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A few random observations about our rent cruise. Embarkation: Process was slowed by some kind of drill aboard ship. the waiting area at Ft. Lauderdale was therefore jammed and seats hard to find when DW and I arrived. Once boarding began the process was slow but smooth but the sudden onrush led to tremendous crowing at the Lido. Cabin: Our cabin was clean spacious and filled the bill. No complaints. Some rust on the verandah as others have noted but who cares when the view and weather are great. Dining: We found the service in the MDR to be very good and the food well prepared and interesting. Our waiters were very attentive and we found the number of staff to be an increase over recent HAL sailings. Entertainment: The BB King band was excellent as were the two young performers in the dueling piano bar. These two pianists seemed somewhat limited in their repertoire and amusingly had never heard of Neil Sedaka when one of his songs was requested. To their credit they came back the next performance playing and singing " Calendar Girl" which pleased their nightly overflow crowd. Ports: Took tours in Aruba, Curacao and Panama. The two islands were very alike with a lot of cacti and waves crashing into inlets. Some minor cave explorations. Overall just a good look at the islands for first timers. The entry into the Panama Canal and movement to the Gatun Lake was excellent. We when ashore from the lake with a tour that took us to the Pacific side of the canal and a visit to Miraflores locks. Well worth the trip. We also toured old Panama city where restoration of the historic area is taking place despite some opposition from the residents who fear being displace by gentrification. As we proceeded towards our bus and were passing the Presidential palace a motorcade of official vehicles appeared with lots of security. The window of one of the vehicles opened and our guide shouted "that's the President". Indeed it was Mr. Juan Varela the president of Panama who waved to us and then spoke with our guide. As a result we were permitted (rare) entry to the palace grounds and into the foyer of the Palace where we could take photos. A real unusual end to our tour of Panama Fellow passengers: We made friends with several fellow passengers who we joined for trivia, drinks etc. As usual with the vast majority of HAL guests they were bright, entertaining and good company. Disembarkation: A very smooth process that was well handled. Overall a very good ship and itinerary that we can recommend to anyone considering this area foer a future cruise.

Zuiderdam Southern Caribbean and Panama Canal

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by Sirdar

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
A few random observations about our rent cruise.

Embarkation: Process was slowed by some kind of drill aboard ship. the waiting area at Ft. Lauderdale was therefore jammed and seats hard to find when DW and I arrived. Once boarding began the process was slow but smooth but the sudden onrush led to tremendous crowing at the Lido.

Cabin: Our cabin was clean spacious and filled the bill. No complaints. Some rust on the verandah as others have noted but who cares when the view and weather are great.

Dining: We found the service in the MDR to be very good and the food well prepared and interesting. Our waiters were very attentive and we found the number of staff to be an increase over recent HAL sailings.

Entertainment: The BB King band was excellent as were the two young performers in the dueling piano bar. These two pianists seemed somewhat limited in their repertoire and amusingly had never heard of Neil Sedaka when one of his songs was requested. To their credit they came back the next performance playing and singing " Calendar Girl" which pleased their nightly overflow crowd.

Ports: Took tours in Aruba, Curacao and Panama. The two islands were very alike with a lot of cacti and waves crashing into inlets. Some minor cave explorations. Overall just a good look at the islands for first timers. The entry into the Panama Canal and movement to the Gatun Lake was excellent. We when ashore from the lake with a tour that took us to the Pacific side of the canal and a visit to Miraflores locks. Well worth the trip. We also toured old Panama city where restoration of the historic area is taking place despite some opposition from the residents who fear being displace by gentrification. As we proceeded towards our bus and were passing the Presidential palace a motorcade of official vehicles appeared with lots of security. The window of one of the vehicles opened and our guide shouted "that's the President". Indeed it was Mr. Juan Varela the president of Panama who waved to us and then spoke with our guide. As a result we were permitted (rare) entry to the palace grounds and into the foyer of the Palace where we could take photos. A real unusual end to our tour of Panama

Fellow passengers: We made friends with several fellow passengers who we joined for trivia, drinks etc. As usual with the vast majority of HAL guests they were bright, entertaining and good company.

Disembarkation: A very smooth process that was well handled.

Overall a very good ship and itinerary that we can recommend to anyone considering this area foer a future cruise.
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