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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Chose this cruise because it went to Iceland and Greenland, two places we would never visit otherwise. What a wonderful experience on a wonderful ship. We took the HAL transfer from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. While it was a bit of wait ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it went to Iceland and Greenland, two places we would never visit otherwise. What a wonderful experience on a wonderful ship. We took the HAL transfer from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. While it was a bit of wait until everyone arrived, it was so convenient to watch our bags be put in the cargo area of the bus and then not see them until they showed up in the cabin. We were in a Neptune Suite which was in good shape. There are the little chips and nicks but it was very clean and well maintained by our stewards who would do their thing while we were away from the cabin. A twenty year old ship going in for a one-week update this fall. Wonderful Captain Hans Materboer who was "retiring" after the next cruise. Informative and friendly. We spent close at least 20 minutes on the bridge with the "Behind the Scenes" tour, talking with him and observing everything. (Luckily not much going on.) The only problem was that our Pinnacle Grill booked in advance had a time change without notice and our "Dine Anytime" reservation (which had been on our booking from the beginning and even on the personal itinerary I printed just before we left for the airport on July 11) was changed to the 8PM seating. Some notification other than just happening to observe the change on the PG card in the stateroom or just happening to notice the 8PM on our key card would have been nice. But we checked out the table in the Dining Room (upstairs, table for 4, in a nice quiet corner next to a huge window) and decided to try it. Turned out great as we were traveling with our adult daughters, we all went our separate ways during the day and had a wonderful time at dinner each night with Benny and Toni and Albert the wine steward. A blessing in disguise. This was a great cruise itinerary with about half port days interspersed with sea days. Greenland stops were all turned around since the sea ice blocked SE Greenland. We ended up on the SW Greenland side where we still had lots of icebergs to dodge and photograph. Each port was wonderful but I especially enjoyed St. John's Newfoundland. Port guide Barbara was excellent as were the other speakers. Usually at least three different special programs each day. Didn't do any of the shopping/future cruise programs. Unfortunately, although we were the first ship in Reykjavik and Halifax, Nova Scotia, we ended up at the farthest, least convenient docks. Both times another HAL ship got the closer dock. At least in Halifax there was a shuttle bus. Disembarked in Boston among the last off the ship which meant a long line for the taxi. All in all, a great cruise. Only reason for a 4 rating was the dining issues. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Our 14-day crossing was step 1 of our Epic Anniversary trip. My husband has only been on one cruise before and it did not go well, so I was concerned about whether he would like this one, but I'm happy to report that he enjoyed is--and ... Read More
Our 14-day crossing was step 1 of our Epic Anniversary trip. My husband has only been on one cruise before and it did not go well, so I was concerned about whether he would like this one, but I'm happy to report that he enjoyed is--and would even go again. We arrived in Amsterdam completely relaxed without jet lag and ready to start Step 2. I'm not sure this cruise is for everyone, but it certainly was a great one for us. I loved the Prisendam (I had been on one other HAL ship before and liked it as well, but not quite as much as the Prisendam.) When we arrived for embarkation, there was no one (and I mean this literally) NO ONE waiting to board. We just walked up to the counter, and then got on the ship. Couldn't have been easier. Our bags arrived in our statement just a few minutes after we did. Even our first meal (late lunch) was without hassle. It was a great way to start the trip. The service was absolutely outstanding. Our waitstaff all knew our names by Day 2 and were so nice. The food for the most part was excellent. I appreciated all the different soups that were offered (I'm a huge fan of soups). We never felt rushed with our food whether we were eating in the dining room or in the Lido. We got breakfast room service twice and both times the meals came right on time and were delicious. We loved our cabin (#065 Signature Suite). It was a little pricey, but since it was our anniversary, we splurged a bit and I'd say it was worth it. It got a little bit chilly in the middle of the cruise so we didn't sit out on the balcony as often as I would have liked, but certainly enjoyed it when we did. There were so much storage in this cabin, we probably only used half the drawers. We loved the library selection and found several books to read. We also appreciated the huge selection of videos to borrow. We got in the habit of watching a movie in our room every evening. I thought the entertainment was okay, but not outstanding (but this isn't all that important to me). The UKE BOX group was great and glad to see them twice, but the others were a little corny (to me anyway). I thought the sessions with the Captain and 2nd Officer (two different sessions), but the "professor" lectures were not every good. Not only were they rather boring, but didn't really present any info that you couldn't just read on Wikipedia. One lecturer (the one on the "Junkmen of Paris") had an unbelievable number of typos in the Power Point slides. The jazz quartet in the Ocean Bar (I think that was the name) was great and we listened to them every evening after dinner. I was disappointed in the culinary lectures because the woman didn't seem all that knowledgeable (this was not the case with my other HAL cruise). Bottom line is that over all, this cruise exceeded my expectation and I would certainly be open to sailing on the Prisendam again! