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This was our first cruise on a Holland America ship and we found it to be the nicest we have yet experienced. We have sailed on NCL and Celebrity in the past. We combined two separate cruises to get a 29 day total. The first was a 17 day transatlantic repositioning from Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen and the second was a 12 day Baltic Sea. We found the itinerary to be wonderful, with stops in 11 different countries and a number of sea days. The ship offered quite a few options onboard during sea days and you could find things to participate in or not depending on your taste. Yes, most of them were geared toward an older crowd, but that is what we looked like on a HAL ship and on a trip this long. The entertainment changed often and was extremely varied and top notch. We found the food to be better than our previous ships in the main dining areas and the food in the specialty restaurants was better. Granted you don't have a lot of options on the Zuiderdam, but there were enough not to get bored with the food. The service was the best we have seen, especially our cabin stewards who kept our cabin spotless the entire voyage and kept us entertained with towel animals each night of the cruise. We had seen some comments about the maintenance and looks of the ship on this forum before we left and were a bit concerned. However, we did not have any issues along those lines during our trip. Sure the ship is getting a little age on her and may be a bit rusty in spots on the outside, but hey, so am I. The deck crews were outside chipping and painting during every day of our cruise, they replaced some worn carpet during the cruise and they are constantly cleaning all over the ship day and night. They repainted the entire hull while we were on board, taking care of the scrapes they picked up during the winter on their Panama Canal cruises. We found everything mechanical worked as advertised during the entire trip. We took a fair number of the shore excursions offered through HAL and had a great time on all of them. The days in A Coruna, Normandy, Brugge, Holland, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Berlin and St. Petersburg were outstanding and the other ports were also interesting. We found them organized and professionally run, especially the ones which used headsets so it was easy to hear everything that was being said. Many of these excursions ran in excess of 10 hours and we didn't think they wasted any time. We will admit that many of these ports and excursions required a fair amount of walking, but they are pretty good about saying that up front. Some of the ports were just fine to tackle on your own and we did so in about 5 of them. For some of them it just makes sense to take the tours and let them handle the logistics. We found embarkation and disembarkation to be pretty simple and straightforward. Yes our flight got in fairly early on the day we left and we didn't have to wait long to get on board. Our cabin was ready when we got there and our luggage followed pretty quickly. The lines moved quickly and they had a bunch of people working to get you ready to board. We had an early morning flight out on the last day and they were ready for us at 4:15 am with a transfer to the airport. We did run a few minutes late getting started because some of the luggage was a little late getting off, but we were still at the airport with plenty of time to spare. It may get harder to get off during the prime times, but early was simple and easy. We did use HAL to set up our flights from home to Ft. Lauderdale and then back home from Copenhagen and those all went off without a hitch. Our seats were good and our layovers worked well both coming and going. We did use their transfers to and from the airports, which we found to be worth every penny. Overall, we have no complaints. We loved the size and the layout of the ship, the food, the service, our cabin, the staff, the shore excursions and the ports where we stopped. We would happily travel with HAL again and would hope to make it back to the Zuiderdam.

We are sold on Holland America.

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by patandjohn@mindspring.com

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2016
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
This was our first cruise on a Holland America ship and we found it to be the nicest we have yet experienced. We have sailed on NCL and Celebrity in the past. We combined two separate cruises to get a 29 day total. The first was a 17 day transatlantic repositioning from Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen and the second was a 12 day Baltic Sea.

We found the itinerary to be wonderful, with stops in 11 different countries and a number of sea days. The ship offered quite a few options onboard during sea days and you could find things to participate in or not depending on your taste. Yes, most of them were geared toward an older crowd, but that is what we looked like on a HAL ship and on a trip this long.

The entertainment changed often and was extremely varied and top notch. We found the food to be better than our previous ships in the main dining areas and the food in the specialty restaurants was better. Granted you don't have a lot of options on the Zuiderdam, but there were enough not to get bored with the food. The service was the best we have seen, especially our cabin stewards who kept our cabin spotless the entire voyage and kept us entertained with towel animals each night of the cruise.

