2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our second cruise on the Zuiderdam. This ship introduced us to Holland America ten years ago and left us with a very favorable view of the cruise line. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America with the last one being three ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Zuiderdam. This ship introduced us to Holland America ten years ago and left us with a very favorable view of the cruise line. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America with the last one being three years ago on the Eurodam Baltic Sea St Petersburg itinerary. We selected this cruise due to its low price based on lowest category Interior Guaranteed rate. We ended up in a Deck 4 fully blocked view HH category cabin similar to what we had on our first Zuideram cruise ten years ago. The ship was in excellent condition. The cabin was comfortable for the two of us in an excellent location forward, and convenient to elevators. It was quiet due to no interior cabins across from it. The cabin stewards did the usual excellent job of maintaining the cabin. Dining room experience was very good. We had Anytime Dining and over the course of the cruise migrated to having dinner in the 6:15 to 6:30 pm time frame. Since we had no problem sharing a 4 or 6 seat table, we were always seated with no delay. The various sections where we were seated, for the most part, had excellent waiters and helpers. Dinner food was very good to excellent. Lido buffet was as expected: hectic for breakfast and lunch but we could find seats. We found that arriving before 7 am for breakfast gave us the best choices for seating at tables. The Dive In burger setting was nice although one was guaranteed a wait of 20 minutes for their food. The one area that was annoying was the wine stewards pushing wine choices. I thought that Holland America could decrease the number of wine stewards. We did not use speciality dining rooms. Lounges and bars: On previous Holland America cruises I enjoyed the Crow's Nest lounge. Well that experience is gone thanks to the Exploration Lounge. To me, it is just a sitting area with a coffee bar. I missed the Happy Hour promotions for the Crow's Nest and the finger food provided. I did not purchase beverage packages because with only three sea days in fourteen total, it would not be beneficial or practical. Adult beverage pricing a la cart was excessive. Entertainment: I only witnessed one guest group act in the evening. I did not go to any of the production shows due to dining timing and next day excursion schedules. An afternoon performance by a local group at the Inverness port stop was excellent. On Board experience: It was a very laid back Cruise Director with nothing special to entice me to join. It was most likely due to only three sea days. EXC presentations, compared to Princess Cruises, were lacking in my opinion with very general introductions. Internet Packages: The ship has gone to 24 hour rates based on data limits. We took the middle package mainly for emails and Facebook. I don't think we came close to exceeding the data limit and may have survived with the lowest rate. The gotcha here is that they may restrict you from Facebook et al packages. While attempting to print boarding passes on the three workstations near the customer service desk, I could not gain access to the airline website. I just relented and checked in using our Android tablet. Excursions: Since this appeared to be a one time only itinerary, I will not go into details. We used EXC excursions, and except for the excursion to Mt Michel in France, thought it was the way to go. The Mt Michel excursion used very cramped coaches, and the tour guide was lacking in his personal approach (very cold and with an attitude). Embarkation and Disembarkation: It was a typical mad house waiting to check in and board the ship. Groups were called by number. Cabins were ready upon boarding. Leaving the ship on last day was very easy with us doing expedited disembarkation. Walked off ship with our luggage, said goodbye to a very friendly Captain, and was in a taxi bound for the airport with no queues. We easily made our 10:45 am flight to the States. Final thoughts: The Zuiderdam is showing her age well but with no central atrium, some guests may feel it lacking. We didn't since we knew the layout already. With five Holland America cruises now under our belt, we may continue to look at Princess itineraries in the future. We think Princess does a better job with on board experience and speciality dining venues. We could return to Holland America with our three star Mariner membership but to us it is not a grand incentive to do so. Good memories with Holland America especially with the Eurodam may sway us. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary which included six European countries and possible visits to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and the races at Royal Ascot. It also included stops in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary which included six European countries and possible visits to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and the races at Royal Ascot. It also included stops in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris (LeHavre), Normandy, Gurnsey, Southampton, and two in Scotland. So overall this itinerary was excellent. We read several reviews that were disappointed in the condition of the ship. We did not find this to be an issue. For sure it is an older vessel, however, it had recently undergone some cosmetic updates and presented itself in decent shape. The crew onboard were generally excellent. In fact, most of