Zuiderdam Cruise Review to Transatlantic

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
7+ cruises

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0

Helpful Votes
3

3 out of 5

29 day Baltic cruise aboard Zuiderdam

Sail Date: April 18, 2016

Reviewed: 6 months ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

For over 100 sailing days, we have had the fortunate pleasure to have a Catholic priest on board and my wife, Jan, has lead the singing at every single Mass except the one time years ago that she slept beyond the 8 am start time!  Her reward has been expressed in personal thanks by several of the passengers and priest over the 5 cruises. In fact, some of them have been repeat voyagers and have been happy to make our acquaintance again.  So, bottom line is: please keep sending priests aboard Holland America cruises.

 

Our cabin stewards in room 4104 were excellent. Yadi and Umar need to be promoted; they were right on top of everything from the time we walked aboard.

 

Walking around the ship, almost everyone we met said “good morning or good afternoon” and they really seemed to mean it.  A nice atmosphere!

 

We had two Adagio’s on board. First was Oleksiy and Kateryna. They were the best we had seen of all the Adagio groups. I would recommend you hire them again.  A nice “extra” was they volunteered on their own time to play a couple of selections at our weekend Masses.  They definitely were a nice addition to our liturgies.

 

The second Adagio were Yegor and Maksym and they were wonderful. In addition to their fine playing, during their breaks, they stayed in the lounge and kibitzed with the audience.  They had standing room only every night.  They should play in the Vista lounge and I wish we could have stayed on board longer just to hear them.

 

The front office staff were mostly helpful, but I’m not sure they understood, at times, what I was asking. But they tried.

 

Since we spent most of our time with the Adagio groups, I didn’t catch many of the shows. David the pianist was good as was one of the Zuiderdam singer shows. We were not interested in jugglers, magicians, contortionists and the like.  We did the like the ompah band that came on in Warnamunde.

 

We were on anytime dining and were able to make reservations for certain tables after the first night.  We had one problem in the 2nd half of the cruise at table 192, but after that the staff were very solicitous.

 

The ports were why we came on the cruise and for the most part, they were very interesting to us.  St. Petersburg and the rest of the Baltic ports were fun to tour, although the ship could have done a better job of letting us know about shuttles, and their costs, etc.  The communication via the daily bulletin was not as good as in past cruises.  We did not go ashore in Helsingborg as, based on my 34 years in the Coast Guard, I declined to ride the tender once I saw the weather. A good decision as 500 folks were stranded on the beach.  One point that I thought was good customer relations was the Captain and other senior officers on the ship greeting the bussed passengers in the terminal before they got back on the ship. There were some negative comments, but the Captain handled them well.

 

To sum up the positives, great having a priest on board, Adagio groups were terrific, hospitality of the crew and the variety of ports.

 

Now for why it was also the worst cruise we’ve taken with Holland America.  We booked our stateroom 4104 fully knowing it was an obstructed view; we’ve had them before and we booked it for two reasons, price and even with obstruction, there was a floor to ceiling window letting in plenty of light.  What we didn’t know was that from day #2 of the cruise up until the last day, there were 25 extra people brought on board to chip, grind, use needle guns and paint outside of our cabin and other cabins on the port side.  So somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30, the guys were climbing up the ladder by our cabin, bringing all their equipment, and hammering away.  And when there wasn’t room to do the maintenance, they lowered the lifeboats toward the rail, creating even more noise.

 

We couldn’t leave the curtains open because at any time of the day, someone would be either right outside or walking by on the platform.  And forget about taking a rest during the day, even with the curtains closed. The sound was enough to drive one mad.

 

After a few days, I complained to the front office. I probably formed it wrong, but I wanted to find out when they were going to move away to some other area, figuring that might ameliorate the problem, at least as far as we were concerned.  No result. At the first port, I saw the First Mate on deck right below our cabin, lifeboat #14. I kindly asked him when they were going to be done or move or something.  He got on the phone and reported that it would be a couple of days more.

 

I thought we had made it through the cruise, but on the last day before Copenhagen, they must have discovered they had not done something right outside our cabin. Almost all day, the needle gun was chipping right on our cabin outside bulkhead or on the walkway attached to the bulkhead. I literally could not stay in the room and I couldn’t go ashore (see above comment about tendering).

 

 

Then a banging noise started at night while we were underway. Something was loose outside our cabin or near to it. Since it was night, it was too dangerous for someone to check it out. Apparently they did so in the morning as it didn’t return until a few days later. I did get ear plugs from the front office.  It started again on one of the overnight sails, but I guess it resolved itself since I didn’t hear it again.

 

Now that the days were getting longer, the guys had to work even in the evening some of the time.  That didn’t make them or us happy.

