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We chose to cruise with Holland America because their advertising would have you believe their standards are superior. We were able to board fairly early - around noon, I believe, and probably could have boarded sooner, had we been able to arrive earlier. The saving grace of the cruise was the service - from housekeeping to dining to laundry - those probably benefitting the least, financially, are the redeeming quality. The Zuiderdam was launched December, 2001, our understanding is that it was renovated (at least in part) in 2015, and we are told it was in dry dock for 2 weeks shortly before our cruise began on November 15, 2017. We had an aft stateroom - the balcony was quite large; however, the condition of the glass on the balcony, the painted surfaces, the view of the condition of the balconies below, and the garbage that flowed by on our balcony each morning made for a very unappealing cruise. We alerted our cruise consultant and provided pictures. While we did not receive a response from her, we were visited and contacted several times by housekeeping managers who were very apologetic. So, she must have forwarded our e-mail to someone. The managers sent flowers and invited us to lunch at Pinnacle Grill. Their gestures were very much appreciated. They also did their very best to remedy. It's important that I be clear here - I'm not 100% certain of a cruise line's hierarchy, but this does not seem to be a housekeeping issue. Our steward and his immediate superiors could not have been more kind. This seems to be more of a maintenance and investment issue. Once we realized our steward was being given more work as a result of our complaints, we started to make sure everyone understood how hard he was working, and that our complaints were not related to his efforts. The cruise line should not hind behind sub-par conditions and make housekeeping accountable. The remainder of the stateroom was mostly as expected, with the exception of the restroom. The tub and sink had structural cracks, and the faucet and drain were significantly pitted. We walked around the top deck the first day - all painted surfaces were in bad shape and the condition, generally, reminded me of a ferry - not a cruise ship. We tried to utilize the basketball court, but didn't stay long because there was an odd odor. The interior of the ship also had an odd odor - more than musty - and many of the carpets were stained. I might suggest that Holland America spend more time detailing in between cruises, instead of turning things around in a few hours and starting the next cruise. The crows nest - one of the areas that supposedly received significant renovation while in dry dock - is quite nice. It seemed new and had a good layout. Additional comfortable seating would be helpful, but that may be more preference than criticism. A huge disappointment here was the cracked glass - there were probably 4-5 broken panels of glass that not only obscured the view over the bow, but also allowed rain into the newly renovated space (buckets were appropriately placed). The panels appeared to be double-paned and one had water caught in between that would go back and forth each time the ship rocked - interesting at first, and then a distraction. We found dining on the lido deck to be unpredictable. The shades were often pulled during times when the schedule indicated the areas should be open. While enjoying breakfast in the dining room (not the lido deck), we were approached more than once and offered bottled water for $1.95/bottle. There are 2 pools on the ship - each has a published capacity of 15. One of those pools is on the deck where smoking is permitted. The ship has a capacity of 1900+ passengers. We were in line to book an excursion one morning and were eventually turned away because the staff was required to help with the excursions leaving the pier shortly. We were asked to come back later. This was frustrating - we had already waited, and is it too much to ask for Holland America to hire 1-2 additional excursion professionals? On a separate occasion, we had been told we could book an excursion up to 15 minutes before an excursion left the pier - when we attempted to book approximately 30 minutes before an excursion departed, we were unable able to locate any Holland America excursion personnel at the pier, and the locals handling the excursions indicated they had no excursions we could participate in. While we should not have waited as long as we did, there was a lack of organization and communication. We had an embarrassing experience in the Pinnacle Grill, where the maitre d' swatted or pushed the hand of a waiter because he was attempting to point to something on the podium (it was, in fact, our reservation that the maitre d' could not locate himself). The waiter was then told, "Don't do anything if you don't know what to do". I was extremely uncomfortable and felt unsettled throughout the meal, knowing the staff was treated this way. We are grateful to the personnel responsible for service on the ship. They helped soften some of the unfortunate experiences that impacted our long-awaited vacation. We are hopeful that someone will benefit and be guided accordingly.

First and last cruise with Holland America

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by gnbdom

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2017
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
We chose to cruise with Holland America because their advertising would have you believe their standards are superior.

We were able to board fairly early - around noon, I believe, and probably could have boarded sooner, had we been able to arrive earlier.

The saving grace of the cruise was the service - from housekeeping to dining to laundry - those probably benefitting the least, financially, are the redeeming quality.

The Zuiderdam was launched December, 2001, our understanding is that it was renovated (at least in part) in 2015, and we are told it was in dry dock for 2 weeks shortly before our cruise began on November 15, 2017.

