Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Rainbowdayz

Zuiderdam Review Oct.1-8

Recommended Posts

How is it we look forward to a cruise for what seems like forever and it's over in the blink of an eye? The first week back, my husband and I find ourselves continually saying "This time last week.....". Our next cruise in not until April of 2006 so we will have to live on memories until then.

 

This was our first HAL cruise and having sailed with NCL, Celebrity, Carnival, RCCL and Princess we were hoping HAL would meet or exceed our previous experiences. Overall, we had a positive experience and a wonderful time. We were fortunate to be traveling with my parents and my sister and brother- in- law so we all have a great week of memories to share.

 

Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 11:15a. Since my mother requires wheelchair assistance, we were asked to take seats to the right of the waiting lines. The gentlemen in charge of this procedure seemed harried and confused. We were continually asked to move our seats as parties were processed which was tiring for my mother and seemed unnecessary. We had sailed on Carnival's Miracle in April with my parents and found our boarding to be more organized and faster but it was no big deal. We were on board within the hour.

 

Cabins: We had VD5100, my parents were in VD5110 and my sister and brother-in-law, having booked late, were assigned 1033 on the Main Deck. Everyone was pleased with the accommodations including my brother-in-law who complained all the way to the ship about not having a balcony! There was plenty of storage and we were all surprised to find bathtubs. We've only been on one ship that had them previously and that was NCL's Norway. The tubs were so low that mother, who broke her hip three years ago and has been forced to use a shower ever since, enjoyed a leirsurely bath every day. My sister has a bad back and she too was delighted to find a bathtub.

 

Food: We found the food in the Lido to be quite good. My husband and I, as well as my sister and brother-in-law had breakfast and lunch there most days. My parents found the lines too much to deal with and they preferred being served in the Vista Dining Room. Comparing the Lido to the buffets on just the cruises we've been on this year, we found it better than RCCL's Splendour of the Seas but not as good as Carnival's Miracle. Having said that, we all put on several pounds so who can complain??? We ate in the Vista Dining every night but one and we thought the food was good but not expectional. In particular, the appetizers and soups (which always arrived barely warm) left a lot to be desired. The one area we all agree HAL excelled in was desserts. Most ships have desserts that are beautiful to look at but don't have much taste. The desserts on HAL were yummy.

 

Pinnacle Grille: We each had a gift card for the Pinnacle Grille. Making reservations was a hassle. My sister and I waited in a long line on three occasions and when we finally made it to maitre d', we had to take a seating at 6p on Tuesday. Our scheduled time in the Vista was 8P and we would have preferred something later. Since the Pinnacle was almost empty up until the time we left around 8:15p the night of our dinner, we wondered why we could not have had a later time. Btw, there was a card in our cabins upon arrival saying the phone system was being worked on and to please bear with them so we could not call. Unfortunately, none of us thought the experience was worth the wait. We have three steak lovers in our party and they all thought the entrees were good but the side dishes were cold and tastless. My dad ordered rice which I tasted and it had no flavor at all. Two people ordered creamed spinich which was dry and the mushrooms were downright cold. Having read rave reviews on the Pinnacle and not being fussy eaters, we were really disappointed. My salad was great but other than that, the meal was ordinary. We were glad we didn't have to pay for it.

 

Entertainment: We all thought HAL's entertainment was super. I guess we enjoyed it more than most, having read reviews that didn't rate it all that high. We thoroughly enjoyed Joel Mason and Julie Barr as well as the Broadway shows. We also liked the Cruise Director Eric who impressed us with his professionalism as well as his many talents. We enjoyed Rare Occasions at the Ocean Bar most evenings before dinner and we saw several good shows in the Queen's Lounge, including the hilarious kareoke. We did miss having a carribean band on the pool deck and wondered if that was usual on HAL ships. Overall, we thought the entertainment met or exceeded that of any other cruise.

 

Exercise: My dad and brother- in-law used the gym daily and loved it. There didn't seem to be much going on around the pool which is usually the hub of activity on most ships. None of us are pool lovers so we didn't care. Just an observation. We did wonder why it was covered most of the time. It made the area unusally hot and muggy.

