8 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Alaska

We have cruised previously, mainly with Royal Caribbean and felt that this ship did not in any way match up to their standards,. The ship is old, overall well maintained but very dated - it is definitely ready for a total refurbishment. ... Read More
We have cruised previously, mainly with Royal Caribbean and felt that this ship did not in any way match up to their standards,. The ship is old, overall well maintained but very dated - it is definitely ready for a total refurbishment. Starting with embarkation, our advice would be ignore the informationyou re sent to check in at 12 - we did that and waited 3 hours to get through US customs - when we asked we were told that in future the best time to arrive would be between 10 and 10.30 am that is before the groupos arrive at around 11am This was not a good start as we were treated like cattle shifted from queue to queue and then sat in rows waiting to be called before joining the final queue. We had a balcony cabin which was fine, it was well equipped - except for the fract that there is no kettle in the cabins - however, we overcame this by using room service for early morning drinks. The food on board was good not outstanding but good. We always found something tasty to eat. The waiters were very helpful and did not rush you. One of our key concerns was poor communications on board, the destinations talk was just pure sales pitch and gave you no information on the actual destination and what you could do with your free time. There were several occasions when whales and other sealife could be sen from the eck but unlike RC cruises there were no announcements from the bridge to let you know when they were sighted or where it was best to look in the next 24 hours. Entertainment was varied, the theatre was small there were 2 decent singers, otherwise very sub standard. The piano bar was fantastic, great atmosphere and full every night. The Hal Cats were very good kusicians and entertaining, otherwise overall the ship lacked the type of entertainment we are used to on larger ships. Disembarkation was smooth and well managed, very fast and efficient. Overall we had a great holiday but do feel that Holland Aaerica missed several opportunities to make it just that little bit more special. Alaska cruise great, if repeating would use a different line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We had spent 2 weeks on train and bus travelling in Canada. We used the cruise as a restorative time. I've cruised several times before, but always with the Princess line. This ship is apparently up for a refit next year, so I was ... Read More
We had spent 2 weeks on train and bus travelling in Canada. We used the cruise as a restorative time. I've cruised several times before, but always with the Princess line. This ship is apparently up for a refit next year, so I was told. Most of the cabin staff, cleaning staff, table service staff wore cheap looking, ill fitting uniforms. One of the men supervising the safety drill had the hem of his jacket hanging down ! Staff on the front desk were efficient, knowledgeable, pleasant and helpful. Didn't see any shows / entertainment because our meal times clashed with them, and we didn't stay up late. We ate with a group from our tour, so went with the time that was booked. Spent time in the Crow's Nest bar. Great views, noisy ( but I think our group was mainly responsible for that !! ) Loved happy hour. If anything let the ship down, it was the diningroom experience. The food was mostly good, tasty, but often ill presented. The supervisor Mateus was well dressed, charming, funny and we all enjoyed his company. Someone in the background must have told the waiters that speed was of the essence. Some nights better than others, but menus were often dumped in front of us, likewise the meals, plates sitting cockeyed on the cutlery. Courses were forgotten, served two at a time, plates snatched off the table. Waiters were funny, engaging, always pleasant, badly dressed. Our experience of the buffet was good. Food good, seats comfortable, staff pleasant. Ship needed quite a bit of maintenance, - door handles loose, doors hard to open - we noticed relatively small things, but they add up to a negative impression. LOVED the cruise of Glacier Bay. Blessed with the weather. Never thought I would see such sights in all my life. Just wonderful ! Bottom line - we were fed, watered, slept well, comfortable, but a lot of aspects of the ship lacked finesse !   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We did a deal with our friends from New York. They would take the transcontinental train from Toronto to Vancouver with us, and then we would all take a cruise to Alaska. This would be our first cruise, as I have been prone to seasickness ... Read More
