1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
I dealt with Holland America directly to book the cruise and prepaid 2 dinners for my family of 6, a $25.00 soda card, $250.00 Spa access and I also requested Wheelchair service for my mother. After 10 trips to the front desk in the first ... Read More
I dealt with Holland America directly to book the cruise and prepaid 2 dinners for my family of 6, a $25.00 soda card, $250.00 Spa access and I also requested Wheelchair service for my mother. After 10 trips to the front desk in the first 2 days I found out that everything I preordered didn't get added to my profile because Holland America switched my cabin. This shouldn't have been a quick easy fix. However they didn't accept responsibility or take initiative to resolve these issues. I'm Sorry there is nothing we can do followed by silence was the standard response from everyone I dealt with. I would offer simple suggestions on how this could be solved (eg. just give me another soda card and figure out the accounting later) and they would just be quiet until I finally walked away.. It became obvious that their goal was to get me to leave. Not find out how they could help. They insisted that it was head office and I should just pay again onboard and figure it out when I get home. Again shifting the responsibility back to me to follow up and deal with Holland America's mistakes. The majority of my cruise was spent troubleshooting the mistakes of the cruise line and asking for what I already paid for. I had to double pay for everything and spend an hour on the phone with their customer service people when I got home to find out why preordered items were canceled 3 days into the cruise and why my visa hasn't been credited for the double payment. Lack of Customer Service Examples: My brand new Luggage had a hole in it when it was delivered to my room. I'm sorry there is nothing I can do. I asked to talk to a supervisor and his first response was" I'm sorry there's nothing we can do". I said that I purchased full insurance and this should be covered. After 10 minutes he decided that he'd have to look into it. The front desk girl asked me to go bring her the luggage. I said that I'm going to dinner she can send someone to go pick it up. I had to call back on day 4 and 5 for them to look at the luggage and on day 6 I filled out a form stating that I would get a $100.00 credit for my $350. luggage. The cleaners left a wet bathroom rag in-between my suitcase and the dinner clothes I had draped over it. What were the cleaners doing by my closet handling my luggage? Let alone wiping things down with the bathroom rag! I held the rag outside the door and the cabin boy looked horrified. He ran past me, grabbed the rag and said, I'm sorry before he disappeared around the corner. I didn't call the front desk because I knew they wouldn't be helpful. I question the cleanliness of the ship and the integrity of the staff. The customer service agent is looking into my concerns and said she was embarrassed of their staff's actions. It's been two weeks since I talked with them and I haven't heard if they are going to refund my prepaid items or make up the difference in the value of the suitcase. I'm sorry Holland America. I won't be cruising with you again.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
Embarkation was a breeze. With three ships at Canada Place, the line for security was long--but moved very steadily. That served to space out people so that there were no delays for US Customs and Immigration, nor for check-in. Once we ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze. With three ships at Canada Place, the line for security was long--but moved very steadily. That served to space out people so that there were no delays for US Customs and Immigration, nor for check-in. Once we were through security, there were no further lineups before we got to our suite. The Mariner's luncheon in the dining room was very quiet, and set a nice tone for the week.Our Cabin was a Neptune Suite (7067) directly across from the Lounge. We could not have been more pleased with it. Spacious and bright during the day, but with effective blackout curtains not only on the windows, but also between the cabin and the dressing area (very useful when one of you is an early riser and the other is not!). Our cabin stewards, Bayu and Sodiq, attended to us promptly and well. The laundry stewards took care of our clothes speedily and accurately.For dining, we opted for fixed seating--as is our wont--and received extraordinary service from Wayan and Heri (our waiter and assistant waiter) and Arnold (our wine steward). I had availed myself of the opportunity to bring half a case of wine on board, and took four bottles down on the first night. Arnold managed them faultlessly.The quality of the food in the Dining Room was absolutely first rate. I persuaded our table companions that one never goes wrong ordering the chilled soups on HAL, and they all confirmed that my advice on the subject was sound! Not one disappointment in all of the meals taken in the main dining room.The Lido was less successful. While food options were many, and plentiful, most of the choices were uninspired. The sushi at the Asian station was downright insipid. The best options on the Lido seemed to be the Deli for very good sandwiches, and the Salad bar. Ultimately, the number of people, and general atmosphere makes the Lido my least favourite place to eat. (However, the cinnamon ice cream on Day 3 was a very yummy treat!)The Pinnacle was impeccable, but service at breakfast tended to being somewhat stiff. So much so that the last two mornings we opted to breakfast in the Main Dining Room instead, and enjoyed it more, given that we had table mates, rather than breakfasting at a table for two).We only ordered Room Service twice--once for breakfast on the first full day (when the