5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff ... Read More
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff "Herman" any time dining located on floor 2, Herman was a wonderful server with a big smile, very helpful and tentative to me, the bartenders were wonderful. The candy man who was the greeter he always had a smile. The pasties were delicious and nicely displayed; Oliver in the bar was excellent he knew what I wanted to drink before sitting down. Oliver works in the Crows Nest. The towel staff and the pool area was supreme. The piano bar and BB King great music and dancing all night long. I learned a lot during the cooking demonstration well presented and demonstrated. The crew members who help you on and off the ship are great. The photographer Andrew was wonderful and Wayne in the Jewelry shop was full of hugs and smiles. Sung who worked in the perfume store beautiful girl. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
Embarkation was a breeze. With three ships at Canada Place, the line for security was long--but moved very steadily. That served to space out people so that there were no delays for US Customs and Immigration, nor for check-in. Once we ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze. With three ships at Canada Place, the line for security was long--but moved very steadily. That served to space out people so that there were no delays for US Customs and Immigration, nor for check-in. Once we were through security, there were no further lineups before we got to our suite. The Mariner's luncheon in the dining room was very quiet, and set a nice tone for the week.Our Cabin was a Neptune Suite (7067) directly across from the Lounge. We could not have been more pleased with it. Spacious and bright during the day, but with effective blackout curtains not only on the windows, but also between the cabin and the dressing area (very useful when one of you is an early riser and the other is not!). Our cabin stewards, Bayu and Sodiq, attended to us promptly and well. The laundry stewards took care of our clothes speedily and accurately.For dining, we opted for fixed seating--as is our wont--and received extraordinary service from Wayan and Heri (our waiter and assistant waiter) and Arnold (our wine steward). I had availed myself of the opportunity to bring half a case of wine on board, and took four bottles down on the first night. Arnold managed them faultlessly.The quality of the food in the Dining Room was absolutely first rate. I persuaded our table companions that one never goes wrong ordering the chilled soups on HAL, and they all confirmed that my advice on the subject was sound! Not one disappointment in all of the meals taken in the main dining room.The Lido was less successful. While food options were many, and plentiful, most of the choices were uninspired. The sushi at the Asian station was downright insipid. The best options on the Lido seemed to be the Deli for very good sandwiches, and the Salad bar. Ultimately, the number of people, and general atmosphere makes the Lido my least favourite place to eat. (However, the cinnamon ice cream on Day 3 was a very yummy treat!)The Pinnacle was impeccable, but service at breakfast tended to being somewhat stiff. So much so that the last two mornings we opted to breakfast in the Main Dining Room instead, and enjoyed it more, given that we had table mates, rather than breakfasting at a table for two).We only ordered Room Service twice--once for breakfast on the first full day (when the Pinnacle was not yet open for breakfast), and once for hot and cold canapes before the first formal night). The breakfast order was missing an entire breakfast (mine), but fortunately I was able to pop across to the Pinnacle for a perfect substitute. The canapes were delivered absolutely on the dot, with the hot ones hot, and the cold ones cold, and were well received by us and our guests.The dinner at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle was flawless--but excruciatingly slow. Given that these items must be made to order, the service can never match the speed of the Dining Room, but it was still remarkable for the length of time between courses.We booked two shore excursions but alas, the first had to be cancelled since the seas in Auke Bay were too rough for the whale watching. The Mushers Camp and Sled Dog Encounter in Skagway was so good that it rivals Glacier Bay for the high point of our cruise. (Confound them for counting the puppies before letting us handle them!)I booked a pass for the Thermal Suites and made use of it every day after my workout. Only once did I find the thermal suite full, and then, no longer then it took me to start in the steam room. The hydro pool never had more than four people. Very much my own space when I used it. The Fitness Centre was well