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HAL Noordam - Dec 27, 2012 - 11 day S Caribbean New Year cruise

Pam in CA

Glad to hear from you and that it was a "good" cruise. I've been on the Zuiderdam and Oosterdam, and even though they are sister ships and my friend and I had the exact same cabin locations on both, had very different cruise experiences. Enjoyed them both but the Zuiderdam was so much better in several ways.

What didn't make it a "great" cruise for you? Who was the Captain and CD? Just curious.


We like to dance and the music was not good--too say the least. The only band that played halfway decent music did not play much. The band in the Ocean bar should stick to instrumental only. The singer was terrible--reminded us as a karaoke singer.Also, the dining room service and food did not meet our expectations based on our previous 8 cruises with HAL. Our waiter and his assistant did not work good together as a team. They forgot courses and never did realize that we wanted ice tea with our meals.We had to ask each night The food quality was also not very good. We did dine in the Canaletto twice and it was excellent in food quality and service.

Pam in CA

Yeah, I'm not big on going to the entertainment but HAL doesn't have as good entertainment as I've experienced on Princess or Celebrity. I remember once being on the Prinsendam and there was a terrific Hungarian string quartet but they looked bored out of their minds. I didn't blame them because after dinner, there was no one else there other than my friend and I. We often stayed just so they could play to someone.

I also haven't had the best waitstaff on HAL. One cruise out of Amsterdam, they were serving a herring appetizer. By the time our waitstaff got to us, they were out of it. I didn't order it but several at our table did. We had to wait 45 minutes for our appetizers while they prepared more. People around us were eating their entrees. There was an apology to those who had ordered herring and an offer to make it specially for them the next night but nothing for anyone who hadn't ordered the herring and had to wait. We had a great table that really enjoyed being together so we didn't want to be rude and ask for our appetizers and then entree before the others got theirs. Then, they ran out of dessert by the time we were ready. Not one of their finest nights.

When we were on the Zuiderdam, the Canaletto was fabulous. The food, service, everything. We liked it so much we went twice. On the Oosterdam, the food was awful and the service at a snail's pace. I had the veal and it was tough and overdone. It was like eating a brick. We didn't get out for well over 2 1/2 hours even though we skipped the coffee because we were so antsy sitting there. Silly us, we went with friends another night and it was just as bad. So, I think it depends on the chef and Maitre d' there.