1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
I chose the Zuiderdam because I had cruised on it in 2013 and had a fabulous time. This was my 6th, but my sisters 1st cruise. We were celebrating each of us turning 60, me the year before. We were so excited, but that did not last, as we ... Read More
I chose the Zuiderdam because I had cruised on it in 2013 and had a fabulous time. This was my 6th, but my sisters 1st cruise. We were celebrating each of us turning 60, me the year before. We were so excited, but that did not last, as we slowly discovered that Holland Americas cruises are a mere shadow of what they used to be. The ship itself is still beautiful and as always the crew are always ready and eager to please. I could not have asked for more as far as service. Sal and Donny, our room stewards were the best I've ever had! And every single service person was fantastic. Now the not so good to bad. There was constant maintenance going on. Buzzing and drilling, sometimes at 8 or 9 am! At one point they were treating the wood where the pool is at the height of the day when people were sunning and swimming and the stuff they used had a strong chemical odor. Unacceptable! I know stuff needs to be done, but I have never been on a cruise where it was constant and interfered with the cruise enjoyment. The Lido Deck seemed to always have stations closed so the food variety was limited and it was closed way more than it should be. The food was for the most part just okay. Sometimes it was great, but for the most part it was mediocre to tasteless. The dining room food was the same. Nothing to write home about. In room dining was a challenge. Especially at night after 12. We would sometimes be put on hold for 15 minutes and then just give up. We were told that there were only 2 people on at night, one preparing, one delivering! Are you kidding? 2 people to service a ship with almost 2000 people! Again.....unacceptable! During the day it was pretty much the same offering of things to do day after day. And I was not at all happy that any activity we chose seemed to be a commercial promoting something to buy. I went for the morning stretch and was asked to do an imprint of my feet. The stretch (it was very good) turned into a commercial for the product Goodfeet! Anti aging talks were commercials for skincare. They even do botox and fillers! And teeth whitening! Oh brother! My sister got 2 massages and that is because the masseuse was incredible. I had a sample when I got a mini neck and head massage. Yes, they were fantastic! The casino staff were wonderful and helpful. Daytime activities were pretty repetitious and boring. The computer "expert" was anything but. Now to the entertainment.........or lack there of....... I don't know who came up with the idea of "The Music Walk", but they should be fired. Night after night it was the same. The BB King Allstars, were very good, but every night they played the same songs and by the middle of the cruise you could tell that even THEY were bored! And that was the only choice for dancing. One club. The Classical musicians were fabulous and did play a variety of offerings. Then we come to "Billboard Onboard" featuring something I assume was supposed to be like the movie The Fabulous Baker Boys, with 2 Baby Grands face to face. Unfortunately their voices and playing were mediocre at best. The singing was pretty bad, so off key and not just a little. I will say that the crowd, which as I mentioned in the title of this review were an average of 70+, seemed to really like them. I just couldn't get past the poor vocals. And finally we come to the Mainstage entertainment. The Ship Singers and Dancers were sub par. The 3 vocalists were just not good. The shows were boring. The female singer had zero passion and sang off key consistently. One of the male vocalists was okay, the other one was also off key a lot. 2 of the dancers were fantastic and full of passion and enthusiasm, the rest of them could have phoned it in. So mechanical! Such a complete disappointment! The guest entertainment was a mixed bag. Island Magic Steel Drums were superb! I absolutely loved them! Thomas John, the comedian was side splitting funny. Love love loved him! I was so looking forward to the magician and so, was a bit disappointed. He was okay, but his delivery was awful. He would preface each trick or illusion by telling us how great it was going to be or how we were going to be talking about it the rest of the night or the cruise for that matter. Really? He laughed at his own jokes which were far from funny. I will say that some of his illusions were good and his little dogs were adorable. Also, there were no passenger participation activities! Specifically a talent show. This was the first cruise I was on where they didn't have, at the very least, Karaoke! What a complete bummer! Our Shore excursions, two with Holland, two with vacations to go were great. I will not be going on another Holland America Cruise, even though my Mariner status went up a notch. They have gone so far downhill. They are nothing like I remember. They have gone from 5 star to 2 star. Everything but the incredible service of the crew has suffered.They have become a series of commercials for various items for sale. My next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
