9 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

We chose the Zuiderdam for the Baltic cruise because we wanted an itinerary that had us in St Petersburg for two days since we wanted to more fully explore that port. We also wanted a smallish ship because we don’t want to contend with ... Read More
We chose the Zuiderdam for the Baltic cruise because we wanted an itinerary that had us in St Petersburg for two days since we wanted to more fully explore that port. We also wanted a smallish ship because we don’t want to contend with the number of people on the large ships and some of the small ships get too pricey. We chose wisely. We had an amazingly experience and among our group of 6 with mixed levels of cruising experiences we all agreed we would do it again. My husband and I got off and most ports and did things on our own with the exceptions of St Petersburg and Warnemünde where we had lined up tours with TJ Travel and Harry’s Taxi respectively for our group of six. Both tours were tremendous and well worth their price which was way less than the ship. In Stockholm my husband and I got a cab so we could start at the Vasa Museum and walk back. One couple did the Hop on Hop at some ports and the Easy Excursions from the ship at other ports except Tallinn which is an easy enough walk around for them. Our remaining twosome used a combo of HOHO and just walking off the ship at the other ports. We needed a cab in Tallinn for our couple with limited walking abilities. Tallinn has a HOHO but you cannot get into old town. This same couple used wheelchairs in St Petersburg provided by TJ Travel. We were confused the first couple days by the dining but got it sorted out. The flyer we receive each evening in our cabin indicated that it was open seating (or some similar term). We thought that meant our scheduled dining time was not being honored and instead we should go anytime. Well good news is that you can go at your scheduled time OR anytime. I like this feature a lot but it was a little confusing. We did want to go at the same time and have the same servers so we figured it out on day 2 and we did that going forward. The food was always amazing and varied. The only exception was embarcation day but I bet that is a crazy day for the kitchen. Great experience had by all! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
It was a transatlantic crossing that included a stop in Normandy, both Bucket List items. This was our second cruise on Holland America. The crossing was wonderful, calm seas and great weather. We enjoyed Beginner Bridge, the Art Auctions ... Read More
It was a transatlantic crossing that included a stop in Normandy, both Bucket List items. This was our second cruise on Holland America. The crossing was wonderful, calm seas and great weather. We enjoyed Beginner Bridge, the Art Auctions and the gym. We met wonderful people from all over the world, many who have cruised on Holland America exclusively. We took shore excursions in England and France. The Normandy excursion was excellent, worth every penny. The London tour was not a great value, lunch was included but the restaurant was ill prepared for our bus load, we were seated on the third floor, rest rooms were on the fourth floor, average age was about 70 years old so climbing steps not convenient. I would not recommend this cruise for anyone with a disability. My husband has a disability and we booked a room to accommodate his need for handrails in the bathroom. We had four maintenance calls for toilet problems. The improper repair resulted in an accident, causing injury to my disabled husband. The staff onboard was excellent but our dealings with Holland America Claims in Seattle have been very unprofessional. We loved the cruise, the ports of call and our vacation despite the accident. Only now that we have returned home are we left with a bad feeling about the cruise due to the claims process. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise because we knew the Panama Canal is not something that many people get to see. We weren't disappointed in the cruise. She may have a few scratches here and there, but the ship is in great condition with cleaning ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we knew the Panama Canal is not something that many people get to see. We weren't disappointed in the cruise. She may have a few scratches here and there, but the ship is in great condition with cleaning and repair on-going but not in passengers' way. Weather was wonderful--not too hot or humid. Everyone said we had the best weather in the last couple of months. We were pleasantly surprised by the food. It was wonderful in all the venues. We only ate in the dining room twice because we prefer less time spent on dining and not dressing up every night. The Dive In had perfect hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. There was a taco bar that we used several times for taco salads. We got the salad bowl and lettuces from the Lido buffet. We also appreciated that there are servers--not everyone handles the utensils at the different areas. The quality was quite good as was the variety. I think I saw more actual variety at breakfast than I have on any other line I've sailed with. And, the Lido manager brought me a cherry crisp that I had seen on the dining room menu! Pasta bar was great. Many kinds of pasta and add ins were available. We had room 6129 on the Upper Verandah deck. Andri and his assistant did a wonderful job of cleaning, bringing ice, setting a mood for evening after dinner, and making towel animals. Zuiderdam is on the smaller side with 1800 passengers on our trip. I wasn't sure about the arrangement of the decks when I got on and started looking around. Guest services is on deck 1. But it all turned out well. We could get around quickly. I always like a promenade deck that goes all the way around. It was particularly nice for Canal viewing. The entertainment was amazing. I think it's best total package I've ever seen for entertainment. BB King's Blues Club, Billboard Onboard, comedian, classical entertainment, dancers and musicians, especially Steel Drum Island Magic, were all top notch as evidenced by the large