10 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Transatlantic

A TransAtlantic offers us a lengthy cruise at a reasonable fare with lots of sea days to relax and/or take advantage of the amenities and activities of the ship. We've done several before and always had a good experience. Holland ... Read More
A TransAtlantic offers us a lengthy cruise at a reasonable fare with lots of sea days to relax and/or take advantage of the amenities and activities of the ship. We've done several before and always had a good experience. Holland America attracts us (seniors in our late 70s) because of the spacious and comfortable Neptune suite and the accompanying Neptune Lounge which offers service and fine snacks all day. This cruise offered a good number of sea days as well as interesting ports with a final destination of Copenhagen where we visited a lifelong friend. So, ideal of us. Check in at Ft. Lauderdale was smooth and we were soon in our suite with the luggage not far behind us. I love the layout of the Neptune Suite but it's quite out of date compared to other HAL ships and is ready of dry dock which I understand is coming up in a few months. The verandah lounge chairs lacked cushions and for someone who likes to nap out there, I had to carry out my bed pillows etc. to get comfortable. More about the cabin in cabin review. The first few days out of Florida were sunny with low to moderate seas. Unfortunately, as we got further northeast we encountered wind and higher seas and, by the time we got to Normandy (having had to miss the port of Horta, Azores due to high wind and seas) it was raining. So weather this particular trip really was an issue. And we often couldn't use our verandah because of the cold and wind. But that isn't the ship's fault. As suite passengers we had the privilege of going to the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast each morning. That was nice not having to deal with the usual Lido crowds on those sea days. Food and service were very good. We went to the main dining room almost every night and food and service were consistently good. Evening entertainment, particularly the singers and dancers, was excellent. However, with a 6:30 and an 8 p.m. show, we often had to change our dinner time or rush in order to catch something we didn't want to miss. Movie theatre played great movies but was usually too crowded to get in to see. My husband enjoyed the gym every morning. Cooking classes were fun. There were many interesting enriching lectures to take advantage of. We loved the dueling pianos on Eurodam and were disappointed they aren't on Zuiderdam. Yet. I'm guessing they will be. Crew service and attitude were excellent across the board! Because we were visiting in Denmark, we shipped our big bags back home to Florida. Although expensive, it was very worth it. We walked off the ship in Copenhagen with our carry ons and walked right out to the street. Amazingly easy and quick. I'm sure Zuiderdam will have a pretty new face after dry dock and that is needed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Second trans-atlantic on the Zdam, and it was great again. The ship is in good shape, and the service is full, efficient, and happily delivered. SY cabin was fine, except for the old small flat screen TV. Those are cheap, with crappy ... Read More
Second trans-atlantic on the Zdam, and it was great again. The ship is in good shape, and the service is full, efficient, and happily delivered. SY cabin was fine, except for the old small flat screen TV. Those are cheap, with crappy sound, and just inadequate for any cabin. The food in the MDR was very good, as was the wait service. The variety of dishes was wide, and quite tasteful. A very nice and relaxing atmosphere especially for breakfast, and lunch. Entertainment was typical HAL. One comedian was OK, but music and dance shows are so-so. The BB King band was good, and not as loud as others. Many activities, and lectures to keep one and all busy. Service was very good in all aspects. Dealing with the front desk was a pleasure. The staff was always smiling, and greeting folks. This being a TA, there were 6 ports including the final one. One Azores (Horta) was cancelled due to choppy seas. The other Azores stop was Ponta Delgada, and was a very charming little town. The Azores are very verdant and picturesque islands. Cherbourg had miserable rainy weather, but still quite charming city. The submarine tour at Cite de la Mer was really cool. Went on the Around Bruge tour, and enjoyed it very much. Some towns seemed to be made up of mainly restaurants. Manicured lawns, and beautiful houses show a Belgian pride of beauty and order. The chocolate shops offer demos, and sell all kinds showing their longstanding mastery of making these confections. Amsterdam is a dynamic and fun city. It never changes. Got off the ship in Copenhagen, and spent a few days there. The city is beautiful, and its people are so easy going, and good natured. A wonderful city in all aspects. Loved sailing the Zdam, and looking forward to doing it again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We booked this Viking Passage cruise because of its appealing itinerary which included both Iceland and Greenland. Overall we were pleased with the cruise but cannot award it five stars because of too many minor irritations. We have been ... Read More
