27 Holland America Zuiderdam Senior Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise for it's destination, the Panama Canal and for it's embarkation port, Ft. Lauderdale. The ship was fine, the stateroom was excellent and the service staff was wonderful. We did NOT feel the same about the ship ... Read More
We chose the cruise for it's destination, the Panama Canal and for it's embarkation port, Ft. Lauderdale. The ship was fine, the stateroom was excellent and the service staff was wonderful. We did NOT feel the same about the ship personnel. They were aloof and never smiled or made eye contact. We also felt that there was a constant sales pitch for jewelry or spa services. We were inundated by daily paper advertisements in our mailbox, definitely not environmentally friendly. The beverage package is NOT worth it. We never knew exactly what was or was not included, forcing us to ask and making us feel uncomfortable. We did not feel that we got our money's worth. The on board activities were lacking which made for boring sea days. The pools were small and too cold, the hot tubs were not hot enough and looked grimy. Service in the Canaletto specialty restaurant was bordering on arrogant and the food was average. We therefore skipped all other specialty restaurants. The buffet food was good. The entertainment at night was very good, especially enjoyed Hilby. Aruba was underwhelming while Willemstad was fun. We walked both cities. Our main event was the Panama Canal and we booked the Canal Experience. We do NOT recommend it. The guide was repetitive, the food was dubious and the boat was very old. It had a malfunctioning engine and spewed fumes all over the decks. We sat there for 4 hrs, breathing through wet towels. HAL refunded the money but otherwise did not check in with the two passengers with medical emergencies this had caused. Again, aloof and did not care despite our complaint. Be aware, HAL definitely caters to older customers. There were a lot of walkers and wheelchairs on board and the ship was quiet after 930p...not catering to the more active, even if senior, customer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We went on this cruise - Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena, Panama Canal (+Colon), Puerto Limon Costa Rica & back to Fort Lauderdale - to spend time with some American friends too unwell to do a conventional ... Read More
We went on this cruise - Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena, Panama Canal (+Colon), Puerto Limon Costa Rica & back to Fort Lauderdale - to spend time with some American friends too unwell to do a conventional tour or long-haul trip with us. The ship was mid-sized - just under 2000 people - and didn't feel particularly crowded, though the demographic was definitely ‘older’. It was also very stable - the only time we felt even a mild pitch was on the last sea day. The staff were almost without exception really friendly and helpful, and the service overall was very good. Our verandah cabin on deck 6 was comfortable if a little cramped, and they'd used the space well; under-bed stowage was particularly useful. The food in the main dining room was generally good, with 1 or 2 exceptions, and the waiters particularly friendly. We also found the crew - the Captain and his officers - friendlier, more engaging & more in evidence than on other cruises we've been on. We ate dinner only once outside the main dining room, and the experience was not good. We booked "Rudi's Sel de Mer", a pop-up seafood restaurant in their Pinnacle Grill, at an extra $45 a head. The food was just OK - the bouillabaisse came in a plastic bag(?!), cut open at the table, the lobster tails were pleasant but unexceptional and the desserts reasonable, but the wine list was very limited and fiendishly expensive, the service slow and poor and the food lukewarm. Getting things like bread on the table seemed to be an almost-impossible feat for them. This was poor value for the $45 supplement, & having experienced the service in what was effectively the Pinnacle Grill, we didn't go back. The Lido buffet restaurant was a scrum at breakfast & lunch - inadequate seating and often long lines at the counters. The breakfast servery seemed rather bizarre - if you want just oatmeal, or just (pre-prepared) bacon & scrambled egg, or a specially-prepared omelette or made-to-order waffles, you join the same line. At lunch, we often managed to grab a table by the front pool & then go into the Lido & come back with food. The Asian options were often good, but I didn't try too many others as the lines were ridiculously long. Drink prices were - as you'd expect - high, and the spa prices astronomical. BEWARE - they have 'info sessions' about pain management, which are simply sales pitches for you to buy over-priced treatments or products. A 'personal trainer' from the gym is pitching GoodFeet orthotics. DON'T BUY FROM HIM! He'll tell you that his $199 price is up to $100 cheaper than elsewhere, & that his products will last for 10-15 years. These statements are UNTRUE; we visited a GoodFeet store in Delray Beach after the cruise & discovered that the orthotics he sells are the cheapest in their range, cost the same $199 and last for 2 years at most. If you're interested and live in the 'States, buy them back home, where you'll get a much better service. And don't do the acupuncture. I went for what I understood would be a 'consultation', which anywhere else would be a free-of-charge precursor to actual treatment, while they understood your issues and planned the sessions for you. Next thing I knew, I was on the couch with a load of needles in me, wired up to electricity. The 'therapist' then LEFT THE ROOM - just as my thigh muscle started to go into spasm! And they wanted to charge me $169 for this. AVOID! I've had great acupuncture (which this wasn't) for much, much less. The entertainment was a bit mixed. The 2 pianists at Billboard Onboard (especially Noah, the younger one) were astoundingly good. The bar pianists and the Mainstage dancers were also excellent, what we heard of BB King's All Stars was good, the Island Magic steel band were great and America's Test Kitchen was fun (but very over-subscribed, so arrive early). The Mainstage singers, however, were frequently off-key & the acrobats from Cirque du Soleil did a lot more posturing than actual acrobatics. And we were on board at Halloween, which the ship celebrated by doing - NOTHING! Hardly anyone dressed up, & it was a real disappointment. The EXC excursions were a mixed bag. The Monkey Watch at Gatun Lake seems to have