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Zuiderdam - Post one - the Bad Stuff

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by coolgirl, Jan 6, 2003.


    LMSMINK Guest

    We just returned from Zuiderdam today and I CAN'T AGREE WITH YOU MORE about this ship. If it weren't for the couple we were traveling with, who were wonderful, we would have gotten off at St. Kitts and flown home. As a veteran of over 60 cruises, 5 of which were on HAL, I'd rate this as a minus ZERO.

    We had a balcony cabin on Deck 7 at the back of the ship. A wonderful, extra deep balcony that was totally unuseable. It was a big trash recepticle for ash trays, soda and beer cans, straws, used towels and anything else floating down from the Lido deck. The first day I sat outside with a book to enjoy a lovely afternoon at sea, and after about 10 minutes a beer can (with beer) came crashing down on the deck, followed by an ash tray full of butts! And that ended the balcony use. We reported it to the hotel manager and got a "sorry" and a bottle of wine!

    Also, embarkation was a nightmare. It took over 3 hours from the time we arrived at the port. And we didn't sail until 11:30 pm because of a broken on the prop that they couldn't get fixed. That cut our time in Nassau down by a few hours.

    Debarkation was almost as bad.........Oh, so slow! (We just went on RCCL's new Navigator of the Seas in February and were off the ship before 9.) Today it was 10:15 before our feet touched terra firma.

    Needless to say, a letter is going to the home office on Monday...............
  2. Linda,

    We cruised on the Z on 4/5 to 4/12 also. Our worst experience was in the dining room. This being my second cruise, I could only compare it to the Summit (Celebrity Lines) and it just didn't compare. Our waiters attitude was awful. When we asked to have 2 deserts because we wanted to try both, I was told if we wanted extra desert to go back to our cabin and order room service. We were never asked what we wanted to drink with our meal and I had to ask for coffee. We were never asked if we wanted anything else either. We were at an 8 top and the waiter decided on the 2nd night to break it down to 2 4tops dispite everyones objections. We ate by ourselves the rest of the cruise. I also thought the meal presentation was awful, just thrown on our plates. I would caution people eating there to throughly dissect their crab legs before eating. I was choked on one of the things inside the meat and it ruined my meal. Also look out for sparker residue before eating the baked alaska. I was talking and not watching my food carefully and wound up with a nice piece of the black stuff too.

    The smells were there. Really bad on the main deck and several times in our bathroom. I found several restrooms out of order with no signs posted (when you could find them in the first place).

    The ship rocked alot worse than the Summit. I have the bruises to prove it. The engine noise was noticable everywhere on the ship.

    The embarkation was lousy due to the down computers and I hated my family missed seeing us leave Ft. Lauderdale due to the 11:30pm departure, this being their first cruise. Fortunately we got first debarkation from the ship and were in our car and leaving by 9am.

    But even with all the bad stuff, we still enjoyed our cruise. The ship was beautiful and our B cabin was nice. Our cabin attendant was nice and our room was always very clean. We stuffed napkins in the doors on our balcony to stop the constant clanging noise and it really helped. Our balcony was large enough for deck chairs and we wished several times that we had them. My DH said the ship's decor reminded him of Vegas. We enjoyed the vibrant colors and the decor. But I never got used to which way to go after you got off the elevators. I must be directionly handicapped. But this is not a ship for teenagers. The game rooms were very small and my son was soon bored and napped alot or just watched the movies on the tube. We didn't see but about 10 other teenagers and we went during spring break. My DH and I enjoyed the casino and just being at sea. The bartender in the Sports lounge was great.

    I found it odd that they would show Ghost Ship for one of their movies in the Queens Lounge. My son said the first 10 minutes was just slice and dice stuff and most of the pax just got up and left. He also said the only place you could really see the screen was to be sitting at the bar.

    I hate that my first post is negative, but I think others should be aware of the problems we encountered. I have read other positive reviews and it seems like we were on entirely different ships some of the time.

