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PoohUnderstands

Just Back-Zuiderdam, 5/29,,,???

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Trying to remember all the questions and concerns on this site. Just want to say that the"Z" gives you a great time for the $$; perfect no, but what is?

 

From the recent dinner topic, all I can say is the following:

1. Food in dining room much better than on Rotterdam(11/03 Panama trip). However, the flip side is the food on the Lido deck was better on the Rotterdam!

 

2.We ate at the 5:45 sitting because I am one of those few who like early and wanted upper level. Tables are not so close together and vibration, though not bad at all-you will be too busy eating and hopefully talking to your table mates to notice- is less on the upper deck.

 

3. Found choices to be various, food on whole good, and service fine. The days of the waiters having time to do anything but serve you your 5 courses is long past - not enuf help, but service was fine. You might have to remind them to refill ice tea, etc., but they do it quickly. Portions are small though. What I ended up doing was ordering my main meal and then a second where my waiter would just put the main course on the same plate. Essentially, I had a "surf and turf" of some sort every night. The sirloin steaks were very good; the filet mignons pretty good, and the lobster, typical, i.e. taste good but overcooked. In fact., one at my table of 8, asked for more lobster for the 6 of us who ate it, and we ended up with 6 plates with 2 more on them!!!

 

4. Most of the time we had to be politely asked to leave the table so they could reset for the 8:00 sitting. We were out of there by 7:30, which left us plenty of time to see a 7:45 show and the main show at 8:30.

 

5. Agree with most out there; the best stateroom on the vista class for the money( for 2 people that is) is the SS class. So much room and the veranda is to die for. We were in 6103-perfect location for no noise, no vibration, no motion. Only thing is that on 1 tender day, they used the tender below us, but we were awake by then anyway. To be honest, depending on the range in price, I do not believe the extra $ for S is worth it. With room service and my planning the trip ahead as far as info. and tours, I saw no need for the Neptune Lounge. Don't get me wrong, it was very nice, but not worth more than a total $100-200 difference, and even then I think I would still take the S!!! I do agree with the board that if you can do so, definitely take an "S" over a "BC-A".

 

6. Small aside on the stateroom. The a/c worked well on this ship. We had had problems on the Rotterdam. However,especially, after hot port days, having a fan to move that cool air is nice. So on the first day, ask your steward for an oscillating fan and then all will be perfect!

 

7. Again, on the whole, the crew made the trip for us. Our cabin steward, Bambang, was outstanding and so cute. Did a wonderful job for us. In fact, he complimented me on leaving the stateroom so "picked up" when we left in the morning!(Yes, I am a neat freak, especially in small areas!)

 

8. Oh, one hint from one of our meal mates. They had room #4164; next to them is the steward area; so instead of having the small balcony, they had an "S" style one due to the fact that next to them was a "closet". They said that room # 4166 had the 2x balcony also.

 

9. Main shows were pretty good. I have to say outright, that I am not a fan of the crew shows. They work so hard and do a creditable job, but it just isn't my "thing". Saying that, I found myself enjoying the first of their two shows due to the fact that all the songs they used were from my high school days and brought back great memories!!(ok, in the 55-59 area) would have appreciated the songs, especially the ladies. Tom Drake, the comedian, was great. If you are from the S.Florida area, you will find him especially hilarious. Found out at his workshop who his third wife is!!! Made lots of sense! If you go on a cruise soon, and he tells a story about fixing the a/c on a cruise......that was our real experience! The comedian, juggler, was also excellent. Lastly, we had an Elton John impersonator. We ended up enjoying his show, even though not a real E.J. fan. He really can play that piano well!! All in all, shows were well done and enjoyable this trip.

 

10. About this movie theatre thing. No there is no theatre, but I really don't see the problem. Who has time to sit through a 2 hour movie on a cruise? Anyway,my main concern was not the lack of a real theatre, but the chairs in the Queen's Lounge. They were highly uncomfortable! No way would I have been able to sit thru a movie in one of them - even the couches weren't that comfortable.

