My dh and myself have been on 8 cruises since 2002. This was our second with Holland America the first on the Zuiderdam last January 2007. We adored the Zuiderdam from the ambiance to food and service all was wonderful. We expected more of the same and boy were we surprised.
EMBARKATION:It was fast and easy, we arrived at the port at 11 am, we were on board the ship by 11:30 am. We were directed to the Lido for lunch and told that cabins would be ready at 1:15pm and they were. We ate a quick lunch nothing special and arrived to meet our room steward Tommy. He was wonderful. After reading these boards for so many years I have learned to heed advice and handed him a $20 at the start of the cruise and explained what our needs were I never had to make another request he took excellent care of us.
FOOD:The food and service in the dining room were horrible, we often were left with no choice but the NY Strip or Salmon and that was inedible. We were at a table for 8 and nobody enjoyed the food. The only highlight of the entire cruise was the Phyllo wrapped Brie. If they have it on your cruise order three that should make a meal. Breakfasts were okay the same old stuff nothing special and lunches were equally boring whether in the Vista Dining Room or the Lido Buffet. Room service was adequate and always came quickly but they often left things out or food was cold when it should be warm, and warm when it should be cold.
ENTERTAINMENT: We were on a jazz cruise so no rating here it is irrelevant.
BAR SERVICE; The Pinnacle Bar had the worst service on the ship it could take up to an hour to order and receive six drinks head up one deck to deck 3 Oceans Bar great service and hors d'oeuvres as well.
THE PINNACLE GRILL: The food was boring, steaks and salmon nothing that warrants $30 pp, the service was mediocre.
DEBARKATION: HAL does a good job of getting you off the ship in a timely manner. When you get to the baggage area have fun it takes forever and you cannot get a baggage handler unless you go and wait on an awful line for help. It took us an hour from the time we left the ship and waited with our baggage till a handler came so we could retrieve our car and leave the port. It was utter bedlam.
I would not recommend this ship to anyone no matter how old or young,there are far better ships in HAL's fleet.