8 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Canada & New England

Chose this cruise because it stopped in Canaveral and we could disembark there rather than going to FLL. Other than that, the ports were pretty ordinary - Princess had better ports from Quebec to FLL and would have taken Princess except ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it stopped in Canaveral and we could disembark there rather than going to FLL. Other than that, the ports were pretty ordinary - Princess had better ports from Quebec to FLL and would have taken Princess except for the preferred disembarkation at Canaveral. We did lose a whole day by doing that. We were forced to disembark at 7:45. They did take our bags to the gates, so we didn't have a bag drag. No complaints about the restaurant - Pinnacle, for all the hype, is a little more than ordinary and the food not much above the dining room. Cabin was , for want of a better word, crummy. Coffee table all blistered and abused. Sofa was worn and well used. The deck chairs were stained. The bathroom tub was marred with black spots - the whole VA cabin needed renovation - steep price for that appearance. Room steward was fine and the cabin, while run down, was clean. See some people complained about the TV offerings, but on the whole, they were good. Front office staff were over worked and how they maintained their composure was beyond me. Cruise director left much to be desired. Activities were minimal - appeared, since the ship was going into dry dock upon arrival in FLL, he was already off duty. Lot of renovation had begun while were sailing - new carpeting on stairways and elevator landings - hallways and cabins could use new carpeting - don't know if they were all going to be replaced. Ship fairly stable in rough seas - but winds weren't broadside. Very apparent HAL is pinching pennies and holding up the passengers up for as much as they can wheedle out of them. They have gone way down hill. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We had never been to Canada. We live in Florida so this longer cruise was perfect, we only had to fly one way. We love to travel on Holland America Lines, so the fact that Zuiderdam was due for an interior face lift did not bother us. We ... Read More
We had never been to Canada. We live in Florida so this longer cruise was perfect, we only had to fly one way. We love to travel on Holland America Lines, so the fact that Zuiderdam was due for an interior face lift did not bother us. We know and love their standards, so could put up with a few chips and rips. The Crew was wonderful, always helpful & Roxan in the Ocean Bar is the Best Waiter on board. the Food was a little odd by the second week. (an awful lot of fish, for someone who does not eat fin fish.) The food we ordered was good & we could order a baked potato if the sides did not appeal. I must say that the entertainment on board was a little disappointing, where did all the small bands and other singers & guitar players, that used to be in the small bars, Crows Nest, Atrium & Dining Room go? We miss being able to order afternoon drinks & listen to a Duo or single musician entertain us. The music seems to be at night & if that band is needed for the main show, nothing!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Just completed sailing on the Holland America Zuiderdam October 12th to 22nd, 12 day Atlantic Coast beginning in Quebec City, Canada to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was our 11th cruise and first time with HAL. We are 2 couples in our ... Read More
Just completed sailing on the Holland America Zuiderdam October 12th to 22nd, 12 day Atlantic Coast beginning in Quebec City, Canada to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was our 11th cruise and first time with HAL. We are 2 couples in our early 60's and have travelled extensively world wide. We generally choose cruises based more on the itinerary than a particular cruise line. This one offered 9 ports of call over 12 days, more than offered by other cruise lines for this route. We spent 2 days prior to the departure date in Quebec City and were not disappointed. Quebec City is a beautiful place to visit full of history and friendly people. We would suggest doing this prior to embarking on this port. Embarkation was quick and simple through a very modern terminal only a short cab ride away from most hotels and the airport. Onboard it was the usual have lunch on the Lido Deck at the buffet. Our adjoining balcony cabins on deck 8 were already open so it was a quick drop off of the carry-on bags and off to lunch. The Lido Market Buffet is well laid out with different stations for various foods. There is ample seating with most tables adjacent large windows. Turnover is quick and the service for drinks and table cleaning over staffed. The only difference with this buffet is that it is not a self serve as on other ships rather staff serve you instead along the various food areas. This gets confusing for a lot of people who for some reason ignore the "Serving Line Starts Here" signs and butt in halfway regardless. TIP: find an empty table first before wandering around with plates of food in hand looking for a place to sit. It amazed us that after 8 -10 days onboard people did