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Shirt-man

Zuiderdam comments 7/3 - 7/10 cruise

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We are finally unpacked from our first cruise on HAL on the Zuiderdam on 7/3 – 7/10.We have been on Princess (3) AND Celebrity (1) before this cruise. I will do a quick comparison for those that care. Food was better than Princess and about equal with Celebrity. Nightly entertainment was on par with the others. Embarkation was not as smooth as others but the reason was their computers were down for a while and you can guess what problems that can cause in this day and age. They worked through it with only minor problems. Disembarkation was as smooth as everyone else. They all have this down to a science. Service was good and maybe a little better in certain places. (Dining room) Our room steward was not one of the best we have ever had but okay. The ship seemed a little more crowded even though the total numbers were smaller that the other ships we had used. The Zuiderdam’s public areas have a cramped feeling to me. The Neptune Lounge for suite guest was fantastic. The service there was the best we have encountered on a cruise ship. The food served in the lounge was also excellent. If we travel HAL again I hope we can afford a “S” suite again.

The main problem and it was one that made this trip not as enjoyable as some of the others was that the air conditioning was not holding it’s own, especially on port days. The crew was even commenting on how bad it was. We had a “S” suite (cabin 6167) on the rear of the ship and we even keep our curtains closed during the day and it still got very hot in our cabin. They really need to fix the problem. All our tablemates also felt that this was a problem they should correct.

Another problem was that they had a group “Focus on the Family” of 700 that all were given late seating for dinner and this put 300 people on the wait list for late dining that never changed. So there was a large group who weren’t happy other this. The “Focus “ group seemed to dictate some of the happenings on the ship. This group even caused the dinner seating to be changed so that all of the late seating would be at 8:30. We wanted to eat at 6:15 so it wasn’t a problem to us. I also feel that on sea days there were some activities that were not offered because of this group. They had meetings on sea days that used space resources. It just felt as though some things were missing. Can’t really say what but I would guess if we could compare the activities with another cruise we would see some things missing. You can check out this site for more groups that appear to be traveling on HAL. http://www.inspirationcruises.com

Enjoy your cruise……..

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Shirt Man -

 

I agree that on departure day and on the St. Thomas day, the AC got over loaded and it took a while to cool down. Most of the week it was fine. I did see that the jackasses who were in adjoining cabins near us on the Rotterdam deck, kept their verandah doors open and their room door open to the hall. That zapped the AC really quickly a couple of times. There are always a few negatives in the bunch.

 

We met some great people from the Focus on the Family group and never heard a negative about them. We commented that they seemed to stay to themselves and we hardly ever saw them. We too were at early dinner seatings while they had their meetings in the evening and still asleep at 7:45 AM when they had their morning meetings, so we didn't run into them too much.

 

I agree the Neptune Lounge was really a great addition. We too will go for the S class suites when we can afford them. It sort of ticks me off to see that others got upgraded to what we were paying higher prices for..... that's the way it goes.

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:)

 

Glad you had a good cruise for the most part.

 

We have been on a couple of cruises when there were large groups. They literally took over the ship. Too many times lounges were resevered for cocktail parties, etc.

 

Do try HAL again.

 

:)

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Thanks for your posts; we leave on the "Z" July 24th. Can you tell me if you did the Western Caribbean and if you did were there any spots not to be missed? How was the pool area on sea days?

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Our experience with the Western Caribbean cruise was awesome! All the ports were wonderful with lots of choices of things to do! We found the Lido pool to be busy with children throughout the cruise. The aft pool is too deep for many kids and usually only had adults in it. The only exception was one evening, even through the adult swim hours of 3-5, there were kiddies splashing away in the aft pool because for some reason the Lido pool was closed.

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My comments are based on 12 cruises (NCL, Celebrity, Costa, RCCL and Princess) this being our first cruise with HAL. In general we had a good time but were very disappointed with HAL. There was nothing about this crusie to justify all the hype about HAL being the best mass market cruise line or a premium cruise line. Except for the Pinnacle Grill, there is nothing special about the Zuiderdam.

