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djhsolara

Zuiderdam...Have I made a bad choice????

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We are scheduled on Zuiderdam in 2013 for Panama Canal (in and out). I've been reading various reports/reviews and am now scared that we've made a bad choice. I know that everyone is quick to point out the bad, but I can't seem to find anything good to read about Zuiderdam.

 

Are there really that many issues with Zuiderdam? (just to mention a few...toilets not working in staterooms or in public restrooms, a constant odor, nothing repaired/replaced during drydock...old carpeting, furnishings, etc)

 

Should I be considering another ship/line for this sailing? We want to do Panama Canal but not the whole way through because 10-11 days is the longest we are interested in doing at this time.

 

Someone please put my concerns at ease and make me happy with our decision.

 

Thank you!!

 

:) :)

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I know that everyone is quick to point out the bad, but I can't seem to find anything good to read about Zuiderdam.

I did the partial Panama on the Zuiderdam last December. Back then was early in the steady stream of A/C and plumbing complaints.

On my cruise, every single public restroom was out of order at one time or another, most at the same time for most of the cruise. Individual cabin plumbing was less than ideal for the entire cruise, while other people (me, for example), never had a plumbing problem in the cabin.

Personally, I don't really care if the carpets or upholstery are older, so long as they are in working order.

 

Now, for the "good" part. The service on this ship at that time was as good as I ever have on HAL, and better than on most cruises.

The food was good, or better. My cabin was clean and comfortable.

This is what matters to me on a cruise.

Would I have preferred the public restrooms be available when I needed one? Of course. Was I able to deal with them being out of order? I didn't like it, but I did manage. But my cabin, meals, drinks, and most importantly service, were as good as I can hope for. I was treated like a queen.

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I had a good time in November. No AC, toilet or smells issues. Don't get me wrong - she's a ten year old ship - so there probably will be equipment hiccups.

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We sailed on her the first week of September and did not experience any problems or hear of any from other passengers.

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While there were reported troubles with the AC and plumbing in the ship (we were on the Zuiderdam 12-10/21-12) OUR cabin didn't have anything especially wrong with it. I think the ship has a funny ... smell .... but that could just be me. I didn't notice anything really wrong with the carpet and soft goods, but I don't really notice that type of anything.

Of course, none of that is particularly helpful if "you" have a problem!

 

The food was very good -- and we ate primarily in the Lido (two meals in the Pinnacle Grill), the baker and pastry chef are to die for!

The cabin service was excellent; Lido service was "iffy" at best .

 

I wasn't interesting in sailing on the ship again, until after getting back on the ship in Costa Rica after we'd been robbed on our private tour. My sister and I were treated very well by every staff member we encountered after that horrible incident -- from the front desk staff, security, medical and even the Captain came down to see that we were okay and to reassure us about the procedural issues to be faced.

 

I wouldn't sail the Zuiderdam again for the ship -- I'd sail it again for the people.

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We had huge problems on the Zuiderdam in April of this year - plumbing and a/c issues. It went on and on and on throughout 22 days. And having said that, we have booked the Zuiderdam again for 2014. I love the ship and the crew and I just hope they get the problems fixed by then.

 

No, you haven't made a bad choice. Odds are you won't have any problems at all. Public toilets tend to be out of order a lot, but even if that happens I'm sure it won't detract from your enjoyment of the cruise. We had a heck of good time in spite of disasters with the plumbing and the a/c going out.

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Apparently public toilet problems are not isolated to the Zuiderdam. We sailed on the Westerdam last week. As we were on the shuttle van to pick up our car at the airport, I talked with another couple who had also sailed on the Westerdam. We had missed meeting each other all cruise. The wife complained that just about every restroom had at least one toilet not working. I never used the public toilets (just the urinals). Of course the ladies don't have that option, so the availability of working toilets is more important to them.

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We have never felt indifference when there is a problem on HAL ships. I get the sense they are not any happier about any problems that can pop up from time to time than the passengers.

 

So I always give the ship the benefit of the doubt when things happen -which they invariably do. Yes, I have seen public restrooms out of order and always assume it is hard to have all systems functioning perfectly all the time.

