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580 Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We traveled from our home to San Diego by car and flew out to Ft. Lauderdale on Sat. We spent the night in a motel and the next morning we were met by our daughter who lives in West Palm Beach. We spent the morning with her and then ... Read More
We traveled from our home to San Diego by car and flew out to Ft. Lauderdale on Sat. We spent the night in a motel and the next morning we were met by our daughter who lives in West Palm Beach. We spent the morning with her and then shuttled to the ship for boarding. When we got to the Infinity there was a huge line down the street and around the corner of the building. We checked our bags and got in line. After 2 1/2 hours of standing in line and moving at a snails pace we finally boarded the ship. We initially booked a balcony room on the 6th deck but had upgraded to the 9th deck a week before the cruise. We entered our cabin 9197 and were pleasantly surprise as to the large size room we had and huge veranda. The room was the last one on the port side at the rear of the ship. Whatever you do, do not take a room on the 9th deck at the rear of the ship. The deck above us was the restaurant with a wooden deck and from 5AM to 10 PM the noise was terrible from the scraping and banging from the chairs and tables. After complaining for five days they offered us another room next to ours. (Our neighbors next to us also were moved to another room.) This room was much smaller so they finally said we could sleep in the new room and use the big one for day use and the large veranda. This worked out fine. The veranda provided an excellent location for going thru the Panama Canal. Our first port was George Town, Grand Cayman and we took a tour that we booked thru the ship. It was an excellent tour of the Island and we learned a lot of the history of the island. The tour was The Best of the Caymans. The next port was Cartegena, Columbia. We went ashore there and only did a little shopping and was back aboard ship in two hours. I purchased a Panama Hat which I had wanted for some time. From there we headed for the Panama Canal. I had gone thru the canal years ago from the Pacific to the Caribbean so this was the trip in the opposite direction. We spent the whole day on our veranda taking pictures and thoroughly enjoyed the passage in spite of some rain squalls. If you have not been thru the canal before I highly recommend it. It is a fantastic sight and the history is wonderful. On to Puntarenas, Costa Rica. We took an outstanding tour, The Pacific Train, Boat and Bus Adventure. The highlight was a boat ride on a river to see the crocodiles and birds. The train ride was aboard one of the oldest small trains in Costa Rica. It was a noisy bumpy ride but was a lot of fun. We saw the back country and back yards of number of shanties. Huatulco, Mexico was our next port. We went ashore and walked around town . We came across a street restaurant with an open kitchen to the eating area and stopped in. The food was excellent and so was the cerveza! Two more ports, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas where we went ashore for a little shopping but did not do much. Back to ship. Rating the meals in the main dining room, I can only say fair. Most of our meals were only luke warm and one dinner the fish was half raw. We had lobster one evening where they only gave us 1/2 a tail and some of the lobster at our table was very soft like mush. This was our 8th cruise and we were not happy with the main dining. We did eat twice in the specialty restaurant, S.S. United States. The food there was outstanding along with the personal. The room stewart, waiters and all the people working on the ship were outstanding. I didn't go to any shows but my wife did and she thought they were excellent also. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Sanitation: poor. We departed Venice on Oct. 23, 2008, for the 17-day cruise and it wasn't until Oct. 27 that passengers were notified the GI virus had infected passengers on the preceding cruise. By that time the virus was ... Read More