the servers were from Indonesia and were very pleasant ... in contrast to some cruises we have taken where Eastern Europeans were less than happy to be serving us. Our major issues centered around Food, Menus, Quality, and Dinning Times. We have sailed many times on most of the major lines including Princess, Royal Caribbean, NCL, and Celebrity. The food offerings and quality could on the Zuiderdam could not begin to compare with any of those. We have moved away from eating in the main dinning venues most days on a cruise like this where the tours were very lengthy and we often returned late and exhausted. So, our only option was the Lido Buffet. Absolutely terrible! Most nights there was nothing edible to eat. So, it was pasta, pizza, or salad. We are early risers and it was impossible to get anything for breakfast until 0700 most mornings unless the ship had some early departure tours. I mean nothing .... no pastry, doughnuts ... nothing. Other days we returned to the ship exhausted from our tours around 1700 (5 P.M.). We were hoping to grab a quick dinner and settle in for the night. No way Jose! No food available anywhere. We've never been on a ship where you couldn't get something to eat 24/7. And most offerings are the cheapest they could offer ..... pasta, Asian, etc. Oh, well. I'll close with another warning we had ..... that HAL tends to attract an older clientele. That's not really the problem as we're up there now ourselves. It does mean, however, that many of the cruisers had serious ambulatory issues. I've never seen so many wheel chairs, walkers, and motorized scooters on a cruise before. Let me make it clear that I'm happy these folk are still cruising and living their life to the fullest. However, it did tend to really slow down walking, getting food service, etc. We were also nearly run over several times by the motorized ones. A much more serious problem developed with the gentleman in the cabin directly opposite us. His walker was way too big to fit through his cabin door and he was not able to fold it up and make his way into the cabin. As a result the walker stayed out in the hallway most of the night and anytime he was in his cabin. I'm sure most of you know how narrow the hallways are to begin with. A real safety issue that was not corrected by the ships staff. In closing .... despite the itinerary, we'll be sailing on one of the other lines from now on. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We went with friends who chose the Baltic cruise, and we'd never been to any ports on the itinerary. We are 3-Star Mariners, and our friends are 4-Star, so we are predisposed to like HAL. Everything was handled very well and food was just ... Read More
We went with friends who chose the Baltic cruise, and we'd never been to any ports on the itinerary. We are 3-Star Mariners, and our friends are 4-Star, so we are predisposed to like HAL. Everything was handled very well and food was just fine, as usual. Entertainment was up a notch from some other HAL cruises we've been on. We took HAL shore excursions in Tallin, Warnemunde and Kiel. Took a 2-day excursion with Alla Tours in St. Petersburg (highly recommended). We used the HAL bus shuttle (USD11) to the city center in Helsinki, and used a Hop-On, Hop-Off boat to see Old Town and the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Spent 3 nights in Copenhagen before the tour and 2 more nights after the tour. The cabin was the usual veranda on the starboard side, aft. It was just fine, although I would have liked to spring for the upgrade to Signature Suite, which was being offered at a very attractive price. But, we wanted to stay close to our accompanying travelers in 2 other cabins. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The crew on this ship is exceptional. All the stewards are friendly and very helpful and attentive. Whenever passengers are embarking or disembarking, senior officers are on the pier to wish you welcome or to wish you a good day or to ... Read More
The crew on this ship is exceptional. All the stewards are friendly and very helpful and attentive. Whenever passengers are embarking or disembarking, senior officers are on the pier to wish you welcome or to wish you a good day or to problem solve if needed.. The food is very good, although the portions are astoundingly large. On this 24-day voyage my traveling companion and I ate in the Canaletto 8 times because of the food and service. We also ate in the Pinnacle Grill twice, with its impeccable food and service. The beverage service in all of the served dining venues leaves a little to be desired. It takes a long time to receive bottles of wine that are ordered at the table or pre-ordered, and there is no written method for passengers to keep track of bottles used if a package is bought. The Lido food and service is good, but a sign indicating which direction the serving line is going would be very helpful. As usual, the bread pudding is available every day at noon, but it is now served by the ice cream attendant. My Signature Suite, 8051, was very nice, but also very noisy. Loud banging is heard every night from overhead; sometimes for a few minutes, but sometimes for a half hour or more. Also, the cabin is across from the steward serving area which has many stainless steel cabinets, including an ice chest. Ice is brought from elsewhere and dumped into the chest and then individual cabin ice containers are filled from it. The door was left open and noise from the area radiated into the cabin. The ports were by and large interesting and the excursions well managed. Disembarkation and embarkation for excursions was well managed, even the two tender ports, where