audiences for each. America's Test Kitchen was interesting. The lecturers brought onboard for the ports and the Panama Canal were very informative. I'm not at all including the shopping guide. That, to me, is always a waste. All they want to sell is jewelry. Zuiderdam has a Navigator app for your phone to use. It's very handy to get around the ship, schedule your activities, and contact your family. I do wish it would ding though when you have a text. We booked all tours through Holland simply because I like the convenience and they cover what most all the tours do although with a bit more expense. For Bonaire and Curacao, the shopping areas closed early so there wasn't much time for browsing. A bit more time in port would be good. Bonaire was interesting for the salt flats and slave huts. I thought we would stop to see flamingos, but we didn't. We saw some but at a distance. Curacao is a beautiful area. Be sure to see the Kukunu Museum. The guides do a super job of showing you how the island functioned years ago. The town is beautiful. Be sure to go across or at least see the swinging bridge. Free wi-fi is hard to come by. We chose to stay on board at the Panama Canal. The long tours were more than we wanted to do this time, but I think we will make another trip and see the other side of Costa Rica. One tour was 3 hours late returning because the canal doesn't work on strict timing. All the deck areas were open to accommodate everyone who wanted to see what was going on. We got to see the sun come up over the canal. You'll want to get up early! I got off in Colon and walked about 3 blocks through a chain link tunnel to the "mall". There was a military helicopeter and a large police presence there. You'll want to stay onboard I think. Costa Rica was beautiful--another reason to go back so that we can see more of the island. We did the Rainforest Preserve. The rainforest is the most magnificent thing I've ever seen. I love the desert, beach and mountains, but the forest has to be seen to be believed. We did not see many animals which was a bit of a disappointment, another reason to go back. Be prepared to walk whichever tour you take. There's a great market at the port with many booths and crafts people. For sea days, there were many new movies in the room. There were many activities to attend and lots of deck chairs all over the ship to relax in. Shopping was all high end except for small things in the shop that sells candy, t shirts, etc. Why is there always so much high end shopping? Embarkation was pretty smooth. Rooms were ready by 12:30. We got on at 11:30 and had lunch. Debarkation was easy too. We paid $25 for Holland to collect our bags and get them to the airport and print our boarding passes. It was worth it. Hassle-free trip to the airport. Customs was 45 minutes--a long wait. If I could have gotten the Mobile Passport to work, we could have saved a lot of time. I'm not sure what the issue was. We will definitely choose Holland again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Simply put we loved everything about our cruise! The entertainment was top notch. The singers and dancers on board were fabulous we went to all 3 nights of their shows, we enjoyed the dueling pianos, Island Magic Drums, a comedian and the ... Read More
Simply put we loved everything about our cruise! The entertainment was top notch. The singers and dancers on board were fabulous we went to all 3 nights of their shows, we enjoyed the dueling pianos, Island Magic Drums, a comedian and the BBC America Show with the band and Lincoln Center Stage musicians. We were in a Signature Suite-It was a nice size for my husband, mother and myself. My mother has difficulty walking, she usually uses a walker. We rented a scooter for the trip through HAL and it waiting in the room when we boarded. It made her trip much more enjoyable! The staff on the Zuiderdam was always going out of their way to help her. The Signature Suite has more than enough room to park the scooter without breaking it down which made it easy for her to come and go as she pleased. The room stewards were very attentive (although you barely see them). We felt like they watched for the minute we left and would come running to spruce up the room, drop off fresh fruit, drinks etc. and of course towel animals. The itinerary is wonderful and if you haven’t seen the Panama Canal this was just long enough to get the experience without seeming like you were in locks forever. It was just right for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Cruise to the Baltic began and ended in Copenhagen. My wife wanted to see St. Petersburg, Russia. Service was excellent in the dining room and on the Lido deck. Food was terrific. If you have a mobility cart, like I did, avoid the ... Read More
Cruise to the Baltic began and ended in Copenhagen. My wife wanted to see St. Petersburg, Russia. Service was excellent in the dining room and on the Lido deck. Food was terrific. If you have a mobility cart, like I did, avoid the Vista Suites. They don't have enough room to accommodate a cart. It has been my experience that the ocean view rooms can handle a cart. But I upgraded to the suite and didn't realize that the balcony was included in the square footage. The end of the bed stuck out into the entry and I couldn't get past it. As a solution, the front office allowed me to park near an elevator area. At night, the room steward put the cart in his service room and charged it. The summer weather was cooler, rainier and windier than we expected. A windbreaker with a hood was very helpful. Rasmus, the walking tour guide we met at the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, was terrific. He knows the city, its culture and history. His English is superb. I was able to see the city while using my mobility cart. He carefully chose routes which minimized the cobblestones. I highly recommend him. His email is rasmuspoul@hotmail.com. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This Nov 29 to Dec 9, 2013 review of the ms Zuiderdam 10-day Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise is written as my impressions which may or may not conflict with the impressions of others. Pre-cruise hotel was at the Sleep Inn, Dania Beach for ... Read More
