1 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - All

Let’s start with the basics: this is an old ship with old décor and design badly in need of full dry dock rehab, and a very old clientele (mostly 60-80 age). If this is your cup of tea, then this is your ship. For perspective on our ... Read More
Let’s start with the basics: this is an old ship with old décor and design badly in need of full dry dock rehab, and a very old clientele (mostly 60-80 age). If this is your cup of tea, then this is your ship. For perspective on our experience, we have cruised on Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, RCL, Viking and Seaborne cruise lines. This was our first with HAL and unfortunately, it’s one and done. First the good, and it’s short. The entire ship’s crew, from the cabin stewards, to the waiters and bartenders, to the maintenance crew were some of the best I’ve seen. Their attention to making your voyage memorable through their service was outstanding. Our waiters at table #50 (Libre and Oka) were wonderful and kept us entertained with magic and conversation while providing excellent service. Secondly, the food in the dining room, specialty restaurants and buffet Lido deck was good to excellent. Thirdly, I ordered a bottle of liquor (gin) for $37 for cabin consumption and was surprised to see that it was a full liter bottle with three cans of mixer---an excellent value. Fourthly, excursions from HAL were a good experience as well. Our “villa” rental on Half Moon Cay was worth the money. Not much to do on Aruba so rented a taxi and went to Eagle beach. Took the “Native Village” tour in Panama and that was interesting. In Costa Rica we took the 7 hour “Adrenaline Rush Zip Line Rain Forest” tour and it was excellent---11 zip lines, very safe as someone like me who’s afraid of heights can attest. Great bus guide (Ray) who provided interesting history and facts about the country as we rolled along to and from the rain forest. Now the bad. As I stated, this line caters to a much older crowd, 60s – 80s. We are in our late 60s and very active so we were taken aback by the number of walkers and scooter chairs on this cruise. At each stop, some passenger(s) were being offloaded for medical treatment on shore. We even had to make an unscheduled emergency stop at Grand Cayman at 10 PM to offload a critically ill passenger. It would appear from the repeat business of this older crowd that they are not bothered by some of the things I am about to critique. As mentioned, this ship is old, worn and showing its age compared to the other cruise line ships we’ve been on. Walls are marred in places, furniture and fixtures in public areas and cabins are in bad need of updating as is the color scheme. We attended a movie in the “Screening Room” and the sound system was so bad, I couldn’t hear the dialogue and walked out. It also has very few seats which fill up half an hour before the movie starts. Our cabin stewards (Rizal and Roni) kept our room impeccable and seemed invisible as they cleaned and made up our room during the times we were absent. Unfortunately our cabin and hallway on deck 8 smelled of sewage several afternoons. Also, the doors on the Lido deck above us are left open and as our cabin (8068) was next to the elevators and stairs, the hot air from the pool area kept our hall directly outside our cabin hot and humid. The AC seems to be in need of upgrading in several areas of the ship (more below) as it was uncomfortably warm in the Lido buffet as well. We ate in the two specialty restaurants and the food and service were excellent and worth the surcharge. Unfortunately, the Canaletto Italian restaurant is partitioned off at the doors to the Lido buffet and the doors are open to the hot, humid air from the pool area. We (9 of us) were all sweating by the time the main course arrived and the heat totally ruined our meal. I don’t recommend you eat here for this reason. The Pinnacle restaurant was excellent, cool, and worth the surcharge. As for the ship’s entertainment, it proved to be the worst of any cruise we’ve been on except for a European river cruise which has no evening entertainment. The German juggler was funny and excellent as was the Island Magic Steel Band. The other nights had a so-so magician and 3 nights of the HAL “singers and dancers”. The singers and dancers are contracted by HAL from a New York City talent group which must specialize in supplying very inexpensive entertainment to cruise ships as these, albeit hard working, singers and dancers were NOT ready for prime time. The singers especially would not make it past the first round of America’s Got Talent. Sorry but that was the consensus. So in summary, our first cruise on HAL was not up to expectations and we will not be cruising again with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
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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