Zuiderdam Cruise Review by zlarson52: Awesome Experience
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Let me begin by saying that I am 30 years old...much younger then 60, which seemed to be about the average age of the people on board this ship. This is fine by me, because I cruise to relax...and not party all night, and am not looking for a rowdy crowd. There were a number of "younger" families on board; however, wheel chairs and walkers were a common mode of transportation around the boat.
I traveled with my wife, mother-in law and my 22 month old daughter, who many of you all may have seen on the boat, a little blonde haired girl named Kendall. Anyway, the experience from beginning to end was wonderful, and the fellow cruisers were rather gracious with my little girl, and didn't seem to mind being around her, in fact, many people stopped to talk to her.
We arrived at the Port to embark about 2:00 p.m., and was done with the entire process in less then 5 minutes. We to Lido deck, and had no problem getting food, the lines were minimal.
The More first stop was Half Moon Cay, which is an absolutely beautiful island owned by Holland America and it's sister cruise lines. The Island is in immaculate condition, and not a piece of trash could be found anywhere on the ground. There is a kids play area.....and trampolines in the water. The water is absolutely gorgeous and crystal clear. This is always one of my favorite stops.
We split our dining between the "formal" dining room and the Lido restaurant. The formal dining restaurant and Lido dinner menus are very similar, with only a few minor differences. Generally, you can get most of the main courses at either dining room....with a few exceptions each night. I enjoyed eating at both places. We were scheduled for "anytime" dining, and never had a wait longer then 5 minutes. We did end up sharing tables with other couples; and while I am not an extrovert, we had enjoyable conversation, albeit with couples much older then us. The baby thankfully was well behaved, considering one of the couples asked us if our child was "good" before us sitting down, indicating that they wished to sit somewhere else if otherwise.
I read many complaints about the amount of time spent standing in line at the Lido restaurant for lunch, and never once experienced any problems. The food choices consist of about a half a dozen main course items, as well as about a half dozen sides. In addition, there is a pizza and pasta station, (The pizza was far better then any other pizza I've had on other cruise lines)a deli station where fresh sandwiches were made, and a salad bar, as well as an Asian station where Sushi and stir-fry was served. The choices were plenty..and although cooks "served" us the food onto our plates, lines moved quickly.
The staff was wonderful, and really affectionate towards our daughter. I know that many of them have been away from their families for several months, and miss their kids....it showed, by how much attention they paid to my daughter. They were great with her, and Kendall ate it up.
The cruise line performers were good.....some of the best singers I've seen...there were 4 singers who had excellent voices. The female dancers were good, the males, adequate. The hired entertainers were good also. This included an entertainer/violinist that was funny and extremely talented, a steel drum band that played many classical favorites, and a magician who was good. Overall, the entertainment was good.
There is a movie theater on board, that shows recently run movies. Went to the 10:00 movies on a couple of occasions and enjoyed them. Saw Slum-dog Millionaire and another sci-fi flick.
I don't have any complaints about the cruise, other then the rough seas on the last day that caused both my wife and I to get sick; however, this was obviously outside the control of Holland America, and just something you have to deal with from time to time.
Again, I enjoyed this cruise immensely, as I have all my cruises. If you look for the negative in things, you will find them; however, if you are going to spend good money vacationing, why not choose to enjoy the adventure, and that is exactly what I did. Less
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