Go Back   Cruise Reviews Forums > Cruise Lines > Holland America Line
Register Forgot Password?
New! Use your Facebook, Google, AIM & Yahoo accounts to securely log into this site, click logo to login  
Search

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2003, 04:50 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 54
Default
Had a wonderful on ZUIDERDAM, and a nice introduction to HAL. She is a nice ship but everyone I spoke to who compared her to the S-class, did so in a negative way. She is not going to be my favorite ship and I doubt many other people's. That said her public areas are beautiful... Except the GHASTLY "stain-hiding" carpeting. After a whole week of looking at the stuff (it is, literally, EVERYWHERE) I still could not get used to it.

Cabin was big, badly laid-out, with TERRIBLE sound insulation (fine cabin-to-cabin, but NONEXISTENT when it comes to the corridors), cheap-looking furniture, and decor with all the style and charm of a Holiday Inn. I peeked in lots of different cabins/suites this morning. There are as many shapes/sizes of inside cabins as there are of all the other types combined. Big ones, small ones, all different layouts, it's almost like the old ships were, except these cabins are not so well-planned! My upper berth was in such an odd place I will only be able to describe it by showing a picture...

Interestingly enough, the decor is very cheap-looking in the standard inside/outside cabins but balcony cabins and suites (67% of the ship) look very nice. It looks like they ran out of money to decorate the "cheap seats"!

Food was very good... Service was pleasant enough but crew members seemed to "distance themselves" from passengers... No "small talk" etc., not that that is a bad thing! Captain Jack van Coeuverden (hope I spelled that right) was the crankiest looking guy on the ship - he was all over, frowning the whole time. In the "standing next to the captain" photos he looked like the background - in hundreds lined up in the photo gallery, he was the same exact position, expression, etc. in every one . Now, I would not want to have to shake 2,000 passengers' hands every week and so on, but he certainly came off as a very sombre fellow. On the plus side he got us there .

The entertainment - it was typical cruise ship entertainment. I could hardly tell the good from the bad. The production shows were typical, with liberal use of the various showroom gadgets, loud music, fancy costumes, and no plot whatsoever. The "guest entertainers" were very good though, and much more enjoyable than the production shows which I could do without. More on them later. They seem to be HAL regulars (one has an exclusive contract) and are very, very good. Speaking of the showlounge, the layout thereof defies logic. It is virtually impossible to find a seat that does not have at least one pillar obstructing its view. Other cruise lines have come up with mostly, if not totally, pillarless showlounges, why not HAL? Big thumbs down on the design of this room... And the Queens Lounge - that's the replacement for the cinema - which is a flat floor, with awful sightlines, uncomfortable seats, and generally ugly decor to boot. Whoever designed this room, was not thinking when they did it.

We ate last night at Odyssey. It was very good... Better than the dining room. The "gourmet" types should be pleased enough. I'm glad we tried it but I wouldn't spend the $20 on it again. Frankly we were well-fed enough, though in turn you would spend a lot more than $20 for the equivalent meal on land. The menu is very limited... Basically, it is a steakhouse, with typical appetizers and side dishes, but very little in the way of salads, or desserts. Best part, actually, was a spoonful of salmon tartare presented along with goat cheese and sushi at the beginning of the meal, "compliments of the chef". I liked it, but my favorite meal on the ship was actually one in the dining room. I have to say, they did a great job with the food, everywhere on the ship.

The Lido is confusing to navigate the first day - it is more a food court with "stations" than a buffet - but the variety is astounding and all of the food is good. FAR better than anything seen on Princess, RCI, etc.

The daily programs are awful... They hardly even exist. One page printed on both sides. Seems very "cheap", along with the elimination of the self-service laundries. We wouldn't use those on a seven-day cruise, but, for two weeks or so, it becomes rather ridiculous to go bringing along 28 pairs of underwear per person, no? I know they have laundry service, but I still don't see what was wrong with the laundries which were certainly well-frequented! (Oh, I know, they did not produce revenue!) Other things I didn't like... Continuous "elevator music" in the public areas. Announcements for Bingo - not premium! Other little odds and ends too. So there is the expected "pedantic rundown". All in all there is very little to fault about HAL's product. I liked the ship but felt it let them down a little - everything else was too perfect for a notably imperfect, if enjoyable and interesting ship!

