107 Holland America Zuiderdam Senior Cruise Reviews

The cruise was sold to us by a travel agent and included shore excursions at every port. We were very impressed by the ship, the food and all the activities offered, especially the cooking demonstrations, the Computer lessons and the ... Read More
The cruise was sold to us by a travel agent and included shore excursions at every port. We were very impressed by the ship, the food and all the activities offered, especially the cooking demonstrations, the Computer lessons and the Art Auctions.. The ship was very steady and for most of the time you were not aware of the motion if you didn't look out of a window!! Our Veranda Cabin on deck 8 was quite comfortable and the best was having morning coffee served to you room. Our luggage was lost in transit to the cruise and the ship agents were very helpful and supplied us with toiletries, loaned us clothes and allowed us same day express laundry.till our luggage caught up with us after 5 days! My only complaints were slow service in the evening sit down meals (Vista Dining room) and the midi-core quality of the nightly entertainment in the Vista Lounge. I do think I'll take another cruise with the some day. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The choice was a back to back between Iceland and Russia July 4 through 28, 2016. Copenhagen to Copenhagen. Requested Convertible Twins. Got one king bed. Ask for two separate beds. Stewart gave me a face and said he would do it. Shower ... Read More
The choice was a back to back between Iceland and Russia July 4 through 28, 2016. Copenhagen to Copenhagen. Requested Convertible Twins. Got one king bed. Ask for two separate beds. Stewart gave me a face and said he would do it. Shower head LEAKED. Shower curtain hem covered with MOLD, curtain not connected on two top hooks. i leaned back on the curtain over bed; DUST AND FIBERS FELL OFF AND IRRITATED MY EYES. I was looking for something I dropped and found MANS SOCK UNDER THE BED.TWICE THE CABIN STEWART'S' ENTERED THE ROOM WHILE I WAS LAYING IN BED. THE 2ND TIME WITH THEIR CLEANING EQUIPMENT AND VACUUM CLEANER. THE DID NOT OFFER TO RETURN AT A DIFFERENT TIME. I HAD TO CLIMB OVER THEIR EQUIPMENT TO GET OUT O THE CABIN. July 5 or 6 there was NO A/C. Room was HOT AND STUFFY. I slept with the door open, blocked with a chair and curtain drawn all night.. Bathroom floor was squeaky with dent under the tile. I asked only for ice every day (nothing else)- No ice. I had to call 3 each week for ice. \Empty fruit basked never returned with fruit. I asked the head housekeeper "DON'T YOUR TRAIN YOUR STAFF?" No answer. i ASKED for a cabin upgrade and got a pot of flowers. I asked for a different cabin Stewart. and that I got. The rest of the staff was indifferent and inexperienced. When food service stopped in the buffet and dining room, Only a few items were on the "dine in room" menu and the selection was very poor. Three of the serving staff ('chef"s) in the buffet were rude. MANY of the service people were not trained properly and or poorly trained in food service. The Piano and Violin & The Microsoft classes were excellent. The rest of the entertainment was mediocre. Of the several cruise companies, I've traveled Holland America is the ABSOLUTE WORST!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Very few negatives on this cruise. The ship was clean and quiet. Service throughout was outstanding. Food was fine, both in the cafeteria and dining room. The only negatives I have to report are a lack of on board activities compared ... Read More
Very few negatives on this cruise. The ship was clean and quiet. Service throughout was outstanding. Food was fine, both in the cafeteria and dining room. The only negatives I have to report are a lack of on board activities compared to other cruise lines, and the music in the lounge they call "BB King." King was a blues musician. The music in this lounge, played and sung at an excruciating volume, was by and large not blues at all. We were impressed with the library on board, which had a good variety of books available in a very comfortable setting which also had a great ocean view. There was also a coffee bar available. One highlight was the duo called "Allegro," a pianist and violinist from Ukraine who played mostly classical music, but also some show tunes. These were the best musicians I've ever heard or seen on board a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were a loyal HAL customers. Until now. This 12 day Baltic cruise on Zuiderdam turned our opinion of the HAL upside-down. On second day, we wake up by horrible noise - outside of our stateroom ship’s maintenance crew were scrubbing the ... Read More
We were a loyal HAL customers. Until now. This 12 day Baltic cruise on Zuiderdam turned our opinion of the HAL upside-down. On second day, we wake up by horrible noise - outside of our stateroom ship’s maintenance crew were scrubbing the rust of the life boat holders. The noise were so intensive that we can’t stay in the room. After I complained to the front desk, they told me that nothing could be done. They told us that there are no rooms available, so we have to stay where we are. So our vacation was completely screwed up. We end up spending 8-9 hours on-ship time in the library in somewhat uncomfortable chairs. The problem was exacerbated by my heath condition, which requires 2-3 hours of rest time. On the bright side dining in main restaurant was very good. The food was good and the staff was very kind and professional. The entertainment in the was also good - all highly professional artists Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I was scanning cruises in the Baltic for 2017 when this 2016 cruise to both the Baltic AND the Norwegian Fjords and Scottish Highlands showed up. I learned on the ship it was really 2 back-to-back cruises and many of the passengers were ... Read More
I was scanning cruises in the Baltic for 2017 when this 2016 cruise to both the Baltic AND the Norwegian Fjords and Scottish Highlands showed up. I learned on the ship it was really 2 back-to-back cruises and many of the passengers were on board for only 1/2 of the total. We had not been to either area, so we were glad to combine both in one trip, at about the same price we were looking at for just the Baltic. The cabin with balcony was clean and comfortable, average roominess - plenty for 2 people - with enough storage and a comfortable bed. Room stewards kept it neat and tidy ALL the time. We enjoyed many of the ship's activities. The flown-in entertainment - like UkeBox - was fabulous. The ship's company of singers and dancers seemed a little lackluster, and the tech elements in the big theatre were not well done -- too heavy handed in sound and lights. The BB King Band was terrific in the smaller venue. There was always SRO for the classical piano-violin duo in one of the lounges. So there was plenty of entertainment all over the ship for all tastes. Speaking of taste - we had one dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and it was superb. There were several special lunches for Mariner Club or Collector Voyage guests, and they were top notch. Some of the other meals in the dining room were a little disappointing - tough steak, over-cooked lamb chops, etc. We had some of the best meals in the Lido, where we could choose our own menu at every meal. The special meals on the Lido deck were almost always the best. (I didn't care for the German meal, but I think that was just me) Staff and crew were friendly and efficient, always working and willing to do whatever you need. Bartenders are very personable and an entertainment in themselves. Dorine was very helpful with information about ports and how to get to places on our own. We booked transfer to and from ship and airport through Holland America and we were very glad we did so we didn't have to worry about finding our own way there when we arrived all jet-lagged the first day. On the last day, the ship arranged for a 4:00 a.m. bus for all of us who were flying out on VERY early flights. Not sure we could have done that on our own either. Ports were great. Some sailing times turned out to be different from times originally published, which messed up some of our shore activities, but we always made it back in time. Overall, we really enjoyed it and would go again. We would do the same trip again and spend more time in each port. That's the only drawback to a quick overview like this was, a day in each of 18 ports - not enough time in any of them. We had 2 days in St. Petersburg with a wonderful tour. I would go again and pick a different tour next time. So much to see and explore. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We love Holland America and we wanted to see the Baltic. Nearly all of the ports were wonderful, and St. Petersburg was the standout. It's a MUST VISIT place. Our ship's staff, food, stateroom and common rooms were great, as ... Read More
