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Sail Date: February 2015
This was our fifth cruise with Holland America but our least favorite. We sailed on the Zuiderdam previously and very much enjoyed it. We were told it will be going into dry dock soon which is good as it badly needs to be renovated. Our ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Holland America but our least favorite. We sailed on the Zuiderdam previously and very much enjoyed it. We were told it will be going into dry dock soon which is good as it badly needs to be renovated. Our toilet frequently malfunctioned along with the same situation in some of the public toilets. The carpet in our cabin was badly worn along with the chair. I noticed the same for furniture in some of the lounges. On a positive note, the evening entertainment was good. Daytime activities need to be expanded as choices were small. The Screening Room where movies were shown only holds 30 people and would be filled sometimes 45 minutes ahead which caused some very angry passengers. Holland's food was excellent as always but service in the Dining Room suffered. Room Service was never delivered one morning. Our cabin steward was superb. Polite, courteous and the room always looked great. Overall, this wasn't the quality that HAL delivers. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
We took our 84 year old mother on this cruise so I did know to expect that the cruise would cater to an older crowd. As a family we had a wonderful time. Would I go back NO! The ship is just ok. Our cabins were fabulous. We had a good time ... Read More
We took our 84 year old mother on this cruise so I did know to expect that the cruise would cater to an older crowd. As a family we had a wonderful time. Would I go back NO! The ship is just ok. Our cabins were fabulous. We had a good time but we could have had a good time in a brown paper bag. The service I must say is great but then I find out that shore time for employees is based on the reviews and comments by passengers. Everyone was friendly and service overall was fantastic. The Lido deck for lunch was horrific to try to get a table, the entertainment was boring, they were constantly trying to sell you spa services or something else. The ship is okay lots of places to read or have drinks but at the internet area they have a coffee shop where you have to purchase your coffee... Really .......!!!!!!! And don't start me on the internet.... $0.75 cents an minute or $9.00 for 30 minutes or $150.00 for the cruise.. are you kidding... and I would pay but the problem is it is like snail mail. It takes 3 minutes to get now which costs you money. When I relaid my concerns to the front desk their answer was: Well all of us employees experience the same problem. Wow great answer!!! Thanks Holland America!   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Let me start by saying that this cruise was our 23rd. First and last with Holland America! The embarkation was smooth and we had a corner room the size of a small hotel room. That's all the good review. First the shower in our room ... Read More
Let me start by saying that this cruise was our 23rd. First and last with Holland America! The embarkation was smooth and we had a corner room the size of a small hotel room. That's all the good review. First the shower in our room was scalding hot! We couldn't adjust the temperature, so we informed our room steward. It took 5 or 6 days for them to send someone, and when they did, it was an electrician!!! Took another day for this to be fixed. The buffet which we tried twice was a joke! All the trays on the steam table were empty. Before replacing them they scraped every tiny bit of food off the empty tray! When I asked when they would be getting fresh, the server behind the buffet, replied we need to use this until they are empty and turned away, we ended up getting room service for breakfast as it was fresh and tasted good. The dining room service was just as bad. Servers looked lost and confused as if they had received no training at all. Out of 10 dinners, we only had a bar steward twice ask us, before dinner if we wanted a drink. The rest of the time someone would ask halfway through dinner, or later! The food was acceptable in the dining room, but we heard many complaints. The entertainment was adequate, but not good by any means. As for activities on the ship it was geared for old seniors! There is absolute nothing for children, teens, young adults or middle aged people. The only reason we went with this cruise line is because we wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but it definitely not worth the money. Very seldom did a crew member say hello in the hall, including the officers! Sorry Holland America! You need to get your crew trained, by Carnival, Royal Carribbean, or Norwegian whose crew and officers can't do enough to make your cruise enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We just returned on November 8th from a Panama Canal cruise on MS Zuiderdam. We were in Suite 7065, right across from the Neptune Lounge and had minimal air conditioning the entire cruise. What should've been an awesome cruise was ... Read More
We just returned on November 8th from a Panama Canal cruise on MS Zuiderdam. We were in Suite 7065, right across from the Neptune Lounge and had minimal air conditioning the entire cruise. What should've been an awesome cruise was diminished quite a bit by the discomfort we experienced. The concierge ladies were quite sympathetic but said that the engineers had told them that there was nothing that could be done, that the a/c was operating at full capacity. Since there was barely a whisper of air coming out of either of the vents, we found that awfully hard to believe. Tests were performed three times daily that indicated that our room was two degrees less than the "Acceptable Range". The solution was to give us an oscillating fan which effectively did nothing except keep the air moving. When we showered, the cabin was almost unbearably warm and we started perspiring as soon as we got out of the shower. And this was showering with cool water!! We were interested to learn that many others were experiencing a/c problems; DH saw the concierge's list and it seemed as though there were at least 10 suites having problems and were being checked several times each day. Since this was not a new problem to the ship, why has it not been taken care of?? How can HAL allow this sort of situation to continue, especially in light of what we and others paid to go on this cruise? Additionally, we too were underwhelmed by the Pinnacle Grill service. The food was delicious but the service was incredibly slow. Near the end of our meal (with friends), all of us had nearly empty water glasses. When we asked for more water, the server filled one of the four glasses and walked away! We had to call him back to specifically ask him to fill the rest of the glasses! What is that about? And when we went to leave, not one staff member spoke to us; in fact, there wasn't really anyone around that seemed to care whether we enjoyed our meal or wished us an enjoyable evening. Not at all what we've come to expect from Holland America. We did have excellent room stewards and our server in the Lower Vista dining room was outstanding. We had a wonderful time on the cruise but our overall experience would have been much improved by having proper air conditioning. