I chose the Zuiderdam because I had cruised on it in 2013 and had a fabulous time. This was my 6th, but my sisters 1st cruise. We were celebrating each of us turning 60, me the year before. We were so excited, but that did not last, as we slowly discovered that Holland Americas cruises are a mere shadow of what they used to be.
The ship itself is still beautiful and as always the crew are always ready and eager to please. I could not have asked for more as far as service. Sal and Donny, our room stewards were the best I've ever had! And every single service person was fantastic.
Now the not so good to bad.
There was constant maintenance going on. Buzzing and drilling, sometimes at 8 or 9 am! At one point they were treating the wood where the pool is at the height of the day when people were sunning and swimming and the stuff they used had a strong chemical odor. Unacceptable! I know stuff needs to be done, but I have never been on a cruise where it was constant and interfered with the cruise enjoyment.
The Lido Deck seemed to always have stations closed so the food variety was limited and it was closed way more than it should be. The food was for the most part just okay. Sometimes it was great, but for the most part it was mediocre to tasteless. The dining room food was the same. Nothing to write home about.
In room dining was a challenge. Especially at night after 12. We would sometimes be put on hold for 15 minutes and then just give up. We were told that there were only 2 people on at night, one preparing, one delivering! Are you kidding? 2 people to service a ship with almost 2000 people! Again.....unacceptable!
During the day it was pretty much the same offering of things to do day after day. And I was not at all happy that any activity we chose seemed to be a commercial promoting something to buy. I went for the morning stretch and was asked to do an imprint of my feet. The stretch (it was very good) turned into a commercial for the product Goodfeet! Anti aging talks were commercials for skincare. They even do botox and fillers! And teeth whitening! Oh brother!
My sister got 2 massages and that is because the masseuse was incredible. I had a sample when I got a mini neck and head massage. Yes, they were fantastic!
The casino staff were wonderful and helpful.
Daytime activities were pretty repetitious and boring. The computer "expert" was anything but.
Now to the entertainment.........or lack there of.......
I don't know who came up with the idea of "The Music Walk", but they should be fired.
Night after night it was the same. The BB King Allstars, were very good, but every night they played the same songs and by the middle of the cruise you could tell that even THEY were bored! And that was the only choice for dancing. One club.
The Classical musicians were fabulous and did play a variety of offerings.
Then we come to "Billboard Onboard" featuring something I assume was supposed to be like the movie The Fabulous Baker Boys, with 2 Baby Grands face to face. Unfortunately their voices and playing were mediocre at best. The singing was pretty bad, so off key and not just a little. I will say that the crowd, which as I mentioned in the title of this review were an average of 70+, seemed to really like them. I just couldn't get past the poor vocals.
And finally we come to the Mainstage entertainment.
The Ship Singers and Dancers were sub par. The 3 vocalists were just not good. The shows were boring. The female singer had zero passion and sang off key consistently. One of the male vocalists was okay, the other one was also off key a lot. 2 of the dancers were fantastic and full of passion and enthusiasm, the rest of them could have phoned it in. So mechanical! Such a complete disappointment!
The guest entertainment was a mixed bag. Island Magic Steel Drums were superb! I absolutely loved them!
Thomas John, the comedian was side splitting funny. Love love loved him!
I was so looking forward to the magician and so, was a bit disappointed. He was okay, but his delivery was awful. He would preface each trick or illusion by telling us how great it was going to be or how we were going to be talking about it the rest of the night or the cruise for that matter. Really? He laughed at his own jokes which were far from funny. I will say that some of his illusions were good and his little dogs were adorable.
Also, there were no passenger participation activities! Specifically a talent show. This was the first cruise I was on where they didn't have, at the very least, Karaoke! What a complete bummer!
Our Shore excursions, two with Holland, two with vacations to go were great.
I will not be going on another Holland America Cruise, even though my Mariner status went up a notch. They have gone so far downhill. They are nothing like I remember. They have gone from 5 star to 2 star. Everything but the incredible service of the crew has suffered.They have become a series of commercials for various items for sale. My next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity.
It was very spacious and I was surprised to find usb ports at the bedside as well as at the desks. There were also a few outlets instead of the usual 1. Was not happy that I couldn't blowdry or flat iron my hair in the bathroom as that outlet will only work for electric razors. The cabin lighting made it difficult to do hair. closets were spacious and effective, but not nearly enough hangers and steward could only find crappy wire ones as extras. Bathroom was very spacious. The whirlpool spewed ickiness the first time we used it, but after it was treated it was fine. Beds were comfy. AC worked fine. All in all very happy with the cabin
As always, turquoise water and white sand. It rained, but still fun
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