Sanitation: poor. We departed Venice on Oct. 23, 2008, for the 17-day cruise and it wasn't until Oct. 27 that passengers were notified the GI virus had infected passengers on the preceding cruise. By that time the virus was spreading on our cruise and hundreds of passengers became ill. The extensive but belated efforts to encourage hand washing should have been initiated the first day we boarded and passengers should have been IMMEDIATELY informed of the virus danger. Being sick or weak from the illness for nearly one-third of the cruise took much of the enjoyment out of our trip. And it was insulting to hear the repeated announcements that such shipboard virus outbreaks are common. They are not, and this was the first cruise we have been on where there was such an outbreak. It was amusing that we were diverted from our scheduled port stop at Half Moon Cay because another Holland America ship was there, and instead docked at Nassau, where four or five cruise ships from other cruise lines were docked. Apparently infecting them was of no concern. Food: inconsistent quality. Sometimes the beef was wonderful, other times it was so tough it couldn't be cut with a knife. The veal would be good one time and awful the next. The baked goods (as cookies) were only fair. The dining room food often arrived cold (as did the room service coffee) and service was very slow. Overall the food quality was not nearly as good as on our previous cruises. Passengers: there were more poorly dressed passengers than we have ever seen before (such as one man wearing a tee-shirt in the dining room on formal night). Perhaps because of airline luggage restrictions cruise ships may have to entirely give up on any dress code. There seemed to be less courtesy among the passengers than usual, perhaps because of the virus. Entertainment: very good variety and quality. Embarkation/Debarkation: Both were very poorly organized. Hurriedly dumping 1,800 passengers into a processing building which had only two immigration inspectors to handle us was ridiculous. Apparently Holland America wanted to begin a belated thorough disinfecting process ASAP before the next cruise passengers boarded. One report was that their scheduled morning boarding was delayed until 11 p.m.! (I wonder if the cleaning helped?) Laundry service: slow, and my $80 shirt had a hole punched in it. The cost for unlimited service was $120! But with no self-service laundry, there is not much alternative (unless you enjoy wearing dirty clothing or spending a lot of time washing in your cabin). On-board shops: average. Prices of course are almost always better for the same items in the ports, if you can find them. Cabin: The heating/cooling vent in the ceiling blows directly in your face, and if you have sinus problems this can be very uncomfortable. We taped it partially shut to divert the airflow. Our cabin was on the Navigation Deck, immediately below the Lido Deck swimming pool and outside bar dining area at the stern of the ship. The deck of our balcony was constantly soaked with water, apparently from the crew washing the deck immediately above us. The noise from the cleaning crew moving tables and chairs on the Lido Deck woke us up daily between 5 and 7 a.m. I would not recommend this cabin location, and wave motion would have been less felt on a lower deck. The cabin furnishings were worn, dirty and needed replacing. The bed was very comfortable. The day before we docked two crew members (not our room steward) knocked very briefly and then barged in on my wife in bed before she could reply, to empty the refrigerator. Interior stairways: They only have about a 10.5 inch horizontal surface, and can often cause mis-steps/falls. Poor design. Port stops: Average; it would have been nice to have visited Mykonos, Rhodes or Santorini. But of course we knew the itinerary in advance. Venice was great as always. Crew courtesy: excellent, under difficult circumstances. Both the cabin and dining room stewards are greatly overworked, probably another sign of cost-cutting by Holland America. Our hard-working cabin steward, for example, was responsible for about 30 cabins. Summary: Will we cruise Holland America again? Doubtful; probably back to Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We sailed HAL for the first time on the Zuiderdam, transatlantic, Venice - Ft. Lauderdale. It was the cruise from "Hell" for us. Embarkation of 1800 folks was chaotic.. hurry and wait, hurry and wait.. Just imagine folks ... Read More
We sailed HAL for the first time on the Zuiderdam, transatlantic, Venice - Ft. Lauderdale. It was the cruise from "Hell" for us. Embarkation of 1800 folks was chaotic.. hurry and wait, hurry and wait.. Just imagine folks in a warehouse with 10 - 20 counters checking you in and my wife and I with advanced "registration". The number of people on canes, walkers and "scooters" was impressive although we are not of that disability.. we appreciated the older folks who dared the transatlantic crossing. Our basis of comparison was six other cruises, including a transatlantic cruise on the QE II before she was purchased as a hotel. We even bought Carnival stock during the cruise, thinking that we would take advantage of the rumored discount if you owned Carnival stock for our future cruises. As we finally entered our stateroom (not ready when we boarded - but Lido Buffet allowed us to sit and have lunch and buy the $200 wine package) we noted, casually, a letter of "welcome" telling us about previous incidents of "norovirus" and advising us to wash hands frequently from day one. By day five, the buffet had saran