First time with this cruise company mainly because we wanted to see the Panama canal in action. From start to finish the cruise was faultless in every aspect. Every destination were worth the visit, with interesting things to see ... Read More
First time with this cruise company mainly because we wanted to see the Panama canal in action. From start to finish the cruise was faultless in every aspect. Every destination were worth the visit, with interesting things to see made more special by excellent tour guides. The cruise staff from top (the captain especially who regularly walks around) to bottom were all happy, efficient and always there to help. Food was excellent and fine dining was true to its word. The most important and impressive part of this cruise company is the fact that they have brought the old style of cruising to the present day. Guests are more sophisticated and pleasant to talk too. I know this might sound snobby but this is not the cruise for you if you like to party till 4am and make noise!! String quartet, piano bar, band, singers and dancers first class. Excellent gym and knowledgeable staff. Food is served by staff everywhere, therefore better for hygiene and waste control. Thank you to all and will look forward to our next cruise. Better than Norwegian, Costa and on par with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
had nothing to do and wanted to get away from family for thanksgiving, so took son on a cruise. getting on was a breeze and a lot of very friendly people were at the cruise port to check us in. you ain't gonna travel with the people ... Read More
had nothing to do and wanted to get away from family for thanksgiving, so took son on a cruise. getting on was a breeze and a lot of very friendly people were at the cruise port to check us in. you ain't gonna travel with the people in the sales brochure. granted, for these prices you get what you pay for. baby with no diaper in pool, 600 slow moving scooters, smart casual(if adhered to) means a clean t shirt with no relish stains from mcdonalds. if i spent many thousands on this cruise expecting gentrified shipmates i probably would have escaped in aruba. we coined the daily movement at the lido restaurant as the lido shuffle, an odd quarter step dance moving aimlessly, constantly changing direction but moving very slowly. not that most guest were not kind and mostly friendly, as was the crew. always ate in the dining room for dinner which was was not as bad as some people have written.. son had steak every night and it was not bad. very friendly staff exect for a few. colon is horrible. limon is horrible. if you tend to adhere to contract terms you will probably be frustrated. twice we have waited for stragglers getting to the boat very late after stated departure times despite the clearly stated terms otherwise. the boat is a very nice size and i wish they would keep the ship in good repair. on my balcony the varnish is gone from the railing and there is a massive amount of rust showing on various surfaces. the panama canal portion is a joke. you go through, park about 1000 yards in, then return to colon to pick up the excursion crowd. it would be nice if they would clearly state this..... i half expected to cruise the lake a little and look at some monkeys. i honestly don't know how people can drink and gamble all day on these things. if you don't spend your kids' birthright on these vices i think 11 days is a little long Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because of the Panama Canal partial passage.Getting on ,and back of the ship was handled efficiently. Food was reasonable. Our biggest ,and nastiest , problem was a liquid that kept coming up from the grout lines in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Panama Canal partial passage.Getting on ,and back of the ship was handled efficiently. Food was reasonable. Our biggest ,and nastiest , problem was a liquid that kept coming up from the grout lines in the tile floor from the Lido buffet restaurant the first few days on the cruise.It was not adequately kept clean for quite a while.Cabin was sufficient and kept clean.Shows were good, especially the Steel band from Trinidad.Ship is clearly dated, lots of fogged up windows because of cracked panes and broken seals between panes.Crew were friendly and efficient. I would not cruise with HAL again, I had really expected a better experience. I would not recommend this cruise if you have young children, I believe the average age of the passengers was at least 65 years.The choice of shore excursions was extensive. I recommend the Canal experience excursion where you are taken by bus towards the Pacific Ocean and then go by boat through the locks on that side. It is pricey but I guess it is not cheap to go through the locks. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