been the best Panama excursion, with a great experience of the Canal & the wildlife. AVOID the one that takes you on through the locks to Panama City - you wait for hours in a small boat shadowing a bigger vessel through the locks, and frankly you see enough of the locks on the journey from the Caribbean to Gatun Lake. (This trip arrived back at the ship over an hour after we should have departed!) The Veragua Rainforest & Tortuguero Canals trip in Costa Rica is good, though the canals themselves are rather disappointing. The Cartagena Sightseeing trip is a waste of time & money if you want to see the World Heritage Old City; you seem to go everywhere BUT this part of town. The 'Eco tour' at Half-Moon Cay was a disappointment - snorkelling may be a better option - and the Aruba snorkelling trip was mediocre. We liked the Curacao 'Beach Express' - the beach was nice, the snorkelling better than in Aruba, and the trip was about the right length. The ship was in Curacao on a Sunday, so virtually EVERYTHING in the historic town was closed - even Diamonds International! Overall this trip suited us well. Our American friends enjoyed the cruise, were able to do everything with us and it wasn't too tiring for them. Embarkation & disembarkation were reasonably straightforward, despite the very hostile security people around the port area. We got to visit 2 places - Colombia and Panama - we'd never been to before, although our time in Cartagena was disappointing. HAL is one of the better cruise lines we've used, though (like the others) the most important piece of equipment on board seems to be the giant vacuum cleaner that sucks additional money from passengers. (For example, the wi-fi was outrageously expensive). Would we cruise with them again? Maybe, but it's a big old World and cruising only gives you a fleeting glimpse of some fascinating places, so it'll be a few years before we cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We've been on about 5 cruises with HAL because we feel they offer good value for the price as well as good service, food and itineraries. This time we were very disappointed in our cabin which was supposed to be only partially ... Read More
We've been on about 5 cruises with HAL because we feel they offer good value for the price as well as good service, food and itineraries. This time we were very disappointed in our cabin which was supposed to be only partially obstructed but turned out to be fully obstructed by machinery and a tender boat. We were also very disappointed with the food quality which we would rate mediocre at best. To add insult, we saw a rat running on the Lido Deck where the food buffet is set up. Unfortunately we could not recommend the itinerary either as most of the ports in Canada were quite boring and the optional tours were pretty lame unless you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables or Alexander Graham Bell. With the exception of Quebec City, Boston and Bar Harbor, the rest of the itinerary is a snooze. The Zuiderdam, like many of HAL's ships, is beginning to show it's age. On a bright note, the service by staff onboard was very good and the nightly entertainment was also quite good. Sorry to say we will probably be looking at other cruise lines for our next adventure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to explore New York for 3 days prior to embarking on our cruise. Embarkation did not go smoothly as we had to utilize Brooklyn Terminal instead of the original Manhatten terminal as the Zuiderdam had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to explore New York for 3 days prior to embarking on our cruise. Embarkation did not go smoothly as we had to utilize Brooklyn Terminal instead of the original Manhatten terminal as the Zuiderdam had sustained some damage and had to be repaired in the Brooklyn Terminal. This made our cab fare more from our hotel where we stayed for 3 nights to the terminal as we had preplanned our hotel bearing in mind we were going to sail out of Manhatten. We were promised an upgrade to an ocean view cabin when we booked our cruise. That never happened despite many visits to Customer Service. Holland America staff were hard to deal with. There were no laundry coin- a-matic machines, so laundry was taken away from your cabin and washed and returned to your cabin for an additional cost dependent on how many bags you had! With respect to dining, food was very good; however, they would not allow us to put our filled plates on a tray, we had to carry our food in our hands and at times this was awkward as other people were doing the same thing till they reached a table to sit down. This was in the Lido room where there is no service at tables except for beverages. In the other dining rooms where we were served by waiters, service was very good and the food was excellent. Entertainment was o.k., have seen better on other cruiseships. Their excursion fares are very pricey! We took mini buses and cabs to see the tourist attractions and saved a lot of money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this Baltic cruise because we liked the 10 day itinerary, with only 2 sea days and starting and ending in Copenhagen. We thought our balcony room was in excellent condition, with fresh paint, nice bedding and carpeting and a ... Read More
We chose this Baltic cruise because we liked the 10 day itinerary, with only 2 sea days and starting and ending in Copenhagen. We thought our balcony room was in excellent condition, with fresh paint, nice bedding and carpeting and a sofa bed in good condition. In the public areas everything had been redone with blue and teal furnishings, and it all looked nice. The ship is older with not a lot of razzmatazz but we knew this ahead of time. The entertainment was mediocre at best-we liked the Billboard piano hits the best, the BBKing music was always too loud to enjoy, and the main stage events were mostly acceptable if unexciting. We enjoyed an American Test Kitchen event and went to a wine tasting. Other than that we did not pursue any onboard activities. We like the open promenade on deck 3 for walking around the outside of the ship. The food in the main dining room was just average, with a couple of good meals mixed with some rather poor options. We had two meals in the Pinnalce Grill with one halibut dinner and one steak dinner that were good but nothing especially memorable. The Cannaletto was the highlight-both our dinners there were delicious and the service was excellent. The lido breakfast and lunch were both nice. Overall I think the food is cruise ship average. Given the reputation for service on HAL we were disappointed. Our room steward twice left dirty dishes/bottles in the room. The wait staff often rushed us, hurrying us to take our orders. The wine steward was slow, and complained about having to check for our open bottle in the dining room At the Pinnacle Grill they twice sat us at terrible tables (which we requested to be changed) even though good tables were very much available. We reserved 6 pm dining over a year earlier but they gave us 8pm dining. We asked to be switched to open dining on the first night in the dining room and they said they would do that. Each time we went to the main dining room they said we had an 8 pm reservation and we had to explain the situation again. Overall, I recommend this cruise for the itinerary, and for those who are not concerned about having a new ship with lots of entertainment options, but will be content with pleasant cabins and a low key atmoshphere. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We have been cruising on Holland America now for a number of years and have been on a number of ships cruising North America and all over Europe. This particular cruise departing Copenhagen and visiting Norway, Iceland, Lerwick UK and ... Read More
We have been cruising on Holland America now for a number of years and have been on a number of ships cruising North America and all over Europe. This particular cruise departing Copenhagen and visiting Norway, Iceland, Lerwick UK and the Faroe Islands was overall good but with some negatives as all cruises have. We sailed on the second half of the 24 day cruise called the ""Northern Isles Enchantment Cruise”. which already had some passengers onboard from the Baltic Sea part. The transfer from Copenhagen airport was fine with a 1 ½ hour tour of the city prior to arriving at the cruise terminal where the embarkation was a little chaotic which seems to be the norm lately. The PA system at the terminal was not functioning properly and it was difficult to understand the boarding instructions. Once onboard we noticed that the Zuiderdam was recently renovated and all of the public areas were updated to include our Signature Verandah Suite which was both spacious and comfortable. Our cabin steward quickly appeared to introduce himself and offer any assistance that he could. He did a very good job of locating and delivering our luggage which took some time as apparently it was misdirected. The encountered staff members were very friendly and professional with the exception of 2 or 3 members at the gangway entrance who seemed to be a little frazzled with the new passenger arrivals and were a little snippy with directions. After settling in to our cabin we went to the main dining room to make our “Open Dining” reservation and quickly found out that the dining room scheduling desk on Deck 2 was preferable to making reservations than the reservation telephone number as the representatives weren’t all that accommodating or informed. The overall food in the dining room was fair with some hits and some misses as should be expected. We did notice a slight decline in food quality from previous years. One point to make is to order any breakfast eggs “well done” as other Cruise Critic reviewers have noted that the eggs are served watery and undone both in the dining room and with room service as well. The Pinnacle Grill was fabulous and the Canaletto Restaurant not so much as the food quality decline was very evident. The Lido at lunch was extremely crowded with the seating limited. On the last sea day before leaving we just handed our full plates to a steward to throw away as there wasn’t even any shared seating available to include in the adjacent pool areas. We ended up waiting a half hour and picked up two chicken sandwiches from the Dine In Grill and sat at the outdoor pool lip/bench area with the food in our laps. The overall entertainment was not of any interest to us as we only enjoyed 3 of the 14 nights in the Main Stage and ended up leaving after a few minutes for the 11 performances that we didn’t care for. The “Billboard Onboard” piano/singers were fantastic but the BB King Band was not as they were way too loud for the small room and not up to the standard of other BB King Bands that we enjoyed on previous cruises. The America’s Test Kitchen activities were very entertaining and fun to attend. We purchased 3 excursions and were disappointed a bit with all of them as there were many glitches obviously with the contractors and a lack of communication with the ship. A point to make is that when trying to review the excursions on the Holland America web site the review option seems to have disappeared. Maybe I am doing something wrong and looking in the wrong place. Guest Services appeared to be “Out of the Loop” on many occasions with inaccurate information being distributed to us often with a later correction. On the plus side our final invoice was correct and billed to our credit card. The Captain was always visible around ship and gangways and was seen interacting both with the staff and passengers. There were many passengers that were coughing and sneezing all over and for the most part the personal hygiene/health habits left a bit to be desired to say the least. All in all a “fair” cruise experience with some pluses and some minuses and the cruise was nothing special. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We left on the Zuiderdam’s July 7, 2018 sailing for a two week cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark visiting Norway, Iceland, The Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands. We flew a day in advance so as to make certain we would feel refreshed ... Read More