wrap closing it in, all trays, silverware, etc. were handed to the guests by ship employees; all salt and pepper was removed and meal service in the dining room slowed to 1 1/2 to 2 hours (including breakfast).. public restrooms were considered off limits and "code red" was in effect. Our $250 thermal package which included the spa pool and thermal rooms were closed and we watched them scrub and clean these areas due to an out of control virus.. Rooms that reported the norovirus were specially handled with masked employees - cleaned and sanitized.. it was reported there were 300 passengers who fell to the virus. Our problems occurred when my wife was tossed into the bathtub during the one day of rough seas with "possible cracked ribs" according to the ship's doctor and the last six hours of the cruise when both of us contracted the norovirus. The nurse came twice during the night, administered a shot and medication to me and scolded my wife for waiting so long to report the symptoms. The virus was a severe case of "Montezuma's Revenge" that I've had in Mexico. It was as if a hand was grasping my intestines and squeezing them with the resulting diarrhea and vomiting for 4 hours. Since it was at the end of the voyage our stateroom was quarantined prior to disembarkation and we were gather with others separately and I was wheeled off the ship, through immigration, customs and onto the bus to Ft.Lauderdale airport where I was wheeled through Ft. Lauderdale, Cincinnati and St. Louis Missouri airports. I was absolutely debilitated and I had trouble holding up my head. We followed up with HAL in Seattle. We had already deposited and schedule our transatlantic crossing on the Eurodam for April, 2009 and have requested full refund of our deposit and reimbursement for costs of getting to departure gates at the various airports in November, 2008. We're anxious to see how HAL recognize our "pain and suffering" during out sixth cruise. We did find many experienced travelers on HAL, the ones we interacted with, were disappointed and said this was not up to HAL standards. Perhaps staff is less available given the cost cutting. Our cabin person confessed that he no long was responsible for 15 cabins but rather 30 as of this crossing. Our stateroom was cleaned and readied by 4 p.m. daily. I'm afraid that this Zuiderdam experience has queered our future sailings. We will think long and hard before we take any other cruise during our lifetimes. We have heard recently that the Regency Cruise Lines is expensive but worth the extra - no "nickle and dime" pestering for drinks and extras as we felt was the case on the Zuiderdam. Our ship board charges amounted to over $2,000 in addition to the cruise and air costs. We learned that many others paid far LESS for similar ship accommodations which was disappointing since we had deposited and reserved six months in advance and thought that we had be treated well. Little did we know that certain charter groups from Canada especially, were attracted by extreme bargain cruise and charter air prices. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
First, I must say that this is only the second time we have cruised on Carnival.The first time was out of Miami some years ago. Carnival at that time had a reputation for appealing to the masses,rowdy/less discriminating crowd and on that ... Read More
First, I must say that this is only the second time we have cruised on Carnival.The first time was out of Miami some years ago. Carnival at that time had a reputation for appealing to the masses,rowdy/less discriminating crowd and on that cruise they lived up to their reputation.Enough said,we avoided sailing with them,and cruised many times with other cruise lines. In Oct 2008 we booked a Carnival Cruise thinking that since this was a transatlantic cruise things might be different.They were as far as the passengers go.We were right as far as avoiding the loudmouth crazies but the cruise left much to be desired. The best things first : Our Spa suite on deck 10 was very nice & spacious. One deck below the spa/gym/health facilities and our cabin staff were very good.But after so many days the same asian ethereal theme music which was even piped outside to the adjacent sun deck became a bit too much. Overall ship decor is OVERWHELMING to say the least, garish......It looks like someone went wild designing on a pink & black LSD trip , parts look like the decor in an old fashioned Chinese restaurant. Dining rooms as well. Wait until one sees the gigantic asian mythical creatures hanging over the spa pool! Speaking of dining.....we had requested early seating and were assigned late seating.It was a BIG hassle to get it changed. Food.....breakfast.....lots of stuff prepared ahead of time...poached eggs came out of a machine cookie cutter and were cool each time. Food...lunch.....none!! well,not quite....dining room is not