We booked this Viking Passage cruise because of its appealing itinerary which included both Iceland and Greenland. Overall we were pleased with the cruise but cannot award it five stars because of too many minor irritations. We have been on over twenty cruises, several with Holland America. Neither HAL not any other of the ocean cruise lines we have used have matched our recent cruise with Viking River for quality and service. On the whole the good far outweighed the bad. HAL booked our flights at a price we could not match, but they left us too little time to transit Frankfurt worry free, even if all went well. All did not go well. Our flight into Frankfurt was a few minutes late. If we had not already requested wheelchair assistance in Frankfurt which allowed us to bypass the huge EU Immigration lineup we would have missed our flight to Copenhagen and the next and last possible flight was reportedly full. We strongly recommend that anyone booking flights through Frankfurt should allow at least two hours connection time. Embarkation and disembarkation were both smooth, quick and uneventful. We had booked an outside cabin to save money because we thought a balcony would be unusable because of the cold. However when we checked in, we were very surprised and happy to learn our Vancouver travel agent had got us a free update to a balcony cabin on Deck 5. Its availability for the abnormally sunny and warm weather we experienced for most of the cruise was a bonus. The Zuiderdam was in better shape than we expected based on past Cruise Critic reviews but too much maintenance work was being done at cruisers' inconvenience. Painting and varnishing caused closure of parts of the Promenade deck on several days and our friends with rear cabins found the fumes unpleasant. For much of the cruise a quarter of the Lido buffet serving area was closed for maintenance making a normally crowded situation even worse. We were happy with the food in both the Main Dining room and the Lido but the service was the slowest we have ever experienced. Beer which was available elsewhere often seemed to have "run out" in the Lido. We suspect that with a little bit more customer care and a little less laziness by one or two members of the restaurant staff, the beer could have been found or restocked. This happened with four varieties of beer. Our cabin had a very comfortable bed and was well equipped and finished apart from a tatty floor mat which should have been pensioned off long ago. Astonishingly it was taken away on the last day and brought back washed but still wet. It was difficult to adjust the water temperature of the bath. The entertainment was typical of cruises - good but not outstanding. We particularly liked the Classical music duo. The internet was poor and very expensive. This was understandable while we were North and at the edge of the satellite's range but not in New York where there was no internet whatsoever. We could not reconfirm our flights and we had paid for time we could not use. We were pleased with the ship's tours we took and the tour staff were the best we have encountered on an ocean cruise. The guest lecturers were excellent and very popular. The Locations expert Denice did her job superbly. The tender service was especially well operated. Hurricane Hermine caused problems and our day in Halifax had to be abandoned as we diverted to miss the worst of the storm, reaching New York one day early and giving us an unexpected extra day to visit the sites. Even though we sailed at full speed and there was a large swell with strong crosswinds the Zuiderdam handled it well. (The TV Navigation Channel once indicated Beaufort 12). The Captain explained the need for the change of plans very clearly and kept us well informed. The staff did an excellent job in organizing a very good New York city tour at short notice. Overall HAL needs to improve but we would be happy to take another HAL cruise and would recommend HAL and the Zuiderdam to prospective cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Chose it to get out of the Florida heat for Aug. The staff was fantastic. Food was good in all restaurants. Entertainment was very poor. The ship is in need of renovation, no major problems, just old and worn. Had a guaranteed suite, ... Read More
Chose it to get out of the Florida heat for Aug. The staff was fantastic. Food was good in all restaurants. Entertainment was very poor. The ship is in need of renovation, no major problems, just old and worn. Had a guaranteed suite, got 8040.Lovely room- plenty of space, whirlpool, double sinks, extra large balcony (too cold to use it much). Bad news, underneath ping-pong table and chaise lounge stacking area. Lots of traffic noise. Guest service did compensate us with a free meal at Pinnacle Grill, nice. They also closed the ping pong table at 9:30 pm and opened it after 9am. Love the size of the ship. Getting on and off or excursions no problem. Booked our excursions online, no regrets. Saved a lot of money. Was pleasantly surprised by all the ports. Really enjoyed them. The weather was great. Lectures on Viking segment were very good. Cruising Prince Christensen Sound was fantastic. Other sea day were restful. Not many physical activities planned on the ship, mostly sitting activities. Miss the Fitness Programs - was a great way to meet people, stay active and have fun on sea days. I wouldn't do it again because I have more place to see on my list, but I do highly recommend this itinerary Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Although we are much younger than the average person on the ship, we did enjoy it. The ship itself needs to be upgraded i.e. TVs, stateroom furniture, WiFi, Unfortunately, some of the needed work of chipping rust on deck happened ... Read More
