56 Holland America Zuiderdam Romantic Cruise Reviews

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
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At ... Read More
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At least Four cruise ships were departing on the same day..Holiday Inn at hollywood had a shuttle waiting for it and Candlewood hotel, we loaded up..Dispite them doubling their rates for rush at HI, they serve a decent breakfast, and accomadations were very nice.. Mind you there is not much else close here and 8 lanes of high speed traffic in front if you want to cross the hwy...I believe one 4x4 pu tried to see how close he could get, defintely did NOT slow down, There is NO crosswalk for protection. Ok, we paid $15.00 each for the ride to the port #21. and tipped the driver. I was satisfied with the process of checking in and forming groups to board..We were in a SY suite for our cruise and it was nice too, except for the heavy deck doors. the one next door #8076, closed loudly and disturbed me in the evenings. I turned in a request to have their closer and shock tested and repaired, but Hal did not fix it.So it reminded me of a cheap thin motel room when slammed..They were seniors next to us and I did not speak with them about it. The hot water controls were great in the Jetted tub and shower, you could get very hot water if you soaked. I did use the hot-tub on the rear of the ship, there were about 5 . The food was hit or miss after breakfast, which was great and so was the room service. By this I mean you could get great Fish and vegs, but their pasta sauce was not flavored enough, simular to Ragu..Pizza and Pasta was there all the time and hot served any time. There was a huge salad available at all meals, built with care by an attendant and plenty of vegetarian food.Ice Cream was served all day and lots of flavors, Seniors Love their Cold deserts.The whole ships crew worked hard to please anyone..The Steelband performance was the best, and second was the Magician show.. The port stops were nice, we enjoyed Willenstad, Curacoa in the old dutch section...We stayed on board at the canal, and went exploring in beautiful Costa Rica. This was our Diamond anniversary, and we were recognised at Gala Dinner..Thanks to HAl and the crew, especially a very efficient Captain, We will book another cruise with them soon...Jonyyuma Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout ... Read More
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout especially at the elevators and Old wooden deck chairs on deck three of which 50 percent were broken. Attitude of the Hotel manager was not his problem. Staff throughout the ship in restaurants, cabins, bars etc. A 10 +++. The main dining room meals were over cooked much of the time during dinner hour though breakfast was fine. First night of cruise turkey was served bright pink ( scary !). One night tuna was so overcooked , it was like saw dust and most left it on their plates uneaten. On another evening the wiener schnitzel was served and waiters came around suggesting that we add gravy before we even tried the dish and through the gravy was not part of the menu the waiters were trying to correct another bad meal. Now the Pinnacle Grill was a great experience but we were forced to pay the extra charge to have good food compared to main dining room and we ate there four nights. Entertainment was very good and we enjoyed every performance. The shore experience in Costa Rica called canal tortuguero was a 100% waste of time. When we arrived by bus, there were bathrooms on the second floor of the building that were so unbelievably filthy that I perferred to not use since thing did not flush and one small sink to wash hands shared by men and women with nothing to wipe hands. The boat tour showed two iguanas,three birds and a couple monkeys. The second part of the tour was a banana plantation which consisted of the bus pulling off the main road to point out a few banana plans and return us back to the ship. So much for a plantation. Holland America charged 100 plus dollars and does not care how bad it is. Now it explains why Holland America does not even get mentioned in many ratings and independent reviews. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We wanted to see the Panama canal in a confortable cruise with excellent food and relax atmosphere. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, quick and smooth. We reverved for the first time an Inside cabin and we found it a little ... Read More
We wanted to see the Panama canal in a confortable cruise with excellent food and relax atmosphere. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, quick and smooth. We reverved for the first time an Inside cabin and we found it a little tight (150 square feet). We missed the day light. But the cabin was very clean at all time and our stewards were very attentive to our needs. We bought a wine package and we appreciated a lot to have a drink (our wine) anywhere on the ship at any time, including different bars and main dining room. Food was excellent in the dining room and at the buffet. At both places, service was incredible. Entertainment was great and we appreciated to watch the superbowl live on giant screen at the main stage. It was fun to have superbowl food (chicken, tacos, pizza,.....) in the main stage. Unfortunatly, we didn't stop at Half Moon Cay because of rough waves but we agree with captain as safety is number one on ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Cruise staff was excellent. Ate in MDR every night. Daily vegeterian options every day or weekly always available. Dive In & Taco Bar were fantastic, but only available in afternoon. They have some of the best smoothies anywhere at ... Read More