equipped, and I never had to wait for a treadmill, even on sea days.Entertainment in the bars was very good, particularly fine was the duo Allegro (violin and piano) who played nightly in the Explorer's Lounge.However, there were some aspects which did not get a 9 on our surveys.Entertainment in the Vista Lounge was more of a mixed bag. The first night was, frankly, dreadful. The musicians weren't even playing, it was patently obvious that it was prerecorded track, and the staging was very poor. The first night is a tough object--trying to put all of the ship's musicians, plus the singing and dancing cast on stage is a staging and technical nightmare--but you have to do it well, because this is the first impression that passengers will have. It needs a serious rethink.The two production shows fared much better--but still suffered because some of the lighting instruments were improperly focussed (or had settled in their yokes) meaning that there were big holes in the lighting design. Sound balance was pretty awful, too. The guest artists were all very entertaining, though.By far the most unpleasant element of the cruise was the incessant push on retail sale of jewellery. I am not so foolish as to misunderstand how important the retail real estate is to HAL's bottom line. But I cannot count the number of "promotions" and "invitations" that turned up in our mailbox to jewellery sales and events. And when we did go through the shops (which was unavoidable when in transit from late seating dinner to the show lounge), there was hardly anything else for sale. Not one camera, no camera accessories. No electronics. One tiny corner of duty free, and an even smaller corner of convenience items, a small perfumerie, and the rest was wall-to-wall jewellery and watches. (And just to demonstrate the fantasy that is shipboard pricing, one of our table companions was admiring a ring with a sticker price of $9,000 and was immediately told, "But for you, $3,000.")The Vista class ships are not our favourites--we remain firm fans of the R-class ships. Placing the public decks between the decks of accommodation means shorter travel time to and from whatever activities one wants to get up to. It maximizes the number of balconies, to be sure, but makes the vessel less of a ship and more of a floating hotel.But what does it matter whether or not one loves the ships when you receive service like this! And for all my complaints about jewellery sales, and poor lighting design in the show lounge, I would return to the Zuiderdam with nary a second thought! __________________ Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Going to keep this short and rate 1-9 just as HAL request. 1. Parking Port Everglades - Park & Go. $64 for 10 nights. Score 9. 2. Embarkation. Score 9. 3. Stateroom - Booked a Guarantee and got VA 8035 on Deck 8. Suffered from ... Read More
Going to keep this short and rate 1-9 just as HAL request. 1. Parking Port Everglades - Park & Go. $64 for 10 nights. Score 9. 2. Embarkation. Score 9. 3. Stateroom - Booked a Guarantee and got VA 8035 on Deck 8. Suffered from smokers as is the usual HAL problem. There were a group on the bump out that seemed to spend hours out there lighting up and despite the speed of the ship you could always smell the smoke. Cabin kept spotless by the two guys.If you like to watch TV don't bother and although they havea DVD player take your own discs. Score 9. 4. Vista Dining Room. Used the open seating in the Vista Dining room. The system they use is very complex and you can only book three nights ahead. If you do not book there will be lines at peak times. Score 6. 5. Food in the Vista. Score 7. My wife had the smallest piece of salmon we had ever seen and a steak I ordered well done came dark on the outside and full of blood inside. Score 7. 6. Pinnacle Dining Room. OK probably not $50 worth. Score 7. 7. Canaletto's. As it was free hard to get a table at peak times. Score 8. 8. Lido Grille. Ok Score 7. 9. Fitness center, two or three treadmills always faulty one in particular had a loose belt that was very shiny and dangerous. Staff there seemed not to care. Score 5. 10.Photographers. Constant battle to get passed them which is ok but I object to the way they block the walkway when you are trying to go ashore. Photo's look average quality but are top price. Score 1. 11. Shows - some of the same old Score 5. 12. Ships crew - some of the most friendly people I have ever met, most were very good at their jobs and those that were not smiled and laughed with you so got away with it. When booking a cruise I look at ports of call, cost, then for HAL crew. I told someone on board that I think there are better ships than those HAL operate but not a better crew. 13. Sun decks. Sunbeds are filthy, many are broken and ready for the trash. 14. Half Moon Cay. Always love the place, the sand is spotless or the water There is much I have probably missed but I would like to say that having been on Zuiderdam twice it is looking tired and in need of a re-fit. I understand that it may be in dry dock February 2012. Hate the amount of smoking on HAL ships but love the crew. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