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We were on the 13 October sailing to the Panama Canal. This was our 39th cruise and our 5th with HAL> We had not sailed HAL for 10 years but decided that the 10 night Ft Lauderdale round trip was the ideal itinerary as we both work full ... Read More
We were on the 13 October sailing to the Panama Canal. This was our 39th cruise and our 5th with HAL> We had not sailed HAL for 10 years but decided that the 10 night Ft Lauderdale round trip was the ideal itinerary as we both work full time. Embarkation was painful. Took us on ehour from the time we were called to get in line until we checked in. Muster Drilol - Absolutely terrible. There were many older senior citizens on board and they had us stand for the Muster Drill for at least 30 to 45 minutes in the heat. Watched people drop like flies. In fact, we were almost an hour leaving port as an ambulance was dispatched to the ship for one of these poor souls. Dining Room - We had late seating and our waiters were good not great but good.on sizes were pitiful. I am not a big eater, howerver, when you order a scallop appetizeerppetizer and it arrives on a large plate and there are 2 tiny scallops that's small. The food selection was very limited and the overall food was barely good. On the positive side, the one night they served steamed littleneck clams and they were very good. So good, I had two orders for my dinner. The other issue at dinner was that you were always beingiven the upsell for wine and wine packages. Photographs - as I mentioned earlier, we cruse often, mstly on RC as we are Diamond Plus. I have never seen such expensive photographs. They charged $40 for an 8/10, 5/7 and 2 wallet size. I cannot use that many photographs. I asked if I could buy an 8 x 10 and they said absolutely at the same $40 price. Air Conditioning - when we first went to our cabin is was extremely warm. After sailing went to desk and inquired and they said yes they were having an AC problem but that it would clear up in about 6 hours. Well inever did get better. Went to desk 2nd time and was told they would check themselves to be sure there really was a problem,. It didn't get any better. Finally went the 3rd time, and they said they didn't have any record that we complained the first 2 times. Again they said they would check. When we got back that night, the AC was definitely better. That lasted one day and back to the same problem,. Relatives traveling with us came home on e evening and their toliet would not flush. They called the front desk and an hour later someone came, looked at the problem and said Yes it is broke. They had to use the public restroom during the night (in jammies). The smell was terrible in the cabin. Entertainment one night was a comedian. I have seen teenage talent shows 5 times better. It was horrible. One night after we waited for 30 minutes, the cruise director came out and said the show had to be cancelled as there was a major malfunction. Needless to say, with all the cruise options available today, we will never sail HAL again. We steered away from RC and we learned our lesson.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
As in other areas of service, dining and entertainment HAL has been cutting back on its stateroom amenities. Though these items were included in the HAL fact sheet of Stateroom Amenities, we found them lacking on the Westerdam. We did not ... Read More
As in other areas of service, dining and entertainment HAL has been cutting back on its stateroom amenities. Though these items were included in the HAL fact sheet of Stateroom Amenities, we found them lacking on the Westerdam. We did not have a steward escort us to our stateroom, or meet us there until well into the night. Service levels are still there, enhanced if you give the steward a tip in advance. The plush bathrobes that were promised, and experienced on previous cruises, now are absent unless you pay $49.00 each. there may be a complimentary fresh fruit basket, but it was empty. The satellite edition of the New York Times was no longer delivered to your cabin, had to hunt for it. The menus, both in the Vista Lounge and on the Lido buffet, suffered from a lack of variety over the three week cruise. Portions in the dining room, were decidedly smaller than previously experienced on a sister ship. Noted repeated use of leftover entree ingredients from the previous night incorporated into the following days appetizers, salads and soups. The lobster tails were very small, and only offered at two formal nights. Escargot only, one night, but frequent usage of smaller sizes of shrimp. The preparation of the nightly fish entree varied greatly in terms of cooking times, frequently dry and over cooked. The biggest disappointment was the use of half green tomatoes even in such dishes as a beefsteak tomato appetizer plate, and on the Lido salad line. Entertainment was generally geared toward the older crowd except for the delightful Roadhouse review. And even with a three week schedule, there were only a few song and dance shows. Comedians were okay, ventriloquist was the best show.Stateroom was comfortable in size, but the furnishings were outdated. The seating was very uncomfortable when one spent the evenings in the room. Had to pad the sofa with additional scatter pillows provided by the steward. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We just returned from the March 19, 2012 sailing on the Zuiderdam, visiting Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Half Moon Cay. We are three 50-something ladies who get together to have some R&R and good laughs every ... Read More
