR OWN AIR FOR ABOUT HALF THE PRICE WITH NO CONNECTING FLIGHTS (IF POSSIBLE) AND ALWAYS ARRIVE AT LEAST ONE DAY EARLY AT THE EMBARKATION PORT.

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Thanks for taking the time.. a bit more info..

 

We actually were in the dining room 2 times. One the captains dinner (surf and turf), and the second getting an early meal for our daughter prior to kids club. (the Penne I mentioned) That night we ate at the Pinacle (sorry if it is isn't spelled correctly).

 

Quite honestly, and as mentioned earlier.. the staff on the ship were just very nice people. There were some exceptional personalities.. just great folks. We did express our concern regarding the taste, 2 of the others at our table of 8 had their replaced, but found it tasted the same. The others had lamb shanks I think it was, and other orders.. and found them to be 'OK', and didn't return.

 

You are right, I cannot comment on the food in the main dining room for the other nights. Fair to acknowedge though on one fact.. why would we take that chance again, when we had determined the food was very good at the Pinacle, and given our experience at the main?

 

Just fyi.

 

 

 

Hi there,

 

We were on the Zuiderdam (tortola as one desination) March 12. Wow. The food in the main dining room is absolutely horrific. Not 'average'. Turf in the surf and turf on the formal night tastes like chrome cleaner they must have used to clean the steamers. We had to upgrade every other night to the Pinacle restaurant. The food there was good, but should you have to pay $40 US a couple to eat every night?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

I usually don't get involved in these discussions however I just have to ask one question. If Pereias "had to upgrade every other night to the Pinacle(sic) restaurant.", that means he only ate one meal in the main dining room. How does he know what the quality of the food was on the other nights if he did not even taste the food?

 

Sorry, I have another question. Pereias, did you speak to anyone; waiter, head waiter, etc.; in the dining room during your one meal to express your dissatisfaction and give them an opportunity to correct the problem and give you a satifying meal?

 

Linda

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... at our expense.

 

Respectfully, I don't agree. With our travel agent, we checked many cruises (probably 15 to 20). Out of those, only Holland was advertising availability of air on the 12th and 19th. We booked them for that reason. If they were sold out, it should have showed that way. We could have purchased cheaper air with no connections ourselves leaving the day before and the day after. Either they hadn't updated their 'systems' to note the air was sold out, or there was some deception involved. Either way, I'm sorry, I don't agree with us bearing that burden. We disputed it. Cancelled our trip. Only then did air ..miraculously appear... While they got us out in the evening of the 11th, which was OK, they found air same day coming back. Funny how only after cancelling this became available?

 

 

 

Hi there,

 

Your travel agent should be well versed in HAL's procedures when you book air through them. Everything they did, while aggravating, is clearly explained in brochures, websites and on info your travel agent would have. Also, when traveling during peak season (spring break time), air is often difficult to get and that is why you had to spend extra days at your expense.

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Wow.. it was nice to read your note. I gather you were at the 8:00pm sitting.. just like us. My wife had the lamb shanks the formal night, and ate it.. but said it was just OK.. not cruise worthy, but not 'horrific' as I have quoted. My fillet, and 2 others at the table was honestly horrific. We felt it had been left in the steamer for hours and had picked up the flavour/essence of whatever cleaner they had used in the steamer. It had a medicinal chemical type taste. It was spit into napkins.. honestly. Both were dry, but that was the least of our worries with that meal.

 

Sorry you didn't try the Pinacle. It was very good. Great service. The Porterhouse steak was wonderful. Prepared individually, cooked to perfection.

 

As for the other meals being good.. we did speak to others about it. One couple mentioned that everything tasted the same and bland, but didn't have a terrible meal like we did...

 

I do appreciate you taking the time to respond.

 

Did you get off in Tortola? What a beautiful island!

 

 

 

DW and I were also on the 3/12 Eastern Caribbean Zuiderdam cruise. I agree that the lobster tail on the Surf and Turf dinner was shameful (overcooked), though my filet was good. The assistant Maitre D that had our section apologized a couple of nights later, at second formal night and said the chef was going to make up for it with the lobster that night. I chose not to have the lobster, so I can't say if it was better.

 

We had an 8 topper, with 6 assigned, and had assistant cruise directors (Amanda and Scottie) each join us for two nights. Other than the lobster tail, DW was less than thrilled with the lamb shanks. All other items were well prepared, served and enjoyed by us. One of the other diners at our table had a couple of beef entrees that were not cooked to his liking, (one overcooked, one undercooked), but he didn't mention it to the waiter, or I'm sure the waiter would have provided another/alternate entree.