We left on the Zuiderdam’s July 7, 2018 sailing for a two week cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark visiting Norway, Iceland, The Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands. We flew a day in advance so as to make certain we would feel refreshed for boarding. We stayed at the Clarion Airport hotel which was an easy walk with luggage from the airport. We checked in and walked half way between the hotel and the airport and took the metro to the city center our first afternoon. From there we did a boat ride through / around downtown. We left for the airport check in the next morning around 10:45 am. Boarding the bus was straightforward and we arrived at the pier around 11:30 am. The check in process was also smooth. We were on the ship within half an hour. The cabins were available by the time we got on (noonish). The weather was warm and we had specifically packed our bathing suits for the pool. Excellent check in experience. The ship is looking a little worn. The benches in the hallway by the elevators are just pure ugly and chipped. The corridor artwork is also old and outdated. As far as maintenance, there were a few issues. Some of the arrows above the elevators are burnt out. You cannot tell if the elevator is headed up or down. The reading light by my bed was also burnt out. The wooden door that covers the mini fridge had screws that had been pulled out from the frame. Also, during the voyage, maintenance staff were sanding down the metal door frames to each cabin and repainting them. The screeching from the sanding was annoying and I had to request that they stop so I could take an afternoon nap. They obliged. (It seems to me that since this ship just recently came out of dry dock, that would have been the place and time to address these issues.) In terms of entertainment, I did go to the shows featuring various headliners. In the main show lounge, there was a pianist who was rather showy. Also there was a couple who did Cirque du Soleil style entertainment including the ropes/ acrobatic style high wire movements. There was a rather showy violinist from Iceland. But, one or two songs from her were sufficient. Also, all of the instrumentalists gathered for a BBC multimedia presentation. This was the highlight in the main show lounge. Besides the main show lounge, there was ‘The Lincoln Center’ featuring two violinists, a violist, a cellist and a pianist. Unbelievable talent here. They performed at least once if not twice a day. Also, there was the B.B. King Blues Club featuring a group of talented musicians performing appropriately named style of music. Also, there was the Billboard lounge. Here, there were two pianists who did not receive enough recognition. They were incredible. In summary, the entertainment onboard was tops. The gymnasium was small, in comparison to other ships. The treadmills were often all in use, especially at opening time, 7:00 am. The resistance equipment was minimal. There was a trainer on board who did classes throughout the day. If you like to watch TV during your time on the treadmill, as do I, you need to ask for the TVs to be turned on. The sound was minimal, but you can ask to have the dialogue text option turned on. The service desk did a good job, although this part of the ship is also small so the lines can get long to speak with one of the few representatives. A plus here is that they will exchange currency for you. Right next to the service desk is a single kiosk to print out current bills throughout the voyage. (Being able to review charges is not possible from the stateroom.) The shore excursion office, the future cruise booking office and the library have been moved up to Deck 10 in the Crow’s Nest. The size of the future cruise booking office is the size of a large closet. I consider this to be a shame. These offices should be centrally located and closer to the service desk. During this sailing, there was flooding from above. Carpet dryers and shop vacs were all over deck 10 forward to dry this space. I used to enjoy listening to music up here in the past, but the room is no longer set up in this way. Speaking about the future cruise booking office, I asked for an atlas for next year, specifically one with deck plans. Apparently HAL no longer considers printing deck plans in their promotional literature important. Here, I highly disagree with this decision. In addition, I had a couple of run-ins with the shore excursion manager, Reanetse Atema. This was by far the low point of the cruise. (Don’t be surprised by what the shore excursion office won’t be willing to do / discuss). Dining in the main dining room was a bit of a letdown. We had open seating and in order to get a table within a reasonable time frame, without making reservations for a specific evening, in advance, showing up before 6:00 pm was important. That seemed to be the time when the lines began. I find having opening seating and needing to reserve for a specific time to be a bit contradictory. But HAL is not the only company who follows this type of policy. With respect to the food, I had some disappointments as well. The baked potatoes were white potatoes, not baker potatoes. That was disappointing. The Caesar salads were soggy. The dressing was not seasoned with anchovy paste, but rather a single anchovy was placed on top of the salads. The crème brulee was flavorless. The everyday sirloin steak was so so. Otherwise the food was acceptable. Dining in the ‘market place’ lido buffet was great. Breakfast and lunch choices were plentiful. As an aside about space in the lido buffet, I noticed there were no identified areas as ‘reserved for the handicapped’. There were multiple passengers in motorized scooters who would have to navigate the close tables in order to eat here. Although the ship has rooms that are handicapped accessible, more attention needs to be given to other public spaces onboard. We ate in the specialty dining area 4 times. Three times, the room was noted to be the Pinnacle Grill. The 4th time, the same space was noted to be Rudi’s sel de mer. Each night the service and the meals were excellent. The lobster bisque was one of my favorite dishes. I had lobster one night, a pork chop another night, a filet mignon a third night then had Alaskan crab another. Remarkable dining here. There was one other spot noted for specialty dining called Canaletto. This Italian dining venue was actually part of the Lido Market Place. I ate in this venue two summers ago on the Koningsdam and swore I would not return here. Only the Lido Bar and the Ocean Bar on deck 3 offered drink specials (basically 2 for 1) from 4:00-6:00 pm every night except for the first night. Space was tight here during these times especially on dress up nights. Drinks were good and reasonably priced during these hours. I was disappointed that this offer was not available across other bars on the ship. Nevertheless, thanks to Nice and Albert for your service. In summary, weather or not I sail with HAL again will depend upon a response to a letter I wrote to President Orland Ashford regarding the shore excursions office. I am a 3 star mariner with HAL and have sailed with them since 1968. Shore excursions: Our first port Bergen. We were on a bus ride to see the general area of Bergen. That trip was O.K. What was better was strolling the main road for souvenirs, including wool sweaters, and stopping for a beer. Also, there is a Star bucks here that has free WiWi. So, if you are not up to