We had an aft stateroom - the balcony was quite large; however, the condition of the glass on the balcony, the painted surfaces, the view of the condition of the balconies below, and the garbage that flowed by on our balcony each morning made for a very unappealing cruise. We alerted our cruise consultant and provided pictures. While we did not receive a response from her, we were visited and contacted several times by housekeeping managers who were very apologetic. So, she must have forwarded our e-mail to someone. The managers sent flowers and invited us to lunch at Pinnacle Grill. Their gestures were very much appreciated. They also did their very best to remedy. It's important that I be clear here - I'm not 100% certain of a cruise line's hierarchy, but this does not seem to be a housekeeping issue. Our steward and his immediate superiors could not have been more kind. This seems to be more of a maintenance and investment issue. Once we realized our steward was being given more work as a result of our complaints, we started to make sure everyone understood how hard he was working, and that our complaints were not related to his efforts. The cruise line should not hind behind sub-par conditions and make housekeeping accountable.

The remainder of the stateroom was mostly as expected, with the exception of the restroom. The tub and sink had structural cracks, and the faucet and drain were significantly pitted.

We walked around the top deck the first day - all painted surfaces were in bad shape and the condition, generally, reminded me of a ferry - not a cruise ship. We tried to utilize the basketball court, but didn't stay long because there was an odd odor.

The interior of the ship also had an odd odor - more than musty - and many of the carpets were stained. I might suggest that Holland America spend more time detailing in between cruises, instead of turning things around in a few hours and starting the next cruise.

The crows nest - one of the areas that supposedly received significant renovation while in dry dock - is quite nice. It seemed new and had a good layout. Additional comfortable seating would be helpful, but that may be more preference than criticism. A huge disappointment here was the cracked glass - there were probably 4-5 broken panels of glass that not only obscured the view over the bow, but also allowed rain into the newly renovated space (buckets were appropriately placed). The panels appeared to be double-paned and one had water caught in between that would go back and forth each time the ship rocked - interesting at first, and then a distraction.

We found dining on the lido deck to be unpredictable. The shades were often pulled during times when the schedule indicated the areas should be open. While enjoying breakfast in the dining room (not the lido deck), we were approached more than once and offered bottled water for $1.95/bottle.

There are 2 pools on the ship - each has a published capacity of 15. One of those pools is on the deck where smoking is permitted. The ship has a capacity of 1900+ passengers.

We were in line to book an excursion one morning and were eventually turned away because the staff was required to help with the excursions leaving the pier shortly. We were asked to come back later. This was frustrating - we had already waited, and is it too much to ask for Holland America to hire 1-2 additional excursion professionals? On a separate occasion, we had been told we could book an excursion up to 15 minutes before an excursion left the pier - when we attempted to book approximately 30 minutes before an excursion departed, we were unable able to locate any Holland America excursion personnel at the pier, and the locals handling the excursions indicated they had no excursions we could participate in. While we should not have waited as long as we did, there was a lack of organization and communication.

We had an embarrassing experience in the Pinnacle Grill, where the maitre d' swatted or pushed the hand of a waiter because he was attempting to point to something on the podium (it was, in fact, our reservation that the maitre d' could not locate himself). The waiter was then told, "Don't do anything if you don't know what to do". I was extremely uncomfortable and felt unsettled throughout the meal, knowing the staff was treated this way.

We are grateful to the personnel responsible for service on the ship. They helped soften some of the unfortunate experiences that impacted our long-awaited vacation. We are hopeful that someone will benefit and be guided accordingly.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VB 5184
We had an aft stateroom - the balcony was quite large; however, the condition of the glass on the balcony, the painted surfaces, the view of the condition of the balconies below, and the garbage that flowed by on our balcony each morning made for a very unappealing cruise. We alerted our cruise consultant and provided pictures. While we did not receive a response from her, we were visited and contacted several times by housekeeping managers who were very apologetic. So, she must have forwarded our e-mail to someone. The managers sent flowers and invited us to lunch at Pinnacle Grill. Their gestures were very much appreciated. They also did their very best to remedy. It's important that I be clear here - I'm not 100% certain of a cruise line's hierarchy, but this does not seem to be a housekeeping issue. Our steward and his immediate superiors could not have been more kind. This seems to be more of a maintenance and investment issue. Once we realized our steward was being given more work as a result of our complaints, we started to make sure everyone understood how hard he was working, and that our complaints were not related to his efforts. The cruise line should not hind behind sub-par conditions and make housekeeping accountable.

The remainder of the stateroom was mostly as expected, with the exception of the restroom. The tub and sink had structural cracks, and the faucet and drain were significantly pitted.
Observation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

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