11 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

We chose this cruise because we had taken Holland America before and really enjoyed it. This trip was to celebrate my 60th birthday and what a wonderful celebration it was! Everything was perfect! Our stateroom was nicely furnished ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had taken Holland America before and really enjoyed it. This trip was to celebrate my 60th birthday and what a wonderful celebration it was! Everything was perfect! Our stateroom was nicely furnished with lots of storage. Our cabin stewards were amazing. Always there if you needed them but not intrusive at all. The concierge in the Neptune lounge were both knowledgable and helpful. It was nice for our other shipmates to gather in the lounge before going out or just visiting. We had early seating in the dinning room. The table was near the window and the service was exceptional. The food was terrific and the portions ample without waste. The Pinnacle Dining Room was very nice. We enjoyed dining there several times. There was an uncharge but certainly worth the expense. The wine list was wonderful and the service was very attentive. The pools were clean and the servers were close by to take your drink order. We ate at the Dive and the burgers and dogs were just fine. We did enjoy a number of Holland America approve excursions, they were all very nice with the exception of Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. We had rented a pool cabana for $275 and it was a total rip off. The music was loud, the food and drinks were expensive and there was no one there! It was awful. Please do not even get off the ship in Amber Cove. Thanks for reading this and I hope you have as good of time as we did, Happy sails!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 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
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
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
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
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
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
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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