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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Holland America provided the very worst guest experience of any cruise line we have sailed with (Carnival, Celebrity and Princess). There is something strange going on with the Eurodam's management. We can't quite put our fingers on it, ... Read More
Holland America provided the very worst guest experience of any cruise line we have sailed with (Carnival, Celebrity and Princess). There is something strange going on with the Eurodam's management. We can't quite put our fingers on it, but the onboard staff are indifferent and disconnected. They are mostly flat and expressionless. With rare exception (the lovely married couple on the Ocean level), the Eurodam team appears to be largely unconcerned for guest comfort and satisfaction. Why is this not PRIORITY #1? And why are the staff so miserable?? Many told us they couldn't wait to get off the ship! We realize the ship is older and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that more modern ships have. However, we feel this can be overcome with creative programming and bright smiles. The Bon Voyage party, for example, was nothing more than a fruity drink. No live music, no streamers, no attempt to excite and impress incoming guests. Our first dinner took almost 3-hours. Breakfast in the dining room was blah and the service veeerrry slow. Eventually, we gave up on the dining room and opted for the Lido buffet but the offerings were repetitive and predictable with no pride in presentation or service. The seared Ahi salad was especially awful, bits of fishy, over-cooked, cold, brown chunks of chewy yuckiness. But most importantly, where are the smiles Eurodam?? We learned that the front desk and room service phones are automatically routed to an answering system/recording. Many times we were on hold for ages or received no answer at all. Requests for ice service in the cabin went unaswered multiple times. A quesadilla and chicken soup arrived cold, greasy and over salted to the point of being inedible. Similarly, we sat on the Lido Deck one afternoon for over an hour before anyone approached us to ask if we needed anything. And we gave plenty of indication that we DID want assistance - by making eye contact, waving a hand in the air, etc. Disembarkation was terribly disappointing. How about a thank you? A kind word or gesture? You know a vacation has been a total failure when you can't wait for it to be over. Instead of dying to travel with Holland America again, we feel ripped off, used and in need of a true getaway experience. The guests are so bored out of their minds with nothing to do for 3-days at sea besides drink and gamble. This makes for a rather poor cruise. Get creative with programming - poolside games, guest competitions, more interactive education programming that's not a constant pounding of buy this. And buy this. And buy this too. Same goes for the daily publications. They read more like an obituary than a daily schedule of offerings. But with no fun going on, lack of creativity and failure to focus on THE GUEST EXPERIENCE, it is hard to make the onslaught of sales flyers exciting too. Will not return. And we got overcharged for several items that we now get to spend the next few days on the phone correcting. Extremely unhappy are we! We have already shared our experience with our travel agent and fully intend to post these same comments across multiple online media outlets. Yes, that's how strongly we feel about the whole Holland America cruise experience. Very, very bad indeed. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I only chose this cruise because it left from my home town so no planes or hotels required. It was something I wanted to try ever since we moved to San Diego in 2015. Husband didn't want to go so a friend went instead. I had been on one ... Read More
I only chose this cruise because it left from my home town so no planes or hotels required. It was something I wanted to try ever since we moved to San Diego in 2015. Husband didn't want to go so a friend went instead. I had been on one HAL cruise a few years ago, and several other cruises before that over the years. My mom had cruised extensively and was a 4 star Mariner. I went on her last cruise on the Noordam five years ago and she would have been appalled at the decline on this line. Service appeared to be at classic cruise levels, but much of that was just on the surface. Almost all the staff were polite and responsive, but there were definite comprehension problems. If your request or question was anything outside the norm, staff often seemed confused. The room was cleaned every day but dirty dishes were not removed if not on a room service tray. Wine glasses were not replaced towards the end of the week. The chef parade at the end of the second gala night was really a joke. We went to tea - the little sandwiches and pastries were good. I don't really drink tea but if I was a serious tea drinker, might not have liked the one kind of tea being poured from a pitcher rather than brewed to order. The other