We did a deal with our friends from New York. They would take the transcontinental train from Toronto to Vancouver with us, and then we would all take a cruise to Alaska. This would be our first cruise, as I have been prone to seasickness when on water. However, I armed myself with some Transderm anti-nausea patches, and off we went. The train trip, BTW, was a wonderful old-fashioned experience on mid-20th century equipment, good food, excellent service. We arrived in Vancouver and headed straight to embarkation. Although this is perforce a tiresome business, it was organised efficiently as we cleared in turn US immigration and then the ship boarding process. The ship, as others have commented, is somewhat garish in design, however our stateroom was pleasant, and the verandah was lovely to have. Even as we headed north and it got cooler I was happy to sit out there admiring the amazing scenery, snuggled under the rug thoughtfully provided. The staff are uniformly pleasant and obliging. The regular menu was excellent, and my husband was happy to be able to enjoy a good steak every night. We considered trying the Pinnacle one night but never got around to it. The entertainment - the song and dance kids were OK, the magician was excellent and entertaining, and the comedian was good. I sat in on several of the Microsoft classes offered, otherwise we did not try any of the myriad daytime possibilities offered. My major unhappiness was with the amount of what I can only call huckstering going on. Someone always seemed to be trying to sell us something, whether it was an overpriced wine tasting, hot chocolate that apparently could only be had if you bought a souvenir to drink it in. Frankly, it seemed unworthy of a line of Holland America's stature. Of course, it may go on on all the cruise lines - I don't know. The one blandishment I did fall for, and was very pleased with, was the special dropped off as a flyer with the day's activities - a special package at the spa. Flyers I have no problem with. However, there seemed to be a lot of people on the ship who needed to make a living selling extras. I did feel somewhat gypped with the coupon booklet I received because of some early booking deal or other. Supposedly worth $400, it only offered nibbles off some fairly pricey stuff. The one coupon I expected to use, offering free gold earrings if I spent over $500 on fine jewellery, I was not permitted to use. Despite spending nearly $600 on a lovely amber and silver bracelet, I was told that did not quality as fine, it should have been precious stones. I do not see why - money is money, isn't it? Or does this just signify the markup on diamonds is much higher so they can afford the special? Overall, we enjoyed our cruise - the scenery is spectacular, and pausing in front of the Margarie glacier LISTENING TO IT as it popped and banged and crunched was worth the whole trip. One more complaint. My husband ordered and bought the DVD, supposedly a souvenir of the cruise. It opens very well, with lots of shots of people boarding,and sailing away under the Lion's Gate bridge. Then the rest of it is basically capers by the staff, with a couple of brief shots of the captain on the bridge. Where was Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, the magnificent Glacier Bay? This could easily have been provided with stock footage too - although they do have the last 'day at sea' to put the DVD together. I have complained to Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My husband's and my Alaskan Inside Passage cruise adventure actually began with four nights, three days on VIA Rail Canada from Toronto to Vancouver with two friends, British ex-pats who live in Canada. We flew from New York City to ... Read More
