My wife and I just returned from a 36 day cruises on the HAL Zandamm. This is the first time we travelled with HAL, however, we have done other trips with Celebrity, Voyages of Discovery, etc. As a general comment I would say we got value for our money. The ship is kept in top notch condition and staff are polite, attentive and the meals good. The one major exception is the way they enforce their wine/alcohol policy. Most cruise lines have a similar embargo against bringing spirits aboard. However, my experience is that few attempt to enforce this realizing most people would like to have a drink in the privacy of their rooms. I have been making wine for over fifty years and enjoy discovering new brands and traveling the coast of Chile and Argentina are ideal for this. This was totally prevented by HAL. They have x-ray equipment when you go on board. You would think this was to keep hazardous items off the ship but I soon discovered it’s sole purpose is to discover wine and liquor bottles so they can confiscate them (they let you have them back the last day of your trip). Just to show that the x-ray machine had no other purpose, on the last day in port it was gone even though people continued to enter and exit the ship. Obviously the machine was not used to detect dangerous goods. They had no fear of wine because in one day everyone was leaving! Complaints about this policy brought out all kinds of ridiculous responses like ‘we need to make sure guest aren’t over indulging etc.’ This leveled at people who’s average age is in the sixties being treated like teenagers! They have no similar conscience when it comes to selling their own booze on board at three times the going price! On one occasion they even kept the bar open during a safety drill! They even sent passengers off on shore excursions to a rum distillery – Cana de Flora Corinto Nicaragua and then promptly seized all their purchased products on return to the ship. And they are not all that nice about seizures either. In Valparaiso we were told you could bring two bottles of wine on (this a so called embarkation point) I went first with my bottle but when my wife tootling along later they physically tried to take it from her. She resisted and told them to leave her alone. It shows you the length they will go to enforce this ineffective policy. It is interesting to note that new passengers who have been on the cruise less than three days can bring on wine but those who have been on much longer are prevented. The policy itself makes no real sense because you can buy a bottle of wine or liquor (albeit no name) from the bar and take it to your room. You can even take a glass to your dining table so it thwarts their real objective of forcing you to buy their $30 + wine at the table. In conclusion if you enjoy experimenting with new brands, enjoy having an occasional wine of your own choosing and cheese in your cabin or generally are offended by being treated like a second class passenger while you paid the full price, HAL is not for you.  

WHY YOU SHOULD THINK TWICE ABOUT BOOKING HAL

Zaandam Cruise Review by CRESSBROOK

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2014
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
My wife and I just returned from a 36 day cruises on the HAL Zandamm. This is the first time we travelled with HAL, however, we have done other trips with Celebrity, Voyages of Discovery, etc.
As a general comment I would say we got value for our money. The ship is kept in top notch condition and staff are polite, attentive and the meals good.
The one major exception is the way they enforce their wine/alcohol policy. Most cruise lines have a similar embargo against bringing spirits aboard. However, my experience is that few attempt to enforce this realizing most people would like to have a drink in the privacy of their rooms.
I have been making wine for over fifty years and enjoy discovering new brands and traveling the coast of Chile and Argentina are ideal for this.
This was totally prevented by HAL. They have x-ray equipment when you go on board. You would think this was to keep hazardous items off the ship but I soon discovered it’s sole purpose is to discover wine and liquor bottles so they can confiscate them (they let you have them back the last day of your trip). Just to show that the x-ray machine had no other purpose, on the last day in port it was gone even though people continued to enter and exit the ship. Obviously the machine was not used to detect dangerous goods. They had no fear of wine because in one day everyone was leaving!
Complaints about this policy brought out all kinds of ridiculous responses like ‘we need to make sure guest aren’t over indulging etc.’ This leveled at people who’s average age is in the sixties being treated like teenagers! They have no similar conscience when it comes to selling their own booze on board at three times the going price! On one occasion they even kept the bar open during a safety drill!
They even sent passengers off on shore excursions to a rum distillery – Cana de Flora Corinto Nicaragua and then promptly seized all their purchased products on return to the ship.
And they are not all that nice about seizures either. In Valparaiso we were told you could bring two bottles of wine on (this a so called embarkation point) I went first with my bottle but when my wife tootling along later they physically tried to take it from her. She resisted and told them to leave her alone. It shows you the length they will go to enforce this ineffective policy.
It is interesting to note that new passengers who have been on the cruise less than three days can bring on wine but those who have been on much longer are prevented.
The policy itself makes no real sense because you can buy a bottle of wine or liquor (albeit no name) from the bar and take it to your room. You can even take a glass to your dining table so it thwarts their real objective of forcing you to buy their $30 + wine at the table.
In conclusion if you enjoy experimenting with new brands, enjoy having an occasional wine of your own choosing and cheese in your cabin or generally are offended by being treated like a second class passenger while you paid the full price, HAL is not for you.
 
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