Sail Date: February 2012
I was pleasantly surprised at the organization of 1900+ passengers in little time. The staff was very pleasant, and remained so during our entire trip. The staff was constantly cleaning SOMETHING - even taking dental floss to the ... Read More
I was pleasantly surprised at the organization of 1900+ passengers in little time. The staff was very pleasant, and remained so during our entire trip. The staff was constantly cleaning SOMETHING - even taking dental floss to the handrails to get in the tiny areas. Only had one issue - the refrigerator. It didn't work for the first six days. We called the first two, then started visiting the front desk. Finally a mechanic showed up that did not speak any English (the only thing he did was turn down our room thermostat to the coldest setting ?!?). We finally went down to the front desk again and asked to speak to a manager (which we had to ask several times before the clerk got the hint). The manager spoke English very well - and was quite upset with the way our case had been handled (although we had been calling, it wasn't considered a 'complaint' - huh ? We wouldn't call to tell you it's working, have a nice day). The non-English speaking mechanic came back again within 2 hours and replaced the refrigerator with a working one. Problem solved - and should have been handled the FRIST day, not the SIXTH. And yes, he turned down our room thermostat to freezing again. The food - prepare yourself for a feast ! The food is delicious, wonderful and non-stop. I didn't have one bad meal. My husband only complained of one - and that was a burger that seemed to be of the frozen variety at the grill. Everything else seemed to be super fresh. The spa/gym - we took advantage of a special they offered, and it was great (for me at least) - my masseuse was friendly, my husband's was not. We also couldn't get into the sauna due to too many other guests using it at the time. I took advantage of the gym - only TWO elliptical machines ? PLEASE ! I DID use the arc trainer & they worked well, as no matter WHAT time I went - I could never get one of the ellipticals (even at 6AM open). Entertainment - take advantage of the specials & shows for a laugh ! Island Magic is fantastic (Steel Drum band) Charlie Jourdan (acoustic guitar) various comedy shows. Also the theatre is nice for a movie (it IS small - go early !) the chairs are HUGE and overstuffed. Excursions - very nice ! All were well organized & professional (that WE were on - we did hear of some that DIDN'T go well) We especially liked Half Moon Cay & Curacao. 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: 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
We are experienced cruisers (3 in the last 5 months alone) in our early 60's and even for us, this was more like visiting a nursing home than a vacation. During the first 48 hours, they insisted on serving us in the Lido under ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers (3 in the last 5 months alone) in our early 60's and even for us, this was more like visiting a nursing home than a vacation. During the first 48 hours, they insisted on serving us in the Lido under the guise of protecting us from germs. I suspect it had more to do with doling out the food to save the cruise line money. They dropped the habit when we arrrived at Aruba and brought on all new germs. During this time, they were constantly out of stables: decaf coffee, regular coffee, tea, sugar, etc. I finally asked an officer if anyone had told them we were coming on board and if they were prepared for us. He replied that they were, but hadn't had time to unpack the food they have brought on board. I think that was because all the waiters were standing there handing us small juice glasses of liquid to keep us from overdoing it. It seemed very cheap on the cruise line's part to bar us from the food and drink. In the dining room the service and food were both awful. The food was bland; suitable for a nursing home, not a cruise. Nothing had any taste to it! The desert with half a pear in it, for instance, had three small slivers of pear in it only an inch long and a quarter inch wide. The pasta with cilantro had no cilantro in it. We ordered ribs and got slabs of meat that didn't resemble ribs in anyway; there were no bones in the ribs. Often the description didn't even vaguely match what was served. Twice, it took more than 30 minutes to get our entree after being served the appetizer and salad very quickly. One man walked out after waiting a long time and went to the Lido to get something to eat. When I asked an officer why it was taking so long, he replied that we were being served in European dining style. It found that ironic since we were in Central America and no one was European. It was a lame excuse to try to cover for problems in the kitchen. Holland America caters to an older crowd and that's what you get on their cruises! People are on walkers, scooters, oxygen, and canes. One man told us at lunch that he was dying of cancer and put his head down on the table (to die right there?). Three times during the cruise there were emergency announcements asking the stretcher crew to show