Although we are much younger than the average person on the ship, we did enjoy it. The ship itself needs to be upgraded i.e. TVs, stateroom furniture, WiFi, Unfortunately, some of the needed work of chipping rust on deck happened during our 17 day cruise; which was loud and annoying. Music was changed after a couple of days from up to date music (rap) to 40's, 50's and 60's music which was more appropriate for the age group on board. Entertainment was pretty good but loud singing. They can tone it down. Our reservations in the Pinnacle restaurant were completely botched up but HAL made up for it with a free meal there. The Pinnacle Grill was excellent. All the food on board was great (except for the shrimp and eggs). Cruise Director was excellent (Christina). Shore excursions are too crowded and I would not book another one again. If you can get a taxi at the worst or if you have time get a personal tour and hook up with other people on your cruise with Cruise Critic. Ports were great: Azores (Horta, Ponta del Delgada), A Coruna, Cherbourg, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Copenhagen. The captain was very informative and I give him an A+. The crew in the Lido needs more training. Officers walking through the deck do not make eye contact and don't recognize anyone around. (I think that is awful). I have sailed HAL many times and this is the only time I have seen this behavior (or lack of). Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The TA crossing followed by the Baltic ports and then the Fjords and Highlands. 41 days and very port intensive. Embarkation/Debarkation went extremely smooth. The cabin attendants were excellent, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The TA crossing followed by the Baltic ports and then the Fjords and Highlands. 41 days and very port intensive. Embarkation/Debarkation went extremely smooth. The cabin attendants were excellent, We had the unlimited laundry service and it was excellent. Lido service was average. Seemed to me to be understaffed and overworked. Main Dining room service was a little above average. Room service was very good. If you're a "foodie" then I wouldn't recommend this ship. Food was good for us, but we're easy to please. Entertainment was typical cruise line entertainment and nothing I get excited about. We only did 2 HAL excursions so really can't add much there. The TA crossing was relaxing, the Baltics were fantastic as were the Fjords and Highlands. One big issue was the noise created due to constant maintenance around the ship. Banging, grinding, chipping and welding. Maintenance is a must, but this was the first cruise I've notice this much noise on. Rendered our cabin's veranda useless for approximately a week. Value for the money spent was worth the cruise and I'd recommend it with the understanding it has it's shortcomings, but for us we'd do it again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
4-stars, not 5. I'd need Oceania or Crystal to get a 5 outa me. We LOVE Transatlantic cruises. For the $Value$ seekers, this may be a true bargain...maybe. Zip,zip with Holland-America on boarding and departures. Baltics Ports were ... Read More
4-stars, not 5. I'd need Oceania or Crystal to get a 5 outa me. We LOVE Transatlantic cruises. For the $Value$ seekers, this may be a true bargain...maybe. Zip,zip with Holland-America on boarding and departures. Baltics Ports were wonderful...in April and May even !! Crossing the Atlantic was quite enjoyable. Guests from more 'Southern Climes' had light jackets on when walking or on Aft Lido Deck, but a few, including myself, used the HotTubs and pools, but sparingly. Nice Sauna!! ZUIDERDAM and longer cruises attracts more seasoned and somewhat older crowd methinks; as was the case on this 29-day from Florida to Sweden and Russia. No little kids. Teens? Nope. Twenties? Nope. Thirties? A few. Yeah...I know. Older folks. ZUIDERDAM is a middle-of-road vessel by today's North American clientele standards. Not Uber-snazzy, not Plain-Vanilla either. The Staff and Officers were 1st rate. Dining Room and Bar staff were definitely as good as we've had on any HAL ship. The ZUIDERDAM has had remodeling done recently, and it appears to be in the vogue to continue fixing and re-working cruise ships during cruises nowadays. But too much grinding and welding wore a bit thin on this voyage for many...including us. It appeared VERY seaworthy and handled open ocean conditions very, very well. But it's not new and Jazzy like a new OCEANIA or CRYSTAL vessel can be, but we liked it as it was reasonably $$Priced$$. We're in our 60's and not overly demanding. We never availed ourselves of Pinnacle Dining