Cruise staff was excellent. Ate in MDR every night. Daily vegeterian options every day or weekly always available. Dive In & Taco Bar were fantastic, but only available in afternoon. They have some of the best smoothies anywhere at bars or MDR. Wait staff was excellent and catered to our every need. We had table for two entire cruise, and the wine steward helped us pick out Mocktails several times. Surf & Turf (lobster tails for no extra charge on last night of cruise in MDR (I got 2 tails). We tried lots of things (escargot, Chilled pineapple soup, fancy veggeterian options) we would never think of trying. Shore excursions were great, and lots of selections for every budget. Several EXC tours ran late, but ship waited for them. Several times saw people on private tours running down the dock to barely make ship departure. We stayed on board during Canal locks, and got great pictures from several angles. Even participated (with certificate) in pool swim across canal (aft pool late morning). Several people who took shore tours from Canal complained about length, heat, food, bathrooms ( availability, cleanliness, etc). Several said they would not recommend their tours, especially anyone with mobility issues. If you do Dolphin Encounter/Swim go to photo area immediately. They get backed up in a hurry. Make your selection, pay, and then go to gift shop, cafe, exhibits, etc. Go back and pick up photos, and they had package of 3 photos (1 framed), extra photos on USB. Atlantis submarine was great, even with people on canes. Tight fit, but everyone had access to window. Water was a little cloudy, but we saw dozens of varieties of fish & several wrecks. Costa Rican rainforest/tram ride was great, even for people with significant mobility issues. Great butterfly garden with lots of different varieties flying around. Wish you could have bought nectar and feed them like I have at other places. I got off ship in Colon, and found great shopping center within 150 ft of exit gate. Cross street and take a left. Cheap souvenir shops, restaurants, and large grocery store with great prices (many crew shopping). Billboard, Licoln Center, & BB King music great. Mainstage acts were excellent, especially comedian. Backstage tour good, but crowded. Took Galley tour, get there early. Digital workshops great, with handouts for every class. Some times extra handouts for other classes, but can get filled in a hurry. All classes Windows 10 based, but he sometimes could answer IPAD questions. I tried to go to several Test Kitchen programs, but seating fills up in a hurry. Did not attend any of the movies in small theater. All were available on room TV, with restrooms readily available (pause function works great. Even saw some long movies with break for food or beverages. Would go back on HAL & Zuiderdam anytime money allowed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My wife and I had been planning this cruise for several years to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary as well as her completing her PhD. We had booked an ocean view cabin on Deck #1. We did not find out until out first night that we ... Read More
My wife and I had been planning this cruise for several years to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary as well as her completing her PhD. We had booked an ocean view cabin on Deck #1. We did not find out until out first night that we had a cabin under the B.B.King nightclub! Could someone please explain to me why a cruise line would put passengers in a cabin under a noisy night club! We complained to Guest Services several times and finally we moved to another cabin. 4 nights of a 10 night cruise spent in a cabin we could not sleep in! GRRRRR! I wrote to Holland America corporate customer service after the cruise to express my displeasure with their accommodations. They offered us $500.00 in Ship Board credits on our next cruise. So in order to avail ourselves of their offer we have to spend several thousand dollars. Not a good option. We also booked a Romantic Getaway Package. We were supposed to get complimentary pictures, casino lessons and credit at the casino, as well as flowers, sparkling wine, (upon entering our cabin on the first cruise day) and chocolate covered strawberries in our cabin. The wine was not chilled. We were told the florist was running behind. In order to get the pictures and the lessons and credit at the casino the letter with the package was not accepted. We had to go back to Guest Services and get a card showing that we should receive the services. We ended up doing this over several days as we tried to get our package services. So, basically we went to customer service on a nearly daily basis. GRRRRR! Holland America had many opportunities to make things right. Many of the onboard staff did a commendable job trying to resolve these problems. Corporate could have done a better job. The dining room staff and the Green House spa staff were great. The excursions were good. Overall I would have to say that when a problem arose the onboard staff tried to make the situation right. Holland America Customer Relations - Not so much. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We were invited to join this particular cruise because of some close friends participating with the Bells of the Cascades (a professional handbell group). We enjoyed the English bells of course. However, the ports of call, self arranged ... Read More
We were invited to join this particular cruise because of some close friends participating with the Bells of the Cascades (a professional handbell group). We enjoyed the English bells of course. However, the ports of call, self arranged excursions, meals and personalized service exceeded all our expectations. We made our reservations through a local travel agent and received several added perks, the best being a fine dining experience at the Pinnacle Grill. (You also can reserve lunch there!) Kudos to the Captain and entire staff. If you are lucky enough to have Wii and Ari as your room stewards, you are definitely in for extraordinary service and a delightful surprise every evening. I am an underwater photographer and brought on board all my dive and camera gear. Although my self arranged diving was very good, I will not bother with all the extra gear for just two days of diving on a ten day cruise. I will schedule a week long vacation at one of the islands we visited to have a more worthwhile diving trip experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First time with this cruise company mainly because we wanted to see the Panama canal in action. From start to finish the cruise was faultless in every aspect. Every destination were worth the visit, with interesting things to see ... Read More
First time with this cruise company mainly because we wanted to see the Panama canal in action. From start to finish the cruise was faultless in every aspect. Every destination were worth the visit, with interesting things to see made more special by excellent tour guides. The cruise staff from top (the captain especially who regularly walks around) to bottom were all happy, efficient and always there to help. Food was excellent and fine dining was true to its word. The most important and impressive part of this cruise company is the fact that they have brought the old style of cruising to the present day. Guests are more sophisticated and pleasant to talk too. I know this might sound snobby but this is not the cruise for you if you like to party till 4am and make noise!! String quartet, piano bar, band, singers and dancers first class. Excellent gym and knowledgeable staff. Food is served by staff everywhere, therefore better for hygiene and waste control. Thank you to all and will look forward to our next cruise. Better than Norwegian, Costa and on par with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This titillating riposte reflects actual not third person account on our hot hot hot partial Panama Canal cruise 1...Did not need to fill out health form prior to getting on ship?? 2...Zdam book exchange doing well. Located in ... Read More