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I chose this cruise mainly because the timing suited me - I couldn't go until the last day of April or early May - last day of April was RCL and the ship was way too big, so it was Prinsendam or Cunard or Pulmantur - Cunard was too short, ... Read More
I chose this cruise mainly because the timing suited me - I couldn't go until the last day of April or early May - last day of April was RCL and the ship was way too big, so it was Prinsendam or Cunard or Pulmantur - Cunard was too short, only seven days - Pulmantur was too restricted, not open dining, earliest dinner time of 7.30pm - didn't suit me, and tiny cabins. Prinsendam was a bit above my price for a balcony but I had sailed with Holland before and really enjoyed it. Once I was on board I forgot all about the price (it was paid months before) and just enjoyed it all from day one on. I enjoyed the fellow passengers, the service, the food and the ship itself - I loved the Atlantic Ocean, the sea days, and would happily go again. The sailing was remarkably smooth given that weather conditions were at times near gale force. I loved the fact that it always felt as though I was on board a ship, not in a big plastic lined floating hotel. The ship was full, but there were never lines for anything, not for embarking and disembarking, not for the buffet or for the lifts or seating for dinner etc. The lectures were good, interesting and informative, not infomercials dumbed down. The shows were good too. Really I had no complaints. I did see things like corrosion on my balcony, and a few other spots - ships have that, and I did see some furnishings that appeared to be soon due for replacement along with a lot that were quite obviously brand new - didn't spoil it for me. If this little old lady was planning another trip, and that grand old lady was heading that way I would be emailing my agent quick smart. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this trip because of days at sea. We enjoyed the restfulness of the trip and the activities on board. Food and service were excellent. Crew bent over backwards to please. Embarkation and debarkation went very smoothly. ... Read More
We chose this trip because of days at sea. We enjoyed the restfulness of the trip and the activities on board. Food and service were excellent. Crew bent over backwards to please. Embarkation and debarkation went very smoothly. Entertainment was excellent. Bermuda was nice but expensive. Took a city bus to St Georges, the old part of the island. Did a self guided walking tour. Ok, but nothing too exciting. Didn't go to the beaches. Saw enough to know we don't need to go back. Weather was good except when we were diverted from Horta due to a low pressure area causing unsafe conditions. We ended up in Brest, France as a replacement, which was an ok port. We didn't take an excursion, but walked around the town. Cherborg was very nice. We didn't take an excursion, but the weekly market was large and interesting. Tried a legume galette and bought a small bottle of Calvados. Took a city tour on a little tourist train/tram which left from the Information Center. It was 6 Euros and ok. Visited the Maritime Museum (6 Euros) and it was well worth it and interesting. Zeebrugge was the next port. We took an excursion to Ypres and Flanders fields to learn more about what happened there in WWI. The tour was well done and very interesting. Ypres is worth visiting. Amsterdam was our debark port, but we took a tour to the Tulip festival in Keukenhof with a transfer to the airport. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Great ports on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing and an amazing staff at Holland America's Zuiderdam made the cruise memorable. Although the cabin was old and dated, with a tv screen that was barely readable, the crew and the planned activities ... Read More
Great ports on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing and an amazing staff at Holland America's Zuiderdam made the cruise memorable. Although the cabin was old and dated, with a tv screen that was barely readable, the crew and the planned activities more than made up for any disappointment. The only negative was the on-staff singers and dancers who more reminded me of a high school talent show, than a professional team of performers. The specialty acts (comedian, pianists, and group acts) that were brought on the ship were absolutely fabulous - just cannot say the same for the onboard team of singers and dancers. The onboard house band was wonderful as well. Finally - the ship states it has a movie screening room ... it doesn't. It has a small room with 12 chairs that is always full. Actually saw a fight breakout between two people trying to get the last seat. They were showing great movies, unfortunately to a dozen people at a time only. Big disappointment. Guests would,line up 45 minutes ahead of a movie to get one of the 12 seats ... and that's only if the guests before didn't want to re-watch the same movie and not leave their seat (it happened...LOL). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Second trans-atlantic on the Zdam, and it was great again. The ship is in good shape, and the service is full, efficient, and happily delivered. SY cabin was fine, except for the old small flat screen TV. Those are cheap, with crappy ... Read More
