I am hoping that you seasoned HAL and particularly Z-dam cruisers can answer my questions. Is there anyone out there who has had experience with Club HAL on the Z-dam? Will be celebrating my parents 40th wedding anniversay and will be traveling with my two daughters 8 and 5 and my nephew 6. I have been from web site to web site and have not been able to find too much opinion about it. Also I am concerned about a lot of the reviews. Now of course every person is entitled to their own opinion but some of the reviews of the Z-Dam are quite strong i.e the food is not good, the crowd is too old, the decor is too loud. I am only slightly panicked. What I need is some reassurance. Also many of the reviews that I have read about the Z-dam are not recent. Is there anyone out there who cruised on her recently? I anxiously await your replies!!!
My friends and myself will be on this cruise we do not have children but I have heard good things about Club Hal. We have never been on Holland America either but the Zuiderdam is supposed to be aiming its demographics at familys so I think they should be pretty accomidating. As far as the reviews they have scared me a little bit also. The cruise is what you make of it, I have been on Carnival twice and the price was rigth for Holland America.
We sailed on the Zuiderdam last Oct. on a family reunion cruise with 25 of us - 16 of them kids - ranging from infant to 17. We had a great time. This was our first family cruise - my husband and I had cruised in April for our anniversery on the Celebrity Constellation. We were afraid of the Holland "old people" image and were pleasantly surprised. Our kids loved it - esp. my 9 and 11 year olds. My daughter is begging to cruise again. We didn't keep them in Club Hal all the time - but several evenings and occasionally during the day - they enjoyed it. Now - I can't compare it to other lines.
The facilities were small - but seemed adequate to me. The staff was very nice - young and enthusiastic. Lots of fun activities and little contests that the kids really enjoyed. We had our kids eat most of the meals with us in the dining room - we had early seating. The wait staff was incredibly kind and patient with our crew of young ones. They seemed to go out of their way to be nice to them. Our kids enjoyed the children's menu in the formal dining room. The ports were great - we esp. enjoyed Tortola. The stop at Hollands private cay was very enjoyable - nice beach. We spent lots of time around the pool on sea days and in late afternoon and the kids really enjoyed that. Overall - they can't wait to go again. I will grant you that the "look" of the Zuiderdam leaves a bit to be desired - some rather garish colors and beyond ecletic in decor - but apart from that we had a great time. The Zuiderdam staff was amazingly gracious and attentive. The food was quite good as well. You can't beat the size of the cabins. We had our two kids in a outside cab in - but way down at the bottom of the ship - still quite spacious and our kids loved the pull down berth over the couch - just like bunk beds. Relax - you'll have a great time!
Just got off the Zuiderdam yesterday and the food was great. Not very many kids but Club HAL took care of them. I rarely saw them. The carpeting in the halls needs replacing. The ship itself is in great shape, very clean and well taken care of. My steward was the best I have ever had. The activities were more than fun. I had the best trivia team in the world. The immigration for St Thomas needs to be reworked. What a hassle!!! No one could get off the ship until everyone went to the Queens Lounge to show their Passport to an immigration officer. That started at 7 am. It was horrible. There were many, and I mean many "older folks" but in actuality, a nice mix. Jan, I think you will enjoy this cruise. It's a lovely ship and the staff is great. Tell DJ Geno hi from the Last Day Blues crew. He will know who you are talking about. Oh.....definately voluteer for Game Show Mania. Wayyyyyyyy fun!!! Have a nice trip.
My wife and I were just on the Zuiderdam(4-2 to 4-9).Most of the reveiws that were negative we found almost non existant.The smells we found no bad ones.The vibration was very low impact,never felt any over normal and we sat in the lower Vista dinning room three times for lunch as the ship was underway.Full speed also....don`t worry to that.
The color s in many of the public rooms are load.But you don`t need to dwell on them,look past them!
The kids program is great,in fact the staff was wonderfull in every area of the ship.It is only to bad that there are so many hard to please jerks out there.Infact the guests are the really only problem ,at least the crew are trained to handle them.
The Oddessey Restaurant is a real must go to,wonderful food and service.Try the Porterhouse.As for the Vista Dinning room,we thought the food was very ,very good.And the service was great.
Problem people are everywhere and sad to say the cruise industry has guests that are to picky and whinners that should just stay at home and life would be 100% fantastic on any cruise.We have been on four other lines.HAL has more elderly guests for sure,but it won`t be a problem unless you make it one.
HAVE FUN AND ENJOY...........................Patrick
we just got off the zuiderdam yesterday 4-16-2005
Dont worrie about the food we have been on 5 previous cruises with carnival and Princess and this was our first on HAL the food was the best Ive ever had on any ship as far as the decor it is a little loud but no worse than some of the carnival ships Its not really that bad as for the kids program we did not use it I seen those reviews befor we went on the zuiderdam and I was a little leary I thought I made a mistake but I will assure you the ship was spotless the crew was very nice and attentive go and have a great time I think you will love the ship It was never crowded andywhere have a great time if you need to ask any questions pleas feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com and i will try to answer have a great day James
I've sailed twice on Zuiderdam - and while I do not travel with young, I appreciate the programs Club Hal has -- it keeps the young - of many ages - busy -- a great improvement over Carnival (whose ships are over-run by bored, discourteous kids and swinish post-adolescents) and Princess - better than Carnival, but nowhere as good as HAL. There are a lot of young on HAL ships during schol vacation periods - usually travelling with the sort of parents/grandparents who require (and get) decent behavior from their descendants. The food and service - both dining room and cabin stewards -on HAL has regularly been significantly better than that on Norwegian, Princess and Carnival -- and on a par with Celebrity. Enjoy your cruise - I am confident that your young will.
I took my 11 year old daughter on a cruise on the Zuiderdam last year. She was a little nervous about going to Club HAL, but I convinced her to try it for just an hour. I went back to get her and she didn't want to leave. What was really nice was that they gave them a little "CD book" that had a list of activities every day. She made plans based on that. She also met a LOT of new friends - in fact, I hardly saw her on the cruise - she was having too much fun with her newfound friends.
Saw your posting and thought maybe by now you would have taken your cruise. We are also planning a first cruise on the Zuiderdam to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Any advice? How was your cruise? What about the excursions? We would love to hear anything you can tell us that would make this a better experience. We are very concerned after reading some of the reviews.
JUST CAME BACK FROM ZUIDERDAM ON MARCH 19TH. THE PEOPLE I HAVE
SEEN ON BOARD RANGED FROM LATE 20'S TO 60'S. I SAW SOME CHILDREN
ON BOARD BUT NOT MANY. UNFORTUNATELY HAL'S CHILDRENS PROGRAMS
ARE NOT AS GOOD AS CARNIVALS. HAL'S RANGE STARTS AT AGE 5.