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Zaandam Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
527 reviews
5 Awards

Zaandam - Western Caribbean

Review for Zaandam to the Western Caribbean
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mickeytheb
First Time Cruiser • Age 60s

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Sail Date: Feb 2005
Cabin: Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite

The Suite Life! This was my 7th cruise w/HAL and they finally got it all exactly right. No kidding. And this was following a cruise on the Maasdam that was so bad that we swore 'Never again!'(a little more on that later). Our travel agent talked us into trying HAL 'just one more time' and we are delighted that she persuaded us.

Once again we took an S-Suite (an extra large veranda suite w/a long list of perks) and this time all the extras were actually there. Wonderful mattress, outstanding linens and pillows, towels and robes of the first quality were waiting for us, along w/a bottle of mediocre champagne, a mini-bar, whirlpool tub (that I'm sure most people don't use) a dressing room (w/vanity, great mirrors, small sink and hairdryer - Judy liked the dressing room a lot, I could care less) and the Neptune Lounge. A note about the lounge - fantastic! The 'goodies' changed all day long (presided over by Pinnacle Grill staff) and always included candies, pastries, fruit and usually various finger foods, sandwiches and cheeses. Most outstanding was the cappuccino machine -- I must have had about five coffees a day, it was like having my own Starbucks right outside my cabin door! Also the concierge was straight from heaven. Anita made it a point to know us all by name and was doing little things for us, like getting us on tours after the deadlines, long after her shift was over.

Embarkation was a nightmare and there was something of a feud going on between the Coast Guard and the cruise line. The 'perceived' security lapse kept us waiting from 11:30 till 4 as they brought in dogs and marched the entire crew off the ship and through the metal detector. Talk about stupid!! Watching a chef come off the boat, walk through the metal detector, set the alarm off, remember the chef's knife in his sleeve pocket, hand it to someone, walk through again, the knife was put through the scanner and returned to the chef and he went back on the boat, called to mind all the foolish time wasting, ineffective security stories I've heard since 911. What could possibly be accomplished with this show? Did they think a crew person would bring his gun/bomb off the boat to walk through the metal detector with it? Later we got to speak to the Captain and some other officers (in some private/perk suite parties) and they felt that the Coast Guard was angry about something in HAL's 'attitude' and decided to 'teach them a lesson.' Of course the only ones put out were the passengers. We were waiting so long that they HAD to bring out food and water because some of the oldies were starting to faint. No one felt more secure, nothing productive was accomplished and we all lived through a version of 'dig a hole and fill it back up' military logic. The extra insult was the Coast Guard crew people who wandered among the crowd to 'answer questions.' They wouldn't answer any questions and stood behind us and applauded furiously whenever the CO got on the horn to tell us it would be a few more hours - 'just to make sure.' Coast Guard crew told me that there was nothing they were looking for and that what they were doing was 'just being extra careful.' It was obviously a load of bull.

Cabin Review

Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite

Cabin SA
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