Zuiderdam October 2011 Partial Panama 10 Day: Zuiderdam Cruise Review by Traveller-man

Zuiderdam 5
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Zuiderdam October 2011 Partial Panama 10 Day

Sail Date: October 2011
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Going to keep this short and rate 1-9 just as HAL request.
1. Parking Port Everglades - Park & Go. $64 for 10 nights. Score 9.
2. Embarkation. Score 9.
3. Stateroom - Booked a Guarantee and got VA 8035 on Deck 8. Suffered from smokers as is the usual HAL problem. There were a group on the bump out that seemed to spend hours out there lighting up and despite the speed of the ship you could always smell the smoke. Cabin kept spotless by the two guys.If you like to watch TV don't bother and although they havea DVD player take your own discs. Score 9.
4. Vista Dining Room. Used the open seating in the Vista Dining room. The system they use is very complex and you can only book three nights ahead. If you do not book there will be lines at peak times. Score 6.
5. Food in the Vista. Score 7. My wife had the smallest piece of salmon we had ever seen and a steak I ordered well done came dark on the outside and full of blood inside. Score 7.
6. Pinnacle Dining Room. OK More probably not $50 worth. Score 7.
7. Canaletto's. As it was free hard to get a table at peak times. Score 8.
8. Lido Grille. Ok Score 7.
9. Fitness center, two or three treadmills always faulty one in particular had a loose belt that was very shiny and dangerous. Staff there seemed not to care. Score 5.
10.Photographers. Constant battle to get passed them which is ok but I object to the way they block the walkway when you are trying to go ashore. Photo's look average quality but are top price. Score 1.
11. Shows - some of the same old Score 5.
12. Ships crew - some of the most friendly people I have ever met, most were very good at their jobs and those that were not smiled and laughed with you so got away with it. When booking a cruise I look at ports of call, cost, then for HAL crew. I told someone on board that I think there are better ships than those HAL operate but not a better crew.
13. Sun decks. Sunbeds are filthy, many are broken and ready for the trash.
14. Half Moon Cay. Always love the place, the sand is spotless or the water
There is much I have probably missed but I would like to say that having been on Zuiderdam twice it is looking tired and in need of a re-fit. I understand that it may be in dry dock February 2012. Hate the amount of smoking on HAL ships but love the crew. Less

Published 10/26/11

Cabin review: VA8035 Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

VA 8035. Balcony a good size and sheltered by the bump out. Spoilt by smokers. Cabin has the sofa that converts and has a very handy storage unit above. TV is terrible but they provide a DVR - my advice take some discs. Always slept well on HAL beds, mid cruise they swapped out the pillows but I did not like the soft new ones. The stool is handy with storage inside. The closet held enough clothes for a 14 day cruise and we do not tarvel light. The cabin was always clean and my only issue was the air conditioning that was not cool enough during the day. Would book that same cabin again.

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