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Franklin Bennett

Age: 25

Occupation:Teacher

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Zaandam

Sailing Date: March 13th, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean


This was the first cruise I have ever been on and the second my wife has been on we were looking forward to this cruise a great deal and were for the most part satisfied. I just wanted take a few minutes to tell you what I did and did not like about the cruise.

First of all we were very pleased with the ports of call. I would recommend taking a ferry to Jost Van Dyke while on Tortola. Half Moon Cay was the most beautiful beach I have ever been on. The disembarkation went very smoothly for the most part although we did get off later than expected at Tortola, which cost us beach time.

One thing we were not pleased with was our room on the Dolphin Deck (the lowest level of cabins). Several times during the cruise, especially the first 2 days we were at sea, our room shook like we were in an earthquake from the ship hitting the waves. We did not get much sleep the first night. Our bathroom had a faint smell of sewage and there was a creaking during the night that lasted the entire cruise. I had to request earplugs so that I could sleep through the night. Also the comforter and blankets on the bed desperately need to be updated. They were gross.

For the most part we greatly enjoyed the food in the main dining room, though on occasion it was somewhat bland. The desserts were fabulous. Be sure and dine in the dining room on the next to last night to get the lobster tail and filet mignon. There were 2 formal nights (which we enjoyed getting dressed up for), one informal night, and the rest were casual. There was also a buffet on the Lido deck everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner which had a pretty good selection and better than average food. One of the food highlights was the grill beside the indoor pool. It was open from 11:00 to 5:00 everyday and had excellent hamburgers, pizza, fajitas and more. We loved getting a mid-afternoon snack here.
The ship seemed to have a good # of activities throughout the day, though we were mostly just interested in laying out. This was not easy to do on the aft deck due to the uncomforable strong wind. The weather was great but the wind on this deck (which had a pool) was next to unbearable. In fact twice we started to lay out there then left because the wind made it intolerable. For the most part the lido pool, which was indoor, was a lot better in terms of wind but on a few occasions it did get bad in there as well.

We loved "Caribbean Steel" the steel drum band that played by the pool every day. They were great and made the trip a lot of fun.

The rest of the entertainment and shows in the evening hours were hit and miss. They had a great juggling act that performed amazing tricks and had the crowd laughing. They also did a Newlywed/Not-so-Newlywed gameshow one night and I don't think I've ever laughed as hard. Most of this however was due to an older man that gave the funniest answers I have ever heard. They had a very funny comedian perform one night as well. However, a couple of nights were downright awful. The crew performed an Indonesion show one night, which my wife and I left after the first act. It was terrible. Then there was a magic act which most of the audience seemed to enjoy, but I was bored to tears.

Overall we would recommend this cruise to others, but for our next cruise we will probably try another line. The ship was extremely nice and the food was excellent. Holland America does cater to an older crowd but with the onboard theater and other activities we found plenty to do.

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