spending $20.00 a day for a WiFi connection on the ship, this is the location to head for. Port two was Alesund. We did a great boat ride through the fjord. This provided us wonderful views of the area. We highly enjoyed this experience. The third port was Seydisfjordur. We payed $70.00 for this tour. It was a walking tour through the town. We chose this tour because we did not know where the town was in relation to the pier. After all is said and done, I would recommend getting off the ship and walking the town independently. The pier is at the base of the town. No need to spend the money. Also, in hindsight, I would suggest that HAL remove this port as there is really nothing here. Or, if not, I would recommend staying onboard. Port four was Akureyri. Once off the ship we boarded a bus to Myvatn Nature baths. This location is not as popular as the geothermal baths in Reykjavik, but as enjoyable without the hype. It was part of a combo tour visiting a ‘falls’ on the way. I would recommend, for sure. This was booked directly the HAL. Port five was Isafjordur. From this location we boarded a boat to take us to the now non-existent town of Hesteyri. I would say skip this tour as well. It was an hour’s boat ride in each direction to walk in the fields with a talk about the way this town used to be. There is currently one family living in this town. They provided us with some sweet bakery delights and coffee before our return back to the ship. Port six was day one in Reykjavik. Here we boarded a bus for the ‘Golden Circle day trip’ featuring Thingvelir, Gullfoss waterfall and the viewing of a Geysir. I had some issues on this trip. The bus itself was old with broken reclining levers, no seat head rest covers and most importantly inoperable seatbelts. We were told to wear seat belts and that we could be individually fined for not wearing them. But many, including several senior citizens, could not wear them due to the condition of the bus. The tour itself was fine. The problem was with the tour operator. I sent a letter to the HAL president about this experience. Port seven was also Reykjavik – day two. Although the Blue Lagoon is a highlight from my trip – 2nd time to a geothermal bath, the operator was once again a problem. The bus was not air conditioned so the escape hatches need to be opened. One person was not on the bus at departure time, so a bus full of people needed to wait 50 minutes before returning to the ship. After pre-showing we had about an hour of time in the lagoon. We were treated to a silica mask and a drink. This was certainly a novelty. Had the tour operator returned on time and the bus had air flow, I would have rated this activity as a 5 star opportunity. This also entailed writing a letter to the HAL president about this experience. Port eight was Torshavn, Faroe Islands. From this port, we traveled by bus to Gjogv. At this site we had a midday snack of cold pancakes and instant coffee. From this restaurant, we walked down the hill to Gjaar church. It was nice but not impressive. I cannot imagine living her in the winter. Port nine was Lerwick, Scotland. This was a tender port. We boarded a bus to take us to Scalloway Castle, the Scalloway musem and to see some Shetland ponies. The castle was small and not impressive. Same can be said for the museum. Seeing the size of the Shetland ponies was impressive. PS, downtown Lerwick has some wonderful souvenir shops. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Sailing the Baltics was on my bucket list. The ports were what was expected. The meals onboard certainly was not. Have been on HAL before on an Alaska cruise 4 years ago. Ship was docked quite far away from the city center in Helsinki ... Read More
Sailing the Baltics was on my bucket list. The ports were what was expected. The meals onboard certainly was not. Have been on HAL before on an Alaska cruise 4 years ago. Ship was docked quite far away from the city center in Helsinki and Stockholm. There was a free transfer to town in Stockholm but none in Helsinki. Dining - We dined in the Main dining almost every night as we like to socialize. The food were surprisingly disappointing on this cruise - certainly not up to expectations. Common complaints among our fellow cruisers were that the food were lukewarm when served. I like my soup and meals hot. One good indication is that the plates with the food were cold to the touch. You would expect them to have food warmers considering the number of meals that have to be served. It generally took 2.5 hours to sit through dinner each night. Coffee after meal were no better - lukewarm. We were on Cabin 4014 - right above the Ocean Bar (deck 3). When they have something going on like Trivia Games - they crank up the loudspeaker to the max. Went down to complain and was told this is normal ship operations. Had to leave the cabin when something goes on below - especially on sea days - so beware. Service overall were great. Meals at Lido were much better than the Main Dining or at Pinnacle Grill. Has to send back the porterhouse steak - ordered medium and got a steak that was medium on the edges that got more rare as the cut get closer to the bone! A medium steak should not have blood on the plate. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our first cruise ever was on the MS Zuiderdam from Jan 7, 2018 to Jan 17, 2018. It was an initiation for sure! The weather was not the greatest to start with and progressively worsened throughout the cruise. After our second last stop in ... Read More
Our first cruise ever was on the MS Zuiderdam from Jan 7, 2018 to Jan 17, 2018. It was an initiation for sure! The weather was not the greatest to start with and progressively worsened throughout the cruise. After our second last stop in Colon, Panama the weather really turned nasty and the ship truly started to rock. The weather was so bad, that the captain decided that it was unsafe to dock at our last port of call Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. So we proceeded back to Ft. Lauderdale and spent the last part of our cruise on rough seas for 3 days. It was not much fun! To be fair, the weather was not Holland America’s fault and we and they attempted to make the best of an unfortunate situation. For the most part, we did enjoy our cruise especially the stops at Half Moon Cay, Aruba and Curacao. However, the cruise through the Panama Canal was boring and if you did not partake of one of the many day excursions offered through EXC Tours then you were not allowed to disembark from the ship at Gatun Lake (there was absolutely nothing there). Some