 

As long as there are alternatives (and there are plenty of bathrooms around this ship, including one's cabin) this would not rise to the level of a "problem" for us.

 

However, there was one cruise where on the Zuiderdam (reported here) where it did seem like they had more than their share of issues all at one and this was acknowledged by management and I believe there was some consideration given.

 

I think what one never wants to see is a ship that does not care, and by any stretch of the imagination I could never accuse HAL ships of that. There is no percentage in the hospitality business, especially the competitive hospitality business to have customers leave unhappy. I don't think this is the reputation of HAL ships, their staff, their crews and even their dreaded Seattle corporate management.

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If you like good food you have made a good choice - the Zuiderdam is about the best around.

 

If you like good entertainment you have made a bad choice - the Zuiderdam is the worst.

 

Maybe it just depends on what other passengers are flushing down the toilets. We had no problems with the toilet in our cabin - 7101. I saw only one public toilet out of service. Faint sewer smell in our cabin noticeable in the morning mostly. The worst smell I found was in the Lido restaurant area where the door is open to the dishwashing room.

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If you like good food you have made a good choice - the Zuiderdam is about the best around.

 

If you like good entertainment you have made a bad choice - the Zuiderdam is the worst.

 

Maybe it just depends on what other passengers are flushing down the toilets. We had no problems with the toilet in our cabin - 7101. I saw only one public toilet out of service. Faint sewer smell in our cabin noticeable in the morning mostly. The worst smell I found was in the Lido restaurant area where the door is open to the dishwashing room.

 

We were on the same cruise as Startwin and for one whole day there was not a single working toilet aft of the glass elevators. It was announced that a couple of pumps had failed so it was nothing to do with what was flushed.

 

The air conditioning was also shut down ship wide for a whole day while they worked on the system. It was to say the least, very unpleasant. We were in the process of settling in to spend the night sleeping on the aft pool deck when the system was turned back on.

 

We were given a generous OBC on our Nov cruise for the two days we did not receive the experience we had paid for.

 

That said, we had such a great cruise on the Zuiderdam that we have also booked again for the repo cruise in April of 2014. The staff were amazing and so helpful. We had a good CC turnout and met a number of enjoyable people at the meet and greet. The ship was also kept very clean and the food was excellent for our tastes.

 

The piano bar situation was standing room only for the whole 22 days. I forget the guy's name but he had the place hopping.

 

What I am trying to say is that the good memories of this ship were enough to entice us back for another cruise.

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I wrote the posted review on the Zuiderdam heading for drydock right after the disembarkation in FLL.

The ship was tired.

Haven't heard whether the whole dark blue part of the hull was painted as she was faded with lots of rust streaks around the water line on Nov. 30.

I hope they loaded lots of new chaise loungers around the aft lido pool as there were only 40 there on our cruise. Lots of chair hogs on that trip.

Large window panels on the port side in the Crows nest were cracked along with 2 in the lido restaurant had should have been replaced. Anyone see if that was done?

The crew was the glue that made the cruise enjoyable. Leonel was a great referee around the lido pool while our cabin stewards Bagus and DJ made us smile each time we opened our cabin door.

Planning for Maasdam on April 1!! My wife is laughing as I am putting my suitcase on the spare bed now ready to fill it with dreams and plans!!

Bobpell

Happy New Years all you cruisers out there in Hal land

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I'm a HAL cruiser, but opted to do a partial transit on the Coral Princess in November. I was extremely pleased with my first cruise on Princess. If booking the Zuiderdam is going to cause you anxiety, you may want to consider the Island Princess or the Coral Princess.

 

I was on Zuiderdam back in May and didn't personally experience the things others have posted about, but that doesn't mean their issues weren't real.

 

Roz

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Late August sailing...... one of the best cruises we'd taken but because we were relaxed and loved Alaska. No smells, no troubles and the guests on board were great company. Entertainment wasn't as good as the HAL Westerdam in the Caribbean and the food improved to 'good' by week's end but that can change from week to week. The Zuiderdam is a lovely classic ship so if you take the best attitude and picked a good itinerary, bon voyage!!! You made as good a decision as possible. Enjoy

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I cruised the Panama Canal itinerary aboard the Zuiderdam twice, I would do it again, even knowing the shape she's in. She's a good ship with a great crew, but has some physical issues. I wrote a personal letter to Stein Kruse about the condition of the ship, but I did enjoy the cruise despite the issues. ;)

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While there were toliet issues last Spring on this ship, remember that things can change quickly on this.

