10 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Sail Date: October 19, 2012 Ship: Zuiderdam Cabin Type: Suite Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 4 years ago
Everything from boarding to disembarkation went smoothly. The ship is in great shape for its age and the rooms are very nice. The on board activities are pretty much what you would get on any other decent cruise line and the food was similar. The ports of call are in the industrial sections of the towns so if you're expecting something to Cozumel, you might get let down a bit. The rooms are quiet and you don't hear stomping on the floor above or the other adjoining room.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
We selected open dining as I prefer to eat when time allows and not at a set time. Unlike other cruise lines\, if you want a table for two\, you have to reserve it (Yep\, back to eating at a scheduled time) else have your meal with a group. We tried twice and on the second night\, noticed there were empty two person tables that sat vacant during our entire meal. That was disappointing. The food quality is good as the chefs try to mix it up but if you like just meat and taters\, you might have to work at getting that. The Lido buffet was okay but there were so many people throughout the limited serving times that whatever was hot on your plate at the start of the line was surely cooler when you got to the end of the line. HAL could benefit by either extending the serving times to match passenger count or open both sides of the serving stations. Trying to get a cleared table was often an enduring feat as tables that were cleared had no silverware.
3 out of 5
All of the above we're what you would expect from a cruise line. No Broadway ready productions\, no over the top bands\, just cruise line material dancers and performers. The activities were about the same.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
If everyone were as considerate and customer centered as the in room dining servers and stewards\, this would get a solid six rating. Unfortunately\, HAL staff evidently have to eat in the passenger dining halls which means they sat at the few tables that were cleared making it hard for passengers to find an open table in the Lido buffet. I had several cut in line to get something specific which only added to the delays of those trying to get their meal. I don't fault a hungry worker but I do question why HAL has this set up that way while other cruise lines feed their crew in their own mess which frees up tables for their guests.
5 out of 5
Good layout\, has several dining options and places to go. Seems geared more for the older crowd which is nice if you just got done with a Carnival cruise geared for youngsters.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The balcony was larger than what I have come to expect and the room was quite spacious for what you get on any cruise ship. Everything in the room was in good working order and the room stewards were top shelf. Very friendly\, efficient and customer centered. They made the greatest impact on how I viewed the trip.
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