This is our third cruise on Zuiderdam so we knew what to expect from the ship and were looking forward to seeing the Panama Canal up close and personal. We were given the opportunity to upgrade from our usual Neptune Suite to the Pinnacle Suite and jumped at the chance to experience this once in a lifetime deal. It did not disappoint. Embarkation and settling into our suite as a breeze. There are lots of activities on the ship from the Microsoft classes to musical performances to the EXC presentations. You can find something to do or do nothing with ease on this ship. There are a number of areas of the ship that we have found that were quiet and comfortable for relaxing and reading during the sea days. We occasionally visited the casino and really enjoyed the fact that it is one of the only HAL non-smoking casinos. We purchased a couple of excursions from HAL and both were well put together and done perfectly. Panama Canal transit was narrated by a naturalist with lots of facts about the history of the canal. We stayed on the ship for the whole day, most of it spent on our balcony, marveling at the engineering of this historic endeavor. Disembarkation was also perfect as we were escorted off the ship by the Neptune Lounge staff with our luggage waiting for us. Grabbed a porter and went through customs and to the garage and were on the road back to Ohio by 9am.
We had the opportunity to get a last minute deal on a Pinnacle Suite and jumped at the chance, we usually sail in a Neptune Suite on HAL cruises. The upgrade was well worth the money. We arrived at the port at 11:10, dropped luggage with the porters, parked in the garage, went through security and checked into the cruise. From there we were escorted directly onto the ship and greeted by staff and the Concierge from the Neptune Lounge took us directly to your suite. She showed us around the suite and let us know that petty much anything we needed during the cruise could be made available. We pretty much do our own thing most of the time so that was not really a big deal for us. But it did come in handy the few time we needed them. The suite is quite spacious with around 1100 sf of space. It has a living room, dining room, and separate huge bedroom, way more space than two people need but we made good use of all of it. You can see from the pictures that the decor is what we would consider a little over the top (tacky) but it grew on us during the cruise. The bathroom was very large with a separate water closet from the main area. The bathtub and shower were wonderful and the closet space had enough room to accommodate about 6 people's wardrobes. We had room service breakfast every morning during the cruise and it was always hot and perfect. We also had a couple of dinners in the room after a long day of touring off the ship. The pantry area has a coffee maker, toaster, hot water pot with large tea selection, and full stocked refrigerator. Also there is enough silverware and crystal available to entertain, if you are into that. But the best area is the balcony. With seating areas for about a dozen people there is lots of room to view what is happening outside the ship. We enjoy being on the balcony reading, watching the world go by and sometimes napping. A very enjoyable 10 days with space to spread out. We won't do this again but we are happy that we had the opportunity to enjoy this one time.
Walked around the port area and bought a few items from the "flea market" area at the port. Today was the only day that the weather did not cooperate and we got a little wet.
Got off the ship and did a little shopping in the "mall" area near the ship. There seemed to be a lot of security visible so we did not daudle too long before getting back on the ship