March 2016 - 11 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Zuiderdam
Stay out of the Casino
We selected the Holland America due to the sail dates for the Panama Canal. The Room Attendant was excellent but service in the dining room was very slow and poor. It often took over 2 hours for dinner and we had to leave more than once before dinner was over to make a show. However, given the quality of the shows, we would have been better off staying at dinner. There were to highlights to the entertainment, the BB King All Stars played almost every evening and they were outstanding. The comic the second night was also very good as was the illusionist. The rest of the shows were just plain boring. The singers and dancers needed to stay with just dancing. A few notes were hit that actually hurt my ears.
However, my biggest disappointment was the casino. I was shocked to see that the ship had changed the gaming rules to make it even harder to a player to break even, much less win anything. On the one non-smoking day, they held a Blackjack tournament, something I could enjoy without having to wear a gas mask.
As the winner of the tournament I expected to collect a good percentage of the total pot of $470. My take was $95 and part of that was $50 in chips that could not be cashed, they had to be played. Thus I went to the roulette wheel and played both odd and even five times. Luckily zero or double zero did not come up.
The scratch off tickets were also rigged, they claimed one could win up to $25,000 but only one out of six tickets paid anything and that was just $5. How do I know the other part of my winnings was 47 scratch off tickets which paid off $45 at $5 a card.
The casino also changed the pay off for a blackjack from 2 to 1 which was clearly printed on the table to 5 to 6 (very small sign placed when no one would look).
I did talk to the casino manager and he was not very friendly, told me to put this down on my comment survey which I did.
I suspect that this was our first and last cruise with Holland America. We are regular cruisers (3 or 4 per year), thus being cheated at the casino is a deal breaker for me.