7 Holland America Zuiderdam Expedition Cruise Reviews

Cabin - we like the plexiglass balconies on deck 4 aft of the lifeboats. Big balconies, close to MDR steps, no noises from below or from the elevators. The beds and pillows on HAL are my favorite. Plenty of storage space for the too, too ... Read More
Cabin - we like the plexiglass balconies on deck 4 aft of the lifeboats. Big balconies, close to MDR steps, no noises from below or from the elevators. The beds and pillows on HAL are my favorite. Plenty of storage space for the too, too many clothes we both brought. Meals - We ate most breakfasts in our room and always had coffee there. It was always, always delivered within the first few minutes of our time frame. We ate in the MDR every nite but one - went to the Caneletto then. The Lido was for lunch. Every meal was great. We had Anytime Dining and really enjoyed meeting new people. The first formal night there was a long line with many of us given pagers. It was annoying but only about a half hour wait. It never happened again. We made a reservation only one night. Entertainment - was the best I have seen on any cruise. The Zuiderdam singers and dancers were really talented and the shows were very well done. The costumes were striking and there were a lot of costume changes. The comedian was really funny and the steel drum band was quite good. Journey South played two nights and we liked them. We missed the magician and his dog "Indy" but I hear they were very good too. Mario in the Northern Lights lounge was a highlight. We enjoyed his music trivia and line dancing. Stryker in the piano bar was both a good singer and pianist. We only play video poker in the casino so I have no comments other than it's smokey. Cruise director, Dave, was the best CD we have ever had. His personality and professionalism are apparent from the first time he speaks. He really was terrific. The ports and excursions were all good. Highlights for us were the Panama Canal Experience and the Aerial Tram in the Rainforest. Snorkeling in Bonaire was excellent. Overall this was a great cruise. Any criticism about the Zuiderdam is unfounded as far as we could determine. She is a wonderful ship with a wonderful crew. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Took first cruise on the Holland America line and was generall very pleased. Food was excellent, service in the main dining room was very good, ship was clean, deck chairs were readily available, pool warm, entertainment excellent and ... Read More
Took first cruise on the Holland America line and was generall very pleased. Food was excellent, service in the main dining room was very good, ship was clean, deck chairs were readily available, pool warm, entertainment excellent and lectures by Brett and Microsoft workshops by Molly great. Having a daily Catholic mass on board was a plus. I did not try the spa,bingo, gym or art auctions. There is a great deal on laundry but no self-service machines. You can put all you can in a bag for $20! We had so much in it that I wondered how they got it out! However, the shops on board were way overpriced and the service in the Italian (reservations needed but no extra charge) restaurant was awful. It left us wondering if this is where the line trains their waiters. Salads were forgotten one night and bread another. Wine had to be ordered three times one night and two the other. That said, the worst rip off was the internet - slow and expensive. In Aruba there is a very cheap internet cafe right on the dock at the terminal. Wait and walk around town and do it later when there are no lines. I think it was $6 for 90 minutes! The ship charged $50 for less time. In terms of side trips: the travel through the whole Panama Canal was expensive ($149) but worth it if you have never done it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I heard lots of complaints about the lack of the Wow factor however the service, food,shows and ports of call more than made up for it. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the State rd. It took 10 minutes to get to the port and thanks ... Read More
I heard lots of complaints about the lack of the Wow factor however the service, food,shows and ports of call more than made up for it. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the State rd. It took 10 minutes to get to the port and thanks to All Star transport, we were picked up after the cruise within 5 minutes of our call. You need to be aware of the port charges (if not included in your charge) We paid over $500. each in port fees and taxes-quite a chunk. In addition there is a service charge of $11.00 per day per person-not a huge amount but it adds up. If you drink don't expect a hefty one. They carefully measure each drink to the tune of 4 to 6.50 each with a 15% gratuity added on. You are not permitted to carry on hard liquer but can take as much wine as you wish. The excurisions were good but for me I chose to stay on board during the actual canal trip. We actually saw more on the way out so we're glad we did it. We would do it again and loved the experience. The low point of course was deimbarkation which is always the case. Long lines, finding the luggage and getting your transportaion-however this one was well organized and efficient. Do at least one dinner in the Pinnicle and one in the Italian(free) restaurant. Our favorite was the zip line in Costa Rica. No matter what age you are you will love it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
As a seasoned cruise vacationer, I've come to the sad conclusion that Holland America, a self-proclaimed "Premium" cruiseline, unfortunately falls way short of it's mark. If you're expecting the Hilton, you're ... Read More
