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I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the Baltic area and it was an exceptional itinerary. I had previously cruised on the Eurodam and the Zuiderdam, although in fine shape, was a bit smaller leading to some shortcomings. It should be noted that this cruise was the 10 day Baltic tour, which CruiseCritic didn't allow me to select. Starting with a balcony, I upgraded to the Signature Experience which included two nights in Copenhagen with a castle evening tour. Afterwards, I then was offered to upgrade to a Neptune Suite, which I took. The hotel for the Signature Experience was inconveniently located in Sydhavnen, without eating options outside the hotel and 8 miles from city center necessitating a commuter train ride. I got and recommend a Copenhagen Card which gives you unlimited train rides and free entrance to sights. The train doesn't go everywhere and a lot of walking was involved. Copenhagen is incredibly expensive and main courses at the hotel were $40. Even a burger at Hard Rock is $25. Tivoli is a disappointment if you've been to Disneyland. We did enjoy the boat ride included with the Copenhagen Card which gave a great view of many sites and buildings. I walked many miles and the weather was unusually warm this year. The Zuiderdam has a layout similar to the Eurodam and I had no complaints. The Crow's Nest Bar, however, was shrunk to make room for Explorations Tours, and was tiny and underused compared to Eurodam, where it was always hopping. The Neptune Suites were updated, spacious and beautiful with exceptional room stewards. The best feature was access to the Neptune Lounge, with friendly concierges and light food and capuccino throughout the day. We would always have breakfast in the lounge, with bagels and smoked salmon, Danish pastries and coffee. Consequently we never had to deal with the Lido buffet in the morning. If there were early tours the lounge opened an hour early. Our dining room choice was open seating because of the large number of tours and we never had trouble getting a table for two, perhaps because we ate late and because of Neptune Suite status. The food emphasized fancier preparation rather than the highest quality ingredients. One steak was tough and below USDA Standard grade meat. We ate at Canaletto and Sel de Mer. Loved Sel de Mer with its seafood tower and lobster but it's a bit expensive. Canaletto is just ok but it was a welcome change from the main dining room. Never made it to the Pinnacle Grill on this cruise but it was ok on the Eurodam. I wasn't thrilled with the burger "fast food" stand by the pool- New York Pizza on the Eurodam was far superior. I will never purchase a beverage package as it would cause me to drink far more than I'm capable of, instead searching out the happy hours where a second identical drink is $2. The Eurodam had a far better selection of happy hours including Crow's Nest Bar as mentioned previously. On Zuiderdam, many happy hours were at the Gallery Bar, with no view and on two occasions we were the only people there. Drink prices were reasonable in any event. We're not much for entertainment and didn't go to any performances, tours taking up much of our time. My partner had some mobility limitations and although I tried to book an outside tour on Viator, even though the tour specified a bus ride the tour operator demanded that we cancel the tour fearing mobility problems. HA however, researched each tour and made sure it was suitable. One HA tour (not mine) came back late and the ship waited for it. My tour guide explained that it is extremely expensive for ships to wait and HA tours are selected to be reliable and therefore cost more to allow for these contingencies. An example of HA's thoughtfulness, we had booked two St. Petersburg tours with a short time between them, and HA recognized this and sent a note explaining that lunch baskets had been prepared for us. In Talinn I just walked around town, but we took canal and boat tours in Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg, in addition to Hermitage tours. The train to Berlin tour was excellent as was the bus tour to Hamburg. All tour guides were excellent. I was especially impressed with all the Mercedes, BMWs and Range Rovers in St. Petersburg, an eye opener for someone raised at the time of the Soviet Union. All in all, we had a phenomenal cruise experience to an area neither had ever been. Service onboard was excellent. Weeks later, we are still dealing with lack of sleep due to the sun setting at 10:30 and rising at 3:30. When the sun is just over the horizon you think it will be dark soon but the sun just sits there for hours! After the cruise we spent a night at the Scandic Palace, downtown with easy walking to the central sights.Afterwards, I figured out that the Holland America post cruise package of two transfers and Scandic Palace was cheaper than making my own arrangements.

Wonderful cruise, great staff

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by Corkyone

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the Baltic area and it was an exceptional itinerary. I had previously cruised on the Eurodam and the Zuiderdam, although in fine shape, was a bit smaller leading to some shortcomings. It should be noted that this cruise was the 10 day Baltic tour, which CruiseCritic didn't allow me to select.

Starting with a balcony, I upgraded to the Signature Experience which included two nights in Copenhagen with a castle evening tour. Afterwards, I then was offered to upgrade to a Neptune Suite, which I took.

The hotel for the Signature Experience was inconveniently located in Sydhavnen, without eating options outside the hotel and 8 miles from city center necessitating a commuter train ride. I got and recommend a Copenhagen Card which gives you unlimited train rides and free entrance to sights. The train doesn't go everywhere and a lot of walking was involved. Copenhagen is incredibly expensive and main courses at the hotel were $40. Even a burger at Hard Rock is $25. Tivoli is a disappointment if you've been to Disneyland. We did enjoy the boat ride included with the Copenhagen Card which gave a great view of many sites and buildings. I walked many miles and the weather was unusually warm this year.

The Zuiderdam has a layout similar to the Eurodam and I had no complaints. The Crow's Nest Bar, however, was shrunk to make room for Explorations Tours, and was tiny and underused compared to Eurodam, where it was always hopping.