This Nov 29 to Dec 9, 2013 review of the ms Zuiderdam 10-day Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise is written as my impressions which may or may not conflict with the impressions of others. Pre-cruise hotel was at the Sleep Inn, Dania Beach for four nights prior to the cruise. There is a small strip mall across the street where we found three restaurants (Mexican, Italian, and Chinese) and a Publix grocery. The Publix had great carry-out food and we could purchase our carry-on beverages. There was also a Walgreen's Pharmacy adjacent to the hotel property. The hotel has a free shuttle to/from both the airport and cruise terminal. Luggage: Our luggage consisted of two spinner bags, one with clothing and another with miscellaneous computer and camera accessories; large camera bag with three cameras and lenses; roll-on bag with two computers (business and personal), cruise documents, jacket, meds, and personal car keys; duffle bag (personal oxygen concentrator supplies, meds, and spare batteries; a portable oxygen concentrator; and a four-wheeled walker. Two spinner suitcases and the walker were left with the curbside porter who placed them in the rolling cart that would transport them on to the ship. Scooter: A scooter from Special Needs at Sea was waiting for us near the luggage drop-off location at the HAL terminal. Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal at 10:30 AM and proceeded directly through the security checkpoint to the HAL Check-in counter. The five-minute process was efficient and with no waiting. We were pointed toward an elevator that took us to the second floor waiting area. We were the first passengers in the waiting area. Due to computer issues with the Border Control, embarkation was delayed until 12:00. The intrusive ship's photographic staff blocked all access to the doorway leading to the gangway but being the first passengers to board, we quickly proceeded past their cameras. I stopped at the Fron Desk to get a hole punched in my boarding card so that I could wear it on my HAL lanyard. Stateroom 6166 was ready for arrival and I dropped off my carry-on luggage before proceeding to the Mariner's Embarkation lunch. Our luggage arrived at 1:30 PM. Ship's Furnishings: I will dispense with any comments about the decor as being very subjective and having no bearing on my level of satisfaction with the cruise. The artifacts as well as the coloring throughout the ship did indeed complete the intent of the designer. Stateroom: SC5166 was ready for our occupancy when we arrived. The room was clean and all of the relevant documents were on the bed. We met our Room Steward and revieed our requirements We asked that our mini-bar be removed and this did not happen until the following day. We requested to large ice buckets be filled three times per day and this happened most of the time. The aft-wrap balcony was partially covered with four chairs, two loungers, a foot stool, and large table. At least 30 people could fit on the balcony. Even though our mini-bar was evacuated, we discovered a new bottle of water on the third day and a charge of $2.11 on our final bill. The charge was not worth standing in line at the Front Desk to contest. During the Panama Canal transit, the room temperature rise caused us to close our curtains and the air conditioning returned to normal. Room Stewards: Hanofi was a good Room Steward but need reminding about laundry bags each day. He provided our free shopping bags on the last day of the cruise. Dining -- General: Ron, Culinary Operations Manager, provided me the lunch and dinner menus for both the Lido and MDR for all of the Panama Canal cruises as well as for the 7-day Caribbean cruises for the 2013-2014 season. I also obtained the new Canaletto menu. All of the menus were scanned and are being provided to CC members upon request. There was no chocolate extravaganza night as on previous HAL cruises. Dining -- Lido: The food was good with the Pepperoni pizza being especially favored. It must be noted that HAL pepperoni pizza does not have tomato sauce but rather a light brushing of olive oil. The cooked-to-order pasta was excellent. Line Servers would provide any quantity of items upon request. Of special note was the bread pudding and chocolate chip cookies. The Lido Restaurant management was active in speaking to diners about the service and quality of the food. The servers were friendly and offered their suggestions for those passing down the serving line. Tables were cleared quickly after diners left the table and a rolling cart with free beverages was in constant motion through the dining area. Dining -- Terrace Grill: The nachos, available after 2:00 PM were a great snack almost every day. Since I often delivered a plate of nachos to the stateroom for an afternoon snack, I shall repeat my helpful hint for delivering nachos whether with melted or shredded cheese: put some cheese on the plate, before introducing the chips, to keep the nachos from sliding off the plate during delivery. The Taco Bar was not open for the first 48 hours due to mandatory Code Orange rules. Main Dining Room (MDR): The five meals I ate in the MDR were well-prepared and served at the proper temperature. The Assistant Dining Room Manager visited every table on most nights and alos assited the servers on some occasions. The hot, silver, teapots were no longer available as tea water was poured at the server station. Since I ate alone, each meal was completed in less than one hour. On formal nights, I counted only 20 tuxedo-clad males passing my table near the MDR entrance. Pinnacle Grill (PG): The embarkation night found the PG at only 25% capacity. My steak daine was perfectly cooked and the service excellent. My waiter, Harry, was able to answer lots of my questions since there were only a few customers. I ate two additional meals in the PG and added the Le Cirque as well. The Manager, Vliet, moved from table to table on each evening checking on the customers. The service was impeccable and the food of high quality on my four dining occasions. It must be noted that my cruise was the last with the old