Illness on HAL Zuiderdam Panama cruise


Active Member
Just returned from a 10 day Panama canal cruise on the Holland America ship Zuiderdam. We had an outbreak of the norovirus that really was terrible. Our daughter was extremely ill and my husband and I got sick the day we got home. Many people were sick during the cruise and were confined to their cabins. The food service was handled by the crew and all the Lido food stations were shrink wrapped to help prevent the spread of the virus. This was our second cruise and we were totally disappointed with the entire experience. Everyone had told us that HAL was far superior to RCCL which is what we cruised before. This was not our experience. Our cabin was not clean when we arrived the first day - we had a balcony and the window was so dirty, we couldn't see anything out of it. The bathroom was not clean - in fact, the bathtub had a large crack that was filled with black mildew. The carpet was soiled and in general, the room didn't seem very clean. Also, our sheets were never changed during the 10 day trip which was surprising especially since there was so much illness on board. We visited with many people on board who had cruised many more times than we had and the general consensus was that this was the most unpleasant cruising experience they had ever had. There was a great deal of rocking throughout the entire trip which translated into sea sickness for me. The food in general was mediocre and it was next to impossible to get a soda even though I had a soda card. Based on this experience, I would never sail with HAL again. Just wondering if anyone else had this type of experience and if they received any sort apology or compensation from HAL.

Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
Sorry that your cruise was not up to the expectations that you expected from HAL.

The Zuiderdam has been experiencing Code Red since the first of the year.

We have been on several ships (about 7 times) when they were either in Code Red when we got on the ship or went into Code Red while we were cruising. During this time you just need to learn not to touch hand rails -- elevator buttons (elbows are great) and WASH your hands a lot!! Use those Purell machines. I always keep a small bottle in our pack back for when we go ashore. And I keep a bottle in the cabin's bathroom. We have learned to adjust when you can't help yourself to anything in the Lido, all salt & pepper shakers off the tables, pools closed, library closed, limited activities -- and the list goes on. And we still had a great cruise. Compensation -- never got any -- nor did we expect any. Have we ever gotten the Norwalk Virus -- not yet.

We were on the Zuiderdam Oct 24th and Nov 3rd -- our cabin was very clean -- sheets were changed every 3 days. Our cabin stewards were great!! Our dining room staff were great. We had a great bar tender in the Crow's Nest.

BUT -- in 583 days on HAL --and we have been on all the ships except the Prinsendam -- this was by far the worse food we have had. As a result we ate in the Pinnacle Grill a lot on our Zuiderdam cruises.



Active Member
Thanks for the information. I just wish that we had been informed of the code red status on the ship before we decided to go. At least we could have made the decision on whether we wanted to chance it or not. Being sick for 4 days out of 10 is not a fun way to experience a cruise and in the future I will certainly check to make sure the ship we are planning to board has not had the norovirus. Believe me, once you have it, you don't want it again. Miserable doesn't even begin to describe how sick you are.


Well-Known Member
I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience being sick and all. I can understand how frustrated you must feel.