We love Holland America and we wanted to see the Baltic. Nearly all of the ports were wonderful, and St. Petersburg was the standout. It's a MUST VISIT place. Our ship's staff, food, stateroom and common rooms were great, as we have come to expect from HAL. However, the exterior of the ship was just awful and should be an embarrassment to HAL. There was rust EVERYWHERE! The ceiling of our veranda was covered in rust, the winches for the lifeboats were covered in rust (a safety issue??). From the dining room we looked out and we could readily see a rusty strut on the side of the ship. When I complained to HAL, they sent me a boilerplate response. Maybe we should switch our allegiance to another cruise line. Saying that maintenance must be performed on an ongoing basis doesn't ring true when we've never seen such a rusty ship on any of our over 20 cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We absolutely hated this cruise!! This was our fourth cruise with Holland America and our last! The good parts of the cruise were our room stewards were quite nice and did a good job; our servers in the dinning room were also quite nice ... Read More
We absolutely hated this cruise!! This was our fourth cruise with Holland America and our last! The good parts of the cruise were our room stewards were quite nice and did a good job; our servers in the dinning room were also quite nice and did a good job as well, however, as for the rest of the ships company we cannot say the same. We upgraded from a verandah stateroom to a signature suite. This "suite" was terrible. There was a large crack and a huge hole in the base of the bathtub; the carpeting was torn in several places, there were stains on more than one wall, baseboards were missing from two walls, there was a huge dint in the threshold leading to the verandah, which made this a safety hazard as this was an accessible stateroom and there was a chunk of tile missing from the bathroom floor. Also, even though this was supposed to be an accessible stateroom, the bath towels were placed on a bathroom rack that was over six feet high which made it impossible to reach from a wheelchair or a scooter. Even though all these things were reported to the proper authorities, we were not offered a different stateroom nor a refund. After several phone calls, visits to the customer relations desk and speaking to a supervisor, all we were offered was a bottle of wine. On one particular evening we had reservations at the Pinnacle Grill and the service was so bad that we left. The manager offered us another evening at their expense which we excepted. He made the reservation for that while we were in the restaurant, however, when the evening of that reservation came around, they told us that it had been canceled. After we had left the Pinnacle Grill on the first occasion, we went to the main dinning room to have dinner at our assigned table only to find someone else sitting there. All this has lead us to feel that we would be much better off and get our moneys worth sailing with another cruise line. We will NEVER recommend Holland America again, especially since Holland America did a horrible job of providing excursions for the disabled. We did all those on our own and had no problem setting them up. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Although we are much younger than the average person on the ship, we did enjoy it. The ship itself needs to be upgraded i.e. TVs, stateroom furniture, WiFi, Unfortunately, some of the needed work of chipping rust on deck happened ... Read More
Although we are much younger than the average person on the ship, we did enjoy it. The ship itself needs to be upgraded i.e. TVs, stateroom furniture, WiFi, Unfortunately, some of the needed work of chipping rust on deck happened during our 17 day cruise; which was loud and annoying. Music was changed after a couple of days from up to date music (rap) to 40's, 50's and 60's music which was more appropriate for the age group on board. Entertainment was pretty good but loud singing. They can tone it down. Our reservations in the Pinnacle restaurant were completely botched up but HAL made up for it with a free meal there. The Pinnacle Grill was excellent. All the food on board was great (except for the shrimp and eggs). Cruise Director was excellent (Christina). Shore excursions are too crowded and I would not book another one again. If you can get a taxi at the worst or if you have time get a personal tour and hook up with other people on your cruise with Cruise Critic. Ports were great: Azores (Horta, Ponta del Delgada), A Coruna, Cherbourg, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Copenhagen. The captain was very informative and I give him an A+. The crew in the Lido needs more training. Officers walking through the deck do not make eye contact and don't recognize anyone around. (I think that is awful). I have sailed HAL many times and this is the only time I have seen this behavior (or lack of). Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is our 3rd Transatlantic cruise in a row. Each cruise had completely different itineraries and we both love the sea days and on crossings there are plenty of sea days to relax as you see fit. My wife and I enjoy the guest speakers ... Read More
This is our 3rd Transatlantic cruise in a row. Each cruise had completely different itineraries and we both love the sea days and on crossings there are plenty of sea days to relax as you see fit. My wife and I enjoy the guest speakers that usually have lectures AM and PM on the sea days. These lectures are very popular and they do quite well with filling up the showroom. We choose the less expensive cabins and many times they offer upgrades from ocean view to balcony suites for very little cost. The more you cruise with a particular line the better chance you have of getting a reasonably priced upgrade. At least this is my experience with Holland America as we have sailed with them 14 times so far. The ships entertainment in my opinion is their weak spot. I am not a big fan of the ship's entertainers. When they bring on a specialty act like jugglers, magicians, comedians, musicians and others they are well worth attending. My wife and I really enjoy the trivia contests held several times a day. There is music trivia, food trivia, pub trivia and team trivia among the many choices. These are usually most plentiful on sea days to help keep you occupied. The crew on all Holland America ships are among the best at sea. One example: On a recent cruise we met a bar server who we had not seen in over a year and he knew our names and what we both drank. I was dumbfounded and flabbergasted. Most impressive! The cruise line offers a great variety of shore excursions and each has a varying degree of activity which is spelled out in advance so depending on your age, health, etc, you can choose the excursion that best fits your needs and desires. We have already booked our next cruise with Holland America so I definitely recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first cruise on a Holland America ship and we found it to be the nicest we have yet experienced. We have sailed on NCL and Celebrity in the past. We combined two separate cruises to get a 29 day total. The first was a 17 ... Read More