Miscellaneous positives - as I said, the food, the service... Lovely outer decks with great teak deck chairs... The outside glass elevators are interesting... Public areas are beautiful! Barring the infamous carpet, they may look gaudy in photos, but are gorgeous in person, and certainly not at all glitzy or gaudy.. The layout of the ship is very sensible and easy to navigate. Excellent art collection (still discovering new things as we left this morning). Stephen Card's paintings of course (though no doubt he will be unhappy to hear that one is mislabeled). Other things I can't remember.

Half Moon Cay - a really first-rate private island, much nicer than I expected. If I have to be in the Caribbean, this had ought to be one of the stops . Unfortunately, despite factor 45 sunblock cream, I have acquired a nasty sunburn (and I was in the shade). Of course, not HAL's fault. It is a beautiful island!

The ship has a definite noise/vibration problem... Our table (lower level of the dining room, two-thirds aft) vibrated incessantly, accompanied by the loud sound of something or other rotating about once per second. Certainly, something is not right. Interestingly a very unhappy-looking guy in a red ABB jumpsuit was milling around this morning. Hmm...

I had ought to mention at this point that HAL's embarkation procedure is ridiculous... Or so it would seem. Princess or RCI (our most recent cruises), you wait on a line, check in, get your "card", and (if you arrived when boarding is underway), get on the ship. Not HAL... First, you are given a little blue card with a number. We got there at around 1:30 PM. Boarding was supposed to start at 3:00 PM. We got a number "33". Number "14" was being boarded when we got to the terminal. After getting the number (no explanation as to what to do with it - lots of confused people milling around), we got several forms to fill out not included in the tickets. After a detour to fill out said forms, we got on line to check-in, were given "cards" (ID/charge card/cabin key). Then to another line for "security photo"... This is scanned into your card. A long procedure - with the others, this is done as you first step on the ship - you just look into a little mirror-like lens, card is scanned, and voila, you're finished. Here, there is a line. After the line, you mill around until they call your "number". By now, they were on "16". They finally called "33" around 3:30 PM... In the meantime, we sat down in a waiting lounge and, well, waited, while HAl tried to sell us stuff from a "snack bar". Every few minutes, a number is called, and another couple of dozen people are permitted on board. There is a BIG gap between the time you get into the terminal and the time you get on the ship... As I said, for us, about two hours, which is MUCH longer than we have previously seen... All due to these "numbers".

I would be interested if any HAL regulars could enlighten me as to what the point of this lengthy process is. Other cruise lines (with even larger ships) seem to do fine without it.

Anyhow, luckily the rest of the cruise was much better... As I have said it is hard to fault HAL for much anything... Will we cruise on them again? Definite YES... Do not be surprised if we wind up on HAL for our next cruise . Most of the things that bothered us on Princess and RCI, did not exist on HAL. Would I cruise on ZUIDERDAM again? Yes, if she's going where we want, when we want... But I'd aim for another ship instead, for variety's sake and because I think she may well be a step down from other HAL ships (my grandparents were very unimpressed with her and preferred the S-class ships, an opinion shared with many people we spoke to).

More later, and for quite a ways after. I have about 400 photos though I overslept several times so did not manage to photograph some areas of the ship... I managed to catch most of it the first day (early in the morning), meant to get up early again to complete the job, but did not do so !
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2003, 04:50 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 54
Default
Had a wonderful on ZUIDERDAM, and a nice introduction to HAL. She is a nice ship but everyone I spoke to who compared her to the S-class, did so in a negative way. She is not going to be my favorite ship and I doubt many other people's. That said her public areas are beautiful... Except the GHASTLY "stain-hiding" carpeting. After a whole week of looking at the stuff (it is, literally, EVERYWHERE) I still could not get used to it.

Cabin was big, badly laid-out, with TERRIBLE sound insulation (fine cabin-to-cabin, but NONEXISTENT when it comes to the corridors), cheap-looking furniture, and decor with all the style and charm of a Holiday Inn. I peeked in lots of different cabins/suites this morning. There are as many shapes/sizes of inside cabins as there are of all the other types combined. Big ones, small ones, all different layouts, it's almost like the old ships were, except these cabins are not so well-planned! My upper berth was in such an odd place I will only be able to describe it by showing a picture...