My husband's and my Alaskan Inside Passage cruise adventure actually began with four nights, three days on VIA Rail Canada from Toronto to Vancouver with two friends, British ex-pats who live in Canada. We flew from New York City to Toronto on Tuesday afternoon, had dinner with our friends, boarded the train and departed from Toronto at 10 pm. The rail trip was filled with gorgeous scenery, interesting people, delicious food and a lot of fun. I would caution anyone unfamiliar with this trip, however, that the size of the Sleeping Compartment was miniscule. After the shock and figuring out our way of dealing with the lack of space, the trip was wonderful. We arrived in Vancouver on Saturday morning and took a cab to the Zuiderdam. Embarkation was efficient and easy. Our adjacent verandah staterooms were ready, so we settled in, exuberant about the spaciousness compared to the train! We had a gorgeous view of Vancouver from our balcony and our stateroom was lovely with plenty of storage space. We went to lunch in the Lido, where for the first two days breakfast and lunch were served by the staff to help avoid any illnesses brought onboard, after which was self-serve. As for dinner, we had chosen 8:00 pm in the main dining room at a table for eight. Our dinner companions proved to be charming and we enjoyed each other's company every evening. My husband and I like the Ocean Bar as our pre-dinner cocktail place, where the excellent Neptunes trio played nightly. Our first day was spent cruising north through the Inside Passage. The second morning we cruised through the scenic Tracy Arm area, arriving in Juneau at 2:00 pm. A shuttle ($3 RT) was offered into the town center of Juneau, but my husband and I chose to walk—20 minutes to and from. We then took one of the blue buses ($16 RT) to Mendenhall Glacier. Just off the parking lot we watched the salmon swimming up a creek alongside a raised walkway to the Glacier. There were a lot of salmon carcasses left by bears, but no bears. Mendenhall Glacier is pretty spectacular I must say, being 12 miles long and 1½ miles wide at the base! There are lots of different trails you can take, but we only took the short Photo Point Trail, which got us a little closer and a wonderful photo op. The next morning we arrived early in Skagway, where we had booked the Yukon Bus & Rail Excursion with Chilkoot Charters & Tours ($175/pp - 7½ hours). We were picked up at the dock to begin the tour on the White Pass train to Fraser, British Columbia, which if you do nothing else in Alaska, do this! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and it is fascinating to think this 110 mile railway begun in 1898 on the difficult ascent of rugged terrain was finished in 26 months! An engineering feat! Not to mention, prior to the railway, the thought of prospectors climbing on foot and each carrying a ton of supplies (as was required to enter Canada). At Fraser we transferred to a small van type bus for our trip into the Yukon Territory, where we saw more amazingly beautiful scenery along the South Klondike Highway. We even saw two white mountain goats high on the side of a mountain! We had many photo stops at such landmarks as Carcross Desert, Bove Island in Tagish Lake, Bridal Veil Falls and Emerald Lake. We stopped at Caribou Crossing Trading Post for an included BBQ chicken lunch, and where we visited the Husky Puppy Camp and the Yukon Wildlife Museum. I must point out that the Museum is so well worth seeing! Such a wide and excellent display of wildlife, worthy of the Museum of Natural History in NYC!!! Be sure and see this included perk if you take this tour. On the return to Skagway, we stopped in the small town of Carcross for a short time and then enjoyed more scenic vistas along the South Klondike Highway. I highly recommend this tour and Chilkoot Tours. Most of the next day was spent cruising Glacier Bay, during which a National Park Ranger boarded and commentated as we toured the area. We found watching the scenery from our balcony was perfect. The day was lovely, we propped the cabin door open to hear the Ranger on the TV and enjoyed the views and the sounds of the glaciers—Johns Hopkins, Lamplugh, Grand Pacific and Margerie. Captain Timmers took us very close to the Margerie and rotated the ship very, very slowly so that everyone no matter where you were would have a wonderful view. Really nice! The following day we were in Ketchikan, and being the rainiest place in Alaska, we had a rainy day. However, that did not stop us from doing a walking tour as we had planned. Stop at the Visitors Bureau on the dock and pick up their wonderful map, which includes walking tour directions. We walked up to Creek Street from there and took the tram up to Cape Fox Lodge, where there is a nice display of several totems in the courtyard. We walked down the Married Men's Trail and to the Salmon Ladder, then Creek Street (the old red light district) and checked out the shops that line the street now, and where I bought a lovely totem souvenir, even though I'm not much of a souvenir buyer. We spent the next day at sea. It was so foggy in the morning that the foghorn had to blow at regular and frequent intervals. This was the day for the HAL Mariners lunch in the main dining room, after which we enjoyed the Zuiderdam Celebrity Cook-off between Captain