menu and a new menu is now in place as I write this review. Room Service: As on every HAL cruise, food arrived almost to the first minute requested. The food was always at the correct temperature. The fresh-squeezed orange juice was always a treat. It must be noted that if you want an empty glass or chocolate croissants, you need only write it on the Room Service card before hanging it on your door handle Facilities: The ship was clean and was in a constant state of scrubbing, vacuuming, and painting in all areas. The stateroom across the hall from ours had toilet overflow issues one evening. I wandered to the Crows Nest on a few occasions and always found the lounge chairs were completely occupied. I did not eat anything at the Explorations Cafe. The Library was only sparsely occupied on the few times I passed through it. Neptune Lounge/Concierge: We had very little contact with the Neptune Lounge except to request a fan and obtain a copy of the new Canaletto menu. There was always a good supply of snacks and desserts. Laundry: The Laundry was efficient and most days it was returned within 15 hours of my hanging it on my door. All laundered items were returned in excellent condition. Shops: The Shops personnel were very helpful in finding correct sizes and answering questions. There was never a delay to checkout. The demonstations of liquor and jewelry continued as on all HAL cruises. . Culinary Arts: I attended three cooking demonstrations and obtained a number of recipe cards. Computer Classes: I attended one Microsoft class and was impressed with the instruction and technical skill of the instructor. The handouts were very well received by all attendees. Casino: Since I don't gamble, I can only comment on the lack of smoke when walking past it when the casino was in full operation. There must be new exhaust fans installed. Ports - Half Moon Cay: I remained on the ship during this stop since I had benn there on other cruises. Ports - Curacao: With the oppressive heat, I remained on board but took some good video os fhe opening and closing of the marine bridge. Ports - Panama Canal: This was a fascinating experience seeing a huge cargo ship higher than my head on the lock just behind us. My pictures and videos will be treasured forever. Ports - Colon: I remained on board to experience the transfer back through the Gatun Locks Excursions -- Aruba Sunset Cruise: The heat of the day was oppressive but the catamaran slow cruise was very cooling. The open bar was a real hit and the sunset pictures were incredible Entertainment: We did not attend any of the shows so I cannot comment on the entertainment. Meet & Greet (M&G): There was no Meet and Greet held on this cruise. Internet: The room had a Cisco internet repeater and I purchased the 1000-minute plan. The speed was 786 kbps during the evening hours. With the repeater, I did not have to leave my stateroom to get better reception. Staff: The staff were exceptional. The Westerdam's officers spoke freely with the passengers when riding elevators or passing in the common areas. The traditional greeting, "How are you today," from the other Room Stewards that you pass in the hallways was ever present. The dining staff, both MDR and Lido, had frequent interaction with passengers in my observation. Disembarkation: What appeared to be an emergency situation with a passenger delayed disembarkation and that caused a huge congestion near the gangway. This was releived by routing passengers through the Vista Lounge. There were four Immigration agents available until one left while we were still in line. Passing through the handicapped line gave us only a 20-minute wait while others waited nearly one hour. Taxis were available across the street from the entrance. Post Cruise: We stayed at the Sleep Inn, Dania Beach, due to its close proximity to the airport and three restaurants within walking distance. There was a two-hour wait until our room was cleaned before we could check in to the hotel. Summary: As stated at the start of this review, the above are my impressions as a longtime HAL cruiser. I would highly recomment the ms Zuiderdam and especially passing through the Panama Canal during one's lifetime.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Background Information: There were four of us on this cruise ... two parents with one in a wheelchair, one adult daughter, and daughter's friend. We chose the ms Zuiderdam because (1) we were flying from Toronto, and wanted to cruise ... Read More
Background Information: There were four of us on this cruise ... two parents with one in a wheelchair, one adult daughter, and daughter's friend. We chose the ms Zuiderdam because (1) we were flying from Toronto, and wanted to cruise out of Vancouver without the hassle of going through Customs at the airport, (2) we wanted one room that was wheelchair accessible and had a balcony, and (3) we wanted the Inside Passage, with minimum amount of rough water. Travel To Port of Embarkation: Canada Place is a beautiful setting, in downtown Vancouver. We arrived at Canada Place in our rental car, and drove down to the underground parking to drop off our luggage with the porters, and some of our group (while the other person drove the car back to the Hertz rental car office on Granville St). Embarkation was very smooth, especially with a wheelchair. We had to go through security, then Customs, and then check-in. The whole experience took maybe a ½ hour. Stateroom: Our rooms were available as soon as we arrived, which was around 12:30. The wheelchair accessible room (5137) was great. There was lots of room to turn the wheelchair around. The bathroom was roll-in, with a shower. There was a slight ramp from the room to the balcony. Since we were at a curve in the ship, the balcony was extra large, with room for three wicker chairs and a small table. We had one of the indoor chairs removed, to make more room for the wheelchair. You could open and close the curtains using a switch by the bed. The non-accessible room (5135) was right next door. We had them unlock the divider between the two balconies, so that we could travel back and forth between our rooms on the balcony. The room had lots of storage space. There were three closets, plus storage over the pull-out couch. We had them remove the two indoor chairs to make a little more room in the seating area. Bathroom included a tub, and was quite spacious. Balcony was nice, with two wicker chairs and a small wicker table. There was a small flat screen TV in each room, with maybe about 10 channels to watch. There was also a DVD player, and you could borrow lots of DVDs to watch. Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel in the bathroom was amazing ... don't bother bringing your own from home. If you need a blanket for sitting on the balcony, then check the drawer under the foot of the bed. Ship Info: Deck 10 - Observation: Crow's Nest had the most amazing views out the front of the ship. We found that this area was quite crowded though, and the comfy chairs were pretty much always full. The Captain had a question & answer session there one day, and the Park Ranger had a session there the day we visited Glacier Bay. Explorations Cafe is next to the Crow's Nest, and a great place to read books or magazines, work on a group puzzle, or use the computers. We paid for the Wi Fi, but found that the speed in the room was painfully slow, so in an attempt to get better response time we would take the laptop to the Cafe and use it there. Beware that the internet speed is no where near what you may be used to at home. Deck 9 - Lido: To the right of the Fitness Center is a door that leads outside, to the front of the boat. I don't think many people were aware of this, because we saw very few people out there. But you can get amazing views out the front. Dress warmly though. Greenhouse Spa & Salon was very nice. We did a tour on day one, and then had a massage, facial and pedicure there on day two. They have daily specials in the Explorer that is delivered to your room. The people working there were very nice, but sometimes a little pushy when selling products. Lido Pool was often empty on this cruise. Once in a while there were a couple of people in it, or a fitness class being held in it. Since the roof closes, it was a great area to sit and eat meals, or pull a chair up to the window and spend the day watching the scenery and wildlife float by. Sea View Pool was also pretty much empty since it is outside. But there are lots of places to sit and enjoy the view. Deck 3 - Promenade: Vista Lounge was a great venue for watching performances. There was limited wheelchair seating though. There were only a few spots at the back on deck 3, and they didn't have great viewpoints. There was a whole row at the beck on deck 2, but most of those chairs were occupied by other people. I think Holland America could make an improvement here, and clearly identify the wheelchair sections, and don't encourage others to use those seats, since the wheelchair people have no other options. Screening Room was great for watching movies. Movies were current, chairs were large and comfy, and bags of popcorn were supplied. Shopping Arcade was fun. There are only actually two shops (one jewelry, one everything else), but they're quite large, and they had different sale tables every day. There was a good variety of stuff for sale. While the ship was at sea, they had also had sales around the Lido Pool, mostly for Alaskan clothing (t-shirts, hoodies, hats, etc.). Deck 2 - Lower Promenade: Casino was lots of fun too. Good variety of slot machines at all denominations. There were a few card tables. We visited a few times, and it was never overly busy. Queen's Lounge & Culinary Arts Center was great. We watched the chef prepare lobster salad from Le Cirque, and got to enjoy crème brulee. Explorer's Lounge is great place to relax. We attended a craft class there, and made beaded lanyards to hold our room keys, and had lots of fun. Also tried to attend the flower arranging class, but it was very crowded. Dining: Vista Dining Room: We didn't want to be tied down to eating at a specific time and table. We often showed up at the dining room (on deck 2) for breakfast, lunch, or supper and were able to walk right in with no wait. The room is beautiful, with great views, and was never crowded. Service was impeccable, and the food was always delicious. We dressed casual for breakfast and lunch, and dressed nice for dinner. We saw a wide variety of clothing here. Pinnacle Grill: We paid $20 per person to eat here on the final night, and it was well worth it. We had a table for four along the windows, with an amazing view. Again, service was superb. Food was out of this world. The Caesar salad was made table side, and the best I've ever had. Everything was top notch. Lido Restaurant: For the first two days, the staff served the food to everyone, and after that you could serve yourself. There is a lot of variety here, and the food was great. Breakfast choices are amazing. Pizza and pasta are always available. It can be a bit hectic here. We usually took our food from here, out to the Lido Pool and sat in the sunshine. Every night from 10:30-11:30 they had food from a different country (i.e. Mexican, Italian, etc.). We usually tried a little something, even though we were still stuffed from supper. Room Service: We started by ordering breakfast the first day, which arrived promptly. After that we usually ordered juice and coffee for a pre-breakfast, and then had breakfast in the Lido. We also ordered the cheese plate once, and the chocolate cake once. On one of the formal nights we checked the menu at the Dining Room. Found out that it was surf and turf, so we called room service and had it delivered to the room. It arrived promptly, and hot, and was simply fabulous. There is an extensive room service menu. Plus whatever is served in the Dining Room. We also enjoyed pea soup, which was served outside on deck 3 when we visited Glacier Bay. On the second formal night there was a dessert extravaganza around the Lido Pool. All the chefs came out and were introduced. There were ice sculptures, and every kind of fabulous dessert that you could imagine, including three chocolate fountains. On the final day there was an Alaskan Salmon Bake at the Sea View Pool, with the most amazing salmon and baked potatoes and