6 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Baltic Sea

always wanted to visit Denmark, the homeland of my husband and since the cruise started in Copenhagen, this was our opportunity to do the Baltic Sea cruise. We always choose Holland America as the mid size ships are our preference. The ... Read More
always wanted to visit Denmark, the homeland of my husband and since the cruise started in Copenhagen, this was our opportunity to do the Baltic Sea cruise. We always choose Holland America as the mid size ships are our preference. The HAL ships are always relaxing and comfortable. The staff is fantastic, very friendly, approachable and well informed. The safety of the passengers is very evident and welcomed. The captain of the MS Zuiderdam was very visible and hands on. Dined at the Pinnacle restaurant and the food was superb. The ship was very clean and the décor tasteful. We chose a balcony suite on the fifth deck and it was convenient located to access both the Explorers Lounge, Main Stage as well as the main dining room. Both the embarkation as well as the dis-embarkment went very smoothly. Look forward to our next adventure with Holland America, it is always a well satisfying experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our 12th cruise and our first with Holland America. (Our previous cruises were on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess.) I will start at the end by saying that we were impressed with HAL and we loved our cruise. The thing ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise and our first with Holland America. (Our previous cruises were on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess.) I will start at the end by saying that we were impressed with HAL and we loved our cruise. The thing that stood out above all else was the service. Everyone, no matter what their position, greeted us whenever they passed. Our cabin stewards made me remember what good service really means! They were phenomenal. The staff in the main dining room and the Lido buffet were unfailingly cheerful, no matter how busy they might have been. To other cruise lines: this is how it’s done! On most days, we had breakfast and lunch in the Lido and dinner in the main dining room. The food ranged from good to great, and overall it was a notch up from most of our previous cruises. We looked forward to mealtimes. The entertainment was the most professional of any of our cruise experiences, with the standout being the incredible Duo Yalba. We saw several other good performances on the main stage, including the very talented ship dancers and an amazing pianist. In addition, HAL partners with the Lincoln Center and there were wonderful concerts throughout the day. The performers in both the Billboard Onboard bar and the B.B. King Blues Club were very talented and fun. HAL has also partnered with America’s Test Kitchen and BBC Earth so that there is a definite “learning” emphasis in their activities, although they still have fun favorites like Bingo too. HAL handled our air and since there are no direct flights to Copenhagen from our location, we had to make connections; however, there seemed to be just the right amount of time between flights. Embarkation and disembarkation were among the smoothest we have experienced. Regarding the ports: COPENHAGEN - This was our embarkation point and for the lucky people who stayed aboard for the second leg of the cruise, it was also a regular port stop. We came three days early to explore and we loved it. We booked our own accommodations rather than going through HAL. We couldn’t recommend the wonderful Hotel Andersen more highly for service, location, and style. It was easy to get around Copenhagen (we enjoy walking) and the people were the nicest we have ever encountered. Tivoli Gardens, Rosenborg Castle, and Christiansborg Palace were highlights of our visit. TALINN - Easily walkable from the ship. The old town is beautiful, picturesque, and compact. ST. PETERSBURG - We did a two day excursion with Alla Tours and it was phenomenal. I was not prepared for the grandeur of the palaces, churches, and museums. I still dream about it. Definitely my favorite port. HELSINKI - HAL had shuttles into town for 10 euro round trip. We took an enjoyable 90 minute panorama bus tour with audio guide through Stromma tours, with a stop at the Rock Church. You can pre-book with Stromma online or find them near Esplanade Park. Afterward we strolled the area and bought delicious grilled salmon from a vendor at Market Square for lunch. Very nice people in Helsinki and a lovely city. We wished we had more time there. STOCKHOLM - We did a three hour HAL excursion that included the fascinating Vasa museum and an overview of the city. It was a good tour but the guide spoiled it at the end by making unsolicited and unnecessary political comments. This caused like-minded passengers to start chiming in. One minute we were learning about this beautiful city and the next we were forced to listen to divisive commentary. That is not what I paid for, and it really tainted the experience. Hopefully it was a one time event because as I said, otherwise it would have been a great tour. We returned to the ship for lunch, then went back into Stockholm on the free HAL shuttle. It’s a lovely and easy place to walk around except that it was extremely crowded and when it was time to return to the ship, there were so many buses that the HAL bus was unable to park to pick us up. We