1,079 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews

First cruise on Holland America but 20th cruise overall. Wanted to see the Panama Canal and we selected Zuiderdam. I have avoided HAL for years and confirmed that this is not the cruise line for me. Embarkation went very smoothly in ... Read More
First cruise on Holland America but 20th cruise overall. Wanted to see the Panama Canal and we selected Zuiderdam. I have avoided HAL for years and confirmed that this is not the cruise line for me. Embarkation went very smoothly in Ft. Lauderdale. Ship is older and smaller than what we have sailed on recently but it is in very good condition. The ship has three sets of elevators where most now have only two. This decreased the distance we had to walk and the elevators worked fine and while busy, didn't have to wait too long. We had an obstructed view cabin on deck 4 forward and were happy to be able to see a little bit outside. Cabin was in good shape with two large drawers under the bed otherwise storage is tight. Were able to order a bottle of liquor delivered to the cabin. The price was high but I saved that much on ordering from the bars. Food quality was a little hit and miss. There is an Eggs Benedict station on the Lido Deck for breakfast with eggs poached to order. I had given up on Eggs Benedict on other ships as 9 times out of 10, the yolk was a solid as a hard boiled egg. Pancakes and french toast can be made to order but this seemed to be a timing issue. Lunch at the Dive In was pretty good but everything is cooked to order and pretty slow. The first few days they used beepers to let you know when your order was ready but these disappeared after a few days. Sushi is available at lunch but should be avoided. Not even grocery store quality. Dinner in the main dining room was pretty good with a few misses. You can order a medium rare steak but your chances of getting one are not good. Sent one back and would have sent the second one back but didn't want to be there for hours. There is no food available after 11:30 pm unless you want an apple. All the Lido stations close exactly when they say the will. Entertainment was also very uneven. Mainstage does not have any traditional singing and dancing shows and no condensed Broadway shows. Hilby, the Skinny German Juggle Boy (name from the program, probably in his mid 50's) was by far the best. Two shows were BBC Nature documentaries with live music. Enjoyed the Lincoln Center piano quintet but the venue needs to be twice as big. Never saw a performance where the little side space was not totally full. Billboard On Board guys, Luke and Collin, were very good as was the BB King Band. However these two groups were the extent of the evening entertainment, and after 11 days, something additional needs to be available. Casino games have a terrible house advantage. Roulette wheel has a zero, double zero and a triple zero which is very bad for the player. Blackjack tables only pay 6 to 5 for a black jack unless you are betting over $15 a hand. I managed to make a little money but quit after about 8 days. Not sure what the deal was with America's Test Kitchen but this was non existent (no longer shown on the HAL website). EXC Talks are supposed to be like TED talks but they are presented by the cruise director reading a script. The one I saw was supposed to be about block chain and off shore banking which have nothing to do with each other. The history of off shore banking may have been correct but it was very confusing to a person with over 40 years of banking experience. Service was good, probably very good. Staff was very friendly from our room stewards, to our dining room waiters, bar servers and others. Liked Aruba and Curacao a lot. Cartagena reminds me of the ports in Mexico where vendors are trying to sell you everything. Very aggressive and unwanted. This was on an excursion called Less Shopping and More Walking. The amount of walking required on most of the excursions seemed to be much more than their descriptions indicate. Even Moderate activity means lots of walking. Panama is interesting and a great engineering achievement. However, going through the locks is like watching paint dry. We did not have an excursion on Canal day and this was a mistake because you will be bored to death sitting on the ship. The ship basically went two boat lengths into Gatun Lake and anchored to let off excursion passengers. Once the tender boats were back we proceeded immediately into the locks to go back out. Last two days of the cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale were the roughest of our 20 cruises. Not sure if this was due to malfunctioning stabilizers, the age and small size of the ship or other reasons, but we will not cruise on this size ship again. There were maybe 6 kids on this cruise. I felt sorry for them as there didn't seem to be much for them to do. Of course there was also not enough for me to do and I will not book HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We've cruised with Holland America at least 4 times and chose them because of their excellent service. This cruise stopped at their private island first, then Grand Turks, Amber Cove and Key West. The service was excellent, as usual, ... Read More
We've cruised with Holland America at least 4 times and chose them because of their excellent service. This cruise stopped at their private island first, then Grand Turks, Amber Cove and Key West. The service was excellent, as usual, and the food was good. The entertainment, however, was sorely lacking. The first night, there was no show in the main stage area. For 6 nights, the main entertainment consisted of 3 evenings of the dance troupe performing, 1 night of a comedian who wasn't very funny, 1 night of a different comedian/mentalist who was really good, and then 1 night of both comedians performing, one after the other. The daytime activities weren't interesting to anyone in my group, so we spent a lot of time playing cards. They had several activities scheduled at 5 pm, but we had early seating for dinner (5:30) so we couldn't do any of those activities. Mass was scheduled at 5 pm every day. Having Mass in the morning would have made more sense. They also had Total Body Conditioning in the fitness center at 5 pm instead of in the morning. We took the Grand Turk Experience excursion for $44.95. It was worth about $20. The bus took us to the light house but to enter it was an extra charge. We stopped at a small market for about 20 minutes. I wouldn't recommend this excursion. The Amber Cove excursion of Mountain Views & City Sights was interesting and worth the $59.95 charge. Key West is very walkable and there's no need to purchase an excursion to see the sights. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Hub and I booked a balcony cabin rather last-minute -- back surgery on his part necessitated us letting go a steal of a deal on Empress of the Seas and rebooking a different trip. We were looking forward to sailing on HAL again, as we ... Read More
Hub and I booked a balcony cabin rather last-minute -- back surgery on his part necessitated us letting go a steal of a deal on Empress of the Seas and rebooking a different trip. We were looking forward to sailing on HAL again, as we appreciate the relative calm on board (we drop the average cruiser age by 20 years when we embark) and had not been on a Dam ship in four years. (As background: I have 27 cruises under my belt and he has 24 -- on Carnival, Royal, Celebrity, and HAL.) Embarkation was smooth as we waited until after noon to come on board. We were puzzled when the port agent walked us to a HAL employee, who escorted us to our cabin: turns out they were afraid 'construction materials' might have been left on our balcony, which was not the case. As noted in previous reviews, the cabin (8020, just below the spa and down the hall from the bridge) could use more storage, but we made the most of the shelves in the closet. You can hear noise from the nearby stairwell/elevators, so take care if you're a light sleeper. (Also: no balcony lights at night for navigational reasons.) Having the sofa near the balcony rather than the entrance was really super. We found the bathtub more of a hindrance than anything, especially given the super-clingy shower curtain. Definitely bring a power strip, as the plug in the bathroom was especially persnickety as to what it would power, and you only have outlets at the vanity. The USB ports on either side of the bed were a godsend. And what do they use for wall/door materials? Certainly nothing a magnet can attach to, which was a bummer. As also noted, the TV channel selections were limited and puzzling -- no children's programming, but THREE news channels? -- but there was a surfeit of movies to watch should you choose to. (We didn't.) There were maybe 20 kids on the cruise from toddlers to teens, but: huh? Other than noted elsewhere, service was top-notch. If it fell short, it certainly wasn't the fault of the staff. The ship itself is tastefully done (as usual) in terms of finishes and whatnot. Internet/WiFI was ABYSMAL. The Navigator App rarely worked well right out of the gate -- we quickly learned work-arounds, but counted ourselves fortunate if we could go a day without bothering the Guest Services team to log on (which, by the way, is a terrible use of customer service resources). The first day at sea, the wifi was down altogether for over 12 hours, which created a great deal of consternation for husband trying to run a business where there is no cell service (that would be at home). It finally came up a half-hour before our second traditional dinner seating . . . and 12 hours BEFORE we were notified it was up and running. Guess who missed the first Gala dinner? This is the first time we've ever run into such inconsistent access. We'd gladly pay more if we could be assured it would work. Carnival and Royal have figured it out, so we're not sure why HAL can't. Food in the dining room was very hit or miss -- it's the first time I've not finished an offering because it was inedible -- and the menu very limited. We actually skipped our last meal for the Lido just so we had more options. Hub has unusual and life-threatening allergies, and it appeared that our waiter was stretched thin covering tables which meant we had to be on our game to make sure nothing slipped by. Entertainment is not our thing, but we missed having karaoke as an option. Trivia was REALLY tough. There was a lot of throwback activities -- bridge, mahjongg, flower arranging -- and pickleball, which pretty much says all you need to about the demographic. The Planet Earth presentations were almost always scheduled in the afternoon of a port of call, and we weren't interested in the Oprah offerings. We did catch the dance show one night and was very impressed. Casino slots, as usual, were tight. The pools were always full -- the 'Retreat' above limits seating -- and we never once spent time in the aft pool area as a result. Mixed results at the spa -- I had a masseuse assign me 'homework' of taking baths to reduce stress, which I have time for because I don't have kids. (Really.) I did get caught up on much recreational reading on our balcony, so there's that. Ports: we skipped Half Moon Cay as it lacks shade (unless you purchase it). Unfortunately, our whale-watching tour at Grand Turk was cancelled due to high winds. Amber Cove was a major disappointment -- the taxis are complete ripoffs, and we spent two hours in a car with a very well-meaning man who had very limited English skills -- and while the pool is nice, the shore is not at all attractive. It's hard to go wrong with Key West -- we've been enough times that we know who to visit and ask about new things, and got great recommendations for new galleries and a yummy place for lunch -- although we were disappointed that we docked west of Mallory Square and missed out on what sunset activities we might have watched as we left. All in all, while we love the general ambiance that HAL provides, there were enough hiccups that we will hesitate booking again, much to our dismay. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Had an awesome cruise, 7 day Caribbean. ship is from 2002 but renovated in 2017/18 My wife and I have sailed primarily Royal, Celebrity, Princess, NCL, Carnival and my wife Cunard in the past, over 40 cruises. 1900 passengers and ... Read More