food experience I did enjoy was the Chocolate Surprise, as it was described in the program. It was on formal night and turned out to be waiters ranging all over deck two starting at 9:45 pm with mini chocolate desserts. I guess this replaced any kind of midnight buffet or the dessert buffet we had on the Noordam several years ago. Food in the dining room ranged from decent to mediocre to sometimes inedible. Service was slow. The food on the second gala night was so bad that my friend agreed to go to Tamarind on the last night. That was an excellent meal and a lovely venue (but also somewhat slow service). Lido food was OK and we did not have much trouble with lines, and also were able to find a table. Dessert selections sometimes ran low toward the end of lunch service. At one point I waited with a woman who had asked a staff member to check for something that was out; we both gave up after waiting 10 minutes when no one cake back. Mario the cruise director was the least dynamic cruise director I've ever seen. He certainly didn't drum up any excitement! The main stage entertainment was very dated and could have been performed 30 years ago. The Music Walk was great. Loved the piano bar duo Jonathan and Damien, and my friend was very impressed with the BB King group. Other than that, onboard activities were -as I noted - underwhelming. I went to the flower arranging and even the guy doing it didn't seem too interested. I did very much enjoy the art tours given by Claudia, the assistant art director. They no longer have the self guided iPod tours available, but she was very informative. I only wish more of the art could have been included. The shops were uninteresting. We went on three shore excursions which were pretty much fun. We did the Catamaran Sail and Snorkel in Cabo, the Salsa & Salsa in Mazatlan (best of the three), and Las Caletas day trip in Puerto Vallarta. We were very unhappy at the end of Las Caletas where we were returned to an area that wasn't where we were picked up and then basically sped out of the way with no explanation of how to get back to the ship. Other than the taxis waiting to do it for $5. Turned out to be a 20 minute walk on the hot, very busy street. When we went to the EXC desk to discuss, we were essentially dismissed without any feeling that she had any empathy or sympathy. The public spaces were all attractive. The Tamarind Bar was the most elegant but never had much business, possibly because it was so out of the way. I may or may not cruise again, but never on HAL. Nothing really went wrong, but there was nothing to recommend a repeat. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my first time on the Eurodam but I am a veteran 3 star HAL cruiser. I liked the additional amenities available especially the Tamarind restaurant. I ate there two nights as well as once at the Canaletto and one dinner and two ... Read More
This was my first time on the Eurodam but I am a veteran 3 star HAL cruiser. I liked the additional amenities available especially the Tamarind restaurant. I ate there two nights as well as once at the Canaletto and one dinner and two lunches at the Pinnacle Grill. The main dining room service was slow and uneven, especially at breakfast. the Lido food is good but I don't like the crowds and waiting in line. The DiveIn hotdog and hamburger place has good food, especially the seasoned fries. I tried the pizza place once and did not care for it, thin crust with thinner toppings. I enjoyed the MainStage entertainment but as always the room is cold and the amplification is too high for my taste. I like the singing and dancing shows as the kids have a lot of talent and work hard. I never go to the comedians. I attended the Billboard two piano bar for the Beatles night, BB King Blues two nights and the Lincoln Center Stage three times. I love classical music and the players were OK. I don't take excursions so I cannot comment on those. As usual disembarkation is the most difficult and needs the most work. Trying to funnel 2000 people through one door with two security card machines is difficult. Each time it seems HAL gets better at managing the lines but what a pain. I wait in my cabin until my color/number is called then wait a bit more hoping the line will get down but somehow it never does. I don't have an answer for this problem except to use more personnel and a second exit which may not be possible. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
It included a taste of Cuba It was our first cruise with Holland America previously with Princess Celebrity Seabourne and Silverseas Having read the reviews with cruise critic we were a bit reluctant to book but it was only cruise in the ... Read More
