Zaandam Cruise Review by frndlyfmrflyr: Good and Bad
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Good and Bad
First, I understand HawaiiLeo's frustrations. We also had a cabin a/c problem (did not work at all) and found the bathroom needed cleaning (mold/mildew on the floor, worn out shower mat, dirty shower curtain, toilet looked dirty from many discolored scrapes and rough areas, and it smelled bad). Like HawaiiLeo, we tried to have these addressed at first by telling the regular contact crew. No luck. The hotel manager does all he can to avoid public contact and the customer relations person never made herself available either.
That said, The cabin stewards did, the first day at sea, bleach the bathroom and replace the worn out items. A smell remained, but I found the problem could be controlled by closing the tub drain. The a/c problem continued for the entire cruise, but a work around was used to give us enough a/c to control temp and provide some airflow. First, they gave us a fan to use - it worked. Then, on the third day, the crew started monitoring the a/c system in our More cabin and would reset it as needed. It wasn't until I talked with an officer in charge of a water leak repair down the hall that this process became invisible to us.
Also had the worst shore experience ever. The Honolulu luau was terrible. Maybe they thought it was good to have Kentucky Fried Chicken there... Could not eat the food, long lines, long walks just for water, so-so entertainment. Lots of $$$ for nothing.
There was a lot of apparently deferred maintenance visible. Lots of lights out (11 where we sat the first time in the extra cost restaurant and 12 the next time), a broken seat back in the Crows Nest, a broken sofa in the Crows Nest, and a 'moving' permanent sofa chair in the main show room. I found light fixtures missing, dirty carpet in places, holes in napkins, a hole in a towel, and more rust than I have seen on all of my previous cruises combined. It would have been nice had the windows been cleaned before departure and the same for the veranda see through panels. Even our veranda was gritty to walk on.
Sounds terrible, but there was lots of good too. Our dinner with the chef was an outstanding experience. Personable and wow, can he cook! Our renewal of vows with the Captain was also a big hit. The Captain spent quite a bit of time with us and he is the opposite of the hotel manager when it comes to customer relations.
Entertainment in the main show room was very good the first week and so-so the second week. We found the bar and small room entertainment very nice. Except for the Honolulu luau all shore trips were at least as good as expected and sometimes better. The luau was a zero minus.
We arrived at the ship in San Diego about noon and found no lines. About five minutes later we were allowed to board. The room was almost finished and we dropped off our carry-on bags. We met the concierge in the Neptune Lounge and proceeded to the dining room for our welcome back lunch. We were denied the lunch, the excuse being there would be too many people. After a check with another location/manager type we went back and were seated. The Reuben sandwich was the best I have had on a ship. Shame it was available only that one time.
The positives: Cabin was very comfortable once the a/c was working. I did miss the stand alone shower (in addition to the whirlpool tub) found on newer HAL ships, but the room was as I expected. Fair amount of noise on the veranda from moving chairs around the lido pool during the day. Our cabin stewards were very good. The concierge people (both) more than helped make up for the non caring hotel manager and absent customer service manager.
The internet connection was spotty. There was a lot of pitching and rolling on the way to Hawaii and apparently that caused poor signal lock for internet and cell phone data. It actually cost us less to use cell phone data for internet than the slow ship internet. In port the ship internet service was available, but still slow. The return crossing was a a slower speed and the internet connection better.
The ship itself gives the feeling of a warm cozy place. Except for the time we tried to see an early show in the main show room were saw no crowding and lines were usually none. We found the public contact crew very nice (internet manager an exception - and he wasn't awful).
This was our second HAL cruise, both in suites. Sadly, both times the bathrooms were not clean when we departed. Given the apparent lack of up to date maintenance on what the passengers can see, the two water leaks on our floor, the partial electric failure on the way to Ensenada, the apparent fire (in the laundry according to the announcement) when we arrived back in San Diego, and taking into account other recent events, I wonder if cruise lines are starting a downward spiral... Less
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Cabin review: SA7029
Veranda was huge (about 18x10). Bathroom needs stand alone shower in addition to whirlpool tub so that those of us with mobility problems (I walk with a cane) can more safely shower. At this level, at least the first fridge fill and bottled water should come with the room. No excuse for worn toilet. Both the seat and bowel should have been replaced. they were clean, but looked dirty. Lounge chairs on veranda too low for seniors. Neptune Lounge concierge people outstanding and having this lounge close to the cabin 'made' this cruise. Cabin needs a place to use laptop. Newer ships have a place. We used the fan they gave us quite a bit even after the cabin a/c was made operational. Never thought I would like a fan in the room, but I do now. Closet space and drawer space was huge. Veranda noisy during the day from chairs being moved around the pool area above. Closing the roof over the pool sounded like thunder in the cabin. Overall this was the best cabin I have experienced.