We just returned from the March 19, 2012 sailing on the Zuiderdam, visiting Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Half Moon Cay. We are three 50-something ladies who get together to have some R&R and good laughs every other year. 2010 was the Emerald Princess, this year the Zuiderdam was our choice because of the itinerary in both cases. PreCruise: We stayed at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort for two nights before the cruise. The hotel was right across from the beach, but we had no idea that it was spring break and it made for some very interesting people watching. We ate at H20 and at Casablanca Cafe. Both were excellent choices. We purchased 6 bottles of wine for our cruise at Total Wine and have to say that we were very disappointed with their recommendations. Next time we'll stick with wines that we are familiar with. We each purchased splits of vodka, baileys and gin and tucked them into our toiletries. I also took several small bottles of gingerale. We also purchased three large insulated to-go cups from Target. We used these extensively because the water from the tap in the cabins was yucky. So we filled our to-go cups with ice water in the Neptune Lounge and in the dining room several times a day. Bottled water is available for purchase in the room and throughout the ship, including the dining rooms. I also packed a water bottle to take with me when I went off the ship. Cabin Choice: We were very pleased with our aft wraparound cabin choice. I worried that the aft cabin might have more motion than I could handle since I suffer from motion sickness, but I took a Bonine at bedtime each night and never experienced a problem, even during the two or three nights of rougher seas where the ship was really rocking. Our only disappointment was that the wind prevented us from enjoying sitting outside until after we reached Aruba. The Panama Canal experience was perfect on the balcony since it was raining that morning and 5190's balcony is completely covered. Our room steward (Bayoo, sp?) was very attentive and kept us amused with his fabulous towel animals. We had asked for and received a third lounger on our balcony. We indulged ourselves in room service for breakfast several mornings and appetizers before dinner from room service and the Neptune Lounge (mid ship on deck 7). The Neptune Lounge also has latte/expresso/coffee but we preferred the purchased coffee in the Explorations Cafe which is at the front of the ship on deck 10. Condition of the ship: We read many reviews prior to this cruise that said the condition of the Zuiderdam was very poor. We did NOT find this to be the case. Our airconditioning worked extremely well in our cabin, the public restrooms were always clean and in working order except for one occasion and the problem was fixed before the end of the day. We did find the dining room to be very warm a couple of nights so keep that in mind when dressing for dinner. Dining: There were only a couple of nights that we couldn't find something on the menu that was to our taste. We had several exceptional meals in the Anytime dining room (deck 2) and also booked the Pinnacle Grill, including the Cirque night. Ivy in the Neptune Lounge made our reservations (dial "information" on your suite phone). We love our desserts and the red velvet cake was so yummy we mentioned it to the Maitre'D, and he arranged for us to have it again another night. We also requested a small sample of the lobster mac & cheese in the Pinnacle Grill and all agreed that it was superb (but we didn't think we could have eaten a whole meal of it). We never had to wait for a table because we were willing to sit at a larger table with other guests. We met a lovely couple from Arizona that we dined with several times throughout the cruise. We ate at the Lido buffet for lunch a few times and also enjoyed the burger grill poolside. Entertainment: We only tried a couple of the shows and were disappointed both times. We caught a fabulous rendition of Unchained Melody during the karaoke show one night. The casino kept us entertained most evenings but the smoking kept our visits short (and our pocketbooks thank the smokers!) The trivia competitions were fierce in the Crows Nest most afternoons. Port Excursions: Aruba - we booked a snorkel trip with Aruba Bob. It was fabulous! Stuart picked us up at the dock and we snorkeled Mangel Halto using motorized handheld units. We freshened up at Club Arias (where Aruba Bob is based), using the restrooms, outdoor showers and having a refreshing drink before returning to the ship. Bonaire - we walked down the street towards the freight containers and snorkeled on a little beach across from a condo. We love Bonaire. Curacao - we booked the dolphin swim excursion through Holland America. They gathered everyone on the cruise ship dock in the hot sun so we checked in with them and then went to sit in the shade further down the dock. We were all assigned a cab driver who took us to the Dolphin Academy adjacent to the Lions Dive Resort. We were told to look for the same cab driver at 1:45 pm and not to be late or he would leave us. They had change facilities and lockers. We got some basic information and were assigned flippers before getting into the pool. No cameras were permitted. We had six people on our team and two dolphins. Each person got to shake the dolphin's flipper, get the to do a trick and have the two dolphins pull them along in the water. You could also swim alongside the dolphins and rub them. After the swim, you could purchase photos and/or a DVD. Then you had to wait until 1:45 pm. The aquarium affiliated with the dolphin swim was pathetic and around 1:15 they put on a dolphin show. This was an expensive excursion and I would not do it again. Panama - we did not get off the boat in Panama since we felt it was not safe. We did enjoy the Panama Canal from our balcony and from the Crows Nest but could not go outdoors since it was raining for most of the transit. We were surprised that they used the lifeboats to take excursion passengers off the ship. Over 350 passengers were delayed getting back to the ship from their Holland America excursion/full transit of the canal and the ship waited for 90 minutes until they were back on board. At one of the other ports a couple was shopping and late getting back to the ship, but the ship did wait for them. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica - we booked a private excursion with Your Lucky Tours prior to the cruise. We weren't certain what time to meet Eduardo since his email said 8 a.m. but there was a time difference between the ship & port on this stop only. So we decided to depart the ship at 7 a.m. and found Eduardo waiting for us. Our group was four people and our guide was a little late arriving. Eduardo told her to take us to the Jungle Breeze zipline first and we were glad he did, since a cruise ship excursion of 100 people arrived just as we were finishing. The zip line was awesome and we did not have to brake - they did it for us. We also did the Tortugeuro Canal where we saw a family of howler monkeys, a toucan, an alligator, a sloth and many birds. We visited the banana plantation (where a snake made an appearance on the path in front of us and ended our visit per our request!) The tour ended with a trip to the grocery store for coffee and other goodies. The grocery store does take credit cards. Eduardo does not. The cost was $89 and we were back to the ship by 1:30 pm. I highly recommend this tour. Half Moon Cay (pronounced Key): This is a money maker stop for Holland America. The snorkeling was not good, but the beach was lovely. Other: We felt that the photos were outrageously expensive and that printing all of them was a huge waste of paper/ink. The viewing system is very time consuming and the hallway is very congested. I would like to see the cruise lines go to a system similar to Disney's Photo Pass where your cruise card would be swiped at each photo and then you could view your photos on a screen and select the ones you wanted to print or perhaps purchase the entire selection of photos on CD. Please review your bills carefully by requesting a copy at the front desk (or Pinnacle Lounge for guest suites). Keep your receipts as you purchase items throughout the cruise because several times we found the wrong cabin number on our purchases. The bills aren't delivered until the morning you are disembarking and you won't have time to dispute charges at that time. Even after we disputed charges, we found them still on our bill. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Embarkation: Embarkation was going smoothly until we got to the point where we were supposed to get our stateroom key and were told to go back to the beginning as we did not have all the required paperwork. It seems the customer service ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation was going smoothly until we got to the point where we were supposed to get our stateroom key and were told to go back to the beginning as we did not have all the required paperwork. It seems the customer service representative who directed us at the entry point was misinformed about procedures. As we were walking back to the check in area we heard several fellow passengers were grumbling because they too had received misdirection from Holland America staff. Public Rooms: Public rooms were adequate, not spectacular by any means but not totally unpleasing. Several areas showed obvious wear and tear and contained furniture which needed to be updated, renovated or replaced. Cabin: The suite was quite spacious with a couch, chairs and small table. There was a nice balcony and plenty of storage space. The bathroom contained a glassed shower stall along with a whirlpool bath which also had a shower - good thing as the first night while showering the shower stall overflowed due to a clogged drain. The hair dryer in the room also did not work however it was replaced when a call was placed to our room attendant. The furniture in the room had wear spots and is in need of replacement in the near future. A suggestion for improvement would be to get better lighting for reading near the bed and couch. A "perk" of the cabin is access to the Neptune Lounge where light breakfast is served in the mornings and canapEs throughout the day. A concierge is also in the lounge to assist with reservations or any issue with which you may need assistance. Fitness and Recreation: This is an important component of the trip for me and unfortunately it was disappointing. The first day of the cruise I bought a thermal suite package with hopes of a sauna, thermal bath, thermal chair relaxation or some time in the steam room after my daily workouts. Unfortunately daily, something did not work properly. Some days the sauna was out of order, the thermal chairs weren't all working; the thermal bath was not heated to the proper temperature, etc. Only one television on the treadmills was working by the end of the cruise, one of two elliptical never worked and one of two recumbent bikes was not operating properly. Dining: We didn't utilize the dining room but one night opting instead to eat at the Pinnacle Grill, on the Lido deck, in the Italian Specialty Restaurant and in the room. One of the advantages of a suite is being able to order anything being served in the main dining room. Entertainment: I was not impressed with the entertainment I viewed but it should be noted I did not attend but two of the evening events. Service: The service of the room stewards was wonderful. They were attentive, knew our names on day one and greeted us wherever they saw us around the ship. They were on top of anything we needed and had a positive, upbeat attitude. The same is true of the beverage servers and dealers and supervisors in the casino. Those staff members "rock"!!! Shore Excursions: I went on only one ship shore excursion and that was to kayak in the Panama Canal. Although it was a rainy day, it was an incredible experience and one I am glad I took. Value for the Money: The price paid was not bad for the accommodations due to the discounting received however if I had paid full price, I would have been upset. Overall: Overall, it was a ship with a majority of older, not so active, adults. While younger, more energetic folks could be found they were few and far between. The positive of there were lounge chairs available on the decks anytime one was wanted. This is not a ship I plan to cruise on again and unless I see or hear some major positives in relation to this cruise line, I most definitely try another line my next trip. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
The Rotterdam is a beautiful, classic ship. The interior decoration is elegant and tasteful, with gorgeous fabrics used throughout. Food was about on par with other lines- dishes that don't mind overcooking, like lamb shanks, were ... Read More