The ship, unfortunately, was showing its age. Buckets were set up in different common areas so liquid that was dripping from ceiling could be collected most of the trip. In the Lido buffet area, liquid was coming up from the floor tiles ... Read More
The ship, unfortunately, was showing its age. Buckets were set up in different common areas so liquid that was dripping from ceiling could be collected most of the trip. In the Lido buffet area, liquid was coming up from the floor tiles and being mopped almost the entire trip. Last two days of the cruise, the ship had a problem with one of the azipods and had to max out the other to get to port on time, which caused an annoying vibration for the rest of the trip. Arrived at port over late 3 hours because of the azipod issue, causing some people to miss their flights Can't say enough about the crew, always cheerful and ready to help. Cabins were nice and kept very clean. Been on Holland America before, but on this cruise talent was not as good. BB King lounge was more like a high school band (singer had great pipes though). Main stage acts, half were very good, others were mediocre at best (Other people seemed to enjoy and would disagree with us). Food was varied and again, unbelievable service in dining and lounge areas. I like Holland America and will cruise again with them, everybody has a bad day now and then. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We are prior HAL passengers although it's been several years since we cruised with them. We were anxious to take the Zuiderdam through the S. Caribbean, particularly because of her itinerary. We were not disappointed. Our experince with ... Read More
We are prior HAL passengers although it's been several years since we cruised with them. We were anxious to take the Zuiderdam through the S. Caribbean, particularly because of her itinerary. We were not disappointed. Our experince with Zuiderdam was, for the most part consistent with the other HAL cruises we have taken in the past. Here are our impressions from this cruise: The good: Like all HAL ships we have been on, Zuiderdam was spotless. The crew was constantly cleaning, polishing, scraping, painting and in general keeping her in tip top shape. Everything, including our bathroom (including tub!) was without flaw. Personnel: True to HAL's legacy, I don't believe you can find a surly crew member. No matter what crew person you ran into, in the corridors or wherever produced a giant smile and a pleasant "Good morning". The majority of service personnel are Indonesian or Filipino and are products of HAL's own training facilities in these countries, and it shows. They seem to take a pride in their work that I haven't seen reflected in some other lines. Our cabin stewards were always prompt, cheerful and adjusted very well to our particular schedule of when we were "in" and when we were "out". They did an exceptional job. We had dinner in the regular Dining Room, The choice of food was outstanding and the quality was excellent. Prime Rib, Rack of Lamb and NY Strip Steak were some of the daily offerings. For formal night we were treated to a Surf and Turf that was genuine Filet Mignon with Lobster Tail, I'm still savoring it. Breakfast and lunch was half and half room service (a real treat) and the Cafeteria. Lunch at the Cafeteria was just like it sounds - it's real old school where you get in one long line and the personnel serve you according to your selections. We found the lunch selections to be fairly weak - however there are always other choices like Pasta and Pizza, Oriental and a variety of sandwiches which were excellent. The bad: One unpleasant (and very unusual surprise, particularly for HAL) was the mandatory life boat drill on the afternoon of embarkation. We have been on 23 cruises, 4 of which were with other HAL ships and we have never seen anything as disorganized and unproductive as this drill. We wandered around until finally being corralled on deck (in the Ft, Lauderdale sun at 4:00) which a few crew members shuffled from here to there and back, trying to account for each passenger. Unlike ANY other ship on which we have travelled there was an almost complete lack of instructions from the bridge as to what, when, or where, Finally it appeared we had finished and we all wandered back to our cabins, little the wiser for what to do in case of an emergency. This is so atypical of HAL that I feel constrained to comment on it on the chance that someone from HAL reads these reviews. In general, it is an excellent ship, small and therefore not crowded at any time. There are hardly any waits for anything and embarking or debarking at ports of call was very easy. One comment on the itinerary: the ship stopped at Cartagena, Colombia, a stop which many travelers had not previously visited. Nonetheless, we were only offered a five-hour stay, which was not nearly enough to see all that this colonial walled city had to offer, By the same token we rushed to Curacao which, being Sunday, was totally and definitively shut down. Nonetheless we stayed there all day until 11PM! It seems that the schedule planning could use some reworking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
