Has Holland America Line been Carnivalized?

Zuiderdam Cruise Review to Caribbean
Experience: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 22

Overall Rating:

3 out of 5
Verified Review

11 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)

Sail Date: January 25, 2016

Ship: Zuiderdam

Cabin Type: Balcony

Cabin Number: 4035

Traveled As: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review Summary

There are things that one takes for granted after sailing with a cruise line four times.  With HAL, we've enjoyed easy on and easy off our ship.  That was on the case with our cruise to the Panama Canal on Jan. 25th.  The port in Fort Lauderdale and our cruise line seemed to be at a loss as to how to take care of so many people.  Ah.... unpleasant.

   Most disappointing was what i call the "Carnivalization of Holland America".  Everywhere were there salesmen wanting us to buy pictures, manicures, watches, bingo cards, art auction tickets, excursions.  Did I forget something?  Oh yes, future cruises.  "Enough already"... I wish I'd said.

We wanted to go to the beach in Curacao.  The ship offered an excursion to the beach for $55 pp.  We decided to hop a public bus and paid $6 for us both--round trip.

 On a bright note, the service staff on the Zuiderdam was still old fashioned HAL.  I suspect that will go by the wayside too, dagnabbit.


Ship Experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
MDR was OK.. Pinnacle grill delightful. The Lido Buffet made a rather poor showing.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
most of the activitioes were opportunities for HAL to sell, sell, sell.


3 out of 5

Service and Staff

5 out of 5

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
The Zuiderdam was OK....but it was hard to believe it was refurbished in '15.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
clean and adequately appointed.

Ship Tip

The staff are gracious. The ship is all right. The food like a hotel wedding buffet...OK. Tho' I must say all the breads were terrific.

Ports Of Call

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

3 out of 5

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (Private Island)

5 out of 5

Oranjestad, Aruba

5 out of 5

Willemstad, Curacao

5 out of 5

Cartagena, Colombia

5 out of 5

Cruise Gatun Lake (Inside Panama Canal)

5 out of 5

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

5 out of 5
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