salads. It was a really nice surprise, and the food was great. Activities: Since the scenery is so stunning in Alaska, we actually didn't participate in many activities. As mentioned above, we made beaded lanyards one day, and went to the Culinary Arts Center once. There were other activities we wanted to try, but just ran out of time. We spent a LOT of time just watching the amazing scenery, either from our balcony, or from the Lido Pool area. We participated in the 5K "On Deck For The Cure" walk, to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. There was a good turn-out (maybe 50 people), and you can walk at your own pace, and quit whenever you need to. This was held on deck 3, and the view was magnificent during the whole walk. We even saw dolphins playing in the waves behind the ship. Service: What can I say ... it is outstanding! From the moment we arrived, people were always ready to help with the wheelchair. When we entered a restaurant or got on/off the ship, there was always somebody to push the wheelchair for us, which is truly appreciated. The room stewards were top notch. They moved around silently, but were always ready and willing to help wherever they could. They were fabulous! Entertainment: We didn't have time to enjoy much of the entertainment. We went to the Vista Lounge on the first night, and got to enjoy the singers and dancers. We went back on the final night, and saw the comedian and the magician, which were very fun too. Disembarkation: There was a delay in getting the first group off the ship, which backed up most of the other groups. We had a leisurely breakfast, and then waited in our room, until our group/colour was called. Seems that some people don't understand that concept, and insist on waiting where everyone else is trying to exit. Other than that, it was very quick with a wheelchair, since we had our own line for Customs. We then had to find our luggage, in a sea of black luggage. Luckily they had lots of free luggage carts, which made it easier to handle everything. We waited a while for one of us to arrive with our rental car. Everything was smooth, but we were sad that it was over, and wanted to turn around and get back on the ship. Summary: An Alaskan cruise is amazing. I had only heard positive comments before we left on the cruise, so I had great expectations, but I was totally blown away. The scenery was breath-taking and jaw-dropping around every corner. The air was clean, and the people were friendly. Yes, the crowd was an older crowd, and it was very quiet at night, which was fine with me. This was my first Holland America cruise, and I was astounded by the superb service, and the incredible meals. It was very easy to take a wheelchair person on this cruise, and the extra help offered by everyone was great. I will definitely recommend Holland America to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My husband and I enjoy cruising - the best way to travel since his spinal cord injury left him with mobility challenges. Besides the excellent Accessible Balcony Cabin, the excellent room stewards, tasty meals and special dining during ... Read More
My husband and I enjoy cruising - the best way to travel since his spinal cord injury left him with mobility challenges. Besides the excellent Accessible Balcony Cabin, the excellent room stewards, tasty meals and special dining during "An Evening at Le Cirque" in the Pinnacle Grill, we received excellent support from Zuiderdam's Shore Excursion Team. Prior to ports of call I would go down and discuss with them the appropriateness of the shore excursions which we had pre-booked from home. Their suggestions were wonderful. Some ports in Central America are not very handicap-friendly. The Shore Excursion Staff even introduced me to Rafael Esparza, Operations Mgr. for Explora Caribe. Explora Caribe provided some of the ship's shore excursions and there was nothing suitable in the ship's offering so Sr. Esparza provided us with a private car and driver to take us to places which we could access, and at the rate which we would have paid for one of their bus tours. What wonderful service!!! Not only were we pleased with the ship and service, we are grateful to Cruise Critic for the opportunities to share information with and glean information from other travelers. We especially appreciated the information regarding touring in Corinto, Nicaragua, which will be discussed in more detail later. We visited quite a few ports which are not listed on CC's drop-down box. During our partial transit of the Panama Canal we took an excursion called The Shaping of Panama. It traveled to Panama City by highway with a nice luncheon there, then back to Colon. It was good to be able to see the countryside. At Vera Cruz, Mexico, we visited the World Heritage Site of Tlacotalpan and the town of Alvarado. Tlacotalpan was wonderfully presented and a great opportunity to hike around and see prehistoric indigenous structures. At Alvarado we enjoyed a presentation of music and dance by students who are part of a group trying to preserve the local heritage. Dos Bocas, Mexico, offered the Comalcalco Ruins featuring Maya constructions using bricks with unique designs and then Paraiso Town. At Progreso, Mexico, we were provided a car by Explora Caribe (mentioned above) and went to Merida. The bus tours discouraged passengers with mobility issues but the driver of the car and the guide took us to see some small ruins plus Progreso's Zocalo, the Governor's Palace (take time to enjoy the art museum inside), The Cathedral. We had a wonderful lunch of locally-favorite foods at Los Almendros Restaurant and the driver and guide even took me to a bookstore in Merida where I could purchase some special volumes about the area. In Corinto, Nicaragua, we used the services of John "Max" O'Connor for a private tour. We had found Max through Cruise Critic Reviews/Blogs and enjoyed our day. We shared his services with another couple whom we had met on board. The gentleman was in a wheelchair, complementary to my husband's use of an electric scooter (needs a wheelchair if the scooter couldn't be used.) We went to see the items which specifically interested us. Surprisingly, Max had to do some research for our tour because I had researched Corinto online and had come up with some places which were not on the usual tourist path. At Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, we were not feeling well so cancelled the planned shore excursion to Antigua but did go ashore to do a bit of shopping and see a bit of local color. They have a very nice development there at the port with musicians and vendors selling their wares. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