 

11. Ports were fine; Coming from Boca Raton, Key West was like home, but still was fun. Was a fun place to walk around or do your own thing. My husband went fishing and I walked around. Cozumel is were, if you have time, you do your souvenir for others buying. Georgetown is where you do your tours. Had been there before, so went to the turtle farm ( my husband just loves to hold those stupid turtles!) and then spent two hours trying to find reasonable t-shirts and didn't succeed. Finally find an ok one for $12.95. Most were $16-35!!!!!! Yes, that is not a misprint. Oh, they are building a new cruise terminal just to the north of the current one. Not for the ships to dock, just a nicer area for the tenders to come and go. When we were there, there were only 3 cruise ships and it was a zoo! One hint, after your tour, make sure to ask what line is for what ship. One of our meal mates ended up in a long line for Carnival when there was no line for the Zuiderdam, but no crew/shore excursion person there to advise them they were in the wrong place. Can you imagine what the current docking area is like when there are up to 8 ships there?!!!!

 

12. Can't tell you how great it was to eat breakfast every morning out on our balcony..... to die for. We still tipped $2 each morning, but not necessary to do so. As far as side to be on, really not too big a deal on Western, but will tell those who would like to know. In fort lauderdale, the ship was forward first at pier 26. Therefore, on embarkation, our cabin faced the dock. When we came back, the captain did his 180 turn first and "backed" into pier 26,so we were facing John Lloyd Park and the ocean. You can do room service on Saturday, but recommend you do early, like for 6:00-6:30 am. In Key West we faced the city which I must admit was nice. In Cozumel, we faced the ocean, but ended up best because the Carnival "Sensation" was right on the otherside of the dock from us and you looked right into the side of their ship! In Grand Caymen, we tendered, so it really didn't make a difference, but mostly we faced out to sea. At HMC, again, mostly to sea.

 

13. Everything was kept clean; appearance of ship good; on our cruise we had the group, Dance Explosion, from Bartow, FL, and their families, so had many kids and teens. They had many things for them to do at night too. Don't know that this was special due to them being on board, but the teens seemed to be having fun, and yes, they were on the whole, well behaved. They actually gave two shows in the Vista Lounge that were very well done. Oh, those infamous elevators; the crew is now aware and on the whole, were constantly being "vacuumed" so to speak and so did not have a language problem in the elevators on this trip.

 

14. Note for those who pack or buy too much. I saw that on the last day, Saturday, they had brown paper, twine, tape, etc. to FedEX things home or to reinforce your bulging suitcases!

 

15. Embarkation and debarkation were very easy. If you want no lines at embarkation, get there around 1:30-2:00; we like to spend every moment on board, so we got there early, 10:45, and had an a/c waiting area; lined up around 11:10 am and were aboard by 11:40 am. Oh, by the way, they will do your credit card imprint at check in so you don't have to do it on board later, so fill that form out at home and you can get all the paperwork done at check-in.

 

Well, long enuf for now - any questions, would be glad to help.

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Welcome Home! Thanks so much for taking the time to post a detailed review and sharing your trip with us. I really enjoyed hearing about the Zuiderdam.

 

Marie

 

HAL - MAASDAM - June 2004/Canada/New England

RCI - Mariner of the Seas,

Sept 2004(CC Group Cruise)

RCI - Rhapsody of the Seas

October 2004

 

 

RCI Majesty of the Seas - Spring Break, March 2005

Celebrity Mercury, April 2005

Caribbean Princess, Sept 2005

(CC Group Cruise)

 

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Thanks for the really great review. Your experience pretty much mirrored ours when we cruised her last Dec. Loved the ship and had a great time. Good food and service. Tom Drake, the best!

