6 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Transatlantic

We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 days we had music at the Ocean Bar twice, one great show with Ikos Lakis and his Saxsophon which was as always magnificent. The rest of the shows were comedians than couldn't make anyone laugh, a piano player which was just o.k.. The Pinnacle Grill was the best food in the ship, as always. Excellent food and service. The dinning room food was o.k. twice I had to send my salmon back be cause was not even half cook. The best part of the dinning room were the servers, as always excellent service. My husband went a few times to the Lectures which he enjoyed. I went to American Test Kitchen which was very good. The ports. Bermuda was o.k. Pria de Vitoria was empty, not much to do. The Baltic stops were fantastic Amsterdam, Sudden, Belgium, Cherbourg France, Tallin, Berlin, Kiel, and the best by far 2 days in St. Petersburg, all amazing ports. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were looking very much forward to this cruise starting with 11 days in Central America and the Panama Canal. After that we did cross the Atlantic ending up in Copenhagen. When we were checking in, we were very well taken care of by ... Read More
We were looking very much forward to this cruise starting with 11 days in Central America and the Panama Canal. After that we did cross the Atlantic ending up in Copenhagen. When we were checking in, we were very well taken care of by a Norwegian man. Entering the ship was a little less pleasant. The staff showing you onboard was not at all polite. Ok we expected to have a glass of champagne, when getting onboard, but no. For the first time ever on cruises (first time with HAL) there wasn't a glass of bobbles as a welcome. Our cabin was not ready yet, so we went up for some lunch. After lunch we went down to our cabin and could get in. The first thing we did was trying to put something in the small bedside table. The top drawer. In there there was some used napkins. We were surprised, but removed them. Then we found out, the small tabel in front og the sofa was really dirty. We called the cabin attendant and he came and we told what we were disappointed about. He found a wet cloth and wiped away the dust on the foot of the table. The top of the table was sticky, so we wanted that clean as well. We then saw, there was a table knife in the chair placed in front of the desk. When we got our suitcases and was unpacking we found some chocolate under the bed. Not at all ok cleaning. We didn't feel it was done at all better than what they was supposed to do every day, yes even worse. We thought it had to be reported to the head of the cleaning of the cabins, so we went to guest relations and a very polite and helpful young man from Austria took report and said he was very sorry. Later the head of cabins came and required the two cabin attendants to do a full and complete cleaning of the cabin. He offered us a bottle of wine as compensation. Later the guy from guest relations came with some fine chocolate as well. The temperature in our cabin was terrible, above 25 degree Celcius. A man from the repair department tried to mend it, but no matter what we did with scale there was no change. He would do something with the entire system, but when we came back after dinner, there was no change. We went down to guest relations again and they regretted and would send a new man. We said that otherwise we would come back to guest relations and sleep on the floor, as the temperature was fine here. The temperature was after a couple of days better, but we could still not regulate it. And some days later, we had the same problem again with too high temperature. Later in the cruise - on the second cruise - the opposite was the case with the temperature. One day it was less than 16 degree C. We complained again, and now it wasn't easy to get the temperature higher. Finally - five days before we ended up in Copenhagen - they managed to fix the aircondition. We could raise and lower the temperature. What a relief. But like the rest of the cabins it was not possible to turn off the airconditioning. Old ship! One day while we were laying on a sunbead by the pool we saw a man in the spa. He went in with his clothes and shoes and what was even worse, he was all the time spitting in the hot water. I went and told him to stop spitting as it was a source to people getting sick, if he had a disease. It would explosively grow in the very hot water. The man started screaming, that I was insulting and bothering him. He was really screaming. There is no pool-attendants at all by the pool, only waiters trying to sell drinks. Is that ok? we don't think so. The man went up of the spa and went to one of the waiters and talked to him. What they were discussing we don't know. After a while a very polite and pleasant man came and asked what happened. I told the story and he said they would make a report and I would get a copy. They knew who the man was. Later a couple of officers came. The went to the ladies from the beauty salon and talked to them. Then they came and asked for my version of the incident. They also said a report would be made. While they were talking to me an elderly American lady went into the spa and she was wearing outdoor sandals in the spa. No-one said anything to her. For several days we did not see the man in the spa, but some of the last days on the cruise he was back. He was still wearing jogging clothes and shoes when he went into the spa, and no-one of the staff did say anything. No-one was taking any notice of what was happening in the pool and spa. That is absolutely not ok and not something we have experienced before on cruisen on other shipping companies. On the first part of the cruise there was a show team onboard. This is also what we are used to from other cruises. The team disembarked in