This titillating riposte reflects actual not third person account on our hot hot hot partial Panama Canal cruise 1...Did not need to fill out health form prior to getting on ship?? 2...Zdam book exchange doing well. Located in portside hallway behind Crows Nest bar/coffee locale. Please frequent it. 3...Future Cruise Desk and Excursion Desk on Starboard side of Crows Nest 4...Capt.Wouter's welcome aboard with sparkling wine speech was mercifully short. He was the only body on stage 5...Two main stage shows were movies already available on your room's tv (Oceans 8 and BBCEarth 2) 6...Oprah merchandise only offerred on 1 small table in Signature Stores 7...Bought 11 day internet package for $149. Email 24 hrs a day. Speed was decent too 8...Took HAL's HoHo bus around Cartegena, Columbia which has a population of 617,000. There are that many vehicles and persistent hawkish vendors all selling the same thing. 9...82 padded chaise loungers on the wide promenade deck HMC, Aruba, Curacao and Colon port side faced town We cruised 3200 miles, ate 35,000 eggs and burned 312,000 galons of fuel Enjoy your cruise Bob Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
There is a cruise vacation out there designed for sedentary people - the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal. If you want to go, you should know that most of the good times will be experienced from a chair. No games on the private island, no ... Read More
There is a cruise vacation out there designed for sedentary people - the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal. If you want to go, you should know that most of the good times will be experienced from a chair. No games on the private island, no band around the pool, little dancing, not even many slot machine players. Hardly anybody out after 9 pm, even though the late shows in the theater don't start until 10pm. And while the very good BB King Rhythm and Blues band was going strong until late just about every night, their audiences were small. My wife and I took this cruise because of the Panama Canal. We considered a trans-canal trip. But at the time I booked, their prices were going up. So we decided to jump in three months earlier than I have ever booked a cruise. I joke that the ship required me to show my grey hair before letting me onboard. But there were only five children on the ship. And one lady who said that her dark hair came out of a bottle. Everybody else - shades of gray. One of the strange things was the folks with walkers who step out in front of people in crowded hallways. There were lots of walkers on the ship. But not all their drivers were so rude. I don't see carelessness like this in the midwest, even with able bodied folks who want to walk quickly. Avoiding running over them on the ship kept me on my toes. I was expecting great food. It was not to be. Breakfast was fine. Other than that, the food in the main dining rooms was poor to middling. Toughest prime rib I've ever tried to cut. My waiter tried to give food advice, and I should have listened to him. The buffet restaurant was horrible, except for the Asian station which had some tasty Thai dishes. For some strange reason the whole buffet area was crowded at every meal. Speaking of pools. They are deserted on this ship. The mid-ship pool has a roof that was generally closed, and which made the area feel like a sauna (as if the tropics needs more heat and humidity). The rear pool was nice for relaxing, except for the clouds of cigar and cigarette smoke that waft across the waters from the smoking section. Our room steward did a good job cleaning up. But after opening the room door several days while we were dressing for dinner, he really should have learned to check the time. The waiters were okay. The assistant waiter was my favorite employee, but unfortunately his main job was to carry food from the kitchen to the wait station. Zuiderdam, if you are reading this, you need to promote Jaja. I don't go out to bars very often, but the bars on the ship were a lot of fun (though of course, sitting down fun.) Happy hour, one at 4:00 and another at 9 pm, had a buy one get one for $2. There was a wine tasting with an inexpensive glass of wine at 5:00. The hors d'ouevres were always interesting. The customers at the bars were the friendliest people on the ship. Yuliya the lady from the deck 1 bar and also the disco person, always had a story about hors d'ouevres; and she was one of the most genuinely happy and friendly people on the ship. Most of the entertainment in the main theater was uninspired. The ship dancers were a big exception - they were really good. And the highly entertaining steel drum band Island Magic played some excellent classical music (and other unexpected genres.) On the other hand, there were some acrobat/dancers who looked like they should have been on Ed Sullivan in 1965 (I see Topo Gigio every time I think about them.) The poorest evening consisted of some old movie. There was a comedian and a magician. The first night was an introduction to entertainment. And there must have been one other night that was even more forgettable. The ship had several other venues. The already mentioned talented BB King band put on a great show almost every night. There was also a piano/string quintet that was quite good. I really enjoyed the cooking demonstrations; they were full of information. Didn't see any of the Oprah shows, and cannot even imagine what they were about. There was a dueling piano show in the casino. And the casino itself was smoke-free, small, and uncrowded. I've got to tell you about the process of going through the Caribbean locks in the canal. Previously, we had been told to be at the front viewing room at 5 am. Then the schedule was changed to 6. I was there, ready to go, coffee and Panama roll in hand. And the windows were so dirty and foggy that they were hard to see through. But a narrator from off the ship came on to describe what we should have been seeing. His first revelation - the ocean is at sea level. It got no better from there. I went to an outside viewing area at the front of the ship, which was already full of passengers. I waited at the side for about an