The Neptune Suites were updated, spacious and beautiful with exceptional room stewards. The best feature was access to the Neptune Lounge, with friendly concierges and light food and capuccino throughout the day. We would always have breakfast in the lounge, with bagels and smoked salmon, Danish pastries and coffee. Consequently we never had to deal with the Lido buffet in the morning. If there were early tours the lounge opened an hour early.

Our dining room choice was open seating because of the large number of tours and we never had trouble getting a table for two, perhaps because we ate late and because of Neptune Suite status. The food emphasized fancier preparation rather than the highest quality ingredients. One steak was tough and below USDA Standard grade meat. We ate at Canaletto and Sel de Mer. Loved Sel de Mer with its seafood tower and lobster but it's a bit expensive. Canaletto is just ok but it was a welcome change from the main dining room. Never made it to the Pinnacle Grill on this cruise but it was ok on the Eurodam. I wasn't thrilled with the burger "fast food" stand by the pool- New York Pizza on the Eurodam was far superior.

I will never purchase a beverage package as it would cause me to drink far more than I'm capable of, instead searching out the happy hours where a second identical drink is $2. The Eurodam had a far better selection of happy hours including Crow's Nest Bar as mentioned previously. On Zuiderdam, many happy hours were at the Gallery Bar, with no view and on two occasions we were the only people there. Drink prices were reasonable in any event.

We're not much for entertainment and didn't go to any performances, tours taking up much of our time. My partner had some mobility limitations and although I tried to book an outside tour on Viator, even though the tour specified a bus ride the tour operator demanded that we cancel the tour fearing mobility problems. HA however, researched each tour and made sure it was suitable. One HA tour (not mine) came back late and the ship waited for it. My tour guide explained that it is extremely expensive for ships to wait and HA tours are selected to be reliable and therefore cost more to allow for these contingencies. An example of HA's thoughtfulness, we had booked two St. Petersburg tours with a short time between them, and HA recognized this and sent a note explaining that lunch baskets had been prepared for us.

In Talinn I just walked around town, but we took canal and boat tours in Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg, in addition to Hermitage tours. The train to Berlin tour was excellent as was the bus tour to Hamburg. All tour guides were excellent. I was especially impressed with all the Mercedes, BMWs and Range Rovers in St. Petersburg, an eye opener for someone raised at the time of the Soviet Union.

All in all, we had a phenomenal cruise experience to an area neither had ever been. Service onboard was excellent. Weeks later, we are still dealing with lack of sleep due to the sun setting at 10:30 and rising at 3:30. When the sun is just over the horizon you think it will be dark soon but the sun just sits there for hours!

After the cruise we spent a night at the Scandic Palace, downtown with easy walking to the central sights.Afterwards, I figured out that the Holland America post cruise package of two transfers and Scandic Palace was cheaper than making my own arrangements.
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Cabin Review

Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
Cabin SC 7069
Spacious, comfortable suite with large seating area and comfortable beds. Large balcony with both lounge and dining chairs and a small table. Room had a refrigerator and huge TV although I ran out of action movies to watch. Bathroom is large and modern with bath and separate enclosed shower and two sinks.

Loved that we were right across from the Neptune Lounge where I frequently ate and spent a fair amount of time.
Rotterdam Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Copenhagen
    I stayed two extra nights plus the two nights of the Signature Experience, which included a visit to Hamlet's Castle. A reviewer remarked that he didn't receive the promised dinner, perhaps because I ate 10 finger food servings!

    Copenhagen is a beautiful city, easy to get around with a Copenhagen Pass. One day we took a train (included with the pass) to the Louisiana Museum in Humlebaek which while it displayed only Scandanavian art was very enjoyable with its modern architecture and setting. Another day we took a waterway open boat tour also included with the Card, seeing many sights which would be difficult to see on foot.

    Copenhagen, like all Scandanavian cities, is extremely expensive and visitors should budget accordingly.
    View All 1,133 Copenhagen Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Copenhagen Cruise Port Review
  • Hamburg
    After a 90 minute bus ride to Hamburg our guide came on and described a lot of places on our bus journey but she was a bit out of phase and I couldn't always tell what building she was talking about. The stop at the Miniature Museum was wonderful and had been on my bucket list. I could have spent a day there.
    View All 13,750 Hamburg Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Hamburg Cruise Port Review
  • Berlin
    I took the "small bus" tour which cost $30 more but although the bus wasn't really smaller it was underfilled so there was probably less waiting. It's a long train ride to Berlin but the city is worth it. Our guide had moved from Wales to Berlin years ago and loved the city, and his enthusiasm showed. I figured out later that there is an art to speaking at such a pace that the bus passes the building as the guide is describing it, and he was excellent. Not a lot of walking around, but a good overview of the city and we had an excellent lunch.
    View All 86 Berlin Reviews
  • Vasa Museum
    Wonderful tour of the city and I thought the Vasa Museum was the best I have ever visited in terms of education and comfort. Then toured the city and walked around. I loved Stockholm and would like to visit again for a longer period.
    View All 118 Vasa Museum Reviews
  • Tallinn
    A delightful quaint town, I just walked from the ship to town. It was a warm day and I returned a bit tired.
    View All 1,031 Tallinn Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Tallinn Cruise Port Review