 

Carnival Legend 12/05/04

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Caribbean Princess 09/17/05

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=8b0000&cdt=2005;09;17;17;0;00&timezone=GMT-0500

Veendam 11/26/05

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Thanks for the review. I am sailing on the Zuiderdam 6/26. Would like to know about dinner seating we requested a table for 8. Is there any location in the dining room that is better than other. Several posts have mentioned tables overlooking the musicians or stairs. Was there any window seating? Also you mentioned breakfast on the balcony. Is something for the SS passengers. We have a SS suite. I think this would be very enjoyable. Did you have to request it. Also seems much confusion about lunch for SS passengers in pinnacle do you know what that is about? Thanks for your informative e-mail. Pat

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It used to be that if you had a PS or S you could eat breakfast and lunch in the Pinnacle. HAL has advised me that it has been discontinued.

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Guest

We had Table 59, mid-stern, upper level, with a view of the Promenade. The better tables were directly below, 136 and 137 because they look right out over the wake. Even late seating can view the sunset. These are 6-toppers, but the adjacent tables are for 8.

 

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tizbensinj:

Thanks for the review. I am sailing on the Zuiderdam 6/26. Would like to know about dinner seating we requested a table for 8. Is there any location in the dining room that is better than other. Several posts have mentioned tables overlooking the musicians or stairs. Was there any window seating? Also you mentioned breakfast on the balcony. Is something for the SS passengers. We have a SS suite. I think this would be very enjoyable. Did you have to request it. Also seems much confusion about lunch for SS passengers in pinnacle do you know what that is about? Thanks for your informative e-mail. Pat<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 

Candy's Internet Cruise Planner http://CandyBrock.com

Zuidy Cat S Wake Hcp Photos http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeANW7Jq0as2TCtA

<MARQUEE> Zuiderdam Western 10/4/03 ... Zuiderdam Eastern 5/22/04 ... Zuiderdam Eastern again 11/6/04 (took me 4 minutes to book it)... always planning the next one ...... </MARQUEE>

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We had table 52(for 8) on portside, upper deck and I thought it was great. It was on second level so you could look over level one and see the musicians play; you could see out the windows if you wished, yet, far enough away not to get the heat from the sun. I thought it was a great location.

 

Breakfast on the balcony is for anyone staying in a balcony room. You just have to make sure to put your breakfast request on the form in your room and hang it from your door by 2:00 a.m., or before your head hits the pillow for the night! Do it, it beats breakfast in the Lido any day. One thing, you can go up to Lido earlier and suppliment anything you can't get on room surface, i.e., those great danish! Oh, and try lunch in the main dining room too. I liked it. A nice reprieve from either port, HMC, or lounging out by the pool. Just have to be at least in shorts and top to go in there.

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I just posted this on another thread on the HAL message board...another prospective FYI...

Just returned from the 5/29 sailing as well. This ship has some major issues, but we had a good time since none of the BIG issues directly affected us. However, when I see people blown off and problems left unresolved, I worry that I could someday be in their position and facing the same NONRESPONSE. One of the passengers is going to seek compensation, and with the documentation he has, I don't think HAL has a leg to stand on.

 

They blew off repairing the air, and were not honest about the problem. Even "higher-ups" said, "We'll get that done for you first thing tomorrow." When tomorrow arrived, they sent the same guy who could not repair the system, and then kept putting the passengers off. I would have slept on the sofa across from the purser's desk to stay cool! LOL I know of three cabins with very poor cooling, and they had to have large, loud fans brought in for a little bit of comfort. If you have an outside cabin on the Main Deck around 1095, change your cabin NOW. The three most severely affected were outsides, and they were never cool. The passengers were treated poorly by the front office, and received no compensation while onboard. One gentleman contacted the front desk twice daily, and many came to his cabin and said, "Yes, this is unacceptable." duh..... I just wanted to warn those of you who might have one of these cabins and still have a chance to change.

 

I plan to write a complete review shortly...some things were EXCELLENT, but others need a great deal of work.