open for lunch.....only the buffet... and not all parts are open for the buffet at the same time. In fact the buffet is openly encouraged for ALL meals.I suppose it's easier to have the passengers feed themselves rather then wait on them.Be careful walking if there is any moisture on the marble floors in the buffet..... Food..dinner...some very good,some just mediocre , nothing really excellent .....enough with the flat iron steak..tasteless, Tomato pasta sauce much too salty....not enough variety,too much repetition in the menu. The last several days of the cruise the dining room starting running out of stuff.....orange juice, grapefruit juice etc. The wait staff was satisfactory. Entertainment........DULL DULL DULL......Just one decent show. The others were nothing to write home about....the Cruise Director was a very young fellow named Goose..very obvious he had zero experience in that capacity. Give Goose the goose! It became obvious after several days that we didn't have to read the daily activity paper.Activities were the the same every day and repeated day after day on the cabin TV. The niteclub/bar music was ok,just that..ok Few areas on the ship to get away from noise.If the center skydome was open,the giant movie screen/music permeated out to the sun decks. BTW ...decking extremely slippery when wet...need some nonskid paint..maybe after the first lawsuit. Never saw the captain....the officer staff seemed to be non-existent. We'll stick with Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
First, I must say that this is only the second time we have cruised on Carnival.The first time was out of Miami some years ago. Carnival at that time had a reputation for appealing to the masses,rowdy/less discriminating crowd and on that ... Read More
First, I must say that this is only the second time we have cruised on Carnival.The first time was out of Miami some years ago. Carnival at that time had a reputation for appealing to the masses,rowdy/less discriminating crowd and on that cruise they lived up to their reputation.Enough said,we avoided sailing with them,and cruised many times with other cruise lines. In Oct 2008 we booked a Carnival Cruise thinking that since this was a transatlantic cruise things might be different.They were as far as the passengers go.We were right as far as avoiding the loudmouth crazies but the cruise left much to be desired. The best things first : Our Spa suite on deck 10 was very nice & spacious. One deck below the spa/gym/health facilities and our cabin staff were very good.But after so many days the same asian ethereal theme music which was even piped outside to the adjacent sun deck became a bit too much. Overall ship decor is OVERWHELMING to say the least, garish......It looks like someone went wild designing on a pink & black LSD trip , parts look like the decor in an old fashioned Chinese restaurant. Dining rooms as well. Wait until one sees the gigantic asian mythical creatures hanging over the spa pool! Speaking of dining.....we had requested early seating and were assigned late seating.It was a BIG hassle to get it changed. Food.....breakfast.....lots of stuff prepared ahead of time...poached eggs came out of a machine cookie cutter and were cool each time. Food...lunch.....none!! well,not quite....dining room is not open for lunch.....only the buffet... and not all parts are open for the buffet at the same time. In fact the buffet is openly encouraged for ALL meals.I suppose it's easier to have the passengers feed themselves rather then wait on them.Be careful walking if there is any moisture on the marble floors in the buffet..... Food..dinner...some very good,some just mediocre , nothing really excellent .....enough with the flat iron steak..tasteless, Tomato pasta sauce much too salty....not enough variety,too much repetition in the menu. The last several days of the cruise the dining room starting running out of stuff.....orange juice, grapefruit juice etc. The wait staff was satisfactory. Entertainment........DULL DULL DULL......Just one decent show. The others were nothing to write home about....the Cruise Director was a very young fellow named Goose..very obvious he had zero experience in that capacity. Give Goose the goose! It became obvious after several days that we didn't have to read the daily activity paper.Activities were the the same every day and repeated day after day on the cabin TV. The niteclub/bar music was ok,just that..ok Few areas on the ship to get away from noise.If the center skydome was open,the giant movie screen/music permeated out to the sun decks. BTW ...decking extremely slippery when wet...need some nonskid paint..maybe after the first lawsuit. Never saw the captain....the officer staff seemed to be non-existent. We'll stick with Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date October 2008

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