 

We were on another HAL ship and read a report that our cabin had some bad toliet problems about one month prior to our sailing. What we experienced was exactly the opposite, with absolute no toliet problems or even a delayed flush the entire time! So, HAL does address these thing where they can.

 

DaveOKC

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Apparently public toilet problems are not isolated to the Zuiderdam. We sailed on the Westerdam last week. As we were on the shuttle van to pick up our car at the airport, I talked with another couple who had also sailed on the Westerdam. We had missed meeting each other all cruise. The wife complained that just about every restroom had at least one toilet not working. I never used the public toilets (just the urinals). Of course the ladies don't have that option, so the availability of working toilets is more important to them.

 

We were on the same cruise and never saw any problem with the public restrooms and my wife even commented on how nice they were. Another case of hearsay. My wife made comments on two things and they were both positive, the public restrooms and the fact that we had a dressing room in our suite, because, she said, "It is like having my walk in closet at home".

 

No offense to the poster, it is just mostly what I tend to hear are second hand stories. We had a great cruise with HAL and I would recommend them to anyone.

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We have been on the Zuidy multiple times and have always had a great time. As was mentioned earlier the crew is wonderful perhaps some of the best we have had. Did we have bathroom problems? yes but nothing to ruin our trip. We were just on the Noordam and had problems on there and were on Princess and had problems on there. Your vacation is what you make it, if you are going to let little things ruin it, then no matter what ship you go on you will not have a good time, these ships run 7 days a week, 24 hrs a day, something is bound to break. It is how fast they address it and fix it.

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We did the partial Canal transit on Zuiderdam last month, prior to dry docking. Was our 4th HAL cruise. We did not personally experience any a/c or plumbing issues in our midships cabin on deck 5. However, table mates at dinner who had deluxe accommodations in the stern had a/c problems so bad they had to demand a second cabin to sleep in (and that took 3 or 4 days of complaining).

 

Even for HAL, we found the shows fairly lame, except for the amazing magician. For the first time in our HAL experience, the food in the main dining room was disappointing on occasion -- the corner-cutting is showing. Two meals in the Pinnacle were great as always.

 

The staff is the best thing HAL has going for it. Even though we could tell the MDR staff was stretched, they tried hard to please. On balance, we had a good time, but have to say that the experience on Zuiderdam wasn't up to the overall experiences we had on HAL even a couple of years ago, for a lot of little reasons that are hard to describe. Everyone said the right things and did the right things by and large, but there was a sense of just "going through the motions," an air of fatigue over things. Several staff spoke to us about their non-standard duties that they'd have to be doing during dry dock, and they weren't happy about that.

 

Hopefully by next year some of this will have resolved. All in all, though, I don't think we'd do Zuiderdam again.

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Just returned from the Zuiderdam's Christmas cruise. We had a great time. We had no problems with the toilet in our cabin, but heard several people complaining of issues. I never saw a public restroom out of order but everything in them seems so old! The ac was working and it always seemed chilly on the ship to me. Our last cruises have been on newer ships like the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, RCCL Oasis of the Seas and the Emerald Princess, so the Zuiderdam seemed like a throw back to an older ship like when we first started cruising many moons ago. We had no problems but I would not sail on her again.

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We had a good cruise on the Z last June -- no problems that we experienced -- and the itinerary and timing were such that we are booked to take a Panama Canal trip on her in March. I'm a little nervous reading these boards but hoping for the best.

 

I'm excited to take my mom on the cruise -- she and I haven't cruised together since I was a teen -- but I hope we aren't affected by any problems.

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We were on the same cruise and never saw any problem with the public restrooms and my wife even commented on how nice they were. Another case of hearsay. My wife made comments on two things and they were both positive, the public restrooms and the fact that we had a dressing room in our suite, because, she said, "It is like having my walk in closet at home".

 

No offense to the poster, it is just mostly what I tend to hear are second hand stories. We had a great cruise with HAL and I would recommend them to anyone.

