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The Chamberlains

Age: Mid Twenties

Occupation:Law Enforcement

Number of Cruises: First Cruise

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Zuiderdam

Sailing Date: November 27th, 2004

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

This was our first cruise and we weren’t sure what to expect.

We stayed to night before in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We arrived at the embarkation area about two hours before things started. There was already a long line, however things went very smoothly.

Initially the rooms weren’t ready for the guests so we went to the Lido deck and enjoyed some complimentary refreshments while we waited. Shortly there after we were allowed into our room. We had a partial ocean view room, so nothing real fancy. It had two twin beds that were pushed together to make a queen sized bed. The bed was very comfortable and we had no problems sleeping on it. It had a table and love seat, along with a small vanity and t.v. There was plenty of closet space and hangers. We were happy to see that the bathroom had a medicine cabinet as well as a full bath and didn’t seem to confined for space. The ocean view was very filtered with the life boats just outside the window. Other than the filtered view the only thing about the room that we didn’t like was the lighting was awkward. There were many switches and I don’t know if we ever figured out what went to what. Next time we’ll bump up to a balcony suite.

We thought the food was very good in the main dining room. We were able to have seconds (and thirds once) of the main course. The food was hot and tasted very good. The service in the main dining room was excellent. Had the same servers all week and got to know them very well. The food court area on the Lido deck also provided good food and several different options. I especially liked the ice cream bar that was open very late. They had Italian, Chinese, Sandwiches, and one that changed each night. The only other place we ate was in our cabin for breakfast. The room service is great. They were on time every day and our food was always warm and how we wanted it. With the room service you got to choose the time your food was delivered which made it very accommodating to our schedule.

The service in generally was exceptional. The room service was almost scary, in that every time we left the room, even if only gone for a few minutes when we came back the room had been cleaned. The cabin stewards do a fine job. The dining room staff was very attentive and we probably will miss our servers the most of anybody on the crew. They were very personably and we got to know a lot about them. The only negative about service aboard the ship was the customer service desk. The lady working it seemed not very eager to help.

Our ports of call were great, except for Tortola. We found there was not much to do there and wouldn’t go back again. Other than that there was plenty to do at each port and we had a great time exploring the different islands.

Overall we were very pleased with our experience. We would highly recommend the Zuiderdam to our friends. We are planning another cruise with HAL soon, this time with a balcony suite.

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