I've sailed with Holland America three times in the past, all prior to the COVID pandemic. The Westerdam, the Nieuw Amsterdam, and the Eurodam. Each ship impressed with it's service, food, comfort, and laid back style. I am not a fan of the mega ships that are out there and Holland America tends to run in the mid-size ship category.
Oh yes, the mega ships at other lines are very impressive, but I don't want to be on a ship with 5000+ other passengers, and I would not avail myself to go-carts or water slides. I like quiet and relaxation and Holland America fits that bill. This was my first time on the Zuiderdam, apparently a near twin of the Westerdam, and the date of the sailing and the itinerary were perfect for a year-end, relax and unwind vacation.
We were unaware that the Zuiderdam was in a 2-week drydock in Grand Bahama immediately prior to this sailing, otherwise I probably would have had second thoughts. A good friend of mine worked in the cruise industry and he told me to never book a cruise on a ship that's just come from drydock as there is always unfinished work and crew challenges. He was unfortunately right on both counts.
Our cabin was clean, spacious, and in mostly good order. We had a large, angled balcony that allowed for a nearly unobstructed view to the front of the ship, as well as a near constant breeze when the ship was in motion. The balcony could easily accommodate 4 or more people, so for just the two of us it was fantastic. The lounge chairs, regular chairs, and table were all comfortable. In room television offered a good choice of channels, and a large number of on demand movies and other programming. We opted for several nights in the cabin enjoying dinner or a late snack and a movie and enjoyed it very much. The bathroom is also large, with both a walk in shower and a separate tub/whirlpool with shower. The walk in shower is small, very small, but workable with a bit of acrobatics. The Elemis shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel that come with the room were enjoyed. You'll also find double sinks in the bathroom, which is another nicety. We made use of the Bose mini sound dock that comes with the room to enjoy some of our own music via bluetooth, and the in room espresso machine and mini bar were also welcome. Prices for the mini bar are steep, as is the norm. The room came with a 'complimentary' bottle of water and champagne. Fruit delivered to the room on day one is apparently no longer happening, so I missed that. Also I checked the champagne and it runs at $5 per bottle so not exactly premium quality. Then again, it was 'free' so I can't complain very much about it, and it was drinkable. Complimentary laundry service thankfully still comes with Neptune Suites, and I enjoy and appreciate this amenity very much. I have to commend our room stewards were excellent and they kept our cabin clean, serviced, and stocked all week. They also provided towel animals each night of the cruise, which is an old school cruise touch that still impresses and is appreciated.