This was our first cruise on a Holland America ship and we found it to be the nicest we have yet experienced. We have sailed on NCL and Celebrity in the past. We combined two separate cruises to get a 29 day total. The first was a 17 day transatlantic repositioning from Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen and the second was a 12 day Baltic Sea. We found the itinerary to be wonderful, with stops in 11 different countries and a number of sea days. The ship offered quite a few options onboard during sea days and you could find things to participate in or not depending on your taste. Yes, most of them were geared toward an older crowd, but that is what we looked like on a HAL ship and on a trip this long. The entertainment changed often and was extremely varied and top notch. We found the food to be better than our previous ships in the main dining areas and the food in the specialty restaurants was better. Granted you don't have a lot of options on the Zuiderdam, but there were enough not to get bored with the food. The service was the best we have seen, especially our cabin stewards who kept our cabin spotless the entire voyage and kept us entertained with towel animals each night of the cruise. We had seen some comments about the maintenance and looks of the ship on this forum before we left and were a bit concerned. However, we did not have any issues along those lines during our trip. Sure the ship is getting a little age on her and may be a bit rusty in spots on the outside, but hey, so am I. The deck crews were outside chipping and painting during every day of our cruise, they replaced some worn carpet during the cruise and they are constantly cleaning all over the ship day and night. They repainted the entire hull while we were on board, taking care of the scrapes they picked up during the winter on their Panama Canal cruises. We found everything mechanical worked as advertised during the entire trip. We took a fair number of the shore excursions offered through HAL and had a great time on all of them. The days in A Coruna, Normandy, Brugge, Holland, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Berlin and St. Petersburg were outstanding and the other ports were also interesting. We found them organized and professionally run, especially the ones which used headsets so it was easy to hear everything that was being said. Many of these excursions ran in excess of 10 hours and we didn't think they wasted any time. We will admit that many of these ports and excursions required a fair amount of walking, but they are pretty good about saying that up front. Some of the ports were just fine to tackle on your own and we did so in about 5 of them. For some of them it just makes sense to take the tours and let them handle the logistics. We found embarkation and disembarkation to be pretty simple and straightforward. Yes our flight got in fairly early on the day we left and we didn't have to wait long to get on board. Our cabin was ready when we got there and our luggage followed pretty quickly. The lines moved quickly and they had a bunch of people working to get you ready to board. We had an early morning flight out on the last day and they were ready for us at 4:15 am with a transfer to the airport. We did run a few minutes late getting started because some of the luggage was a little late getting off, but we were still at the airport with plenty of time to spare. It may get harder to get off during the prime times, but early was simple and easy. We did use HAL to set up our flights from home to Ft. Lauderdale and then back home from Copenhagen and those all went off without a hitch. Our seats were good and our layovers worked well both coming and going. We did use their transfers to and from the airports, which we found to be worth every penny. Overall, we have no complaints. We loved the size and the layout of the ship, the food, the service, our cabin, the staff, the shore excursions and the ports where we stopped. We would happily travel with HAL again and would hope to make it back to the Zuiderdam. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Embarkation for our panama Sunfarer cruise was very smooth. We arrived at cruise port by 11 and were on the ship by noon. We are an older couple (65 and 71) so we fit right in with the much older crowd than we have been with on other ... Read More
Embarkation for our panama Sunfarer cruise was very smooth. We arrived at cruise port by 11 and were on the ship by noon. We are an older couple (65 and 71) so we fit right in with the much older crowd than we have been with on other cruises. The ship certainly caters to us oldsters, both in décor and musical genres. Our cabin was spacious and beyond expectations. We had purchased a verandah guarantee and wound up with cabin 4176 which was about 380 sq.ft. including the 100 sq.ft. balcony. The cabin was located aft and afforded us fantastic views, especially when transiting the Panama Canal. Our room stewards were polite and very obliging. We tipped them to start off with but I don't think that had any effect on their level of service. Dining room and Lido waiters were all very efficient and friendly. The food was very good and offered a nice variety. Trivia was fun, Piano Bar player Annika was very good, Kevin playing steel pans was excellent, B B King Blues Band was over the top good. The Crows Nest and Explorations Cafe were delightful, and the quality of the library was unexpectedly good. Room service was also very good, and delivered in a timely manner.Our only slight disappointment was the quality of the singers and dancers on the Vista stage. They were not up to the standards of any other cruise line we have been on: Carnival, Norwegian, or Celebrity. But I understand that the shows are being revamped with a new talent agency over the next little while, so that might improve. All in all, this was a lovely experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I had cruised Holland before, service was great in every way. entertainment good, ship was very clean , we really enjoyed our cabin with a balcony.. we had breakfast on balcony every morning great.;,,food was excellent. the shore ... Read More
I had cruised Holland before, service was great in every way. entertainment good, ship was very clean , we really enjoyed our cabin with a balcony.. we had breakfast on balcony every morning great.;,,food was excellent. the shore excursions were delightful,,,yes I would go again we really enjoyed going thru the rain forest in costa rica the most our cabin stewerts were wonderful so was the waiters assigned to our dinning table also very friendly and entertaining .I was able to attend digital workshops everyday the instructor was very helpful I really enjoyed this. ,while my room mate enjoyed the casino,.watching the sunsets was just beautiful from our balcony most evenings .the beds were very comfortable . we had forgotten a drop cord for my c-pap machine so our cabin stewert didn't hesitate to find me one.. my room mate really was empressed with all the towel animals found on our beds each night upon returning to our room. going thru the panama canal was very exciting .was different than what I expected.yes we're ready to go again Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
When you think of Holland America and know that it has an older crowd, know that on this particular ship the average age is 80. Of the 1800 passengers less than 100 were under the age of 60. Very few were even in their 60s. Almost everyone ... Read More
When you think of Holland America and know that it has an older crowd, know that on this particular ship the average age is 80. Of the 1800 passengers less than 100 were under the age of 60. Very few were even in their 60s. Almost everyone that we interacted with were in their 80s. Nearly everyone went to bed straight after the 8:00 show let out. If there was an actual emergency onboard there is no way people would get to the lifeboats swiftly. The octogenarians were not an negative aspect, but be aware that no one is really awake past 9:30 and that the pace is slower than slow. My friend and I are in our 50s and we spent the whole time wanting to aid the older people who were having trouble moving deck chairs and whatnot. We also felt resentment when we went to shows and bar early to get seats for shows and older and later people would show up and have nowhere to sit. But we paid too, and we couldn't keep giving up out seats like we were on a subway or something. This is a senior cruise, and really should be labeled that. The cruise director was the worst I have ever experienced, ,and when I mentioned this to several crew members, they had all noticed the same issues and agreed he was horrible. They said they had never worked with someone so disengaged with the passengers. He was very preoccupied with his girlfriend, who is also a crew member. The only times you would really see him was before a show started. He was never out mingling with the guests or greeting anyone. Throughout the cruise as we passed crew in the hallways, they all went out of their way to greet every single passenger. We passed him three times over the course of our cruise and twice he purposely looked down at the ground and said nothing and the third time he just looked past everyone. We saw him at the ports, not saying anything to any passengers but flirting with his girlfriend and