Had an awesome cruise, 7 day Caribbean. ship is from 2002 but renovated in 2017/18 My wife and I have sailed primarily Royal, Celebrity, Princess, NCL, Carnival and my wife Cunard in the past, over 40 cruises. 1900 passengers and 9 decks with lots of elevators. many were on 2, 3 and 4 week back to back cruises we are 65 and 68 so almost felt young!! An older mix, say average age 65-75. Very few children, saw the Club HAL kids place closed one day plus some younger couples who want a quiet cruise and have returned. The dining room food selection, presentation, service and taste I'd say would be the best similar to Celebrity. We did not go to Pinnacle dining room or Canaletto for speciality dining, but the menu looked great at Pinnacle ($39 cover) Would highly recommend HAL's renovated ships and newer ships. Had prime rib 2 nights, lots of seafood, lobster tails on last Gala night (formerly formal night) and far less formal than in the past. This is all good. Nice touch on exiting the DR, one could have mints, ginger, dates or figs. Lido buffet was also excellent. They even had crepes, super omelettes,V8 and grapefruit juice which you don't see often. Most food was served to you, similar to what Celebrity has done. Some fruit, bread and other items you could pick up on your own. I asked why they served, its to avoid cross contamination, They told me with an older crowd, if someone gets ill, can be harder on older people to recover. a good idea. Sushi and Thai, Chinese food every day. Loved Half Moon Cay, private island stop, only ship there, soft powdery beach. BBQ lunch was one of the best we;ve seen. great salad selection, gourmet hamburgers and fresh fruit and ribs and fish tacos. They also had a Lobster Shack so for extra $ can get a roll or lobster salad Even had real ice cream scooped from coolers. Also lido had real ice cream all day. Lido pool deck midship had Dive In, a hamburg/hot dog /french fries. You place the order and are given a buzzer to come pick up minutes later. Nathan's dogs and crispy fries, served in a cup. Beside Dive-in there was a mexican station all day, nachos, cheese, various additives, soft and hard tacos. A real nice touch. Workers greeted you all the time and were constantly cleaning. Just had main dining lunch once for Mariner lunch. Breakfast and lunch always in Lido, ate at the aft, nice to be in the air (we try to do this on all cruises) only minor issue smoking was allowed on the aft starboard side, so smoke sometimes blew over. Mainstage a nice size theatre, on decks 2/3 No orchestra and big stage show, instead we had 3 excellent dance shows by Step One, 7 dancers with recorded music. Get to Mainstage early and most go to the early show. Also had great comedian Ken Boyd and illusionist Ben Zabin at the Mainstage Live music in BB King's, a dance club bar which used to be the test kitchen area. This 7 piece group was tight, excellent and the place to go after dinner. 3 shows most every night. Trumpet, sax, bass and lead guitar, keyboards, drums and male/female singers. Nice dance floor. Both Mainstage and BB King's were very cold so bring a sweater and socks when you pack. Lincoln Center Stage had a string quartet with piano, 4 ladies and a fellow, young and excellent. several shows a night. room was quite small, so get there early. Now this venue was too warm !! They need some HVAC adjustments. This quintet had 2 violins, a viola, cello and grand piano. Played classical but mix of American, show tunes and modern. Version of Stairway to Heaven was awesome. There also was Billboard online with back to back grand pianos, playing various tunes. shows were after early dinner. Noted that unlike most ships there is not a venue for piano and bar. They had an electronic piano with people dancing. Casino was not big but busy and best of all no smoking. Celebrity has also gone this way Smart move. one night was orange night (the Dutch colours) and chocolate surprise, where samples of dutch goodies and chocolates were handed out around Billboard and BB King.s some trivia games. Deck 10 forward has Crow's next, easy chairs, great views lots of games/most jigsaw puzzles ever. Large reference books, regular library replaced with book exchange, so check in day 1 for best selection. Shore ex and future cruise were also in this area, smart idea. Some nice touches on HAL that we haven't seen on most cruises: - when boarding ship after port, had cool towels, water/lemonade, nice sitting area with flowers (Celebrity has similar with no flowers) Celebrity does have the nice OJ and sparkling upon first embarkation though - chocolates in your room every night (Princess also has but most have cut back) - towel animals every night in your room - bottomless fruit bowl in your room. - balcony and higher have small bathtub/shower. Save the environment with no small bottles so shower soap, shampoo, conditioner in dispensers from Elemis, Elemis lotion bottles given though -rooms were cleaned by team of 2 room stewards, there were no carts left in the hall like other cruiselines. Instead they would go into side rooms for suppliers. Amazing service, these guys were invisible -could get a mini newspaper and NY times crossword every day at Deck 1 reception desk. They had German, UK, Canadian, Dutch and various languages if you wish. US paper also had a crossword and Sudoku puzzle but a little small font, the NY times crossword was printed in good font on cardboard stock with a hyper sudoku as well. Will keep you busy for hours -outside the good sized bathroom, there was a motion activated night light at your feet, nice touch. Celebrity has a night light in the washroom - to save the environment in the room garbage can they had a slot for paper and regular garbage. Still too much paper handed out. Nice compact daily When and Where program though. Don't think they had an art auction, but art on display. Still doing group photos but less of them. No picture racks, but viewing screens like the other newer ships -room had lots of storage, balcony good size for our VA category, 2 chairs, with foot stools and small table. Balcony had a door unlike most cruises with sliding doors. Beds were very good with nice pillows - robes were in room to use for cruise or $55 to purchase with monogram -free HAL bag in each room like Princess and Celebrity - beach towels in each room to use - like the newer ships, a flat panel, very impressive TV, lots of movies, and other shows, food menus etc. TV channels about 12, Caribbean ESPN and ESPN 2, MSNBC, Fox, BBC, HGTV etc Gym had Precor equipment, I prefer Llifefitness. NO video input to machines. but 3 TV's on ceiling. Good selection of weights. Sadly people don't know to wipe machines, there was no sign to do so and no sign to keep machine use to 30 minutes, I suggested this to the gym managers In tendering to Princess Cays, had quite a wait 45 minutes to fill tender ship, returning much faster. On 2 Sea Days cruise director Stephanie made morning announcements at 9 am. Gave them feedback not to do that, can;'t sleep in CD was Stephanie Summerville from the US. An actress and professional speaker. Great voice and pronunciation. Only with HAL 7 months She gave some excellent EXC talks at Main Stage, History of HAL (150 years)The Deep Blue, Caribbean Rum Spirit, Islands of the Mind (Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet) These were highly produced excellent presentations with audio, video and using their million light LED stage panels. Made for HAL, I understand some sailings have guest presenters, but they use the CD most of the time. Forgot to mention the MainStage LED panels were used for the dance shows and these are incredible screens. Only 4 computer screens. WIFI packages were pricey and i heard not too fast. For this ship audience, they aren't connected as much. Captain Bart Vaartjes was Dutch as most are, he gave a great ship presentation and Q/A friendly noon announcements. Very casual, had a relaxed demeanor, walked about ship like most officers. Met him at Amber Cove, took a photo, he just ashore for a few hours Amber Cove in Dominican Republic, at Puerta Plata, was a nice stop, Carnival Magic was also there, so large pool/lazy river were packed. Big swim up bar, food available, hammocks available, over the water bungalows to rent, also bungalows near Zipline $20 pp all day. Lots of the usual shops. No beach, but can taxi or shorex to Puerta Plata for beaches. Free wifi just outside main store after leaving ship. Carnival Corp built this stop a few years ago, for their branded ships. A nice stop, but quite busy if several large ships are in port. Key West, always a nice stop. Interesting we had to clear US customs first thing in the morning, there were a lot of lines. Being Canadian we did not have as many line as US. Then at Fort Lauderdale, no US customs to clear, just walk off. We walked down Duvall St, down to the Southernmost beacon, endless bars and stores, found a $5 for everything beachwear. Must visit original Margaritville, Had Kermits famous Key Lime Pie. Free wifi at Starbux Overall, an excellent cruise, would sail HAL again. Put down the $100 deposit for a future cruise. Would highly recommend doing this for any cruise you are on Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose the Zuiderdam for a romantic, relaxing cruise. We were very disappointed with many things about the Zuiderdam and Holland America as a company. First, let me start by saying the Holland America has some serious operational and ... Read More
We chose the Zuiderdam for a romantic, relaxing cruise. We were very disappointed with many things about the Zuiderdam and Holland America as a company. First, let me start by saying the Holland America has some serious operational and procedural issues which need an outside consultant to fix. Embarkation: You know you are in trouble when getting on the ship is the best thing you can say about the ship. Embarkation was quick and painless. Cabin: We chose an inside cabin for this cruise because we like to take a nap in the afternoon and there is nothing better than a cold, dark cabin after a hot shore day. The cabin was very dated. The shower floor was filthy. I mean black filth. When the shower is dirty you have to wonder what else is dirty that you are not seeing. It is like walking into a restaurant and looking up to see black vents and ceiling tiles. If they do not care enough to make sure the shower floor is clean then you can bet they are not making sure the things you cannot see are clean. The steward was fine and helpful. Restaurant: We ate dinner in the restaurant only one night because the first experience was that bad. First of all, they sat me a 6 foot 7 football player type of a guy in a booth with a table cloth that almost went to the floor. I spent the entire dinner feeling like I had a blanket covering my legs and when I got up I took the table cloth off the table with me. Second, we never saw the same person twice. It was ridiculous. There was not one person you could have called our waiter. Third, it was chaos in the restaurant and took a very long time for the food to arrive. There was way too much time between courses and when the food did arrive it was bland and just not very good. We skipped dessert because by the time we got around to being asked what we liked we just wanted out. We went one morning to eat breakfast in the restaurant at 9:05 am and were turned away because they said breakfast was over at 9. Now mind you, we are on vacation and 9 am is too early to stop serving breakfast to people who are sleeping in and trying to relax. Buffet: The biggest problem with the buffet is there are not enough places for people to sit and eat. There are two many large tables and not enough smaller tables. Lunch and breakfast can become very stressful affairs. I literally felt like dropping my plate and walking out on more than one occasion and I have never felt that way on a ship before. It was not just us you would see and hear people upset they could not find a