Pinnacle was not yet open for breakfast), and once for hot and cold canapes before the first formal night). The breakfast order was missing an entire breakfast (mine), but fortunately I was able to pop across to the Pinnacle for a perfect substitute. The canapes were delivered absolutely on the dot, with the hot ones hot, and the cold ones cold, and were well received by us and our guests.The dinner at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle was flawless--but excruciatingly slow. Given that these items must be made to order, the service can never match the speed of the Dining Room, but it was still remarkable for the length of time between courses.We booked two shore excursions but alas, the first had to be cancelled since the seas in Auke Bay were too rough for the whale watching. The Mushers Camp and Sled Dog Encounter in Skagway was so good that it rivals Glacier Bay for the high point of our cruise. (Confound them for counting the puppies before letting us handle them!)I booked a pass for the Thermal Suites and made use of it every day after my workout. Only once did I find the thermal suite full, and then, no longer then it took me to start in the steam room. The hydro pool never had more than four people. Very much my own space when I used it. The Fitness Centre was well equipped, and I never had to wait for a treadmill, even on sea days.Entertainment in the bars was very good, particularly fine was the duo Allegro (violin and piano) who played nightly in the Explorer's Lounge.However, there were some aspects which did not get a 9 on our surveys.Entertainment in the Vista Lounge was more of a mixed bag. The first night was, frankly, dreadful. The musicians weren't even playing, it was patently obvious that it was prerecorded track, and the staging was very poor. The first night is a tough object--trying to put all of the ship's musicians, plus the singing and dancing cast on stage is a staging and technical nightmare--but you have to do it well, because this is the first impression that passengers will have. It needs a serious rethink.The two production shows fared much better--but still suffered because some of the lighting instruments were improperly focussed (or had settled in their yokes) meaning that there were big holes in the lighting design. Sound balance was pretty awful, too. The guest artists were all very entertaining, though.By far the most unpleasant element of the cruise was the incessant push on retail sale of jewellery. I am not so foolish as to misunderstand how important the retail real estate is to HAL's bottom line. But I cannot count the number of "promotions" and "invitations" that turned up in our mailbox to jewellery sales and events. And when we did go through the shops (which was unavoidable when in transit from late seating dinner to the show lounge), there was hardly anything else for sale. Not one camera, no camera accessories. No electronics. One tiny corner of duty free, and an even smaller corner of convenience items, a small perfumerie, and the rest was wall-to-wall jewellery and watches. (And just to demonstrate the fantasy that is shipboard pricing, one of our table companions was admiring a ring with a sticker price of $9,000 and was immediately told, "But for you, $3,000.")The Vista class ships are not our favourites--we remain firm fans of the R-class ships. Placing the public decks between the decks of accommodation means shorter travel time to and from whatever activities one wants to get up to. It maximizes the number of balconies, to be sure, but makes the vessel less of a ship and more of a floating hotel.But what does it matter whether or not one loves the ships when you receive service like this! And for all my complaints about jewellery sales, and poor lighting design in the show lounge, I would return to the Zuiderdam with nary a second thought! __________________ Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
[I read a disgruntled cruiser's review of this same trip and I feel like we were on 2 separate planets. Don't know how it could be, but our experience was So different!] We were expecting a good experience on HAL's ... Read More
[I read a disgruntled cruiser's review of this same trip and I feel like we were on 2 separate planets. Don't know how it could be, but our experience was So different!] We were expecting a good experience on HAL's Zuiderdam to the Inside Passage, but our cruise exceeded expectations in every way: PEOPLE: I've never seen such a group of smiling, helpful and friendly people anywhere. Cabin stewards were exceptional as were waiters, tour guides, front desk people -- and the great, informative tour guide (Shane) and Captain Timmers. I hope for equally helpful staff members on future cruises. CABIN: Gorgeous, beautifully kept and immaculate at all times. Couldn't have been better (we had a large balcony and spent a lot of time on it.) LIDO BUFFETS: We had excellent food and great service here. Would gladly return -- I'm diabetic and I very much appreciated the low carb foods and no-sugar-added desserts -- delicious and guilt-free! VISTA DINING ROOM: Had great food and nice service. Only exception was the last night when the staff was distracted by doing a "show" while serving -- this delayed service noticeably. Nice thought, tho. CANALETTO: This was the only place we had mediocre food -- 2 entres were tasteless. I'd focus some attention here, Zuiderdam. PINNACLE GRILL: Fantastic. My husband's salmon was "the best piece of fish I've ever eaten" (and he eats LOTS of fish) and my beef was fork-tender. Super. ROOM SERVICE: Just great. We ordered our breakfast ("eggbeater" omelettes, oatmeal, muffins, etc.) and everything was hot and delicious. FOOD Altogether: I wish I could have brought them home! PUBLIC AREAS: very nice. A previous reviewer complained of these facilities but I can't agree. The ship was beautiful and impressive. We went on a "behind the scenes" tour of the whole facility and were impressed at the scrupulous cleanliness of galleys, storage rooms, etc. They recycle everything they can. DIDN'T USE: casino, bars (much) or spa. NATURE GUIDES AND EXPERIENCES: Top notch and greatly exceeded expectations! WOULD DO AGAIN IN AN INSTANT! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2011
