Zuiderdam Cruise Review by Rhona139: East and West Caribbean Christmas and New Year 2013
Overall Member Rating
East and West Caribbean Christmas and New Year 2013
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Let me start with the good points - we had a great holiday - the ports were very good (some exceptions) and the weather was fabulous.
The Zuiderdam itself is showing age and the entertainment was pitiful - really poor with the exception of the fabulous BB King band however there is a limit to how often you can listen to the one band. Jason and the HAL cats had a great band and a simply awful singer - he was flat more often that he was in key.
We had a balcony cabin which was very nice and clean - the bathroom needs renewed as the tub in particular was pretty tired with big marks in it (not dirty though). The bed was very very comfortable and we had no issues with noise or anything else despite being beside the elevator.
The restaurants were limited unless you wanted to pay even more and even then booking a table was troublesome. The food in the main restaurant was good, usually hot although being there 2 weeks meant that there was some repetition. The buffet More restaurant was well managed however it wasn't open all day which I felt was a bit odd given that there were plenty of passengers from China/Europe etc who had jet lag and wanted to perhaps eat out with the normal US eating time which seems to be 11.30 ish for lunch and 5.30 is for dinner - we eat later (8pm for dinner) and were always the last out of the restaurant. Breakfast in the restaurant took an AAAAAAAAAAGE and therefore we abandoned it for the buffet.
The drinks are very expensive and the drinks waiters are always trying to make you 'go large" - one flogged us a bottle of ordinary merlot for $48 when we thought it was $22 (bought the same bottle in Walgreens for $8) The Sale Away party is poor and they charge you $3.95 if you want your cocktail in a "souvenir" plastic glass - why would you ?? The Happy Hour on the Christmas trip was from 4-5 and again from 6-7. By the time we came to the New Year trip this had changed to just 4-5 which is disappointingly commercial.
The on board excursions desk is well managed however they do nothing to help the independent traveller - maps are beyond poor and there is no information offered or given if you want to do your own thing. We did take the Dolphin trip in Grand Caymen and loved every minute. Half Moon Cay is great fun - its basically a Bahamas theme park but it is very well managed, clean and there is loads to do - take your own water sports gear if you can cause renting a snorkel at $20 for a few hours is excessive !
Not sure that we would try HAL again on this experience but the Caribbean is certainly on our list for next NY Less
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