hour, until ship security ran off a bunch of us. Finally went back to my cabin and sat comfortably on the balcony, while the ship just sat in the lower canal. When the ship started moving, I checked out the view again from deck 3. There was nothing much to see; you had to be standing at the very front of deck 4 to even see the lock doors. I could see nothing other than the lock walls slowly sinking. The Zuiderdam cleared the locks about 10:00. We took a really unusual excursion on the canal. The best thing was that we could actually see the workings of the locks. The boat was running late because we kept having to wait for a container ship to catch up and join us in the locks. In the second to last lock, one of the gates opened and we got through, but had to wait for the container ship to get through. After about an hour, the stuck gate opened. The ferry was two hours late by this time, and the passengers got an outstanding sunset cruise in the Pacific Ocean. The private island had a great beach, but it was disappointing that the ship didn't even put up a volleyball net. Went to an Aruba beach that was pretty dirty, but we made up for that experience by having a great seafood dinner at a restaurant near the cruise port. No other excursions. We had a great time walking around Curacao. In Cartagena the heat was so oppresive and taxi drivers so irritating that we refused to leave the port; but that was okay because a small zoo with birds, monkeys and an anteater at the end of the dock was fascinating (I let a parrot climb on my arm, where he proceeded to dismantle my watch). At Puerto Limon, the ship people tried to scare us into not walking around town - we did so anyway, and it was interesting and safe though rather decrepit; we found a vendor selling fresh made empanadas, a park with a sloth high in a tree, a pretty beach, and the best straw-market of the cruise. I wasn't going to rate the exercise facilities. Then I remembered all those walks around the ship on the third deck. It was great. Never windy. Lots of people out walking. There is a running track on the tenth deck, but it is too short to enjoy anything except the act of running. Embarkation was weird. I had gotten an upgrade a couple of days before the cruise was due to leave. The staff on shore didn't seem to know about it, and wanted to give me the old room. Still, got it straightened out and we boarded the ship in plenty of time. Debarkation was great - we were off the ship maybe ten minutes after what had been predicted. Customs didn't even ask what we were carrying. Other non-cruise stuff. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Ramada Inn Airport - Cruiseport; it is a very clean, classic Florida motel from the 1960s, with impeccable shuttles running from the airport and to the cruise port. After the cruise, we rented a car from Enterprise, who seem no longer to claim that "we'll pick you up", at least not at Port Everglades. Drove down to Homestead to the world's best tropical fruit stand - Richard Is Here. Stayed in the downtown Ramada Inn in Fort Lauderdale, which was every bit as funky Florida as the first one. But like a reminder that nothing is perfect, we ended up enduring four hours on the torture devices that American Airline calls seats. The ports were by far the best part of the cruise. Although having cruised in the Caribbean many times, each of these ports was new to me. I would go back to any of them. Considering that I have paid less for a seven day cruise than what the taxes cost on the Panama Canal cruise, I probably won't cruise through the canal again. And if HAL wants me to go on another of their cruises, they will have to convince me that they have improved their food a whole lot. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at ... Read More
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at all what others are seeing in their overly negative reviews. The food is very good to excellent- the best dining room food we have ever had at sea, and I have cruised 4 other lines. I am a foodie and saw no need to go to any specialty restaurants. The entertainment is limited, but excellent- BB Kings played jazz to blues to dancing music, and the band and singers were outstanding. Billboard 100 which is a duel piano sing along type bar/ club- was by far the most attended just for good old fun. The shows were also great- the dancers all could be on dancing with the stars. Piano player/singer, opera etc. were all excellent. Crew were all genuinely attentive and friendly- and in talking to them can see they love working for Holland. The only thing people need to learn is to book their excursions privately, as the cruise lines rates are absurd. One caution- if you go to book "Landscapes and Sheepdogs"- you will pay $200 pp to be taken to a gift shop (Called "Scottish Woolen Center"- its a gift shop) that has Free, I repeat Free sheep dog demonstrations. We felt deceived and grossly overpaid for this. Other than that one negative experience- we loved Holland, loved this ship, and loved the crew from the Captain to the waiter. Book this trip with confidence that you will love it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We took this 11 day cruise because of excellent experience on the Westerdam a few years ago. This was our "bucket list" trip through part of the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, this is one of the oldest ships in the HA fleet and ... Read More
We took this 11 day cruise because of excellent experience on the Westerdam a few years ago. This was our "bucket list" trip through part of the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, this is one of the oldest ships in the HA fleet and most passengers complained of the motion sickness which has never bothered us on several cruises before. We observed that by the end of the trip there were at least 20 passengers wearing leg braces due to falls. Remember this cruise caters to mostly 60+ passengers. Perhaps the stabilizers were not functioning properly, but the ship constantly swayed so much that it caused the beds to actually twist while we were sleeping and the walls squeaked. This ship suffers from metal fatigue and many other shortcomings in spite of a muti-million dollar partial upgrade. Many corridors had dryers running the entire trip due to plumbing overflows. We were waiting to enter a theatre and water was dripping on us. We could not use the entire Promenade deck for a daily walk because part was always under maintenance. There have been many cutbacks since our last fabulous cruise with HA. For example, stop in Half Moon Cay was a full day now a half day, gone are the live bands on the pirate ship. No more