Second trans-atlantic on the Zdam, and it was great again. The ship is in good shape, and the service is full, efficient, and happily delivered. SY cabin was fine, except for the old small flat screen TV. Those are cheap, with crappy sound, and just inadequate for any cabin. The food in the MDR was very good, as was the wait service. The variety of dishes was wide, and quite tasteful. A very nice and relaxing atmosphere especially for breakfast, and lunch. Entertainment was typical HAL. One comedian was OK, but music and dance shows are so-so. The BB King band was good, and not as loud as others. Many activities, and lectures to keep one and all busy. Service was very good in all aspects. Dealing with the front desk was a pleasure. The staff was always smiling, and greeting folks. This being a TA, there were 6 ports including the final one. One Azores (Horta) was cancelled due to choppy seas. The other Azores stop was Ponta Delgada, and was a very charming little town. The Azores are very verdant and picturesque islands. Cherbourg had miserable rainy weather, but still quite charming city. The submarine tour at Cite de la Mer was really cool. Went on the Around Bruge tour, and enjoyed it very much. Some towns seemed to be made up of mainly restaurants. Manicured lawns, and beautiful houses show a Belgian pride of beauty and order. The chocolate shops offer demos, and sell all kinds showing their longstanding mastery of making these confections. Amsterdam is a dynamic and fun city. It never changes. Got off the ship in Copenhagen, and spent a few days there. The city is beautiful, and its people are so easy going, and good natured. A wonderful city in all aspects. Loved sailing the Zdam, and looking forward to doing it again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
A TransAtlantic offers us a lengthy cruise at a reasonable fare with lots of sea days to relax and/or take advantage of the amenities and activities of the ship. We've done several before and always had a good experience. Holland America ... Read More
A TransAtlantic offers us a lengthy cruise at a reasonable fare with lots of sea days to relax and/or take advantage of the amenities and activities of the ship. We've done several before and always had a good experience. Holland America attracts us (seniors in our late 70s) because of the spacious and comfortable Neptune suite and the accompanying Neptune Lounge which offers service and fine snacks all day. This cruise offered a good number of sea days as well as interesting ports with a final destination of Copenhagen where we visited a lifelong friend. So, ideal of us. Check in at Ft. Lauderdale was smooth and we were soon in our suite with the luggage not far behind us. I love the layout of the Neptune Suite but it's quite out of date compared to other HAL ships and is ready of dry dock which I understand is coming up in a few months. The verandah lounge chairs lacked cushions and for someone who likes to nap out there, I had to carry out my bed pillows etc. to get comfortable. More about the cabin in cabin review. The first few days out of Florida were sunny with low to moderate seas. Unfortunately, as we got further northeast we encountered wind and higher seas and, by the time we got to Normandy (having had to miss the port of Horta, Azores due to high wind and seas) it was raining. So weather this particular trip really was an issue. And we often couldn't use our verandah because of the cold and wind. But that isn't the ship's fault. As suite passengers we had the privilege of going to the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast each morning. That was nice not having to deal with the usual Lido crowds on those sea days. Food and service were very good. We went to the main dining room almost every night and food and service were consistently good. Evening entertainment, particularly the singers and dancers, was excellent. However, with a 6:30 and an 8 p.m. show, we often had to change our dinner time or rush in order to catch something we didn't want to miss. Movie theatre played great movies but was usually too crowded to get in to see. My husband enjoyed the gym every morning. Cooking classes were fun. There were many interesting enriching lectures to take advantage of. We loved the dueling pianos on Eurodam and were disappointed they aren't on Zuiderdam. Yet. I'm guessing they will be. Crew service and attitude were excellent across the board! Because we were visiting in Denmark, we shipped our big bags back home to Florida. Although expensive, it was very worth it. We walked off the ship in Copenhagen with our carry ons and walked right out to the street. Amazingly easy and quick. I'm sure Zuiderdam will have a pretty new face after dry dock and that is needed. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