place to sit. I have never experienced something quite like this on a ship before. Also the buffet stops serving dinner at 8 pm. This is way too early because people from the West Coast are not ready for dinner until 8 pm. The problem with the Zuiderdam is it wants to run on its time schedule and not on a realistic time schedule for all of their guests. One evening I actually saw them removing the food away from people trying to get something to eat. This is not an exaggeration. They actually removed the food away from them leaving them to stand there hungry. Bars: The bar service was fine and as a matter of fact our best overall service was from Ricky in the Ocean Bar. The drinks were always plentiful and good. At least the bar was good to keep the edge off of how awful everything else about the ship was. America's Test Kitchen: One of the reasons we booked this cruise was for America's Test Kitchen. It was advertised that it was on the Zuiderdam. Guess what? There was no America's Test Kitchen. I have to say it really felt like a bait and switch type tactic. If you are going to advertise something to a potential customer as a cruise company you had better make sure it is happening on the ship when they arrive. BB Kings: The best part of the Zuiderdam entertainment was the BB King lounge. The only problem was the first three nights it was not offered. We got half the product for the full price. See how this is going? Billboard Music: This was the most laughable and horrible entertainment I have seen in years. I am serious it is awful. The two guys behind the piano's are awful. Mainstage Theater: Dance Shows - They had three dance shows which were very good. The dancers were very well trained and their interaction with the LED screens was really amazing. They were the best part of our trip. English Comedian - First let me remind you that we are a gay male couple. The homophobic comedian was not funny and as a matter of fact he was offensive. He made several awful gay jokes which were insulting. My husband and I did not pay to be insulted and that is exactly what happened. If this were racial jokes the guy was making they would have fired him on the spot. What is the difference? You do not insult people who are paying for your service. We will not make this mistake with Holland America again. It was really that bad. Half Moon Cay: You would think since Holland America has had this island since the 1990's if would be an amazing place to be. Well it is not. The straw market was a joke. The food was a joke. Not being able to use your drink package on their island was a joke. The facilities are run down and they are dirty. Once again Holland America and dirty are in the same sentence. Not good. We took a shore excursion on Half Moon Cay. It was awful. It was not on the ocean but in a lagoon. We rode a small uncomfortable boat around a lagoon. Seriously it was like one of those bad amusement park boat rides with the cheesy narrator. It was truly that bad. Disembarkation: Was quick and easy. In closing, we were very disappointed in Holland America. The ship and cruise were overall depressing. Holland had better change their game because this was truly one of the worst cruise ships we ever sailed. We will not choose Holland America ever again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I am missing a single day to become a *** three star mariner with HAL. I crossed the Atlantic twice: once on the Noordam and once on the Koningsdam from and to Civitavecchia, plus three weeks on the New Amsterdam (which is still my ... Read More
I am missing a single day to become a *** three star mariner with HAL. I crossed the Atlantic twice: once on the Noordam and once on the Koningsdam from and to Civitavecchia, plus three weeks on the New Amsterdam (which is still my favorite vessel in terms of decor and style). Firstly, the ship voyage was often unexplainably rocky - even when there was not particularly rough seas. This made me wonder if the ship STABILIZER were working properly. Second, I’ve always found the food experience on board of HAL to be excellent and I NEVER even considered once to send back a dish... well, this time I was forced to do so several different times on board of the Zuiderdam. Including in its Pinnacle grill, which in my opinion was way below the standards of a HAL specialty restaurant (for $35 extra). So my major complaint on board of the Zuiderdam was the poor quality of the food - often unacceptable even in the Lido cafeteria. I found the food selection and quality dramatically lower than the usual standards of Holland America lines. Often economizing on the carving station with few choices, and those that were offered were often sad chunks of overcooked beef, pork or turkey, or the “ethnic” section with shameful bowls of equally overcooked stuff. — Furthermore, I found the entertainment offered on board rather pitiful. Nothing like the BBC Earth show played by a four element string quartet on other ships. Plus the overall appearance of the Zuiderdam is tired and anachronistic sometimes lacking in basic hygiene (as I had reported to officers onboard) like in the aft pool mens restrooms on the Lido deck, which -honestly- smelled like a Marine barracks. Horrific. On the other HAL ships I mentioned above, there were fresh orchid buds in every restroom. To my chagrin, I found the miseries of a ship which has failed to live up to its promises to have undergone some "major" refurbishment. I also would like to mention my profound disappointment of having found the classy lounge right next to the Crows Nest turned into some sort of schoolroom with (in my opinion) useless chairs where I have noticed only three people who were occasionally sitting to attend some sort of medical lecture. On the other hand there was always a battle to get a seat on one of the TOO few bistro chairs in the smoking section of the ship aft. Overall I would never consider take another cruise on the Zuiderdam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We did two seven day cruises back to back on the Zuiderdam, coming back to Fort Lauderdale in between. We like Holland America because of the extra large verandas and the fact that their ships aren’t overwhelming. Big enough to offer ... Read More
We did two seven day cruises back to back on the Zuiderdam, coming back to Fort Lauderdale in between. We like Holland America because of the extra large verandas and the fact that their ships aren’t overwhelming. Big enough to offer enough to do but not so big we feel lost in crowds. We also signed on with Holland America in part because of their offering for America’s Test Kitchen. We love the show and on past cruises have learned SO much from their cooking classes. NO MORE! Holland America ended their contract with Test Kitchen, and the second half of the trip had absolutely nothing! Big mistake on their part, because now it’s got us looking at other cruise lines. The food was typical, very good, but not great. Presentation was always wonderful but we found the descriptions on the menu, never quite what we thought we were getting. We opted to do Holland America and supplement with additional dining at their other restaurants, and didn’t realize Zuiderdam only had two. The first three nights at Pinnacle or Rudi’s were OK, mostly because we had a waiter who was just plain bad. Served us like the main dining room. The steaks were cold and we had to send them back. I don’t mean cool, I mean cold. While the head came over and apologized, you’d have thought they would have caught on. Well, we were also a group of women, and I have noticed we do get worse service on most cruise lines. They pay attention to the couples, though we pay the same price. The fourth night we demanded to be seated elsewhere with a different waiter since the first one sucked, and they were planning on giving us that loser again (truly one of the worst cruise line waiters we’ve had). Then the experience was excellent. What a difference it makes when you get your food hot and the wait staff serves it with care instead of dropping it off on his way to another table! I’m always amazed how clean the ships are considering the hard use they get. Overall we were pleased with the boat. I have to say though, losing America’s Test kitchen is a huge disappointment, and will cause us to explore other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Just finishing up our holiday cruise. First time on HAL but have cruised most lines. The good: room stewards were very good and so was the food. The Bad: We had a balcony room which was pretty small, buckets around ship to catch ... Read More
Just finishing up our holiday cruise. First time on HAL but have cruised most lines. The good: room stewards were very good and so was the food. The Bad: We had a balcony room which was pretty small, buckets around ship to catch leaks, lack of activities on at sea days, nightly entertainment horrendous, sewage smell in a few corridors. The Ugly: It was our Anniversary, which was noted on the original invoice and it was totally overlooked. We were sailing with another couple, also anniversary and birthday. They were given cupcakes in their room, a couples massage, big deal in dining room, We were not given as much as a banana with a note on it! Very disappointing. Today I went down to Guest Services to formally complain and was told they’ll make note of my complaint. So, needless to say, we will never be sailing again with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Hi there. It’s January, and I’m back home in Michigan. We are all snowed in today so I’m finally going back to submit my review for my holiday cruise. Most of which I typed while I was on the ship, and some I filled in just now. ... Read More
Hi there. It’s January, and I’m back home in Michigan. We are all snowed in today so I’m finally going back to submit my review for my holiday cruise. Most of which I typed while I was on the ship, and some I filled in just now. (So please excuse my mixed tenses!) Here it is: ROOMS: It’s 4:24 a.m. and I'm on the ship, on Christmas Eve morning, actually. I’ve been thinking about it since my first dinner here, so why not start my review now, because the reason I’m awake now in the first place is because I’m suffocating in this too-hot room. I bought a small digital clock to take with me that also shows the temperature. I would get the room just right and the system was set to auto-regulate. Then it would be too hot. I finally figured out that any time housekeeping would come in the room, they were setting the thermostat back to their set point of TOO HOT AND STUFFY TO SLEEP. I am laying by the floor by the door now in hopes of sucking some fresher cooler air into my body and to limit the light from my iPad. Since I mentioned the room temperature, before I move on from talking about the room, the smoke alarm went off the first time after I took a quick shower and left the door open. We’d all been diligently keeping the shower door closed after showering since. The second time it went off, I took a shower and although I was careful to keep the door shut, the captain started making announcements so I creaked the bathroom door to hear them, what with being a responsible guest and all. It almost immediately went off. It didn’t wake me, as I was up since 3:30. It did however (almost) finish the job of waking up my kids, which could stay asleep under interrogation lights. Interestingly, the smoke alarm has not gone off the last few nights when we distinctly smelled cigarette smoke. We called and the guy turned it off and explained to me how smoke alarms sense heat and smoke (well except cigarette smoke) and how it was all for our well being and the safety of the ship, Like I’m an absolute complete ticking idiot and never understood in 46 years the purpose of smoke alarms. Basically there is nothing they could do but turn it off remotely each time after they inspect for no fire. So I said thanks and “okay I’ll see you the next time I take a shower again, I guess.” Overall, though, sneaky temperature changing and smoke alarms that go off when there is steam but not when there is smoke, the rooms are good. More spacious than Carnival and the bathroom didn’t induce claustrophobia. SHIP DECOR: Now that I’ve gotten out of the way why I’m writing this at this very moment, I’ll start properly! I am on the Holland America cruise line’s ship “The Zuiderdam.” I took a short Carnival cruise over the summer with just the kids and wanted to go with my husband for a longer vacation over the winter break. The kids and I wanted more cruise fun but slightly more upscale. (That is to say, less people that see a cruise as a prolonged drinking contest, and less people that don’t have manners and step slightly to the side when they decide to plant themselves in doorways and see other people trying to get around them.) I researched and this ship’s size-to-occupancy ratio was one of the best. That is to say, it had the most square feet per person, so the overcrowded feel of The Carnival cruise would hopefully be avoided. Although generally this cruise line is thought of as more expensive, I shopped Carnival cruises at the same time and the prices were very close worked out on a per day cost but Carnival didn’t have one that fit our schedule well. This is my fifth cruise. The prior one was Carnival, about 6 months ago. Go back 20 years to two more Carnival cruises. Then one more when I was a kid. I don’t remember the line, but it wasn’t Carnival or Holland. I remember though, as a kid, the shows were amazing. I was in awe! That is the breadth of my expertise as a cruise guest. I’m no expert but am very well positioned to compare/contrast Carnival and Holland, so here goes! The ship took a little getting used to. It’s beautifully, well at least plushly, decorated. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It feels decadent with its plush fabric chairs and spacious layout. But it is decidedly less open than the three Carnival’s ships I’ve been on. The atrium only spanned three floors and isn’t spacious. It’s just more of a 3 floor open staircase isha. Crystal seahorse hanging down in the center. The center floor had some Christmas decorations there. It didn’t seem that even without the decorations there would be space for a d.j. And there wasn’t space around the edges enough for audience to gather. There were chairs put around but it wasn’t a comfortable place to gather around a performer. It was more of a very comfortable waiting room, with the exception of being overly lighted to the point of wincing - but more on that in a bit. What I’m trying to say is it was impossible to get that sense of a ship that was a singular cohesive body with all its separate parts working together, which I realize now was what was in large part appealing about the large unifying open inside atrium spaces of the Carnival ships. I got used to it after about a day, after learning my way around more. You really couldn’t go to the atrium first and then look around and see or remember. I had to always strategize in my head first where I was going, and how to get back. Felt like lots of luxurious appointed tunnels. Other than the general lack of an open floor plan, of note was that this ship has two additional full restaurants they’ve built into the main areas. They push them, announce them, put them prime and center in most of their print-outs for the days’ activities. I find this tacky because all the food is paid for in the price of the cruise, and here I am being told if I want a true fine dining experience I have to make reservations and pay more. That’s right, did I not mention they are full on paid restaurants? There is a sense of luxury in the use of the space (minus the open concept, as I mentioned). Halls that are curvy for no reason except that they can be. Little curved corridors with lighter art insets in the wall. His luxury isn’t as felt on the Carnival ships, where walkways always seem to be made the shortest space between two points. The Zuiderdam throws down the mike here, and deservedly. SHOWS: It’s important to me that you take a moment to recognize I did say some positive things first about the ship. Because it’s all downhill from there. Entertainment. Oh boy. Reviews said this ship was top rated for entertainment. Maybe those reviewers were very heavy drinkers? The first night, there was no show. The cruise social director kept asking about great upcoming shows they had, such great dancers. I was thinking maybe she just really like the dance part, because watching just dancers for an hour - that can’t be right. Right? It was right. The second night was all and nothing but dancers. I made everyone go, we stayed for 10 minutes. There was no second show going anywhere here to catch. They have an ongoing blues band act with a dance floor. It’s not something to go sit and watch, though. I walked up to the edge of it a couple of times. Nobody was dancing, and the music was so loud you wouldn’t have been able to hold a conversation in there. I was used to Carnival that had a main show and on a smaller stage other side of the ship they’d have a comedian or something smaller. The next night’s show was a guy that did a Beatles tribute. Why yes, that WAS on the main stage, it was the main show. It was starting out okay, I mean the Beatles, right? He told some little stories and did some songs but mostly lots of tiny bits of songs. Then his wife came out. I winced, just like I did with the interogation-wattage-level lights at dinner, which I’ll get to later. She was like a more saccharin and thin (personality-wise) version of Kathie Lee Gifford. Hey, Kathie Lee did Carnival Cruise commercials early on, so maybe this is the Holland America version? Wow. I can’t think of anyone more Beatles-contrary. Then she sang one of the best songs ever - "Let It Be." Were it not possibly the best song ever, it would have ruined it for me forever. If a female is going to sing that song at all, shouldn’t it be a little more Edie Brickell and less fake Marilyn, dramatically flitting her skirt around and coming out in different glamorous outfits that were all basically the same cut, but in different colors, with no explanation, on and off 5 times in a 45 minute show? Last night there was a comedian. He was mentioned excitedly by one of the cruise hosts earlier. I should have been on alert since the other host got so excited talking about dancers. This guy had no act. Zero. I kept waiting for it. He knew it, too, and seemed embarrassed, even. He was affable enough and talked to the audience for 45 minutes but no show actually came. He had just written a book and was on a late night show and taped a special, (and he told us all, plus he had done 10 commercials) so maybe he had no jokes left. My kids enjoyed it more than the dancing show or the Beatles guy, but still not as much as watching a movie in their room. They didn’t know how much of a non-act it was, as they are ages 9 and 11. His show was truly far below the standard of what you’d get from that comedian on Carnival on the smaller stage - that wasn’t even the main act. The last night of the cruise was supposed to be the “good” show, as touted by the comedian in his first show, when explaining why he had no jokes. (He was saving them for the last night.) It was going to be a variety show. It was about 17 minutes more of the comedian. Then the Beatles guy and his sacharrine wife again. Not really a variety show by my definition - more of a warmer-over recycling of what was bad to begin with. I missed the first 5 minutes of the comedian. When I was walking up the stairs outside the theatre to join my family I heard the comedian saying something about how he told his wife when she gives him the silent treatment it's not really punishment. As I sat down I was thinking "tonight's the good stuff?" He made a bunch of age put-down jokes the first night. My husband said that as soon as he came out onto the stage for his "finale show" some guy yelled "I don't like you." So, that has to suck as a comedian, but I'm not sure he didn't deserve it. Other "jokes" included saying he needed surgery once and started with a Jewish surgeon and then got "upgraded" to an Indian surgeon and they're smarter, so... (insert laughter here?) FINE DINING: Fine dining that is included? I’m still trying. The first night, as soon as we sat down to dinner, I winced in the brightness of the faux incandescent colored light. Why. So. Bright. Fluorescent supermarket lighting would be better, truly. I couldn’t stop wincing. Then they delivered a bloody rare steak to my daughter even though she ordered it medium well. They took so long to come back to the table that everyone was mostly done by the time they even knew they needed to try again, this time cooking it. And my husband and I very stupidly agreed to a salad which meant our kids just sat there for the first 20 minutes or more. I ate as fast as I could when I realized they were waiting before my kids could get to eat. We were there for an hour and a half with no dessert. And I never was able to stop wincing from the light. The next night at dinner I asked the dining manager if we could possibly please sit somewhere less bright. He said they were assigned, so no. I could wait “over there” for a family with another table to be asked I they’d be willing to trade with us. No straight thinking person would trade with us, and I didn’t want to be further at their mercy, so I said it was fine, I didn’t want to wait, I’d just wear my sunglasses. I went back to my room and brought back my sunglasses and wore them, like a jerk, through dinner. There are darker normal-restaurant-light-level tables around the edges and the very center of both floors. The overhead oval of light that goes all the way around both floors is nauseatingly bright and really I couldn’t get past it. After dinner I went to the desk and they said the only way I could change tables was to forfeit my assigned table if he manager would “release” us from it, so we could go in unassigned on the other floor. But we had to get permission to go in unassigned at a certain time and there were no slots. The other option was to make reservations in the main (still) free fine dining restaurant. There were no spaces for actual reservations, no spaces to reserve for “unreserved” spots. But guest services said I could always “try.” She said she couldn’t guarantee anything though because it was just like a regular restaurant and again we could not even try without getting permission to be released from our assigned table which, once we forfeited, could not get back. I said it’s not really like another restaurant, because if it were home like another restaurant, you could go home to feed your kids, or go to another restaurant. I had to risk losing all dining options for my kids on Christmas Eve and Christmas for the gamble to get away from the light. Please be warned that if you order anything from a different category from your fellow diners, they will not bring it all at the same time. They will serve the first course and not bring others’ food until you have sat there with the empty plate for quite a while for whatever soup or salad you were so dumb to say “yes” to when they suggested it. A waiter at dinner asked me if I wanted ice cream with the slice of apple pie for dessert I ordered. I said "okay." A different waiter delivered pie. I said “I ordered this with ice cream?” The waiter said it doesn’t come with ice cream, but if I wanted ice cream too, he could bring me some. (Because I'm a huge pig and he was making a special exception? No thanks!) Also a wrong desert was brought second night. Waiter set it down and walked off, and I had to wait SO long to get a chance to tell him he brought the wrong thing (which was getting awkward to keep repeating.) Another time, my husband had breakfast in the dining room with my daughter, just the two of them. The dining room was mostly empty. A while after they were seated, an older "proper" British couple were seated RIGHT ON TOP OF THEM. Well, right next to them, filling out the remaining 2 seats at their 4-top, but it felt uncomfortable to the British couple apparently because she politely asked to sit somewhere else (not in my family's lap) and the waiter said "no." I get cruise seating style but when someone politely asks to sit somewhere else, even one table over, and is told NO by the