Rm meals, or Rm Service, as the Standard Dining Rm menu was quite sufficient. Lido Buffet was as expected....plentiful and suitable for Poolside dining. GREAT unlimited IceCream!! Free. All Cruise ships with very few exceptions have become VERY $Expense$ conscious lately to keep Cabin Rates in line with the competition. HAL, for instance, has cut out a Poolside live music group called the HAL-CATS. Big mistake in my opinion. That killed the ambiance greatly compared to past years. The Classical Violin group, formerly known as the Adiago Strings is now down to 1 String. Hmm. No Pool Volley-ball organizer. etc etc. Not egregious omissions, but such things are making long-time HAL cruisers yearn for the Good-old days and begin looking elsewhere for an experience with a little more Pizzaz and Bling-bling. Creating a TopDeck Gazebo area during it's last Dry-dock for extra $$$ is an unmitigated disaster. ZERO takers!! ZERO. NONE. Somebody got fired I'll bet. Gymnasium was quite good. Nice equipment, but no Pool Water Aerobics. Basketball court went unused. Shuffleboard? Ditto. Ports-o-Call thru the Baltics can be phenomenal. Grab a Rick Steve's Guide to the Baltics and take off as we did. We rarely take Shore Excursion thru any Ship offerings as we dislike large Motorcoaches. We are savvy enough to hike Volcanoes, snoop back streets for fun and 'Local Color', and gad about with only a street map, our feet or Taxi and a handful of $$Currency. Wa-aaay more fun for us. Azores Volcanos, Amsterdam Canals, Berlin's history, Copenhagen food, St.Petersburg Cathedrals and Galleries, Sweden's gorgeous scenery. Beaches of Normandy. Chocolate shops of Brugges, Belgium. Lotsa WOW ashore. Cocktail time, new friends, and Dining Rm ambiance aboard the ZUIDERDAM.....then lunch with our relatives in Sweden; where do I stop. Yes, indeed. We had a good time. We arrived home via Icelandic Air rather exhausted, in a good way. It beat a bus tour of N.Europe hands down. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is our 3rd Transatlantic cruise in a row. Each cruise had completely different itineraries and we both love the sea days and on crossings there are plenty of sea days to relax as you see fit. My wife and I enjoy the guest speakers ... Read More
This is our 3rd Transatlantic cruise in a row. Each cruise had completely different itineraries and we both love the sea days and on crossings there are plenty of sea days to relax as you see fit. My wife and I enjoy the guest speakers that usually have lectures AM and PM on the sea days. These lectures are very popular and they do quite well with filling up the showroom. We choose the less expensive cabins and many times they offer upgrades from ocean view to balcony suites for very little cost. The more you cruise with a particular line the better chance you have of getting a reasonably priced upgrade. At least this is my experience with Holland America as we have sailed with them 14 times so far. The ships entertainment in my opinion is their weak spot. I am not a big fan of the ship's entertainers. When they bring on a specialty act like jugglers, magicians, comedians, musicians and others they are well worth attending. My wife and I really enjoy the trivia contests held several times a day. There is music trivia, food trivia, pub trivia and team trivia among the many choices. These are usually most plentiful on sea days to help keep you occupied. The crew on all Holland America ships are among the best at sea. One example: On a recent cruise we met a bar server who we had not seen in over a year and he knew our names and what we both drank. I was dumbfounded and flabbergasted. Most impressive! The cruise line offers a great variety of shore excursions and each has a varying degree of activity which is spelled out in advance so depending on your age, health, etc, you can choose the excursion that best fits your needs and desires. We have already booked our next cruise with Holland America so I definitely recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is our 15th cruise, and second on HAL. Holland America's service is outstanding as is the food. Yes, the Zuiderdam is an older ship, but, a well maintained and clean vessel. This ship is for the older crowd, as it doesn't ... Read More
This is our 15th cruise, and second on HAL. Holland America's service is outstanding as is the food. Yes, the Zuiderdam is an older ship, but, a well maintained and clean vessel. This ship is for the older crowd, as it doesn't have climbing walls or ice skating rings. What is does have is almost daily Culinary classes, which I rate a 3, and too many daily Trivia Pursuit games in the Crow's Nest. An Art Gallery with magnificent paintings with magnificent prices and a super B.B. King's lounge, with 6 outstanding musicians and 2 terrific vocalists. The Piano Bar is a fun, sign along lounge. The entertainment in the Vista Lounge was hit and miss, mostly, miss. The 2 comedians were good, as was the magician, but, we sat in the back and left early for the majority of the stage shows. A few of them were high school quality or less. My husband participated in the ring toss, and the golf chipping, and the Texas Hold Them tournaments. Several Cruise Critic members brought their Mah Jonng cards, so we