of these tours were expensive and exceeded on average 5.5 hours in time. Passengers who took the tours were picked up at Colon when the ship docked but were warned that the ship could be late because their return time through the canal was controlled by the Panama Canal Authority. They were told to stay within the terminal facilities until the ship’s return for the safety reasons as elaborated below. When the ship did return to Colon, we were allowed to disembark but were warned to stay inside the terminal premises as it was considered unsafe to venture past the terminal facilities. The shopping within the terminal facilities was somewhat limited and there was not much else to do but return to the ship and await departure. Personally, I would find another more inviting and safer port of call. Overall, staff and crew on the MS Zuiderdam were very organized, efficient, friendly and courteous. The embarkation and disembarkation were systematic and well controlled. Our room stewards Nugi and Chris were amazing and were always present should you require some assistance. Their positive vibes were constantly evident even when the last part of our cruise was not the best. I truly wanted to thank them in this review. Servers that also came to our attention were Joel and John Patrick who provided excellent and attentive service - again, making this a somewhat more relaxing cruise. Overall though, I am not sure that I would recommend this cruise for everyone. If the weather was inclement as it was for us, then the alternatives were small to nil with the exception of returning to Ft. Lauderdale. Would we go on a cruise again? – most certainly!! Sometimes you just have to rock and roll with the flow. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We have always cruised with Princess, but decided we would try Holland, because pricing was more reasonable. If this is your first time with Holland, and we did the colours tour of eastern Cananda and Quebec. We started in New York. Best ... Read More
We have always cruised with Princess, but decided we would try Holland, because pricing was more reasonable. If this is your first time with Holland, and we did the colours tour of eastern Cananda and Quebec. We started in New York. Best part of this cruise was old Quebec. There are a few things one needs to know. We were unsure of their tipping policy until we received a copy of our bill. Each passenger is charged 13.50 per day or 27.00 for two of you in a state room. These tips are divided, with half going to your state room staff and half to the restaurant staff. 15% Tips are auto added to drink or bar service..Extra tipping is at your discretion if you want to recognize a special staff member. We loved that each passenger could bring a bottle of wine on board. We each brought Port. If you drink wine, check their 3 bottle wine package. It may work out better for you. DO NOT pay for the wifi service on board...I paid 100.00 for 250 minutes. I blew through it in 3 days...the service is slower than molasses running up hill. Wait for ports. Free wifi on the piers. Check what others have said about specific on shore tour destinations before deciding. Some were just not worth it. Booked a room with a tub. Loved the tub. You should also know that the vast majority of passengers on this cruise were over seventy with many even older. Lots of walkers and wheelchairs, which can slow you down a bit getting on excursions or elevators. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We have selected this cruise as understood of good standing ( for the price paid in Europe !) and a good vessel . We have been badly surprised to have to find verandah cabins totally worn out wih bathrooom facilities totally ... Read More
We have selected this cruise as understood of good standing ( for the price paid in Europe !) and a good vessel . We have been badly surprised to have to find verandah cabins totally worn out wih bathrooom facilities totally 'used up ' . Swimmingpool very average and surrounding whirl pools hardly working at all .This vessel has moreover no central attractive atrium place as most vessels have nowadays ,where music etc is around most of the day ;this impacts the general atmosphere .The dinner menus are outdated and have no comparison in quality to what competing lines such as MSC are serving to their customers in Europe . It must however be said that the Staff has proven all over to be excellent and when we made our complaints on the level of quality of dinners , they have been paying high attention to try to correct as much as possible . The management of vessel and departure arrivals and cruising of the vessel is moreover conducted in a most professional way . Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We liked the itinerary and as we had travelled with HA twice before, and the price was good as a late booker, we had no hesitation in joining this cruise. The recent refurbishment (dry dock) gave a much needed modern vibrant decor for the ... Read More
We liked the itinerary and as we had travelled with HA twice before, and the price was good as a late booker, we had no hesitation in joining this cruise. The recent refurbishment (dry dock) gave a much needed modern vibrant decor for the Lido buffet, Lido pool area, Vista Lounge and other public areas. Our cabin (outside obstructed view) was spacious and comfortable with plenty of storage space and a very comfortable bed. The bathroom was functional and comfortable. Our steward did a good job - I liked the extras such as shoe shines and the thick bath robes. Most meals were taken in the Lido buffet with colourful modern furniture and decor and complimentary dinner ware including cups and glasses (plastic). There never seemed to be enough staff to serve drinks and clear tables. It was annoying that tables would not be cleared until you left or asked often making the dining table a unpleasant site and messy. As usual we had too many staff on arrival and the second last day to create that favourable impression. Breakfast offered great variety of choices but we often had to circle both sides to get our picks, and there were good smallish sized portions of muesli, cut fruit and fruit juices. It was a bit annoying to close off breakfast at 10am on a few occasions. Lunch provided a very good variety from the hot choices that were served by the cheerful staff (which was not desirable as one likes to choose their piece, amount and placement) it reminded me of my military days queuing up to take what they gave you; salads were put together in a large bowl that looked like my dog's