being amorous. Once we passed him using a phone on the ship and heard him giggling and talking dirty. He was horrid. I liked the food. We went to the Pinnacle twice for their regular menu, and once for Le Cirque. Le Cirque was well worth it and the other two times were not. Might as well have gone to the regular dining room or Lido, which had lots of options. They had pizza and ice cream available at any hour, and other options available til 11:30pm. The condition of the ship was also not bad. We saw some buckets collecting various leaks in the photo lounge, but didn't see any rust or any furniture in bad shape. Our room was very nice, large, clean. We were happy with that. We did the Embera Village shore excursion in Panama. I would not go again. We did not go to Panama, ride in a bus for an hour and a half, then a motor powered leaking canoe for 7 minutes, to an obviously uninhabited collection of huts to purchase items from China from people who are wearing Hawaiian costumes. The people in the village are dressed in said costumes that they readily tell you that they have bought from China. They also try to sell baskets, beads, jewelry, and other items that they have purchased from China. And the items that they are selling they are also selling right at the port. They ask for candy and money for the children, but they you see all the adult men eating the candy and they admit that the children have uniforms for a local school and so the money is probably for all the satellite dishes that you see throughout the village. The villagers also do not live in the huts that you see, they live in concrete buildings toward the back. Where they have running water and televisions and computers. They whole place is a scam. I'm sure there is not any other opportunity for these people really, other than selling cheap Chinese merchandise and begging for money, but just know what it is before getting into it. On the way home everyone was talking about and pointing out the absurdity of this excursion. The cruise entertainment was a mixed bag. The Zuiderdam singers and dancers were very similar to watching the Lawrence Welk Show. Their music was not modern, nor was their dancing. Some of the singers were not very good. They performed three or four times. Kevin, the steel drum player was really great, but he didn't seem to know that many songs. He played the same music everyday on the deck. There was a magician named James Cielan who was pretty good. BB King Blues was the place to be. They did sing the same 20 songs over and over each night, but they were at least lively. And then there was Stryker in the Piano Bar, the theater, the deck, the Queen's Lounge. He performed every single day, sometimes twice a day. He apparently has lived on the ship for nearly 10 years, we were told this by the crew. He gets a packed crowd each night because the octogenarians like to sing Oh When the Saints Go Marching In before heading to bed at 9 pm. They also like to sing Sweet Caroline over and over. He is a very good singer and very good piano player, but as per the usual complaint for the enetertainment category, plays the same 20 songs over and over again. So you have Kevin on steel drums, Stryker, the Zuiderdam Singers and Dancers, plus BB KIng people all playing "Fernando" each day for 12 days. You will never want to hear certain sings again. And Stryker makes this point that he knows every song, but as soon as someone requests (for example, Stevie Nicks) something that isn't on his boring list, he doesn't know it and won't play it. There wasn't anything interesting to do on sea days or between ports onboard. People ended up napping all over the ship or eating during these times. We did too. Embarking was swift and easy, disembarking was not. We had a good cruise, but it could have been better. Simon the cruise director needs to be retrained or removed. They needs to stop playing the same 20 songs repeatedly each day. Stryker and the Zuiderdam Singers and Dancers need to freshen up their acts. Everything else was pretty good. It was a very slow pace on this ship, good for relaxing. We enjoyed the ports, though more than 4 early morning hours in Cartagena would have been nice. I would recommend this ship for octogenarians who like Lawrence Welk and napping. You will have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our second cruise with HAL. Although the Zuiderdam is showing her age in places, overall we had no complaints. Everything was clean and sparking and worked very well. Our room (1052) was extremely comfortable (although the bed ... Read More
This was our second cruise with HAL. Although the Zuiderdam is showing her age in places, overall we had no complaints. Everything was clean and sparking and worked very well. Our room (1052) was extremely comfortable (although the bed took up two thirds of the room)! The room was cleaned beautifully and was quiet and warm or cool when necessary. The bathroom was clean and we had a bath with a shower so plenty of room to manoeuvre. The dining room staff (both in the Lido and the main Dining Room) were lovely and the food was plentiful, hot (where necessary) and delicious. We really enjoyed our experience on this cruise and cannot understand the negative comments previously posted. The entertainment wasn't always to our taste but that wasn't a problem because there are plenty of places to go and have a drink with some quiet music or you can sit and just 'people watch' if you want - which is entertaining in itself! Yes, there were older people on board but that goes with ALL cruises (as we know from past experiences). If you want to go party all night then go on a different kind of holiday. (A 'Club 18-30' holiday will soon change your mind)! The overall experience on the cruise was wonderful and we would recommend HAL cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
It's the first time we haven't driven down to Florida from Ont. Ca. We flew using the services of HAL, on A/C, we had checked out the air fares before we booked the flight, and the fares were cheaper than what was quoted with ... Read More
It's the first time we haven't driven down to Florida from Ont. Ca. We flew using the services of HAL, on A/C, we had checked out the air fares before we booked the flight, and the fares were cheaper than what was quoted with A/C, by a few $. We always arrive the day ahead, especially this time in case of snow, and if the flight was cancelled, needn't have worried, no snow. we booked the hotel our selves, not with the HAL., and took the hotel shuttle to the port. We have been on HAL before, September 1994, one of the last ships to Alaska, at that time I had slipped a disc, 10 days before, the Dr allowed me two travel if I rested and did my exsercises. HAL at that time were excellent, with me needs. We had wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, for my husband's 80th, and we had checked out other cruise lines, and HAL had the best itenery to suit us. We weren't disappointed. Yes, it's an older ship, and may need some repairs, what ship doesn't, but maintanence was being done and keeped in check. One review I had read, stated it was rusty, yes it had some rust, but remember it's salt water, and when it rains, salt is in the rain, and metal doesn't like salt water. Stair carpets were being replaced, no problems, they have to be done some time, and they weren't all done at the same time. I did hear the second day out, that the aft balcony cabins had problems with the plumbing, on some decks, but I don't know for how long. Also some of the ladies toilets did get plugged and maintenance was onto it. BUT THIS HAS HAPPENED ON OTHER SHIPS TOO. We had booked a guarantee in side, and when we received our cabin number, main deck 1031, right under the bars and casino, we were worried about the noise level, (we go to bed early most nights) we needn't have been, didn't hear a thing, heard more of people walking down the hall. Was disappointed that the walls weren't metal, couldn't hang my hooks on them. My over the door shoes rack, only just made it, a bit tight. Lots of storage, could put the cases under the bed. The cabin was very spacious, had a 1/2 moon shaped sofa, with table and the usual dressing table. Plenty of room in the bathroom too, was a shower only, which is fine with us. Did appreciate the handle bars in the shower, plus all the amenities. Wasn't keen on the "Half Noon Cay", must say RCL's much better by far, but my husband did enjoy the swimming there the first week, the weather and water around 80f. The second