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mayesd

Zuiderdam 3/26/05 - 4/02/05

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My DW and I were on the Zuiderdam 3/26/05 - 4/02/05. We flew out of Richmond Virginia Friday night. Our Delta flight was three hours late leaving because of weather in Florida. We didn’t know it at the time but this was the easiest part of our travel plans.

We arrive in Fort Lauderdale around 11or 11:30 pm and got the shuttle to the Sleep Inn. Rooms were small as expected but the rooms were clean. We got the hotel shuttle to the ship around 12:30 the next morning arriving around 1pm. The lines were very short and it only took about 15 min. to check-in and head for the ship. No one was really telling you were to go and since I thought the state rooms were ready by one o’clock we went directly to our SS cabin 6063 on the Upper Veranda deck. The cabin wasn’t ready so we headed up to the lido for Lunch. Had a great lunch and shortly the cabins were ready and we went up. We loved the space in SS veranda cabin and really enjoyed the extra space compared to the Deluxe varanda cabin we had last time.

I learned not to use ship services to pre-order anything. I had pre-ordered a bottle of vodka, 6 coronas and the 6 bottle wine package. My six bottles of wine were delivered to my room, were I had wanted them to be served at dinner. I made the same order on Zaandam last year and it was not a problem. Called the front desk they told me to carry the wine to dinner that night. The gift card for the coronas were in the room but not the beer. Called the front desk and they had room service deliver the beer. Unfortunately they wanted to recharge me for the beer. When I had e-mailed HAL about liquor in the stateroom they said the only way to have a bottle of liquor in your cabin was to preorder. However in the Services guide in the stateroom (not sure what you really call it)they listed bottles of liquor which could be ordered through room service. As it turns out it was cheaper to order on board. I paid $29 for a bottle of Absolute and the onboard price was $25. Six corona’s were $19 preorder and $15.50 if ordered on board. In the future I will order everything after I get onboard. After finally getting my corona I realized I didn’t have a bottle opener. (corona tops don’t twist off) I called and ask for a opener and they sent someone down to open my bottle but refused to leave a opener with me. IMHO it pretty stupid to sell you 6 beers and not allow you to borrow a bottle opener. I picked up a bottle opener in St. Thomas which took care of that problem OK…Only one more complaint and I get back to positives. The refrigerator in our room…front desk calls it a chiller didn’t keep drinks at all cold. Called the front desk and they said it was working like it was supposed to. In the long run I think it costs HAL money as there is no way anyone is going to drink a beer out of that chiller when the temp is just above room temperature.

After the lifeboat drill we went up to the Crow’s Nest to meet fellow CC’ers. We got their kind of late so mostly got quick introductions and I am terrible at names but it was nice to meet others none the less. We had the 6:15 lower level dining. We sat at a table for six overlooking the water at the back of the ship. We were fortunate to have really great table mates and we enjoyed there company though out the week.

Sunday we were at Half Moon Cay. We really enjoyed Half Moon Cay. It was the highlight of our week. My DW loves the beach and sun and I don’t care much for either so we reserved the Turquoise Cabana. I enjoyed sitting inside with the A/C and DW laid in the sun with the mister on. DW really loved the mister and now wants one for home. Food from the barbeque was good and we really enjoyed our stay.

Monday was a sea day so we just took it easy and enjoyed the ship. We went to the art auction. The auction was pretty interesting but not much of the art was geared toward my taste.

Tuesday we were in St. Thomas. I think there were six ships in port that day. It was really crowded so we went to some the smaller shops and around lunch time the larger stores thin out for a while giving us a chance to shop.

Wednesday we were in Tortola BVI. Does anyone know where the ship sails to for eleven hours? It’s a 2 hour trip at the most from St. Thomas to Tortola yet we left St Thomas at 9pm and didn’t get to Tortola till 8 the next morning. We stayed on the ship this day as we have been to Tortola many times before on bareboat charters.

Friday we arrived at Nassau around noon I believe. We took the excursion to Atlantis. The tour took us through the aquarium and we really enjoy seeing all of the saltwater fish there.