not learn this. For breakfast both sides of the buffet are open with several stations offering a great assortment of food. Wait staff offer coffee, tea and most juices. Lunch is generally lemonade, Ice Tea and water. We did not have any complaints about the food in the Lido Market Buffet and time of the day. Check your daily cruise paper for hours. For evening dinning we opted for the Any Time Dining option which is in the Lower Vista Dining Room on deck 2 Aft. As we generally eat at the same time we were assigned a nice table for 4 adjacent to the window for the duration. This allowed us to get to know the Server and assistants for this station. Food was generally very good compared to other lines with a wide range of options for mains and desserts. Service was excellent and unlike most dining rooms the tables were spaced further apart rather than being crammed in. The staff there really enjoyed serving and everyone greeted you are enthusiastic as were ALL staff on this ship. Holland America does a great job of training their staff from cabin attendants, maintenance, hotel workers and all officers. This was a welcome change from the five other cruise lines we have sailed with. Not a single person working on this boat had a frown on their face and greeted you earnestly. This ship was launched in 2002 and despite her age it is in great condition. At the time of this writing the Zuiderdam is in dry-dock going through extensive renovations and when finished will be the pride of the HAL line. The ship is well laid out and easy to manoeuvre all decks. The only thing we missed was a Centrum in the middle of the ship with several stories of stair cases and indoor elevators where events take place daily. We spent a lot of time afternoons after excursions and sea days in the Crow's Nest on deck 10 forward. This room offers a 180 degree view forward with plenty of comfortable seating areas and large windows. Every afternoon Happy Hour runs from 4:00PM to 6:00 with great discounts on drinks and free snacks. Many activities such as Team Trivia are played there daily. There are plenty of elevators available forward, aft and mid ship and run quite quickly. Of course there are the stairs as well. The Vista Lounge where the large shows play is on 2 and 3 forward and has ample seating. The early show usually starts at 8:00PM and the good seats are taken as early as 7:00 so you have to get there early after dinner or go to the late show at 10:00PM. A must see is the B.B. King Blues Club where a live Blues/Jazz band plays nightly. Dancing is encouraged. Of all the cruise lines we have sailed on we have never had a Ship's Captain like Wouter Van Hoogdalem on this boat. He was everywhere and greeted people like they are his best friend. He provided a 1 hour seminar going into detail of the running of the ship like nothing we have seen before with a very funny Q & A. Evening entertainment was the typical cruise ship format with singers and dancers doing broadway type musical shows. All were worth seeing. We did miss the dedicated Comedy Club that Carnival offers though. Our Balcony cabin was well laid out with a King Bed, pull out couch and chairs. The bathroom has a 3/4 size tub and shower which if much nicer than the usual shower stall with tiny curtain. Storage is ample and the balcony much larger than offered on other ships for the same category. We were able to join the balcony with our travel companions in the adjacent cabin. The cabin attendants did a great job to cleaning and re-stocking several times a day. The small fridge is welcome however the tiny TV with only a handful of stations is a joke. After dry-dock all cabins are getting 42 inch LED TV's with 50 or so channels. We also found that his ship was very stable during high waves, more so than other ships we have sailed on this size. On this cruise there were about 2000 passengers and 800 staff. There never seemed to be a shortage of staff available. Ages ranged from early 60's and on up. We would guess the average age of passengers is about 72. There were plenty of walkers and electric carts so movement around the ship can be slow at time and extremely slow getting on and off coaches on the excursions. This line tends to cater to seniors and repeat cruisers. Many we talked to only cruise with HAL. We would not hesitate to either after this one. We loved the ship and the way staff made you feel welcome. The fellow passengers not so much. Smiles go a long way and being rude to staff does not make for a pleasant cruise. Remember, if you had a bad time on this cruise it was your fault not the Zuiderdam's. The only negative on this cruise was the Portland Maine Cruise Terminal security staff. They went out of their way to be rude and ignorant. We would not ever visit this city again. We opted for more private tours in port than ship's excursions which are over priced and we do not like being on a coach with 45 other passengers and being dumped off in a shopping area for more time than the actual tour. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Having wanted to visit Quebec for several years, and living near New York, this itinerary was a natural. We spent one night at a hotel in the old city and the next night on board after embarking - staying alongside the pier until the ... Read More