 

Two of our tablemates did enjoy the Pinnacle Grill one night (Bingo prize) and were very complementary of the food and service.

 

For DW and me, other than the two entrees named, we were very pleased with the food & service. I'm sorry you were unhappy.

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I didn't mean the Carribean Princess... we took a Princess Cruise in the Carribean. It was the Golden Princess as I remember...

 

 

 

Funny. I thought the Caribbean Princess was launched just last year. Yes, I do believe I remember watching the webcast as "Julie" from "The Love Boat" was married on the vessel just prior to its maiden voyage.

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Pereiras,

Are you friends with Jerseygirl3? She posted on another forum that her friend just came back from a Zuiderdam cruise and had the same complaints as you.

Just wondering if yours was an isolated incident or are there more people who felt as you did.

 

Bill

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Spitting food out at the table? Now that's a 5-Star "Tradition of Excellence" :)

By allowing your air to be booked with the cruise line, they have only so many air possibilities with the contracted air available. Especially if you are flying from one coast to the other (or either side of the Rockies going in either direction), it may be impossible to get there in the same day to make the ship.

For example, flying out of Seattle, I am *never* able to get to Ft. Lauderdale the same day of a cruise - always requires an overnight. I gladly pay as I'd rather have the evening to relax prior to boarding. Why rush the same day, be harried while boarding, be in a sour mood, etc.?

If the food commentary truly was based upon just the one night in the dining room, I would "demand a recount" - lol. Any statistical evidence based upon one sample wouldn't be accurate in any other type of survey . . . . .

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I have not communicated with anyone regarding posting here.. also, we live in Toronto.. There was just 3 of us, my wife, my daughter and I. We didn't know anyone else on the boat, but did talk to several folks though..

I will look her up.. we were on the March 12 cruise though..

 

I promise you that there were many people who were upset with the food. I am sorry that this seems to have stirred a powder keg. And yes, I have not spelled Pinnacle correctly. For what it is worth, we are lucky enought that we are able to travel 3-4 times a year on vacations. One longer trip in the summer, and a few weeks through the year. We honestly aren't fussy eaters.

I do realize that those posting strong negatives here might be booked on a HOL, or otherwise have taken one without this experience. Perhaps this was just this cruise, or just our experience. Having said that, we really enjoyed the Pinnacle, and were able to book all the other nights there (Sergio the M. D. would confirm). We did feel strongly though that if we hadn't upgraded to that restaurant, we would have had quite a bit more dissatisfaction than we did.

Thanks to you too for posting..

 

Pereiras,

Are you friends with Jerseygirl3? She posted on another forum that her friend just came back from a Zuiderdam cruise and had the same complaints as you.

Just wondering if yours was an isolated incident or are there more people who felt as you did.

 

Bill

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Anytime I get food not prepared as I ordered, I send it right back. It's amazing how fast the Maitre D arrives at your table when you send something back.

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i can't believe you're required to pay for the overnight when HAL air gets you from one coast to the other the night before... this has not been my experience on recent cruises on other mainstream lines. Can we confirm this?

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By the way, Dave (dakruiser I think)... I see you have tracked down their post as well... For the record, I do not know jerseygirl3.. we are from Toronto.

 

My sister and BIL just returned yesterday from the Zuiderdam, and they said it was their worst cruise to date. They said the food was absolutely awful in the dining room. They said many, many people were complaining. They wound up eating dinner in the Pinnacle Room every night after sampling how bad the food was in the dining room. She said service was lacking as well. They booked a suite, and had to constantly ask their room steward for standard things, such as clean towels. She was shocked because although she never cruised HAL before, she had higher expectations. And one thing she thought was "nickel and diming" was the fact that they spent $40 every night ($20 pp) to eat dinner in the Pinnacle Room, and they brought two bottles of wine with them (they were sharing with another couple). They were charged $30 ($15 per bottle) every single night for the corkage fee. She felt that since they were patronizing the restaurant every night, it would have been nice if they opened at least one bottle one of the nights without charging them the corkage fee.

 

She has cruised Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess before, and she thought the food selection and quality was the best on Carnival, with Princess a close second. But she thought HAL was by far the worst.