Interestingly enough, the decor is very cheap-looking in the standard inside/outside cabins but balcony cabins and suites (67% of the ship) look very nice. It looks like they ran out of money to decorate the "cheap seats"!

Food was very good... Service was pleasant enough but crew members seemed to "distance themselves" from passengers... No "small talk" etc., not that that is a bad thing! Captain Jack van Coeuverden (hope I spelled that right) was the crankiest looking guy on the ship - he was all over, frowning the whole time. In the "standing next to the captain" photos he looked like the background - in hundreds lined up in the photo gallery, he was the same exact position, expression, etc. in every one . Now, I would not want to have to shake 2,000 passengers' hands every week and so on, but he certainly came off as a very sombre fellow. On the plus side he got us there .

The entertainment - it was typical cruise ship entertainment. I could hardly tell the good from the bad. The production shows were typical, with liberal use of the various showroom gadgets, loud music, fancy costumes, and no plot whatsoever. The "guest entertainers" were very good though, and much more enjoyable than the production shows which I could do without. More on them later. They seem to be HAL regulars (one has an exclusive contract) and are very, very good. Speaking of the showlounge, the layout thereof defies logic. It is virtually impossible to find a seat that does not have at least one pillar obstructing its view. Other cruise lines have come up with mostly, if not totally, pillarless showlounges, why not HAL? Big thumbs down on the design of this room... And the Queens Lounge - that's the replacement for the cinema - which is a flat floor, with awful sightlines, uncomfortable seats, and generally ugly decor to boot. Whoever designed this room, was not thinking when they did it.

We ate last night at Odyssey. It was very good... Better than the dining room. The "gourmet" types should be pleased enough. I'm glad we tried it but I wouldn't spend the $20 on it again. Frankly we were well-fed enough, though in turn you would spend a lot more than $20 for the equivalent meal on land. The menu is very limited... Basically, it is a steakhouse, with typical appetizers and side dishes, but very little in the way of salads, or desserts. Best part, actually, was a spoonful of salmon tartare presented along with goat cheese and sushi at the beginning of the meal, "compliments of the chef". I liked it, but my favorite meal on the ship was actually one in the dining room. I have to say, they did a great job with the food, everywhere on the ship.

The Lido is confusing to navigate the first day - it is more a food court with "stations" than a buffet - but the variety is astounding and all of the food is good. FAR better than anything seen on Princess, RCI, etc.

The daily programs are awful... They hardly even exist. One page printed on both sides. Seems very "cheap", along with the elimination of the self-service laundries. We wouldn't use those on a seven-day cruise, but, for two weeks or so, it becomes rather ridiculous to go bringing along 28 pairs of underwear per person, no? I know they have laundry service, but I still don't see what was wrong with the laundries which were certainly well-frequented! (Oh, I know, they did not produce revenue!) Other things I didn't like... Continuous "elevator music" in the public areas. Announcements for Bingo - not premium! Other little odds and ends too. So there is the expected "pedantic rundown". All in all there is very little to fault about HAL's product. I liked the ship but felt it let them down a little - everything else was too perfect for a notably imperfect, if enjoyable and interesting ship!

Miscellaneous positives - as I said, the food, the service... Lovely outer decks with great teak deck chairs... The outside glass elevators are interesting... Public areas are beautiful! Barring the infamous carpet, they may look gaudy in photos, but are gorgeous in person, and certainly not at all glitzy or gaudy.. The layout of the ship is very sensible and easy to navigate. Excellent art collection (still discovering new things as we left this morning). Stephen Card's paintings of course (though no doubt he will be unhappy to hear that one is mislabeled). Other things I can't remember.

Half Moon Cay - a really first-rate private island, much nicer than I expected. If I have to be in the Caribbean, this had ought to be one of the stops . Unfortunately, despite factor 45 sunblock cream, I have acquired a nasty sunburn (and I was in the shade). Of course, not HAL's fault. It is a beautiful island!

The ship has a definite noise/vibration problem... Our table (lower level of the dining room, two-thirds aft) vibrated incessantly, accompanied by the loud sound of something or other rotating about once per second. Certainly, something is not right. Interestingly a very unhappy-looking guy in a red ABB jumpsuit was milling around this morning. Hmm...