[A previous reviewer was WAY down on this ship, apparently cruising within a week or two of our cruise. We can't imagine how their experience could have been so diametrically opposed to ours. Read on . . .] Boarding the Zuiderdam ... Read More
[A previous reviewer was WAY down on this ship, apparently cruising within a week or two of our cruise. We can't imagine how their experience could have been so diametrically opposed to ours. Read on . . .] Boarding the Zuiderdam in Vancouver, we had taken several hours to evaluate this lovely ship from the docks, and we were impressed. Our high marks for the ship itself and their remarkably helpful and friendly staff were equalled by a fortunate selection of shore excursions (well, 2 out of 3) and we will definitely cruise with HAL again. Hopefully soon! EMBARKING VANCOUVER: customs lines are the same everywhere, but moved quickly. WELCOME: Friendly, helpful staff members were placed everywhere, luggage in room quickly, lots of info in printed form on bed for quick orientation. STATEROOM: can't say enough about this lovely (deluxe verandah) room. Spotless, nicely decorated, great touches like umbrella (didn't need, fortunately) and binoculars in room, bed HUGE and very, very comfy. ROOM STEWARDS: Ohmygosh, the joke that if you get up to use the bathroom at night, you'll return to a re-made bed seemed close to the truth. These smiling, ever-helpful guys could not have been better. Made every effort to tidy up when we were elsewhere--left little goodies. Wish I could have brought them home! EXERCISE FACILITY: beautiful; seemed about the right size for this ship as you rarely had to wait long for a machine. Great classes. ROOM SERVICE: wonderful. We had Eggbeater omelets every morning and they were delicious (and I'm picky) and hot upon arrival, always arriving in the time slot we requested. Seemed that if they were unsure about exactly what item you wanted, they sent both! LIDO BUFFETS: We had great experiences here -- quality, fresh, beautiful foods. Salad greens were crisp, many salad-bar add-ons, fresh fruit, etc. I'm diabetic and I was delighted to find many entrees I could eat and a variety of "no sugar added" desserts at every meal. Cruise was too short to try it all! And the staff was ever-present and always smiling. Also fresh coffee and iced tea, snacks all day long. CANALETTO: This was the only mediocre meal we had; antipasto was beautiful and delicious but the entrees were bland. Staff went out, however, to find me a no-sugar-added dessert when asked, cheerfully. VISTA DINING ROOM: Excellent food, attentive staff, what's not to like? However, the last night the staff planned a "show" for the diners and it delayed service significantly -- I would have preferred less dancing and faster service! PINNACLE GRILL: equalled any fine restaurant we've been to, and we've been to a lot. My beef was fork-tender and cooked as ordered and my husband's salmon was as good as he's had anywhere, he said. Will go here several times next cruise. SHOWS: nicely amusing and well-performed. Let's face it, this is not Broadway, but the performers are excellent and the shows about an hour long. STAFF: remarkable, unfailingly smiling and helpful. Cruise director (Shane Michaels) was a riot -- don't miss every morning "Good Morning Zuiderdam" show on closed-circuit tv. Captain (Werner Timmers) very personable and tolerant -- good sense of humor. Dining facility staff and room stewards just great! Shore excursion people helpful as can be. WINE TASTING and FOOD DEMOS: excellent. Will do again. BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR: This was fantastic. Expensive but we loved it. Went on the BRIDGE, to the galleys, monitoring center for mechanical functions, saw trash-sorting-for-recycling area (who'da thought?), etc. BARS,ETC: just like bars! NEPTUNE LOUNGE: special for suite-occupants -- nice help with ordering items, goodies to munch and coffee/tea/?wine?, etc. available. Didn't really need it much as so much was available elsewhere on the ship. DIDN'T PARTAKE of: EXPLORER LOUNGE (new Starbucks-like coffee shop)--it looked interesting but was very busy everytime we looked. Also didn't partake: spa, casino, children's facilities, beauty salon, stores (much), snack bars on deck. PUBLIC AREAS; (slammed in former review) while not brand-new they are scrupulously maintained and attractive. As I'd expect on a premium ship. SHORE EXCURSIONS: See below: Juneau: huge pods of both orcas and humpback whales. Do this! Skagway Railroad was well worth it; gorgeous views. Ketchikan: would not recommend the 4-wheel drive. Lots of hard bumps and no views to make them worthwhile. All towns are heavily touristy -- but I figure people must like this to support them so much -- but we didn't shop in those places. VIEWS, NATURALISTS, SURROUNDINGS, ETC: Life-changingly inspirational. Just incredible. To see so much land undisturbed by humans was eye-popping! Lots and lots of wildlife viewed--whales, bald eagles, 1 bear, sea lions, mountain goats, otters, owl, puffins, glaciers calving. Just remarkable. HOLLAND AMERICAN WILL BE MY CRUISE LINE WHENEVER POSSIBLE, AS THEIR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY IS OBVIOUS AND THEY SPOILED US FROM START TO FINISH. Their managers must be excellent because you don't get such a smooth-running, people-oriented, quality service without great management. Read Less
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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