We have sailed HAL on all our prior Alaska cruises, we have not had issues with HAL ships, until sailing on the Zuiderdam.
HAL is not maintaining this ship. Our cabin was in terrible condition and reminded us of an old cheap motel room. The balcony draperies had broken hooks and would not close all the way, the draperies at the window were turned upward at the bottom and had a pile of dust in the turn up that took years to accumulate, the balcony was dirty and had food crumbs on the table along with a prior passengers fingernail and toenail clippings, this was downright nasty (the balcony never got washed during this cruise). From the balcony you could see rust on the exterior of the ship The furniture was old, worn and dirty. The bathtub did not drain properly and would remain full for long periods of time, the shower had mold and mildew growing in it, the bathroom door did not properly latch and was very rusted out at the bottom of the frame.
After boarding we went to the MDR for welcome back lunch, we were served the worst meal we have ever had on a cruise. We did go back to MDR for breakfast and received a good breakfast, but our second breakfast in the MDR was not such a good experience, the waiter disappeared, another waiter finally tried to sort out the issues, part of our breakfast was finally served to us cold. The remainder of our meals were eaten in the Lido.
It is HAL policy to have the crew eating in the Lido at the same time as the passengers for lunch and dinner. I believe this is bad policy. The employees, while getting their meals, run over passengers (just like the other passengers) during the Lido feeding frenzy. The employees monopolize tables, while the passengers are trying to find tables for themselves. While I may have to fight through the other passengers to get my meal and find a table, I do not think I should also have to fight through HAL employees. Maybe the Lido should be renamed to EDR (Employee Dining Room).
HAL service and friendliness is down from prior cruises. During our entire cruise the only employees that said anything to us were the Lido staff and the cabin stewards. The other crew members would basically ignore passengers, as if the passengers were not even there.
We have sailed on HAL before, but after this cruise, probably will not sail HAL anytime soon. HAL service is not what it has been in the past, the ship is not maintained and the cabin was not clean, Management is not doing any managing, there is no quality control. The amount of money that we paid HAL for this cruise is not worth it. We have sailed other cruise lines, on just as old of a ship, and other cruise line ships have been better maintained. We have had better service and food on other cruise lines. We have had much cleaner rooms on the other cruise lines. This HAL cruise was very disappointing, and will be well remembered in the future.