Overall this was a wonderful cruise. The ship was clean and well kept. We loved all of the food in the dining room as well as the Lido. We had room service deliver breakfast every morning which was really nice. The entertainment was ok but not great with the exception of Joel Mason the Elton John guy. We really loved his show. Picked up his DVD onboard but haven’t had time to look at it yet.

 

IMO Things HAL could have done better

 

I felt like it would have been better customer service if the front desk had sent someone down to pick up the 6 bottles of wine which were mistakenly sent to my cabin instead of the dining room. It was no big deal…just didn’t sit right with me

 

It would have been nice if HAL had sent someone down to check our “chiller” to see if it was Chilling. I’ve seen a few other people complain about this and it seems HAL’s pat answer is “That’s how it supposed to work” We I’m pretty sure thats not how it’s supposed to work.

 

It just really ticked me off that HAL wouldn’t let me have a bottle opener for my coronas

 

 

Oh! Just remembered…We ate in the Pinnacle for the first time. The service and food there were excellent. We will try it again for sure.

 

Disembarking went really well. Walked off the ship, found our bags and got through customs in less than a half hour. Well organized.

 

Now the nightmare begins:

 

Caught a cab to the airport. We had a flight on Delta at 2pm going to Richmond. Took 2 ½ hours to check in our luggage. Delta was canceling flights right and left. They were telling people it may be Tuesday or Wednesday before they could get a flight. Delta was blaming the problem on weather however I’ve seen a newspaper article say one of Delta’s partner airlines had medical kits which expired on March 31st and couldn’t fly until they were updated. We finally were able to get a flight to Atlanta but missed our connection by five minutes. With so many Delta flight delays and cancellations it seem Delta could have held there flights at least a few minutes for people making connections. There were a lot of hot people in FLL and Atlanta. Finally we were able to get a seat on a flight going to Newport News on Sunday morning (which is about 50 miles from Richmond) and we had friends pick us up and take us to Richmond to pick up our car.

 

Again a wonderful cruise but I think I may have to rethink ever doing any spring break traveling again….Donald

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Dear Donald:

 

Thanks for a great review! I'm sailing on the Zui 4/16/05 and have a question for you re: Turquoise cabana. I have this booked for HMC on 4/17/05 and wanted to know how the service was from the cabana boys? A poster on a different thread mentioned that they never saw their cabana helpers and wonder if you had the same experience?

 

Thanks also for the "heads up" on the bottle opener - we'll make sure to pack on in our luggage!:)

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Good Review! I will be sailing on the Zuiderdam on April 23rd. We have room 6065. This is our first sailing on Holland. Thanks for taking the time to share.

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Dear Donald:

 

Thanks for a great review! I'm sailing on the Zui 4/16/05 and have a question for you re: Turquoise cabana. I have this booked for HMC on 4/17/05 and wanted to know how the service was from the cabana boys? A poster on a different thread mentioned that they never saw their cabana helpers and wonder if you had the same experience?

 

Thanks also for the "heads up" on the bottle opener - we'll make sure to pack on in our luggage!:)

 

Unfortunately the cabana helpers were not very helpful. I only saw them a couple of times. In fact one of them was next to our cabana in the shade sleeping. It didn't really bother me as there were plenty of others walking around selling drinks.

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Hi, thanks for the review, we will be on the Zui in Dec. in an S suite, our

first time with Hal. We are thinking of renting a cabana, but I see they

are listed by colors....have no idea what this means, are they placed at

different locations? If so, what would be a good choice? If you could help

us with this, we would appreciate it. We do not snorkel, but do like to

go into the water. I saw they have clamshells for rent, but I think I may

feel confined. Again thanks,

Ann

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Hi, thanks for the review, we will be on the Zui in Dec. in an S suite, our

first time with Hal. We are thinking of renting a cabana, but I see they

are listed by colors....have no idea what this means, are they placed at

different locations? If so, what would be a good choice? If you could help

us with this, we would appreciate it. We do not snorkel, but do like to

go into the water. I saw they have clamshells for rent, but I think I may

feel confined. Again thanks,

Ann

 

We had the Turquoise Cabana. The only difference I am aware of is walking distance to rest rooms, lunch area. The Turquoise was really close to everything. I don't recall the location of the other colors.If you don't get a answer here put out a post because there are lots of people who will know. Don't wait to long to book though. They say they get booked up 6 months in advance. Someone was asking how many were on the wait list for cabana's and she said about a hundred. Don't know if they were kidding or not.