The Rotterdam is a beautiful, classic ship. The interior decoration is elegant and tasteful, with gorgeous fabrics used throughout. Food was about on par with other lines- dishes that don't mind overcooking, like lamb shanks, were great, but fish is understandably overdone. Yes, the line does lean strongly toward the over 60 (heck, over 80) crowd- one person in 10 had a cane or a walker. We were on a long trip, with many sea days, during the school period, so there were very few children. I wondered why there had been talk of HAL abandoning this age group to court the under 50 crowd, but it was obvious on the trip. My impression was that these people don't drink or gamble much, expect to be waited on like royalty, and plan to squeeze every penny out of the cruise humanly possible. There were more crotchety and downright rude cruisers on this trip than I have run across on other lines- including the woman who stood over my shoulder at the slot machine even when I asked her not to, because it was HER machine. I am the first one to condemn seat saving abuse, but when 4 of us went to the show, and the women got up to use the ladies room, the men nearly had to come to blows to keep our places from being squatted upon- "NO seat saving allowed!" Service was hit and miss. Our steward did a nice job, but liked to stay and chat, and couldn't seem to remember that we wanted ice at 5 daily. THe neptune lounge concierge couldn't have been sweeter, but when I asked if alcohol was included in the cabanas at half moon cay, she assured me it was. When we got there the cabana girl said soft drinks and chips and dip only. After we walked down the beach for lunch we were told we could have lunch in the cabana. We didn't think it was worth $219 for 6 sodas and a bag of chips in a plywood hut. Bottom line-this cruise was everything I expected after reading the HAL message board comments. Many people love it, but it is not the line for us- we don't like regimented meal times, being told what to wear, and the constant nickle and diming. We are going back to Windstar, Silversea, or even NCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout ... Read More
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout especially at the elevators and Old wooden deck chairs on deck three of which 50 percent were broken. Attitude of the Hotel manager was not his problem. Staff throughout the ship in restaurants, cabins, bars etc. A 10 +++. The main dining room meals were over cooked much of the time during dinner hour though breakfast was fine. First night of cruise turkey was served bright pink ( scary !). One night tuna was so overcooked , it was like saw dust and most left it on their plates uneaten. On another evening the wiener schnitzel was served and waiters came around suggesting that we add gravy before we even tried the dish and through the gravy was not part of the menu the waiters were trying to correct another bad meal. Now the Pinnacle Grill was a great experience but we were forced to pay the extra charge to have good food compared to main dining room and we ate there four nights. Entertainment was very good and we enjoyed every performance. The shore experience in Costa Rica called canal tortuguero was a 100% waste of time. When we arrived by bus, there were bathrooms on the second floor of the building that were so unbelievably filthy that I perferred to not use since thing did not flush and one small sink to wash hands shared by men and women with nothing to wipe hands. The boat tour showed two iguanas,three birds and a couple monkeys. The second part of the tour was a banana plantation which consisted of the bus pulling off the main road to point out a few banana plans and return us back to the ship. So much for a plantation. Holland America charged 100 plus dollars and does not care how bad it is. Now it explains why Holland America does not even get mentioned in many ratings and independent reviews. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
10 day Panama Canal cruise Good: - Housekeeping services. Cordial and kept the room clean and neat. Every time we came back to the room, the bed was made. Every evening they left a nice towel animal. - Ice cream. The ice cream ... Read More
10 day Panama Canal cruise Good: - Housekeeping services. Cordial and kept the room clean and neat. Every time we came back to the room, the bed was made. Every evening they left a nice towel animal. - Ice cream. The ice cream staff is very friendly, and they offer a good selection of ice creams and toppings. - French Fries. They are crispy and freshly cooked. Sadly, this was the highlight of the food onboard. - Buffet is not self-service, which is quite good to prevent food contamination. Average: - Photography. We booked a session for the black-and-white photos. (+)Photos are really good, although very (-)expensive. Photographers throughout the cruise, in the evenings, are hard to find. A large group was waiting to take a group photo in the main stairs, and the photographer was no where to be found. They asked me to take their picture in an iphone. We did take a picture a few days earlier at the stairs and had a good experience. - Pool/Jacuzzi. (+)Pool was not packed, quite enjoyable. (-)Jacuzzis were NEVER HOT. I asked one of the guys handling the towels how to increase the temperature, and he looked at me perplexed. Did not answer or acknowledge my question. After a few minutes he came back saying he informed someone else, and that it was going to be turned on in a few minutes... nothing happened. - Stateroom. (-)Smaller in comparison to Royal Caribbean, but the bathroom is more spacious (+) and has a small bathtub! - Entertainment. Magician show was good (+), but comedy shows did not cater to different age groups(-). Music scene was somewhat repetitive and had very few songs beyond 2000's. Bad: - When cruising on the Canal, a few fellow cruisers used their iPads to take pictures of the canal. Let me explain: they placed SEVERAL iPads in front of the glass, blocking everyone behind them to see. One woman placed FOUR iPads (she was in a group with family members, why they couldn't share the video from one ipad?). As in, they just left the iPads standing there for HOURS. Other people were hogging the space in front of the glass, did not let other cruisers to get close to the glass. Pretty sure people's vacations got ruined because of this. The cruise line should have placed a moderator to prevent such behavior. The crew are very hands-off when it comes to moderating passenger behavior. Worst (Really Bad) - Food. Selection is similar every day. Not a great fresh selection of entrees. Main dinning room often offers the SAME items available at the Lido restaurant. Appetizers and soups are disappointing. Most soups are just water with a bit of flavor. Most breads are hard to bite. Most food is bland, not appealing to different demographics (except the Asian station, which is bland too). - Dining service: Dive-In (hotdog and burger) service is terrible. I was ignored when it was my turn in the line, then harshly handed out a pager. After a few minutes waiting I was told to move and wait somewhere else. I did not move. The line kept increasing (they were very slow to take the orders) and the staff kept with a slow peace, and one of the cooks took a phone call! In all, it took 30 minutes just to get a burger and fries.