BACKGROUND INFO: My husband and I (and our kids) had cruised the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean and my mom had taken many cruises in the past as the owner of a travel agency. My mom now lives with us and is in her 90's but she had ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFO: My husband and I (and our kids) had cruised the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean and my mom had taken many cruises in the past as the owner of a travel agency. My mom now lives with us and is in her 90's but she had always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise, so we wanted to help her make that dream come true - PLUS it sounded like a wonderful experience for us, as well. I found this Holland America Cruise on the Zuiderdam by doing some online searches and it seemed to fit the bill. I made reservations about 6 weeks before the cruise by calling HAL directly. The agent I spoke with was friendly and knowledgeable and got us set up in short order. All paperwork was sent via e-mail & our luggage tags were mailed. It was very easy. We made our own plane reservations to fly from Texas to Vancouver, B.C. to arrive the day prior to sailing. I also made our own hotel reservations for that Friday night. With the internet, it's pretty easy to be your own travel agent. TRAVEL TO PORT OF EMBARKATION: I highly recommend that if you are flying to a port city, you plan to arrive a day ahead. It was so nice to relax at the hotel after the long flights and anticipate the cruise without worry about any unexpected delays. We did have a weather delay getting out of Houston and it was nice to know that we had plenty of time to spare. Our party of 4 (my husband, myself, our daughter, and my mom) arrived in Vancouver late morning on Friday. It took us awhile to get through customs and the airport. My mom can't walk distances, so we had her in a wheelchair. Sometimes this slowed us down, but mostly it speeded things up because we got priority treatment whenever there were lines! Getting a minivan cab (wheelchair, 4 people and all our luggage) from the airport to the hotel was easy and relatively inexpensive. HOTEL INFO: I had booked a Family Suite at the SHERATON VANCOUVER WALL CENTRE because they had a very reasonable price for their location and amenities. All went smoothly with our check-in there. Our corner suite with 2 bedrooms was lovely with 2 walls of floor to ceiling windows and a sweeping view of Vancouver. My husband & I walked to a market and bought a feast, stopped at a wine shop, and brought it all back to the room where we had a great supper. In the morning, my husband (a marathoner) ran around beautiful Stanley Park before we packed up for the cruise. We got another minivan cab (hotel staff very helpful) for the very short ride to the port. I would certainly recommend that hotel. PORT AND EMBARKATION: This is where having a person in a wheelchair was a great advantage! We were whisked through the process in a flash! We were ushered to the head of every line which was a blessing for my mom who would have had an uncomfortable time if we had much waiting. I can't say how the process was for those who had to stand in line for a long time. We got on the ship and went right to the LIDO buffet restaurant where we ate and relaxed, then did a little exploration before heading to our cabins. STATEROOMS: In the interest of keeping the cost down somewhat we had booked two unobstructed F class ocean view cabins (this had been fine for our Caribbean cruise where all you see is water) and asked that they be connecting or, at least, next to each other so I could help out with my mom. When we finally got our stateroom assignment a couple weeks before the cruise, I was excited to see that we had been upgraded to two neighboring VD class rooms on the Upper Promenade Deck with larger than average verandahs. Although our rooms weren't adjoining on the interior, we were able to get our steward to open the verandah gate between our two rooms, so we could walk back and forth between the rooms that way. Although we were very happy that we were upgraded and didn't have to pay extra for the better cabins, we quickly realized that we SHOULD have booked verandah rooms in the first place! Alaska cruises are all about the scenery! Being able to sit out on your own verandah and enjoy the beautiful panorama of mountains and the glacier was a huge part of the enjoyment of this cruise. I can't imagine now having to go up to a public deck every time we wanted to enjoy the view. We LOVED our verandahs! The staterooms themselves were more than adequate. We had plenty of room, the beds were exceptionally comfortable, and there was a lot of storage space. Nothing luxurious, but very nice. Lots of bathroom storage, too. SHIP INFO: There are lots of other reviews that tell about the different features of this ship, so I won't go into them. This wasn't the most up-to-date ship, but this cruise, for us, was about ALASKA! We were excited just to be there. DINING: We girls had breakfast via room service each morning and loved being able to just get up and eat in our "jammies" and watch the beautiful scenery go by from our sliding glass door windows. My husband went to the LIDO for breakfast because his appetite is bigger than what is offered on the room service menu. We all ate every lunch in the LIDO. There were a lot of choices and it was fun the first couple days. Then we noticed that most everything tasted kind of bland. I kept going back to the pizza because it was the only thing I found that I really enjoyed. We ate dinner in the VISTA DINING ROOM every evening except for one. We really enjoyed the open