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Cruise staff was excellent. Ate in MDR every night. Daily vegeterian options every day or weekly always available. Dive In & Taco Bar were fantastic, but only available in afternoon. They have some of the best smoothies anywhere at bars or MDR. Wait staff was excellent and catered to our every need. We had table for two entire cruise, and the wine steward helped us pick out Mocktails several times. Surf & Turf (lobster tails for no extra charge on last night of cruise in MDR (I got 2 tails). We tried lots of things (escargot, Chilled pineapple soup, fancy veggeterian options) we would never think of trying. Shore excursions were great, and lots of selections for every budget. Several EXC tours ran late, but ship waited for them. Several times saw people on private tours running down the dock to barely make ship departure. We stayed on board during Canal locks, and got great pictures from several angles. Even participated (with certificate) in pool swim across canal (aft pool late morning). Several people who took shore tours from Canal complained about length, heat, food, bathrooms ( availability, cleanliness, etc). Several said they would not recommend their tours, especially anyone with mobility issues. If you do Dolphin Encounter/Swim go to photo area immediately. They get backed up in a hurry. Make your selection, pay, and then go to gift shop, cafe, exhibits, etc. Go back and pick up photos, and they had package of 3 photos (1 framed), extra photos on USB. Atlantis submarine was great, even with people on canes. Tight fit, but everyone had access to window. Water was a little cloudy, but we saw dozens of varieties of fish & several wrecks. Costa Rican rainforest/tram ride was great, even for people with significant mobility issues. Great butterfly garden with lots of different varieties flying around. Wish you could have bought nectar and feed them like I have at other places. I got off ship in Colon, and found great shopping center within 150 ft of exit gate. Cross street and take a left. Cheap souvenir shops, restaurants, and large grocery store with great prices (many crew shopping). Billboard, Licoln Center, & BB King music great. Mainstage acts were excellent, especially comedian. Backstage tour good, but crowded. Took Galley tour, get there early. Digital workshops great, with handouts for every class. Some times extra handouts for other classes, but can get filled in a hurry. All classes Windows 10 based, but he sometimes could answer IPAD questions. I tried to go to several Test Kitchen programs, but seating fills up in a hurry. Did not attend any of the movies in small theater. All were available on room TV, with restrooms readily available (pause function works great. Even saw some long movies with break for food or beverages. Would go back on HAL & Zuiderdam anytime money allowed.

Great cruise, excellent staff

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by SC Maverick

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cruise staff was excellent. Ate in MDR every night. Daily vegeterian options every day or weekly always available. Dive In & Taco Bar were fantastic, but only available in afternoon. They have some of the best smoothies anywhere at bars or MDR. Wait staff was excellent and catered to our every need. We had table for two entire cruise, and the wine steward helped us pick out Mocktails several times. Surf & Turf (lobster tails for no extra charge on last night of cruise in MDR (I got 2 tails). We tried lots of things (escargot, Chilled pineapple soup, fancy veggeterian options) we would never think of trying.

Shore excursions were great, and lots of selections for every budget. Several EXC tours ran late, but ship waited for them. Several times saw people on private tours running down the dock to barely make ship departure. We stayed on board during Canal locks, and got great pictures from several angles. Even participated (with certificate) in pool swim across canal (aft pool late morning). Several people who took shore tours from Canal complained about length, heat, food, bathrooms ( availability, cleanliness, etc). Several said they would not recommend their tours, especially anyone with mobility issues.

If you do Dolphin Encounter/Swim go to photo area immediately. They get backed up in a hurry. Make your selection, pay, and then go to gift shop, cafe, exhibits, etc. Go back and pick up photos, and they had package of 3 photos (1 framed), extra photos on USB.

Atlantis submarine was great, even with people on canes. Tight fit, but everyone had access to window. Water was a little cloudy, but we saw dozens of varieties of fish & several wrecks.

Costa Rican rainforest/tram ride was great, even for people with significant mobility issues. Great butterfly garden with lots of different varieties flying around. Wish you could have bought nectar and feed them like I have at other places.

I got off ship in Colon, and found great shopping center within 150 ft of exit gate. Cross street and take a left. Cheap souvenir shops, restaurants, and large grocery store with great prices (many crew shopping).