 

Embarkation - Grade A - We had no problems. Arrived at about 12 noon and were on the ship in less than 1/2 hour.

 

Cabin - Grade C - We had aft balcony cabin 6154 close to shirt man. Balcony was nice size but the rest of the cabin was the smallest balcony cabin I have every had (very narrow). Closets were poorly designed with shelves spaced about 2 ft apart. I don't usually stack my clothing 2 ft high but had to on this cruise since I only had one shelf. No light in closet or shower/tub added to poor design. TV was hung from wall above vanity and my wife almost knocked herself out three times.

 

Pinacle Grill - Grade A+ - Best Alternative restaurant I have experienced. Don't miss this if you must sail on the Zuiderdam. Book first night by phone for on ly $10 per person.

 

Lido Buffet - Grade B - I am not much for buffets, but the few times we ate here food was good, not great.

 

Ice Cream - Grade F - Do not confuse what HAL serves with ice cream. You don't even need taste buds to tell the difference between this stuff and the homemade ice cream served on Celebrity. Stick with the frozen yogurt which is probably made from a mix which even HAL couldn't mess up.

 

Breakfast Pastries - Grade F - Essentially non-existient. Sometimes one or two selections in the Lido if you get there early enough. When I asked for pastries in the Vista dining room I was given a basket of rolls one of which had some raisins in it.

 

Dinners in Vista Drining Room - Grade C - My wife and I eat anything, so picky was not the problem. Entree selections were poor and desert selections and quality were poor. Did not serve rack of lamb at all and served filet only on lobster night. Definity below Cebebrity and Princess and toss up with NCL. Portions on the small side, soup bowls half full, etc.

 

Service in Vista Dining Room - Grade C - We had late seating. Service staff appeared to be in a track meet. Obviously understaffed. Barely finished in time for shows. Service at lunch time was much more relaxed and enjoyable.

 

Traffic Flow in Public Areas - Grade F - Most ships have two aisles thru public areas (one on each side of the ship). Not the Z. A single aisle winds thru the public areas. You actually have to walk thru the shops. Worst area was the photo gallery where passengers for second dinner seating were lined up while passengers from first dinner seating were looking at their photos. The highlight of my evening every night!

 

Ship Cleanliness - Grade A - Even stairs and promenade deck were always clean.

 

Ship Condition - Grade B - Some wear and tear (probably from ignorant passengers) was apparent.

 

Rugs - Grade F - There are many beautiful commercial carpets available. This was not one of them. Replace the rugs! Also saw service personnel using vacuum without rotating brush. You cannot clean carpets with this type of equipment.

 

Air Conditioning - Grade F - Definitely problems. Worst was on informal night when men were supposed to wear jackets. Everyone removed jackets in Dining Room and left them off for the remainder of the evening.

 

Entertainment - Grade B+ - Pleaseantly surprised. Solo acts were very good and singers/dancers were good but not on par with NCL. Costumes and special effects/lighting were excellent. No ship's orchestra.

 

Captains Welcome Reception - Grade F - Reception started at 7 PM. We (and several others) arrived at 7:20 PM and were told that room was at maximum capacity. I could care less if I ever meet the captain. As the comedian said, Do you meet the bus driver when you travel Grayhound? However, when you invite 900 people to a party, you should hold the party in a venue which accomodates 900 people. DUH!

 

Private Island - Grade B+ - Very nice, clean facility. Lunch was the usual barbeque fare. Obviously built to generate revenue since nothing but the air and water are free.

 

Disembarkation - Grade A+ - HAL uses many numbers and calls passengers a few at a time. Less than 15 minutes from when our number was called until we were in a cab on our way to the airport.

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Giorgi-one-

 

I can see from your review, the Zui hasn't changed much at all since we sailed her last August. We encountered many similar problems, my biggest peeve was the same - the Photo Gallery has to be the most poorly thought out concept ever - especially when the ship is full. The shops run a close second. Talk about congested & difficult to navigate.