It included a taste of Cuba It was our first cruise with Holland America previously with Princess Celebrity Seabourne and Silverseas Having read the reviews with cruise critic we were a bit reluctant to book but it was only cruise in the time frame that included Cuba To start checking was easy no lines or wait Our Neptune cabin was ready on boarding Veendam is an old ship showing some signs of wear but quiet charming in a traditional manner. There is definitely a problem with the elevators going from being readily available some times to not at all. Dining well again a little mixed Lido and main restaurant pretty average but we found the Pinnacle grill outstanding great food choices and excellent staff. Well worth the $35 charge We dined in the Thomas Keller restaurant on Seabourne last year and put Pinnacle way ahead. Entertainment while lots of choices throughout the ship not outstanding but very acceptable Our biggest problem on the cruise was our Neptune Suite The suite itself outstanding but the antiquated air conditioning a total disaster I did note a number of cruise critic reviews about this but if you are a light sleeper do not book a Neptune suite.. To be fair to Hollan America they offered me the use of a quieter suite to sleep in Still not the ideal situation after paying so much money I could find no problem at all with staff in any part of the ship all very helpful and professional. Tours we on were fine some of the buses quiet old but expect that in the Caribbean. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Nice size ship. staff is very attentive. CABIN was AWFUL. Windows that Slanted inwards into room .I am not tall but had to bend over to my waist to get to the bedside. No sofa, no chair in cabin. NO place to sit except on bed. Never ... Read More
Nice size ship. staff is very attentive. CABIN was AWFUL. Windows that Slanted inwards into room .I am not tall but had to bend over to my waist to get to the bedside. No sofa, no chair in cabin. NO place to sit except on bed. Never book this spa rated outside cabin!!!!!! EVERYONE had air conditioning problems .in their cabins . I like Holland America a lot but not this ship.The ship holds 1402 passengers, this was very nice. Mainly older adults, I think we had 5-7 children on board. The public rooms are well decorated and spacious. The bars have 2 happy hours a day.An extra drink of the same is only $2.00 more at the happy hour. The entertainment was a saxophone player, very good, a pianist, exciting and hyper very entertaining. Also a comedian. A trio of male singers sang the songs we like to hear. Two of the bars had good space for dancing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We wanted a week vacation, and We Love Holland America. The service as always very good, the food was also very good, the entertainment was slow at times, not too many activities like larger ships. The food was good, you always have ... Read More
We wanted a week vacation, and We Love Holland America. The service as always very good, the food was also very good, the entertainment was slow at times, not too many activities like larger ships. The food was good, you always have Salmon, Chicken or Steak available if you don't like the menu for the dinner time. The Lido was great for breakfast and lunches. We never went to the Lido for dinner. The Pinnacle Grill as always wonderful, you pay $39.00 per person for dinner, but the quality of the food is superb, the service 5 star. The Ocean Bar had a quartet u unfortunately the singer likes songs from the 30's and 40's and it was almost impossible to dance that type of music unless you are in your seventies. BBC Earth presentations were very good, documentaries about mostly animals. American Test Kitchen was good, but not every day. The entertainment could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This titillating riposte reflects actual not third person account on our hot hot hot partial Panama Canal cruise 1...Did not need to fill out health form prior to getting on ship?? 2...Zdam book exchange doing well. Located in ... Read More
This titillating riposte reflects actual not third person account on our hot hot hot partial Panama Canal cruise 1...Did not need to fill out health form prior to getting on ship?? 2...Zdam book exchange doing well. Located in portside hallway behind Crows Nest bar/coffee locale. Please frequent it. 3...Future Cruise Desk and Excursion Desk on Starboard side of Crows Nest 4...Capt.Wouter's welcome aboard with sparkling wine speech was mercifully short. He was the only body on stage 5...Two main stage shows were movies already available on your room's tv (Oceans 8 and BBCEarth 2) 6...Oprah merchandise only offerred on 1 small table in Signature Stores 7...Bought 11 day internet package for $149. Email 24 hrs a day. Speed was decent too 8...Took HAL's HoHo bus around Cartegena, Columbia which has a population of 617,000. There are that many vehicles and persistent hawkish vendors all selling the same thing. 9...82 padded chaise loungers on the wide promenade deck HMC, Aruba, Curacao and Colon port side faced town We cruised 3200 miles, ate 35,000 eggs and burned 312,000 galons of fuel Enjoy your cruise Bob Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We are prior HAL passengers although it's been several years since we cruised with them. We were anxious to take the Zuiderdam through the S. Caribbean, particularly because of her itinerary. We were not disappointed. Our experince with ... Read More