[I read a disgruntled cruiser's review of this same trip and I feel like we were on 2 separate planets. Don't know how it could be, but our experience was So different!] We were expecting a good experience on HAL's ... Read More
[I read a disgruntled cruiser's review of this same trip and I feel like we were on 2 separate planets. Don't know how it could be, but our experience was So different!] We were expecting a good experience on HAL's Zuiderdam to the Inside Passage, but our cruise exceeded expectations in every way: PEOPLE: I've never seen such a group of smiling, helpful and friendly people anywhere. Cabin stewards were exceptional as were waiters, tour guides, front desk people -- and the great, informative tour guide (Shane) and Captain Timmers. I hope for equally helpful staff members on future cruises. CABIN: Gorgeous, beautifully kept and immaculate at all times. Couldn't have been better (we had a large balcony and spent a lot of time on it.) LIDO BUFFETS: We had excellent food and great service here. Would gladly return -- I'm diabetic and I very much appreciated the low carb foods and no-sugar-added desserts -- delicious and guilt-free! VISTA DINING ROOM: Had great food and nice service. Only exception was the last night when the staff was distracted by doing a "show" while serving -- this delayed service noticeably. Nice thought, tho. CANALETTO: This was the only place we had mediocre food -- 2 entres were tasteless. I'd focus some attention here, Zuiderdam. PINNACLE GRILL: Fantastic. My husband's salmon was "the best piece of fish I've ever eaten" (and he eats LOTS of fish) and my beef was fork-tender. Super. ROOM SERVICE: Just great. We ordered our breakfast ("eggbeater" omelettes, oatmeal, muffins, etc.) and everything was hot and delicious. FOOD Altogether: I wish I could have brought them home! PUBLIC AREAS: very nice. A previous reviewer complained of these facilities but I can't agree. The ship was beautiful and impressive. We went on a "behind the scenes" tour of the whole facility and were impressed at the scrupulous cleanliness of galleys, storage rooms, etc. They recycle everything they can. DIDN'T USE: casino, bars (much) or spa. NATURE GUIDES AND EXPERIENCES: Top notch and greatly exceeded expectations! WOULD DO AGAIN IN AN INSTANT! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2011
[A previous reviewer was WAY down on this ship, apparently cruising within a week or two of our cruise. We can't imagine how their experience could have been so diametrically opposed to ours. Read on . . .] Boarding the Zuiderdam ... Read More
[A previous reviewer was WAY down on this ship, apparently cruising within a week or two of our cruise. We can't imagine how their experience could have been so diametrically opposed to ours. Read on . . .] Boarding the Zuiderdam in Vancouver, we had taken several hours to evaluate this lovely ship from the docks, and we were impressed. Our high marks for the ship itself and their remarkably helpful and friendly staff were equalled by a fortunate selection of shore excursions (well, 2 out of 3) and we will definitely cruise with HAL again. Hopefully soon! EMBARKING VANCOUVER: customs lines are the same everywhere, but moved quickly. WELCOME: Friendly, helpful staff members were placed everywhere, luggage in room quickly, lots of info in printed form on bed for quick orientation. STATEROOM: can't say enough about this lovely (deluxe verandah) room. Spotless, nicely decorated, great touches like umbrella (didn't need, fortunately) and binoculars in room, bed HUGE and very, very comfy. ROOM STEWARDS: Ohmygosh, the joke that if you get up to use the bathroom at night, you'll return to a re-made bed seemed close to the truth. These smiling, ever-helpful guys could not have been better. Made every effort to tidy up when we were elsewhere--left little goodies. Wish I could have brought them home! EXERCISE FACILITY: beautiful; seemed about the right size for this ship as you rarely had to wait long for a machine. Great classes. ROOM SERVICE: wonderful. We had Eggbeater omelets every morning and they were delicious (and I'm picky) and hot upon arrival, always arriving in the time slot we requested. Seemed that if they were unsure about exactly what item you wanted, they sent both! LIDO BUFFETS: We had great experiences here -- quality, fresh, beautiful foods. Salad greens were crisp, many salad-bar add-ons, fresh fruit, etc. I'm diabetic and I was delighted to find