 

We loved our Cabin, we got a great price on the Suite - but thought the whole Concierge Lounge concept just so - so. Others love it - maybe if we go again we'll give it another try.

 

After our Zui cruise, we made up our minds - ENOUGH - we are going elsewhere - Princess, Celebrity, Radisson - I don't care... but no more HAL. Then our TA called with a great deal on an Easter Break cruise for us & the kids onboard the Maasdam. We thought about it, the price was fantastic - and decided to give it one last go.

 

We were happy that we did. It was a wonderful reminder why we love the S-Class ships so much. It sounds like you disliked the Zui for many of the same reasons we did - you may want to consider an S-Class if you come across one with great pricing. It is like night and day, as far as we are concerned.

 

Those Zui lovers out there, please don't flame - but I just don't like the layout (at all) or decor of that ship - those that love it - well, people like us just leave more room for you! ;)

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I don't understand. Opinions are so polar about Zuiderdam! :confused:

 

1) I understand food is a very subjective thing and tastes are different but it's strange that it receives from C- to A !!!

 

2) Temperature: I've read reviews that A/C was fixed on Z and now it's freezing cold in public areas and cabins!!! In the other review it got grade F and definitely has a problem.

 

I never felt so weird about my upcoming cruise...It feels like I am going to the Mars and don't really know what to expect! ;)

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Tatka-

 

Last year, we did the same cruise you are going on - we left around 8/20, I believe...

 

I was excited about the Zui - couldn't wait to get onboard. I don't know exactly what it was - maybe the attitude of other pax in the Concierge Lounge, we arrived in the middle of a fight between two ladies - the poor concierge was beside herself and I couldn't get out of there fast enough, or the fact that the ship was completely filled to capacity. The Suite (we had 7053) was beautiful - all we could have hoped for & more. We went to have lunch in the Lido and what a zoo! Kids running all over the place, crowded lines, tables full of dirty dishes...

 

The capacity of the ship played a part in our dislike, I'm sure. We don't like big crowds and the Zui always felt crowded to us, there were also over 400 kids on board - mostly older teens - who took over the hot tubs & pools, which didn't make for a super fun cruise. The decor was much different than that of other HAL ships and I kind of liked it at first. It got a bit old for me towards the end, the bright colors, the cow spots, the disco - all overwhelming. I did like the internet cafe quite a bit.

 

The other thing - the weather - but that's the time of year we chose. It was very hot and humid in the Caribbean (we had the same itinerary as yours) and the islands were jammed packed with people. The A/C on our cruise was not functioning well at all, either.

 

Lastly, the dining room - the servers were stretched so thin, we finally had to comment to the Maitre D' - several times we waited 15-20 minutes (we always arrived on time) for menus. We had an upper level table for four, the noise levels were high - and the lighting was super bright - we felt like we were in a cafeteria. Definitely not the typical HAL ambience we were used to.

 

We did like the "party" atmosphere and the bit younger crowd - lots of dancing & staying up late. These were not the drunken, obnoxious partiers - but the kind you can hang out & have a great time with. On one of our Noordam cruises, 11:00pm rolled around and it was ghost town.

 

If you've never been on HAL, you have no other comparison. I wouldn't worry about it too much - everyone has their likes and dislikes - somebody posted they didn't care for their cruise on the Maasdam and I absolutely love that ship. If you like a younger crowd with more kids, a party-type atmosphere, a larger, newer ship; then you will probably like the Zui.

 

I don't mean to detract from the ship - especially for those with upcoming voyages. We've just had much better experiences than the Zuiderdam.

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Tatka: I would have to agree with you. We are sailing July 24th and I have heard so many different opinions. The sad thing is that this is our first HAL cruise so I really worry that HAl is not up to RCCL (my favorite).