(**) We got a Soda card, and EVERY TIME we wanted to use it, the waiter would come back with the sodas when we were about to finish our food. This happened in both the Lido and Main Dinning room. Food service in the Main Dining room was too slow (waiters looked overworked and tired). On the first day, it took 1 hour to get the entree, we left after 1.5 hours without dessert (we got tired of waiting). - Room service (Dining). What room service? We had to call, several times, guest services because room service did not answer our call and placed us on hold. The second night we thought they were busy, so we waited 20 minutes on the line before hanging up. The issue kept repeating so we resorted to call guest services instead. ** Due to the poor service in many areas, we chose to reduce the "Hotel-Service" charge. It is $15 per day per person. Instead we left cash for the housekeeping guys. My conclusion: Cruise + airfare + activities total was around $5,500. After traveling on Carnival and Royal several times, we wanted a more "refined" experience. Not worth paying double than what we had paid in the past for a similar stateroom. To top it off (not Holland America's fault): The weather was bad. Ship rocked most nights, even when the weather was Ok. We skipped the Costa Rica stop due to weather. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this Panama Canal cruise because it traversed the "Old Gatun Locks" and were able to get an aft balcony cabin. Here is our honest review: REVIEW 10 Day Sunfarer Cruise Zuiderdam, Holland America Line ... Read More
We chose this Panama Canal cruise because it traversed the "Old Gatun Locks" and were able to get an aft balcony cabin. Here is our honest review: REVIEW 10 Day Sunfarer Cruise Zuiderdam, Holland America Line January 7 to 17, 2018 EMBARKATION: Well organized. After waiting in line, there are plenty of seats to await being called to embark. Total process about 1 ½ hours. SMOKERS BEWARE: There is no smoking area in the embarkation terminal, and smoking is not allowed on the ship until it sails. So many people will have to wait 5-6 hours. SHIP: The Zuiderdam was refurbished. Our cabin (8141- aft) was spacious, immaculately clean. King bed, large flat screen tv on wall at base of bed, a loveseat, table which could be lowered and raised, a vanity, full bathroom with tub and shower. Balcony was deep, with aft view. Two chairs with ottomans and two small side tables. Complimentary robes. Three closets. No smoking allowed on balconies. E cigarettes allowed in the cabin, but not on the balcony. At the time of booking, Zuiderdam had a smoking policy which allowed smoking in the casino. They changed this policy sometime between dry dock and our embarkation. There are mixed opinions as to when this policy changed. Our cabin tv information stated smoking was allowed in the casino, and all literature stated the same. The approximately 400 smokers were relegated to a small area on Aft deck 9 outside for the only smoking area on the ship. During peak hours there weren’t enough tables and chairs to accommodate everyone. We were not allowed to smoke at the bar adjacent to the table area. Our weather was rainy with rough seas for this trip, certainly not HAL’s fault, but this change was ridiculously cruel, thoughtless and demeaning. We felt like we were no better than steerage. I especially note the formal nights where we went outside and came back with windblown wet hair, wet feet and shoes, etc. Needless to say, everyone was extremely upset. People complained continually with no resolution. When I lodged my formal complaint, the manager of customer services did not even know the policy, nor did a ship officer! The manager told me there would be dedicated casino nights but when I asked for clarification, she came back to me and told me there were none and she was wrong! They hadn’t even bothered to change the information on the TV!!! Gambling is my favorite past time on the ship. I usually gamble 8-10 hours per day while at sea. Many of the other smoking passengers were gamblers as well. The casino is located on forward deck 2. To have a smoke, we needed to go to Aft deck 9 outside. As a result, most of us gambled for an hour or less and left to smoke. But we were all so disgusted, we didn’t return back. It was so inconvenient and really ruined the vacation. The casino most times only had one blackjack table manned and sometimes two because there were so few gamblers. Guarantee HAL lost a LOT of money for this change in policy. But obviously, they don’t care. The dueling piano entertainment was adjacent to the casino. At one point while at the blackjack table, I was covering my ears because the off key female singer, screeching out her tune was so bad! The dining room was beautifully refurbished. We had the late seating, deck 3. Let me first say WE ARE NOT FUSSY EATERS, but we do like good food. The food was marginal. Hit or miss. They offered prime rib three times and filet mignon twice, including surf and turf. This was generous. But the quality of the meat was poor, our medium rare filet mignon was so tough, we had difficulty cutting it with the steak knives! We sent it back and the next filets were a bit better, but NOT tender. On night two, I was queasy and asked if I could have chicken noodle soup. This was an issue. I was told they didn’t have any but the waiter said he would see what he could do. He did bring some bouillon to me saying this was all they had…I came to realize it could be ordered anytime on the room service menu though. If room service has it then why can’t the dining room find it? The ship ran out of lemons on day two, and limes by day 4. We were told more would be available when we docked in Aruba. But there was an embargo taking place with Venezuela, so that didn’t work out. Tortilla soup…..their version…beef bouillon with some cilantro leaves, a piece of chicken and two match stick sized tortilla strips….you have to be joking!! The brisket was so tough it was inedible and obviously they did not know how to slow cook it. On day three, I ordered the roast chicken. The waiter apologized for the delay (it took an hour for this entrée to arrive), and when it did, it could not be identified. To describe it…it was small oval shaped, relatively flat, with a pinky sized appendage rising up from the middle of the meat. We joked that it might be pigeon, or maybe seagull. The waiter asked me to turn it over and he didn’t know what it was either. The next night we were told it was the