many entrees I could eat and a variety of "no sugar added" desserts at every meal. Cruise was too short to try it all! And the staff was ever-present and always smiling. Also fresh coffee and iced tea, snacks all day long. CANALETTO: This was the only mediocre meal we had; antipasto was beautiful and delicious but the entrees were bland. Staff went out, however, to find me a no-sugar-added dessert when asked, cheerfully. VISTA DINING ROOM: Excellent food, attentive staff, what's not to like? However, the last night the staff planned a "show" for the diners and it delayed service significantly -- I would have preferred less dancing and faster service! PINNACLE GRILL: equalled any fine restaurant we've been to, and we've been to a lot. My beef was fork-tender and cooked as ordered and my husband's salmon was as good as he's had anywhere, he said. Will go here several times next cruise. SHOWS: nicely amusing and well-performed. Let's face it, this is not Broadway, but the performers are excellent and the shows about an hour long. STAFF: remarkable, unfailingly smiling and helpful. Cruise director (Shane Michaels) was a riot -- don't miss every morning "Good Morning Zuiderdam" show on closed-circuit tv. Captain (Werner Timmers) very personable and tolerant -- good sense of humor. Dining facility staff and room stewards just great! Shore excursion people helpful as can be. WINE TASTING and FOOD DEMOS: excellent. Will do again. BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR: This was fantastic. Expensive but we loved it. Went on the BRIDGE, to the galleys, monitoring center for mechanical functions, saw trash-sorting-for-recycling area (who'da thought?), etc. BARS,ETC: just like bars! NEPTUNE LOUNGE: special for suite-occupants -- nice help with ordering items, goodies to munch and coffee/tea/?wine?, etc. available. Didn't really need it much as so much was available elsewhere on the ship. DIDN'T PARTAKE of: EXPLORER LOUNGE (new Starbucks-like coffee shop)--it looked interesting but was very busy everytime we looked. Also didn't partake: spa, casino, children's facilities, beauty salon, stores (much), snack bars on deck. PUBLIC AREAS; (slammed in former review) while not brand-new they are scrupulously maintained and attractive. As I'd expect on a premium ship. SHORE EXCURSIONS: See below: Juneau: huge pods of both orcas and humpback whales. Do this! Skagway Railroad was well worth it; gorgeous views. Ketchikan: would not recommend the 4-wheel drive. Lots of hard bumps and no views to make them worthwhile. All towns are heavily touristy -- but I figure people must like this to support them so much -- but we didn't shop in those places. VIEWS, NATURALISTS, SURROUNDINGS, ETC: Life-changingly inspirational. Just incredible. To see so much land undisturbed by humans was eye-popping! Lots and lots of wildlife viewed--whales, bald eagles, 1 bear, sea lions, mountain goats, otters, owl, puffins, glaciers calving. Just remarkable. HOLLAND AMERICAN WILL BE MY CRUISE LINE WHENEVER POSSIBLE, AS THEIR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY IS OBVIOUS AND THEY SPOILED US FROM START TO FINISH. Their managers must be excellent because you don't get such a smooth-running, people-oriented, quality service without great management. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
I loved the cruise not just because the night before sailing we were upgraded from SS guarantee (small suite) to SA (big suite with perks). The ship's brass plate said 2002 but the ship could have just been christened, considering ... Read More
I loved the cruise not just because the night before sailing we were upgraded from SS guarantee (small suite) to SA (big suite with perks). The ship's brass plate said 2002 but the ship could have just been christened, considering the cleanliness and maintenance level. As usual, the HAL staff was friendly and efficient. I've posted details elsewhere on cruise critic about a Half Moon Cay adventure, casino, costa rica and the "explore the zuiderdam" tour. These were high points. We had room service breakfast daily, as we did on a previous HAL in a smaller cabin. You can add items to the breakfast door hanger, and they arrive, at least our pancakes, eggs benedict and apple juice did, all on time and hot. Good service at dinner, but a dinner for six can take two hours. One of our party wanted hummus at dinner, and it wasn't immediately available but appeared the next night and every other night, even if we were at a different table. Mid morning was at the gym. Some folks jogged early on deck 3, but I'm not an early riser. The gym has precor treadmills and cybex machines. didn't use spa but overheard their infomercials. We liked the dancers on board. Some of them gave group dance lessons, like salsa. A young string quartet from Kiev was charming. the computer classes were useful and well attended, focused on photos and windows 7. fifteen laptops to follow along with the instructor Trevor. This was our HAL trip #10 (two others on Regent) and by now we are about median age for most HAL cruises. (66 and 62). We are likely to cruise HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