champagne greeting when embarking except a glass of juice. Breakfast menu in the room cutback on the variety with charges for some items. Parade of staff in the dining room - gone. Lower quality of entertainment overall although we enjoined a few entertainers in the theatre very much. The 10th floor entertainment lounge gone and converted to a high pitch sales lounge for future cruises. There are many more shortcomings which are too numerous to mention. Food quality and variety was generally very good. It seems HA charges for just about everything extra. All the shops on board are boring strictly jewelry and clothing mostly for women. The Microsoft courses were excellent. I should mention we were charged $130US extra after disembarkation when we arrived home. HA accused us of taking the bath robes and towels that were left in the bathroom. It took almost 8 weeks and 3 calls before we were reimbursed. Apparently, this is not an uncommon practice these days. We recommend if you insist on taking HA cruise don't go use this ship. It should be sold off. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Holland never disappoints and this cruise proved it again. We were a little worried having read some negative things about the Zuiderdam recently. No idea what those folks were talking about. The ship came out of dry dock this year and it ... Read More
Holland never disappoints and this cruise proved it again. We were a little worried having read some negative things about the Zuiderdam recently. No idea what those folks were talking about. The ship came out of dry dock this year and it is beautiful! The stateroom was terrific; the bathroom actually beautiful! The entire ship looked good - we didn't seen anything that needed maintenance. The food was the best we have had so far on Holland. Crew was wonderful, Lido was full of friendly and efficient staff and even more choices than before. The only complaint we have is that the library has been mostly dismantled in favor of putting the excursions desk up at Crow's Nest. Not cool. Also that moved the coffee over into the bar area, also not really appreciated. But, those were small things in comparison to the great time we had. Oh, and the pop up Sel De Mar dinner was fabulous! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our first cruise on HAL, chosen for the date and itinerary. We're not yet loyal to any particular cruise line, but we tend to favor Celebrity. HAL is now a close runner-up! We thoroughly enjoyed the elegance of the Zuiderdam, ... Read More
This was our first cruise on HAL, chosen for the date and itinerary. We're not yet loyal to any particular cruise line, but we tend to favor Celebrity. HAL is now a close runner-up! We thoroughly enjoyed the elegance of the Zuiderdam, and are grateful for the mature, drama-free cohort that tends to cruise HAL. At 49 and 51, we soon realized that most of the folks that we ended up hitting it off with were at least 10 years older than us. There were maybe 6 children total on the entire cruise. As parents of two teenagers, we have to advise parents to not bring your kids on HAL! It seems to me that there was very little to entertain them, not the least of which was other children. OTOH, if you like to cruise child-free, you should definitely consider HAL! What we love about Zuiderdam is its coziness. It's hard to explain what that means, but it's the idea that, while being a smaller mid-size ship, there were places that we discovered halfway in on the 11-night cruise that we had no idea were there. Like the Ocean Bar, which we never did have a chance to enjoy. And the Gallery Bar, which is a beautiful gem of a place. We spent much of our free time in the Explorer's Lounge (aka Crow's Nest), playing various board games and drinking adult coffee beverages. Ironic story: one day we were playing a game up there, and a couple came in. The wife quickly realized what a nice location it was, and proceeded to berate her husband for not telling her about this wonderful area on the ship. It was funny, and sad, and annoying. No wonder he wanted to keep it to himself! Our favorite excursion: zip-lining in Costa Rica. The excursion company for this was fantastic. I've compared stories of zip-lining with others, and was appalled by their safety concerns. We did 11 zips, starting small and working our way up. They were very safety-conscious, and I think we all felt well taken care off. We had a perfectly-sized group of about a dozen people, and by the end we were all eager to do more! The dining was very good, and the menu choices ranged from dependable to daring, and always tasty. We dined in the Pinnacle Grill three times, and Canaletto once. I do wish they had a dining package for 2x in Canaletto, and have suggested that to HAL. I thought I'd miss having more restaurant choices on an 11 night cruise, but truly I didn't. One of the best things we have every done on a cruise was to buy the $250 per couple access to the Greenhouse Spa therapy pool and Persian lounge with saunas. We were all about the therapy pool, and wish we'd had more time to use it! DO IT! A cruise is what you make of it. This was only the second two-week vacation I've had in my 15 years of owning my own business. I know it was perfect, because by the time it was over I was missing my kids and ready to get back to work. Thank you, Zuiderdam, your crew and guests, and Central America, for a most wonderful vacation! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
2nd time around exact same cruise 4 years apart, after the first we knew we loved the ship, the company the itinerary, planned the 2nd trip, picked the aft cabin on purpose to cruise the canal with a wonderful view...however, first week ... Read More
2nd time around exact same cruise 4 years apart, after the first we knew we loved the ship, the company the itinerary, planned the 2nd trip, picked the aft cabin on purpose to cruise the canal with a wonderful view...however, first week out of dry dock, boarded the ship (3 hours later than scheduled) and pool deck above our cabin closed the first 2 days, sanding and resealing the deck and pool full of deck chairs and tables no bar, again choice of our cabin was for location to pool deck buffet and ability to use outside balcony for canal transit. all work done on pool deck ended up on our balcony, welding rods, dirt and debris daily--10 day trip able to enjoy the balcony 4, if this was not bad enough there was no air conditioning in our cabin the entire trip, when we spoke with the hotel management never got a answer other than we are trying. our room steward finally went to his cabin and brought us up his personal fan to help, we had to sleep with our cabin door open the first 3 nights of the trip to get a little relief, plumbing issues all over the ship , loud drying fans all day and all night, next to last day of cruise, they closed the pool deck again to finish the wood areas of the bar, again should have been done in dry dock, wood stools still tacky the next day so could not sit at bar but wish someone had said something before we did...you get the picture leaving the ship the same confusion and disorganization as getting on, just was not ready for the full cruise of passengers, really disappointed not in itinerary but the company and the way they did NOT handle our issues Read Less