food bowl and you had to que for even if you only wanted a couple of salad items. There was also an Italian corner for lunch, dinner and late snacks that made a variety of pizza and cooked pasta to order. More queuing and sometime quite a wait but it was worth the wait. Also there was made up sandwiches and rolls in paper bags ready to go. The servery closing time is 2pm and once again I think this is a bit early. There was an Asian corner that had some nice choices but were repetitive after a week. A nice variety of Sushi was available every day. Afternoon tea choices were cakes, cookies and some hot choices sandwiches in Lido. Also the Lido pool area had a servery every day with mexican choices that were tasty. Dinner in the Lido started from 5.30pm and ended at an early 8pm. It was then opened for snacks between 10.30-11.30pm. The servery was generally opened later than 8pm and desserts were generally available after the close time. I noticed that the choices of mains and desserts appeared better for the snacks on a couple of occasions I assume mainly for the benefit of staff and performers. Choices became repetitive after a few days - they could have theme nights. We tried the anytime dining in the dining room for dinner when we could not make the Lido times. The service was quick, the food choices and presentation were very good but the waiters lacked knowledge on the make up of the choices and we received a couple of hot choices that were warm. The dining rooms appeared to have excessive staff compared to the buffet areas. Other passengers reported slow and poor service for breakfast and so we chose Lido for these meal. Surf & Turf - Lobster tail and steak was available towards the end of the cruise which was appreciated. The Dive-Inn operated from 11am to 5pm and provided a good range of hot dogs, burgers and fries that were tasty, and the staff very courteous. It was so popular it had to issue pager devices that buzzed when your order was ready. This worked fine well into the Lido area. The spa and gym facilities and staff were very friendly and helpful. I used the spar pass that allowed me the use of the sauna rooms, heated ceramic lounges and the mineral salt spa pool. This was great value as I used it most days. Also I swam daily in the Lido pool. Initially I found the temperature too warm for lap swimming. t was lowered the next day after requesting it. Overall the entertainment in the Vista Lounge was poor and sadly I would have to say that it would rate last of the 26 cruises to date. The dancers were good and the singers were good (except for one lady who sang a bit flat and out of sync at times) but the composition, choice of songs and props were substandard. Not sure of the correct terminology for these aspects. The guest entertainers were below average. The ABBA group was disappointing with only the piano player deserving any recognition as his performances were very good. The others were of little value to the performance. The casino was a bit out dated but the staff were friendly and helpful. The manager gave free drinks which encouraged people to participate. This ship lack a centre/heart (an Atrium) where the action should be like, the Captain's welcome, champagne fountain, farewells etc. My review sounds like a lot of negatives but overall it was still value for money and we liked the itinerary. We think Holland America could do much better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
It was our 50th wedding anniversary and we wanted to go some where out of the winter cold,, The weather was hot and humid each day. Wonderful/ We would have liked to have more to do on ship during the day.. Dinning in the vista dinning ... Read More
It was our 50th wedding anniversary and we wanted to go some where out of the winter cold,, The weather was hot and humid each day. Wonderful/ We would have liked to have more to do on ship during the day.. Dinning in the vista dinning room service was poor. Not at all what we had on other ships. We ate there 3 nights then went to Lido deck food the same there and service was good. Our Cabin 5129 was great spacious and mid deck. Had a tub in our bathroom this was a first for us. Cabin stewards service was superb, awesome, could not have ask for more.. Our room was always neat and clean. We also thought the journeys ashore were very expensive. We had three days at sea at the end of trip and would have like to have more activities to do on board. Our balcony was spacious and great views.. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The cruise experience was as I expected. We wanted to see the Panama Canal and that entailed three full days at sea and the ports we stopped at were not very interesting. Our problem with the cruise was illness. I had two episodes and ... Read More
The cruise experience was as I expected. We wanted to see the Panama Canal and that entailed three full days at sea and the ports we stopped at were not very interesting. Our problem with the cruise was illness. I had two episodes and my husband one. We were quarantined to our room the last two days of the cruise. Although we didn't request a visit, a nurse did visit us but there was nothing she could add to what we already knew as we are health care professionals. We were each charged $65.00 for her visit. We were told we could order a meal but when I tried to place an order, I was told the kitchen was closed. We were able to order cokes for which we were charged. Not a very satisfactory way to treat paying guests who weren't supposed to leave the cabin. We were among the first to disembark so we wouldn't infect anyone else. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My DW and I both wanted to see the changing of the trees so we booked this cruise (and indeed the trees were wonderful). The Zuiderdam was the HAL ship we sailed on years ago and enjoyed so much that we have been sailing on HAL ever since. ... Read More
