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Zuiderdam's April 18th Panama Canal cruise

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Hi all,


My wife and I were on the Zuiderdam's April 18th Panama Canal cruise. We did the 18 day version getting off in LA instead of doing the final 3 days to Vancouver (we had been in Vancouver in 2008 for 4 days before and after a 14 day Alaskan cruise).


I plan on doing a longer review on CC's reviews section but I wanted to at least put one post out here before I do that review.


The cruise was a really good one with stops in Veracruz, Dos Bocas and Progreso in Mexico, Cartagena, Colombia, the Panal Canal crossing and then stops in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The last 3 stops were replacing 4 stops we were supposed to make in Mexico but the Captain, the tour staff and HAL's main office did a great job of rescheduling stops after the outbreak of the "swine flu" in Mexico.


The ship, the crew, the food, the Canal crossing and the port stops were all excellent. The crew did a fantastic job all cruise of making everyone feel welcome. The food was good with a little extra variety because of a new chef and his ideas.


We did a CC rollcall meeting the 2nd morning, 3rd day, of the cruise in the Crow's Nest which was attended by several ships personnel including the Hotel Manager. It was well attended and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.


Our cabin, which ended up a VA balcony on the Navigation deck, was excellent and our cabin steward team did an excellent job of keeping it spotless during the cruise.


We did "as you want" or "anytime dining" and enjoyed the variety of meal companions we had. We also ate a number of nights with a group of CC roll call members that we hung out with.


The Crow's Nest's daily 2 for 1 drink specials meant we met there daily with a group of CC members almost everyday and really enjoyed the staff and the companionship.


The tour staff did a fantastic job given we changed ports during the cruise and the tours that were arranged in our new ports were excellent especially given the short time they had to arrange them.


We attended several events with the Captain and his staff and were very impressed by all of them and their friendliness. The Captain was the one who began questioning HAL's main office right after the first news of Swine flu in Mexico City appeared in the news and asking for alternative ports for the west coast portion of our cruise. I don't think anyone had any problems with the extra sea day we ended up with since the ship had a free drink party by the Lido pool on that day.


All in all this was an EXCELLENT cruise on a great ship with a great crew and we really enjoyed it.


Have a great next HAL cruise.

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Thanks for the welcome back. It really was a good cruise. It was our second Panama Canal crossing and we enjoyed this one as much as we did our first West to East one in 2001 on the Veendam.


Have a great next cruise.

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We had the same thing happen on our 21 day Westerdam repositioning cruise.

We also missed our 4 Mexican ports.

But there were no free drinks.

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