 

Ship's Decor and Condition: We've all been on much prettier ships and the Zuiderdam would be our last reference in decor. That is a matter of personal preferance, however and not a big deal. I know many people like it. We all agreed the ship's condition left a lot to desired. I've never been on a ship in such disrepair. It was appalling and just to be clear, when we sailed on RCCL's Splendour of the Seas in February, she was scheduled for dry dock in Barcelona in six weeks. That ship was sparkling. There was wear on her carpeting and the brass about halfway up in the cabin quarters needed cleaning but other than that, she looked fine. By comparison, I took my mother to the Atrium Lobby the first day and I've never seen furniture so totally used and dirty. The tables were grimey and black and the walls were down right dirty. I took her to the Ocean's Bar and it was somewhat better but again, the furniture was old and in need of replacement some time ago and other lounges were in the same condition. Other public areas such as the Vista Dining Room and Vista Lounge were gleaming and lovely; the two most used areas so it's puzzling. My sister and I were looking for the Crow's Nest and ended up at the Waverunner children’s center. The tile outside the elevator was broken in numerous places and some pieces were being held together with duct tape. Much of the time the public bathrooms were not in working order. One night my sister and I had to walk to the opposite end of the ship from the Vista Lounge before we found one working. I have read where people ask was can be expected on a ship three years old. Better is all I can say. We sailed on the Norway just before she was taken out of service for good. Beautiful ship and at the time, it had been in service much longer than the Zuiderdam without dry dock.

 

Crew: Personable and friendly but overall not quite as good as we've experienced on other lines. Best cabin steward we ever had. We left for a late breakfast daily and by the time we returned our cabin was ready with fresh towels, bed made etc. Our parents had quite a different experience though. Although they were up very early, their cabin was never made up before mid afternoon so it shows you how different experiences can be on the same ship. Our Vista Dining Room waiter was nice but not terribly attentive. He never made any recommendations. There was never enough bread on the table for six people and every night was had to ask for more. He never asked what we wanted to drink. He didn't ask if everything was all right or offer to bring another entree if he saw something was not being eaten. However, if we asked for anything, he was extemely prompt. Overall, our dining experience was very pleasant. Our waiter may have been new. We just noticed the little things that make the difference between a good waiter and an excellent one.

 

I'm not going to mention the ports. As others have noted, the weather wasn't the best. Since we had all been in these ports on previous cruises, we really didn't care about excursions and had no special plans.

 

We had a good time and we certainly enjoyed our time together but we would rate other lines a bit better overall. HAL's entertainment was as good as any ship we've been on but otherwise, nothing really stood out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for taking the time to post your review. We are cruising on the Zuiderdam in December, so I always enjoy reading reviews. Lately, the reviews have been wonderful, but after reading yours I am a little apprehensive. We are traveling with another couple who have only cruised on Carnival, and I am so hoping this will be a pleasant experience for them.

 

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

 

Marie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marie, I'm sure you will have a great time. I forgot to mention disembarkation which was the best we've ever experienced. I usually dread it since we're crowded into a few public areas like a herd of cattle but HAL allows you to stay in your cabin until you are called for disembarking. We had a leisurely breakfast and then returned to our cabins where we waited comfortably until we received our call around 9:30a. We were off and through the terminal with our luggage within 15 mins. This is such an improvment over other lines and if HAL can do this so can they. There are good and bad things on every cruise. I was trying to be objective but don't let anything I said put you off. Everyone has their own unique experience. I wouldn't take anything for that week and I bet you won't either. Good luck and happy sailing. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ExaltHim,

 

DW and I were on the same cruise as Rainbowdayz and had a wonderful time. Reviews are so subjective. Just make the cruise what you want and are looking for and you should have a great time.

 

Rainbowdayz,

 

I believe that we met on these boards before our cruise and talked about having a Cruise Critic Get-Together. Sorry that we were not able to meet each other on the cruise. Particularly since I believe that we more than likely with in an arms length from each other. We also arrived at the cruise terminal around 11:15 am and do remember a group sitting on seats right beside us with at least one wheel chair. We were also dining in the Pinnacle Grill when the Head Chef and his party were dining there. If you had the table just across from him we were at the next table forward of you. I will have to agree with you about not receiving the best service from that waiter. We also contributed it to him having the "big boss" observing.