This is my second Holland America cruise. The first was last year to Alaska, and it was so much fun I wanted to take another Holland America cruise. I wanted to go to the Panama Canal, so this cruise offered the chance to do both. I ... Read More
This is my second Holland America cruise. The first was last year to Alaska, and it was so much fun I wanted to take another Holland America cruise. I wanted to go to the Panama Canal, so this cruise offered the chance to do both. I made an excellent decision. First...I could not disagree more with those who say the food was not good. I thought it was excellent. Not only did I think it was excellent, but every night I sat at a table with 5 to 9 different people, and every single night every single person at the table raved about how good their dinner was. I don't know where the people who complained about the food were, but in 11 nights of sitting with different people, I never heard 1, not 1, complaint about the food. Second...the ship was spotless! The wonderful, friendly crew were out every night, and often during the day polishing and cleaning. I received a last minute upgrade from an ocean view to a balcony and it was wonderful. Loved it! Third, the ports...I booked 5 excursions through HAL. They were a little pricey, but they offered everything they promised. The Stingray experience at Half Moon Cay, the sailing/snorkeling cruise at Aruba, the horse drawn carriage ride in Cartegena, the Embrera Indian village at the Panama Canal, and the arial tram tour through the canopy in Costa Rica. READ the tour descriptions...if you want animals don't book a tour that does not promise animals! My favorite tour, however, was not a HAL tour. I booked the Shete Boka/snorkeling tour from Curacao Actief through tripadvisor and it was amazing...we had a small group and actually ended up snorkeling with about 100 turtles! Fourth...this cruise was during October...school was in session! I don't know how many families with children cruise HAL during school breaks, but there was only a few children that I saw on this cruise, and most of them appeared to be preschool. Don't expect a lot of children's activities. Also, most of the other cruisers said that they choose HAL because there are not usually a lot of children. Fifth...onboard activities. I would take another cruise just to be able to enjoy the wonderful Lincoln Center Stage performance. A delightful piano/string quintet that performed 2 or 3 concerts every day. This is a program offered between HAL and Lincoln Center and it is fantastic. I loved the piano/singer duet who played and entertained every night and the BBC earth movies offered daily. The best evening show was definitely the steel band, Magic. The others were not earthshaking. Sixth...embarkation and disembarkation were handled very efficiently with very few delays. It is hard to load 1800 people on and off a ship at one time...some people seemed not to understand that there is going to be a wait. Patience is recommended. HAL did everything possible to keep everything organized from having luggage delivered directly to staterooms, having the rooms ready for occupancy immediately upon boarding, delivering luggage to staterooms expeditiously, having assigned disembarkation group codes with approximate times to expect to disembark, having luggage sorted into groups to make picking it up and taking it through customs as easy as possible. All in all, HAL offers a laid back, relaxing cruise experience. It does not brand itself as a PARTY cruise, and those who choose to cruise on HAL are glad it does not. My only real complaint was the America's Text Kitchen. It was fine to watch the different foods prepared, but it seems silly to sit and watch a food demo and not get to sample what was prepared. You may as well just watch it on TV. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We went on this cruise - Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena, Panama Canal (+Colon), Puerto Limon Costa Rica & back to Fort Lauderdale - to spend time with some American friends too unwell to do a conventional ... Read More
