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seapointer

Just back from Zuiderdam 4/23 cruise

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We just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Zuiderdam. I hope to post a more detailed report in a few days, but after months of reading so many nasty and negative reports I wanted to immediately put a few things on the boards:

 

1. This was our first HAL cruise after 2 on Celebrity.

2. Whoever criticized the dining on this ship must have a serious imbalance in their taste system. The food was really excellent in the Lido at all times and at dinner in the main dining room and the Pinnacle. The only subpar meals we had were breakfast in the dining room and room service. Everything our group of 6 had at dinner was very well prepared and served, including the seafood. Overall as good as if not slightly better than Celebrity.

3. Cabins were spacious and well attended. Our SS category was more than sufficient for our family of 3. Much larger than Celebrity in the same class at much lower price.

4. Hunky-Dory is not infallible. He could not remeber my wife's name until the final day. But he's still fun to see in action.

5. Itinerary was very interesting and well thought out, although we would have preferred more time on Half Moon and in Nassau. This itinerary was one of main reasons we chose this cruise over another Celebrity cruise.

6. Boarding and disembarkation were very smooth and trouble free, and we liked the ablity to wait in our stateroom until our color/number was called.

7. Entertainment was spotty, and not as good as Celebrity, but an open mind made for a way to spend a pleasant hour here or there.

8. The immigration check in St. Thomas is a joke. 2000 passengers have to parade pass custom officers who take a nanosecond glance at your passport, and then "clear" you to re-enter the USA. I know this is not HAL's doing, but just felt like I had to mention this.

9. While our 17 year old daughter had a good time, this is clearly not a ship for teens, despite what our now former travel agent claimed. Compared to some of the other cruise ships we shared ports with, HAL has not caught on with families with teens, although there were a lot of kids 10 and under.

10. I am no David Letterman, so I'll end for now at number 9.

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10. I am no David Letterman, so I'll end for now at number 9.

 

Heh, you've already given us 9 well-organized thoughts...10 is only necessary if you like nice round numbers. :rolleyes: Welcome home, and thanks for posting your thoughts on the Zui! Glad to hear another review that's generally positive, seems like things keep getting better as time passes. Good call on the St. Thomas customs check being a rubber-stamp waste of time--I remember it as a nice opportunity to get up early, stand in a line, and recite the location and date of my birth to somebody who couldn't care less.

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We weren't even asked to say a thing. Literally, all we did was walk up to the customs agent, hold up our passport for a split second and then walk off.

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Heh, you've already given us 9 well-organized thoughts...10 is only necessary if you like nice round numbers. :rolleyes: Welcome home, and thanks for posting your thoughts on the Zui! Glad to hear another review that's generally positive, seems like things keep getting better as time passes. Good call on the St. Thomas customs check being a rubber-stamp waste of time--I remember it as a nice opportunity to get up early, stand in a line, and recite the location and date of my birth to somebody who couldn't care less.

 

I often wonder about this customs check. I have gone through it twice now and at both times the agent was a grumpy old man who seemed to really hate living in St Thomas in March and doing his job. I almost told him that he could come and live in my neck of the woods in the dead of winter and see if he might change his tune. The next time I sail the eastern route I don't even want to get off the ship...do I still need to do the US Customs Dance just the same?? :(

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Thank you Seapointer. You touched on 2 things of concern for me. We are in Cabin 8042 (SS) in July. We will have our 6 yr.old very energetic boy in there with us so its good to hear there is plenty of room. We will have 2 16 year old girls with us and I was wondering what exactly the downfall for teens in your opinion? Was it lack of other teens due to school still being in session or was it more the lack of teen-directed activities? Also, any pics of your SS cabin and which deck were you onwould be much appreciated. There are a ton of great S pictures floating around but not as many of SS. Thanks in advance!

To all CCers: Anybody else think HAL might be responding to the poor reviews and making some changes. It sure seems like the Zuiderdam reviews lately have been consistently GREAT!!!! I'm thrilled.

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Thanks for your wonderful review! I am also curious as to what the downfalls were with the teen program, as I have 3 teens in our party on the 6/11 sailing. We are going to be in an SS suite and I am anxious to hear any other comments you may have on your cabin.

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thanks for the top NINE list! since one month from right now i'll be lounging at hmc on the same itinerary i found it interesting/exciting reading! :)

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Seapointer,

Thanks for your comments so soon after arriving home. We` look forward to our time on the Zuiderdam in July!:D

All the recent reviews of the Zuiderdam keep getting better and better!

Glad you had a great cruise. Wecome home.

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Thanks for report.

 

Yes - everyone has to go through immigration in St Thomas - whether you get off the ship or not. They check off your name at the beginning of the line. After you pass by the immigration official, you are given a card by one the HAL staff that indicates that you have gone through immigration. You can leave the ship at that point or stay on the ship.

But no one can get back onto the ship until everyone has cleared immigration.

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My friends and myself were also on this cruise. I agree with the entertainment. We saw two great shows but the rest left alot to be desired. We made the best of it and had a incredible time!!

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The basic problem for teens was mostly the lack of very many. I have no idea about what activities were offered, but my observation is that by age 16 or so kids want no part of organized activities, and no part of being with younger kids. Their main concern is having other kids their age to "hang" and "chill" with. When schools are out, I suppose there are sufficient numbers of kids from all ages.

 

 

Again, our kids weren't bored. They loved the ship and the food and the ports. Nevertheless, I know they would have preferred a Royal Caribbean mega-ship with more activities and more teens.

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