 

The only thing that we decided is that we are going to go and have a good time. Some of the things on here seem very petty, I think if I don't have to cook, clean, make my bed then all is good!

 

I'll try to give a fair reveiw when we return.

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Thank you ekker19.... I still hope I like Zui more than you did. :) I am not a big party goer but my son will probably like disco. And I love watching people having a good time.

 

 

Some things that keep me calm:

 

1) I read some pretty bad reviews before my cruise on Century...(how service/food etc slipped). I loved that cruise.

 

2) I didn't care much about Splendour of the Seas food but ship was beautiful as was our cruise overall.

 

When we returned home I went to read reviews on www.cruisereviews.com <http://www.cruisereviews.com> and was shocked!!! For some people cruise was disastrous from the beginning to the end. (actually worst in their life!) Service/food/ship etc.

 

I am trying not to believe everything I read....

 

But again how can A/C not be working and freezing at the same time? This is actually very important to me as my husband as somewhat overweight and will have big problems without A/C.

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Tatka-

 

A good attitude to have, no doubt.

 

I think the problem with the A/C is found on many ships. They will repair one area, then another goes out... on the Zui we found it mostly to be the dining room - we had second seating and the stewards were literally running through the room - most other public areas (as well as the cabin) were comfortable. The dining room was way too hot, almost every night. If you have first seating, it may be a lot cooler.

 

If you do have a problem with A/C in your room - notify the Front Desk or Concierge right away. We've always had our cabin A/C problems addressed promptly.

 

I hope my post above did not frighten you - as you said, what one person found to be horrible, another liked. We still made the best of our cruise - it just wasn't our favorite.

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This is my kind of thread - people discussing positives and negatives.

 

I thank all of those who posted your reviews and your honest opinions - it always helps !!!!

 

We sail on the Z at the end of this month - so I will also be able to judge everything for myself. But I always realize nothing is perfect - and there will be things I like and things I dislike. That seems to be what I have read here from several of you. HAL did some things well and some things not so well.

 

It doesn't worry me for my upcoming cruise - just helps me temper expectations. Besides - I chose the Z for its itinerary and price - nothing else

 

I recall when I sailed on HAL for the first time two years ago and heard all the superlatives about service here. I was quite disappointed to find that service ok but nothing to write home about. On a par with NCL and behind Disney.

 

It didn't ruin my cruise at all - but the expectations some laid out here IMO were not realistic. Thanks folks for the realism !!!

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We had a great time on the Zui at the end of May to the 5th of June. We had a balcony cabin on the Navigation deck and it was wonderful. I have no complaints. It was very hot outside but our Ac worked great! The food was great and the service excellant. It was well worth the money we paid and all of the Western ports were wonderful. So please, do not take these board to heart. It is hard to please everyone all the time. Just go with the expectation that you will have a great time and run with it!! You will see the Zui is a great ship.

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We had a great time on the Zui at the end of May to the 5th of June. We had a balcony cabin on the Navigation deck and it was wonderful. I have no complaints. It was very hot outside but our Ac worked great! The food was great and the service excellant. It was well worth the money we paid and all of the Western ports were wonderful. So please, do not take these board to heart. It is hard to please everyone all the time. Just go with the expectation that you will have a great time and run with it!! You will see the Zui is a great ship.

That's what we are planning to do. :D

 

After all not that long ago (about 8-10 years in our our early twenties) camping in a tent seemed to us as a great vacation. ;) Although I think we got spoiled on X Century...oh well.

 

Thank you for your very positive review... I love Caribbeans and cruise itself makes it even better and more fun than 7 days spent at the same resort even the best one.

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. So please, do not take these board to heart. It is hard to please everyone all the time.

 

Gammaf - I am not sure what you mean when you say this.

 

Are you doubting the others opinions?

 

Or just saying make the best of it?

 

Or ???

 

Just curious - as I like to see a variety of opinions, and hear the good and the bad. Sure, everyone's point of view will differ, but sometimes certain things will click - and sometimes certain themse will present themself. Nothing wrong with that IMO

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We totally enjoyed two sets of b-to-b's on Zuiderdam; first in April and then in August.