Fort Lauderdale, but we were sure a new team would board to the next cruise. No. Only entertainers was there. Some very good and some quite poor and without any experience. Only a couple of nights impressed. The wine, beer and drinks are very expensive. A drink-package is around 50$ per day for the cheapest. Much more expensive than what we have experienced elsewhere. On for instance Celebrity the drink package is included if you have an outer cabin or veranda cabin. The staff gratuity is not included in your ticket. You have to pay 14,5$ per person per day. Take that into consideration when you compare prices for different cruises, as it is included in some cruises, for instance in Celebrity cruises. All the staff in the dinner room is from either Philipines or Indonesia. Most are very polite and helpful, but many are not good enough understanding and speaking English. Some of the wine waiters do probably never taste wine, being Muslims. How can you then advice what is good for the food? The ship is built in 2002 and it seems as if there has been no upgrading since then. It is "tired" and really needs some renovation. We will most likely not travel with Holland America line again. We will choose Celebrity or something even better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was almost the only good part. It was feezing onboard through the entire cruise. Some guests were taking blankets with them to sit anywhere including inside. Dining room was very uncomfortably ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was almost the only good part. It was feezing onboard through the entire cruise. Some guests were taking blankets with them to sit anywhere including inside. Dining room was very uncomfortably cold. Staterooms were also chilly even with turning heat up. My bed was horrible and slanted down to the floor so much that I needed a seatbelt to stay in. The mattress was so hard and thin that I didn't sleep for the first week until our steward found a better mattress. Don't know whose he stole but made me happy. Their ads about having a choice of pillows and mattresses is bogus. They had neither. Safety was a problem as there were quite a number of falls because of water where it shouldn't be or gaps in flooring or no railings. The dinner menu and food was fairly good but I am a very good cook and it was never higher than what I could easily do at home. Fruit and vegetables were rationed on the first half of trip to the point of cutting blueberries in half (and you got one half) and vegetables were garnish only. You could get a huge Prime Rib but only 2 carrot slices. Weird. Escargot was excellent. Desserts were good although creme brulee was a disappointment. I should have tried the version in the upscale paid restaurant. Breakfast either in dining room or buffets was never worthwhile, lunch was adequate. Salad bar was best lunch venue when dining room was closed which it was on port days. Hamburger joint was good, fries wete great but be warned that they had gluten on them in form of spiced flour. Virtually no gluten ftee options except toast and best of luck ever getting that. Almost everything in buffets, which we rarely did except when dining was closed, was overcooked and bland. Fruit often had mold, too many people and very few, and inattentive servers. There was often nowhere to eat except room service as the buffets were closed in morning and afternoon except for certain hours which we missed a lot. Don't sleep in or you are out of luck. When you come back from a shorter day onshore you don't want to wait for room service but there would be hour gaps or longer when everything including a cup of tea, was not available..Service was horrible except in main dining room. Ate at the paid Italian dining room for a disappointing meal, half very good, half dreadful. They used same cooks as the buffet! Not worth it. Unfortunately, we only went one time late in the cruise for the paid lunch for $10 and wished we had done that every day it was open. Best meal we had on the cruise and the level I had expected in regular dining room. Waiters in main dining were good, some awful, some superior. They got considerably better on the last two days as they trolled for tips and good reviews. We were constantly reminded by all the waiters including head staff to give them a top rating. Very annoying and tacky. The maître de was the finest I have seen anywhere land or sea and remembered our names almost from the beginning. He was amazing and lovely. The entertainment was good and enjoyable but there was very little on sea days except lectures which were good. One foursome Acapella women singers were one of the best acts on any cruise, all the comedians were great, and the mime was one of the funniest and most interesting acts we had ever seen. Unbelievable! The biggest complaint most passengers had was the horrible, incompetent and rude upper staff, particularly with the shore excursions. If you didn't buy from the cruise line, they would give you no information. Part way through the Baltic they did a little better because of the hundreds of furious passengers, but we could never get the correct information. One officer would tell you something, another, the opposite and then argued with you when you would mention the confusion. Many of us complained about the lack of a leader as NO ONE EVER seemed to know what was going on. The cruise director was seen more on shore in the bars with local girls than onboard ship where we needed him. I may cruise with Holland America again but never on the Zuiderdam. Anyone who didn't pay the excessively higher than usual ship tour prices got shafted completely. It was inexcusable. Pretty much everyone on board were senior citizens and the lack of correct information or assistance was appalling. We missed much in the cities because of confusion and the ineptness of the officers and upper staff. Most of