As a seasoned cruise vacationer, I've come to the sad conclusion that Holland America, a self-proclaimed "Premium" cruiseline, unfortunately falls way short of it's mark. If you're expecting the Hilton, you're likely to receive a Holiday Inn experience. Although many aspects of our recent cruise experience were delightful, such as the Vista Lounge entertainment, ports of call, shore excursions, and most planned ship-board activities, it is quite apparent that this company runs it's basic operations on a shoe-string budget, and is not considered a good value for the money. I attended this cruise in October 2011, along with my husband, and my elderly mother, with whom we shared our stateroom. After paying a hefty $3,000.00 for all 3 of us for our 11-day cruise to the Panama Canal & Central America, we found out that the cruise had later been discounted to many other guests at a rate of only $599.00 per person in order to "fill" the ship. Upon further inquiry with the ship's front desk, we were not offered any discounts, upgrades or incentives. Since there are so many comments to include, I've listed them in condensed bullets as follows: ~ There was a consistent, foul odor of sewage in some interior areas of the ship, which was very offensive. One of the elevators had a strong stench of urine! ~ The ship's architectural details were beautiful and elegant throughout, although age-worn and weather-beaten. The outdoor chaise lounges poolside at rear of ship were very dirty and worn. Upon our first visit to the Sports Bar, the vinyl covering on many chairs and sofas were very worn, cracked and peeling (although they were repaired and spray-painted by a maintenance person on the days following, out in the open public bar area during our cruise)! Other intrusive maintenance duties were also being performed during our cruise, such as power washing and painting, temporarily closing certain main areas of the ship, which annoyed and inconvenienced many guests. These operations should be conducted in-between sailings while the ship is not serving guests! ~ Although some crew members throughout were friendly and informative, many seemed apathetic and/or uninformed. The language barrier of the primarily Indonesian crew was tremendous (the worst I've ever encountered on a cruise), and we could not engage many in any in-depth conversation. In addition, each time we asked a passing staff member for directions to a particular event location on the ship, we received a different answer! ~ Our stateroom was spacious, clean with very comfortable bedding, although the bed for the third guest in our room--my elderly mother--was just a pull-out, cot-style bed. Our stateroom stewards were excellent, very efficient and accomodating as they could possibly be, but they could not provide an in-room clothing iron, and we needed a room fan since the A/C was not cool enough for our liking. ~ Food items in the Lido Buffet were fair-to-good at best, with unimpressive, limited, and repetitive utilization of ingredients and presentation. Instead of a traditional self-service buffet, we endured a demeaning soup-kitchen style of service for our main entrees, with meager portions being slung onto our plates. ~ "Cold" food items, such as seafood appetizers and salads, were served at room temperature. Most desserts were unimpressive and of institutional-quality, as you would find in the freezer section of your local grocer. ~ Guests are forced to traverse the entire Lido Buffet Dining Room, and back and forth to their table, in order to completely gather individual food and drink selections for each meal, as buffet serving trays are not provided! Many of the elderly and handicapped guests were very obviously annoyed with this. ~ Tables were not promptly cleaned between seatings in Lido Buffet Dining Room. Dishes and dirty ashtrays were a constant occurence at outdoor poolside deck tables. There were inadequate air-conditioning levels in the Lido Dining Room. ~ Food quality and presentation in the more formal Vista Dining Room was good-to-very good, but not outstanding. Service was very disorganized, and turned out to be a long, 2-hour ordeal to receive our full meal to it's fruition. In addition, with the Vista Dining Room location at the rear of the ship, we could feel and hear the tremendous rumble of the ship's engines beneath our feet---not very pleasant in a formal "5-Star" dining room setting! ~ Most specialty events were held during late evening hours, 9PM or later, after a long day of shore excursions, when everyone was too exhausted to attend! ~ We, as many other guests, were very disappointed in the quality of just one particular ship-board music venue, Amanda and the HalCats, who sang and performed top-40 style music in a very much off-key and amatuer manner, causing most of us in the audience to cringe! ~ Very limited indoor accomodations for smokers, with none for cigar smokers, except for the rear outdoor deck area. ~ Although many wonderful amenities were included in the cruise price, we've found exorbitant "nickel-and-dime" charges throughout the cruise for "extras" on board, such as a can of soda for $1.95 plus mandatory 15% gratuity, a $40 per day charge for use of the Hydro-Tub, and unreasonable charges for internet and cell phone use. When weighing the pros and cons of this particular cruise, I would not recommend Holland America Cruiseline if you have high expectations regarding daily operations and services. But, if you are willing to pay a premium price for this cruiseline and look past some or all of what we had endured on-board, then you'd probably enjoy the ports of call and shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
The Holland America Zeiderdam is comparably smaller than our previous cruises, which made it much more comfortable to get around. Due to the size it also limited the activities that were offered. The majority of the passengers were older ... Read More