My DW and I both wanted to see the changing of the trees so we booked this cruise (and indeed the trees were wonderful). The Zuiderdam was the HAL ship we sailed on years ago and enjoyed so much that we have been sailing on HAL ever since. We are both partly retired and can go when we find a cruise to interest us. For us the flying is usually the worst part of the adventure. We arrived in Quebec City by Flight Ease late in the day and went straight to the hotel by transfer. The trip had a stop in Toronto where we did customs and nearly missed our next flight. We stayed at the Hilton and it was good. Just know that eating at the hotel is way expensive. Embarkation went smoothly although slowly. It seems we showed up at the same time as everyone else. Disembarkation at the trip's end was very fast for we chose to do luggage direct and not have to fuss with any bags or carry-ons. The cost is minimal. I would like to take a moment here to let you in on a secret. If you let HAL handle the flights, transfers, excursion, & hotels, going on the cruise is much less worrisome. If things happen while cruising (and did they ever!) HAL takes care of all the details. Same goes for excursions. We missed two ports because of a depression (Hurricane Matthew) in which we had booked excursions and the refunds showed up on our statements in good time. Good luck for those who booked their own for HAL could have cared less. There are real advantages to spending a bit more to book with the Cruise Line. To sooth the pain of missing two ports in a row, we were given a free mimosa. Thanks a lot HAL. The room (4139) is large enough and I think larger than the rooms we have booked on other ships. The balcony is plenty big and has baffles for privacy side to side and for protection from wind. Only some privacy from above as the balcony sticks out more than the floors above. It may be a good bit larger than the rooms on the upper decks.The bath room has problems. If you take a bath, you must use the showerhead to fill your tub. If you take a shower, the water drains real slow and you stand in it up to your ankles. The mirror will be fogged over for the vent in there didn't work at all. The toilet had a button to push and it didn't work. A call to the service desk had a man there to work on it and it did at least work if not well after the visit, and the front desk called to make sure we were pleased. The room is across the hall from behind the elevators and above an exit door to the Promenade Deck. Neither caused us a moment of trouble. In fact it was a real handy spot. Do understand that I'm not young and my hearing isn't all it could be. Most of the noise we heard was from our neighbors allowing their doors to slam. I would book that room again without hesitation. The MDR was a bit of a disappointment as there were a number of large groups on the cruise that wanted to sit together at meals. We like to visit with other folks over a leisurely meal and that pretty much didn't happen. The meals were tasty and the menus were varied. The Lido had a wonderful breakfast (although crowded) and the other meals were just OK. I did leave a small amount of ice cream for you. The Dive-In had good burgers & hot dogs. The Pinnacle Grill was very good. The entertainment was hit-and-miss. Some shows were OK, most were - well - not. There was a stand-out excursion in Boston. It was the "Duck"! The cruise around town was a bit long but the cruise in the James River was long and wonderful. I recommend this one! The Captain took us into a depression with a top wind of 90MPH. I can't see any need to have done that. We were in that for the better part of 3 days. Missed two ports. And it was rough. Remember that the majority of folks on this cruise were elderly with mobility issues. What was the Captain thinking? The rest of the cruise was in mild seas with sunny days. Just perfect - Almost. In Port Canaveral we had an electrical blackout. The power was back on in less than an hour but then the Navigation System wouldn't work. We left port 3 hours late with a promise to use all the engines to get us to Ft Lauderdale on time. Nope! Generator failed. Arrived +/- 2 hours late. HAL worked overtime for us (we had Flight Ease & Baggage Direct & a transfer). DW says never again on the Zuiderdam. Well, I won't hold her to that. There were many negatives but many plusses too. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were looking forward to a "Fall Colors" cruise. It was our second HAL cruise, the first being aboard the Neuw Amsterdam. Enjoyed Quebec City and Saguenay but then got hit by a "subtropical depression" and missed the ... Read More
We were looking forward to a "Fall Colors" cruise. It was our second HAL cruise, the first being aboard the Neuw Amsterdam. Enjoyed Quebec City and Saguenay but then got hit by a "subtropical depression" and missed the next two ports of Charolettown and Sydney due to hurricane force winds (up to 90kt.s and 30-40ft. sea!) but ship handled it well and crew was confident and helpful for the 60 or so hours of the storm. Even all but two of the BB Kings entertainers showed up to preform. After that all was OK until Cape Canaveral, where we had a power failure and a three hour delay on leaving port. Power failure cause a long delay in receiving Disembarkation and luggage documents until 10pm. That night at sea there was another engine failure and we limped into Fort Lauderdale this morning late, tired and happy to get on a plane home. Would we take another cruise, Yes. Would we cruise on another HAL ship. Yes, would we cruise on the Zuiderdam again. ???? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Zuiderdam I sailed from Bergen to NYC.Sailing through Hermine the captain made the correct call missing Nova Scotia and head for NYC. I enjoyed the city for a full day.Hop on hop off for$64.00 with ferry. It appeared as though they are ... Read More
Zuiderdam I sailed from Bergen to NYC.Sailing through Hermine the captain made the correct call missing Nova Scotia and head for NYC. I enjoyed the city for a full day.Hop on hop off for$64.00 with ferry. It appeared as though they are short staffed rarely extra staff was called in when it got super busy.I was disappointed in finding out the ship had no self serve laundry.$30.00 abag or $110.00 unlimited.Very hard working staff and friendly. I was surprised to hear the ship ran out of 4 or 5 different beers.The onboard entertainment could be better and a longer show to boot.The milk cartons were the worse you had to punch a straw through the top, good luck trying to open it to pour.I suggested to the cruise line to offer extended days in certain ports.1 day in Reykavik was not enough I hate to rush to see as much as I can.They decided to fix some area on the lido area interrupting seating.I feel the whole needs reconfigurating.not enough seating at prime time.The casual smart dining menu is similar a lot if the times.So if you want to sit for an hour and a half or two it,s up to you.I also don't know why they only offer happy hour in just 2 locals.I heard they are going to dry dock the ship in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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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