waiter, well, that's just weird. My husband said it was certainly memorable to hear this proper British lady get angry and raise her voice with her British accent at the waiter after he kept saying "no." It's just weird that it's the opposite of "customer's always right" here. It's "the ship staff is always right." Another time, my husband ordered a coke, waiter took forever, husband asked again, waiter dropped off TWO warm cans, no ice. Husband FINALLY gave up waiting for the waiter to come back, and walked around and found the waiter to return the second coke. The waiter said he'd take it off beverage gift card, and said he'd get back to us with a cup of ice. We gave up on ice eventually and took the can to lido to get our own cup of ice. The next morning, I tried to get a coffee with the beverage card and I couldn't because the beverage card showed no balance, because, of course, the errant charge for the unordered second coke can had not been removed. Finally, on Christmas Day, I was seated with 3 other ladies that were strangers but we were having a touching conversation about something very important that had happened to her, and were all leaning in. Other people around us were still eating their main course. We were finishing our coffee. The waiter INTERRUPTED her emotional story ON CHRISTMAS DAY to ask us IF WE COULD LEAVE. One of the other ladies snapped back at him "no we'll leave in a few minutes." I just really couldn't believe I wasn't hearing things. Nope, that really happened. ROOM SERVICE: The first night, we filled out our little placard for breakfast in-room the next morning. We all woke up but it wasn’t our set delivery time of 8:30 to 9:00. We could have gone to the lido deck or the fine dining restaurant, but we’d ordered something so kept waiting in the room the first morning of our cruise. I called and asked about it 10 minutes past the window, and we got it 20 minutes later, so it was 30 minutes after the end of our set window. Well, most of it. Except my husband’s, which wasn’t included at all. I called. We left and he stole a piece of my son’s toast. We got a message at 10:30 saying they tried to deliver the food but nobody was there. Next morning, the only thing that changes was that I started to ride them faster. 5 minutes before the end of the window, I called them and they THEN started the order and we got it in about 20 minutes. Still later than our window. It would be nice if on a trip like this I didn’t STILL feel like as a mom it was my responsibility to be sure my kids get food, but whatever. We get it. In room dining isn’t something they make more money off of, like their other paid restaurants. It doesn’t seem to be a priority to them to actually fill the orders, at least not ours. To that end, there is also no printed in-room dining menu anywhere to be found, as there was for Carnival. I waited in line to ask at the desk and they said I could find it on the television ship channel. One night we were hungry after the lido deck shut down everything but pizza, but we didn’t want pizza. So we tried room service and after an hour of no delivery we called and then were told again “we’ll follow up.” No explanation given. Seems they don’t start a room service order until the first complaint of it being late comes in? REFLECTIONS ON THE FOOD: It was difficult for the kids and even my husband to find things to order at dinner. There was usually just one thing they would eat, and the order would have to include instructions to leave certain things off. Carnival’s menu worked better for us. It had several recognizable things, a few fancier things, and one “exotic” type thing each evening as choices. Most of the food on this cruise was for the “refined” pallette so much it was alienating. Waiters would drop off food and then be gone for a good long while unless I was rude enough to wave them down, for, say, water. (The glasses were empty when the waiter set down the food and walked off.) My daughters’ medium well steak was ripe with fresh blood in the center. It took forever to get the waiter to come back, and then we had to wait for a new steak that was cooked. The first night that dinner took an hour and a half, with no dessert. Prime rib is suppose to be pink but we all found it too disgusting, wet with red blood in the center to eat, so we could never order that again. The coffee was way too strong. In the lido deck I would get 2/3 of a cup and add hot water to it to make a full normal cup. I could never get coffee in the dining room. I tried once. I only was given creamer and sugar, no Splenda or anything. I often felt I was breaking decorum to ask to get my family’s dining needs met. (Also please be aware that soy, almond, or coconut milk is not available for coffee.) There IS an awesome coffee bar on the 10th floor at the front of the ship. We didn’t discover it until halfway through our cruise, though, because it is all by itself and not listed as anything except EXC Tour Cafe in all the paperwork. We thought it was a desk where salespeople tried to sell excursion. I was looking for where I could get lattes and cappuccinos since I had these $25 drink cards and don’t drink alcohol. Do you understand I was LOOKING for this place and still only found it by accident out of boredom on the 3 rd day of the cruise? It’s a neat room. Seriously it is the coolest space on any cruise ship I’ve experienced. If you are reading this and go on this ship, go there first - it’s awesome and you’ll likely have it to yourself a few days with crickets chirping as nobody else will have figured it out yet. Unlike other cruises I’ve been on, about 9:30 the only offerings in the lido deck were self-serve pizza. Well, there was pasta with meat sauce behind the counter but glass separated you from it and there wasn’t someone to serve it. No cookies, cupcakes, sandwiches... just pizza. Good pizza. But wow if you didn’t want pizza and were hungry, you’d have to get room service, and you’ve read how that turned out for us… AFFILIATIONS, “O”/OPRAH AND MICROSOFT: There is a connection with “O” magazine they tout.. They advertise that they offer yoga and meditation classes for a comprehensive Oprah inspired well-being experience. One class was a guided meditation class at 5:30 the first full day. It was printed on the daily activity highlights insert as well as the daily schedule. It was supposed to be in the fitness center and was to be $15. I went with my daughter, who is mature for her age, and wanted to go. She does yoga with her dad sometimes. The first person in the fitness center said there was no class. I got out my paper daily schedule and showed it to her. She led us into the fitness room where on the floor in the center of all the loud machines were some mats. The fitness guy came up to us and clearly had zero class. I mean, had no idea of any meditation class. ; ) He handed me a clipboard and said "you can take one fitness class for $25 or a pack of 5 for..." I said, no, I wanted the mediation class for $15. I gently asked if he had done this before. He defensively said "yes, I've been in fitness for 10 years" or something. I said, "it's a little different." He looked alarmed, and seemed defensive. This guy was threatened and it didn't seem likely he meditated himself much less had ever led a meditation class. I said "Is it going to be in here?" and he said, "oh, well, you can do it in here" and led us back to the little room on the side with chairs. He walked off and I told my daughter I was sorry, but I didn't feel good being "led" in a meditation with this guy. We were getting up to leave when he came back and I politely said "we're going to pass this time" as I walked out. I didn't make eye contact with him. It was so awkward and embarrassing. For him, too, I think. I’m sure he was relieved. Oprah, methinks, would not be proud. The onboard daily schedule had huge spans of hours with nothing worth doing, so I went to a class on something I wasn’t really interested in. There is a Windows connection and I went to learn how to use a program that came on Windows that I don’t ever use. There were other classes that I didn’t go to because they were on how to use paid programs. OTHER SHIP “FUN” The piano bar had two pianos with guys singing. I usually love piano music but those guys were so canned and tame there was just nothing to latch on to. Definitely not dueling pianos, and absolutely it wasn't a sing-along piano bar. Trivia was a couple of times a day, we did that out of desparation a few days but by the end that was too boring to keep going to. Also, my daughter and I went to watch someone cook food, because we were that bored. I learned the difference between rice pilaf and just rice. Yay. One “game night” we went to had a capacity to be fun, but the female host wouldn't read a funny answer and she whined and ruined the joke like it contaminated everything. It was a PG-13 joke and it was mostly senior citizens, and us.. Ugh sometimes I had to wonder if this was a European sense of humor thing, like how in Europe maybe populations as a whole think crying clowns are hilarious? She was the same host that thought watching dancers with cool lights was just the bee's knees, so… I'm glad the televisions in the cabin had movies loaded on them for the kids. They watched about 5 movies and I let them have their video games. It was my intent to just let them have their "tech" on the plane too and from, but I felt sorry for them for having nothing to do. I made them leave their home from Christmas to be on a ship with no entertainment! I wish I could combine the spacious plush ship and polite other guests from this cruise and mix it with the "everything else" of any of my prior Carnival Cruises. I can't believe a Holland Cruise, which is supposed to be the top of the line, failed so greatly by comparison. I’m really glad my husband didn’t hate this, his first cruise, which I forced upon him. He is even willing to try again. He has no idea that cruise ships usually have nonstop ENTERTAINING “entertainment,” and by comparison this ship sucked SO BAD as far as that goes. The most entertaining thing I did, truly, was watch “Blinded By The Light” one afternoon in the main theatre. But even that had issues. It froze several times and had to be re-started, and fast forwarded up to the point where it had stopped. By the time it reached the end, I was almost the only one there. Like this too-long review, which if you are reading it, you may also be the only one “there”... ; ) Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The cruise to the Western Caribbean was great. We were on board for Christmas and New Years. We paid in full for this cruise in Early September but did not get a room assignment until a week before we embarked. We signed up for ... Read More
The cruise to the Western Caribbean was great. We were on board for Christmas and New Years. We paid in full for this cruise in Early September but did not get a room assignment until a week before we embarked. We signed up for Club Orange with the promise of a room upgrade (instead of a ocean view room we got an obstructed view room), I would not recommend spending the extra money for Club Orange it did not provide anything special for us. Our room was conveniently located and easy to find, but we noticed a sewer smell in the hallway after the first day, Then it permeated the room. After I complained to 5 people it was checked out and we enjoyed another day smell free. The ship sent me flowers as an apology. We then tolerated sewer odors for the rest of the 14 days. We were told that the ship was at full capacity and a room change was not possible. We received an apology letters while still onboard with a $200 on board credit. This was not nearly enough and I have requested a refund but have not received an acknowledgement of my request Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose because of the Panama Canal. The cruise was good; the weather was fabulous. It's always nice to sit on the verandah and enjoy the ocean. Unfortunately, between the noisy room, the 8-9 choices on the TV (with no guide), the ... Read More