week the weather was bad, cold and rainy, which should have been a warning to my husband, he caught a very bad head cold. Bad for him, great for me, as I got to do things I wanted to do. First two days, I would take his meals down to him, he eventually did wander up for meals and sitting on deck three, promenade, for the next 4 or 5 days. As I said, I got to do a lot of trivia games, and things that I liked to do. Met a lot of cruisers that way. EMBARKATION AND DISEMBARKATION:- was a breeze, even when we had to disembark in F.L. to continue on to our second portion of the cruise. DINING:- we had booked first sitting, and asked for 6-8 size table, was placed on a table for 4, the other couple didn't show. The waiter had two other tables of 8, making our service slow, no fault of his, very nice waiters, so tried "any time dining" for a couple of times, then we ended up in the Lido restaurant for all meals, suited us better, food the same, especially while my husband was sick. THE ENTERTAINMENT:- was very good. In the Adagio lounge the first week was "Dmytro and Eugenia" Who were EXCELLENT. When they preformed on the Vista stage, with "The Band" (asked for by many guests, and HAL put on as a special event) you couldn't have asked for a better concert. They were missed the second week. "The Band", in the Ocean Bar, were good, they're not too sure about the tempo for Ballroon dancing, and the tunes were too long at times, but was still enjoyable. The floor needed to be bigger. BB King was loved by all. Nice dance floor and bigger, they need to switch floors for ballroom dancing, even if every over day or so. The Zuiderdam Singers and Dancers were good especially the second week. FITNESS CENTER:- Rich and Matt very pleasant, Rich gave us a exercise to continue with when we got home. SHORE EXCURSIONS:- Only did two. One in Cartagena on my own, as hubby sick, went with the ship, well worth it, just a two hour walk about on my own, got my coffees for presents, the other one on disembarkation, did the "land and Water" tour ending up at the airport. was good, was raining, passed the time away. PUBLIC ROOMS AND CREW:- All the crew were great and helpful, always a smile on their faces, nothing was too much trouble, even in the Lido at 10.30pm, when I had forgotten my milk for Meds. Cruise direct Rick, and Show host Andy, and Alice were great, The public rooms were always clean. I would do my "walking at 5.30-6.00am, on the inside on the promenade deck, there was always cleaners cleaning. DIGITAL :- We took a few work shops for "Windows 10" DECORE:- with it being a New Years Eve cruise, every where was decorated for the season, and looked lovely and festive, the only thing was, I left it too late to take photos, not thinking they would take them down, so don't have any memories of them. THE CANAL:- it was all that we expected, they did open up all decks, so we could see going through. Must do it again when they open up the new canal. OVER ALL:- Would we go on HAL again?, yes we would, Would we recommended HAL to other cruisers? Yes we would. Thank you HAL for a great cruise. 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Sail Date December 2015
Recently returned form a 10 day cruise on the Zuiderdam to Aruba, Curacao, Panama Canal and Costa Rica. Some of my favorite places to visit. Our first cruise on the Zuiderdam. We had sailed on the Maasdam a couple months before so being ... Read More
Recently returned form a 10 day cruise on the Zuiderdam to Aruba, Curacao, Panama Canal and Costa Rica. Some of my favorite places to visit. Our first cruise on the Zuiderdam. We had sailed on the Maasdam a couple months before so being they are similar ships, Zuiderdam a bit bigger, we knew what it was like. We parked in one of the nearby lots from which they transported us to the terminal. Went very smoothly. As did the return when we got back. Had a very nice balcony room on deck 10 with a very good room steward. And our dining room experience was excellent. We reserved the same table every night because of our waiter, Victor, and every night was perfect. By the last couple nights he knew ahead of time what we were going to order. The ship was laid out nicely and since we had a midship room we never had to walk very far. I did the spa experience for the cruise and really enjoyed the heated pool and thermal room. Did that twice a day. Holland America has nice spa areas. We enjoyed our island stops. Aruba we just toured on our own. Mainly the casino by the port. Curacao is still a beautiful port to sail into. And it was good to see the bridge across the entrance back working. Panama we just stayed on the ship and enjoyed the area. Costa Rica we did the white water rafting tour. We've done that for the past 20 years and never get tired of it. Beautiful country. All in all an excellent cruise we will do again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Having sailed numerous times (over 200 days) on Holland america I think I can safely say they have dropped from a premier cruise line to a mediocre line. Upon arriving I was told that I was only a 3 star Mariner and I could wait with ... Read More
Having sailed numerous times (over 200 days) on Holland america I think I can safely say they have dropped from a premier cruise line to a mediocre line. Upon arriving I was told that I was only a 3 star Mariner and I could wait with everyone else. Nice remark. I think I saw beef once on the 10 days. The line ha s changed over to pork, lamb, chicken and turkey. It does get old the same meats. They also pushed the Caribbean foods this is not my bad. As for the shows perhaps they need a new supplier. The two comedians were not that funny....The ships singers I did care for though they had great voices , you can't do a rock in roll show with operatic voice. The best show was the BB King. As for the ports we pulled into Bonnaire on a national holiday and everything was closed except for street vendors. In the ports of Panama and Costa Rico you did not dare go into town and they told you that. All tours were into the jungle to see the wild life. Not really my cup of tea. On the good side the crew (stewards and bar keeps) worked hard taking care of you Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Our 9th cruise, and 2nd on Holland America was just O.K. The food was Buffet Restaurant quality at best, ( think Golden Corral, Old Country Buffet). Dining room service was not quite up to par as I've experienced on most other ... Read More
Our 9th cruise, and 2nd on Holland America was just O.K. The food was Buffet Restaurant quality at best, ( think Golden Corral, Old Country Buffet). Dining room service was not quite up to par as I've experienced on most other cruise lines, but all services were done with a smile! Main stage entertainment was, as others have commented, High School Drama/Glee Club quality. Demographic was 85%-90% Retiree community and over. The accessibility services for the port excursions was top notch! Cruise Director (Rick) went above and beyond to ensure a fantastic experience for all! Excursions were GREAT! The Canal, GREAT! The "Band" was hard-working, and extremely flexible. B.B. King Band were not the seasoned caliber of a previous HAL cruise we experienced. Happy Hour in Northern Lights (10:30-11:30) was always fun, even starting a tad bit early. Great room Steward Staff (5064-Mad'e) and overall friendliness. I loved that the Pool Staff did not pressure us to buy drinks, but were available if we wanted. Andy-Host extraordinaire, Ashley- Cooking/Cuisine Expert, Rick-Cruise Director, really made our experience one we'll remember forever! Thanks again Holland America! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was my first cruise on HAL, after having cruised with Oceania, Princess, Celebrity, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. It may not be my last, but were I to do this again, it's not going to be on the Zuiderdam, which needs to go into ... Read More