the ladies at the front desk were very good but there was still a great deal of conflicting information. They ruined much of our enjoyment from the ports because of the excess time a lot of us old people wasted wandering around trying to find where to go once off the ship. Information on the ports, and the buses to nearby towns was almost impossible to discover. In one tiny port that was not the big city we expected, I asked an officer what town it was and he hemmed and hawed before telling me. Really? One of the worst examples of idiocy was the 2 days docked in St Petersburg. Tours were sold and arranged for both days BY THE CRUISE LINE. Imagine our surprise to get to Russia and find out it was closed. It was a holiday, and virtually everything including the Hermitage and the Palaces were not open the first day. Does Holland America not have Internet? They scheduled hundreds of tours for places that were closed! Almost all of the tours on the whole cruise were 3 times or more what it cost to get off the ship and buy yourself. And with less of a tour. That was the reason so many of us did the ports on our own. Doubling is acceptable but the costs were outrageous. The ports themselves made up for a lot as Northern Europe is amazingly stunning, in architecture and natural beauty. Anyone considering the Baltic tour should do just the first 28 days as Norway looked all the same at each stop. Scotland had Edinburgh which needs a week or more to enjoy and Inverness was interesting. Taking your own side trip to Scotland would be more fruitful as most of the cruise port stops are just where the Scots go to get somewhere else. Nothing there. I would only rate the cruise 3 stars and that is being generous. Oh yes, the WiFi either didn't work or was horridly slow and cost a fortune. Do not waste your time or money. Had good Internet connections on the hop on, hop off buses which were the best value of all. You can buy ONLINE AHEAD OF CRUISE a multiple city ticket that will save at least half. Do it before the cruise on Red Bus or one of the others HOP ON HOP OFF companies. You can use them in several of the cities on this cruise but it is very confusing as there are different hop on hop off, mostly red and upset many people when they couldn't get on the correct bus. Rick Steve's books are slightly helpful but you really don't understand half of what he is saying until after you have gone the first time. Get his book from the library, photocopy the cities, and staple each city individually so you don't have to haul around a book. Online tours in St. Petersburg were 1\4 the price of HAL , were longer and were in vans of 6-8 passengers instead of buses with 60-100. And some offer early entrance to the Hermitage AND in spite of what HAL tells you, they include the tourist visa. It can be very confusing with the Russian visa thing. Unless you want to wander on your own which isn't advisable, you do not need a visa. Do your research before you go and it will make a much more enjoyable and fulfilling trip. And bring warm clothing as our trip in April and May was 20-30 degrees below normal. Surprise!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise for the date and the itinerary. This was a transatlantic / repositioning cruise starting in Copenhagen Denmark. We visited Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada finally disembarking in Manhattan. We crossed the Arctic ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the date and the itinerary. This was a transatlantic / repositioning cruise starting in Copenhagen Denmark. We visited Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada finally disembarking in Manhattan. We crossed the Arctic Circle and when cruised Prince Christian Sund, Greenland. The outdoors were magnificent but the Ship was old, small and worn. Crew did an incredible job keeping the ship clean and taking care of continuous minor maintenance. Entertainment was lacking, sets were minimal and unattractive. Several of the individual entertainers were excellent. We missed our last port, which would have been Halifax, because of Hurricane Hermine. Had one full day at sea in the hurricane experiencing 80 mile an hour winds & 20 foot waves. During the storm, balcony doors and deck doors were leaking, so there was continuous cleanup with water vacuums. We were very disappointed with the Canaletto Specialty Restaurant food quality and wait staff. I would not recommend the Zuiderdam, but would highly recommend this itinerary. We had a Signature Suite, but our cabin steward could not speak much English. We did appreciate the guest lectures and port information very much. The BB King Blues band did not play the blues but did play Motown and Disco. It seemed to us that the Band was not cohesive, perhaps they were hired individually by the cruise line to play musical sets that were established by the cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We had a good cruise until the head office decided to make the captain sailed the ship right into the Hurrican with 90 to 100 miles per hour wind, it was hell for 2 days. The wave was so high, the starboard side suites was flooded with ... Read More
We had a good cruise until the head office decided to make the captain sailed the ship right into the Hurrican with 90 to 100 miles per hour wind, it was hell for 2 days. The wave was so high, the starboard side suites was flooded with water. The wind blew one of the outside door down, and Holland American still refused to compensate passengers. If the ship would sail according to the original plan and stop in Halifax, we could avoid the Hurrican totally without spend 2 days in hell at sea right inside the Hurrican. Any company put profit ahead of passengers' safety, should not be a cruise business. People asked Captain why he sailed us into the hurrican, he said it was an order. It will be our last cruise with this company. The balcony suite was very small compare with Princess, or other cruise line. Food was good especially the french fries at Dive in. But my husband got food poisining from the buffet. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