weather and current were challenging. Because some of the excursions were very long, my attendance to the ship's entertainment was spotty, but what shows I saw were very good -- especially the ABBA show. As a Signature Suite passenger I was treated to a complimentary Signature Experience in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, the Scandic Hotel chosen by HAL was outside the city center and no Hop On Hop Off service was available, and insufficient information was provided in advance on the difficulty of walking to the Hamlet Castle venue, so I was very disappointed. I was unable to tour in the city and unable to attend the special event. The only real downside to the ship was several cracked windows. I don't know what caused the cracks, but I think they were stress fractures. An especially noticeable one was in one of the outside elevators. Others were in dining areas. Tile was also broken in the elevator with the cracked windows and a broken area at the top step of one of the stairways outside the Lido took many days to be repaired. There was no sign put up to notify passengers of the danger. I wouldn't hesitate to sail on this ship again and recommend it to potential passengers of all ages. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose cruise for the itinerary. British Isles followed by Baltic Cruise. Started in Copenhagen, a wonderful city and is well worth going back to for a longer stay. We were in a Signature Suite cabin. Had been updated. Excellent ... Read More
Chose cruise for the itinerary. British Isles followed by Baltic Cruise. Started in Copenhagen, a wonderful city and is well worth going back to for a longer stay. We were in a Signature Suite cabin. Had been updated. Excellent job, very comfortable and spacious. From what we heard from others, smaller cabins have not been done yet. (6/18). Cabin service was excellent. Always on spot to take care of things. Room service excellent. Started ordering all breakfasts delivered as eggs elsewhere were never cooked properly. In Lido, they kept dumping oil on grill and eggs were a mess. Dining room failed to serve unless they were crispy on edges. If you use room service, be ready a few minutes early. If you say between 7:30 & 8:00, it may get there at 7:25. Menu offered Signature Suites were well above offerings for room service in lesser cabins. Dining room was fair. Prime Rib was extremely tough, most waiters warned guests not to order. We were not warned. Other meats were also rather tough. Ordered fish twice, once really overcooked and soggy. Most vegetables were overcooked. If you wanted tea or coffee you would have wait 5 to 10 minutes to get it if you were lucky. One night we were finished with our desserts and coffee still had not arrived. Pinnacle Steakhouse was excellent. Service outstanding. Lobster Bisque was unbelievable, with a small loaf of bread could be entire dinner. Lido Buffet was typical for a cruise ship. Some good and bad. My wife thought the Asian section was excellent. Entertainment was much less than on previous big ships. Only about 2 big cast shows, the rest single performances. Violin, piano, stale comedian, etc. Public areas on ship were very nice and looked updated. Elevators were great. It seemed that no matter what was going on, they kept up. Did not take any of the offered tours, booked all in advance using outside companies. Saved about 30-50%. Also had small group tours with 6-8 people vs the big buses. Captain was the most visible and engaging of any cruise ship we had been on (7). Port briefings were held by a member of EXC, (tour operator on board). Outstanding and informative. Was expecting a sales job, but not any. Just good information presented in a humorous and factual way. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Have sailed many time with Holland America and are 4 star martiners. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth. We where able to go right to our cabin. Over the past few years we have noticed that the food in the main dinning ... Read More
Have sailed many time with Holland America and are 4 star martiners. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth. We where able to go right to our cabin. Over the past few years we have noticed that the food in the main dinning room seems to be going down some. My husband and some others at our table ordered the steak (the one that is always on the menu) and all stated the same thing, "tastless and no flavor". None of them ordered it again. Everyone at our table that had the salmon said it was good. The Lido's breakfast was always good. We ate at the Lido two nights in a row and it was the same food both times. The DIVE burgers are the best! We also did a wine package (the top one) and everytime my husband order a red wine they never had the one he ordered and would bring us another stating, "we do not have the wine you ordered". Again, this was everytime he ordered the red wine. They did have the white wine he chose. The dining room staff, as always, was good and always willing to help. The ship itself was clean with some wear and tear in some places. The services, as always, was good. The cooking shows on board are fun to go to. A good place to spend time while at sea. We did not attend the computer classes this time but, have in the past and they were good with a lot of good information. The BB King All Stars is always good. All in all, a very good cruise and would sail on the Zuederdan again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at ... Read More
