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This was our second cruise on the Zuiderdam. This ship introduced us to Holland America ten years ago and left us with a very favorable view of the cruise line. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America with the last one being three years ago on the Eurodam Baltic Sea St Petersburg itinerary. We selected this cruise due to its low price based on lowest category Interior Guaranteed rate. We ended up in a Deck 4 fully blocked view HH category cabin similar to what we had on our first Zuideram cruise ten years ago. The ship was in excellent condition. The cabin was comfortable for the two of us in an excellent location forward, and convenient to elevators. It was quiet due to no interior cabins across from it. The cabin stewards did the usual excellent job of maintaining the cabin. Dining room experience was very good. We had Anytime Dining and over the course of the cruise migrated to having dinner in the 6:15 to 6:30 pm time frame. Since we had no problem sharing a 4 or 6 seat table, we were always seated with no delay. The various sections where we were seated, for the most part, had excellent waiters and helpers. Dinner food was very good to excellent. Lido buffet was as expected: hectic for breakfast and lunch but we could find seats. We found that arriving before 7 am for breakfast gave us the best choices for seating at tables. The Dive In burger setting was nice although one was guaranteed a wait of 20 minutes for their food. The one area that was annoying was the wine stewards pushing wine choices. I thought that Holland America could decrease the number of wine stewards. We did not use speciality dining rooms. Lounges and bars: On previous Holland America cruises I enjoyed the Crow's Nest lounge. Well that experience is gone thanks to the Exploration Lounge. To me, it is just a sitting area with a coffee bar. I missed the Happy Hour promotions for the Crow's Nest and the finger food provided. I did not purchase beverage packages because with only three sea days in fourteen total, it would not be beneficial or practical. Adult beverage pricing a la cart was excessive. Entertainment: I only witnessed one guest group act in the evening. I did not go to any of the production shows due to dining timing and next day excursion schedules. An afternoon performance by a local group at the Inverness port stop was excellent. On Board experience: It was a very laid back Cruise Director with nothing special to entice me to join. It was most likely due to only three sea days. EXC presentations, compared to Princess Cruises, were lacking in my opinion with very general introductions. Internet Packages: The ship has gone to 24 hour rates based on data limits. We took the middle package mainly for emails and Facebook. I don't think we came close to exceeding the data limit and may have survived with the lowest rate. The gotcha here is that they may restrict you from Facebook et al packages. While attempting to print boarding passes on the three workstations near the customer service desk, I could not gain access to the airline website. I just relented and checked in using our Android tablet. Excursions: Since this appeared to be a one time only itinerary, I will not go into details. We used EXC excursions, and except for the excursion to Mt Michel in France, thought it was the way to go. The Mt Michel excursion used very cramped coaches, and the tour guide was lacking in his personal approach (very cold and with an attitude). Embarkation and Disembarkation: It was a typical mad house waiting to check in and board the ship. Groups were called by number. Cabins were ready upon boarding. Leaving the ship on last day was very easy with us doing expedited disembarkation. Walked off ship with our luggage, said goodbye to a very friendly Captain, and was in a taxi bound for the airport with no queues. We easily made our 10:45 am flight to the States. Final thoughts: The Zuiderdam is showing her age well but with no central atrium, some guests may feel it lacking. We didn't since we knew the layout already. With five Holland America cruises now under our belt, we may continue to look at Princess itineraries in the future. We think Princess does a better job with on board experience and speciality dining venues. We could return to Holland America with our three star Mariner membership but to us it is not a grand incentive to do so. Good memories with Holland America especially with the Eurodam may sway us.

Went for the ship and certain ports. Intensive port schedule with few sea days.

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by Protseq

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
This was our second cruise on the Zuiderdam. This ship introduced us to Holland America ten years ago and left us with a very favorable view of the cruise line. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America with the last one being three years ago on the Eurodam Baltic Sea St Petersburg itinerary. We selected this cruise due to its low price based on lowest category Interior Guaranteed rate. We ended up in a Deck 4 fully blocked view HH category cabin similar to what we had on our first Zuideram cruise ten years ago.

The ship was in excellent condition. The cabin was comfortable for the two of us in an excellent location forward, and convenient to elevators. It was quiet due to no interior cabins across from it. The cabin stewards did the usual excellent job of maintaining the cabin.

Dining room experience was very good. We had Anytime Dining and over the course of the cruise migrated to having dinner in the 6:15 to 6:30 pm time frame. Since we had no problem sharing a 4 or 6 seat table, we were always seated with no delay. The various sections where we were seated, for the most part, had excellent waiters and helpers.

Dinner food was very good to excellent. Lido buffet was as expected: hectic for breakfast and lunch but we could find seats. We found that arriving before 7 am for breakfast gave us the best choices for seating at tables. The Dive In burger setting was nice although one was guaranteed a wait of 20 minutes for their food. The one area that was annoying was the wine stewards pushing wine choices. I thought that Holland America could decrease the number of wine stewards. We did not use speciality dining rooms.

Lounges and bars: On previous Holland America cruises I enjoyed the Crow's Nest lounge. Well that experience is gone thanks to the Exploration Lounge. To me, it is just a sitting area with a coffee bar. I missed the Happy Hour promotions for the Crow's Nest and the finger food provided. I did not purchase beverage packages because with only three sea days in fourteen total, it would not be beneficial or practical. Adult beverage pricing a la cart was excessive.

Entertainment: I only witnessed one guest group act in the evening. I did not go to any of the production shows due to dining timing and next day excursion schedules. An afternoon performance by a local group at the Inverness port stop was excellent.

On Board experience: It was a very laid back Cruise Director with nothing special to entice me to join. It was most likely due to only three sea days. EXC presentations, compared to Princess Cruises, were lacking in my opinion with very general introductions.

Internet Packages: The ship has gone to 24 hour rates based on data limits. We took the middle package mainly for emails and Facebook. I don't think we came close to exceeding the data limit and may have survived with the lowest rate. The gotcha here is that they may restrict you from Facebook et al packages. While attempting to print boarding passes on the three workstations near the customer service desk, I could not gain access to the airline website. I just relented and checked in using our Android tablet.

Excursions: Since this appeared to be a one time only itinerary, I will not go into details. We used EXC excursions, and except for the excursion to Mt Michel in France, thought it was the way to go. The Mt Michel excursion used very cramped coaches, and the tour guide was lacking in his personal approach (very cold and with an attitude).

Embarkation and Disembarkation: It was a typical mad house waiting to check in and board the ship. Groups were called by number. Cabins were ready upon boarding. Leaving the ship on last day was very easy with us doing expedited disembarkation. Walked off ship with our luggage, said goodbye to a very friendly Captain, and was in a taxi bound for the airport with no queues. We easily made our 10:45 am flight to the States.

Final thoughts: The Zuiderdam is showing her age well but with no central atrium, some guests may feel it lacking. We didn't since we knew the layout already. With five Holland America cruises now under our belt, we may continue to look at Princess itineraries in the future. We think Princess does a better job with on board experience and speciality dining venues. We could return to Holland America with our three star Mariner membership but to us it is not a grand incentive to do so. Good memories with Holland America especially with the Eurodam may sway us.
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Cabin Review

Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
Cabin HH 4058
Great location with limited ship movement and very quiet surroundings. It had enough storage space for two occupants. I had to keep reminding myself that it was not a veranda cabin because the windows could be mistaken for sliding doors.
Upper Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews