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This was a 3 generation family cruise. Mom and I have been on 5 cruises each. She has been on P and O, Celebrity and River Cruises on The Danube and Rhine and I have been on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian. It was the 1st cruise for my daughter. I always book based on the itinerary and my vacation time from work. We chose Holland America this time for the "senior" aspect for Mom. Well, at 82, even Mom felt that this was "too senior" for her! Pre-cruise hotel: Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort. This was a highlight of the trip. We stayed here for 4 days in an ocean-front condo. It was gorgeous, spacious, bright, and had a huge balcony and fully equipped kitchen. I have been at a few Hilton Hotels but this far outshone the others. The service in the hotel and dining room was impeccable. Embarkation: As suite guests we were processed as soon as we arrived. However, the lady who checked us in was a little confused. She got our passport numbers, pictures and other info mixed up to the point that she was getting frustrated. She finally said she had it straightened out but when we boarded the ship the steward checking our IDs started to laugh. My picture was on my mother's card and visa versa! Ship: I was prepared for the age and dEcor of the ship based on the other reviews. I think the best description was "a comfortable old shoe". Of all the ships we have been on, this was the most outdated, worn and garish in dEcor. Having said that, it was immaculately clean. Cabin: This was a plus. The suite was spacious and had plenty of storage for 3 of us. We had a wraparound aft balcony which was awesome. We ate a few meals there and, since the weather was generally very good we spent a number of hours reading and enjoying the scenery or the wake. Our cabin steward, Dadang, was fantastic, sweet, and unintrusive. Staff: All fabulous! Not one complaint. Dining: The Lido was generally good. I would say it was better than the other cruises I have been on in that it had more variety and prepared-as-you-wish dishes such as pasta, eggs and grilled sandwiches. The dining room had mostly good, but some mediocre, meals. We tried The Pinnacle Grill three times. The first time the food was stellar. The 2nd time...not so much! While the service and ambiance was wonderful on both occasions, the difference in the food may have had something to do with our choices. We all had beef or lamb the 1st night and fish the 2nd night. Coming from a part of Canada where fish is a main staple, we know our fish! This was dry, overcooked and tasteless. The third time was the Indonesian lunch with the Captain. While the food was good, the service was impeccable and the servers wore gorgeous traditional dress. A pleasant surprise was Canaletto, the Italian restaurant. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and service and would highly recommend it for a casual dining experience. Entertainment: We went to a couple of shows and thought they were ok. I have been to more memorable ones on other lines. Spa: We spent some time on a sea day having some treatments at the spa. This was a pleasant, expensive experience! The staff was professional and I got a great haircut from a young gentleman from Hungary. (This was very daring for me but I was desperate and it really paid off!) Excursions: Half Moon Cay. This was a day at the beach. The tendering was slow and tedious. We had a clamshell and I did the bike tour. The area is quite beautiful! Aruba: I had booked a tour with "Pitaruba" from reviews on CC. Nice guy, good guide and reasonably priced. We toured for 2 hours and then, based on the concierge's advice that Aruba was the best place for shopping, we spent an hour poking around stores where we felt overpowered by salespeople. Curacao: This, on the other hand, was wonderful. We didn't book anything, again based on the concierge's advice, and almost didn't get off the ship! What a mistake that would have been! We walked around, found a wonderful jewelry shop, bought a couple of things, had lunch at a gorgeous waterfront restaurant and generally loved everything! Panama Canal: This is everything you would expect. It is an experience we will never forget. My daughter and I did the Embera Indian Village. It was a great excursion, interesting and memorable---especially the beautiful, sweet children! Costa Rica: This also was very interesting. My daughter and I did the Zipline excursion and this was a highlight. Also, the countryside and the people were beautiful. We would definitely come back to see more of the country. Note: The main problem I had with the excursions is the fact that, with all the elderly people (many with various handicaps) there were very few, and in some cases, no excursions that catered to them. My mother, who is otherwise a healthy, active person has limited mobility because of an ankle problem and uses a cane. The concierge told us that there really wasn't anything in Panama or Costa Rica that would be suitable for her because of the strenuous nature or length of tour so she stayed on the ship. While she had no complaints, she would have liked to have been able to take part in some shore activities in these 2 ports. Overall, we had a very good time and met some very interesting people. My daughter was happy to have experienced her 1st cruise but would definitely choose something newer, more lively and age-appropriate next time. I was glad to have tried HAL for the 1st time but would definitely choose something newer, more lively and age-appropriate next time! Mom enjoyed the experience but, whatever about the age demographic and condition of the ship, would have liked to have had more shore excursion options.