Having wanted to visit Quebec for several years, and living near New York, this itinerary was a natural. We spent one night at a hotel in the old city and the next night on board after embarking - staying alongside the pier until the following day. This gave us almost three days to enjoy Quebec. The ports in Atlantic Canada: Prince Edward Island and Sydney and Halfax, Nova Scotia were delightful and uncrowded. Bar Harbor, ME has been ruined by the excess tourist development - as has been Newport, RI. Boston is a lovely city - always worth a visit. It was a port-intensive itinerary - moving down the coast - with ideal weather. A few passengers were disappointed by the lack of autumn color due to mild late summer and early fall weather (but that autumn color has been over-hyped - it is blah when compared with the amazing soft pastel palette in spring when the multi-colored buds and blossoms offer a lovelier range of color: once more, it is a matter of marketing over substance). The MDR food was perfectly fine - no one in their right mind cruises on mass market lines for a gourmet experience - but it has clearly declined in quality, variety and preparation over the past dozen or so years. Service generally was great - HAL's traditional strong point. Sadly, there is very little live music on HAL ships these days - something that I hope management will reconsider. Overall: a delightful cruise and great value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We sailed on the 12 day Zuiderdam Canada/New England cruise from 10/7/16 to 10/19/16. We got to Quebec City on 10/6/16 a day before embarkation and enjoyed a great meal at Le Saint Amour and a restful night at The JW Marriot. The ... Read More
We sailed on the 12 day Zuiderdam Canada/New England cruise from 10/7/16 to 10/19/16. We got to Quebec City on 10/6/16 a day before embarkation and enjoyed a great meal at Le Saint Amour and a restful night at The JW Marriot. The embarkation was slow but being veterans of 30 cruises we have come to expect these waits. We have been on HAL enough to be Three Star Mariners. We had taken a 7 day HAL Canada/New England Cruise 3 years ago. We had 8110 a Balcony Room. The ship left Quebec City timely on 10/7/16 headed to Saguenay CA. During the mandatory safety drill we were informed that our life boat could not be lowered because of a needed repair, but never fear we will get you into other life boats. Really? Arrived in the small town of Saguenay on 10/8 and took a excursion that included an Alpaca Farm, a cheese factory and a glass blowing workshop. It was a good excursion. Left Saguenay at 5 PM for a day headed up the St. Lawrence Seaway towards Charlottetown PEI and once out to sea all hell broke loose. The captain was taking the ship out into a gale for the next 2-1/2 days. We were subjected to 30 waves and up to 95 mph winds. During those 2-1/2 days the seas were never under 15 feet and winds never under 60 mph. One night the seas were never less than 25 feet and the winds were 80-95 mph all night. The ship could not stop at that I consider the two best ports on this cruise of PEI and Sydney CA. For missing these two ports were got a total credit of $9.85 for PEI and $12.25 for Sydney. Seriously we missed the two best ports and got $22.10 back. At least we did not get hurt like some other passengers. What was the captain thinking? On 10/12/16 we arrived in Halifax Nova Scotia after 4 nights at sea. Because we had been here before we skipped Lunenburg and took an excursion to Bay of Fundy, Grand Pre & Winery which was a nice trip. On 10/13/16 it was Bar Harbor ME to see Acadia Park and a Lobster Roll at West Street Café. The Blueberry pie is to die for! On 10/14/16 it was Portland ME and a visit to the Bush Family Compound. On 10/15/16 it was Boston and a Duck ride and a visit to Quincy Market. 10/16 &10/17/16 were two PLANNED days at sea. On 10/18 we got to Port Canaveral and visited the Kennedy Space Center. While having dinner at 6 PM and awaiting a 7 PM departure we had a complete power loss due to diesel failures. Around 7 PM the captain announced all power was back but the navigation system was not working. They did not know how to restart it and were trying to get a tech dispatched to the ship. Around 9:30 PM the captain announced a tech talked them through the restart and that the ship would be able to reach our final destination of Ft. Lauderdale on time. Early in the morning the captain came on the PA and announced that during the night one of the diesels failed again and we would be late to port. Further he said if you bought your plane tickets from HAL that your flights were already rebooked if needed. For folks who booked their own tickets should rebook if the 2 hour delay would impact you. Fortunately our flight was such that we OK. Thank God the engine failures did not happen while we were in the 30 foot waves and 95 mph winds. Had I been told 6 days at sea there is no way I pay the big bucks this cruise cost. HAL needs to seriously consider putting this ship into dry dock for major mechanical maintenance! The food on HAL has continued to decline except for Canaletto (+$10), Pinnacle (+$25) and Le Cirque (+$49) per person. I would never sail on this ship again until it has been mechanically rebuilt. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This cruise is the only one I have ever taken that was just average. It was a dissappointment. Missed ports, storms, power outages, late to port, chaos at disembarkation and no compensation other than a glass of alcohol for nondrinkers ... Read More
