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Zuiderdam: Current condition and room question

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I'm new to Cruise Critic (though not to cruising) and have a couple of questions about our choice. We decided to go with HAL for our upcoming Panama cruise instead of our usual Princess because the price was hundreds of dollars cheaper. Now I've been reading some dismal reports about the condition of the ship (I had thought that its time in drydock would have resolved them, but apparently they only did minor repairs). Can anyone attest to the current (2013) condition of the rooms, upholstery, etc.?

Also, we decided to opt for a deluxe veranda room and were assigned a handicapped room on Upper Promenade (room VD4051). Is anyone familiar with this room or its equivalent? They said we might get an upgrade, but also mentioned it is a bigger room (plus the balcony seems like it might be larger, but it is angled). I'm not sure we'd want an upgrade if it were offered (is one allowed to deny upgrades??)

Any help is welcome.

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We were just on the Feb 4th -15th cruise. We did the same thing because of price and we liked the Zuiderdams itinerary a little better since we had not been to either Curacao or Half Moon Cay. I was really hesitant after booking and reading all the reviews. I can say that we had no ac or toilet problems and never heard of anyone else having any. I was really expecting to see a very worn out over used ship and besides a couple of deck chairs that had seen better times I never saw what others were talking about at all. The only thing people mentioned was there was a sewer smell down on deck 2 by the Queens lounge every time we walked through there. I do think that Princess ships are much prettier decorwise though. We had a wonderful cruise and I would choose HAL again if the itinerary was right.

My opinion between Princess and HAL:

Princess has more activities and their evening entertainment is much better.We really enjoy the shows and HAL's were not very good.

Food: fairly comparable although I would give Princess and edge over HAL in the MDR- Buffet there were things I liked better about Princess and things I liked better about HAL. One thing I do like better about Princess is that their buffet has much better hours being open longer and the grill for burgers is open much longer. Loved the make your own sandwich station with the wonderful breads on HAL and also enjoyed the taco bar on HAL . Room service menu much better on HAL

Rooms: I prefer Princess' closet but there was more than adequate storage space on HAL and the HAL balcony cabin is slightly larger with a small couch than Princess

I missed MUTS :) and there was seldom any type of band out by the pool on HAL but the did play music over the sound system. Drinks were very very weak on HAL compared to princess but they were cheaper. I am not a drinker but enjoy a few cocktails while on a cruise and I couldnt even taste any alcohol in my Pina Colada's and could drink several of them so I know there was next to no alcohol in them. I can usually only drink one or two on Princess and I am more than feeling the alcohol

I cant speak for the cabin you are in as we had the two balcony cabins side by side (4144 and 4146) with the extended balconies and absolutely loved the balconies!

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There are pictures of that cabin on Joanie's site [URL="http://abqreunion2008.com/Zuiderdam/Deck-4.html"]HERE[/URL] but unfortunately no comments. Both the balcony and room are slightly larger than the standard VD because of the angle, and that's about all I can tell you about it.

If are offered an upsell (i.e. more money) you can decline, but if you have said you would accept a free upgrade you will not have an opportunity to decline any move ... it's just done, and you're told about it.

Your use of the word "assigned" leads me to think you booked a guarantee, and this is what you were given. If that's the case, it would be pretty difficult to get HAL to move you to something else, but a persuasive TA can sometimes get it done. It is unlikely that you will get another upgrade once a guarantee is assigned - but it happened to us our 8th guarantee! :)

Edit: Oosterdam 4051 is shown [URL="http://abqreunion2008.com/Oosterdam/Deck-4.html"]HERE[/URL] with some comments Edited by catl331

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[quote name='itzmered']We were just on the Feb 4th -15th cruise. We did the same thing because of price and we liked the Zuiderdams itinerary a little better since we had not been to either Curacao or Half Moon Cay. I was really hesitant after booking and reading all the reviews. I can say that we had no ac or toilet problems and never heard of anyone else having any. I was really expecting to see a very worn out over used ship and besides a couple of deck chairs that had seen better times I never saw what others were talking about at all. The only thing people mentioned was there was a sewer smell down on deck 2 by the Queens lounge every time we walked through there. I do think that Princess ships are much prettier decorwise though. We had a wonderful cruise and I would choose HAL again if the itinerary was right.

My opinion between Princess and HAL:

Princess has more activities and their evening entertainment is much better.We really enjoy the shows and HAL's were not very good.

Food: fairly comparable although I would give Princess and edge over HAL in the MDR- Buffet there were things I liked better about Princess and things I liked better about HAL. One thing I do like better about Princess is that their buffet has much better hours being open longer and the grill for burgers is open much longer. Loved the make your own sandwich station with the wonderful breads on HAL and also enjoyed the taco bar on HAL . Room service menu much better on HAL

Rooms: I prefer Princess' closet but there was more than adequate storage space on HAL and the HAL balcony cabin is slightly larger with a small couch than Princess

I missed MUTS :) and there was seldom any type of band out by the pool on HAL but the did play music over the sound system. Drinks were very very weak on HAL compared to princess but they were cheaper. I am not a drinker but enjoy a few cocktails while on a cruise and I couldnt even taste any alcohol in my Pina Colada's and could drink several of them so I know there was next to no alcohol in them. I can usually only drink one or two on Princess and I am more than feeling the alcohol

I cant speak for the cabin you are in as we had the two balcony cabins side by side (4144 and 4146) with the extended balconies and absolutely loved the balconies![/quote]

Just a slight typo here (only correcting to make sure others know that the cabins with the double-wide balconies are 41[B]64[/B] and 41[B]66[/B], and I'm sure that's what you meant.) Well worth booking either of those cabins just for the balcony. We spent 22 days in 4166.