Timmers and Hotel Manager Kees. A lot of fun! The next morning we arrived in Vancouver, disembarked easily and took a taxi to the Blue Horizon Hotel where we stayed overnight. The hotel is well located on Robson Street, the rooms quite large and well appointed. The lobby was a bit small for all the activity going on when we checked in and we had to wait and wait to have our bags checked while our rooms were being readied. Finally our bags were checked and we took off on the HOHO trolley right outside the hotel. We had gorgeous weather and spent the day touring Vancouver on the HOHO, and having fresh oysters at a wonderful place on the dock of Granville Island called Whet. We took both the Red and the Blue Loops, which proved to be a great way to get a feel for Vancouver. That evening we had a lovely dinner at O'Doul's just down Robson Street from the Blue Horizon, and where a lovely jazz combo were playing near the bar area. The next day was spent flying home to New York City. A wonderful trip from beginning to end! I have no problem recommending HAL or the Zuiderdam, one of their older ships but still quite cruise-worthy. Our stateroom was lovely, plenty spacious, the bed extremely comfortable, good temperature control, etc. etc. Love the trio of dispensers for Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash in the shower/tub! Service was extremely friendly and attentive. Lots of onboard activities to suit everyone's interest, food was good and well varied, and cocktails and wine reasonably priced. What more can I say? Great trip filled with majestic beauty! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The first criteria was the itinerary. Objective was to visit my daughter who lives in Sitka. This was achieved. How disappointed I was when I first boarded the ship. I expected this to be a first class vessel only to find it very dated ... Read More
The first criteria was the itinerary. Objective was to visit my daughter who lives in Sitka. This was achieved. How disappointed I was when I first boarded the ship. I expected this to be a first class vessel only to find it very dated & shabby. Although the cabin was acceptable, the rest of the ship was definitely in need of a total overhaul from the common areas to dining rooms to pool areas. At each port we stopped, I became more disappointed as I saw ships berthed that looked so much more appealing that the Zuiderdam. I was traveling alone, but had to pay the full amount for two persons. The food was certainly not superior for a ship of this reputation both in the dining room & at the buffet. During my travels I met people from other ships. I was told how appealing their accommodations were. I felt like an old Chevrolet parked next to a new Mercedes. I flew to Vancouver a few days before. I received a message 2 days prior to boarding from my travel professional that Holland America contacted her as they oversold the cruise & wanted to send me out of Seattle instead. I would have to pay to get to Seattle She was appalled by this & told them it was totally unacceptable. I boarded the trip 6 months in advance. On the positive side the staff was very helpful & obliging. Also, the spa was excellent. I highly recommend trying to get more information on a ship before booking a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We were really looking forward to this cruise. The scenery and commentary by the naturalists exceeded our expectations and Glacier Bay was spectacular. The food on board we found well above average- Hunky Dorey was a star! The exception ... Read More
We were really looking forward to this cruise. The scenery and commentary by the naturalists exceeded our expectations and Glacier Bay was spectacular. The food on board we found well above average- Hunky Dorey was a star! The exception was Caneletto. Attention should be applied to this restaurant. We cannot comment on Pinnacle as despite trying to book as soon as we boarded we were informed that it was fully booked. Friends who did manage to book said that there were several free tables. When they commented on this underbooking they were told that they were reserved for people in suites!! A distinct lack of customer service here. We felt like second class guests. Our Deluxe balcony cabin on Deck 5(5107) was really disappointing. It was shabby and bore little resemblance to the virtual tour on the website. We only saw our steward on day 1 and again on the last evening when he informed us how important it was that we scored him a 9. We did not.One example of the lack of service was that ice had been placed in the ice bucket. The next day it was replaced. However for the rest of the week it was not and the water remained there until we disembarked. Also we did not receive an invite to the last evening's dinner and we did not get a form re disembarkation procedures. We had to chase these ourselves. Hardly first class service. However other friends on board seemed to have had better experience. We will cruise again but certainly not with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Accommodations ashore were in the Westmarks, a chain of hotels of varying quality cobbled together by Holland America ranging from a suite at the Westmark Fairbanks to the Westmark BeaverCreek (which had only single beds that could not be ... Read More
