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Cruising is our favorite type of vacation besides camping and we have been on several. Our vacation style tends to be very laid back and flexible since we have children. We are not port intensive type cruisers and prefer to stay on the boat if we have already seen a port or the excursions offered cannot accommodate children. Overall I will point out the good and the bad of the experience. Our first cruise was on the Zuiderdam six years ago so it holds a special endearment for us but sad to say that the ship has not aged well. The decor and upkeep could use some attention. I saw several areas that were rusted, neglected and just plain worn out. The furniture on our balcony was falling apart and the balcony itself looked horrible. The ship is so ready for dry dock and total revamping if possible. Embarkation & Debarkation- nightmares. They totally need to rethink this process. It sets a bad tone for the start of your vacation and a "get me off this ship" vibe at the end of your vacation. Industry wide they need to think of a better plan. The Bad- Food was way below HA standards. I was really bummed at the quality. On board entertainment was lame. Typical art auctions, bingo, trivia, towel folding, scrap booking. Nothing exciting and certainly needs new ideas for on board activities. Excursions were bland as well. The Good- The crew at every level is top notch. Nicest staff and they all go the extra mile to service and cater to the guest. That is the saving grace for this ship. If I could give a 1000 dollars to each crew member I would that is how great they perform their duties. They were even stepping in and parenting when some parents were letting their kids run wild at the pool. Spa- if you do nothing else, spend the 120 bucks for the daily spa pass ( 190 for a couple). This gets you access to the hydro pool- steam rooms, heated loungers and tranquility. You can go as often as you want and I found the best times were during normal "meal" hours. The place was deserted but it was a great place to make new friends when it was busy. I had a mani pedi at the spa and it was just so so- watch out for those hard product sells. I hate that and wish the spa company would get the hint that pushing products turns people off and makes them avoid the spa in general. Just introduce to product but don't push. Club Hal- I would give this a 7 out of 10. My son loved it because of the other kids not because of the activities provided. Club Hal could use some new activities. The security for the kids was nonexistent. They never asked for a password to collect our son and anyone could walk in and out. It would have been so easy for a kid to decide to escape club Hal and I wonder if the staff would have noticed. Needs improvement there. Ports that we went to- Half Moon Cay- beautiful but cold. Not the ships fault but because of the cold and wind half of the excursions were canceled and the water was way too cold to swim in. Curacao- loved this island. We did the beach excursion which includes a tour narration on the way and found it wonderful. Great one to do with kids. We did not get off at Aruba because we have been there before. There were plenty of excursions offered on this cruise but many of then for 6 plus hours and we just didn't want to be away from the ship that long. We love it when the ship empties out and we have it all to ourselves. Cabin- 4016. Smallest balcony room we have ever seen and the railing is steel so you can only see the water if standing. Stewards kept it impeccable and were very nice. I could hear a little music every night from below but I also travel w a sound machine due to being a light sleeper. Pools- too darn cold to swim in. That was shocking even though the temps said the water was 85 degrees it felt frigid. Thank goodness for the hot tub except two were out of service. Shows- Husband and oldest son saw the magic show and gave it two thumbs up. I don't think the evening shows on Hal can measure up to some of the other cruise lines productions, especially if you have ever been on a Disney cruise. Disney has beyond excellent shows. Movies- loved the line up of movies but the theater is small so get there early if you want to watch a movie. Shops- Good selection and new items added every day. Jewelry prices were higher than what you can find in stores and online. Even with their "deals". In suite Amenities package. I would not order this package again. The staff were clueless with all the "perks" and our room steward had no idea what came with it. The best part was the unlimited laundry (esp with kids) but they were out of stock on the robes, never brought the tea/snacks/ and it took us hunting them down to get the wine/liquor. They never mentioned the pillows so I would skip this in the future. It's a waste of money. Overall vibe? Some have described Holland America as a nursing home at sea and I would agree that the crowd is a much older group. If you are looking for a kid friendly, young energetic hyper party rock wall climbing peer group this is not the ship for you. The library was the most jumping place and there were mad games of chess and puzzle making happening. The disco was dead! The fruit carving was the pickup joint and the ice cream line was like a black Friday sale at best buy. Go old or go home! Go on this trip if you want to cross the Panama Canal off your bucket list and only for that reason, everything else is been there done that if you are a frequent cruiser.

