This was our second cruise on Holland America and our first on the Zuiderdam. This cruise was chosen for the itinerary. It did not disappoint. Holland America usually has an older crowd on board which was the case with this cruise although there were quite a few families traveling with children as well.
We spent 4 nights in Copenhagen prior to the cruise. Copenhagen is a lovely and safe city to visit and very easy to get around. We took a taxi from our hotel to the cruise port. Embarkation went very smoothly. We were in our cabin within 15 minutes of arriving at the port.
The ship was in good condition. The crew was always doing some kind of maintenance. We saw quite a bit of painting going on throughout the ship. Our balcony was worked on during the cruise but we were never inconvenienced by it or any of the other maintenance. We upgraded to a signature suite since this was a 14-day cruise and enjoyed the extra room in the cabin, balcony and bathroom. We weren't sure if we would get use out of the balcony given the itinerary but found that we did and really enjoyed sailing out of the ports and listening to our EXC tour guide over the loudspeaker as he described what we were seeing as we sailed along the coast. We did have wonderful weather the entire cruise. Blankets were provided in the room for use on the balcony as well as binoculars. Our cabin crew were excellent and kept the cabin in good condition.
Our cabin was nicely appointed, spacious and our cabin crew kept it in good condition. There was enough storage space for two people with two large suitcases. The bathroom had two sinks, a separate shower and bath/shower combination. We enjoyed the extra room on the balcony which had two chairs with ottomans and two straight back chairs and a small table. We would have preferred a larger table which we had on a previous cruise in a similar cabin. We appreciated the two blankets which were provided for the balcony and used them on several occasions as well as the binoculars which also came with the cabin.
Spent 4 nights here pre-cruise. Beautiful city with a lot to see and do. Very walkable city and easy to get around with On-Off buses, boats, public transportation, bikes or taxi. Really enjoyed visiting Rosenborg Castle and Tivoli Gardens. Shopping was excellent on and near the Stroget.
We were docked here overnight which provided us with a lot of time to explore the city. The city center was an easy 10-15 minute walk from the ship. Amsterdam is easy to get around by public transportation, boat, bike or on foot. There is a lot of traffic here with cars, trams and bikes. Be careful crossing streets here. We enjoyed visiting the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, church in the attic, shopping as well as eating in several places around the city.
We took a taxi to center of Bruges and enjoyed taking a canal cruise and walking around this charming town. We visited the Church of our Lady and saw Michelangelo's Madonna and Child. Enjoyed a lovely lunch at an outdoor restaurant across from the Belfry in town square. Highly recommend getting a waffle from Chez Albert and buying chocolates from Dumon Chocolatier.
We walked into city center which was 20-30 minute walk from port. We pre-booked round-trip transportation with BeeLeHavre to Honfleur and walked around this charming fishing village for the afternoon.
We booked a private tour of the Normandy beaches. Highly recommend this tour.
We were docked here overnight which gave us the opportunity to take the train to Salisbury where we took the Stonehenge tour and visited the Salisbury Cathedral. We then took the train to London where we spent the night and were able to enjoy the city.
This was a tender port so after tendering we just walked around and did a little shopping and enjoyed lunch at an outdoor restaurant across from the port.
We did a private group tour to Inverness, Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns, Urquhart Castle and a cruise on Loch Ness. Highly recommend.