My wife, Leslie, and I had our first cruise On the Zuiderdam. I will give you a short review WE HAD THE TIME OF OUR LIVES.
This was our first cruise and so we had researched cruise lines carefully. After a very long day of air travel full of delays we reached Vancouver and checked into the Pan Pacific hotel. We had a nice late afternoon and evening in Gastown. Up early the next morning we had hoped to tour other parts of Vancouver but the weather had different plans for us so we just went to check in at Canada Place in the hopes our suite might be ready early.
Our first Holland America employee was a friendly and helpful lady who directed us to luggage drop off and on to the customs line. The place was packed already and I felt sorry for passengers of the Princess line as there was no one around to help them yet. Our next Holland America employee was Iann and he was a funny and most helpful fellow. He explained the process and delays we should expect from customs and when we might finally board the ship. The process was exactly as he described and while not timely was much better than our air travel had been. Too bad air travel and customs is not under your direction.
After clearing customs the Holland America cheek in process was pleasant and quiet efficient. Promptly at 11:30 we began to board and we were delighted to find our suite (7081) ready, immaculate and much bigger than the pictures online.
Happy, smiling crew at every turn greeted us. I found in the room cards showing all of the extras we had purchased with the exception of one dinner at The Canaletto. I headed down to the Neptune Lounge to sort it out. I was greeted by Mina who apologized profusely but assured me our reservations were confirmed. Mina never failed to greet me or my wife by name, was always happy, cheerful and most helpful the entire cruise. The Neptune Lounge was always immaculate and filled with scrumptious treats.
While my wife and I still enjoy vibrant health I was quiet impressed with the way your staff handled the needs of the mobility impaired.
Bayu and Sodiq were our suite attendants and kept our suite immaculate, they always greeted us by name and unfortunately did not fit in our suitcases for the trip home. I had no need to ever speak with the hotel manager but his stewardship was evident everywhere. The ship was immaculate 24/7. A mess was doomed before it hit the ground. Everywhere we turned someone was polishing, scrubbing or cleaning. Always happy and cheerful!
The food, wine and bar service was divine in every location on the ship. I am equally comfortable in shorts and a tee shirt as I am in a Tux. We enjoyed both. The staff did an excellent job of providing service to all. I really appreciate how they kept those of us that wanted a sophisticated evening away from those that wanted to dress down.
There are far too many wonderful servers to name but the rock stars are Handrie (Hank), Nina, Roel and in the Pinnacle Grill Sam the Maitre D, wine steward Ben
and Zoran our waiter.
We were delighted and honored to be invited to dine with Captain Christopher Turner at his table. Executive Chef Obierna, Cellar Master Levente and Dining Room Manager Wiyono presented the perfect evening. Captain Turner was a very pleasant and gentle man but it was evident he ran a tight ship. His staff officers were out and about the ship constantly. I recall an instance where a lady spilled her plate going back to her cabin and a staff officer stopped, alerted passengers to the spill, called for a cleaning crew and did not leave until the spill was cleaned. This is the kind of attention to detail that come from ones heart. These kinds of things are learned by example from ones superiors. These are the little things that separate exceptional from mediocre.