first part of the leg from the shoulder and I guess the back of the chicken. Not good. Potato choices were good on day one and the last night. Never saw a baked potato. We were told some food pallets did not make it onto the ship in Ft Lauderdale….guess that included potatoes and vegetables. Vegetables were offered in the lido consisting of mostly squash and carrots. I never saw green beans, corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower offered individually. The aft pool was drained around day 4 for a leak, so it was not available. There was a smoke fire on day 5 knocking out tv throughout the ship and forward and rear cameras. So we were “ in the dark” about weather and news and tv shows for the balance of the trip. Wouldn’t be so bad, except Costa Rica was eliminated due to weather and rather than taking us to another island as previous cruises have done, this captain elected to slow the ship down and stay at sea for an extra day. So those of us who wanted to experience the Panama Canal both ways were on the ship from day 4 to day 10. With no TV, no considerations from the Captain, minimal entertainment, nothing to do except smoke and gamble, this was not fun. The spa was great! Best massage ever! I highly recommend if you decide to chance this ship and cruise line. After having cruised four other cruise lines, I can emphatically say I will not cruise Holland America again. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise primarily based on timing and the beginning/end points. Less on the cruise line. Holland America met our needs for our criteria. In spite of all that we'd heard about HAL catering mostly to elderly clients, we ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily based on timing and the beginning/end points. Less on the cruise line. Holland America met our needs for our criteria. In spite of all that we'd heard about HAL catering mostly to elderly clients, we signed up for a 15 day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale, our first stop was Half Moon Cay. Overall, less touristy and was fine for the short time we were there. After 2 sea days, we hit Cartagena. We were there for a half-day. Didn't have time to really go anywhere other than a quick city tour. Honestly, not sure why we visited this port. Would have gladly traded Cartagena for a day in Panama City, Panama. The canal was everything we had heard it would be. The views were amazing and the trip transiting the canal was something we'll never forget. The crew did a nice job making folks comfortable. Seriously made the entire trip worth it. This is where the wheels started coming off. The first thing we found was the hot tub closed at 10 pm. Having dinner at 8 pm made this problematic. Wasn't much else to do after dinner so this was the logical choice for our 40/50 year-old group. There were six of us cruising so we thought we would ask for a little extension for one of the hot tubs. We were quickly told no. The staff was beyond confused when we told them their simple no wasn't good enough and we would like to escalate the issue to a higher authority. This really threw them for a loop. After a fair amount of complaining and 7 days into the cruise, the Captain firmly and finally said no. Guess he wasn't too interested in our opinion or issue. The second issue involved shipboard credits and the communication form our travel agency. It's too long and involved for this but suffice it to say, the crew was little to no help with this issue either. Overall, we found the staff beyond our cabin stewards and waiters to be pretty bored and less than concerned about pretty much anything beyond the basics. Couple that with the fact that everything other than ice water and coffee (even coffee in some areas of the ship were costly) were charged. HAL seems intent on getting every possible cent from their passengers. As I said, the crew was generally not helpful. Not sure if this is the HAL culture or a profound lack of leadership from our particular captain. The ports were a mixed bag with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Guatemala being the best by far. Chiapas, Mexico was a serious waste of time. The crew admitted there was absolutely nothing to do there. Again, not sure what we stopped there. Have to say I've taken my last cruise on Holland America Lines. Not impressed in any way. Oh,the best part of the ship was our shower was the best I've ever had on a cruise ship. This is our 8th cruise overall and was the most disappointing when it comes to the cruise line. The rep they have catering to elderly passengers is well-deserved and earned. We felt totally out of place. Should have listened to my gut! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We wanted a Panama canal cruise and picked Holland because we wanted to try them. We have been on 7 cruises before this on other cruise lines. There must be something wrong with the stabilization system on that ship. It never stopped ... Read More
We wanted a Panama canal cruise and picked Holland because we wanted to try them. We have been on 7 cruises before this on other cruise lines. There must be something wrong with the stabilization system on that ship. It never stopped rocking. 15 days of walking like you were drunk. The night entertainment was cheap. Sitting through 45 minutes of piano playing by one man. On another night was one man playing saxophone for 45 minutes. A comedian that was so bad my wife and I left. One good night was a ventriloquist. He was funny. The food for lunch at the buffet was a different way to cook chicken for 6 days or how many different ways are there to serve fish. Very boring. Asian cooking also left us amused. Cashew chicken with no cashews. Sweet and sour pork was bad. Brisket that you could not chew. Tomato soup with barley that didn't taste like tomato and in the cup were only 14 pieces of barley my wife had 17. The food for dinner in the dining room was good though. Other ships we have been on have pool side entertainment. Like ice carving, or dance contests, house races. Pool games. Not this cruise, not a thing. So boring that my wife and I put together jig saw puzzles. The end was that they charge you $13.50 per person per day for hotel services. For what? That is the first time we have seen that. We will never go on another Holland cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
2nd time around exact same cruise 4 years apart, after the first we knew we loved the ship, the company the itinerary, planned the 2nd trip, picked the aft cabin on purpose to cruise the canal with a wonderful view...however, first week ... Read More