 

Mal

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Thanks for the input. I am contacting my TA tomorrow with your suggestions. I do hope the air works properly. If Holland failed to repair the air during the cruise, I too would be unhappy. While it won't ruin my cruise it would definitely influence my decision to cruise Holland again. We are trying Holland for the first time. I am unsure of the Pinnacle Grill but, will probably try it. I love the main dining room experience. I am hoping the food is better than Princess since I was not all that impressed with their meals. I am anxious to try the spa having heard so many good things about that. Thanks for all the info. Pat

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just off the z on 5-22 found that the crow's nest lounge had a air conditioning problem, but when we complained the problem was fixed promptly. with all the talk about the short handed work staff in the dining room we found this to be true. so the best thing to do is too order what you want up front. do not wait for your waiter to come around a second time. such as ordering second entrees right up front. room service in the morning on your balcony or room, when you fill out your order form be specific in what you want, such as cream instead of milk for your coffee, number of cups of coffee etc. etc. this way you are insured of what you are getting. the bar staff, tell them the way you like your drink made and they will accomodate your wishes. and most of all enjoy your cruise. We did.

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We ordered breakfast service every day, and they only got it right once. Toward the end, we checked the tray each time it was delivered so the steward could fix it right away. icon_confused.gif This can be a bit frustrating, but in no way would we allow this little thing to ruin a cruise. As to the dining room staff, we did not notice a staff shortage and had excellent, timely service. Arif, Eka and Zaine were remarkable servers and earned the extra tip icon_smile.gif

 

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> just off the z on 5-22 ...snip... such as ordering second entrees right up front. room service in the morning on your balcony or room, when you fill out your order form be specific in what you want, such as cream instead of milk for your coffee, number of cups of coffee etc. etc. this way you are insured of what you are getting. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 

Candy's Internet Cruise Planner

 

Zuidy East Carib Vista Menus

 

Zuidy Cat S Wake Hcp Photos

 

<MARQUEE> Zuiderdam Western 10/4/03 ... Zuiderdam Eastern 5/22/04 ... Zuiderdam Eastern again 11/6/04 (took me 4 minutes to book it)... </MARQUEE>

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Great post, THANKS. We are on the "Z" July 24th and after reading this we are more excited than ever!!!! I have heard so many mix reviews of the ship we were starting to worry, I like the idea of breakfast on our balcony every morning icon_smile.gif

 

Can I ask how the pool area is. I love getting up early and laying ny the pool for the entire day (living in Seattle we don't get much sun) Is there one pool better than the other for sunshine?

 

Thanks, Deb

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The Lido pool has a retractable roof which definitely cuts out the rays and keeps in the humidity if partly closed on windy days. I prefer the aft pool which is in total sun all day and not nearly as many children (chairs can be harder to find when kids are out of school).

 

Anything else?

 

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dst:

Great post, THANKS. Can I ask how the pool area is. I love getting up early and laying ny the pool for the entire day (living in Seattle we don't get much sun) Is there one pool better than the other for sunshine?

 

Thanks, Deb<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 

Candy's Internet Cruise Planner

 

Zuidy East Carib Vista Menus

 

Zuidy Cat S Wake Hcp Photos

 

<MARQUEE> Zuiderdam Western 10/4/03 ... Zuiderdam Eastern 5/22/04 ... Zuiderdam Eastern again 11/6/04 (took me 4 minutes to book it)... </MARQUEE>

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Thnaks Candy, Looks like the back ppol for me icon_smile.gif

 

Also saw your pics of the ship. They are great and now I am very excited to see our suite!!!

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Actually, the Suite veranda is so convenient, you may just want to relax or get some sun right there! That's what we did ... saved us the trouble of covering up, packing a bag, snagging two loungers, praying it will still be there when we get back from the Lido or bathroom ... Man, I wanna go baaaaaaaack!

 

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> posted 06-07-yy 04:39 PM

Thnaks Candy, Looks like the back ppol for me

 

Also saw your pics of the ship. They are great and now I am very excited to see our suite!!! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 

Candy's Internet Cruise Planner

 

Zuidy East Carib Vista Menus

 

Zuidy Cat S Wake Hcp Photos

 

<MARQUEE> Zuiderdam Western 10/4/03 ... Zuiderdam Eastern 5/22/04 ... Zuiderdam Eastern again 11/6/04 (took me 4 minutes to book it)... </MARQUEE>

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Candy - Great pix! Your cabins looked awsome! I think it overlooks where we will be in an A on the Verandah deck in December. We are so excited to cruise again. Your posts are very helpful! Thanks!