This was my first cruise on HAL, after having cruised with Oceania, Princess, Celebrity, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. It may not be my last, but were I to do this again, it's not going to be on the Zuiderdam, which needs to go into dry dock in a bad way. Yes, I know it was just there in April, but interior decoration was apparently not on the list. We had cabins 4166 and 4170 (originally booked 4164, but that disappeared somehow, thanks HAL). The bathrooms were standard inserts; the balcony of 4166 was, as other CC's have noted, extremely spacious. The rooms, however. . . I nearly cried. No kidding. The carpet was a dingy brown stripe; the walls had extra screw anchors where apparently one larger picture had once hung and been replaced by a smaller one; the curtains, greenish, matched nothing; and--borrowing Terry Pratchett's apt description of the Octavo--the tiny reddish sofa might charitably be described as "'slightly foxed', although it would be more honest to admit that it looked as though it had been badgered, wolved, and possibly beared as well." Peeked into some interior cabins, and they looked reasonably spacious and well-appointed in comparison: none of the thrift shop ambiance of 4166 and 4170. The corridor art on 4 consisted of prints of old Dutch masters' florals, looking so flat that their original artists would cry to see the indignities wrought upon their original oiled depths by modern technology (or cheap paper). That being said, the linens were clean and the room stewards attentive, providing the towel animals without which, IMHO, no cruise ship has the right to describe itself as such. I'm still not entirely sure what two of them were, but I sincerely appreciated the effort. At least four of the passenger cabin decks looked exactly alike, amounting in no small amount of confusion since they're not particularly clearly marked and bear the same colors and furnishings. MIddle decks had a decidedly 80s vibe, reinforced by the 80s music that seemed somewhat ubiquitous in some of the lounges. However, the public rooms at the top of the ship were certainly nice enough; the pool polar bear, who looked decidedly grubby when we arrived, was freshened up by the second day. The food was absolutely great in both variety and taste. The buffet at the top of the ship had a mindbogglingly generous selection of dishes for each meal; the dining room so well prepared a variety of perfectly done selections that I truly believe it could easily nudge Celebrity out of its top "foodie cruise" position. We didn't take the shore excursions offered by the ship: this was our second time on this cruise itinerary, (the first on RC), so we took advantage of the hop-on hop-off buses to revisit favorite places (about 20 euros) in Athens right outside the port gates (they're offered also in Istanbul) and private tour arrangements, which were (oddly) significantly less expensive. I recommend getting the Museum card in Istanbul, BTW, which is about 85 TL (maybe $30) and allows you to skip any lines at most major attractions. We did the drinks package on the ship, but I don't recommend it. The package is limited to drinks under $8, which limits options, and frankly, unless you really put your liver (and tastebuds) at risk, there's no advantage in it (my husband did the math, bless his sodden little soul). The entertainment options were variable; the singers were unobjectionable but the stage sets non-existent. One night there was a comedian who described himself as "cheeky" and I thought that was only true in the sense that he was a bit of a donkey's rump--jokes recycled from Daingerfield, lot of fat jokes, ugly wife jokes-meh. Disembarkation was one of the better experiences I've had on any line: you could stay in your cabin until your number was up--no more hovering around impromptu lounges with stale croissants, or the herds of passengers aimlessly milling about the public areas. All in all, the cruise had ups and downs, but the room itself was so soul-crushingly disappointing that I don't think I'd be up for another Z cruise. Would definitely give HAL another chance, though. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
First time with Holland America, although my 7th cruise. Had a Signature Suite for 3 of us. Plenty of room and closet space. Embarcation was easy. Room steward was great. I requested ice one day and for the rest of the trip had ice ... Read More
First time with Holland America, although my 7th cruise. Had a Signature Suite for 3 of us. Plenty of room and closet space. Embarcation was easy. Room steward was great. I requested ice one day and for the rest of the trip had ice in the bucket. Had slippers and robes also. Bathroom was huge, 2 sinks, whirlpool bathtub and a separate shower. Also had a large section under the sinks to put things plus 2 medicine cabinets. Had fresh fruit everyday. The balcony was large, while we were on the cruise we received new balcony furniture. All 3 of us could be out there with room to spare. I thought the food was wonderful. Went to the Pinnacle Dining Room one night and the food was great. Had hand packed ice cream everyday with a sugar free option. Lido buffet was always good. Had a coffee bar which was extra but pretty reasonable. You could get breakfast items there in the morning and little sandwiches at lunch. Music on board was great. Went to BB King's almost every night. Enjoyed the comediennes on board. Wanted to take in one of the computer classes but space was really limited so never got the opportunity. They need to offer them more often. There were a couple of times that some of the toilets wouldn't flush in the public restrooms which was annoying as you had to wait or find a different restroom Took in a couple of movies which was fun. They had free popcorn. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I was disappointed to find no guest laundry on the ship. Was on a 32 night cruise, and ships laundry costs very expensive for that amount of time. Loved our verandah suite stateroom. The staff mostly cheerful and attentive. The ships ... Read More
I was disappointed to find no guest laundry on the ship. Was on a 32 night cruise, and ships laundry costs very expensive for that amount of time. Loved our verandah suite stateroom. The staff mostly cheerful and attentive. The ships band was amazing. Singers and dancers pretty good as well. Some of the bought on entertainment Average, one of the comedians was embarrassing. HAL merchandise not of the good quality as has been in past years, and cabin bag now like Shopping bag fabric, not the sturdy thick cotton of the past. Be aware of 15% on top of alcohol and some other purchases. Everything costs. We were surprised at the amount of Children and young adults cruising, probably because of school holidays. Good on you for broadening your horizons. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
From an experienced cruise traveler: STAY AWAY FROM THIS CRUISE LINE Worst cruise ever. The ship was being repaired while sailing. Huge amount of noise. Debris falling on the balcony. Top deck not accessible. Any-time dining ... Read More
From an experienced cruise traveler: STAY AWAY FROM THIS CRUISE LINE Worst cruise ever. The ship was being repaired while sailing. Huge amount of noise. Debris falling on the balcony. Top deck not accessible. Any-time dining restaurant: Running out of food items. Running out of WATER!! Very limited service hours. Scarce number of table attendants. Not enough tables for the number of guests. Entertainment: Very poor quality, not even close to other cruise companies. Very limited number of guest-participation games/contests/shows. Gives you a lot of time to spend in the cabin to think what a mistake you made! Chaotic disembarkation. As a result, many guests missed their flights or train rides. UNBELIEVABLE!! Holland America was contacted for a partial refund due to delivering a one-star trip, when they advertise it as a four/five star cruise. Their response was impersonal and, of course, declining to even discuss the situation... Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We booked our first cruise after selecting the Holland America 22 day Mediterranean / Adriatic option. We paid our deposit in July 2014 and waited with building excitement. That excitement quickly turned to disappointment as our ... Read More