We went on this cruise - Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena, Panama Canal (+Colon), Puerto Limon Costa Rica & back to Fort Lauderdale - to spend time with some American friends too unwell to do a conventional tour or long-haul trip with us. The ship was mid-sized - just under 2000 people - and didn't feel particularly crowded, though the demographic was definitely ‘older’. It was also very stable - the only time we felt even a mild pitch was on the last sea day. The staff were almost without exception really friendly and helpful, and the service overall was very good. Our verandah cabin on deck 6 was comfortable if a little cramped, and they'd used the space well; under-bed stowage was particularly useful. The food in the main dining room was generally good, with 1 or 2 exceptions, and the waiters particularly friendly. We also found the crew - the Captain and his officers - friendlier, more engaging & more in evidence than on other cruises we've been on. We ate dinner only once outside the main dining room, and the experience was not good. We booked "Rudi's Sel de Mer", a pop-up seafood restaurant in their Pinnacle Grill, at an extra $45 a head. The food was just OK - the bouillabaisse came in a plastic bag(?!), cut open at the table, the lobster tails were pleasant but unexceptional and the desserts reasonable, but the wine list was very limited and fiendishly expensive, the service slow and poor and the food lukewarm. Getting things like bread on the table seemed to be an almost-impossible feat for them. This was poor value for the $45 supplement, & having experienced the service in what was effectively the Pinnacle Grill, we didn't go back. The Lido buffet restaurant was a scrum at breakfast & lunch - inadequate seating and often long lines at the counters. The breakfast servery seemed rather bizarre - if you want just oatmeal, or just (pre-prepared) bacon & scrambled egg, or a specially-prepared omelette or made-to-order waffles, you join the same line. At lunch, we often managed to grab a table by the front pool & then go into the Lido & come back with food. The Asian options were often good, but I didn't try too many others as the lines were ridiculously long. Drink prices were - as you'd expect - high, and the spa prices astronomical. BEWARE - they have 'info sessions' about pain management, which are simply sales pitches for you to buy over-priced treatments or products. A 'personal trainer' from the gym is pitching GoodFeet orthotics. DON'T BUY FROM HIM! He'll tell you that his $199 price is up to $100 cheaper than elsewhere, & that his products will last for 10-15 years. These statements are UNTRUE; we visited a GoodFeet store in Delray Beach after the cruise & discovered that the orthotics he sells are the cheapest in their range, cost the same $199 and last for 2 years at most. If you're interested and live in the 'States, buy them back home, where you'll get a much better service. And don't do the acupuncture. I went for what I understood would be a 'consultation', which anywhere else would be a free-of-charge precursor to actual treatment, while they understood your issues and planned the sessions for you. Next thing I knew, I was on the couch with a load of needles in me, wired up to electricity. The 'therapist' then LEFT THE ROOM - just as my thigh muscle started to go into spasm! And they wanted to charge me $169 for this. AVOID! I've had great acupuncture (which this wasn't) for much, much less. The entertainment was a bit mixed. The 2 pianists at Billboard Onboard (especially Noah, the younger one) were astoundingly good. The bar pianists and the Mainstage dancers were also excellent, what we heard of BB King's All Stars was good, the Island Magic steel band were great and America's Test Kitchen was fun (but very over-subscribed, so arrive early). The Mainstage singers, however, were frequently off-key & the acrobats from Cirque du Soleil did a lot more posturing than actual acrobatics. And we were on board at Halloween, which the ship celebrated by doing - NOTHING! Hardly anyone dressed up, & it was a real disappointment. The EXC excursions were a mixed bag. The Monkey Watch at Gatun Lake seems to have been the best Panama excursion, with a great experience of the Canal & the wildlife. AVOID the one that takes you on through the locks to Panama City - you wait for hours in a small boat shadowing a bigger vessel through the locks, and frankly you see enough of the locks on the journey from the Caribbean to Gatun Lake. (This trip arrived back at the ship over an hour after we should have departed!) The Veragua Rainforest & Tortuguero Canals trip in Costa Rica is good, though the canals themselves are rather disappointing. The Cartagena Sightseeing trip is a waste of time & money if you want to see the World Heritage Old City; you seem to go everywhere BUT this part of town. The 'Eco tour' at Half-Moon Cay was a disappointment - snorkelling may be a better option - and the Aruba snorkelling trip was mediocre. We liked the Curacao 'Beach Express' - the beach was nice, the snorkelling better than in Aruba, and the trip was about the right length. The ship was in Curacao on a Sunday, so virtually EVERYTHING in the historic town was closed - even Diamonds International! Overall this trip suited us well. Our American friends enjoyed the cruise, were able to do everything with us and it wasn't too tiring for them. Embarkation & disembarkation were reasonably straightforward, despite the very hostile security people around the port area. We got to visit 2 places - Colombia and Panama - we'd never been to before, although our time in Cartagena was disappointing. HAL is one of the better cruise lines we've used, though (like the others) the most important piece of equipment on board seems to be the giant vacuum cleaner that sucks additional money from passengers. (For example, the wi-fi was outrageously expensive). Would we cruise with them again? Maybe, but it's a big old World and cruising only gives you a fleeting glimpse of some fascinating places, so it'll be a few years before we cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This 11 day cruise served up an excellent itinerary of ports that were mostly new to us. Zuiderdam is classy and easy to get around on. No place ever felt too busy or crowded, even the pool deck. This seemed like an adults-only cruise, ... Read More