 

The front office did suggest moving rooms twice probably 2/3 of the way through the cruise, but I had to decline. One room was on the 10th deck up forward and the other (mentioned to me a few days later) was on the 7th back near the stern. As my wife was suffering from acute bronchitis (which she saw the ship’s doctor for) and a broken metartasal foot bone (which she has been dealing with before the cruise), she was in no condition to move anywhere, even with help.  Earlier in the cruise would have been a far better option.

 

We did receive a Pinnacle dinner and $200 shipboard credit, but that doesn’t nearly cover the anguish of hearing that damn needle gun and the associated other maintenance sounds.  I pity the poor people on the starboard side of the ship as the maintenance people seemed to be gearing up for that endeavor.

 

I know Holland America is not in business to lose money, but if it were me, I’d cancel a couple of cruises in order to get the maintenance of the Zuiderdam up to where you want it without inconveniencing the passengers that paid for what was supposed to be a relaxing cruise.  Of course, there were rumors floating around the ship that it is soon to be sold!

 

We cruised on the Zuiderdam last Fall and did not experience any problems such as the above. I did note that the same plumbing problems in some of the public restrooms seemed to exist on this cruise as on last Fall’s cruise.

 

We will have to think long and hard about making another cruise with Holland America.

Now for why it was also the worst cruise we’ve taken with Holland America.  We booked our stateroom 4104 fully knowing it was an obstructed view; we’ve had them before and we booked it for two reasons, price and even with obstruction, there was a floor to ceiling window letting in plenty of light.  What we didn’t know was that from day #2 of the cruise up until the last day, there were 25 extra people brought on board to chip, grind, use needle guns and paint outside of our cabin and other cabins on the port side.  So somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30, the guys were climbing up the ladder by our cabin, bringing all their equipment, and hammering away.  And when there wasn’t room to do the maintenance, they lowered the lifeboats toward the rail, creating even more noise.

 

We couldn’t leave the curtains open because at any time of the day, someone would be either right outside or walking by on the platform.  And forget about taking a rest during the day, even with the curtains closed. The sound was enough to drive one mad.

 

After a few days, I complained to the front office. I probably formed it wrong, but I wanted to find out when they were going to move away to some other area, figuring that might ameliorate the problem, at least as far as we were concerned.  No result. At the first port, I saw the First Mate on deck right below our cabin, lifeboat #14. I kindly asked him when they were going to be done or move or something.  He got on the phone and reported that it would be a couple of days more.

 

I thought we had made it through the cruise, but on the last day before Copenhagen, they must have discovered they had not done something right outside our cabin. Almost all day, the needle gun was chipping right on our cabin outside bulkhead or on the walkway attached to the bulkhead. I literally could not stay in the room and I couldn’t go ashore (see above comment about tendering).

 

 

Then a banging noise started at night while we were underway. Something was loose outside our cabin or near to it. Since it was night, it was too dangerous for someone to check it out. Apparently they did so in the morning as it didn’t return until a few days later. I did get ear plugs from the front office.  It started again on one of the overnight sails, but I guess it resolved itself since I didn’t hear it again.

 

Now that the days were getting longer, the guys had to work even in the evening some of the time.  That didn’t make them or us happy.

 

The front office did suggest moving rooms twice probably 2/3 of the way through the cruise, but I had to decline. One room was on the 10th deck up forward and the other (mentioned to me a few days later) was on the 7th back near the stern. As my wife was suffering from acute bronchitis (which she saw the ship’s doctor for) and a broken metartasal foot bone (which she has been dealing with before the cruise), she was in no condition to move anywhere, even with help.  Earlier in the cruise would have been a far better option.

 

We did receive a Pinnacle dinner and $200 shipboard credit, but that doesn’t nearly cover the anguish of hearing that damn needle gun and the associated other maintenance sounds.  I pity the poor people on the starboard side of the ship as the maintenance people seemed to be gearing up for that endeavor.

 

I know Holland America is not in business to lose money, but if it were me, I’d cancel a couple of cruises in order to get the maintenance of the Zuiderdam up to where you want it without inconveniencing the passengers that paid for what was supposed to be a relaxing cruise.  Of course, there were rumors floating around the ship that it is soon to be sold!

 

We cruised on the Zuiderdam last Fall and did not experience any problems such as the above. I did note that the same plumbing problems in some of the public restrooms seemed to exist on this cruise as on last Fall’s cruise.

 

We will have to think long and hard about making another cruise with Holland America.

 

 

 

Cabin / Stateroom
See above lengthy comments
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Ship Quality
See above comments about maintenance procedures and noise. Cabin and public areas well kept.
Destinations and Excursions
Went on our own in St. Petersburg (through a Russian tour company). Excellent
Onboard Activities
Entertainment
See above comments
Service and Staff
Food and Dining

Tip

I'd check really carefully about what they plan to do ab out maintenance for upcoming trips. f course, you probably won't be able to find out anything!



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