Zuiderdam- Dec 13 Panama Canal- Crew great, vacation just

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by redshoe

Trip Details
Cruising is our favorite type of vacation besides camping and we have been on several. Our vacation style tends to be very laid back and flexible since we have children. We are not port intensive type cruisers and prefer to stay on the boat if we have already seen a port or the excursions offered cannot accommodate children. Overall I will point out the good and the bad of the experience.



Our first cruise was on the Zuiderdam six years ago so it holds a special endearment for us but sad to say that the ship has not aged well. The decor and upkeep could use some attention. I saw several areas that were rusted, neglected and just plain worn out. The furniture on our balcony was falling apart and the balcony itself looked horrible. The ship is so ready for dry dock and total revamping if possible.



Embarkation & Debarkation- nightmares. They totally need to rethink this process. It sets a bad tone for the start of your vacation and a "get me off this ship" vibe at the end of your vacation. Industry wide they need to think of a better plan.



The Bad- Food was way below HA standards. I was really bummed at the quality. On board entertainment was lame. Typical art auctions, bingo, trivia, towel folding, scrap booking. Nothing exciting and certainly needs new ideas for on board activities. Excursions were bland as well.



The Good- The crew at every level is top notch. Nicest staff and they all go the extra mile to service and cater to the guest. That is the saving grace for this ship. If I could give a 1000 dollars to each crew member I would that is how great they perform their duties. They were even stepping in and parenting when some parents were letting their kids run wild at the pool.



Spa- if you do nothing else, spend the 120 bucks for the daily spa pass ( 190 for a couple). This gets you access to the hydro pool- steam rooms, heated loungers and tranquility. You can go as often as you want and I found the best times were during normal "meal" hours. The place was deserted but it was a great place to make new friends when it was busy. I had a mani pedi at the spa and it was just so so- watch out for those hard product sells. I hate that and wish the spa company would get the hint that pushing products turns people off and makes them avoid the spa in general. Just introduce to product but don't push.



Club Hal- I would give this a 7 out of 10. My son loved it because of the other kids not because of the activities provided. Club Hal could use some new activities. The security for the kids was nonexistent. They never asked for a password to collect our son and anyone could walk in and out. It would have been so easy for a kid to decide to escape club Hal and I wonder if the staff would have noticed. Needs improvement there.



Ports that we went to- Half Moon Cay- beautiful but cold. Not the ships fault but because of the cold and wind half of the excursions were canceled and the water was way too cold to swim in. Curacao- loved this island. We did the beach excursion which includes a tour narration on the way and found it wonderful. Great one to do with kids. We did not get off at Aruba because we have been there before. There were plenty of excursions offered on this cruise but many of then for 6 plus hours and we just didn't want to be away from the ship that long. We love it when the ship empties out and we have it all to ourselves.



Cabin- 4016. Smallest balcony room we have ever seen and the railing is steel so you can only see the water if standing. Stewards kept it impeccable and were very nice. I could hear a little music every night from below but I also travel w a sound machine due to being a light sleeper.



Pools- too darn cold to swim in. That was shocking even though the temps said the water was 85 degrees it felt frigid. Thank goodness for the hot tub except two were out of service.



Shows- Husband and oldest son saw the magic show and gave it two thumbs up. I don't think the evening shows on Hal can measure up to some of the other cruise lines productions, especially if you have ever been on a Disney cruise. Disney has beyond excellent shows.



Movies- loved the line up of movies but the theater is small so get there early if you want to watch a movie.



Shops- Good selection and new items added every day. Jewelry prices were higher than what you can find in stores and online. Even with their "deals".



In suite Amenities package. I would not order this package again. The staff were clueless with all the "perks" and our room steward had no idea what came with it. The best part was the unlimited laundry (esp with kids) but they were out of stock on the robes, never brought the tea/snacks/ and it took us hunting them down to get the wine/liquor. They never mentioned the pillows so I would skip this in the future. It's a waste of money.



Overall vibe? Some have described Holland America as a nursing home at sea and I would agree that the crowd is a much older group. If you are looking for a kid friendly, young energetic hyper party rock wall climbing peer group this is not the ship for you.



The library was the most jumping place and there were mad games of chess and puzzle making happening. The disco was dead! The fruit carving was the pickup joint and the ice cream line was like a black Friday sale at best buy. Go old or go home!



Go on this trip if you want to cross the Panama Canal off your bucket list and only for that reason, everything else is been there done that if you are a frequent cruiser.
redshoe’s Full Rating Summary
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