I have been on 27 cruises and I believe that I am experienced enough to declare that this cruise was a disaster. This was my second Holland America cruise and probably my last. My first 26 cruises were outstanding, and I never had the need to file a complaint against any cruise liner. I love cruising, but there was something wrong with this cruise.
The Holland America Zuiderdam is a very elegant ship. The cuisine was admirable. The service was first-rate. The foremost mechanical problem on the Zuiderdam was with the air conditioning system. I was aware of past air-conditioning problems on this ship from information gleaned from the Cruise Critic web site. I should have expected it. Anyway, there wasn't a cool public room on this dam ship. They refer to the ships in their fleet as dam ships. In every room I would break out in a sweat, whether we were eating in the dinning room, having a snack in the Lido restaurant, playing cards in the casino, or watching a production in the theatre.
It was very warm in my cabin all week and impossible to sleep there. I had cabin # 7111, on the Rotterdam deck. The first couple of days I repeatedly complained and on four different occasions I requested repair service for the air-conditioning. After being unable to repair the air-conditioning they placed a fan in my cabin. After sleeping with the fan on me every night, which just circulated warm air around the room, I came home with a severe head and chest cold.
On Friday, the last full day of our cruise, we received a letter informing us that the crew would be working on the air-conditioning system while the passengers were ashore at Half Moon Cay. Nevertheless, when we returned to the ship there was no noticeable difference in the temperature on board this vessel.
Throughout the entire cruise there were two restrooms that were "out of order." In fact the door handles had been removed from both restrooms to prevent anyone from entering these restrooms. The most essential restroom that was out of order was located on the Lido Deck Aft, between the Lido restaurant and the aft pool. Of all places to have a restroom out of order! There were many children using the aft pool and one can only image where they went to the bathroom when they discovered they couldn't use this restroom. Also, it would have been nice to be able to wash your hands before food handling in the Lido restaurant. I observed children come in from the pool area and help themselves to food located on the buffet without even having the opportunity to wash their hands. The other important restroom that was out of order the entire cruise was located on the Promenade Deck between the Atrium and the shops.
The shipboard Internet was out of service on Tuesday evening, and all day Wednesday. I wonder if they only fixed this problem because this service generates income for the ship?
Finally, I was glad that the ship was diverted from the Cayman Islands to Nassau in the Bahamas to avoid a confrontation with Tropical Storm Charley.
Our flight was on time and we arrived home without incident. However, since I arrived home I have been suffering with a very severe head and chest cold. Thanks to the air-conditioning problems on the Zuiderdam I spent both Sunday and Monday in bed. I am feeling a little bit better today.