This cruise is the only one I have ever taken that was just average. It was a dissappointment. Missed ports, storms, power outages, late to port, chaos at disembarkation and no compensation other than a glass of alcohol for nondrinkers and refunded port fees. The Cabin and dining staff were as always, top notch. They always seem to be their very best and make the ship the best experience they can. I enjoyed the entertainment and have no complaints. Disembarkation was terrible, not because we were so late, but because I was standing there, NO ONE was going through, my bags had not been checked and I had to report to the airline ticket counter and even though I explained this, they smuggly made me wait 5-10 more minutes (with no one going through) and THEN called my color. Ridiculous! I really feel we should have been issued a future credit of some kind for all the negatives with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were excited to cruise on the Zuiderdam again, this time for the Canada/New England Cruise. We came in to Quebec a few days early to enjoy the city and wish we had a few more days - Quebec City was delightful and autumn is a great ... Read More
We were excited to cruise on the Zuiderdam again, this time for the Canada/New England Cruise. We came in to Quebec a few days early to enjoy the city and wish we had a few more days - Quebec City was delightful and autumn is a great time of the year to explore it. On the day we left port we got the ship early only to be meet with long lines for the taxi to get in, then long lines and confusion inside. We were told to sit one place to wait, then other people who came in long after us were taken on first. Not a problem of the cruise line, but rather the people in the port building. Once we got past the people from the port and to the HAL people things went smoothly. The line then went quickly and we were on the ship and in our stateroom. Our luggage wasn't there yet, but our room was ready and we went to enjoy lunch and when we got back the luggage was there. Our cabin was on Deck 7 and was wonderful, Our room stewards were top notch and we never wanted for anything. Our dining stewards were both excellent and very attentive. Entertainment was OK - not the best I've seen on a cruise, but definitely not the worse I've seen. One of the problems we encountered was a weather problem and we missed two ports because of it. Despite two + days of high winds (over 90 mph) and high waves, I never felt threatened or that we were in danger. One night it was so rough, things came out of our closet and things crashed off the shelves (our fault for not putting them away knowing the seas were rough). The other problem was our last night. It was almost time to leave Port Canaveral - we were enjoying dinner and the ship lost power. After less than an hour the power was back on. During this time, dinner service continued and there was no disruption there. But it did leave the ship with navigation problems and we couldn't leave port. After about 2 hours the problem was fixed and off we went. But then early in the morning we were delayed again, this time by a failure of one of the diesel engines. We did get to Ft. Lauderdale in time to make our flight connections, etc. The thing that impressed me thru all of these problems was the staff and crew - they all continued to be pleasant and helpful to us. Was I disappointed to miss two great ports? Certainly, but all in all it was a good cruise. Would I go on Holland America again? Of course. Would I go on the Zuiderdam again? - I'd have to think about it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were looking forward to a "Fall Colors" cruise. It was our second HAL cruise, the first being aboard the Neuw Amsterdam. Enjoyed Quebec City and Saguenay but then got hit by a "subtropical depression" and missed the ... Read More
We were looking forward to a "Fall Colors" cruise. It was our second HAL cruise, the first being aboard the Neuw Amsterdam. Enjoyed Quebec City and Saguenay but then got hit by a "subtropical depression" and missed the next two ports of Charolettown and Sydney due to hurricane force winds (up to 90kt.s and 30-40ft. sea!) but ship handled it well and crew was confident and helpful for the 60 or so hours of the storm. Even all but two of the BB Kings entertainers showed up to preform. After that all was OK until Cape Canaveral, where we had a power failure and a three hour delay on leaving port. Power failure cause a long delay in receiving Disembarkation and luggage documents until 10pm. That night at sea there was another engine failure and we limped into Fort Lauderdale this morning late, tired and happy to get on a plane home. Would we take another cruise, Yes. Would we cruise on another HAL ship. Yes, would we cruise on the Zuiderdam again. ???? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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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