CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Statendam Western Caribbean June 4, 2005

I am married, in my mid-forties with a teenage son. This was my 35th cruise in the past ten years, my third on HAL, and my second on the Zuiderdam. I hesitated taking my son on HAL, but lucked out when we found out that there were over 300 kids on the ship that week.

I always take the same room on HAL - a Deluxe Veranda Suite off the back of the ship with an enormous balcony. I enjoy the amenities that come with that category, especially the use of the Neptune lounge. The cruise was enjoyable, but the Zuiderdam is showing a lot of wear and tear. I cruised her when she was less than 2 months old, and I was surprised to see how beat up she was less than 3 years later. Elevators did not work, gym equipment was broken, carpet needed to be replaced, etc. I was told that she was going into drydock in January, and not a minute too soon.

The cruise itself was enjoyable, but die-hard HAL fans did not like that many kids running around the ship. We cruised through a tropical storm and missed the port of Key West, but were kept well-informed by the staff regarding what was going on. I thought the staff was wonderful, as usual, but felt the food was not up to par. Many menu items arrived cold during dinner, and had to be returned. Room service ran out of items a few days before the cruise ended, and never replaced them.

I would cruise HAL again, but would stick to a newer ship, or one that had recently been renovated. I would not hesitate to bring children on during their summer or winter breaks - they really enjoyed it!

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