 

Karen C.

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=0000ff&cdt=2004;12;11;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500 till the Zuiderdam

 

Carnival Spirit April 2003

Legend of the Seas Oct 2002

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Candy or Pooh:

 

Can I ask if you know how far from the Ft Lauderdale Airport to the Pier??? Initially we had booked a flight from Seattle to Miami (direct flight) and yesterday found out that Alaska Airlines switched us to Seattle to LA to Ft Lauderdale. The problem is that our flight leaves on July 31st from Ft Lauderdale at 11:15!!!!! Do we have special disembarkation being in a suite and do you think we can make that flight. Do you have any advice????

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dst

We were on the Maasdam two years ago. We were not the first (or last) off the boat, took a cab, and were at the airport at 9:30am.

Unfortunatly our flight was at 5:00pm. Considering you have a suite, you should have disembarkation priorities. However that all could change. We had very few non-U.S. passport holders on board, and the ship cleared customs quickly.

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Ten minutes, ten bucks. As a suite guest you will have priority debarkation, and if you take a cab (not a transfer) and check your bags at the curb, you'll probably make it. The security lines don't get really long until about noon.

 

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Candy or Pooh:

 

Can I ask if you know how far from the Ft Lauderdale Airport to the Pier??? Initially we had booked a flight from Seattle to Miami (direct flight) and yesterday found out that Alaska Airlines switched us to Seattle to LA to Ft Lauderdale. The problem is that our flight leaves on July 31st from Ft Lauderdale at 11:15!!!!! Do we have special disembarkation being in a suite and do you think we can make that flight. Do you have any advice???? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 

Candy's Internet Cruise Planner

 

Zuidy East Carib Vista Menus

 

Zuidy Cat S Wake Hcp Photos

 

<MARQUEE> Zuiderdam Western 10/4/03 ... Zuiderdam Eastern 5/22/04 ... Zuiderdam Eastern again 11/6/04 (took me 4 minutes to book it)... </MARQUEE>

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We are also just back from the 5/29 cruise on the Zuiderdam and had a wonderful time. This was our ninth cruise, all on Holland America. The last one was in 2001 on the Amsterdam in the Mediterranean. I have to say after reading some of the reviews, I was a little concerned before our trip. We always enjoyed the excellent service and the "elegance" of the Holland America ships. We were not disappointed in the least. We all thought the ship was beautiful. Classic and stately yet updated and interesting. The service was just as wonderful and attentive as we had always remembered. We dined at the 8:00 upper seating (Table 48) and had two excellent stewards (Joko and Adam) who did a great job. My teenagers (19, 16, 14) exchanged addresses with them and hope to keep in touch. Our wine steward (Wil) was there every time my wine glass came close to being empty. Out on the decks or in the lounges, the bar staff was just as helpful and courteous as always. I know that some people have suggested that the bar staff were being pests since they were looking to get their tips, but we did not find that at all.

Our cabin steward was equally attentive. Most days, he was in our room and out while we were up on the Lido having breakfast.

While I am sure there have been some changes over the years on Holland America that some might consider negative (although none come to mind at the moment), I also see many positive changes. As I always say, you have to take the bad with the good. I thought the food on this cruise was the best it has ever been. None of us (there were six in our party) noticed any dimunition in the number of offerings on the menu at dinner. In fact, the variety seemed to be greater than ever. The quality was excellent - there was always a prime rib, filet mignon or sirloin choice on the menu for our beef eaters as well as at least one fish dish. The soups and sauces were outstanding.