We are prior HAL passengers although it's been several years since we cruised with them. We were anxious to take the Zuiderdam through the S. Caribbean, particularly because of her itinerary. We were not disappointed. Our experince with Zuiderdam was, for the most part consistent with the other HAL cruises we have taken in the past. Here are our impressions from this cruise: The good: Like all HAL ships we have been on, Zuiderdam was spotless. The crew was constantly cleaning, polishing, scraping, painting and in general keeping her in tip top shape. Everything, including our bathroom (including tub!) was without flaw. Personnel: True to HAL's legacy, I don't believe you can find a surly crew member. No matter what crew person you ran into, in the corridors or wherever produced a giant smile and a pleasant "Good morning". The majority of service personnel are Indonesian or Filipino and are products of HAL's own training facilities in these countries, and it shows. They seem to take a pride in their work that I haven't seen reflected in some other lines. Our cabin stewards were always prompt, cheerful and adjusted very well to our particular schedule of when we were "in" and when we were "out". They did an exceptional job. We had dinner in the regular Dining Room, The choice of food was outstanding and the quality was excellent. Prime Rib, Rack of Lamb and NY Strip Steak were some of the daily offerings. For formal night we were treated to a Surf and Turf that was genuine Filet Mignon with Lobster Tail, I'm still savoring it. Breakfast and lunch was half and half room service (a real treat) and the Cafeteria. Lunch at the Cafeteria was just like it sounds - it's real old school where you get in one long line and the personnel serve you according to your selections. We found the lunch selections to be fairly weak - however there are always other choices like Pasta and Pizza, Oriental and a variety of sandwiches which were excellent. The bad: One unpleasant (and very unusual surprise, particularly for HAL) was the mandatory life boat drill on the afternoon of embarkation. We have been on 23 cruises, 4 of which were with other HAL ships and we have never seen anything as disorganized and unproductive as this drill. We wandered around until finally being corralled on deck (in the Ft, Lauderdale sun at 4:00) which a few crew members shuffled from here to there and back, trying to account for each passenger. Unlike ANY other ship on which we have travelled there was an almost complete lack of instructions from the bridge as to what, when, or where, Finally it appeared we had finished and we all wandered back to our cabins, little the wiser for what to do in case of an emergency. This is so atypical of HAL that I feel constrained to comment on it on the chance that someone from HAL reads these reviews. In general, it is an excellent ship, small and therefore not crowded at any time. There are hardly any waits for anything and embarking or debarking at ports of call was very easy. One comment on the itinerary: the ship stopped at Cartagena, Colombia, a stop which many travelers had not previously visited. Nonetheless, we were only offered a five-hour stay, which was not nearly enough to see all that this colonial walled city had to offer, By the same token we rushed to Curacao which, being Sunday, was totally and definitively shut down. Nonetheless we stayed there all day until 11PM! It seems that the schedule planning could use some reworking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
There is a cruise vacation out there designed for sedentary people - the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal. If you want to go, you should know that most of the good times will be experienced from a chair. No games on the private island, no ... Read More
There is a cruise vacation out there designed for sedentary people - the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal. If you want to go, you should know that most of the good times will be experienced from a chair. No games on the private island, no band around the pool, little dancing, not even many slot machine players. Hardly anybody out after 9 pm, even though the late shows in the theater don't start until 10pm. And while the very good BB King Rhythm and Blues band was going strong until late just about every night, their audiences were small. My wife and I took this cruise because of the Panama Canal. We considered a trans-canal trip. But at the time I booked, their prices were going up. So we decided to jump in three months earlier than I have ever booked a cruise. I joke that the ship required me to show my grey hair before letting me onboard. But there were only five children on the ship. And one lady who said that her dark hair came out of a bottle. Everybody else - shades of gray. One of the strange things was the folks with walkers who step out in front of people in crowded hallways. There were lots of walkers on the ship. But not all their drivers were so rude. I don't see carelessness like this in the midwest, even with able bodied folks who want to walk quickly. Avoiding running over them on the ship kept me on