 

I am glad you had a good cruise and I consider your remarks to be a first hand story. I am curious to know why you consider the experiences of others on this thread to be second hand stories. We were there and we know what we experienced.

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I am glad you had a good cruise and I consider your remarks to be a first hand story. I am curious to know why you consider the experiences of others on this thread to be second hand stories. We were there and we know what we experienced.

 

We were just off the Z, too. No second hand story from me.

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We are scheduled on Zuiderdam in 2013 for Panama Canal (in and out). I've been reading various reports/reviews and am now scared that we've made a bad choice. I know that everyone is quick to point out the bad, but I can't seem to find anything good to read about Zuiderdam.

 

Are there really that many issues with Zuiderdam? (just to mention a few...toilets not working in staterooms or in public restrooms, a constant odor, nothing repaired/replaced during drydock...old carpeting, furnishings, etc)

 

Should I be considering another ship/line for this sailing? We want to do Panama Canal but not the whole way through because 10-11 days is the longest we are interested in doing at this time.

 

Someone please put my concerns at ease and make me happy with our decision.

 

Thank you!!

 

:) :)

 

Frankly, yes! If I were you I would be considering another HAL ship! Too many reported ongoing issues related to a/c & plumbing on the Zuiderdam! :mad:

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While I am not here often, the slow time post new years allows me time to read and post. Having done the Zuiderdam Dec. 10-21/12 cruise I can offer some comments for whatever these are worth.

 

As others have said, for this first cruise post-drydock, there were definitely issues which some passengers, including me, experienced. Embarkation was poor, the ship was not ready in many ways (balconies not yet cleaned, a/c issues in my cabin that were fixed on day 2) , and there were some plumbing issues--one day our toilet and a group of others in the deluxe suites area stopped working for a relatively short period of time.

 

We also noted that public washrooms were not all fully functional--my wife, in particular, noted many stalls in the ladies room out of service, which was inconvenient. The elevators also were not always functional at all locations, which was inconvenient, but I would bet by now the mid-ship scenic elevators are all working--perhaps another poster on a current or more recent cruise can advise?

 

What we have never before experienced was the full power failure one early morning--the ship was dead in the water for about 20-30 minutes. That was a tad unnerving, yet all passengers were kept fully informed by the Captain and I felt the situation, albeit unusual, was under control. There was another more limited power failure that same day (we were in port by then) and also a couple of fire alarms during the cruise. Again, these matters were well handled, in my opinion, with the passengers fully informed. I never felt we were in an unsafe situation.

 

Having also read the posted reviews about this cruise (on the other section of the website as well as some comments here), I tend to agree with some: the cruise started off poorly but it did get better. It appeared to me and my wife that the staff were working very, very hard to put things right that did not get properly addressed in the drydock, and they managed to do so in the main within a few days. I would bet that subsequent cruises were fine.

 

In our view the food and beverage service in the dining room was excellent, for us with fixed seating, table for 2 at 8:00 pm. As repeat HAL passengers we also did not think the quality of food has suffered--in fact, to the contrary on this ship. We also very much enjoyed the Pinnacle on a few occasions. Our cabin stewards were also excellent.

 

The main thing I would note is that service was consistently really very good, up to the level of what we have come to expect/enjoy from HAL. Yes, there were the mechanical issues as I and others have noted, but these in no way ruined our cruise--although I would not be so sanguine if my toilet did not work for longer than 30 minutes, or if I had been left with inadequate a/c for more than the first day and a half. In my view these items are essential or "basic", so anyone without such basics I can well appreciate their frustration. But I am not aware of anyone on this cruise who had longer term problems of that nature.

 

Would we return to HAL? Emphatically yes! Would we return to a ship just out of dry-dock (assuming we know it was in dry-dock)? Emphatically no, not until it becomes clear that HAL budgets enough time to perform all necessary work, so that the first cruise post-drydock is not a problem for at least the initial days. In that regard I note the other posts about Prinsendam's Amazon cruise which followed a dry-dock and which ship, for the first few days, initially had problems.

 

Would we return to the Zuiderdam? Yes, if the itinerary and price were right for us.

 

Hope these observations help.

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