 

 

We were on Rotterdam Deck and loved the Neptune Lounge. Our a/c worked fine in our cabin on all four cruises. Our cabin stewards were all wonderful. We sat at the same table for all of the cruises and loved the location and found the a/c in our section fine. That is not to say someone may not have been warm somewhere else in that large dining room (two levels), but we were very comfortable. DH wears a tuxedo on formal nights; jackets on Informal and sometimes casual and he never felt too warm.

 

We thought the food excellent and enjoyed Lido more than any Lido on any other HAL ship we have cruised. I love the layout of it and the flow was great. We always sit outside though....we would take our trays and go the rear of Lido and sit at the outside tables.

 

 

 

I would return to Zuiderdam anytime without hesitation.

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Tatka-

 

Last year, we did the same cruise you are going on - we left around 8/20, I believe...

 

I was excited about the Zui - couldn't wait to get onboard. I don't know exactly what it was - maybe the attitude of other pax in the Concierge Lounge, we arrived in the middle of a fight between two ladies - the poor concierge was beside herself and I couldn't get out of there fast enough, or the fact that the ship was completely filled to capacity. The Suite (we had 7053) was beautiful - all we could have hoped for & more. We went to have lunch in the Lido and what a zoo! Kids running all over the place, crowded lines, tables full of dirty dishes...

 

The capacity of the ship played a part in our dislike, I'm sure. We don't like big crowds and the Zui always felt crowded to us, there were also over 400 kids on board - mostly older teens - who took over the hot tubs & pools, which didn't make for a super fun cruise. The decor was much different than that of other HAL ships and I kind of liked it at first. It got a bit old for me towards the end, the bright colors, the cow spots, the disco - all overwhelming. I did like the internet cafe quite a bit.

 

The other thing - the weather - but that's the time of year we chose. It was very hot and humid in the Caribbean (we had the same itinerary as yours) and the islands were jammed packed with people. The A/C on our cruise was not functioning well at all, either.

 

Lastly, the dining room - the servers were stretched so thin, we finally had to comment to the Maitre D' - several times we waited 15-20 minutes (we always arrived on time) for menus. We had an upper level table for four, the noise levels were high - and the lighting was super bright - we felt like we were in a cafeteria. Definitely not the typical HAL ambience we were used to.

 

We did like the "party" atmosphere and the bit younger crowd - lots of dancing & staying up late. These were not the drunken, obnoxious partiers - but the kind you can hang out & have a great time with. On one of our Noordam cruises, 11:00pm rolled around and it was ghost town.

 

If you've never been on HAL, you have no other comparison. I wouldn't worry about it too much - everyone has their likes and dislikes - somebody posted they didn't care for their cruise on the Maasdam and I absolutely love that ship. If you like a younger crowd with more kids, a party-type atmosphere, a larger, newer ship; then you will probably like the Zui.

 

I don't mean to detract from the ship - especially for those with upcoming voyages. We've just had much better experiences than the Zuiderdam.

ekerr19,

 

Going on the HAL cruise on Aug 21. Do you remember what it was like on the beach at HMC? Thinking about renting a clamshell. I don't want to rent a cabana (too much $$$$) but was wondering if it was stifling on the beach in August.

 

Thanks,

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HI to those recently on Zuiderdam -- I need your help -- never been on HAL!!

 

I have been offered cabins 5096 or 5098 for an Oct cruise -- 5098 adjoins the central elevators on Verandah deck on port side; 5096 is 1 cabin away from the central elevators.

 

Can people on glass elevators see into the balconies? Or is side of elevators opaque so that those 2 balconies have some privacy?

 

Anyone have a photo of the side of ship showing the central elevators.

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Can people on glass elevators see into the balconies? Or is side of elevators opaque so that those 2 balconies have some privacy?
Yes, they can see into the balconies closest to the elevators.