The Zuiderdam has been receiving a bum rap lately. Based on my recent Holiday cruise, the old girl deserved a better grade than some recent cruisers had given her. Sure, the old girl's makeup needed a few touch-ups here and there, and ... Read More
The Zuiderdam has been receiving a bum rap lately. Based on my recent Holiday cruise, the old girl deserved a better grade than some recent cruisers had given her. Sure, the old girl's makeup needed a few touch-ups here and there, and if you had come aboard with a negative attitude to find fault with everything, you could find a few faults, but you would be nitpicking from my point of view. I had read most of the recent reviews about the Zuiderdam and had a limited concern I may have booked on the wrong ship. I had sailed on the Zuiderdam back in January 2003, and remembered how great it looked when it was fairly new. However, I stepped aboard the Zuiderdam on December 23, 2010 for a 10-day cruise with a positive attitude to have a good time and enjoy what cruising is all about. I would not be disappointed. After dropping our luggage off at curbside, I parked the car at about 12:50, and within an hour we had moved through a short boarding line, even though the ship was fully booked, had checked in, and we were in our cabin. Once in the cabin, it was spotless, the cabin steward, Rudy, stopped by to introduce himself and inquire if we needed anything to make our stay more enjoyable. High marks for Rudy, and his partner, Diding, whom together, gave us excellent cabin service each day. We had booked a superior cabin on the Navigation deck, mid-ship and we were not disappointed in the cabin or the location. The balcony was large, with a table and two chairs for outside dining and two lounge chairs with ottomans for napping and reading. However, I think my next cruise on a HAL ship; I will book a deluxe cabin, just for the step-up in the onboard amenities. By two o'clock we walked the one deck up to the Lido for lunch. I was impressed with the selections and service. My first selection was soup, wow, it was great, and too, the sliced rye bread I had the server put on my plate. Next I had a salad, giving that high marks too. The soups served each day were wonderful in taste and each day the selections were different. The breads and pastries served each day were always good. After enjoying our lunch, and a quick walkabout to scout out the dancing locations, we returned to the cabin, it was 3:30, and our luggage was arriving within two minutes. Now that was quick luggage service. Once the ship passed the sea marker at Ft. Lauderdale, the ship started its rocking and rolling when it traveled through the choppy Gulf Stream waters. The motion got the best of my shipmate, and I had to go to the front desk and get some sea calm medicine. We had to pass on dinner in the dining room that first night at sea. When Bev felt better we went to the Lido for a bite to eat, however, the cafeteria line had closed by that time. But once a Lido supervisor found out Bev had been sick, but feeling better, and needed something to eat, he made it a point to find some food for her. High marks for the Lido crew. We had breakfast and lunch each day in the Lido, and each day the soups were great, the food choices numerous, including a good daily choice of sushi items. Whatever we had, tasted great. We also had dinner twice in the Lido area, also receiving high marks for service, selections and taste. We had dinner one night in the Canaletto, a separate dining area in the Lido during the evening meal, by reservations only and at no extra charge. The Canaletto served mostly Italian specialty dishes, with lots of garlic. Again, high marks for the Canaletto for service and food. On New Year's Eve, which was a formal dress night, we had dinner reservations for the Pinnacle Grill, the ship's specialty restaurant, reservations only, including a surcharge for the dining experience. The meal, served tableside, was excellent, and the ambiance of the room enhanced the special evening. The ship had a gala New Year's Eve party in the Vista Lounge, with dancing and plenty of champagne being served by the ship's crew. I was in the casino at midnight, and champagne was being served in that room also. As it was a Holiday cruise, the ship had four formal nights during the 10-day cruise. On a formal night in the dining room, it was Christmas dinner night, a couple joined our table, and the guy was wearing a T-shirt and a baseball cap. Leaving the