We chose because of the Panama Canal. The cruise was good; the weather was fabulous. It's always nice to sit on the verandah and enjoy the ocean. Unfortunately, between the noisy room, the 8-9 choices on the TV (with no guide), the substandard internet and predictable food (after 5 days, I didn't know what to eat), we were very disappointed. The hamburgers were fabulous,but how many days in a row can you eat a hamburger? The made-to-order pizza was also good. Ditto on how many times in 10 days you can eat a pizza. Did I mention that there is no more music in the bars? The main entertainment was a comedian, a singer or a group of singers (like Backstreet Boys). As we have seen in the past, the crew is very friendly and accomodating, and this cruise was no exception. Unfortunately, HAL was our very first cruise over 30 years ago. We think back on that cruise and compare it to this one and say, "My, how things have changed." Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because we had taken Holland America before and really enjoyed it. This trip was to celebrate my 60th birthday and what a wonderful celebration it was! Everything was perfect! Our stateroom was nicely furnished ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had taken Holland America before and really enjoyed it. This trip was to celebrate my 60th birthday and what a wonderful celebration it was! Everything was perfect! Our stateroom was nicely furnished with lots of storage. Our cabin stewards were amazing. Always there if you needed them but not intrusive at all. The concierge in the Neptune lounge were both knowledgable and helpful. It was nice for our other shipmates to gather in the lounge before going out or just visiting. We had early seating in the dinning room. The table was near the window and the service was exceptional. The food was terrific and the portions ample without waste. The Pinnacle Dining Room was very nice. We enjoyed dining there several times. There was an uncharge but certainly worth the expense. The wine list was wonderful and the service was very attentive. The pools were clean and the servers were close by to take your drink order. We ate at the Dive and the burgers and dogs were just fine. We did enjoy a number of Holland America approve excursions, they were all very nice with the exception of Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. We had rented a pool cabana for $275 and it was a total rip off. The music was loud, the food and drinks were expensive and there was no one there! It was awful. Please do not even get off the ship in Amber Cove. Thanks for reading this and I hope you have as good of time as we did, Happy sails!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Super-friendly staff with excellent customer service attitude. Easy embarkation & debarkation. Beautiful food presentation in Lido market & dining room. The staff were very accommodating for my food allergies. Many choices for ... Read More
Super-friendly staff with excellent customer service attitude. Easy embarkation & debarkation. Beautiful food presentation in Lido market & dining room. The staff were very accommodating for my food allergies. Many choices for excursions. The Curacao Beach Express & Costa Rica Tortuguero Canal were very enjoyable. High quality, talented entertainment onboard. The Step One dance show was rather frenetic with too much running about the stage. Would have liked more synchronized steps and/or traditional ballroom dances. The dual pianos at Billboard Onboard seemed to be the most popular live music entertainment. Super-talented guys...Andy & Luke. Clean, attractive public areas that never felt crowded or noisy. Balcony cabin was clean & comfortable. On a couple of nights, there was considerable vibration & shudder that could be felt in the bed while trying to sleep. Our dining table mates mentioned the same thing. We were both in forward cabins. This was our 2nd cruise on Holland America & will likely stick with them for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Panama Canal 10 night partial voyage. The Holland America Zuiderdam has some serious air conditioning problems. Understandable that when you’re walking through the hallways, it can be a little warm with the deck doors open, however, ... Read More
Panama Canal 10 night partial voyage. The Holland America Zuiderdam has some serious air conditioning problems. Understandable that when you’re walking through the hallways, it can be a little warm with the deck doors open, however, the rooms should not be to the point where it’s uncomfortable. The second night into our cruise, we called down to customer service and asked them to check the air conditioning. It was on the coldest setting and yet, it was warm. Of course, they asked if our balcony door was open. They said they would send engineering up. It was so warm in the room that we asked for a couple of fans. When you’re paying extra for a Signature Suite, you shouldn’t need fans to keep you cool. Since the room was warm, that meant the bathroom was even worse as there are no vents in the bathroom. We would shower and immediately come out into the room to dry off. They did try and make it right – offering to move us to another room. At first, we declined, since we had a connecting room with friends, but after sleeping on it with the noise of the fans running, we decided we couldn’t do another 8 nights like that. We packed up and moved to a much cooler room. The next day, we return to the room to get ready for dinner and there’s no water. They were fixing a pipe and were informed the water probably wouldn’t be back on until 4:30. They offered the spa showers so off I went to the spa showers – again, inconvenient. The Lido restaurant was so warm – it was hard to enjoy a meal without rushing through it just to get out of there. Same with the bars the general areas of the ship. I’ve never been so warm on a cruise ship. HAL really needs to adhere to the “No Saving Seats” rule at the pool area. Every single time we went to the pool whether it was a sea day or port day, pretty much every chair had some personal item on it to reserve it.We got to the pool one morning on a port day and counted 9 chairs in a row that were ‘reserved.’ After 4 hours – every single chair was still not occupied. This is totally unacceptable. Talking to some other passengers, that were there for awhile, they also said they watched people come down in the early morning and place a book, hat, cup or whatever on the chair and leave. Unfortunately, this has become common practice on cruise ships however, this was the worst I’ve ever seen. We also found this to be the case in the Explorer’s Lounge. Not one seat that wasn’t being used was without a personal item to ‘save’ it. On the subject of lounge chairs, the old fashioned wooden lounge chairs down on deck 3 by the muster stations are in horrible condition. Most of them were broken and the backs wouldn’t stay up or go down. We found the entertainment on board to be fair. With the exception of Benjamin Makisi, who had an excellent voice – the rest was just ok. BB King’s Lounge band was phenomenal. Best music on board. The itinerary itself was pretty good - the Panama Canal is amazing and very interesting. The locks were way ahead of their time for when it was built. The narrator that joined us was very informative. As for the rest of the ports, not too much to do except shop unless you decide on a tour. On the morning of disembarkation, we went to breakfast in the Lido Market (which was hotter than any other day we’d been in there) and I requested sweetener for my coffee. I was told “Sorry Madam, we are all out.”All out of sweetener?? We did choose to dine in the Canaletto one evening with our friends and it was beyond excellent. It was well worth the additional charge of $19 per person. The room stewards were excellent – we were only with the one set of stewards for 2 days before they relocated us but they were both very accommodating. My husband and I decided to go to the spa – pedicure for him and manicure for me. Most of the time, these girls are pretty chatty. The manicurist was not. All she did was insult my cuticles and dry hands. She asked me when the last time I had a “proper” manicure! In this day and age, you’d think the internet on ships would get easier and it was better than the past, but still you have to keep reconnecting. The HAL navigator app is useless other than for the Happenings on Board and seeing your bill. You’re supposed to be able to use it for messaging your friends that didn’t get the internet package and it’s free, but it doesn’t alert you when there’s a message and other than my husband, I couldn’t find our friends within the app. HAL used to be our go-to cruise line and then we discovered one we are much happier with. We have not been on a Holland ship in a couple of years, and maybe our expectations were a little high from previous Holland cruises. When we first started cruising Holland, it was the more ‘classy’ choice of all the lines but sadly, we think the elegance of this line has deteriorated. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose the cruise for it's destination, the Panama Canal and for it's embarkation port, Ft. Lauderdale. The ship was fine, the stateroom was excellent and the service staff was wonderful. We did NOT feel the same about the ship ... Read More
We chose the cruise for it's destination, the Panama Canal and for it's embarkation port, Ft. Lauderdale. The ship was fine, the stateroom was excellent and the service staff was wonderful. We did NOT feel the same about the ship personnel. They were aloof and never smiled or made eye contact. We also felt that there was a constant sales pitch for jewelry or spa services. We were inundated by daily paper advertisements in our mailbox, definitely not environmentally friendly. The beverage package is NOT worth it. We never knew exactly what was or was not included, forcing us to ask and making us feel uncomfortable. We did not feel that we got our money's worth. The on board activities were lacking which made for boring sea days. The pools were small and too cold, the hot tubs were not hot enough and looked grimy. Service in the Canaletto specialty restaurant was bordering on arrogant and the food was average. We therefore skipped all other specialty restaurants. The buffet food was good. The entertainment at night was very good, especially enjoyed Hilby. Aruba was underwhelming while Willemstad was fun. We walked both cities. Our main event was the Panama Canal and we booked the Canal Experience. We do NOT recommend it. The guide was repetitive, the food was dubious and the boat was very old. It had a malfunctioning engine and spewed fumes all over the decks. We sat there for 4 hrs, breathing through wet towels. HAL refunded the money but otherwise did not check in with the two passengers with medical emergencies this had caused. Again, aloof and did not care despite our complaint. Be aware, HAL definitely caters to older customers. There were a lot of walkers and wheelchairs on board and the ship was quiet after 930p...not catering to the more active, even if senior, customer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this ship because we are not into mega ships and had been wanting to do the Panama Canal. This delivered so much more than expected. The food was excellent, the service superb. Lectures were interesting and helpful, and ... Read More