2nd time around exact same cruise 4 years apart, after the first we knew we loved the ship, the company the itinerary, planned the 2nd trip, picked the aft cabin on purpose to cruise the canal with a wonderful view...however, first week out of dry dock, boarded the ship (3 hours later than scheduled) and pool deck above our cabin closed the first 2 days, sanding and resealing the deck and pool full of deck chairs and tables no bar, again choice of our cabin was for location to pool deck buffet and ability to use outside balcony for canal transit. all work done on pool deck ended up on our balcony, welding rods, dirt and debris daily--10 day trip able to enjoy the balcony 4, if this was not bad enough there was no air conditioning in our cabin the entire trip, when we spoke with the hotel management never got a answer other than we are trying. our room steward finally went to his cabin and brought us up his personal fan to help, we had to sleep with our cabin door open the first 3 nights of the trip to get a little relief, plumbing issues all over the ship , loud drying fans all day and all night, next to last day of cruise, they closed the pool deck again to finish the wood areas of the bar, again should have been done in dry dock, wood stools still tacky the next day so could not sit at bar but wish someone had said something before we did...you get the picture leaving the ship the same confusion and disorganization as getting on, just was not ready for the full cruise of passengers, really disappointed not in itinerary but the company and the way they did NOT handle our issues Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We spent approximately 2100.00 $ for two to experience shore excursions. What was stated online was not what we received for most of our excursions. We felt lied to. By day 3 we complained and it fell on deaf ears. By week 2 we ... Read More
We spent approximately 2100.00 $ for two to experience shore excursions. What was stated online was not what we received for most of our excursions. We felt lied to. By day 3 we complained and it fell on deaf ears. By week 2 we complained again....and it fell on deaf ears. We weren't the only ones upset, as others on our excursions also complained. When Guest Services attempted to set up an appointment with Shore Excursions we were told it was not possible because they were inundated with complaints. Also, before we booked with Cruiseplus.ca, I asked the agent if this cruise line was popular with very senior guests. We did not want a disabled cruise, nor a senior cruise. I was told that it wasn't known for this. Not true! There were so many with walkers, scooters and canes. I am quite mobile, and felt that many of the excursions were likely geared for this clientele group. The evening entertainment was not even close to what I have experienced with Celebrity. We have been told that since Carnival bought out Holland America, Princess and I'm sure there are more.....that it hasn't been the same. Disembarkation was also a problem. Our agent had told us to take a shuttle, because then if we were late for our flight then the Cruise Line would have to look after this. The gal at guest services stated that we couldn't take the shuttle as our flight was for 12:05 and the shuttle could only be used by those with 12:30 or thereafter. She then told me to put our luggage out in the hall the night before and pick it up at the terminal in the morning. I knew that this couldn't be correct, as we wouldn't be able to disembark early in the morning, retrieve our luggage...get a taxi (which become hard to obtain when 2,000 people are disembarking), and get to the airport 2-3 hours before our flight. We likely wouldn't make it on time....and then of course the cruise line wouldn't be responsible. The girl behind the counter stated with attitude, "Mam, I'm trying to explain to you!". I gathered my papers and went upstairs to alert my husband that he was needed. We went back to Guest Services and were told by a different employee that we should select Early Disembarkation (Expedited), and bring all of our luggage with us. She agreed that retrieving our luggage at a later time from the terminal likely would have made us late for our return home flight. There were other rude employees, but most were very nice. Sad that one remembers the rude ones though. Costa Rica was a terrible excursion due to about a dozen of us not being able to locate the driver, tour guide for at least 3/4 of an hour. And once again it was an excursion that did not meet up with what was outlined...it was a huge lie. Regarding TIPS! Why would I want to give a gratuity to those that are rude, or to parts of the ship that I don't partake....such as drinking and gambling. Yet when one wants to say no from the start....you are made to feel guilty .... and you are still given a bill at the end of the trip with this included. The night before disembarkation we had to visit Guest Services again to have this removed. We couldn't. They have your credit card....so you feel that this hangs over your head the entire trip. The morning of disembarkation we finally had it removed and I rushed around with envelopes of money to give to those who deserved a tip! Went beyond the call of duty. Whether our stateroom attendants received this money.....I will never know. They had to disembark the ship and go through customs. I had to leave their envelopes in our room. SAD!!! We were extremely disappointed with this 21 day trip! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Wanted to do the Panama Canal cruise for a long time. The staff on the Eurodam were excellent. Monika, a waitress that works usually in the Tamarind was just great and always with a beautiful smile. Vojo and Alex Fitness Supervisors were ... Read More
Wanted to do the Panama Canal cruise for a long time. The staff on the Eurodam were excellent. Monika, a waitress that works usually in the Tamarind was just great and always with a beautiful smile. Vojo and Alex Fitness Supervisors were excellent and very helpful. The massages were much to expensive. I mean $171.35 for a 50 minute massage that was not even good. I paid $166.75 for a manicure and pedicure and was charged $25.00 for a bottle of nail polish that the spa kept. Our signature suite was very nice except for the carpet was dirty. When I mentioned it, the housekeeping service would have had it cleaned but with all the stuff we had it would have been difficult to have wet carpets. All in all our cruise was nice. This was our second cruise with Holland America, and I would travel again and stay away from the Spa. Read Less
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