    I sent an e-mail to HAL too, but have had no response. I hope the other people in our area of the dining room write too. They all seemed to be put off by the service and our waiters bad attitute. It was openly discussed. I did notice very few people tipped the last nite where we sat. My family was advised by other cruisers to try Princess next time to get a better feel of what cruising is really like.
  3. thulewx

    thulewx Guest

    Nickleslots, there's a way to fix the problems you had with the waiter - you speak to the Maitre'D about the service immediately, and let him know you will be speaking to the hotel manager (Nick Burger) next. If you don't complain there, you shouldn't complain here.
    I was on the Z for 3 weeks and never encountered the dreaded "smells" nor did the ship rock excessively nor did I hear engine noises. As far as the crab legs and Alaska, the problems you mentioned happen everywhere.
    Sorry the cruise wasn't perfect...
  4. Lady Jag

    Lady Jag Guest

    I, for one, appreciate hearing the bad as well as the good. Too many people are intimidated into not reporting the bad stuff. For every coin, there are two sides. Thanks so much for all the posts, both bad and good! :thumb
  5. Thulewx,

    If we had known to complain to the Maitre'D, do you think we would have endured 7 days of this guys rudeness? As I said, my only prior cruise was on the Summit and with no problems there, how would I have known what to do?

    Glad you didn't encounter the smells, they were not pleasant. And judging from other posts from people on some other boards that were on the Z 4/5 to 4/12, they smelled them too. Could be with all the rocking the ship was doin, it just stirred them up and they came out.

    Sorry, if you thought I was complaining, I thought I was letting others know what happened by stating facts. Isn't that what these boards are for? I apologize for ruffling your feathers. I had no idea one family's problems on their cruise would cause someone else such distress. Opinions are like noses, everyone has one.
  6. Lady Jag

    Lady Jag Guest

    How can anyone make a choice of cruise line/ship if no one ever reports the bad? We all need to know BOTH sides - the good AND the bad. :thumb
  7. thulewx

    thulewx Guest

    Nickleslots - if something is wrong (i.e. rude waiter), I complain to someone in their chain of command - their immediate boss (head waiter), then if no satisfaction, to their boss (Matire' D) then to their boss (hotel manager) then their boss (Captain), etc... I don't put up with it for 7 days like a martyr, then complain to the public. If I get NO satisfaction after having complained, THEN I would vent my frustration on the boards.
  8. Thulewx,

    I e-mailed Hal 2 days after our debarkation about the problems we encountered. I still have had no response. I wrote about our problems on this board 2 weeks after my e-mail to HAL. My next move is to contact a (live) HAL representive by phone that a friend knows. I do not expect anything to happen. I just wanted the complaint to go in the guys file. Our cruise is over, paid for and now just a memory. Too bad the waiter at our area was not as good as the rest of the staff we met . Even the repairmen who replaced the refrigerator in our cabin were pleasant. As I said before, dispite the dining room and the other things we encountered, we still had a good time. We all know things happen and we deal with them.

    Thank you for letting me know the chain of command I need to go through if there is another problem on our next cruise. Hopefully we will never encounter this kind of service again on any cruise line. As new cruisers, we are learning the ropes slowly but surely. We are starting to plan our next family cruise now. We are hooked. LOL
  9. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    LMSMINK....We boarded Zuiderdam the day you disembarked and we had NONE of the difficulties you describe in our two weeks aboard. We had two fabulous cruises with no delays (other than a thirty minute delay on sailaway from FLL as Captain chose to wait for luggage to be delivered from the airport . The pax made it to the ship but their luggage did not and rather than have pax do without their luggage Captain Jack held the ship to wait for it . I doubt anyone would complain about that decision....particularly if it were your suitcase we were waiting for).

    We never experienced any of the odors that have been described and I specifically inquired from an Engineer what was the deal with these odors. They have not existed aboard for some time and the problem has long been resolved. So....sometimes the power of suggestion may be stronger that the reality? We were on every inch of that ship ...forward, aft, all public decks.....never in two weeks smelled any foul odor. I was searching for it...sniffing for it.....never once got a hint of it.