 

BTW, we did have three get-togethers and nine couples participated.

 

Richard & Judie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ExaltHim,

 

DW and I were on the same cruise as Rainbowdayz and had a wonderful time. Reviews are so subjective. Just make the cruise what you want and are looking for and you should have a great time.

 

Rainbowdayz,

 

I believe that we met on these boards before our cruise and talked about having a Cruise Critic Get-Together. Sorry that we were not able to meet each other on the cruise. Particularly since I believe that we more than likely with in an arms length from each other. We also arrived at the cruise terminal around 11:15 am and do remember a group sitting on seats right beside us with at least one wheel chair. We were also dining in the Pinnacle Grill when the Head Chef and his party were dining there. If you had the table just across from him we were at the next table forward of you. I will have to agree with you about not receiving the best service from that waiter. We also contributed it to him having the "big boss" observing.

 

BTW, we did have three get-togethers and nine couples participated.

 

Richard & Judie

 

Congratulations Richard and Judie on your 40th wedding anniversary! I too am sorry we did not meet. I missed the rep who brought me the invitation. I fully intended to attend but was busy with other things and actually forgot. I'm not sure about the Pinnacle. We had reservations at 6p Tuesday. I wasn't aware of the Head Chef being there. Sounds like we might have passed several times like ships in the night. ;)

 

I couldn't agree with you more about reviews being subjective. Even people within our own party had different experiences (e.g., cabin stewards). As I said, there is good and bad on every cruise and I tried to write on both as we experienced it. I'm sure Marie and her party will have a wonderful time with lots of great stories to tell when they return.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rainbowdayz and Richcrow - Thanks for the encouragement. I have no doubt we will have a fabulous time. As I mentioned, I am so wanting the other couple to really enjoy the cruise, and I do think they will. This will be the first time they are cruising without their children, and that in itself will be nice for them :). I will make sure to keep any disappointments I may have and not share them while on the cruise.

 

Rainbowdayz - It's too bad you weren't able to meet up with the other CC'ers. We have found it really enhances our cruises when meeting others on the Roll Call. We have a pretty active one for our December cruise. In fact, John and DeeDee are in the cabana next to ours, so that will be fun.

 

Marie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marie, I'm so glad you read our replies and are encouraged. I regret anything I said that may have put doubts in your mind. I know you will have a great time and come back with wonderful memories. Please post and let us know all about it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please NO regrets. I appreciate and welcome HONEST reviews :). I will definitely post upon my return. Have you booked your next cruise yet????

 

Marie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<<Have you booked your next cruise yet????>>

 

Yes, we're sailing on the RCCL's Legend of Seas next April for my parents 60th wedding anniversary. Our whole family is going. We have people coming from Germany. I cannot wait. It will be so very wonderful to honor my parents in such a special way. The cruise is a surprise.;) We sailed on RCCL's sister ship Splendour of the Seas in Febuary so I have the advantage of resting easy with regard to knowing what the ship is like. I always worry. LOL! Yes, I'm a worrier......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW. That sounds like a wonderful cruise. That is going to be such a special time for your family. I love the Adult Only Solarium's on RCL ships.

 

Marie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the Zuiderdam the week before you were. We had a great time with a few exceptions. We could not get a hot meal any where on the ship, from the Lido to the Pinnacle Grill. Our experience in the Pinnacle was so bad that they refunded our $40 and invited us to be their guests the next night. It's pretty bad when you are served a baked potato anf the butter won't even melt. Now, that's cold!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the Zuiderdam the week before you were. We had a great time with a few exceptions. We could not get a hot meal any where on the ship, from the Lido to the Pinnacle Grill. Our experience in the Pinnacle was so bad that they refunded our $40 and invited us to be their guests the next night. It's pretty bad when you are served a baked potato anf the butter won't even melt. Now, that's cold!

Boarding and disembarkation were very quick and well done. Part of the secret is to have all documents ready including doing the online embarfkation form.

The ship is definitely showing signs of wear but I certainly didn't think it was that bad. We had an excellent cabin steward and waiter.

We are off on the Maasdam in Jan. and am anxious to try the Pinnacle Grill again. We did have two good meals out of three.

HAL is still our all time favorite line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...