my toes. I was expecting great food. It was not to be. Breakfast was fine. Other than that, the food in the main dining rooms was poor to middling. Toughest prime rib I've ever tried to cut. My waiter tried to give food advice, and I should have listened to him. The buffet restaurant was horrible, except for the Asian station which had some tasty Thai dishes. For some strange reason the whole buffet area was crowded at every meal. Speaking of pools. They are deserted on this ship. The mid-ship pool has a roof that was generally closed, and which made the area feel like a sauna (as if the tropics needs more heat and humidity). The rear pool was nice for relaxing, except for the clouds of cigar and cigarette smoke that waft across the waters from the smoking section. Our room steward did a good job cleaning up. But after opening the room door several days while we were dressing for dinner, he really should have learned to check the time. The waiters were okay. The assistant waiter was my favorite employee, but unfortunately his main job was to carry food from the kitchen to the wait station. Zuiderdam, if you are reading this, you need to promote Jaja. I don't go out to bars very often, but the bars on the ship were a lot of fun (though of course, sitting down fun.) Happy hour, one at 4:00 and another at 9 pm, had a buy one get one for $2. There was a wine tasting with an inexpensive glass of wine at 5:00. The hors d'ouevres were always interesting. The customers at the bars were the friendliest people on the ship. Yuliya the lady from the deck 1 bar and also the disco person, always had a story about hors d'ouevres; and she was one of the most genuinely happy and friendly people on the ship. Most of the entertainment in the main theater was uninspired. The ship dancers were a big exception - they were really good. And the highly entertaining steel drum band Island Magic played some excellent classical music (and other unexpected genres.) On the other hand, there were some acrobat/dancers who looked like they should have been on Ed Sullivan in 1965 (I see Topo Gigio every time I think about them.) The poorest evening consisted of some old movie. There was a comedian and a magician. The first night was an introduction to entertainment. And there must have been one other night that was even more forgettable. The ship had several other venues. The already mentioned talented BB King band put on a great show almost every night. There was also a piano/string quintet that was quite good. I really enjoyed the cooking demonstrations; they were full of information. Didn't see any of the Oprah shows, and cannot even imagine what they were about. There was a dueling piano show in the casino. And the casino itself was smoke-free, small, and uncrowded. I've got to tell you about the process of going through the Caribbean locks in the canal. Previously, we had been told to be at the front viewing room at 5 am. Then the schedule was changed to 6. I was there, ready to go, coffee and Panama roll in hand. And the windows were so dirty and foggy that they were hard to see through. But a narrator from off the ship came on to describe what we should have been seeing. His first revelation - the ocean is at sea level. It got no better from there. I went to an outside viewing area at the front of the ship, which was already full of passengers. I waited at the side for about an hour, until ship security ran off a bunch of us. Finally went back to my cabin and sat comfortably on the balcony, while the ship just sat in the lower canal. When the ship started moving, I checked out the view again from deck 3. There was nothing much to see; you had to be standing at the very front of deck 4 to even see the lock doors. I could see nothing other than the lock walls slowly sinking. The Zuiderdam cleared the locks about 10:00. We took a really unusual excursion on the canal. The best thing was that we could actually see the workings of the locks. The boat was running late because we kept having to wait for a container ship to catch up and join us in the locks. In the second to last lock, one of the gates opened and we got through, but had to wait for the container ship to get through. After about an hour, the stuck gate opened. The ferry was two hours late by this time, and the passengers got an outstanding sunset cruise in the Pacific Ocean. The private island had a great beach, but it was disappointing that the ship didn't even put up a volleyball net. Went to an Aruba beach that was pretty dirty, but we made up for that experience by having a great seafood dinner at a restaurant near the cruise port. No other excursions. We had a great time walking around Curacao. In Cartagena the heat was so oppresive and taxi drivers so irritating that we refused to leave the port; but that was okay because a small zoo with birds, monkeys and an anteater at the end of the dock was fascinating (I let a parrot climb on my arm, where he proceeded to dismantle my watch). At Puerto Limon, the ship people tried to scare us into not walking around town - we did so anyway, and it was interesting and safe though