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Gregg

Age: 35

Occupation:Attorney

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Zuiderdam

Sailing Date: November 13th, 2004

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Joel below has it right on, but I wanted to go one step further. Here goes..... We chose to book a hassle-free trip, and thus, decided to try cruising. My only other cruising experience was when I was a kid and we sailed on a great line called Sitmar. Anyway, HAL seemed like a good line and was competitively priced, so we gave it a whirl. I will start with the good and then tell you the bad:

The ports (Half Moon Cay, Tortola, St. Thomas and Nassau) were all great. St. Thomas was over-commercialized and HMC was just ok, but the weather was perfect each day of the cruise.

The check in was super easy.

The cabins were nice. We had a balcony which was nice.

The Pinnacle Grille was nice and definitely worth the supplemental $20/person per meal.

Ok -- the bad:

Food: Mediocre. The food in the main dining room was so mass prepared looking and rarely hot. It took complaints to the head waiter to get hot food. The Lido deck dining room was ok, and offered a wide variety if you wanted a snack throughout the day. Room service was ok too, but the service (see below) was poor and the room service staff only would stick to the menu strictly (for example, if you wanted a bagel instead of toast, they said -- we don't have it even though it was available in the dining room).

Service: The staff is extremely lazy!!!!The waiters do not wait on the ladies first at a table and provide no elegance to the cruising experience. Also, the staff is all about selling selling selling. Unlimited sodas for $35, pre-ordered wine, etc., but to get a cocktail by the pool requires extra effort on the passenger's part. We were playing bingo in a lounge and wanted a drink, and the staff said, "we aren't opened for another 30 minutes." Are you kidding me? The staff should be there to do whatever the passengers want -- that is what cruising should be about to me.

The Ship: Cheezy, closed in public areas. They are more about selling overpriced ugly art than making the ship accomodating to the passengers.

Passengers: We were lucky enough to be traveling with 400 people who participated in the Post-Election Cruise for the NATIONAL REVIEW. Lucky I brought my swastika. They took up public areas for private functions and made sure they were known. Most of the passengers were nice but DEFINITELY 50 PLUS. Stay away unless you have an oxygen tent with you.

I would try cruising again, but would go on Celebrity or Princess only. The Z-dam is second rate at best and not worth it.

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