Sail Date November 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
I would never recommend this cruise to see the foliage with a mid-Sept embarkation date and so I struggled with giving it an excellent rating since it was advertised as "10-day Colors of Canada & New England". But it could be ... Read More
I would never recommend this cruise to see the foliage with a mid-Sept embarkation date and so I struggled with giving it an excellent rating since it was advertised as "10-day Colors of Canada & New England". But it could be I guess if the weather had been cooler than normal instead of warmer than normal. We wore shorts every day except one and that was the last day in Newport. But that being said, the cruise was great. We met some fantastic people from Canada, Germany, London and of course the US. We arrived in Quebec City four days early and did most everything we wanted before we boarded on Wednesday. We chose to board after 1 pm to miss any crowds and we walked on with no lines. Our SS suite was ready and luggage delivered (we had dropped it off in the morning before we went exploring). Suite 6072 on port was close to elevators, mid-ship and really quiet. We didn't even know we had neighbors. Rarely saw anybody in the halls. There is plenty of closet space and bathroom is large with 2 sinks, tub and separate shower. Great beds, pillows and sheets. A few of the bath towels were pretty thin, but most were good quality. The balcony is about twice the size of balcony staterooms'. Our room stewards Komang and Reinaldo, were great - in and out very quickly and always professional and called us by name. Dining - breakfast - several omelet bars, lots of fresh fruit, other stations had many choices, pretty much the same everyday, but a nice variety. Lunch - Italian bar much better than most with make your own pasta and really good pizza. Hamburger station was cooked to order and very good. Buffet was different daily and had a large selection. Dinner - we only ate once in the dining room and weren't impressed with service or food. It was better in the buffet, but then again we ate anytime dining and we choose to eat late so they were trying to end the night. Dinner in steak house was excellent, service was still a problem. We never got asked for more water, wine, bread, etc. We did not leave a tip and told them we weren't happy with it. Our reservation was at 8 pm. Now the Italian rest. was good with no problems. We really liked the buffet because of the selection, timing and service. We weren't thrilled about the buffet closing at 8 pm, but another opens from 10:30 to 11:30 and although it was limited, it was quite good. The service in the buffet is outstanding. There are servers who get all of your drinks, basically anything you need. Don't set your coffee down without something else, because it will be cleaned when you get your food. Entertainment - the piano bar was packed every night and we agree it was great. But the Zuiderdam production shows were very good - we were surprised how good they were. The non Holland acts were also excellent. The activities were pretty standard and at times we wished there was more going on, but loved the Crows Nest with the library, computer stations, coffee bar, although, we understand it is going to be changed in the Nov. update. It was a great place to have a nightcap after dinner because it was quiet after 7 pm trivia. Service - no complaints at all. Joel, John, Stephen, Reuben, I can't even name all of them in the bar service from the Philippines are wonderful. We ran out of Crown Royal and Baileys with about 3 days left in the cruise and I complained on my daily comment card. We were in Boston that day and to my surprise, the bar was replenished. Excursions - We only booked a couple with the ship Baddeck on your own and Titanic Cemetery and Peggy's Cove and they were as described. Folks complain about Sydney, but they should relax and enjoy the weather. We don't need to be entertained 24/7, just enjoy the view. We will definitely cruise Holland again, but our fall foliage will be a flight from Texas to Vermont/New Hampshire and rent a car. Problem - disembarkation - may not have been HAL problem. We were at least an hour late from leaving the ship from our appointed time. We were ready to get home and even though it was nicer on the ship than at the airport, we hated the delay. Better info on airport transfers would have been GREAT. A cab to LGA was $65 and we could've given HAL $58 if we had known how far it was. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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
my wife and I are mid 50's and there was an older very friendly crowd on this trip. this was only our second cruise and first on Hal. Service is excellent and food selections were great. we did open seating but soon found that ... Read More
my wife and I are mid 50's and there was an older very friendly crowd on this trip. this was only our second cruise and first on Hal. Service is excellent and food selections were great. we did open seating but soon found that later seatings were less crowded, more relaxed. it was mid cruise before we tried breakfast in the Vista dining room and it was a great chance to meet other travelers. Caneletto was well worth it We went to a show each night and the singers and dancers put on high quality performances. BB kings were good and there was a pianist/violin couple that we hit on the way to or from dinners. wifi is avail for purchase but we caught up at each ports free wifi stations. no wifi means no music unless you have a library. bring CD's and they will play on the DVD in your room. I bought adhesive wall hooks at Walmart and put up 5 for space savers, dollar store battery candle was out bathroom nite light, there is a $20.00/bag deal on laundry that we did and realize we could have brought 1/2 the clothes and 2x the money. we brought on 2 bottle of wine and had cheese/cracker happy hour before every meal. dress shoes, flip flops and sneakers will suffice. bring a highlighter for the daily schedule. 