CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews


Holland America Line Zuiderdam Cyndi Panama Canal February 7, 2009

This was our 6th cruise, our first with HAL. We chose this trip because of the itinerary and length of cruise. We flew in from Canada with friends and arrived early enough to make the 11:30 am boarding. We were all held back until about 1pm and were given literature on illness on the previous cruise. We were given the option to change our cruise to another date at check in. We were also reminded to wash our hands often, and to use the Purell stations throughout the ship. This caused us some anxiety, of course. We work and dont have the flexibility to change our plans, so that wasn't an option. So we forged ahead. In retrospect, we now appreciate the heads up.

We boarded and were sent to the Lido until our cabins were ready. By then we had a wonderful lunch, a couple of mohitos, and were ready to holiday.

We ate in the dining room "As You Wish" dining a couple of times. We found the key was to arrive early and we easily got a table for 4. We enjoyed our dinners there, and also opted for dinner in the Lido, which suited us well. We had two lunches in the Pinnacle -- one alone, and one with our friends, and they won (in the Marriage Game) a Pinnacle dinner as well. Each time the service and food were exceptional.

We loved the entertainment each night. We didn't spend much time in the casino as we found it smokey, so we used our gambling money for spa services instead.

We had VF verandah cabins on 5 and had no obstructions from life boats. In fact, we had great seats in the shade for our trip though the Panama Canal. We used our verandahs a lot. I like to have my coffee out there, and I also like to spend some alone time in the afternoons there.

We went to afternoon tea once and thoroughly enjoyed that. Met some great people. We got pics taken each formal night, as a couple, and then with our friends. By the end of the cruise we had lots of choices to pick from and split a package (buy 3 and get one free) with our friends. So we each came home with the best couple shot and the best group shot. Good strategy.

We loved the food and the choices at each meal. We took in as many activities as our time and energy allowed. We enjoyed Richard's seminars. Some of us did a wine tasting which was fun. We met many Canadians and some even from our home town.

We loved our beds, the linens and the Elemis bath products in our cabins. The service was the best we have had. We never felt crowded or rushed and had fun.

A couple of us used the internet to keep in touch with family situations at home. We felt it was a little slower and a little more expensive than what we have used on other lines. So we used it prudently.

It was a great vacation with a great cruise line, on a wonderful ship, and with the best service we have had so far. Yes, we would recommend it and would sail with HAL again.

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