Zuiderdam Cruise Review by LocoLoco1
- Sail Date: April 2016
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Large Interior Stateroom
ZUIDERDAM is a middle-of-road vessel by today's North American clientele standards. Not Uber-snazzy, not Plain-Vanilla either. The Staff and Officers were 1st rate. Dining Room and Bar staff were definitely as good as we've had on any HAL ship. The ZUIDERDAM has had remodeling done recently, and it appears to be in the vogue to continue fixing and re-working cruise ships during cruises nowadays. But too much grinding and welding wore a bit thin on this voyage for many...including us. It appeared VERY seaworthy and handled open ocean conditions very, very well. But it's not new and Jazzy like a new OCEANIA or CRYSTAL vessel can be, but we liked it as it was reasonably $$Priced$$. We're in our 60's and not overly demanding. We never availed ourselves of Pinnacle Dining Rm meals, or Rm Service, as the Standard Dining Rm menu was quite sufficient. Lido Buffet was as expected....plentiful and suitable for Poolside dining. GREAT unlimited IceCream!! Free.
All Cruise ships with very few exceptions have become VERY $Expense$ conscious lately to keep Cabin Rates in line with the competition. HAL, for instance, has cut out a Poolside live music group called the HAL-CATS. Big mistake in my opinion. That killed the ambiance greatly compared to past years. The Classical Violin group, formerly known as the Adiago Strings is now down to 1 String. Hmm. No Pool Volley-ball organizer. etc etc. Not egregious omissions, but such things are making long-time HAL cruisers yearn for the Good-old days and begin looking elsewhere for an experience with a little more Pizzaz and Bling-bling. Creating a TopDeck Gazebo area during it's last Dry-dock for extra $$$ is an unmitigated disaster. ZERO takers!! ZERO. NONE. Somebody got fired I'll bet. Gymnasium was quite good. Nice equipment, but no Pool Water Aerobics. Basketball court went unused. Shuffleboard? Ditto.
Ports-o-Call thru the Baltics can be phenomenal. Grab a Rick Steve's Guide to the Baltics and take off as we did. We rarely take Shore Excursion thru any Ship offerings as we dislike large Motorcoaches. We are savvy enough to hike Volcanoes, snoop back streets for fun and 'Local Color', and gad about with only a street map, our feet or Taxi and a handful of $$Currency. Wa-aaay more fun for us. Azores Volcanos, Amsterdam Canals, Berlin's history, Copenhagen food, St.Petersburg Cathedrals and Galleries, Sweden's gorgeous scenery. Beaches of Normandy. Chocolate shops of Brugges, Belgium. Lotsa WOW ashore. Cocktail time, new friends, and Dining Rm ambiance aboard the ZUIDERDAM.....then lunch with our relatives in Sweden; where do I stop.
Yes, indeed. We had a good time. We arrived home via Icelandic Air rather exhausted, in a good way. It beat a bus tour of N.Europe hands down.
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