We chose this ship because we are not into mega ships and had been wanting to do the Panama Canal. This delivered so much more than expected. The food was excellent, the service superb. Lectures were interesting and helpful, and entertainment was wonderful. Lincoln Center Stage was a highlight, BB Kings was fun, and I enjoyed watching a movie on the Mainstage. The OV cabin was well designed, and particularly liked the bathroom. First cabin ever with enough room for two sets of toiletries! Panama Canal day was special! We loved the Panama rolls, It was not too crowded on any of the decks we tried, and narration was excellent. We did the Panama Canal ferry full transit excursion. It was a long day because we had to wait for a larger ship to share the locks with us, but great to see the entire canal, touch the side of the lock, see the Panama City skyline and the lunch on our tour was adequate, with cold water and sodas included. Limon Costa Rica we did the all-day canal and rainforest tour. The guides were great, we saw lots of wildlife and the food (fruit snack and typical local lunch) were yummy. Enjoyed the aerial tram view. We were very fortunate that our day was mostly rain-free, including the hike to the waterfall--it might have been less fun if it had rained. Half Moon Cay was the best private island we every visited. Chill atmosphere and great lunch. (Note that we were the only ship there that day, and it was clearly built for large and multiple ships.) Willemstad offered great history in walking distance, and we did Cartagena on our own with audioguides. Very interesting. The Exc talk about Cartagena had given lots of hints, such as where to get a taxi outside the port gates for half the price. We ate at both the main dining room (at least one of all three meals) as well as Lido, and thought both were great. Only problem was occasionally finding seating in Lido. The ice cream station seemed much more hygienic than the self-serve soft-serve machines that some other ships have. We had not eaten at premium restaurants or gotten many other indulgences, and at the end I was surprised to see that the cost was less than what we budget for a typical vacation! I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to see the Panama Canal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had 3 choices for this itinerary from Canada to Ft. Lauderdale (inc. Zaandam from Montreal & either Zuiderdam or RCL AOS from QC), but we chose the Zuiderdam because of its sail date that would allow us to spend my wife's ... Read More
We had 3 choices for this itinerary from Canada to Ft. Lauderdale (inc. Zaandam from Montreal & either Zuiderdam or RCL AOS from QC), but we chose the Zuiderdam because of its sail date that would allow us to spend my wife's birthday with our friends in Quebec City. We are 3 star Mariners on HAL and will probably stop there and not choose HAL again when compared to the significantly better amenities for loyal cruisers we get on RCL and Celebrity for even fewer cruises. Positives: The age of the Zuiderdam did not detract from the significant improvements made by the last upgrades in the Lido and public areas which really impressed us since we typically include older ships in our many cruise itineraries. In the many reviews of this ship, there are definite differences in ratings for the same items with major differences in reviews of food and entertainment most evident. Crew in Lido, DR and cabins have ALWAYS rated a 10 for us in service on all of the HAL ships we have been on and this cruise was no exception. The service by the server crew in the LIDO that irritates some cruisers has apparently been very successful in decreasing food illnesses caused by careless cruisers and no incidents happened on our ship that we heard about. Food in the LIDO and main DR was good to very good on some nights but nothing to rave about on a typical evening where escargot and shrimp cocktails are no longer standard appetizers except on the 2 "gala" nights on our 11 day cruise. This time we did not participate in the computer classes although those have been very good in past cruises where we did sit in; these typically rate very high and deserve it along with the string musical group that add elegance to the evenings on the ship. Dowsides/Negatives: Walking into our Verandah cabin on Deck 6 gave us an initial shock on how small it looked because of the very low amount of free floor space compared to what we expected from our cruises on Eurodam/Nieuw Amsterdam class ships or even on older HAL ships. Worse: there are ONLY 2 small drawers in each of the tiny night stands in the entire cabin, NONE in the desk and a hidden one you need to discover under the foot of the bed but that requires you to bend down to the floor so might be best for things you might need only once or twice during a long cruise. The ONLY shelves in the cabin are located in one of the 3 closet spaces right by the cabin door and on the side of the desk already filled with glasses and a hair dryer......a small shelf under the vanity is the only other shelf in the entire cabin. So, when you read comments about "lack of storage", this ship was the first in our experience on other HAL ship classes or 3 other cruise lines that had the lowest possible amount of storage. For activities the cooking demos are fun although tasting the product is a thing of the past on HAL. If you like Jazz and dueling pianos with off key singers then evenings will be your high points; each of these events had their enthusiastic followers and demonstrates again why there are differences in reviews. The shows in the theater were hit or miss with a rather stunning light and techno start in one show and two rather boring performances in later efforts. The officers on the Zuiderdam. unlike on many other lines we sail are relatively invisible and not friendly. The cruise director on our 11 day trip to Fr. Lauderdale was visible for about 30 seconds or less (i.e., sometimes not at all) in introducing the entertainment acts and did not participate in any of the onboard activities we attended. We started to wonder why this cruise even needed a CD except for morning messages and perhaps a few more waiters would have been money better invested by HAL. OVERALL; The Zuiderdam will offer you a quiet cruise with afternoons that often seem like a day at a museum in the middle of a slow week. Evenings are better for Jazz/Pop piano and Casino enthusiasts but little else for those looking for audience games or alternative entertainment Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I just want to add a more positive note over any bad or poor reviews that have been posted about the Holland America Zuiderdam. Unfortunately many CC writers believe that when people want to know what they think, they only write the ... Read More
I just want to add a more positive note over any bad or poor reviews that have been posted about the Holland America Zuiderdam. Unfortunately many CC writers believe that when people want to know what they think, they only write the negative. We had a lovely Canada & New England cruise ending in Ft. Lauderdale after 2 sea days. The slim shipboard theater entertainment was more than compensated for by the friendly and professional crew….everywhere from the Guest Services desk assisting with a possible shore conflict (thanks Kevin), to the great bar staff, to our great cabin stewards (thanks Tau and Matt), to the plentiful and wonderful and easy-going servers in the dining rooms, where we were thrilled with all of the amazingly delicious and well-presented food.. All the embarkations/disembarkations were efficient and smooth. The ship was going into dry dock in the near future to spruce things up a bit, but she stil looked to be in great shape. We have many, many cruises under our belts but this one will always stand out as enjoyable. Well done, Captain and crew of the Zuiderdam !!!. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Typically cruise on Princess but wanted to try this due to itinerary. Hard not to compare Princess against Holland America. On the positive side we like the larger bathroom. Also the staff is great. On the not so positive side: The ship ... Read More
Typically cruise on Princess but wanted to try this due to itinerary. Hard not to compare Princess against Holland America. On the positive side we like the larger bathroom. Also the staff is great. On the not so positive side: The ship itself is old and is not well maintained compared to Princess ships except for cabins. Too much up selling in all areas. For example, Consistently being asked if we want to purchase a $75 steak or pay $25 for a lobster. When you say NO the demeanor of the staff seems to change. Not as attentive. Booked a walking tour at one of the ports. Due to fairly heavy and consistent rain and cold we thought it would be canceled but it wasn’t. Can’t imagine who would want to walk in the cold and rain for two hours. Probably will not be cruising with Holland America again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have been on the Zuiderdam before but it has been several years. We were pleasantly surprised to see that they have done a nice job refurbishing the ship and adding some new features. Like some of the other ships in the Holland ... Read More
We have been on the Zuiderdam before but it has been several years. We were pleasantly surprised to see that they have done a nice job refurbishing the ship and adding some new features. Like some of the other ships in the Holland America line, they have added the America's Test Kitchen, Lincoln Center Stage, BB King's Blues Club, and Billboard Onboard. The crew on this ship was fantastic - always friendly and cheerful. It reminded me of the crews I saw 10 years ago before Holland America decided to make some significant staff cuts. (I remember one cruise on another HA ship where the crew was miserable and I didn't blame them because of the pressure they were under. It appears that things have improved.) The food was good if a bit bland, but it is hard to cook for 2000 people and please everyone. I did like many of the soups and the salad bar. The service was great in the specialty restaurants, dining room, and on the Lido deck. We usually had breakfast in our room (nice!) but we never had a problem finding a place to sit on Lido deck as can sometimes be the case. The one place I think Holland America can improve is with the onboard activities. They definitely cater to an older crowd so I'm sure that is a big part of how they choose what to offer. It just seemed like most of the activities were either shopping or alcohol related, in other words ways to make more money. I loved the America's Test Kitchen although I would like to seen more demonstrations or even a hands-on cooking class. We did not go to the shows every night so I can't speak for all of the entertainment but there is some room for improvement. I enjoyed one of the comedians but was not too impressed by some of the other performers I saw. Although Billboard Onboard was quite popular, well, let me just say that it needs some work. There is no chemistry between the dueling pianists. I did not listen to the performers at Lincoln Center State or BB King's but I have seen some excellent performances on HA's other ships. Finally, this cruise had a great itinerary except that we had to use tenders at many of the ports. We also had to skip Prince Edward Island due to high winds which was a huge disappointment. Shortly after the cruise director announced that we would be stopping there after all, the captain announced a short time later that we would not, in fact, be stopping. Many people, including myself, were sorely disappointed. Although I understand that safety is the priority, I would have suggested that they skip Sydney, Nova Scotia and gone straight to PEI. They knew the day before we arrived at PEI that weather might be a problem because they announced it. Overall it's a nice ship and I would recommend it if you want to kick back and relax and maybe do a bit of sightseeing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I see there are a few other reviewers of this particular cruise that didn't like the fact we couldn't anchor in Charlottetown, PEI. Them's the breaks, folks. You can't control the weather. I thought we were very ... Read More