usually had 3 - 4 tables of M.J. on cruise days. The Zuiderdam has 10 sets. The ship's staff gave us no help in securing tables for our daily at sea games. It was a daily scavenger hunt. This didn't seem quite right, since the Bridge and other card games had their own room or designated tables. My husband and I used the Gym on an every other day basics. Zuiderdam's management needs to pay attention to the equipment in it's gym. A large number of the treadmills were out of order, along with the sound on the equipment. We enjoyed our port excursions, which were booked on tours through Cruise Critic members/ We didn't take any of HAL's excursions, because of prices, but, enjoyed KK's daily excursion talks. The Vista dining room offers beautiful, delicious food, with super first class service. Thank you, Zuiderdam. The Lido buffet, is quite good and safe and clean as buffets go. The hot food is served by the staff is very fresh. Our disembarkation in Fort Lauderdale was amazingly easy. No waiting in lines at Customs, and a HAL chartered bus was outside the door to take us to the airport, which is 10 minutes away. We opted for HAL to pick up our luggage and check it through to our final destination. Great service!!! Our Summary of our trip is, that for us, 6 straight days at sea was maybe 2 days too long, but, we give HAL an A for effort in making our journey a very comfortable crossing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
HAL put together a 7 day Greece with a 19 day transAtlantic cruise calling it a "Collectors Journey". They promised different meals and shows over the 26 days but repeated the menus and the shows from the first 7 days into the ... Read More
HAL put together a 7 day Greece with a 19 day transAtlantic cruise calling it a "Collectors Journey". They promised different meals and shows over the 26 days but repeated the menus and the shows from the first 7 days into the transatlantic. The ports brought the magic: Athens, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini, Katakalon, Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Barcelona, Palma de Majorca, Alicante, Malaga, Cadiz, Punta Delgado ,Horta and Nassau The ship shows its age (2002) with cabin furniture stained and damaged ; public rooms have mis matched decors of incomplete revisions; toilets failed often in public areas and cabins including ours; drip buckets were found often in hallways from leaks . The recent drydock did not effect the average voyager as it added upper deck VB cabins on Deck 10 and retreat cabanas on Deck 11. They minimized the Crow's Nest. The Screening Room for movies is ludicrous with 24 seats on a ship for 1948 potential passengers to enjoy. The computer classes max out at 12 seats. The lack of synchronization was obvious in the menu-food department. Greek food did not appear until we left Italy, Spanish paella appeared upon our last embarkation from Spain(Cadiz). Dining room service was poor if seated at a table for 8-10 and could soar to excellent service with 2-4 persons. The "On Location" newsletter was difficult and misleading at times. I went to the beginner's bridge lessons to find it was a series started the day before and I was shut out for this cruise. The staff was well trained to smile and be pleasant no matter how awkward or rude the guests were . Dining and room stewards were courteous and always accommodating. We had relatively mild seas for a trans Atlantic cruise and this ship handled the 10 foot seas well despite some histrionic passengers. The entertainment in the main lounge was pitifully amateurish. the instrumentalist were the best of the lot and the house dancers and singers were the worse. The piano bar man Tom was professional and excellent as also "The Band" . We found both sets of classical "Adagio" duos ( 2 separate cruises) as a bit over hyped. The gain on the sound systems routinely appeared turned up too high as if we all are Deaf. The lecturers were inappropriate and boring. As an educated person I would think something on our ports or the history of the region would have made sense. But there was a series on historic airplanes and airplane engines. Really! The other speaker had no purpose/focus The high moment was the destination specialist KK who spoke clearly and honestly about independently visiting each of the ports. She did not discourage use of the HAL shore excursions but she did not discourage the independent traveler. We did not use HAL for shore excursion but used independent sources for 5 excursions in 16 ports . Embarkation in Athens was the worst of our more than 20 cruises. Chaos with insultingly inadequate staff, signage or assistance. many took 2-3 hours standing in the heat trying to get on board HAL took no responsibility to assist getting onboard. WE arrived to be handled a number 16 as they handled number 5 being told it would take at least an hour or more to be called with no chairs or place to sit. Crowded into a cordoned off area. cattle get treated better. Disembarkation at Fort Lauderdale was smooth and professional and all that could be done well. It was stunningly simple and quick. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
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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