Just completed sailing on the Holland America Zuiderdam October 12th to 22nd, 12 day Atlantic Coast beginning in Quebec City, Canada to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was our 11th cruise and first time with HAL. We are 2 couples in our early 60's and have travelled extensively world wide. We generally choose cruises based more on the itinerary than a particular cruise line. This one offered 9 ports of call over 12 days, more than offered by other cruise lines for this route. We spent 2 days prior to the departure date in Quebec City and were not disappointed. Quebec City is a beautiful place to visit full of history and friendly people. We would suggest doing this prior to embarking on this port.
Embarkation was quick and simple through a very modern terminal only a short cab ride away from most hotels and the airport. Onboard it was the usual have lunch on the Lido Deck at the buffet. Our adjoining balcony cabins on deck 8 were already open so it was a quick drop off of the carry-on bags and off to lunch. The Lido Market Buffet is well laid out with different stations for various foods. There is ample seating with most tables adjacent large windows. Turnover is quick and the service for drinks and table cleaning over staffed. The only difference with this buffet is that it is not a self serve as on other ships rather staff serve you instead along the various food areas. This gets confusing for a lot of people who for some reason ignore the "Serving Line Starts Here" signs and butt in halfway regardless. TIP: find an empty table first before wandering around with plates of food in hand looking for a place to sit. It amazed us that after 8 -10 days onboard people did not learn this. For breakfast both sides of the buffet are open with several stations offering a great assortment of food. Wait staff offer coffee, tea and most juices. Lunch is generally lemonade, Ice Tea and water. We did not have any complaints about the food in the Lido Market Buffet and time of the day. Check your daily cruise paper for hours.
For evening dinning we opted for the Any Time Dining option which is in the Lower Vista Dining Room on deck 2 Aft. As we generally eat at the same time we were assigned a nice table for 4 adjacent to the window for the duration. This allowed us to get to know the Server and assistants for this station. Food was generally very good compared to other lines with a wide range of options for mains and desserts. Service was excellent and unlike most dining rooms the tables were spaced further apart rather than being crammed in. The staff there really enjoyed serving and everyone greeted you are enthusiastic as were ALL staff on this ship. Holland America does a great job of training their staff from cabin attendants, maintenance, hotel workers and all officers. This was a welcome change from the five other cruise lines we have sailed with. Not a single person working on this boat had a frown on their face and greeted you earnestly.
See above comments
Arriving at Quebec City early is a must! The old city adjacent to the modern cruise port is beautiful. One of the best ports of call on the cruise.
Having been here before we rented a car (use Budget, it is next to the cruise terminal) and toured the island on our own.
We had family residing in Sydney so they took us on a tour of the area including the Alexander Graham Bell museum in the Baddeck Lakes region. Great place and very informative. Area was beautiful with all of the fall leaves.
Had friends residing in Halifax and they took us on a private tour of the area including Peggy's Cove (arrived there before the all the coaches) and along the coast to Lunenburg which is a UNESCO Heritage town and home of the famous Bluenose II sailing ship.
For Boston we opted for a private 4 person tour with Trail Blazer Tours, Boston hosted by Joan McEntee. One of the best tours we have ever had. Having been to Boston several times in the past Joan showed us places of interest that we have never seen in the comfort of a Cadillac SUV Limo. Well worth the money.