We had seen some comments about the maintenance and looks of the ship on this forum before we left and were a bit concerned. However, we did not have any issues along those lines during our trip. Sure the ship is getting a little age on her and may be a bit rusty in spots on the outside, but hey, so am I. The deck crews were outside chipping and painting during every day of our cruise, they replaced some worn carpet during the cruise and they are constantly cleaning all over the ship day and night. They repainted the entire hull while we were on board, taking care of the scrapes they picked up during the winter on their Panama Canal cruises. We found everything mechanical worked as advertised during the entire trip.

We took a fair number of the shore excursions offered through HAL and had a great time on all of them. The days in A Coruna, Normandy, Brugge, Holland, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Berlin and St. Petersburg were outstanding and the other ports were also interesting. We found them organized and professionally run, especially the ones which used headsets so it was easy to hear everything that was being said. Many of these excursions ran in excess of 10 hours and we didn't think they wasted any time. We will admit that many of these ports and excursions required a fair amount of walking, but they are pretty good about saying that up front. Some of the ports were just fine to tackle on your own and we did so in about 5 of them. For some of them it just makes sense to take the tours and let them handle the logistics.

We found embarkation and disembarkation to be pretty simple and straightforward. Yes our flight got in fairly early on the day we left and we didn't have to wait long to get on board. Our cabin was ready when we got there and our luggage followed pretty quickly. The lines moved quickly and they had a bunch of people working to get you ready to board. We had an early morning flight out on the last day and they were ready for us at 4:15 am with a transfer to the airport. We did run a few minutes late getting started because some of the luggage was a little late getting off, but we were still at the airport with plenty of time to spare. It may get harder to get off during the prime times, but early was simple and easy. We did use HAL to set up our flights from home to Ft. Lauderdale and then back home from Copenhagen and those all went off without a hitch. Our seats were good and our layovers worked well both coming and going. We did use their transfers to and from the airports, which we found to be worth every penny.

Overall, we have no complaints. We loved the size and the layout of the ship, the food, the service, our cabin, the staff, the shore excursions and the ports where we stopped. We would happily travel with HAL again and would hope to make it back to the Zuiderdam.
patandjohn@mindspring.com’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VA 4125
We found the location of this cabin to be particularly good. There are only cabins above this one and the deck below houses the photo gallery, which is very quiet almost any time during the day or night. It is slightly aft of mid-ship and it is an easy walk to the aft or mid-ship elevators/stairs. The room itself was in excellent condition and everything worked as advertised during the entire 29 days were on the ship. There is plenty of room for storage and the bathroom was small but adequate. We liked that the small tub/shower combination had a flat floor, which made it much easier to keep your balance. The bed was very comfortable and wider than a normal queen. The linens were first rate and the selection of pillows was just fine. We would certainly request this cabin again if we travel on the ship again in the future. If you are looking for a cabin that helps keep your exercising on track this cabin works well. You are only one deck above the walking track on the Promenade Deck and the Lido restaurant is on 9, so a nice walk up the stairs from 4.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Walking Tour
    Had a wonderful walking tour through the old town, followed by a short ride through the canals. They also gave us an hour to do some shopping or try a local beer or two. The guide was outstanding and made the whole experience more enjoyable.
    View All 46 Walking Tour Reviews
  • La Coruna
    We chose to take an excursion to Lugo and had a great time. You get a nice drive through the countryside and then a walking tour of the old city. That city tour includes the roman built wall all the way around, still intact after all these years. The cathedral was pretty spectacular on the inside and the provided lunch was great. Turned out to be a 6 course meal or so with assorted wines, could hardly walk when we were done.
    View All 241 La Coruna Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's La Coruna Cruise Port Review
  • Ponta Delgada
    Ponta Delgada was OK, but we don't need to go back. We walked around the port on our own and visited the Military Museum. The Museum was fine, just not a lot to it. None of the ship's shore excursions really excited us. The visit was nice but not too exciting a stop for us.
    View All 207 Ponta Delgada Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Ponta Delgada Cruise Port Review