Billboard, Licoln Center, & BB King music great. Mainstage acts were excellent, especially comedian. Backstage tour good, but crowded. Took Galley tour, get there early. Digital workshops great, with handouts for every class. Some times extra handouts for other classes, but can get filled in a hurry. All classes Windows 10 based, but he sometimes could answer IPAD questions. I tried to go to several Test Kitchen programs, but seating fills up in a hurry. Did not attend any of the movies in small theater. All were available on room TV, with restrooms readily available (pause function works great. Even saw some long movies with break for food or beverages.

Would go back on HAL & Zuiderdam anytime money allowed.
SC Maverick’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VF 7143
Room stewards (Adrian & Dowdy) were excellent, and brought new ice several times a day. Verandah was worth every dollar. Did not have to worry about lounge hoggers. Watched canal from 7th floor bow access in morning and side view from verandah in afternoon. Also saw sunsets & sunrises depending on direction Also had breakfast, snacks, and lunches on the verandah. Try not to get cabins right below (8th) Lido deck #9 or right above (3,4,5) public places. Can be very noisy. Room & bathroom as big as most deluxe hotels.
Cabins were immaculate and stewards very efficient. Great space in bathroom, but took a while to figure out hot water. Lots of storage space on counter, shelf below, and cabinet. Lots of fresh towels, including beach towels. We had large tub w/shower, and plenty of room for 2 people. Large luggage can go below bed, and there are large drawers at foot of bed. Several hooks on wall and bathroom door, but also brought strong magnets for room keys, papers, etc. Small shelf below TV (flat screen well positioned) to hold books and or papers. Great movie selection with 75 + options, mostly 2018 or those with storylines about caribean.

I will try to post more pictures on Hal Facts. I am not professional, or affiliated with HAL or travel agencies. Also have menus, Daily programs, Spa prices (lots of daily specials), and
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Submarine
    Great experience, even for those people with limited mobility. There is not a bad seat in the sub, but could be clasutrophobic. Water was a little murky, not like snorkeling or scuba. Saw dozens of different fish and several wrecks. Boat was a short walk for port terminal. Good view of island, and running commentary.

    Shops do close by 6 or maybe 6:30 pm. So go early or right after submarine tour.
    View All 58 Submarine Reviews
  • Cartagena (Colombia)
    Great overview of City with running commentary. Bus was air-conditioned downstairs, and covered open air (great for pictures) on top. Took right hand top for Fort and then left side for other stops. Did not get off, as was still concerned about making ship and heat. Bus was right at dock side in morning and dropped us os dockside. Beautiful City in Old Town, but a little gritty in other parts. Felt very safe on board. Many people who took tours of Old Town were impressed, but bombarded by street vendors.
    View All 13,554 Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Review
  • Colon (Cristobal)
    HAL was very cautious about leaving ship and eitng from terminal. I took chance and was surprised to find great shopping Center within 150 ' of exit gate. Cheap souvenirs, restaurants, & grocery store (crew shopping, with excellent prices)
    View All 457 Colon (Cristobal) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Colon (Cristobal) Cruise Port Review
  • Dolphin Swim
    Great experience, but try to get in first group. Seemed to take a long time to actually get in water. Rush to photo desk right after your group. Do not stop as they get baked up in a hurry. Pick out your photos (great package $45 of 3 photos, 1 frame, & extra shots all on USB, After you make selection and pay, then you can linger in gift shop, cafe, exhibits, view training, etc. Go back up pick up selections.
    View All 12 Dolphin Swim Reviews
  • Half Moon Cay
    Beautiful beah, but already crowded by the time we got ashore. Most of the lounge chairs were taken, but managed to dip our toes in the Sea.
    View All 1,209 Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Review
  • Rainforest Aerial Tram Tour
    Great overview, with long 1.5 to 2 hours each way. Lucky bus was very well air conditioned and equipped with clean restroom. Several people mentioned private tours on vans with no facilities. City is very gritty and glad I did not get off bus.
    There is great tourist booths (40+) right at Terminal with excellent souvenirs & prices (do negotiate). Wife felt very comfortable by herself.
    View All 30 Rainforest Aerial Tram Tour Reviews