    I know, I know.....my weeks aboard could have been different than your week aboard; I know, I know....I may have gotten the only good steward in the dining room and you had one of the horrid ones; I know we all experience the same ship in a different way......but what I DO know is that we had wonderful service; really remarkably excellent food in all of the dining venues aboard and Chef Mahn is magnificent IMO

    Nick Burger is such an incredibly competent, available, accessible Hotel Manager that if he had been informed of your displeasure, it would have been addressed. He cares so very much about his guests and his crew. We've met alot of HM's and Mr. Burger is in a league of his own IMO He wants you to be happy...he cares!

    Guest Relations Manager Marian Koopman is tops at her work and she is there to assist you if you advise her there is a problem. We KNOW these people .....there are few (if any) better at sea IMO I first met Marian when we had what seemed like an insolvable problem aboard Ryndam some years ago. That woman is so expert at her work she played me like a fiddle and I knew it and I left her office happy when I never dreamed that could be possible.

    If you don't tell 'em, they can't help. To suffer in silence is a guarantee things cannot improve. To wait until you have left the ship to register complaints is futile. You're already gone; your vacation is over; all they can do is offer money?

    Post Edited (04-29-03 10:53)
  10. Hi S7S
    Is that a Picture of the Ryndam you have on your post now? it is so hard to tell unless you get a closer view.
    It looks like HAL put in there 1st team for your cruise, we also know most of the people who served you, and can add that you are so right about having problems taken care of on the ship when they happen, if you wait till you get off they will think all you want is a free cruise and not to fix the problem.
    I hope Capt. Jack did not tell you to many of his stories,once he starts he has a ton of them on all kinds of funny things Guests and crew members have done. With Nick Burger running the hotel side, I am sure you had no problems there, was his wife with him she is well schooled on how to do all the events, and is very charming herself for not working for HAL.
    Glad to see you back safe and sound, when are you going next?

  11. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Thanks, Barry.

    Captain Jack and Nick Burger are always so gracious and fun and we knew they were both aboard before we arrived. They have been there for some months. It is always an utter delight to sail with both of them as well as Chef Mike.

    Barry....I've lost your e-mail addy and it isn't listed when clicking your name. If you care to......e-mail me and "we'll talk".

    Post Edited (04-29-03 13:37)
  12. Hi S7S is Marian Koopman the 6' tall lady that did all the video's, and was on our first cruise on the Ryndam.
    Can you still get afternoon tea and/or hors d'oeuvres in your suite or do you have to go to the Neptune now?


    Post Edited (04-29-03 21:18)
  13. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest


    Marion is a lovely Dutch lady .....not the 6' tall videographer.

    She has been a GRM for at least 6-7 years...maybe more. She's a beautiful young woman, about 5'7" or so with dark brown hair. Very bright and capable and delightful and a real asset to HAL.

    In all honesty, we have never ordered afternoon tea in our Suite. We are still well sated from lunch :) but I do think you can have it (and/or hors d'oeuvres) en suite.
  14. peaches

    peaches Guest

    The GRM on the Rotterdam in April is headed to the Noordam. She is young and absolutely adorable. I talked with her at length at 2 of the suite events and when we had a cabin problem she handled it in an exemplary manner. I am embarrassed to say I can't remember her name, but if you are on the Noordam stop in and say hello. A real asset to HAL.
  15. I am sorry S7S, the person I was thinking of was in the HAL Ship video's, and not making them, and yes she was Dutch and on the Ryndam in 95 I am sure she was about 6' tall because with heels she was almost as tall as me.
    Thanks for the info, we are going to have our group come to our cabin for hors d'oeuveres before dinner, when there is time.

  16. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    I do know that Marion was a GRM on Ryndam some years ago. She was most recently, prior to Zuiderdam, on Volendam for at least the last two or three years.
  17. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Guest

    She was GRM on Volendam last May...and she is, indeed, a most gracious young lady - with beauty to match.
  18. beartraprr

    beartraprr Guest

    Hey Rob Cubby Hole John here......Just read your review and can't wait for Feb to come around again this year. We're booked for sure and this year we will get to meet.

    We had such a good time we booked a bear cruise on the Volendam in October for a week, that should be fun. If you want to see that link to to the Cubby Web page.

    Good to see you on here

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