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We cruised with another couple on Holland America for the first time this past September. We had read that the Zuiderdam had had a major face life last spring, but it must have been for the public areas, not the staterooms. The staterooms appear to be circa 1980s? Don't get me wrong - our suite had LOTS of room and the bathroom was the largest I have seen on a ship - double sinks, separate shower from the jetted tub. Very nice! The room though, was obviously older with dated tile needing some caulking and the color scheme was definitely not current. They swapped out the balcony furniture during the cruise - the new furniture was much nicer! The cruise itself was wonderful. The staff could not have been friendlier or more helpful. We started to wonder if they ever had a bad day! Always a smile on their face! We embarked from Venice (spent two days there before the cruise) and had stops in Olympia, Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Naplion, Ephesus, Naples, and Rome! Each stop was unique and amazing! The process for boarding the ship the first day is much smoother than some of our previous cruises on different cruise lines. Same with disembarking at the end of the cruise. They know their stuff! We enjoyed the special guests (singer and a comic/magician) they had in the Lounge during the cruise. Both brought a lot of energy to the stage and the audience was delighted! The Zuiderdam singers and dancers were not exceptional however. (Reminded us of our kids' high school show choir.) We also enjoyed a couples massage and a "gambling lesson" as part of a package our kids bought us for our anniversary. We did these on our "at sea" day which was perfect. I had read reviews about the dining onboard the Zuiderdam and had been a bit concerned. Turns out I had no reason to be concerned. Every meal was delicious and served by a friendly staff. We chose the open dining option and had different servers every night. All were professional and very friendly. They always had plenty of delicious selections each evening and so no one at our table had any problem getting something they really liked. The biggest con was their alcohol policy. You are limited to bringing two bottles onboard and those are subject to a corking fee. Whenever you order a drink of any kind, there are added hidden charges that bring the cost of the drink up to a ridiculous amount, Happy Hour seems like a deal until you see all the fees added per drink. Would rather they be included in the price so there are no surprises when you get the bill. Part of the package we had included dinner in the acclaimed Pinnacle Grill. The meal was paid for so we ordered two rather inexpensive glasses of wine. We thought the bill would be around $30.... It was $54 after the fees were added! And to be honest, the meals in the dining room were equally as good as the Pinnacle Grill. Would stick to the dining room in the future. Full disclosure- did not know that the dining room was serving surf and turf (lobster tail) the night we had reservations for the Pinnacle Grill.....Would definitely have changed our reservations! Loved the cruise and loved the itinerary. Only thing I wish was different - would have loved to have spent an evening in Mykonos or Santorini.....would imagine watching the sun set over either place would have been magnificent......would have loved to have been on a beach in Greece at sunset. We were always at sea by then.

Wonderful Itinerary!

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by bfarmerva

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Trip Details
We cruised with another couple on Holland America for the first time this past September. We had read that the Zuiderdam had had a major face life last spring, but it must have been for the public areas, not the staterooms. The staterooms appear to be circa 1980s? Don't get me wrong - our suite had LOTS of room and the bathroom was the largest I have seen on a ship - double sinks, separate shower from the jetted tub. Very nice! The room though, was obviously older with dated tile needing some caulking and the color scheme was definitely not current. They swapped out the balcony furniture during the cruise - the new furniture was much nicer!

The cruise itself was wonderful. The staff could not have been friendlier or more helpful. We started to wonder if they ever had a bad day! Always a smile on their face! We embarked from Venice (spent two days there before the cruise) and had stops in Olympia, Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Naplion, Ephesus, Naples, and Rome! Each stop was unique and amazing! The process for boarding the ship the first day is much smoother than some of our previous cruises on different cruise lines. Same with disembarking at the end of the cruise. They know their stuff!

We enjoyed the special guests (singer and a comic/magician) they had in the Lounge during the cruise. Both brought a lot of energy to the stage and the audience was delighted! The Zuiderdam singers and dancers were not exceptional however. (Reminded us of our kids' high school show choir.) We also enjoyed a couples massage and a "gambling lesson" as part of a package our kids bought us for our anniversary. We did these on our "at sea" day which was perfect.

I had read reviews about the dining onboard the Zuiderdam and had been a bit concerned. Turns out I had no reason to be concerned. Every meal was delicious and served by a friendly staff. We chose the open dining option and had different servers every night. All were professional and very friendly. They always had plenty of delicious selections each evening and so no one at our table had any problem getting something they really liked.

The biggest con was their alcohol policy. You are limited to bringing two bottles onboard and those are subject to a corking fee. Whenever you order a drink of any kind, there are added hidden charges that bring the cost of the drink up to a ridiculous amount, Happy Hour seems like a deal until you see all the fees added per drink. Would rather they be included in the price so there are no surprises when you get the bill. Part of the package we had included dinner in the acclaimed Pinnacle Grill. The meal was paid for so we ordered two rather inexpensive glasses of wine. We thought the bill would be around $30.... It was $54 after the fees were added! And to be honest, the meals in the dining room were equally as good as the Pinnacle Grill. Would stick to the dining room in the future. Full disclosure- did not know that the dining room was serving surf and turf (lobster tail) the night we had reservations for the Pinnacle Grill.....Would definitely have changed our reservations!

Loved the cruise and loved the itinerary. Only thing I wish was different - would have loved to have spent an evening in Mykonos or Santorini.....would imagine watching the sun set over either place would have been magnificent......would have loved to have been on a beach in Greece at sunset. We were always at sea by then.
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