must have waited an hour before HAL finally arranged for a P & O bus to bring us back. Perhaps this too is not an everyday occurrence because I have not seen many references to it in other reviews. WARNEMUNDE - We took the HAL excursion to the charming, historic town of Wismar which included a stop for beer and pretzels at a beer factory. We had already been to Berlin, another option for this port, so we chose something fun and relaxing. After our return, we walked into Warnemunde, visiting shops and strolling by the water. I enjoyed seeing all the German families on their vacations. KIEL - We planned to take the ferry to the u-boat. You can get information about this at the TI in town. Unfortunately it did not return until 2:00 and we were supposed to be onboard at 3:00. We were uncomfortable cutting it that close, because if we missed the ferry, the next one would have been too late. Instead we walked around the city and strolled the waterfront promenade. It was fine but we were disappointed about our original plans. A few other pros and cons: *The onboard Internet is poor. We ended up buying it on the at sea days and using free WiFi in port. *The HAL laundry service is amazing! Don’t hesitate to use it to make your packing lighter. *This is a small thing but we really appreciated the way they did happy hour. Rather than a drink of the day at a special price, you order what you want and the second drink is $2. They serve the drinks with delicious complimentary snacks. In summary, we loved Holland America , the Zuiderdam, and the Baltic. It was near perfect. I just wish they hadn’t made us get off at the end! :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity. We like the small-medium ship scale of the ... Read More
We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity. We like the small-medium ship scale of the Holland America fleet, and love that most staterooms have a bathtub, (great to relax weary bodies after a busy day ashore). Our Holland America itinerary was the perfect balance of ports and places to visit. Highlights of our travels were snorkelling between the European & American teutonic plates in Iceland, and discovering the breathtaking wonders of Shetland! The service in the main dining rooms and speciality restaurants was excellent. Sometimes we had to wait perhaps a little too long to order wine via the wonderfully knowledgeable Sommeliers. Perhaps HAL needs to employ more sommeliers..... I am always a little disappointed that HAL only offers 'Windows' workshops.. Most of the passengers I spoke with were MAC folks, even using their iPhones instead of traditional cameras. More attention to enrichment workshop diversity would be a good thing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary which included six European countries and possible visits to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and the races at Royal Ascot. It also included stops in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bruges, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary which included six European countries and possible visits to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and the races at Royal Ascot. It also included stops in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris (LeHavre), Normandy, Gurnsey, Southampton, and two in Scotland. So overall this itinerary was excellent. We read several reviews that were disappointed in the condition of the ship. We did not find this to be an issue. For sure it is an older vessel, however, it had recently undergone some cosmetic updates and presented itself in decent shape. The crew onboard were generally excellent. In fact, most of the servers were from Indonesia and were very pleasant ... in contrast to some cruises we have taken where Eastern Europeans were less than happy to be serving us. Our major issues centered around Food, Menus, Quality, and Dinning Times. We have sailed many times on most of the major lines including Princess, Royal Caribbean, NCL, and Celebrity. The food offerings and quality could on the Zuiderdam could not begin to compare with any of those. We have moved away from eating in the main dinning venues most days on a cruise like this where the tours were very lengthy and we often returned late and exhausted. So, our only option was the Lido Buffet. Absolutely terrible! Most nights there was nothing edible to eat. So, it was pasta, pizza, or salad. We are early risers and it was impossible to get anything for breakfast until 0700 most mornings unless the ship had some early departure tours. I mean nothing .... no pastry, doughnuts ... nothing. Other days we returned to the ship exhausted from our tours around 1700 (5 P.M.). We were hoping to grab a quick dinner and settle in for the night. No way Jose! No food available anywhere. We've never been on a ship where you couldn't get something to eat 24/7. And most offerings are the cheapest they could offer ..... pasta, Asian, etc. Oh, well. I'll close with another warning we had ..... that HAL tends to attract an older clientele. That's not really the problem as we're up there now ourselves. It does mean, however, that many of the cruisers had serious ambulatory issues. I've never seen so many wheel chairs, walkers, and motorized scooters on a cruise before. Let me make it clear that I'm happy these folk are still cruising and living their life to the fullest. However, it did tend to really slow down walking, getting food service, etc. We were also nearly run over several times by the motorized ones. A much more serious problem developed with the gentleman in the cabin directly opposite us. His walker was way too big to fit through his cabin door and he was not able to fold it up and make his way into the cabin. As a result the walker stayed out in the hallway most of the night and anytime he was in his cabin. I'm sure most of you know how narrow the hallways are to begin with. A real safety issue that was not corrected by the ships staff. In closing .... despite the itinerary, we'll be sailing on one of the other lines from now on. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We had never sailed with Holland America before this trip and it is safe to say that we won't be sailing with Holland America in the near future. It started well - check-in was smooth and efficient - all staff involved were friendly ... Read More
We had never sailed with Holland America before this trip and it is safe to say that we won't be sailing with Holland America in the near future. It started well - check-in was smooth and efficient - all staff involved were friendly and very helpful - very professional. But once on board it soon became clear that the demographic was not what we were expecting. Mostly Americans - mostly OLD Americans which directed the whole tone of what happened on the ship. Lucky there weren't many sea days because it was tiresome and tedious - no real suitable activities available - nothing to really keep people occupied. And quite frankly the nighttime entertainment events were generally mediocre, apart from two or three gems. But only two or three. Clearly targeted on the main market of older Americans. Our cabin was nice, storage sufficient but the television far too small - tiny really given the size of the cabin. And the range of what was available - very, very limited - just the same boring selection on rotation for the entire day. The Spa and staff were lovely but treatments expensive in my view. Lucky for the Team Trivia events but sadly often conducted without any real enthusiasm by the ship staff member and seriously spring for free drinks for the winners!!!!!!! It won't break the bank. There is is no free wi-fi on board which quite is just prehistoric and unhelpful. Food service is not self service which is great - you are served by staff behind the counter. The food is plentiful and tasty but limited in range over the two cruises. Desserts generally delicious. Hamburgers from Dive-In fabulous. However the whole availability of coffee and tea making facilities is insufficient. Unless you want to pay for your coffee then you have to trek all the way to the Lido Marketplace to get some coffee or tea. Very poor. Happy hour rules very poorly advertised - it says $2 for the second drink BUT it must be the SAME drink which is NOT stated anywhere - no T&C noted. Telling us that it's been like that forever is not an acceptable response. Lido pool - no attendant on duty - again not acceptable - haven't seen this on any other cruise ship. You have a pool on your ship for your guests then I would imagine that you should have a safety attendant on duty. Front office staff - these are the people that need to know stuff however that wasn't the case. We were often given incorrect or conflicting advice/information. They were always willing to assist and super friendly which was lovely but not sufficient as representatives of front of house. The trip itinerary is wonderful (although there should be more time in Oslo) - can't fault the destinations (although some of the excursions offered leave much to be desired and saying they are an independent outfit is not good enough - Holland America have the Journeys Ashore office on board so they do need take on some of the issues. For example - Falkirk Wheel/Roman Fort and Antonine Wall - no wall and no Roman fort - a very poor tour). Must be said that for the most part the disembarkation and embarkation for excursions was very well handled. In summary we left very happy with what we saw regarding the trip itinerary but the actual journey was marred by disappointment with the cruise ship itself. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We were a loyal HAL customers. Until now. This 12 day Baltic cruise on Zuiderdam turned our opinion of the HAL upside-down. On second day, we wake up by horrible noise - outside of our stateroom ship’s maintenance crew were scrubbing the ... Read More
We were a loyal HAL customers. Until now. This 12 day Baltic cruise on Zuiderdam turned our opinion of the HAL upside-down. On second day, we wake up by horrible noise - outside of our stateroom ship’s maintenance crew were scrubbing the rust of the life boat holders. The noise were so intensive that we can’t stay in the room. After I complained to the front desk, they told me that nothing could be done. They told us that there are no rooms available, so we have to stay where we are. So our vacation was completely screwed up. We end up spending 8-9 hours on-ship time in the library in somewhat uncomfortable chairs. The problem was exacerbated by my heath condition, which requires 2-3 hours of rest time. On the bright side dining in main restaurant was very good. The food was good and the staff was very kind and professional. The entertainment in the was also good - all highly professional artists Read Less
Sail Date June 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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