2 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Entertainment Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

First a bit of history. My husband and I are not retired and do not gamble. We are in our early 60’s and very active. This cruise was great! We have been on previous cruises but this was our first Holland American. The embarkation at FFL ... Read More
First a bit of history. My husband and I are not retired and do not gamble. We are in our early 60’s and very active. This cruise was great! We have been on previous cruises but this was our first Holland American. The embarkation at FFL was the smoothest we have ever experienced. Fast and organized. The food was wonderful on the Lido buffet but we were not too impressed with the main dining room’s food. My husband is diabetic and he was able to eat at both areas- just better/warmer/tastier at buffet Lido area. This is just the opposite of our view on the Carnival Cruise line. Carnival has better food in their seated dining area than their open buffet. IMO Royal Caribbean’s main dining and buffet were about the same. The overall food was best on HAL second on Carnival and then Royal Caribbean. But we never went hungry on any of them! The Zuiderdam has wonderful entertainment but caters to a older population so violins, piano, steel drums live music presentations were available (I loved them but my husband was just mildly impressed but he did like the magician and dancers). On the Zuiderdam there is no “hairy chest contest” or similar activities. They have great educational presentations, new movies in the screening room and the best TVs and in room free on demand movies ever! Zuiderdam’’s WIFi was about the same as all cruise lines, slow and you can get kicked off often. I was able to do the work I needed to though. We paid $189.00 for 11 days. We had room SS6073 with a great deck. Very quiet and lots of room. The Panama Canal was an amazing cruise and I would take this cruise again. We did the EXC all day excursion and it was wonderful but as others have mentioned you need to do it but only once! And don’t drink much before leaving the Zuiderdam- it could be almost three hours before you can use the facilities- depending on how fast they load the busses and if you have to wait in the non bathroom buss to clear the locks to go over them. The bathroom stalls are very small on the boat that you go through the locks on. I’m thin but tall so closing the stall door is challenging if you are big or tall... It’s very hot and humid! We went on Trikes (motorcycles) in Aruba (our second time) and it’s by far the best experience we have had! Booked online-private. There were two children (I only saw one but hubby thinks he saw another one) around 12 years old on this cruise. I’m sure they were board. This was a partial Panama Canal crossing but I was so impressed that we may do the whole crossing next year. We had anytime dining but did not eat in the dining room but 4 times and no waits. People on this cruise seem to be mostly retired but still enjoying life! Bottom line- if you want to party until dawn and eat their wonderful Lava cake- pick Carnival. If you are looking for a bit more relaxing and life enriching choices (in my opinion) chose HAL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
my wife and I are mid 50's and there was an older very friendly crowd on this trip. this was only our second cruise and first on Hal. Service is excellent and food selections were great. we did open seating but soon found that ... Read More
my wife and I are mid 50's and there was an older very friendly crowd on this trip. this was only our second cruise and first on Hal. Service is excellent and food selections were great. we did open seating but soon found that later seatings were less crowded, more relaxed. it was mid cruise before we tried breakfast in the Vista dining room and it was a great chance to meet other travelers. Caneletto was well worth it We went to a show each night and the singers and dancers put on high quality performances. BB kings were good and there was a pianist/violin couple that we hit on the way to or from dinners. wifi is avail for purchase but we caught up at each ports free wifi stations. no wifi means no music unless you have a library. bring CD's and they will play on the DVD in your room. I bought adhesive wall hooks at Walmart and put up 5 for space savers, dollar store battery candle was out bathroom nite light, there is a $20.00/bag deal on laundry that we did and realize we could have brought 1/2 the clothes and 2x the money. we brought on 2 bottle of wine and had cheese/cracker happy hour before every meal. dress shoes, flip flops and sneakers will suffice. bring a highlighter for the daily schedule. 4 clothes pins to dry the suits. The bar hop was a great way to party and meet others. the bar tenders have skills! martini special is good. explore the ship before the last day at sea. tell Brendan in the fitness center you are on vacation or he will make you work hard. We did ATV rental in Aruba kini kini - this was awesome w Stewart, wear sun screen. bought a $10 bus pass and snorkeled at Boca Catalna with our own gear. Curacoa - local bus tour groups are at the pier $15-25 nice way to see the island plus we got off at the market and walked back (20min). purchase an excursion through HAL in panama or you will miss interior panama. we did Embera indian village. 80min bus ride each way but worthwhile, several friends did the excursion to panama city and enjoyed it but long day for them. Colon was poor and we stayed inside the pier/restaurant section as advised. Costa Rica was a zip line/ river tour which the zip line was the best - you are in the trees w the wildlife in perfect view. we were really pleased that the prices were best right off the ship at the pier in Aruba, Curacoa and Costa Rica. nothing to compare to in panama but seemed good as well. coffee and roasted Coca in Costa Rica:) very few children on this cruise - which is why we picked it but felt bad for the few on board. didn't spend enough time reading and lounging on deck 3. 5 hot tubs on deck 9. a memorable fun cruise with the one I love. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
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

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