3 Generation Cruise

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by GRACE53

Trip Details
This was a 3 generation family cruise. Mom and I have been on 5 cruises each. She has been on P and O, Celebrity and River Cruises on The Danube and Rhine and I have been on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian. It was the 1st cruise for my daughter. I always book based on the itinerary and my vacation time from work. We chose Holland America this time for the "senior" aspect for Mom. Well, at 82, even Mom felt that this was "too senior" for her!



Pre-cruise hotel: Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort. This was a highlight of the trip. We stayed here for 4 days in an ocean-front condo. It was gorgeous, spacious, bright, and had a huge balcony and fully equipped kitchen. I have been at a few Hilton Hotels but this far outshone the others. The service in the hotel and dining room was impeccable.



Embarkation: As suite guests we were processed as soon as we arrived. However, the lady who checked us in was a little confused. She got our passport numbers, pictures and other info mixed up to the point that she was getting frustrated. She finally said she had it straightened out but when we boarded the ship the steward checking our IDs started to laugh. My picture was on my mother's card and visa versa!



Ship: I was prepared for the age and dEcor of the ship based on the other reviews. I think the best description was "a comfortable old shoe". Of all the ships we have been on, this was the most outdated, worn and garish in dEcor. Having said that, it was immaculately clean.



Cabin: This was a plus. The suite was spacious and had plenty of storage for 3 of us. We had a wraparound aft balcony which was awesome. We ate a few meals there and, since the weather was generally very good we spent a number of hours reading and enjoying the scenery or the wake. Our cabin steward, Dadang, was fantastic, sweet, and unintrusive.



Staff: All fabulous! Not one complaint.



Dining: The Lido was generally good. I would say it was better than the other cruises I have been on in that it had more variety and prepared-as-you-wish dishes such as pasta, eggs and grilled sandwiches. The dining room had mostly good, but some mediocre, meals. We tried The Pinnacle Grill three times. The first time the food was stellar. The 2nd time...not so much! While the service and ambiance was wonderful on both occasions, the difference in the food may have had something to do with our choices. We all had beef or lamb the 1st night and fish the 2nd night. Coming from a part of Canada where fish is a main staple, we know our fish! This was dry, overcooked and tasteless. The third time was the Indonesian lunch with the Captain. While the food was good, the service was impeccable and the servers wore gorgeous traditional dress.

A pleasant surprise was Canaletto, the Italian restaurant. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and service and would highly recommend it for a casual dining experience.



Entertainment: We went to a couple of shows and thought they were ok. I have been to more memorable ones on other lines.



Spa: We spent some time on a sea day having some treatments at the spa. This was a pleasant, expensive experience! The staff was professional and I got a great haircut from a young gentleman from Hungary. (This was very daring for me but I was desperate and it really paid off!)



Excursions:

Half Moon Cay. This was a day at the beach. The tendering was slow and tedious. We had a clamshell and I did the bike tour. The area is quite beautiful!

Aruba: I had booked a tour with "Pitaruba" from reviews on CC. Nice guy, good guide and reasonably priced. We toured for 2 hours and then, based on the concierge's advice that Aruba was the best place for shopping, we spent an hour poking around stores where we felt overpowered by salespeople.

Curacao: This, on the other hand, was wonderful. We didn't book anything, again based on the concierge's advice, and almost didn't get off the ship! What a mistake that would have been! We walked around, found a wonderful jewelry shop, bought a couple of things, had lunch at a gorgeous waterfront restaurant and generally loved everything!

Panama Canal: This is everything you would expect. It is an experience we will never forget.

My daughter and I did the Embera Indian Village. It was a great excursion, interesting and memorable---especially the beautiful, sweet children!

Costa Rica: This also was very interesting. My daughter and I did the Zipline excursion and this was a highlight. Also, the countryside and the people were beautiful. We would definitely come back to see more of the country.

Note: The main problem I had with the excursions is the fact that, with all the elderly people (many with various handicaps) there were very few, and in some cases, no excursions that catered to them. My mother, who is otherwise a healthy, active person has limited mobility because of an ankle problem and uses a cane. The concierge told us that there really wasn't anything in Panama or Costa Rica that would be suitable for her because of the strenuous nature or length of tour so she stayed on the ship. While she had no complaints, she would have liked to have been able to take part in some shore activities in these 2 ports.



Overall, we had a very good time and met some very interesting people. My daughter was happy to have experienced her 1st cruise but would definitely choose something newer, more lively and age-appropriate next time. I was glad to have tried HAL for the 1st time but would definitely choose something newer, more lively and age-appropriate next time! Mom enjoyed the experience but, whatever about the age demographic and condition of the ship, would have liked to have had more shore excursion options.
GRACE53’s Full Rating Summary
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