I had ought to mention at this point that HAL's embarkation procedure is ridiculous... Or so it would seem. Princess or RCI (our most recent cruises), you wait on a line, check in, get your "card", and (if you arrived when boarding is underway), get on the ship. Not HAL... First, you are given a little blue card with a number. We got there at around 1:30 PM. Boarding was supposed to start at 3:00 PM. We got a number "33". Number "14" was being boarded when we got to the terminal. After getting the number (no explanation as to what to do with it - lots of confused people milling around), we got several forms to fill out not included in the tickets. After a detour to fill out said forms, we got on line to check-in, were given "cards" (ID/charge card/cabin key). Then to another line for "security photo"... This is scanned into your card. A long procedure - with the others, this is done as you first step on the ship - you just look into a little mirror-like lens, card is scanned, and voila, you're finished. Here, there is a line. After the line, you mill around until they call your "number". By now, they were on "16". They finally called "33" around 3:30 PM... In the meantime, we sat down in a waiting lounge and, well, waited, while HAl tried to sell us stuff from a "snack bar". Every few minutes, a number is called, and another couple of dozen people are permitted on board. There is a BIG gap between the time you get into the terminal and the time you get on the ship... As I said, for us, about two hours, which is MUCH longer than we have previously seen... All due to these "numbers".

I would be interested if any HAL regulars could enlighten me as to what the point of this lengthy process is. Other cruise lines (with even larger ships) seem to do fine without it.

Anyhow, luckily the rest of the cruise was much better... As I have said it is hard to fault HAL for much anything... Will we cruise on them again? Definite YES... Do not be surprised if we wind up on HAL for our next cruise . Most of the things that bothered us on Princess and RCI, did not exist on HAL. Would I cruise on ZUIDERDAM again? Yes, if she's going where we want, when we want... But I'd aim for another ship instead, for variety's sake and because I think she may well be a step down from other HAL ships (my grandparents were very unimpressed with her and preferred the S-class ships, an opinion shared with many people we spoke to).

More later, and for quite a ways after. I have about 400 photos though I overslept several times so did not manage to photograph some areas of the ship... I managed to catch most of it the first day (early in the morning), meant to get up early again to complete the job, but did not do so !
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2003, 01:43 AM
Raoul Fiebig's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Paderborn, Germany
Posts: 8,512
Default
Hi Doug,

thanks for sharing your first impressions, and I look forward to seeing your pictures.

Best regards,

Raoul Fiebig
Das Ruderhaus
__________________
Best regards,

Raoul Fiebig

  #4 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2003, 11:44 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 54
Default
quote:
Originally posted by Raoul Fiebig:
thanks for sharing your first impressions, and I look forward to seeing your pictures.


You're most welcome . Photos may be a while, first I've got to downsize, color-correct, get them all up on a server, and before I start that, I've got to get reasonably caught up on work...

Ah, well, you'll be able to see them eventually ...
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 04-29-2003, 04:31 AM
Raoul Fiebig's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Paderborn, Germany
Posts: 8,512
Default
quote:
Originally posted by shiploverny:
You're most welcome . Photos may be a while, first I've got to downsize, color-correct, get them all up on a server, and before I start that, I've got to get reasonably caught up on work...


Hi Doug,

the above sounds familiar. I've been through that dozens of times.

Best regards,

Raoul Fiebig
Das Ruderhaus
__________________
Best regards,

Raoul Fiebig

 
Closed Thread

Tags
entertainment, zuiderdam

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
March 31 on the Zuiderdam arckac Holland America Line 2 03-29-2007 10:06 AM
HAL Zuiderdam KimmyO Holland America Line 17 01-04-2006 04:59 PM
food on Zuiderdam cruise virgins Holland America Line 5 09-30-2005 08:22 AM
nightlife on zuiderdam aimsmith Holland America Line 1 05-24-2004 03:13 PM
ZUIDERDAM Review shiploverny General Cruise Chat 3 06-04-2003 07:29 PM


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
 

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:02 PM.

Contact Us - Terms of Use - Cruise Reviews Home - Archive - Privacy Statement - Top

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2