 

No, the side of the elevators are not opaque.

 

Now, what will you be doing that will make people want to look at you?

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NPeters-

 

Regarding the weather at HMC in August. I recall it being very nice, not too hot - we love HMC, it is one of our favorite places to go, even if just for a few hours. We had the Cabana on last cruise (Maasdam) and didn't feel it justified the expense. There are plenty of shady areas that are not on the beach, but if you want to spend a lot of time near the water, you may want to see about the clam shell. Having been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on two years ago - I try and avoid lengthy exposure to direct sunlight, which is very difficult for me as I love the ocean & beach.

 

Superstein-

 

I knew it would be impossible for someone not to post "ignore the bad things they say" and I'm sorry someone feels that way. I am not trying to put a damper on anyone's upcoming Zui cruise - that's why I don't always like posting how I feel if it's not positive - I get the "well, she's just negative - don't listen to her" which is not the case at all. Oh, well - you know what I'm saying. Thanks.

 

gammaf-

 

Our Zui cruise was our least favorite & I have tried to be constructive in presenting my reasons why. I do not expect others to feel the same, just because I have an opinion doesn't mean I'm trying to get others to jump on my "bandwagon", so to speak, very far from it - you loved the Zui and you shared that - why is it wrong for me to say I didn't? Again, I'm not trying to ruin anyone's upcoming voyage - each person is different - I'm sure those with an open mind will have a great cruise regardless. We made the most out of ours - certainly didn't let a few negatives detract from the fact that we were, after all - on vacation.

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I too like this thread with the very diverse opinions. After 14 cruises, I have learned that the only opinion I can count on is my own.

 

I have been on lines as luxurious as Crystal and as plain as Dolphin. Everything from an up and down inside to the Captains suite and never once did I have a bad cruise.

 

We all have our own tastes and agendas. As long as the food is hot, the attendants helpful, and the air-conditioner on, I know that I will have a great time.

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ekerr19,

 

I don't think that gammaf was suggesting that you shouldn't share your experience and opinion regarding the Zui. It's just that gammaf liked the Zui, and was sharing his/her experience while, at the same time, doing precisely what you did ... encouraging someone and expressing a hope that they will have a good time.

 

Everything I've seen and read about the Zui gives me HUGE moments of pause. I'm very partial to the S and R ships, and while I will be trying out a Vista ship (probably the Westerdam), based upon what I've read and heard about the Zui I have no interest in cruising on her. However, if I were to cruise on the Zui I suspect I would enjoy her (and the cruise) anyway. :) I'm easy to please. My parents, on the other hand, are not. My mother is a clean-freak and noise-phobic, while my Dad is a stickler for etiquette and protocol (it's those 2 stars on his shoulder boards). They tell me that they think they wouldn't like the Zui at all, and this dislike might really upset their cruise-experience. So ... they're sticking to the ships they know (at least for now).

 

In short, everybody is different when it comes to their likes and dislikes and their appreciation for variation. I gathered that gammaf was giving a different experience and opinion and offering a word of encouragement.

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Revneal-

 

No problem here. I just saw the sentence "So please don't take these boards to heart" - which is fine, but my belief is the whole point of the boards is to share our experiences - good, bad or otherwise. When gammaf says not to take these boards to heart, does that mean the good too? I don't think so - but that's just me.

 

If you are partial to the S-class, like we are - you may not enjoy the Vista class as well. I love the Noordam - I am a minority in that regard on this board - that's ok by me. I try and share based upon my actual experiences without really sugar-coating anything, but also giving credit when credit is due. Nothing that happens onboard a ship truly hampers my cruise experience, however many people like hearing all the detail - good, bad & indifferent.

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I have been on 14 cruises and have enjoyed them all. But some cruises were absolutely fantastic. How can you say that nothing that happens onboard a ship hampers your cruise experience? Your cruise experience is the sum total of everything that happens on board the ship and every negative item reduces that experience just a little.

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