Good food, and staff Many times we take this compagny, for the food in first. This cruise was a little longer, and the weather very bad We dont stop in Horta, to much wind Cherbourg rainning Zebbrugge cold, and Amsterdam ... Read More
Good food, and staff Many times we take this compagny, for the food in first. This cruise was a little longer, and the weather very bad We dont stop in Horta, to much wind Cherbourg rainning Zebbrugge cold, and Amsterdam too So it s like that For the entertainment, not very beautiful, just violin and singers, but to much speaking, and for us it s difficult to understand jocks. We are French. Bon 150 words en Francais alors Bonne nourriture et personnel Plusieurs fois nous prenons ce compagny, pour la nourriture dans d'abord. Cette croisière était un peu plus longue et le temps très mal Nous dont nous arrêtons dans Horta, à beaucoup de vent Cherbourg rainning Zebbrugge froid et Amsterdam aussi Ainsi c est comme ça Pour l'entertainment, non très beau, juste le violon et des chanteurs, mais à beaucoup de conversation et pour nous cela s difficile de comprendre des sportifs. Nous sommes français. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We are seniors and this cruise was tailored for us The ship is a bit old, but is laid out well . I walk a lot and like the full promenade deck. Cabin (7028) has a very good design. Liked the curtain between the bed and bath as ... Read More
We are seniors and this cruise was tailored for us The ship is a bit old, but is laid out well . I walk a lot and like the full promenade deck. Cabin (7028) has a very good design. Liked the curtain between the bed and bath as wife is late sleeper. Shower is nice and large but curtain is pesky as always. We were not bothered by motion even though seas we a bit high a few days( neither of us have any problems with motion) Stewards were very good which is common on Rotterdam deck. Furniture is pretty worn and the TV has a very small screen. Food was very good overall in all venues. Nothing fabulous, but almost all well prepared. On the minus side, not a great selection of fruit, eggs Benedict not warm in the Lido even though prepared to order, coffee was not a good as previous HAL trips, and specialty coffee bar (Explorations Cafe) was not very convenient to large areas of the ship. Enjoyed almost all the entertainment, especially the live lounge music, but remember we are seniors and this music caters to that niche. Shows were good and sets outstanding. Lecturers and enrichment activities were good and varied, as they should be on a transatlantic. Wonderfully friendly, helpful crew; only saw 1 person that was a bit sour continually. Bad weather in Horta and Cherbourg. Been to Ponta Delgada before so just took the little train and walked around, very pleasant. Walking tour in Brugge with a guide from last year and did the canal cruise. Nice docking in Amsterdam itself,great city. Stayed extra day in Copenhagen and was rewarded with a beautiful Saturday! Great, relaxing cruise, but leave the kids and young adults at home. They will be bored stiff. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was almost the only good part. It was feezing onboard through the entire cruise. Some guests were taking blankets with them to sit anywhere including inside. Dining room was very uncomfortably ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was almost the only good part. It was feezing onboard through the entire cruise. Some guests were taking blankets with them to sit anywhere including inside. Dining room was very uncomfortably cold. Staterooms were also chilly even with turning heat up. My bed was horrible and slanted down to the floor so much that I needed a seatbelt to stay in. The mattress was so hard and thin that I didn't sleep for the first week until our steward found a better mattress. Don't know whose he stole but made me happy. Their ads about having a choice of pillows and mattresses is bogus. They had neither. Safety was a problem as there were quite a number of falls because of water where it shouldn't be or gaps in flooring or no railings. The dinner menu and food was fairly good but I am a very good cook and it was never higher than what I could easily do at home. Fruit and vegetables were rationed on the first half of trip to the point of cutting blueberries in half (and you got one half) and vegetables were garnish only. You could get a huge Prime Rib but only 2 carrot slices. Weird. Escargot was excellent. Desserts were good although creme brulee was a disappointment. I should have tried the version in the upscale paid restaurant. Breakfast either in dining room or buffets was never worthwhile, lunch was adequate. Salad bar was best lunch venue when dining room was closed which it was on port days. Hamburger joint was good, fries wete great but be warned that they had gluten on them in form of spiced flour. Virtually no gluten ftee options except toast and best of luck ever getting that. Almost everything in buffets, which we rarely did except when dining was closed, was overcooked and bland. Fruit often had mold, too many people and very few, and inattentive servers. There was often nowhere to eat except room service as the buffets were closed in morning and afternoon except for certain hours which we missed a lot. Don't sleep in or you are out of luck. When you come back from a shorter day onshore you don't want to wait for room service but there would be hour gaps