Don't be injured on a HAL cruise!!!: Zuiderdam Cruise Review by rosey1946

Zuiderdam 3
Member Since 2008
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Don't be injured on a HAL cruise!!!

Sail Date: April 2009
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
I want to describe the good things about this cruise and then discuss the major problem we had.

The Zuiderdam is an older ship which has recently been refurbished. She still is a little frayed around the edges, but I found her to be very clean, the crew, except the front desk, wonderful. The service in the dining rooms, the Lido and bars was what I would expect from HAL-all smiles and very helpful. The food, especially in the main dining room, was very good. We did not dine in their specialty restaurant, so I can't comment on that.

The cabin we were assigned is an outside one, unobstructed, and very adequate for the 3 of us. We had a 12 year old with us and she was very happy tucked in her bunk every night. The HAL cabins are always on the larger side and I found storage to be fine with 3 closets and shelves. I do wish they would have told us that under the beds, there was additional drawer space as I didn't know this until after the cruise.

We are big fans of More the Crows Nest on the HAL ships. On the Zuiderdam, the Crows Nest has been altered so that it is half it's size and blends into the Library and Explorations Lounge. The result is a very noisy and disruptive Library and crowded Crows Nest. I did like the Explorations Cafe which had great coffee drinks you could purchase. Entertainment was mixed. The singer and dancer shows were fine. The magician was so bad I could see how he was doing his tricks, which I did find interesting as no other magician was so obvious. All in all, I have lots to say good about the Zuiderdam and especially the HAL crew who are delightful.

What I am unhappy about is so bothersome, that we will never cruise HAL again. The third day into the cruise, my friend, who is 75 had a terrible fall. I will be putting pictures of her injuries on the web, as unless you see her, you can't imagine how injured she was. The medical staff were helpful and kind. However, we had to walk my friend to the elevator and then to medical. No one was sent to help us. We immediately were met by an officer who took all our information which I realize now was to protect the cruise line.

Our big problem was the air flight, which we had arranged through HAL. We were scheduled to fly from Ft. Lauderdale to Minneapolis to NY, total of 6 hours in the air and 6 in airport. Hal would do nothing to arrange a direct flight which we needed as my friend was in pain and could not bend her knee. We were offered first class for an additional $600 per person. HAL did not try to schedule us on other airlines which I know had seats. My friend got home, with heavy medication. The icing on the cake was when there was no wheelchair as promised when we left the ship. We were told we would have assistance and no one was there. I do want to commend the pier staff who did everything they could to help us without advance notice. I think cruising is a great way to travel. When choosing a cruise line I think it is wise to listen to others experiences especially about health and safety issues. The bottom line is how caring a line is when you need them, not when it's about minor issues. I do want to mention, the rudeness and utter disdain of the front office staff. I would have been fired if I ever treated people the way we were treated. Less

Published 04/27/09
2 Helpful Votes

Cabin review: F1010 Large Ocean-View Stateroom

great window and large enough for 3.

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Port and Shore Excursions

We did not schedule an excursion for this port and perhaps that is why I found it like so many other islands I have visited with the same stores. However, I felt very safe and the water was beautiful.
Read 1290 Aruba Reviews

We had a great time here. Took a trolley of sorts and toured the island. It was interesting and I enjoyed the colorful houses and european feeling.

Read 917 Curacao Reviews

Half Moon Cay is HAL's private island and the best of the private islands. We had rented a Cabana which was stocked with soft drinks, water and dips and chips. The cabana had air conditioning, lounges, a dining table, our own outdoor shower and misters. It was heaven. The island is beautiful with sand like sugar and water so clear. A wonderful day.

The Panama Canal is one of the wonders of the world and everyone who can should see it. I had done reading on the Canal-The Path Between the Seas by David McCullugh. Wonderful book. The canal was a wonder as I stood on deck at 5:30 AM and saw the sun rise. We took an excursion to see the Embera Indians. We went on the Chagres River to where they live in the forest. The dugouts were made by them and we were treated to a talk by the Chief explaining their culture, dances and handicrafts-at very fair prices. My only caution would be for people who have problems with mobility, there is a steep bank both going down to the boats and going up afterward. I named the port Ft. Lauderdale as there was no Panama.

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Member Since 2008
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