4 clothes pins to dry the suits. The bar hop was a great way to party and meet others. the bar tenders have skills! martini special is good. explore the ship before the last day at sea. tell Brendan in the fitness center you are on vacation or he will make you work hard. We did ATV rental in Aruba kini kini - this was awesome w Stewart, wear sun screen. bought a $10 bus pass and snorkeled at Boca Catalna with our own gear. Curacoa - local bus tour groups are at the pier $15-25 nice way to see the island plus we got off at the market and walked back (20min). purchase an excursion through HAL in panama or you will miss interior panama. we did Embera indian village. 80min bus ride each way but worthwhile, several friends did the excursion to panama city and enjoyed it but long day for them. Colon was poor and we stayed inside the pier/restaurant section as advised. Costa Rica was a zip line/ river tour which the zip line was the best - you are in the trees w the wildlife in perfect view. we were really pleased that the prices were best right off the ship at the pier in Aruba, Curacoa and Costa Rica. nothing to compare to in panama but seemed good as well. coffee and roasted Coca in Costa Rica:) very few children on this cruise - which is why we picked it but felt bad for the few on board. didn't spend enough time reading and lounging on deck 3. 5 hot tubs on deck 9. a memorable fun cruise with the one I love. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
THE CRUISE LINE - Holland America We've been on five cruises, and all of them on Holland America - so, we can't compare to other lines. Our experience has been consistent. It is classy, but no where near stuffy. The staff are ... Read More
THE CRUISE LINE - Holland America We've been on five cruises, and all of them on Holland America - so, we can't compare to other lines. Our experience has been consistent. It is classy, but no where near stuffy. The staff are friendly in the extreme and are always there to help. They are ever-present but not imposing. Their ships are "mid-size", topping out at about 86,000 tons (compared to more than 200,000 from a couple of the Royal Caribbean behemoths!). I would describe the line as "quietly elegant". The ships offer enough activities while also providing an awful lot of places you can have a quiet moment and read. THE SHIP - Zuiderdam In April 2017, the Zuiderdam will be going into dry dock until October for a refitting/refurbishing. While I wouldn't call the ship shabby or worn, I would say that it was in need of some sprucing/freshening up. The carpets in the public places, for example are a little too vibrant and, in the photo sales corridor it is literally dizzying. They could use updating. The lounges and the rooms, however, are just fine on that score. The ship is laid out like all HAL ships. They are all nearly identical in deck plan and public spaces. This is a nice thing for returning HAL customers - it's a little like going to a familiar vacation spot that you are already comfortable with. There tends to be music around the pools during the day - and the lounges are quiet at that time. The Crow's Nest (deck 10, forward), is a great observation deck. All glass walls out to the sea on three sides. Big, comfy, leather lounge chairs are there - perfect for reading while having a drink. The Crow's Nest is surprisingly quiet during most of the day. The teak promenade deck that encircles the ship is a feature on all HAL ships. It's not only a great place to do some walking laps, but a wonderful place to just spend some quiet time. Teak steamer lounge chairs line the decks - and some are always available. It gives the feel of an old-time ocean liner as opposed to a cruise ship. The only noise you'll find is the waves passing by and the soft sounds of people's conversations as they stroll past you. It's really nice. The ship (like all HAL ships) is immaculate. All HAL ships rank very high on the CDC's inspection list. Staff and crew are constantly cleaning, polishing, buffing, vacuuming, repairing. THE CABIN/STATEROOM - Neptune Suite The Neptune Suite is quite large (about 550 s.f.) with a long deck (about 20 ft) that has a table with chairs and a couple lounge chairs also. The king size bed is incredibly comfortable. One of the best things about HAL is they have the best beds! There is an 8 ft couch, coffee table, two comfortable chairs, a changing/make-up room, and a very large bath with double sinks, a jacuzzi tub/shower, and a separate shower. There are fresh flowers and a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for you in your room when you arrive. There is a ton of closet space and a good deal of drawer space. The cabin stewards are wonderfully attentive - but I don't think that's because we were in a suite - I just think that's a signature of HAL's service. The only real ding I'd give the suite is the TV is a bit small for the room. I'm not one that needs a mega-screen, but the screen was a bit small for the viewing distance. Maybe they'll change that in the refurb. One of the best things about having a Neptune Suite is having access to the Neptune Lounge on deck 7. It's an extremely comfortable, large lounge with plenty of comfortable seating, appetizers throughout the day (and fruit, cereal, baked goods, smoked salmon, and fresh-squeezed OJ for breakfast). There are pastries and hand-made chocolates for the taking. There is a honor's bar, too. There are two concierges that learn your name immediately and are incredibly helpful and friendly. THE FOOD Overall, I find the food on HAL to be top shelf. Is it 5-star gourmet luxury? Not quite. But the meals are certainly creative and wonderfully executed - and are deliciously pleasing to even real foodies like myself. Jamaican-style Cuman-crusted lamb chops; pork rib-roast with apricot dressing; mushroom and wild rice chowder; escargot; bucatini with duck (oh my god - so good!); bourbon-glazed beef; beef and tuna carpaccio; mahi-mahi; rainbow trout - just a few examples. The proteins are always succulent - perfectly cooked. The vegetables are perfect - just the right bite to them. The sauces are amazing. We both have food allergies. Our waiter was so attentive, he gave us the next day's menu at the end of every meal so that we could make our selections - and then he'd make sure that they were properly prepared for us. On the nights we didn't dine in the dining room, he delivered the menus to our room. The only negative I can say about any of the meals this trip: the duck breast wasn't seared enough to render out the fat - so there was an unappealing layer of uncrisp flab on it. And the meat was, consequently, on