February 2017 - 10 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Zuiderdam
REALLY POSITIVE THING: The Panama Canal was worth the trip!
The Ship is in need of repair. AC in our cabin out every other day. Phones didn’t work. It took a dozen attempts to reach the service desk by phone, and sometimes nothing worked. (Technician said it was fine). TVs couldn't be seen; old screen pointed toward the ceiling (Technician said it was fine).
Meals in the main dining room took 2 to 2 1/2 hours because service people were so confused. Evening Entertainment: Ships crew? BBC movie? Really? There were only two “professional” acts in the main theater.
The ship skipped the Bahamas because the tender provisions were not adequate.
The excursions were not only overpriced but overall disappointing. For example, we took the jungle canal boat tour. Most of the canal was in front of a refinery or a village.
Food was mediocre. Most everything was overcooked and unseasoned, especially the fish. I have eaten in 3 of the specialty restaurants and would rather eat at Burger King (eech!). Even in these "specialty restaurants" the service was abysmal... waiting 20 minutes to get plates cleared before desert. Really? At the Mariner's luncheon I ordered the chicken and sausage gumbo. What came out was Miso soup, with two finger nail sized pieces of chicken and even smaller 3 pieces of sausage, all accompanied by 14 grains of rice (yes, I counted them.) I grew up in New Orleans where they would sue for this being called gumbo.
I know people eat like pigs on these ships, but it is a tragedy to ruin so much food through poor cooking.
Every performance was oversubscribed (except the hokey crew shows). Had to get to a movie viewing room an hour before to get a seat. For the main, live performances, seats were filled a half hour before the show. Could never get a seat in BB King performances.
The only reason we took this cruise because of its Panama Canal destination. Our last HA cruise on the Neue Amsterdam was disappointing and this doubled down on the disappointment.
Embarkation was a nightmare, from the ship getting untied, to absolute confusion about E-immigration, to getting people on board.