I see there are a few other reviewers of this particular cruise that didn't like the fact we couldn't anchor in Charlottetown, PEI. Them's the breaks, folks. You can't control the weather. I thought we were very fortunate overall with the weather given the timeframe, with Sydney, NS being the only problem spot. My only gripe with this is that the printed itinerary (which I booked a month out) said we'd be at pier and not anchored. Because of this I took a chance and booked a third party tour, which of course didn't have a refund policy. When confronted with this discrepancy, HAL Guest Services stated that they have no control over where the ship is assigned in port. I guess I don't understand how that works as I thought these itineraries are planned months if not years in advance. Don't cruise lines pay ports for docking privileges? Anyway, this is only my second cruise, the previous being a 9-day Alaska cruise on Westerdam, another Vista class sister ship to the Zuiderdam. I found virtually everything to my satisfaction, including the food. All dinners were taken either in the MDR or the specialty restaurants. Pinnacle Grill was nice, though it seemed like staff was stretched thin on the night I attended. The Cellar Master's Dinner was spectacular. Didn't bother with the Lido other than for breakfast, which was fine and really not much different from MDR's offerings, with the exception of better service. As for onboard entertainment, I greatly enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage offerings. A shame they don't have a larger venue for them to play in. Saw the BB King band during the Orange Party and it was no different than on the Westerdam. Not my thing, and I don't need the hearing damage. Attended one America's Test Kitchen show where they made gnocchi. I didn't think so many people would be interested in someone boiling water on a stage. A bit disappointed with drink service in the Crow's Nest as I thought their double Scotch pour was a little miserly. As to the port excursions, I think there's a little too much bus and shuttle stuff going on compared to the time actually spent at whatever the destination was. Folks with mobility issues were a definite factor, and I think HAL needs to be more proactive with respect to what's expected of those travelers. Newport: Did self-guided tours and a non-HAL trolley. Great little town. Could spend several days here doing all of the mansion tours. Gloucester: Beauport Mansion & Rockport Tour. Nice tour of the Sleeper-McCann House, though at only one hour it is very, very rushed if you're a photographer. Managed to squeeze out 90 minutes from the house guide, which I'm sure annoyed the bus driver who still had to hustle up to Rockport, which isn't much more than a picturesque tourist trap, IMO. A woman was 20 minutes late returning to the bus, resulting in a 5 minute photo stop at the Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial Statue. No big loss. Portland: Kennebunkport & Scenic Cruise. Skip the cruise part entirely. The boat goes approximately 100 yards past the breakwater and picks up a lobster trap for a photo op. Big whoop. The town's much like Rockport, quaint and aimed at maximum tourist dollar extraction. Walking the streets of Portland was okay. Bar Harbor: An Intimate Look at Acadia National Park. The only thing "intimate" about this was the fact that you were in a small airport shuttle instead of a full sized tour bus. Only two 15 minute photo stops intersperced with pulling over to the road shoulder and pointing out houses. Have fun if you get stuck with a driver that doesn't know how to work the a/c to keep the windows from fogging up. I was later told there was a free shuttle up to the park entrance, but how you got around after that was a mystery. Made it to the top of Cadillac Mountain for some spectacular views, but it was incredibly windy. I didn't mind, but it seemed most of the tour group had enough after a mere 15 minutes. Halifax: Did self-guided tours and explored the Citadel. Nice city. Sydney: Weather was poor, so this wasn't much fun. Walked the city self-guided and there frankly wasn't much to look at. I suppose a Cabot Trail tour might have been nice, but it was a short day in port and I was tired of being on buses. Charlottetown: Canceled due to high winds. Lots of disappointed people, but I thought the captain's talk later that day really explained what he was up against. Saguenay: Did the bus tour to Anse St-jean and took a large jet boat back to La Baie. Would have been nice to spend more than 15 minutes in the woods with the fall colors, but apparently the guide was insistent we be in town to buy trinkets and eat food. Covered bridge was underwhelming. I'm tempted to say skip this tour as the Zuiderdam left port before sunset, so you'll see much of the same sights just with different lighting conditions. The Zuiderdam did make a stop at the Lady of Saguenay statue (as does the tour boat), which was nice. Quebec City: Spectacular. Self-toured both days. Did the pricey high tea at Chateau Frontenac, which I thought was better here than at the Empress in Victoria. Ironically, this port had the most fall color of all the cities on the itinerary. Would have been worth it to find a hiking tour someplace around the airport as the red and gold colored trees went on for miles. Not sure I'd do this trip again, but it serves as a decent sampler of the region for folks interested in an extended stay at one of these cities. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We selected the 12-day Canadian Maritimes cruise for the itinerary; the Zuiderdam was the only ship that offered it. We found the food quite good, and the cabin, dining, wine staff, and dining captain service excellent. We had a Verandah ... Read More
We selected the 12-day Canadian Maritimes cruise for the itinerary; the Zuiderdam was the only ship that offered it. We found the food quite good, and the cabin, dining, wine staff, and dining captain service excellent. We had a Verandah stateroom on Deck 6, and it was large-with lots of storage and a huge bathroom with soaking tub and double sinks. Our balcony was large, though we were not able to use it-too rainy and cool. Hurricane Dorian chased us up the coast--and the captain did an excellent job of escaping to calm waters. Even though we missed two ports and had two extra days at sea, we never had any qualms--even when the captain announced that we should secure everything in our cabins in the event of rough weather. Boarding was a mess--apparently Boston Port officials needed to do a surprise check of the ship. We spent 3 hours waiting to board and were not provided any snacks or water. Disembarkation was well-organized and speedy, and we were allowed to wait in our cabins until leaving. We were nicked and dimed to death--water, breakfast cocktails, pictures, bottles of wine, drinks in the Lido, special classes in the Fitness Center. They were there when you got off the ship, got on the ship, and in the Lido and dining room. We laughed at all the people who kept their key cards on lanyards--but you always had to present the cards. Bottles of wine were charged at 4 times what they would cost in Delaware--vastly overcharged. One downside of this cruise was the amateur entertainment--except in Lincoln Center--and the lack of any engaging acts. Entertainment seemed like an after thought. Another downside--the land tours were expensive for what they were. Four of us were traveling together, and we booked private tours at four of the stops. The price of the private tours per person was 20-30% cheaper than what was offered from the ship for the four of us---and there were not 52 people getting on and off the bus at each stop. Not all ports had access to private tours, in which case we booked ship tours. In Cornerbrook, we took the Gros Morne Park tour and spent 7 hours on the bus with three 20 minute stops and one hour-long lunch stop. It was torturous. In Baie-Comeau we took a four-hour bus tour of an inland shell valley of crushed shells and a puzzling exhibit about the last ice age. There are 55 steps up to the beginning of this exhibit, and there were many elderly people on the cruise who were challenged; no mention of this was made in the tour information. The final HA cruise tour straw was the five and a half hour Discover the Fjord Secrets of the Saguenay tour on a boat. We were the last people to board 20 minutes before it left. The only seats left were at the back of the boat over the propellers. For two and a half hours we could not hear the guide nor see the landscape because there were two partial walls on either side of us. I complained to the Cruise staff, and they begrudged us a 20% refund on two tickets totaling $340--not very customer-focused. Our previous other HA cruises 20 years ago were good. However, we will never book on a HA ship again--for the reasons stated above. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have traveled with Holland America for many years...have been on the zuiderdam three years ago and was very happy. We picked the Canadian cruise from Boston to Quebec City because of going to New Foundland. Even though we got to ... Read More
We have traveled with Holland America for many years...have been on the zuiderdam three years ago and was very happy. We picked the Canadian cruise from Boston to Quebec City because of going to New Foundland. Even though we got to the pier at one o'clock ,the embarkation took over two hours, because the Coast Guard had a inspection. We were in a veranda cabin, it was very nice, except the bathroom needs a renovation badly. Dining has declined since the last time we were onboard the Zuiderdam. The menus for dinner in the main dining room were difficult to find something to eat each night..It had quite a lot of spicy entries, steak that were fatty, grizzly and tough to chew, continually trying to up sell lobster, steaks, and wine. The portions have been reduced in all dining venues. Lido for breakfast and lunch were very good. Lido dinner which is like dining room, is fair. The piano players in the Billboard and BB King, were fantastic ...can’t say the same for The main stage... Because of the hurricane, Dorian, we missed two ports in New Foundland.. the captain did a wonderful job avoiding the storm, except for telling all that the waves could be 40 feet. We were on two shore excursions, one in St Johns where we stood for almost an hour waiting for the previous tour to return. The other Peggy Cove, which was very pretty area but enjoyed the stop at cemetery whereSome people from the Titanic were buried. We were on the Kongingsdam in January 2019 and it was wonderful. Don’t think we will be back on Zuiderdam any time soon.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. ... Read More
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. Signature suite 6055 was nice and roomy. Entertainment good, services great (go find David in the Oceans Bar for the 4-5pm happy hour, he has great personality). Cabin stewards & Dining stewards were all great. Ports - 3 ports in Ireland all great, 2 ports in Iceland (somewhat disappointed), 2 ports Greenland - Prince Christian Sund is amazing. 2 Ports in Newfoundland, and 1 port in Nova Scotia. Embarkation in Rotterdam was the easiest I have ever had, Disembarkation in Boston was somewhat confusing ((no clue where/who to ask about wheelchair assist, managed to get off on our own. Then had the bus driver who could not help with luggage & did NOT know route to airport? Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We booked this cruise as we always wanted to visit Iceland, Greenland and Ireland. We didn't have the greatest weather...however as my husband always reminds me...you pay your money and take your chances! The scenery and people ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we always wanted to visit Iceland, Greenland and Ireland. We didn't have the greatest weather...however as my husband always reminds me...you pay your money and take your chances! The scenery and people are so wonderful. We heard so many great reviews from friends that had taken this voyage. Our cabin on the Zuiderdam was a balcony #8121. This is located Aft - Starboard side - below the smoking section on Deck 9. So each morning and evening (5am & 11pm) we would hear the dragging of the chairs/tables above us. Our toilet was intermittant on flushing. Balcony was disgustingly dirty! The crew on all HAL ships are truly amazing...this makes for a great cruise. Pinnacle grill service was the worst we have ever experienced. Entertainment was terrible...the ONLY great show was "Step One" This particular cruise is expensive...I feel that the longer voyages 30+ days should have something unique ... a special captains party or something for the guests sailing the full cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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