We booked our first cruise after selecting the Holland America 22 day Mediterranean / Adriatic option. We paid our deposit in July 2014 and waited with building excitement. That excitement quickly turned to disappointment as our stateroom experienced several plumbing issues. We had no cold water for the first couple of days and our toilet had intermittent flushing problems. The cold water was turned on by day three but we still experienced the toilet issue. Cabin staff acknowledged the issue and informed us they had passed the problem on but it was only when I put the issue in writing to the office that some meaningful action happened. A ship’s plumber reset the internal pump which solved our problem for a day or two but then we had the same old issues again. Repeated requests drew little help and it was only when I stood my ground at the office that the issue was finally resolved by replacing a faulty internal pump. In all fairness, HAL recognised their problem and credited our account by way of goodwill. I am also grateful to a cruise critic member for his suggestion of writing complaints. Overall the cruise experience was enjoyable, we met plenty of similar couples and joined with them on HAL excursions, internet booked tours and general wandering about. The food was good, well presented and the staff attentive. Cabin service were very good and all staff were welcoming and pleasant. Entertainment was mediocre and internet was often slow and expensive. There are a few issues which could be greatly improved to provide a more enjoyable cruise experience. If you required destination information and separate excursion tour info the only direct option was through large group presentations or queue for one on one desk attention. The presentations were available only a couple of times through each 11 day cruise but were available on the in-house TV channel. There was no interactive access, so if you wanted info on Rhodes for example, you had to wait for the whole presentation to run until your destination came up. The ship had DVDs for use but it was a bit of a raffle if you needed anything specific. We enjoyed our cruise but believe an interactive media centre could make things a whole lot more enjoyable for any traveller. Instant destination info, excursion booking, DVDs, account info, ship data could all be incorporated in one simple interactive device. Let’s face it airlines use this facility to great advantage. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
The long & short of this cruise was that quite a few passengers ended up with Bronchitis. Was this the fault of the ship, of course there is no way of telling. However, it certainly did color our enjoyment of the trip. While we are ... Read More
The long & short of this cruise was that quite a few passengers ended up with Bronchitis. Was this the fault of the ship, of course there is no way of telling. However, it certainly did color our enjoyment of the trip. While we are both pushing 70, this cruise did not fit our style. The Zuiderdam is showing her age and yes I know that she is going into dry dock in a couple of months (April 2015). However, small things add up and put an edge on the experience. There were lots of activities to choose from: Dancing with Stars at Sea - had I felt better I would have given it a try; Cooking Shows; Windows 8.1 Workshop; the typical Shopping Seminars; etc; etc. One thing that the Zuiderdam can not be faulted on was the service - our cabin stewards (Holly & Dee) knew that we weren't feeling well and went out of their way to check on us, water, ice, extra blankets, etc The table staff in the Lido restaurant were all friendly and more than willing to help finding a table bringing water, coffee, etc. When asked they helped me take food back to the cabin when we wanted something other than what Room Service offered. When I found that I had locked key to my TSA lock inside my luggage, the locksmith was there in less than 10 minutes. On the third day we mentioned to our steward that the shower/tub appeared to be draining slowly - 15 minutes later there's the plumber at the door. Compared to our previous cabins, this one felt small. It may only have been the layout but the perception was there. The one area that I was less than thrilled with was the dining. We ate once in the Vista (opening seating). The service was fine and the new friends that we met made the dinner enjoyable. The food failed to impress, lukewarm food won't impress anyone. The food in the Lido restaurant suffered the same handicap. Service from a steam table should be HOT not tepid, the exceptions to this were the Omelet, English Breakfast and the Pasta Stations. The answer is simple, each of these are prepared to order not off the steam line. Ice cream was melting as it was put in the bowl, turn on the freezer. Our experience with Shore Excursions this trip was limited. Half Moon Cay has much to offer and is a nice break. The excursions around the island are impressive but the downtown core of Aruba is a bit shoddy but with a great selection of shops ( Diamonds Int'l, etc, etc). Curacao is a pleasure to visit with its brightly painted Dutch Colonial buildings. We toured Cartagena with a group from Cruise Critic. We had 4 hours with a guide and saw the key points of the Old City and touched the newer areas. Don't miss La Popa Monastery, it high overlooking the harbor, much like the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janiero. We skipped the Panama Excursions only because our bronchitis was really bothering us and the coughing was a distraction for those around us. The last port was Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. As the antibiotics were being to work we decided to venture forth to see Tayutic Hacienda. DON'T SKIP THIS ONE. Yes, it's a two hour bus ride each way and we left at 7 AM. The bus is an air conditioned highway coach and the roads are in excellent condition. The scenery is exceptional. At the Hacienda there are demonstrations of Macadamia nut, Coffee bean and Sugar Cane processing with a delicious traditional lunch and a visit to RC chapel on the property that was built by the original owner from pieces that they salvaged from other churches that were being updated. The Hacienda is only 13 miles from Mt. Turrialba,an active volcano. We chose to taxi to and from the airport; it's only a 15 - 20 minute ride fare runs $15. HAL offers Baggage Direct service for $20 / person. Bags outside the door before midnight and they take them to airport check them through to your final destination and issue your boarding passes. All you have to do is walk off with your carry-on and get to the airport. The airline baggage fees are added to your stateroom account. Don't get sick on a cruise ship..... The prescription prices are exorbitant and make certain that your medical insurance will cover it. All in all, it wasn't a terrible cruise! As I stated at the first, our experience was tainted by an illness. We are certain that we would have enjoyed the cruise in more favorable circumstances.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Just finished our cruise and omg, it was an amazing ship! We embarked from Port Everglades and I have never in my life been without internet access that long, but that's the point of a cruise, right? To experience it all? We did! We ... Read More
Just finished our cruise and omg, it was an amazing ship! We embarked from Port Everglades and I have never in my life been without internet access that long, but that's the point of a cruise, right? To experience it all? We did! We started our trip staying at the Quality Inn & Suites Airport/Cruise Port South. This is key: THEY HAVE A FREE AIRPORT SHUTTLE AAAAAAAAAND A FREE CRUISE SHUTTLE! Well, at least FROM/TO the airport and TO the cruise. It's $10ea to get a shuttle back to the hotel from the cruise port, which isn't bad. The rooms were musty smelling, but overall nice-ish. The chairs had stains and the bathroom floor left much to be desired, but the curtain is curved, so at least it doesn't touch you. Wish the cruise one was curved! Also, gotta love the sign telling you to not steal the towels, they are inventoried. You get what you pay for spending $99 a night, but it's next door to the Oakwood Plaza where we got a bunch of last minute stuff. That strip mall has a LOT. Getting on the ship early is key! I was expecting to queue for hours....we got on the shuttle from the hotel at 10:30. They ask you to tell them the night before you need a ride and they ask you what ship/day and they assign you a time. They have a huge mini bus that takes passengers to cruise port, because they attach a mini UHaul looking thing to the back to store everyone's luggage. We were at the cruise terminal 15 mins later. You can have your luggage checked from the curb and put on the ship or, if like us, your luggage is small enough to go through the airport scanner looking thing, you can bring it on the ship yourself. We only had a duffle bag each, so this is what we did. HAL lets you bring ONE 750ml bottle of wine or champagne for EACH person (assuming 2 ppl per room), no hard liquor or beer on the first night. The Dollar Star in the plaza next door sells CHEAP wine, $4/10 that people were going crazy over because it's GOOD cheap wine, so we bought 2 bottles on board and had