We did two seven day cruises back to back on the Zuiderdam, coming back to Fort Lauderdale in between. We like Holland America because of the extra large verandas and the fact that their ships aren’t overwhelming. Big enough to offer enough to do but not so big we feel lost in crowds.
We also signed on with Holland America in part because of their offering for America’s Test Kitchen. We love the show and on past cruises have learned SO much from their cooking classes. NO MORE! Holland America ended their contract with Test Kitchen, and the second half of the trip had absolutely nothing! Big mistake on their part, because now it’s got us looking at other cruise lines.
The food was typical, very good, but not great. Presentation was always wonderful but we found the descriptions on the menu, never quite what we thought we were getting. We opted to do Holland America and supplement with additional dining at their other restaurants, and didn’t realize Zuiderdam only had two. The first three nights at Pinnacle or Rudi’s were OK, mostly because we had a waiter who was just plain bad. Served us like the main dining room. The steaks were cold and we had to send them back. I don’t mean cool, I mean cold. While the head came over and apologized, you’d have thought they would have caught on. Well, we were also a group of women, and I have noticed we do get worse service on most cruise lines. They pay attention to the couples, though we pay the same price. The fourth night we demanded to be seated elsewhere with a different waiter since the first one sucked, and they were planning on giving us that loser again (truly one of the worst cruise line waiters we’ve had). Then the experience was excellent. What a difference it makes when you get your food hot and the wait staff serves it with care instead of dropping it off on his way to another table!
We like the slightly larger verandas on Holland America. However our furniture outside was breaking.