Accommodations ashore were in the Westmarks, a chain of hotels of varying quality cobbled together by Holland America ranging from a suite at the Westmark Fairbanks to the Westmark BeaverCreek (which had only single beds that could not be moved together). Given that BeaverCreek is little more than a dot on the Yukon map, a short chunk of solid land surrounded by bog, no complaints. Accommodation aboard for the 4-day cruise portion was an inside cabin with a California-King sized bed that almost filled the room from wall to wall. For meals ashore and aboard the train, one can purchase meal tickets from HA or go it alone. We went it alone, paid for two great meals on the train, breakfast and dinner, a buffet breakfast at our Denali lodgings, and a superb gourmet meal at the SalmonBake in Denali. Best deal in WhiteHorse is the bbq chicken from the WalMart next door to the hotel. Included in the tour price (and well worth it) were a gourmet meal at the Westmark Tok, a fun supper with entertainment at the Westmark Beaver Creek, and a miners stew for lunch in Fairbanks. Aboard the Zuiderdam, plenty of variety in the food, including a venison steak at dinner, and baked alaska every night. We ate fish and chips ashore in Ketchican and are happy we did (try the green hut on the pier). Our companions on the bus and train were mainly in their sixties and our tour guide must consider herself lucky we were such a harmonious bunch. As for the scenery, we took a thousand thousand-words worth of photos. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Drove from Ft Wth to Vancouver, stayed pre & post cruise @ Coast Plaza Hotel @ Suites(highly recommend their park & cruise package. Arrived @ terminal @ 11:45. Embarcation was smooth & fast.. They tried to direct us to Lido, ... Read More
Drove from Ft Wth to Vancouver, stayed pre & post cruise @ Coast Plaza Hotel @ Suites(highly recommend their park & cruise package. Arrived @ terminal @ 11:45. Embarcation was smooth & fast.. They tried to direct us to Lido, went to MDR. Room was ready @ 1:15. Nice room LOTS of storage. Balcony above lifeboat #9, no problem. Staff was EXTREMELY friendly entire cruise, including the Captain which we ran into 4-5 times. We were 45 minutes undocking(no reason given). On Monday entered Tracy Arm @8:05 AM, departed @11:49, Nice views. Docked Juneau 2:18PM, undocked 10:27 PM. We spent the day in the city, lots of family history ( I am 4th generation of Joe Juneau). Went to Red Dog Saloon for 2 rounds of Alaska beer(fun place-reco}. Tue docked Skagway 6:20 AM, undocked 9:17 PM. Took the train up to Frazier, bus back(stopped @ gold mining show corny but good entertainment. Great tour-scenery-Eng. stopped train so we could see Mama black bear with 3 cubs close to track. The GREAT thing about this cruise was the WEATHER-sunny @ 68 in ports. Wed was Glacier Bay- This was breath-taking. scenery,whales, sea otter, eagles,etc. Wore light jacket up, sat on balcony in shirt watching whales ( bring GOOD binoc.). Park rangers boarded on our starboard side @ 7 AM while was still moving slow, they were very helpful in person @ speakers, they disembarked @ 4 PM. Mariners Brunch with Capt. @ champ @ 11:30 FRI. This was the dancers @ singers last day, the 4 singers sang together @ 3PM BEST performance ever saw on a cruise- do not know who is replacing them. Forgot Ketchican, took bus tour @ 12:30 to Saxon tribe show @ poles- was interesting. Back to Fri, farwell great nice special menu by head chef- great. I think the DESSERT EXTRAV was this nite @ 10:30 DO NOT MISS, best desserts, MDR good not impressed with LIDO except bread pudding. It was nice that you can order full meals from room service, same as MDR in evening, did twice, had full breakfast in room every morning. We did not self disembark, but were in cab @ 8:30 on Sat. Was a very enjoyable trip!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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