 

Also, they were renewing their vows and another couple they met on the ship decided to attend. They paid the extra fee for the other couple (covers the cost of champagne and hors doerves). No problem. However, the other couple had a 7 year old daughter who just wanted to watch the ceremony, and then leave and go to the kid's program. My sister asked if she could watch without paying the fee. They said no, she had to pay the full adult fee to watch the ceremony. I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that my BIL pre-ordered many things as this was an anniversary cruise (champagne and caviar, delivered on embarkation day instead of the day of their anniversary as he had stipulated), a dozen long stem roses, a gift certificate for my sister for a day at the spa, etc. They weren't opposed to splurging a bit on this special cruise, but it just didn't live up to their expectations at all.

 

One positive; she said the weather was terrific!

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Our travel agent (*****) told us that in their experience, whenever a flight comes back day before or after.. the cruise company has always comp'd the room. We argued this with Holland.. they told us to essentially get lost... honestly. They seem to be bottom feeders now. No customer service.

Send me an email, and I will call you and give you the name, number and confirmation from our travel agent.

 

i can't believe you're required to pay for the overnight when HAL air gets you from one coast to the other the night before... this has not been my experience on recent cruises on other mainstream lines. Can we confirm this?

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The onion soup was "small" and the red sauce was "watery" and this makes it "horrific"?

 

I was expecting maggots and mold. Perhaps your title line is just a tad over the top?

 

I agree! Whenever I see a post like this it just bugs me to no end. I fall in line with most cruisers that aren't overly critical of the food. If you want perfect food that's tailored to your taste then go on a more expensive cruise line.

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I have never heard of HAL comp'ing a hotel room for a flight from TO to FLL/Miami, (3 hour flight) but I have heard of them comp'ing them from the West Coast where you more or less have to fly in the day before.

 

What airline were you on? When did you book?

 

Ah, I see you were dealing with a discount on-line agency - maybe this is why HAL refused to comp your hotels. I don't know, just a thought. :confused:

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Well... I've never sailed on Princess, but maybe this line offers more traditional American food?

 

I remember 4 years ago we went to one of Iberostar A/I resorts and absolutely loved food. (I love European food better) Then I read a review of a woman ..where she wrote how her kids went on honeymoon to the same resort and almost straved to death, because they couldn't find anything decent to eat.:rolleyes:

 

I also read some review about how food on Celebrity was too "French" and not good.;)

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That's right Tadka you just can't please everybody all the time and that's to be expected. I've only been on 3 cruises but on every one I always had the impression that the majority of people were more than satisfied with the offerings.

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Pereias...Thanks for coming back and mentioning your experience. I have been on 17 cruises and had my share of bad dinners, but have had a replacement offered each and every time. Even though the numbers from your "poll" are small, I'm sure there are others that had problems with the meals. I'm also pretty sure there are a number of folks that did enjoy the food. I will be on the Zui in June and will make my own opinion of the food and service. Thanks for yours. Bill

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We experienced a "forced overnight" in Montreal when we cruised Canada/New England. We used the ship's air arrangements (the only time we have done so) because the open-jaw was so much cheaper than what we could get ourselves at the time. We had to pay for the room, but it was something like $50 ... a major discount from the hotel's rack rate.

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Firstly, very much appreciate your post.

 

We have been on 4 other cruises. Wonderful. Loved the food. Ate only once in the premium restaurant on each. Dining room had terrific food. Steaks came out the way they were ordered. Tasty. Deserts wonderful. Hot grand marnier soufle. Triffle.. wonderful.

 

I'm telling you the food on Zuiderdam was as advertised.

 

Princess is also a 5 star boat, and the Norwegian boat we were on was 4.5. This was supposed to be 5. Why wouldn't I expect the food to be comparable, and why would I have to go on Crystal or Seaborne?

 

That's right Tadka you just can't please everybody all the time and that's to be expected. I've only been on 3 cruises but on every one I always had the impression that the majority of people were more than satisfied with the offerings.

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I do feel badly if what I have posted would concern frequent travellers on cruises (we have just 5), or others who have not experienced this on Holland.

Just a fact on that cruise. Check out some other posts I have just found on the HOL forum. They will confirm what I have said.

What is good about my comments.. both on the boat and here.. is that hopefully, HOL will listen and correct whatever is wrong, so that your cruise in June won't carry with it the experiences we had. Here's hoping you have a much better experience..!

 

 

 

Pereias...Thanks for coming back and mentioning your experience. I have been on 17 cruises and had my share of bad dinners, but have had a replacement offered each and every time. Even though the numbers from your "poll" are small, I'm sure there are others that had problems with the meals. I'm also pretty sure there are a number of folks that did enjoy the food. I will be on the Zui in June and will make my own opinion of the food and service. Thanks for yours. Bill

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