to sadly toss the half drank chardonnay at the scanner. You can also bring booze you buy on board and they hold it until the night before for free...or you pay an $18per bottle corkage fee. We got our alcohol back the last night. From there you have to go through HAL front desk to get your room key, show passport etc in a terminal meets a hotel front desk. They give you a cruise group number in line to get to this and after you check-in, you sit and wait to be called to take escalator up to get on ship. Total time between getting off of shuttle and on to the ship? Maybe 20mins. Then again, we were also SUPER early. Our number was in the teens to get on. Other passengers told me their wait to just be called was like 45 mins. Anywho, they make you scan your card and sanitize your hands to get on the ship. All of the crew were very friendly all of the time, even when you knew they wanted to smack you or the person treating them rudely. They were all genuinely nice to me, because I wasn't rude to them. Then again, like I said, even the people I wanted to harm FOR them for being so rude were treated calmly and politely on this trip. We carried our own luggage on and the stewards meet you all along the way and at the elevators to direct you to your room on the first day. This was helpful and nice. Our room was right in the middle of the ship and close to the elevators. Score! It was an HH Obstructed View room, which just meant the lifeboar was RIGHT outside your window. We came in and checked out our room. Plenty of space to put your items for a long or short trip. They give you a daily tri folded itinerary. This ship uses a LOT of paper. They need to automate it somehow and make it a channel,too, to save on paper! We dropped our stuff off and went exploring....ie....to get food. O.M.G...as a first time cruiser, we decided to forgo paying for meals, so we stuck to Lido dining on 9 and once or twice the Vista Dining Room on 3 for our meals. Vista for dinner on the majority of nights was formal or semi formal. One guy declined wearing a jacket. Seriously? They give you one if you don't have it. He had a sweater and slacks and said no, so they declined him entering. You could have taken the jacket off at the table. We did Vista Dining once for lunch and once for dinner and just did Lido all other times. Lido is come as you are all the time and is open ALL the time, so we started our journey there and spent all of our time there for the most part. They have Asian, deli, bistro, ice cream, drinks and salad bar. Each table is pretty much ocean view. One side of each station is always open, both sides are during lunch and dinner. We never made it to breakfast and never utilized the free room service. If we wanted to eat, we could go ourselves. It was useful if you were doing shore excursions and wanted to sleep in, but even then, they slipped us notices the night before port saying it would be better to just go upstairs to the dining, since so many would use room service. We ate A LOT. Soda is not included in meals, so we stuck to water, iced tea and lemonade. It was a nice change. Other than at the salad bar, they serve the food to you and the wait wasn't really that long, even when there was a line. Why they individually heat up pasta in skillet at the salad bar is mind boggling. Do you know how much time that delays? It saves on freshness, though. So they don't waste. The variety of food reminded me of my college. Pizza, pasta, ice cream, meat, salads, sandwiches. It was 4.75/5, only because of the whole pasta delay. But yes, the food was great. The BB King All Stars were great entertainment on the ship in the Queen's Lounge and once in the Vista Lounge/main stage. There were also Zuiderdam singers and dancers, but the BB King people made the trip SO much better. We were never bored on the trip. We slept a lot, ate a lot and just sat on the deck a lot watching the world go by. Deck 3 has chairs everywhere and up on 10, the observation deck. We noticed that is NOT the case with the other ships we saw. Celebrity X gives everyone their own veranda with 2 chairs and you could walk between them! The deck everyone uses had like 2 sets of chairs. How un-inviting. We thought we had a big ship, until other ships like Celebrity, Norweigan and the Disney one made ours look like a tugboat. Even with 1900+ passengers, it never felt that way. It sure wasn't loud on the ship. It was peaceful the majority of the time. Like our own huge private yacht. The staff were great. Always polite and never cross. Hamish the cruise director was a riot. I liked that he seems to like his job. Allegra was another story. The "free" jewelry she is hawking at you to get is just costume jewelry in each port. Beware. Yes, this cruise is said to have an older crowd and sometimes it was like walking behind dinosaurs because people are so slow, but when I'm that age, would I want someone to treat me this way simply for being alive? Heck, the passengers who were older were the life of the ship! Dancing and participating in the events. I had a great time. I even had lunch one day with an older gentleman when we were docked in St. Martin/Marteen who just decided to sit at my table while I was off getting lunch, because he said he lost his wife, but we were at sea, she'd show up eventually. I came back to my table that had my bag at it and I was like "hello, how are you?" Did I expect to see him at my booth? Nope. But hey, we were at sea. Live in the moment. I was able to wave at him when I saw him on the ship on other days, same as the couples who sat at our table when we ate in the Vista Lounge. Being friendly is key on this cruise. Strangers talked to us all the time, simply because we made eye contact. We went to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Martin/Marteen and Half Moon Cay on this holiday cruise. We were in each port just long enough to not wear out the welcome. I spent a lot of $ in ports, but it was well worth it. The ship also gives you sturdy navy and beige booksized totes with their logo and name on it. It screams I'M A TOURIST while in port. I cared before the first port, at all the following ones, at least one of us carried ours. It was raining on day 2 when we got to the first port of Grand Turk, but 20 mins later it stopped and was sunny skies ALL day. Make SURE to call your bank to tell them you will be out of the country, so when you use your card in different ports, you won't get locked out at the first attempt. I called my bank and gave a heads up a month before the trip in case I forgot. I had to tell them every port and which days I'd be there. The front desk also lets you use their courtesy phone to call your bank or card company for free, as my family member had to do on day one. I shut off my cell's data, roaming and backround data while still in FL and put it on airplane mode JUST to be sure. The ship has it's own time that may not match your own, but you can always turn to the "where are we?" map channel that has the date, time, ship location and temperature. If you have a magnetic wallet, don't keep your room key in it. I demagnetized mine TWICE before having to keep it in the separate padded insert you get at check-in. At the end of the trip, you still have to go through customs. That was the longest line we were in the whole trip. Because we again, carried our own stuff, we got expedited disembarkation. It took us about half an hour to get off the ship and wait in the customs line. The ship was going SUPER fast home, because we were back in FL by like 6:15a and that was even including the 90 mins we moored off the coast of Half Moon Cay as they tried to locate two passengers the day before. We were at the airport by 9:30a, which sucked, because I booked a LATE AFTERNOON flight, thinking it would have taken longer. This included stopping at the post office at 8a and waiting an hour for it to open. The ship was not rocky at all. So if that is what they were like WITHOUT the stabilizers, well gee, wonder what it is like WITH them. Don't get me wrong, you FELT the up and down, up and down, up and down when in the front of the ship in the Crows Nest, Vista Lounge or observation deck, but only there. I definitely will cruise with HAL again. For a holiday cruise, the price was great, less than $500 and that included the upgrade to HH. I only got the room around Thanksgiving....so it was a steal. Thumbs up!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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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