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at all what others are seeing in their overly negative reviews. The food is very good to excellent- the best dining room food we have ever had at sea, and I have cruised 4 other lines. I am a foodie and saw no need to go to any specialty restaurants. The entertainment is limited, but excellent- BB Kings played jazz to blues to dancing music, and the band and singers were outstanding. Billboard 100 which is a duel piano sing along type bar/ club- was by far the most attended just for good old fun. The shows were also great- the dancers all could be on dancing with the stars. Piano player/singer, opera etc. were all excellent. Crew were all genuinely attentive and friendly- and in talking to them can see they love working for Holland. The only thing people need to learn is to book their excursions privately, as the cruise lines rates are absurd. One caution- if you go to book "Landscapes and Sheepdogs"- you will pay $200 pp to be taken to a gift shop (Called "Scottish Woolen Center"- its a gift shop) that has Free, I repeat Free sheep dog demonstrations. We felt deceived and grossly overpaid for this. Other than that one negative experience- we loved Holland, loved this ship, and loved the crew from the Captain to the waiter. Book this trip with confidence that you will love it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
This Baltic Cruise was our first HAL experience. The ship was, for the most part, beautiful, well appointed and spacious. Our cabin, located forward deck 8 was spacious but definitely in need of a face lift. Walls were damaged in two ... Read More
This Baltic Cruise was our first HAL experience. The ship was, for the most part, beautiful, well appointed and spacious. Our cabin, located forward deck 8 was spacious but definitely in need of a face lift. Walls were damaged in two areas and deck chairs worn with cigarette burn holes on one of them. This lack of attention to detail could be much improved. Overall, our dining experiences in both the main dining room and at Pinnacle Grille were good. Our waiter Aris in the main dining room and our wine steward Jude took exceptional care of us whenever we were in their charge. As for Pinnacle Grille, this was by far the best meal of the trip, my only issue is that you shouldn’t have to pay such high prices to get such quality food, this should be HAL’s norm. Since we had on-board credit, we joined the spa for the pool. The main problem here was they did not keep the spa pool filled high enough so the jacuzzi jets were not as effective as they were designed to be. Despite making staff aware of this issue, it was rarely resolved in a timely manner. Again, attention to detail was lacking. The most upsetting and distressing part of this cruise involved the debarkation instructions given to all passengers who did not have HAL excursions booked for St. Petersburg. We had booked our tours through Alla. The night before arrival in St. Petersburg, HAL instructed all non-HAL excursion passengers to remain on board for an additional 90 minutes because of a ‘new policy from The Port of St. Petersburg’. This was extremely distressing for us as we were to meet our tour at a specific time and this was either going to make us miss our excursion or miss an hour of our tour. While waiting in our cabin we looked over our balcony and noticed a steady stream of people exciting the ship. We decided to take our chances and exited the ship without incident. After going through Russian customs, we learned they knew nothing about this directive and that HAL was giving false and misleading debarkation information to its passengers. Many, many passengers were extremely upset about this as it would cost an hour off previously reserved tour time and some passengers could miss their tours entirely. We went to Guest Relations about it, asked to see the ‘policy’ and were told it was an email from the port authority, they could not show us the email either. Apparently, many of the other cruise lines are doing this as well, hoping you panic and sign onto their excursions at the last minute which many people did. The public areas were attractive, the fitness center updated with good equipment. The casino was small, I did not see many people winning. The entertainment was good but we only went to one show. Overall, based on the false information given to passengers about debarkation in St. Petersburg, I will never be able to trust HAL and will most likely not cruise with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Purely for the ports... If you are sailing out of Denmark, beware of the extremely high costs during high season in Copenhagen prior to sailing!! Loved Scotland & Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Finland. Russia was good ... Read More
Purely for the ports... If you are sailing out of Denmark, beware of the extremely high costs during high season in Copenhagen prior to sailing!! Loved Scotland & Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Finland. Russia was good booking 2 HAL tours. The easy 3 hour tour day two, was wonderful. The 1 day tour with 5 hours on you own... a good way to experience the sights in your own as we were dropped near the Hermitage area. Absolute highlights: Isle of Skye - Dublin- Cobh - sailing in out of Stockholm. Holyhead Wales was missed due to high winds. On board highlights: Cast show talent - Ian (Commentator). - Dining Room staff Dislikes: the new Explorers lounge in the Crows Nest... buying a coffee in the very small space was normally a long wait. These will be a professionally edited video highlight of each cruise available late June 2018 on Bellairvideo (YouTube) 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 3.9
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Zuiderdam Cruise