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Zuiderdam Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1004 reviews
32 Awards

Good in parts

Review for Zuiderdam to the Southern Caribbean
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2-5 Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Oct 2018
Cabin: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Going through the Canal - 3 locks in & about to enter Gatun Lake
White-faced capuchin monkey on Monkey Watch EXC excursion, Panama
Marmoset on Monkey Watch EXC excursion, Panama

We went on this cruise - Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena, Panama Canal (+Colon), Puerto Limon Costa Rica & back to Fort Lauderdale - to spend time with some American friends too unwell to do a conventional tour or long-haul trip with us. The ship was mid-sized - just under 2000 people - and didn't feel particularly crowded, though the demographic was definitely ‘older’. It was also very stable - the only time we felt even a mild pitch was on the last sea day. The staff were almost without exception really friendly and helpful, and the service overall was very good. Our verandah cabin on deck 6 was comfortable if a little cramped, and they'd used the space well; under-bed stowage was particularly useful. The food in the main dining room was generally good, with 1 or 2 exceptions, and the waiters particularly friendly. We also found the crew - the Captain and his officers - friendlier, more engaging & more in evidence than on other cruises we've been on.

We ate dinner only once outside the main dining room, and the experience was not good. We booked "Rudi's Sel de Mer", a pop-up seafood restaurant in their Pinnacle Grill, at an extra $45 a head. The food was just OK - the bouillabaisse came in a plastic bag(?!), cut open at the table, the lobster tails were pleasant but unexceptional and the desserts reasonable, but the wine list was very limited and fiendishly expensive, the service slow and poor and the food lukewarm. Getting things like bread on the table seemed to be an almost-impossible feat for them. This was poor value for the $45 supplement, & having experienced the service in what was effectively the Pinnacle Grill, we didn't go back.

The Lido buffet restaurant was a scrum at breakfast & lunch - inadequate seating and often long lines at the counters. The breakfast servery seemed rather bizarre - if you want just oatmeal, or just (pre-prepared) bacon & scrambled egg, or a specially-prepared omelette or made-to-order waffles, you join the same line. At lunch, we often managed to grab a table by the front pool & then go into the Lido & come back with food. The Asian options were often good, but I didn't try too many others as the lines were ridiculously long.

Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Cabin VD

A little tired & 'compact', comfortable bed, reasonably-roomy verandah, good storage, OK bathroom

Port Reviews

Half Moon Cay

Boat smelled of diesel, very hard to hear the guide over the very noisy outboard, not much wildlife


Better than expected. I'd read reviews and they weren't good, so I tried (unsuccessfully) to book separately. I did this out of desperation, and it was pretty good. Both wrecks were interesting, with nurse sharks, rays, morays, & lots of nice corals & reef fish.


Nice beach, journey not too long & with plenty of sightseeing stops along the way, reasonable snorkelling at the beach, not crowded.

Cartagena (Colombia)

Waste of time & money. Stops were at a shopping place, the naval museum and a folkloric show. All were ok, but we had no time in the historic World Heritage centre, & spent more time driving around the modern streets

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