EMBARKATION. It was a breeze at the terminal in Civitavecchia as half of the Zuiderdam’s passengers were staying on from the previous cruise. With no lines, we were processed in minutes. Within 30 minutes boarding was opened and we ... Read More
EMBARKATION. It was a breeze at the terminal in Civitavecchia as half of the Zuiderdam’s passengers were staying on from the previous cruise. With no lines, we were processed in minutes. Within 30 minutes boarding was opened and we all headed for the ship to start our adventure. Holland America Lines, Zuiderdam was built in 2002 and holds almost 2,000 passengers. We had traveled on her once before in 2003 and she has had one refurbishing, but needs substantial work to bring her up to date. The ship is clean, worn in spots, but well maintained in the public areas. We found the Indonesian and Philippine staff to be very friendly and helpful. However, the officers seem to be aloof and don’t tend to mingle with the guests as on other lines. Safety seems to be taken seriously and the life boat drill is required for all passengers. CABINS. We had a large outside cabin on deck one. (When we booked, balcony cabins were not available) Our friends were in a balcony and it was several feet smaller than our cabin – seems that the balcony took space away from the cabin. We had a much bigger sofa and more storage space. The bed was extremely comfortable. The only real issue was the extremely small screen TV – they do have DVD players and lots of free movies – but it is hard to watch. The bathrooms all have tub / shower combination and enough storage space. We had a noise issue (from a trash machine below our cabin) which was solved by the guest relations team. The cabin attendants are really over worked and under staffed but they did their best to keep things neat and tidy. DINING. Main Dining Room (MDR): We had select dining for the evening meal. After the first night we were able to have the same table / wait staff with our friends at 7:15. The food and service in the dining room was great. Some meals were better than others, but overall it was a really nice experience. In fact, we enjoyed the dining room food and service better than the specialty restaurant “The Pinnacle Grill”. Whenever possible, we ate breakfast in the MDR as we don’t like having to fight the crowd in the Lido Buffet. We also enjoyed some lunches in the MDR – a very relaxed atmosphere. Lido Buffet: Cafeteria style with section for Salads, Mains, Asian/Indian, Italian/Pizza and Ice cream. Food quality is generally good and there is a nice selection for all meals. I give very low marks for the Asian/Indian selections. However, pizza and ice cream were very good. Drive Inn: Outside the Lido Buffet, near the inside pool, is the Drive Inn for hamburgers, hot dogs and fries. They have some of the best hamburgers at sea or on land! I limited myself to three for the entire trip and everyone thought they were great! Specialty Restaurants: We had a really bad experience the night we went to the Pinnacle Grill (bad steaks awful deserts) and would not go back. ENTERTAINMENT / ENRICHMENT. The Vista lounge (main stage) is the venue for most entertainment and lectures. We only attended one full entertainment program, a comedian who was just average. We stuck our heads in several other shows but didn’t find them good enough to stay. Other lounges on the ship had some music and the Explorer Lounge had classical piano and violin program every night. There were two guest lectures on board, one for history topics and one for aviation. Group Captain Terry Holloway, Retired Royal Air Force and Aviation consultant gave many interesting talks about British aviation, and a program on how he led a Royal Soaring Society expedition to fly gliders over the top of the highest peak in South America. The Cruise Director and his staff were adequate – nothing really special. Microsoft Windows learning center was good, but always crowded. SHORE EXCURSIONS. We only used the ship for one tour – transportation from Livorno to Florence. It’s much easier than using a taxi to the train and saves a lot of time. However, like all HAL tours, very expensive. (We always try to do private tours or use public transportation.) PORTS. Livorno, Barcelona, Palma, Alicante, Malaga, Cadiz, Ponta Delgada, Horta and Nassau. We really enjoyed all the Spanish ports and Horta, in the Azores, was the only new port for us and a very enjoyable stop. Nassau – why bother. DISEMBARKATION. Opted for the early walk off with bags in Fort Lauderdale. Waited about five minutes on the ship and then it was down the ramp and through customs in another five minutes. Very quick and easy process. HITS AND MISSES. Food was very good. Hamburgers exceptional. Staff went out of their way to please the guests. Can’t say enough good things about the waiters, and Guest Relations Staff. We enjoyed having drinks in the Crows Nest at the front of the ship. Also enjoyed the Mariners welcome aboard party – plenty of free wine. The ship also has a very nice library. HAL caters to an older crowd and on this trip the majority of guests were really old! Buffet shuts down by 9 P.M. so get your snacks early. Ship shopping (stores) were a joke. Overpriced and limited merchandise. Happy Hour venues and times are to early. Not enough seats in the Vista theater, Movie theater or the Microsoft learning center – go early. Cabins are dated and need a redo. TV s are to small. Needs better overall entertainment and activities. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
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

Find a Zuiderdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click