dining feature and not having to be there at a specific time. We never once had to wait to be seated. We enjoyed sitting in different areas of the room. Service was great. We bought a wine package and the wine was very good. By Thursday, though, I thought something had happened to my taste buds because I wasn't getting a lot of flavor from the food. It looked so great, but with a few exceptions, tasted kind of flat. Earlier in the week we had made reservations at the PINNACLE GRILL for Thursday dinner. I had heard it was very good and hoped it would be better than the Vista. Suffice it to say we wished we had reserved dinner there every night! It would have been well worth the daily extra $20 per person! We had the most delicious meal there. For example, I had a filet mignon in the Vista and it was tough and hard to chew. It was the worst filet I had ever had. I ordered filet mignon at the PINNACLE GRILL and it was so tender it cut like butter and tasted wonderful. It was one of the best filets I've ever had. Everyone in our party - plus a guest we had invited - raved about their meal. To top off a perfect meal, I ordered "the ultimate chocolate experience" for dessert. I'm not sure what it was called (it might have been their Chocolate Volcano Cake) but at the first taste, my eyes rolled back in their sockets! I think I moaned with every bite after that, it was SO delicious. My mom and my husband ordered the Crème BrûlEe Trio which was also heavenly. My advice on this cruise is to eat at the Pinnacle Grill as often as possible! Put that little extra expense in your cruise budget! PORT AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: Sailing through TRACY ARM was magnificent! It's where we first gave big thanks for the blessing of the verandahs! Took lots of pictures. GLACIER BAY National Park was another great photo op ship excursion. We didn't do any organized shore excursions. We rode the Mt. Roberts Tramway in JUNEAU, but mostly we just enjoyed walking the streets and knowing that we were in Alaska! I really enjoyed SKAGWAY. I know it's very tourist-y, but we walked down some side streets and got more of the flavor of an Alaskan town. We also enjoyed KETCHIKAN. Took the funicular up to the charming Cape Fox Lodge where we walked around, enjoyed some totem poles, and then relaxed with an Alaskan beer in the bar. Would love to make it a destination trip sometime. Bought a few Alaskan trinkets in Ketchikan to give as gifts and as souvenirs of our trip. ENTERTAINMENT: We went to three shows in the VISTA SHOW LOUNGE. We saw an illusionist, JAMES CIELEN, who was excellent. Lots of fun. We saw a pair of comedian jugglers, WILDE & JAMES, who were exceptionally clever and funny. And due to some scheduling problems attributed to illness of a performer, we missed the other comedian, LEE BAYLESS, but did see him do a short routine on Friday - mostly shipboard humor - not as funny as Wilde & James for us. However, of all the onboard entertainment, the most enjoyable aspect of this relaxing cruise was our nightly visits to the CROW'S NEST. We had checked out some of the other entertainment areas of the ship, but were turned off by the noise and activity. By evening, all we wanted to do was sit back, have a nightcap, and enjoy something more low key. Thankfully, by our second night we discovered the Crow's Nest and a fabulous guitarist, "KEVIN T." As a musician myself, I was so impressed with his skill and musicianship. He was very personable and made it seem like he was playing just for us. My 94-year-old mom asked if he could play a number that was her and my dad's special song, "There's a Small Hotel" written around 1935. He said he didn't know it, but if we came back Thursday, he would have it learned for her and would play it. Well, we came back every night anyway and on Thursday he was true to his word, and played and sang her favorite song so beautifully that my mother cried with happiness. We also heard other people ask for songs that weren't in his current (& large, from what we heard) repertoire and he did the same thing for them. He seemed to have quite a following. The beautiful Crow's Nest with its panoramic view and listening to the soothing sounds of "Kevin T." were the perfect end of each day and a memory that will stay with us always. DISEMBARKATION: We signed up to be in the last group to disembark, wanting to prolong our stay on board as much as possible! It all went very smoothly. Again, the wheelchair helped! We were reunited with our luggage, got a minivan cab very quickly and were on our way to the airport hours before our flight home. We did have a little problem at customs when we forgot we were carrying a couple apples (which we had planned to eat at the airport for lunch) in a see-through bag. They were spotted and we had to go through a special area where they were confiscated and we were admonished for not declaring them! They said it could have been a $300 fine! A girl behind us got caught with a banana which they confiscated. They let her keep her nectarine, however. I asked why and they said that nectarines were "in season." Go figure. Anyway, watch out for your fruits! Also, I don't know if this is true or not, but our cab driver, a Vancouver resident, said that this was the last year that cruises to Alaska were going out of Vancouver. He cited fuel costs in Canada as one reason. Although we enjoyed the little we saw of Vancouver, if a cruise out of Seattle would eliminate all the customs' hassle, that would be fine with me! SUMMARY: Overall we had a marvelous time and were treated very well by everyone on the Zuiderdam. The crew was exceptional and took very good care of us. If the food had been a little less bland, the cruise would have been perfect! The weather was great. Cool and no rain! (It was a little hazy due to some fires in B.C., but not too bad.) We will especially remember the beautiful SCENERY from our verandahs, strolling the streets of ALASKAN TOWNS, eating in the PINNACLE GRILL, and the lovely evenings in the CROW'S NEST listening to the music of "KEVIN T." Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Zuiderdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click