This 11 day cruise served up an excellent itinerary of ports that were mostly new to us. Zuiderdam is classy and easy to get around on. No place ever felt too busy or crowded, even the pool deck. This seemed like an adults-only cruise, mainly because of the time of year and itinerary. There were probably only a dozen children on board. Embarkation was easy, even though we had made a last minute upgrade the night before. We enjoyed our set dining at a table of 8. Dinner conversation with our new cruise friends was lively and entertaining as we shared the day's adventures. Service at dinner was impeccable and the wine sommelier Edison was quick to learn our preferences and to make very good suggestions. Dinner choices were varied and appealed to both of us as well as the table. The appetizers were particularly good. Some chose from the always on offer classic menu that included American standards. We enjoyed BB King Blues after dinner several nights, as well as the steel drum classical band which seemed to be a hit with the audience. Our cabin was carefully tended to and as requested, we had ice provided at least twice a day. We usually ordered coffee and juice the night before and it was always delivered promptly at the requested time. The excursions were mostly a lot of fun and provided a taste of each port. Half Moon Cay is delightful and offers the best of the Bahamas for a quick stop. The beach and water are exquisite and the food, provided by the ship was quite good for a beach buffet. We especially liked the Tortuega Canals excursion (we saw sloths and monkeys!) in Costa Rica and the City Highlights (with less shopping) in Cartagenia. Both times the guides demonstrated great pride in their countries and offered a good combination of interesting facts and historical background. The Panama Canal excursion on the boat to the Pacific was quite expensive and as such, disappointing. The boat itself is kind of run down with uncomfortable metal chairs and doesn't offer much in the way of shade or A/C. Lunch was pitiful -- I hadn't anticipated much based on the reviews I'd seen, but this was likely the worst meal I've ever had anywhere. Fortunately there were plenty of cold drinks and cheap beer. We tried not to let this get us down and parked near the back of the boat for a good view of the canal behind us. There was no viewing area at the front. We did make comments to the EXC staff on board Zuiderdam as well as Guest Services. In all, we enjoyed our Panama Canal adventure. We are glad that we picked this itinerary and liked the sea days in between to rest up. We also appreciate that HAL offers daily mass and participated a few times. Disembarkation was quick and we took the HAL bus to the airport in plenty of time for our flight home. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This titillating riposte reflects actual not third person account on our hot hot hot partial Panama Canal cruise 1...Did not need to fill out health form prior to getting on ship?? 2...Zdam book exchange doing well. Located in ... Read More
This titillating riposte reflects actual not third person account on our hot hot hot partial Panama Canal cruise 1...Did not need to fill out health form prior to getting on ship?? 2...Zdam book exchange doing well. Located in portside hallway behind Crows Nest bar/coffee locale. Please frequent it. 3...Future Cruise Desk and Excursion Desk on Starboard side of Crows Nest 4...Capt.Wouter's welcome aboard with sparkling wine speech was mercifully short. He was the only body on stage 5...Two main stage shows were movies already available on your room's tv (Oceans 8 and BBCEarth 2) 6...Oprah merchandise only offerred on 1 small table in Signature Stores 7...Bought 11 day internet package for $149. Email 24 hrs a day. Speed was decent too 8...Took HAL's HoHo bus around Cartegena, Columbia which has a population of 617,000. There are that many vehicles and persistent hawkish vendors all selling the same thing. 9...82 padded chaise loungers on the wide promenade deck HMC, Aruba, Curacao and Colon port side faced town We cruised 3200 miles, ate 35,000 eggs and burned 312,000 galons of fuel Enjoy your cruise Bob Read Less
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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