As others have pointed out, the ship is not new, but there are just so many pluses about this ship, the little bit of rust just didn't deter me from thoroughly enjoying this cruise. After a week in bleak and cold England at my niece's wedding, I was ready for 11 days of sunshine and heat, and it started out very hot in Venice. I did a walk around Venice early the morning the day the ship was departing, one hour from the Piazzale Roma to St. Mark's Square and about 30 minutes back. The best part is getting lost!
The most wonderful about the ship is the staff. I was traveling solo, a 50s something woman, and the staff just couldn't have been nicer. The dining room manager knew my name and cabin number from day one and greeted me with a big smile. I was with the same waiter the entire trip. I did not have a reservation so just showed up at 5:30 each evening to get the same table. Food was beyond wonderful.
I ordered room service breakfast everyday and was very happy. The one place I really don't love is the Lido on any ship, so I avoided it as much as possible. Just did a few lunches there. Used the hair salon twice for nails and a touch up of color. Was happy with that.
The room - loved my balcony cabin front of the ship on deck 6. For one person, it was really big with a nice sized balcony. It was so quiet in that location. The only downside was the neighbor next door who smoked these little brown cigarettes that smelled like cigars. Whenever she was out there, I just had to go inside. But it wasn't a huge deal.
I was really impressed by the dry dock improvements, the fab captain and again the staff. I went on an excursion to every port with the ship. Kind of wish I hadn't as the one thing you can count on with the bus tours is the guides feel they have to talk nonstop. I could have used a break from that a day or two, but since most of our ports were in Greece and their economic situation being so precarious, I decided to play it safe. Also since I was traveling alone, I thought it was safer. Only bummer was HAL put me on the wrong tour bus for one tour and I ended up back in Oia on Santorini, instead of seeing the Hidden Villages. Oia was nuts with tour buses, ATV, mopeds and people walking about.
Other than that snafu which the Shore Excursion manager did refund ... took three attempts to get that straightened out, but the rest of the cruise was pure Heaven. Looking to do another Zuiderdam cruise next year!
Cabin was nice size with a large balcony in a quiet area of the ship. I like being near the front. The bed was a little too close to the hall, which made it difficult to walk around but other than that, the room was perfect. The bathroom had a bathtub. There is some wear and tear in the bathrooms that has been repaired, but it doesn't look new. Still very functional and great size bath. Cabin stewards kept the place spotless and were just wonderful. Bed super comfortable and bedding very nice. The chairs and sofa appeared to have been recently recovered in bright and lovely fabrics. Very happy with the cabin!
I absolutely adore Venice. Did a walk from the Piazzale Roma to St. Mark's Square at 8am. Took about an hour, losing my way several times but kept following the signs. Was amazing and back took about 45 minutes. I had to ask directions three times, but considering that the first time I went to Venice 20 years ago, I was lost the entire time .. was pleased with my progress. Just a beautiful and vibrant place. And the cruise ship going down the Grand Canal when we left should be on everybody's bucket list. Thrilling experience.
The tour really wasn't much of anything, not a bad experience, just not very exciting. The food was very good and those that danced seemed to have a great time. The owner was gracious and lovely and the farm was fine. A few animals tied up. The focus mostly seemed to be to sell their products, including olive oil and wines.View All undefined undefined Reviews
This tour was amazing. I had been to Athens in 2009 on a land tour and had visited the Archaeology Museum and the Parthenon then, so I wanted to do something different. Our guide was fabulous and the Agora is amazing. I think very few people realize how wonderful it is, so it wasn't crowded and I took great photos.View All 6 Ancient Agora Reviews
Plaka walking tour was super fun. I had been to the Plaka by myself back in 2009, but I hadn't ventured around much. This time we did a great walking tour that ended at a restaurant that served snacks. The food was plentiful and delicious. My favorite photo of the cruise was taken on the Plaka walking tour.View All 60 The Plaka Walking Tour Reviews
We did both the Magnificent Miletus (not so magnificent) and the Temple of Apollo. Having been to Epehsus in 2008 and it was mobbed, I chose a tour with less people. It was less people, but the tour was really nothing great. Both sites had little to see, as there had been an earthquake that ravished most of the ruins. Our guide was really good, but the food was a boxed lunch on the bus. I wish I had gone to Ephesus again. Heard after it was not crowded that day.View All undefined undefined Reviews
I loved Delos. The island was super hot and no shade at all, but it is amazing. The best part are the lions, which they keep the real ones in the Museum. I did not care for our guide. She kept us out in the hot sun, droning on and on and did not take us to the best parts. I wandered around on my own and found better things than she pointed out. Our time at the Museum was too short, as she spoke too long. I always want to say to these guides, less is more.View All 97 Island of Delos Reviews
Our guide was the best. So interesting and so funny. Our tour included the Grand Master Palace after going to Lindos and then a walking tour of Rhodes. We also had a fabulous lunch at a 5 star hotel on the beach. I loved this tour and I loved Rhodes. So amazing, all the info on the Knights. Just beautiful. The rooms of the Grand Masters Palace are really impressive.View All 24 Grand Master Palace Reviews
I was really worried when we first got there due to the crowds, heat and the walk straight up. But it really wasn't bad. I enjoyed Lindos, then went on my own back down to visit the Church and have a granito. Needed it after such a hot walk up. Beautiful views from above. Very interesting tour.View All 51 Lindos Walking Tour Reviews
Our tour included Lindos, lunch at a wonderful 5 star hotel, Rhodes walking tour and the Grand Masters Palace. Everything about this tour was first class. Loved our guide and loved Rhodes.View All 31 Rhodes Old Town Reviews
I loved Santorini the last time I was there, but decided this time I wanted to see the Hidden Villages as I had been to Oia Village and Fira. Unfortunately I was given the wrong sticker and put on the wrong bus. Our tour guide was terrible, his English was poor ... he was German and English was his 4th language. He did not speak Greek and kept having to ask the bus driver what the names of the islands around Santorini were. He never caught I had a ticket for a different cruise. The Shorex manager caught it later, but too late to move me to the right tour. Bus driver knew more about the island than our guide, and he spoke English. Too bad he didn't do the tour. We went to Oia Village, so crowded and hot. I did go to a nice restaurant and have some Spinach pie and a cappuccino. It was impossible to walk around with all the tour buses unloading hundreds of tourists. Fira was a mob scene as well. I went back on the cable car early to avoid the long lines, which I heard ended up being 1-1/2 hour wait. Santorini was my favorite place on earth. Now I think it has been ruined with too many tourists and commercialism, but it is still beautiful ... if you can go when the cruise ships are not there.View All 255 Oia Village Reviews
Loved Herculaneum. I was a bit disappointed in the skeletal remains, which you can only see from very far away. I heard they have been moved to a private museum. Our guide was terrible so I just wandered off by myself to see the sites.View All 79 Herculaneum Reviews