up at different room numbers. Since everyone was so sick and feeble, the whole place shut down at 9:00 PM. The entertainment director and deck attendants spent more time keeping everyone vertical and off the floor than playing at anything. It was really sad. If you are old and want someplace to fit in, then Holland America is for you! You can hang out with other old people all complaining about everything. But if you are still breathing and can handle standing alone without assistance and want a little flavor in your food, go with anyone else. This is not the cruise for you. One final note: we booked an inside cabin for $800/pr. Usually we book directly with the cruise line. About a week after we booked the room, Holland America dropped the price on verrandas to $630/pr. We weren't able to negiotate much with them and only got upgraded to an outside room. Our experience with other cruise lines is that if you book early and they drop the price, they will give you the lower price if you ask for it. 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 2010
Embarkation: Embarkation was going smoothly until we got to the point where we were supposed to get our stateroom key and were told to go back to the beginning as we did not have all the required paperwork. It seems the customer service ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation was going smoothly until we got to the point where we were supposed to get our stateroom key and were told to go back to the beginning as we did not have all the required paperwork. It seems the customer service representative who directed us at the entry point was misinformed about procedures. As we were walking back to the check in area we heard several fellow passengers were grumbling because they too had received misdirection from Holland America staff. Public Rooms: Public rooms were adequate, not spectacular by any means but not totally unpleasing. Several areas showed obvious wear and tear and contained furniture which needed to be updated, renovated or replaced. Cabin: The suite was quite spacious with a couch, chairs and small table. There was a nice balcony and plenty of storage space. The bathroom contained a glassed shower stall along with a whirlpool bath which also had a shower - good thing as the first night while showering the shower stall overflowed due to a clogged drain. The hair dryer in the room also did not work however it was replaced when a call was placed to our room attendant. The furniture in the room had wear spots and is in need of replacement in the near future. A suggestion for improvement would be to get better lighting for reading near the bed and couch. A "perk" of the cabin is access to the Neptune Lounge where light breakfast is served in the mornings and canapEs throughout the day. A concierge is also in the lounge to assist with reservations or any issue with which you may need assistance. Fitness and Recreation: This is an important component of the trip for me and unfortunately it was disappointing. The first day of the cruise I bought a thermal suite package with hopes of a sauna, thermal bath, thermal chair relaxation or some time in the steam room after my daily workouts. Unfortunately daily, something did not work properly. Some days the sauna was out of order, the thermal chairs weren't all working; the thermal bath was not heated to the proper temperature, etc. Only one television on the treadmills was working by the end of the cruise, one of two elliptical never worked and one of two recumbent bikes was not operating properly. Dining: We didn't utilize the dining room but one night opting instead to eat at the Pinnacle Grill, on the Lido deck, in the Italian Specialty Restaurant and in the room. One of the advantages of a suite is being able to order anything being served in the main dining room. Entertainment: I was not impressed with the entertainment I viewed but it should be noted I did not attend but two of the evening events. Service: The service of the room stewards was wonderful. They were attentive, knew our names on day one and greeted us wherever they saw us around the ship. They were on top of anything we needed and had a positive, upbeat attitude. The same is true of the beverage servers and dealers and supervisors in the casino. Those staff members "rock"!!! Shore Excursions: I went on only one ship shore excursion and that was to kayak in the Panama Canal. Although it was a rainy day, it was an incredible experience and one I am glad I took. Value for the Money: The price paid was not bad for the accommodations due to the discounting received however if I had paid full price, I would have been upset. Overall: Overall, it was a ship with a majority of older, not so active, adults. While younger, more energetic folks could be found they were few and far between. The positive of there were lounge chairs available on the decks anytime one was wanted. This is not a ship I plan to cruise on again and unless I see or hear some major positives in relation to this cruise line, I most definitely try another line my next trip. 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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