or longer when everything including a cup of tea, was not available..Service was horrible except in main dining room. Ate at the paid Italian dining room for a disappointing meal, half very good, half dreadful. They used same cooks as the buffet! Not worth it. Unfortunately, we only went one time late in the cruise for the paid lunch for $10 and wished we had done that every day it was open. Best meal we had on the cruise and the level I had expected in regular dining room. Waiters in main dining were good, some awful, some superior. They got considerably better on the last two days as they trolled for tips and good reviews. We were constantly reminded by all the waiters including head staff to give them a top rating. Very annoying and tacky. The maître de was the finest I have seen anywhere land or sea and remembered our names almost from the beginning. He was amazing and lovely. The entertainment was good and enjoyable but there was very little on sea days except lectures which were good. One foursome Acapella women singers were one of the best acts on any cruise, all the comedians were great, and the mime was one of the funniest and most interesting acts we had ever seen. Unbelievable! The biggest complaint most passengers had was the horrible, incompetent and rude upper staff, particularly with the shore excursions. If you didn't buy from the cruise line, they would give you no information. Part way through the Baltic they did a little better because of the hundreds of furious passengers, but we could never get the correct information. One officer would tell you something, another, the opposite and then argued with you when you would mention the confusion. Many of us complained about the lack of a leader as NO ONE EVER seemed to know what was going on. The cruise director was seen more on shore in the bars with local girls than onboard ship where we needed him. I may cruise with Holland America again but never on the Zuiderdam. Anyone who didn't pay the excessively higher than usual ship tour prices got shafted completely. It was inexcusable. Pretty much everyone on board were senior citizens and the lack of correct information or assistance was appalling. We missed much in the cities because of confusion and the ineptness of the officers and upper staff. Most of the ladies at the front desk were very good but there was still a great deal of conflicting information. They ruined much of our enjoyment from the ports because of the excess time a lot of us old people wasted wandering around trying to find where to go once off the ship. Information on the ports, and the buses to nearby towns was almost impossible to discover. In one tiny port that was not the big city we expected, I asked an officer what town it was and he hemmed and hawed before telling me. Really? One of the worst examples of idiocy was the 2 days docked in St Petersburg. Tours were sold and arranged for both days BY THE CRUISE LINE. Imagine our surprise to get to Russia and find out it was closed. It was a holiday, and virtually everything including the Hermitage and the Palaces were not open the first day. Does Holland America not have Internet? They scheduled hundreds of tours for places that were closed! Almost all of the tours on the whole cruise were 3 times or more what it cost to get off the ship and buy yourself. And with less of a tour. That was the reason so many of us did the ports on our own. Doubling is acceptable but the costs were outrageous. The ports themselves made up for a lot as Northern Europe is amazingly stunning, in architecture and natural beauty. Anyone considering the Baltic tour should do just the first 28 days as Norway looked all the same at each stop. Scotland had Edinburgh which needs a week or more to enjoy and Inverness was interesting. Taking your own side trip to Scotland would be more fruitful as most of the cruise port stops are just where the Scots go to get somewhere else. Nothing there. I would only rate the cruise 3 stars and that is being generous. Oh yes, the WiFi either didn't work or was horridly slow and cost a fortune. Do not waste your time or money. Had good Internet connections on the hop on, hop off buses which were the best value of all. You can buy ONLINE AHEAD OF CRUISE a multiple city ticket that will save at least half. Do it before the cruise on Red Bus or one of the others HOP ON HOP OFF companies. You can use them in several of the cities on this cruise but it is very confusing as there are different hop on hop off, mostly red and upset many people when they couldn't get on the correct bus. Rick Steve's books are slightly helpful but you really don't understand half of what he is saying until after you have gone the first time. Get his book from the library, photocopy the cities, and staple each city individually so you don't have to haul around a book. Online tours in St. Petersburg were 1\4 the price of HAL , were longer and were in vans of 6-8 passengers instead of buses with 60-100. And some offer early entrance to the Hermitage AND in spite of what HAL tells you, they include the tourist visa. It can be very confusing with the Russian visa thing. Unless you want to wander on your own which isn't advisable, you do not need a visa. Do your research before you go and it will make a much more enjoyable and fulfilling trip. And bring warm clothing as our trip in April and May was 20-30 degrees below normal. Surprise!! Read Less
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