rather decrepit; we found a vendor selling fresh made empanadas, a park with a sloth high in a tree, a pretty beach, and the best straw-market of the cruise. I wasn't going to rate the exercise facilities. Then I remembered all those walks around the ship on the third deck. It was great. Never windy. Lots of people out walking. There is a running track on the tenth deck, but it is too short to enjoy anything except the act of running. Embarkation was weird. I had gotten an upgrade a couple of days before the cruise was due to leave. The staff on shore didn't seem to know about it, and wanted to give me the old room. Still, got it straightened out and we boarded the ship in plenty of time. Debarkation was great - we were off the ship maybe ten minutes after what had been predicted. Customs didn't even ask what we were carrying. Other non-cruise stuff. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Ramada Inn Airport - Cruiseport; it is a very clean, classic Florida motel from the 1960s, with impeccable shuttles running from the airport and to the cruise port. After the cruise, we rented a car from Enterprise, who seem no longer to claim that "we'll pick you up", at least not at Port Everglades. Drove down to Homestead to the world's best tropical fruit stand - Richard Is Here. Stayed in the downtown Ramada Inn in Fort Lauderdale, which was every bit as funky Florida as the first one. But like a reminder that nothing is perfect, we ended up enduring four hours on the torture devices that American Airline calls seats. The ports were by far the best part of the cruise. Although having cruised in the Caribbean many times, each of these ports was new to me. I would go back to any of them. Considering that I have paid less for a seven day cruise than what the taxes cost on the Panama Canal cruise, I probably won't cruise through the canal again. And if HAL wants me to go on another of their cruises, they will have to convince me that they have improved their food a whole lot. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This 11 day cruise served up an excellent itinerary of ports that were mostly new to us. Zuiderdam is classy and easy to get around on. No place ever felt too busy or crowded, even the pool deck. This seemed like an adults-only cruise, ... Read More
This 11 day cruise served up an excellent itinerary of ports that were mostly new to us. Zuiderdam is classy and easy to get around on. No place ever felt too busy or crowded, even the pool deck. This seemed like an adults-only cruise, mainly because of the time of year and itinerary. There were probably only a dozen children on board. Embarkation was easy, even though we had made a last minute upgrade the night before. We enjoyed our set dining at a table of 8. Dinner conversation with our new cruise friends was lively and entertaining as we shared the day's adventures. Service at dinner was impeccable and the wine sommelier Edison was quick to learn our preferences and to make very good suggestions. Dinner choices were varied and appealed to both of us as well as the table. The appetizers were particularly good. Some chose from the always on offer classic menu that included American standards. We enjoyed BB King Blues after dinner several nights, as well as the steel drum classical band which seemed to be a hit with the audience. Our cabin was carefully tended to and as requested, we had ice provided at least twice a day. We usually ordered coffee and juice the night before and it was always delivered promptly at the requested time. The excursions were mostly a lot of fun and provided a taste of each port. Half Moon Cay is delightful and offers the best of the Bahamas for a quick stop. The beach and water are exquisite and the food, provided by the ship was quite good for a beach buffet. We especially liked the Tortuega Canals excursion (we saw sloths and monkeys!) in Costa Rica and the City Highlights (with less shopping) in Cartagenia. Both times the guides demonstrated great pride in their countries and offered a good combination of interesting facts and historical background. The Panama Canal excursion on the boat to the Pacific was quite expensive and as such, disappointing. The boat itself is kind of run down with uncomfortable metal chairs and doesn't offer much in the way of shade or A/C. Lunch was pitiful -- I hadn't anticipated much based on the reviews I'd seen, but this was likely the worst meal I've ever had anywhere. Fortunately there were plenty of cold drinks and cheap beer. We tried not to let this get us down and parked near the back of the boat for a good view of the canal behind us. There was no viewing area at the front. We did make comments to the EXC staff on board Zuiderdam as well as Guest Services. In all, we enjoyed our Panama Canal adventure. We are glad that we picked this itinerary and liked the sea days in between to rest up. We also appreciate that HAL offers daily mass and participated a few times. Disembarkation was quick and we took the HAL bus to the airport in plenty of time for our flight home. Read Less
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