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Perfect review, you didnt give everything away but left me enough interested to learn more!

We are renting the Turquoise cabana this week !!! Im so excited about it...

Im a big beach sun person but my boyriend and his parents probably are not.

 

Im sorry about the service issues you had, but overall it sounds like a really positive experience. I cant believe Ill be on her tomorrow!

I would be interested to hear about the route the ship must take to get to Tortola!

thanks for the review!

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Hi Donald,

 

Thanks for the review. We are on Zuiderdam next month & I am eager for any and all news/reports regarding her as this will be our first HAL sailing.

 

Also, just wanted to say "hi" since we are nearly neighbors. We are in Mechanicsville.

 

I sympathize with your travel troubles. We sailed in December & flew out of FLL on Christmas Eve to Dulles to connect to Richmond. We made it out of FLL fine, but when we arrived Dulles at around 9:00 PM, were advised the flight was delayed. This continued until after 11 when we finally got thru on the phone to customer service phone & were told the flight was cancelled as the equipment had never arrived in Dulles from wherever it was comming from. Needlesss to say there were no other flights at that time. United eventually rented a bus & drove the RIC flight and a Norfolk flight to the respective aiprorts. We got home about 4:30 AM Christmas morning. It was frustrating, but at least our whole family was together & it was at the end of a wonderful week. We slept in that AM & spent Christmas day relaxing.

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We also had a very positive cruise on the Zuiderdam especially after alot of bad reviews I had read before we sailed her, we thought she was spectacular.

 

As far as the cabana boys you are talking about that weren't there to help you, don't you have to pay extra to get one of those??? Did you pay the extra and they just weren't there? If that's the case, I would have complained, its alot of extra money if they weren't there for you.

 

Well, welcome back to reality.

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Thanks for the review - and so sorry to hear you had travel problems. I understand about the 'chiller'. We had a 'chiller' on Disney... doesn't really chill anything, although I'm pretty sure ours wasn't quite as bad- it was at least below room temperature! I'm wondering if they get so many complaints from people expecting refrigerators that they just tune them out?? Doesn't make it right though. And - I'm definitely ordering our libations on board!

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We didn't pay extra for our cabana boys and they were almost too helpful....constantly wanted to get us something or have us drink more even though we had barely touched the drinks in our cooler. They brought us our lunch and there was no way we could have eaten all the food they brought. I'm not complaining because they were very nice and helpful but just to let you know that each time may be different. BTW, we had the pink cabana.

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We had the pink cabana and we never saw the cabana boys for anything , let alone to bring our lunch, :rolleyes: this did not in any way detract from a great time on HMC with our friends,

 

The pink cabana was pretty far down the beach ,and at that end it was not as crowded, yes it is a walk to bathrooms and lunch, but heck it was not like we had anything else to do;)

I really loved the pink cabana and would book it again in a minute, it made a nice place to relax and hang out all day without getting too fried from the sun:eek:

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We also had a very positive cruise on the Zuiderdam especially after alot of bad reviews I had read before we sailed her, we thought she was spectacular.

 

As far as the cabana boys you are talking about that weren't there to help you, don't you have to pay extra to get one of those??? Did you pay the extra and they just weren't there? If that's the case, I would have complained, its alot of extra money if they weren't there for you.

 

Well, welcome back to reality.

 

 

I think you are talking about the Butler service which we didn't have. We had a great time using the cabana and really didn't have a need for anything.

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