the dry side. This is the only time out of all the meals I've ever had on HAL that I could find fault with the duck (or any protein). The pastries they make could be right out of a Parisian bakery. Most of the breads are really good (one or two are "ehh"). Dining at the Pinnacle Grill (surcharge) is an elegant experience. Every time I have had one of their steaks, it is melt-in-your-mouth incredible. I would say the steaks in the Pinnacle Grill are better than any I can remember having on land. I think the room service menu is surprisingly limited. The food is plentiful and quite good and promptly delivered, but the selections could be a bit broader. ON-BOARD EXPERIENCE There are minimal announcements over the P/A system. One or two a day. You can easily find music and company and drinks - or a cup of tea and a book and a quiet spot. The gym is really excellent. They offer programming during the day (especially during the at-sea days) such as cooking demonstrations, guest speakers, etc. There is a cinema (and you can also choose from over 1000 movies to watch in your room). There is a casino and shopping. Many comment on how HAL cruises skew to an older crowd. I think this is generally true, but not usually so that it is noticeable or has any impact on the experience. This particular cruise was markedly different, though. We (at 61 and 58) were among the younger people on board. The average age, I would guess, would be 72+/- for this cruise. I've never seen such a passenger makeup on any other cruise, and have no idea why this particular one would have such an older client-base. That is not by any means a complaint, but an observation that may have made a difference to some. But, I'll tell ya - there were a lot of folks on that ship take made me laugh hard - great people with great senses of humor. We are a gay couple. To say this is a non-issue is an understatement. We couldn't feel more comfortable. BOTTOM LINE The Zuiderdam, like all HAL ships, feel welcoming, manageable, comfortable and familiar. The cruise experience is exactly what we need it to be - every time. I can't think of a reason why we would ever try a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise for the Panama Canal destination. Although the Zuiderdam is an older dated ship, it still provided that smaller mid-size ship that we love. We prefer to cruise on HAL due to the "older" crowd and less loud ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Panama Canal destination. Although the Zuiderdam is an older dated ship, it still provided that smaller mid-size ship that we love. We prefer to cruise on HAL due to the "older" crowd and less loud partying crowd. The dining was wonderful each meal. Especially the Pinnacle Grill - the filet mignon was so delicious. We ate there 3 times. The main dining room was very good. However, it would have been nice to have a little more flexibility in the time of seating. Norwegian Cruise Lines has the best seating that we've experiened (show up when convenient and sit at a table that is ready with others at the same time). The main theater entertainment was wonderful each night. The only complaint that I would have would be the lack of other evening entertainment. The HAL band was bad, really bad. The BB King Band was great, but disbanded after the 3rd night. I felt as though we should have been offered an explanation, but was not. Almost every employee was pleasant and helpful. I just wish that the employees in the Greenhouse Spa were not so high pressured to sell products. We will definitely take a Holland cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise because we had not been to either New York or the Maritimes before. We had cruised Holland America many years ago and enjoyed their ship and service. Zuiderdam is very spacious, well laid out, and by the 10th day ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to either New York or the Maritimes before. We had cruised Holland America many years ago and enjoyed their ship and service. Zuiderdam is very spacious, well laid out, and by the 10th day we found it easy to navigate. The crew and staff are very well trained and were always smiling and eager to help with any request. The shore excursions we booked with HAL were informative and satisfying but we feel that they are starting to get pricey. We booked an independent tour in Halifax and found it extremely informative and fairly priced. Cabin was clean and up to our expectations - lots more storage space than initially thought - the bathroom was definitely larger than on our previous cruise with Princess. Cabin layout is comfortable and balcony on cabin 4027 is deeper than other cabins on decks above. We chose open dining as we preferred to eat a bit earlier than late sitting - lucked out with great table companions the first night - we ate dinners together the rest of the cruise. Getting a table at 6:30 pm was sometimes delayed but usually no more than 15 - 20 mins and the maitre d was most helpful - seated us at a window table at the stern - fabulous view. Food everywhere on the ship was excellent - dining room choices were varied and selection in Lido cafe also very good - very sensible having staff dish out portions as tendency was not to overeat. We attended half the shows - ships band was very good - most shows good but typical cruise entertainment - could never say "fabulous". One excursion in Saguenay Quebec, La Fabuleuse at a theatre in La Baie was incredible !! The sights and sounds on stage, with animals, vehicles, gunfire, fires, floods made for a spectacle at least equal to the best you might find on Broadway or theatres around the world. Embarkation was painful !! we stood in a snaking line for more than an hour - no place to sit - no rest room breaks - wonder why they can't take passengers on the way they let them off - in stages - by deck or by category - or spread out by arrival time. there has to be a better way. Disembarkation went very smoothly - lineups were minimal and handling of luggage and taxi s was great. In summary, Holland America is a line for mature travellers - Zuiderdam a very comfortable and classy ship - outstanding staff and service - above average dining and an experience worth repeating. The New York to Quebec City itinerary was very interesting and mostly smooth sailing although the Maritimes were hit with the tail end of Hurricane Matthew just days after our cruise ended so I wonder how the passengers doing the Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale route managed . . . Read Less
Sail Date September 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

Find a Zuiderdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click