baseball cap on his head during the entire time he sat at the table. I really think wearing baseball caps should be forbidden in the dining room during the evening meal, especially on formal dining nights. We enjoyed dancing in the Ocean Bar during happy hour, prior to going to dinner. The ship had a happy hour drink price each night, at different bar locations, where the second drink is only one buck. Good deal, however, happy hour was usually just that, for one hour on the special drink prices. The house band played in the Queen's Lounge on a few evenings, the lounge has a good sized dance floor, but the floor was extremely slippery for kick-up-your-heels dancing. The ship had a good-time BBQ party on the Lido pool deck one night, with the band playing some good dance music. It was a perfect night for outdoor dining and dancing. We sat with a couple who traveled to Marco Island, FL each year for their wedding anniversary. I had lived on Marco for 16-years, so I gave them a list of fun places to dine and dance when next on Marco Island. The Captain held a brunch during the cruise for the Mariners club members; it was an excellent meal with good wine served during the meal. I was seated next to a lady who had lived in an area just outside Washington, DC, named Cabin John, Maryland, and nearby Glen Echo Heights, places where I had lived for a short time when a young boy. (Late 1930s) It was great fun to chat with the elder lady about places and things we had both enjoyed in the Washington area, and too, the old Glen Echo amusement park. Small world and all that. We spent time in the casino each evening, and during the day when the ship was at sea. You can use your room card key to charge your house account when playing the slots. Be careful doing that. I lost track as to how much I was charging to my house account and was somewhat surprised as to the final casino charge on my bill. However, it was a fun game, but lady luck was not with me on this cruise. In summary, go aboard the Zuiderdam with a positive attitude and you will have a great time, and too, meet new friends and reminisce about the good old days. You will always find a few passengers on board who complain about everything, and a few passengers who have special status, or so they think, and ship rules do not apply to them. Ignoring the dress code for the evening, not wearing shoes or cover-ups when going into the Lido for food in dripping swim suits. The crew kept the ship clean at all times. Would I cruise again on the Zuiderdam, yes would be the answer. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
A few recollections and reflections. The bad ones first. The ships low ceilings and color selections gave the impression of oldness and tightness. The staterooms were clean and were kept that way throughout the voyage. The condition ... Read More
A few recollections and reflections. The bad ones first. The ships low ceilings and color selections gave the impression of oldness and tightness. The staterooms were clean and were kept that way throughout the voyage. The condition of the furniture was another thing. The sofa bed and vanity chair were scratched worn and stained. The hair dryer, vanity lighting and shower curtain did not come up to par, all need to be improved. Room service was always on time but you had to keep an open mind. We never received our order the way we wrote it out on any of our 10 days. The good memories far outweigh the bad. The fact that you can bring your own wine on board for a drink or two before dinner sets a good mood. The ice cream bar makes every meal and snack a pleasure. There are not enough words to describe the beauty of Half Moon Cay. The pavilion set up along with the beauty of the water and sand should get a 5 rating. An extra day on this stop would have been great. The ships cruise director and entertainment were very good, better than other cruise lines we have been on. The Steel Drum Quartet was exceptionally good. The ships library, internet facilities , movie theatre and gym were a pleasure to use and were far superior to the same services on other cruise ships we have traveled on. The sail away events on the Lido pool deck were enjoyable and added to the ambiance of the Caribbean. It would be nice if a schedule of daily events was posted near the most active elevator areas such as near the lido restaurant. It would save many a trip back to the room. Many suggestions listed in Cruise Critic were used. (night light, wall plug extension, clothes pins, duct tape, and extra dollar bills) Our best memories are of the crew and people we met on the cruise. All the good things on the ship seemed to bring out a good attitude from the crew and passengers. Read Less
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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