I can't personally compare with Princess, but my friend did the Princess relocation cruise last year (full transit) and there were way less ports. She had a great time on that ship (the Coral, I believe) though.

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Thank you for your input. I'm glad to hear the "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" as far as Zuiderdam is concerned! Apparently it is another case of people whose glasses are half empty. We have enjoyed all our cruises and expect to do the same this time!:) Any time I don't have to plan, prepare, and clean is a good time for me!!

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[quote name='Cavstar']Thank you for your input. I'm glad to hear the "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" as far as Zuiderdam is concerned! Apparently it is another case of people whose glasses are half empty. We have enjoyed all our cruises and expect to do the same this time!:) Any time I don't have to plan, prepare, and clean is a good time for me!![/quote]

"glass half full" doesn't necessarily apply. We give factual info but believe me, with all problems we had on the Zuiderdam last year, we had a fabulous cruise anyway! Great crew, great food, great itinerary.

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[quote name='Cavstar']Thank you for your input. I'm glad to hear the "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" as far as Zuiderdam is concerned! Apparently it is another case of people whose glasses are half empty. We have enjoyed all our cruises and expect to do the same this time!:) Any time I don't have to plan, prepare, and clean is a good time for me!![/quote]

[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=4][COLOR=Blue][B]Actually, there were problems in the past. I was on her in Sept 2011 and had none, but others after that did. I think the problems first started being reported right around the Thanksgiving Holidays of 2011 and continued untiol the Dry Dock (I believe they got a lot worse than the original reports did.)

Understand please, that startwin was one of those that was on her prior to her going into dry dock, and while she and I disagree on some things, I never doubted her comments about the problems she had.

But then was then and now is now and the reports coming back now are all good:) And for me that is excellent news as I will be on her in 73 days and a wake up for a wondeful and relaxing 2 week cruise:)

As to your question on the HC Stateroom........It is a big room yes, BUT it will be because there is no sofa. There are instead 2 chairs (I believe they are called wing backed) and a small table at which you can eat. There is also a roll in bathroom with the toilet in the shower area and an open drain for the shower to drain into. Some people have stated that the water drained into the stateroom while they took a shower, though I never experienced that problem with my similarly located stateroom on Oosterdam Deck 5 5054.

The view from the stateroom is awesome!!! And for us on our first cruise in May 2008, it was that stateroom, it[SIZE=4]'s layout and the view from that verandah [SIZE=4]t[/SIZE][/SIZE]hat hooked us to cruising with HAL.

Joanie[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

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So glad to hear that most recent comments about the Zuiderdam have been good ones. I have a question about the stateroom we were assigned. From the looks of it, we will have a lifeboat directly under our balcony. Will this affect our view? It is a VE stateroom 5106 (our friends will be staying in 5104).

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[quote name='profteedee'] From the looks of it, we will have a lifeboat directly under our balcony. Will this affect our view? It is a VE stateroom 5106 (our friends will be staying in 5104).[/quote]When standing at the railing looking down you can't see the waterline, but while seated you'll hardly see them. 5104 and 5106 are the 3rd and 4th from the glass elevators.

[IMG]http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=161501&d=1278523750[/IMG] Edited by jtl513

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[quote name='jtl513']When standing at the railing looking down you can't see the waterline, but while seated you'll hardly see them. 5104 and 5106 are the 3rd and 4th from the glass elevators.

[IMG]http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=161501&d=1278523750[/IMG][/QUOTE]

Thanks so much. I am relieved to see that. Happy cruising, everyone!

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Startwin,
I do appreciate facts and information about the ships, etc., and I don't think you are a "half empty" glass kind of person. For all the troubles you apparently encountered, you still say you had a great cruise. The posters I was referring to were those who had NOTHING positive to say about their HAL (especially Zuiderdam) experience, and who nearly frightened me back to Princess with their negativity. I just wanted to find out if people agreed with those assessments now, and apparently they don't. It seems that some people expect luxury accommodations at moderate prices, and I think that's unrealistic. ("moderate prices" being thousands less than the luxury cruise costs.) Though I have to say, I have felt awfully pampered and relaxed on all my cruises, and to me that's luxury!
Joanie, I also especially appreciate that you have first-hand knowledge of that room. I think it sounds great, and I may just call to see if they will remove us from the upgrade list. I can't imagine that other veranda rooms would really be an upgrade from that, and I doubt they'd move us up to a mini-suite (in fact they said they were all full).
Thanks again to all for your help!

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