The Lido was so much better than it has ever been. The selection was wonderful. One of the disappointments with HAL in the past was the lack of good pasta on the cruises. The Italian kitchen at the Lido more than made up for that. There were also custom made sandwiches, sushi, wok items as well as the traditional hot meal items at lunch. The fact that the lido was broken up into several different stations made waiting in line almost non-existent for more than a few moments. And this is on a cruise that was fully booked - every stateroom occupied. Although I am sure that there were times when the waitstaff in the Lido was overwhelmed at the height of the lunch rush, we never found that we were clearing our own tables. In fact, more often than not, as soon as the cover came off our meal (another nice added touch, as you were served your meal at the buffet line, it was covered with a lid to keep it hot), it was picked up by one of the stewards.

We also thought the entertainment on board the ship was so much better than it has ever been. The Zuiderdam cast and the productions they put on were excellent - very professional with sophisticated sets and costumes - a huge change from our first cruise on HAL 16 years ago. The comedian was extremely funny and the Elton John imitator put on one of the best shows we have seen in a long time. If you find him on your cruise, put that show on your must-see list.

Two areas where, in the past, we were disappointed, also surprised us this cruise, the shore excursion staff and the front office. While we have found them to be less than helpful sometimes on past cruises, this time, on the Zuiderdam, they could not have been nicer or more accomodating.

There were some real deals in the beverage department that we had not seen on past cruises. For my soda-drinking teenagers, the soda cards were a bargain. We found no reluctance on the part of anyone to give them a soda (and another, and another...). We bought seven bottles of wine before we left through the home office in Seattle (thanks to a lead we found on one of the Cruisecritic posts) for $15 a bottle which were delivered and served each night at our table (a big savings). On some of the events out on the Lido (sail away parties), they were offering buckets of beer (buy four but only pay for three).

As I guess you can see, we had an absolutely wonderful time. The ports were great - we loved Key West, went to the Mayan ruins at Tulum from Cozumel and, like everyone else, could have spent a whole week at Half Moon Cay. That island alone would make me come back to Holland America.

Things do change - it is a fact of life. People, or in this case, cruise lines, that do not change, become stagnant and wither and die on the vine. I think HAL has done an excellent job of keeping up with the times while still retaining many of the aspects of cruising that we had all come to love. We had a wonderful vacation and a great cruise.

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We had a 12 noon flight this past Saturday from Ft. Lauderdale and were checked in and seated at the gate by 10 am. You shouldn't have any problem. Disembarkation was a breeze and we grabbed a cab outside the terminal ($6 each for the six of us) and were at the airport and on line for check in about fifteen minutes later. We did not have a suite and did not have priority disembarkation so if you do, you should have enough time. Disembarkation started at 8:45 and we got off the ship about 9:15.

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Thanks for the great review, sounds like a wonderful cruise, can't wait for ours in July. I see that you took your teenagers. I will be taking my kids who are in their early 20's. Did you notice if there were some kids in this age bracket? We were on the Grand last June and virtually no one their age. Surprising since it was a summer Caribbean sailing. They like to go to the disco and hope others their age will be there too.

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BobandAnn: thanks I feel better now, I think we may just leave it alone adn worse case we miss our flight and have to stay in FLL an extra night icon_smile.gif

 

what ship were you on???? Hope you had a great time.

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Bob and Ann:

 

Great review - i started this link and I, too, found everything great. Yes, the first day,room service was missed due to the fact we were out on the verandah, but when it came, Klaus, the executive brought it to make sure we were ok! I found Front Office and others very responsive, especially in this day and age. Oh, we also had Joko and Adam at the 5:45 sitting, table 52. Yes, I agree, they were great. Yes, unlike cruises of 5-7 years ago, it took them 2-3 days to actually have my ice tea there when I sat down, but they were VERY QUICK to get me some when I had to ask. I guess I will miss the "old days" but by making your expectations a little more realistic, you come home saying "WoW" still.

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Hi Voleymom,

There certainly seemed to be a number of young adults on the ship - late teens, early twenties. I don't think the disco - Northern Lights - ever lacked for business. In all, I thought there was a good distribution in age groups from kids to seniors. Hope this helps.

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