The Holland America Zeiderdam is comparably smaller than our previous cruises, which made it much more comfortable to get around. Due to the size it also limited the activities that were offered. The majority of the passengers were older than 60 years and there were only a handful of small children aboard. The food was good but not good enough to want seconds and contrary to most rumors, the dessert were OK. I personally had ice cream when I wanted dessert. All food service closes at 10 pm and there is not even drinks available later during the night. The customer service was lacking in attention. The one bright enjoyment was the digital seminars held free of charge on board by a certified Microsoft expert, 12 in total. He was superb. The night life on board is also lacking much. If you want a comfortable cruise with no excitement on board this is the cruise for you, but if you want some excitement particularly on the sea days, I would suggest you go with another cruise line. A plus was DVD movies were available for free to view in your room and return in 24 hours. Also there were numerous computers available in the library, which was one of the most beautiful I have seen on a ship and the best organized. The entire deck level with the library included a full liquor bar, and coffee bar, a wrap around observation area with reclining chairs. This was indeed a most relaxing area. Our cabin was on deck 8 (8028)with a veranda. We had a tub and a great shower. There was small spaces for personal items. Under the bed however were drawers to also space for suitcases. We also had a flat screen TV with good reception. The lights were a challenge. Overall the cabin was equal to others we had been. "The noise level was very low from the hallway. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Accommodations ashore were in the Westmarks, a chain of hotels of varying quality cobbled together by Holland America ranging from a suite at the Westmark Fairbanks to the Westmark BeaverCreek (which had only single beds that could not be ... Read More
Accommodations ashore were in the Westmarks, a chain of hotels of varying quality cobbled together by Holland America ranging from a suite at the Westmark Fairbanks to the Westmark BeaverCreek (which had only single beds that could not be moved together). Given that BeaverCreek is little more than a dot on the Yukon map, a short chunk of solid land surrounded by bog, no complaints. Accommodation aboard for the 4-day cruise portion was an inside cabin with a California-King sized bed that almost filled the room from wall to wall. For meals ashore and aboard the train, one can purchase meal tickets from HA or go it alone. We went it alone, paid for two great meals on the train, breakfast and dinner, a buffet breakfast at our Denali lodgings, and a superb gourmet meal at the SalmonBake in Denali. Best deal in WhiteHorse is the bbq chicken from the WalMart next door to the hotel. Included in the tour price (and well worth it) were a gourmet meal at the Westmark Tok, a fun supper with entertainment at the Westmark Beaver Creek, and a miners stew for lunch in Fairbanks. Aboard the Zuiderdam, plenty of variety in the food, including a venison steak at dinner, and baked alaska every night. We ate fish and chips ashore in Ketchican and are happy we did (try the green hut on the pier). Our companions on the bus and train were mainly in their sixties and our tour guide must consider herself lucky we were such a harmonious bunch. As for the scenery, we took a thousand thousand-words worth of photos. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Our December cruise on the Zuiderdam was our third, all on Holland America ships. The first two were on the Eurodam. My wife is in her mid 60s and I am 71. We are generally fit, like to visit new destinations and we enjoy meeting other ... Read More
Our December cruise on the Zuiderdam was our third, all on Holland America ships. The first two were on the Eurodam. My wife is in her mid 60s and I am 71. We are generally fit, like to visit new destinations and we enjoy meeting other travelers. On this cruise, we traveled with two cousins. Unfortunately, the cruise got off to a bit of a rough start as the Zuiderdam was late getting back into Port Everglades from its previous cruise. When we arrived at the ship at about 11 am, we found passengers from the previous cruise still disembarking. Apparently, the ship had had a mechanical problem the night before. This, of course, caused long lines and delayed embarkation. Surprisingly, however, luggage was in our rooms by around 4pm and the ship was only delayed in sailing by an hour or two. We found the Zuiderdam to be showing its age a bit - at least compared to the newer Eurodam. Rubberized flooring around the central pool had a few stains that apparently can not be removed and there was the occasional spot of rust. Wall coverings are getting a bit tired and in our cousin's room the refrigerator failed early in the cruise. The deck crew, however, was constantly on the job of polishing and repainting. We found the ship's crew as hard working and pleasant as always on Holland America. Our room stewards were delightful. However, drink service at both the main dining room and at the Crow's Nest during happy hours was a bit slow and appeared understaffed. Ships' officers were very involved with the cruise. I saw the captain almost as much as I saw my wife - well, not quite. The recent requirement that ship's staff must serve coffee, soft drinks and desserts (rather than self service) at the Lido Restaurant for the first two or three days of the cruise for health reasons took a bit of getting used to but when it reverted, lines were shorter. The only disappointment of the cruise occurred at the Panama Canal portion. Due to exceedingly heavy rains recently in Panama, day tours had to be cancelled due to flooded roads and that night the brief port call at Colon was cancelled because of heave winds off the Caribbean. We did get through the locks to Gatun Lake although the Canal had been closed completely the day before. Meals, as usual, were excellent. We dined most nights in the Vista dining room and enjoy getting dressed up for the formal nights - something we don't do at home. I even went so far as to buy a tux for this cruise (JC Penny has a great price on worsted wool tuxes). I figure I'll be able to save on rental costs for future cruises. Although there were four of us in our party, we usually asked for larger tables as that gave us the opportunity to meet other cruisers - most of whom we found informative and delightful to talk with. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
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

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