This was our 28th cruise. Our first HAL. We had a group of 6. Two parents in their 40's with four college age daughters (18-21). 1. Dining room staff, possibly as good as Celebrity. Enchanting personalities, quick wit and incredible memory capacity for likes and dislikes. Always a delight. We had late seating downstairs..ate there every night. 2. This ship is beautiful. The recent SOE upgrades were terrific. All cabins have flat screen TV's and DVD players (bring an S cable if you want to hook up any video equipment to the DVD player). The interior designer of this ship has done an excellent job. The lamps on this ship are artwork! Throw you own bed away..the new premium bedding on this ship is incredible. You'll want to steal the pillows! Club Oasis and the Loft were really neat places..wish they'd made one for adults. Alas, on this sailing - not enough kids to use it! Loved the midship pool lounge chairs although if you don't get out there by 8am..they are all gone! Earliest rising ship I've ever been on! The layout of the decks is very predictable and it's a quick study to learn the ship. We used the self service laundry..that was nice ($2 to wash/ $1 to dry). The gym had excellent equipment but the low ceilings kept it too hot to really be able to enjoy your workout. 3. Lido restaurant was the best in the business. Food was excellent and the service was comparable to the dining room. Lots of assistance with trays and refills on drinks. Plenty of options from full meals to deli sandwiches to salad bars. 4. Our cabin was not as large as we had expected and the layout was awkward. There is a small hallway as you enter the room that's very crowding and it opens onto the foot of the bed? So you maneuver around the bed and finally find some floor space at the back of the cabin. The coffee table is bolted to the floor and in the way most of the time because the vanity chair is so large it's hard to pull out and sit in with the coffee table there. The balcony is large and has nice furniture on it. Our A/C was not sufficient all week. We asked for a technician and he reported that it was working properly. Then we lost all A/C on Wednesday and it really got bad. Took 20 hours to repair and recover from that. We like our cabin cold..not cool so this was not good for us. Our cabin steward was not great..just good. Always had to ask him to replenish used items. Cool feature I hadn't seen before was the balcony doorbell in our cabin..so room service or guests could get our attention while we were on the balcony. 5. personnel - overall there were smiling faces all around the ship. Dining room, lido restaurant were exemplary. 6. Entertainment - UGH...the poolside band played "polkas!" need I say more. They turned into a dance band at night and then it gets worse, because they try to sing and play! UGH! The stringed trio were great and we loved sitting in for an after dinner drink and listening. We didn't do any shows..reviews from other cruisers didn't rate them very high. Casino is tiny. Did win some money though. 7. Embarkation and disembarkation were very quick! We were at MCO by 10:30! 8. Whirlpool tub...this is a grotesque overstatement. This tub is 40 inches long and 22 inches wide! UGH! 9. Time changes - this ship changes timezones 4 times in 7 days! AGH! The crew wasn't even sure what time it was and none of the ship clocks were in agreement either! 10. Internet was not very reliable. We had signed up for the 250 minute block..it was down so much we only used half of that! 11. Guest card (sail/sign or whatever you call them). These were never scanned for purchases. They ask you for your cabin number and just charge it to that room. I don't care for that. My husband couldn't remember his cabin number half the time, so I'm sure we charged drinks to the wrong room? 12. Noon whistle will you are at sea. Know this is going to happen - or it will scare you to death if you are standing near a horn! 13. We had ants in our cabin? First time for that in our cruising history. We had a great time. We enjoyed the ports and had excellent service. We would prefer a younger crowed. We knew HAL caters to an older group, but figured that at Spring Break there would be some younger cruisers. That didn't happen and our kids made the best of it. The cruise staff became there friends while on board.

Zaandam - Western Caribbean

Zaandam Cruise Review by pboedeker

Trip Details
This was our 28th cruise. Our first HAL. We had a group of 6. Two parents in their 40's with four college age daughters (18-21).
1. Dining room staff, possibly as good as Celebrity. Enchanting personalities, quick wit and incredible memory capacity for likes and dislikes. Always a delight. We had late seating downstairs..ate there every night.
2. This ship is beautiful. The recent SOE upgrades were terrific. All cabins have flat screen TV's and DVD players (bring an S cable if you want to hook up any video equipment to the DVD player). The interior designer of this ship has done an excellent job. The lamps on this ship are artwork! Throw you own bed away..the new premium bedding on this ship is incredible. You'll want to steal the pillows! Club Oasis and the Loft were really neat places..wish they'd made one for adults. Alas, on this sailing - not enough kids to use it! Loved the midship pool lounge chairs although if you don't get out there by 8am..they are all gone! Earliest rising ship I've ever been on! The layout of the decks is very predictable and it's a quick study to learn the ship. We used the self service laundry..that was nice ($2 to wash/ $1 to dry). The gym had excellent equipment but the low ceilings kept it too hot to really be able to enjoy your workout.
3. Lido restaurant was the best in the business. Food was excellent and the service was comparable to the dining room. Lots of assistance with trays and refills on drinks. Plenty of options from full meals to deli sandwiches to salad bars.
4. Our cabin was not as large as we had expected and the layout was awkward. There is a small hallway as you enter the room that's very crowding and it opens onto the foot of the bed? So you maneuver around the bed and finally find some floor space at the back of the cabin. The coffee table is bolted to the floor and in the way most of the time because the vanity chair is so large it's hard to pull out and sit in with the coffee table there. The balcony is large and has nice furniture on it. Our A/C was not sufficient all week. We asked for a technician and he reported that it was working properly. Then we lost all A/C on Wednesday and it really got bad. Took 20 hours to repair and recover from that. We like our cabin cold..not cool so this was not good for us. Our cabin steward was not great..just good. Always had to ask him to replenish used items. Cool feature I hadn't seen before was the balcony doorbell in our cabin..so room service or guests could get our attention while we were on the balcony.
5. personnel - overall there were smiling faces all around the ship. Dining room, lido restaurant were exemplary.
6. Entertainment - UGH...the poolside band played "polkas!" need I say more. They turned into a dance band at night and then it gets worse, because they try to sing and play! UGH! The stringed trio were great and we loved sitting in for an after dinner drink and listening. We didn't do any shows..reviews from other cruisers didn't rate them very high. Casino is tiny. Did win some money though.
7. Embarkation and disembarkation were very quick! We were at MCO by 10:30!
8. Whirlpool tub...this is a grotesque overstatement. This tub is 40 inches long and 22 inches wide! UGH!
9. Time changes - this ship changes timezones 4 times in 7 days! AGH! The crew wasn't even sure what time it was and none of the ship clocks were in agreement either!
10. Internet was not very reliable. We had signed up for the 250 minute block..it was down so much we only used half of that!
11. Guest card (sail/sign or whatever you call them). These were never scanned for purchases. They ask you for your cabin number and just charge it to that room. I don't care for that. My husband couldn't remember his cabin number half the time, so I'm sure we charged drinks to the wrong room?
12. Noon whistle will you are at sea. Know this is going to happen - or it will scare you to death if you are standing near a horn!
13. We had ants in our cabin? First time for that in our cruising history.
We had a great time. We enjoyed the ports and had excellent service. We would prefer a younger crowed. We knew HAL caters to an older group, but figured that at Spring Break there would be some younger cruisers. That didn't happen and our kids made the best of it. The cruise staff became there friends while on board.
pboedeker’s Full Rating Summary
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