34 Holland America Zuiderdam Senior Cruise Reviews

We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At ... Read More
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At least Four cruise ships were departing on the same day..Holiday Inn at hollywood had a shuttle waiting for it and Candlewood hotel, we loaded up..Dispite them doubling their rates for rush at HI, they serve a decent breakfast, and accomadations were very nice.. Mind you there is not much else close here and 8 lanes of high speed traffic in front if you want to cross the hwy...I believe one 4x4 pu tried to see how close he could get, defintely did NOT slow down, There is NO crosswalk for protection. Ok, we paid $15.00 each for the ride to the port #21. and tipped the driver. I was satisfied with the process of checking in and forming groups to board..We were in a SY suite for our cruise and it was nice too, except for the heavy deck doors. the one next door #8076, closed loudly and disturbed me in the evenings. I turned in a request to have their closer and shock tested and repaired, but Hal did not fix it.So it reminded me of a cheap thin motel room when slammed..They were seniors next to us and I did not speak with them about it. The hot water controls were great in the Jetted tub and shower, you could get very hot water if you soaked. I did use the hot-tub on the rear of the ship, there were about 5 . The food was hit or miss after breakfast, which was great and so was the room service. By this I mean you could get great Fish and vegs, but their pasta sauce was not flavored enough, simular to Ragu..Pizza and Pasta was there all the time and hot served any time. There was a huge salad available at all meals, built with care by an attendant and plenty of vegetarian food.Ice Cream was served all day and lots of flavors, Seniors Love their Cold deserts.The whole ships crew worked hard to please anyone..The Steelband performance was the best, and second was the Magician show.. The port stops were nice, we enjoyed Willenstad, Curacoa in the old dutch section...We stayed on board at the canal, and went exploring in beautiful Costa Rica. This was our Diamond anniversary, and we were recognised at Gala Dinner..Thanks to HAl and the crew, especially a very efficient Captain, We will book another cruise with them soon...Jonyyuma Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
As a three-star mariner with Holland America, I have enjoyed many of their ships over the years. The latest improvements did away with the wonderful library and great coffee bar. Explorations Café is now up on deck 10, with nice places ... Read More
As a three-star mariner with Holland America, I have enjoyed many of their ships over the years. The latest improvements did away with the wonderful library and great coffee bar. Explorations Café is now up on deck 10, with nice places to sit, but no books to browse. The "passenger exchange books" shelf had a dozen or so books in foreign languages, but none in English until I left a few had brought along. The bar here handles both specialty coffee and alcoholic drinks. One latte proved to me that it wasn't that great a cup. So it goes. The new Lincoln Center Stage was filled to capacity at each performance, with some classics on the heavy side for my taste. I loved the old piano and violin combo that played more Strauss and standard melodies. Billboard on Board with its twin pianos was crowded at each performance, with standing room across the way in the casino for the overflow. The area shared by B.B.King's All-Stars (evenings) and America's Test Kitchen (daytime) also has more people than seating. The permanent lounge seating at the back of the room is fine in the evening. Folding chairs are added for the daytime cooking shows, with those in the lounges seeing only heads and backs since the closely lined up chairs are quite a bit higher. The food in the dining room is still very good every evening (and breakfast and lunch). The Dungeness crab benedict was wonderful, and on the breakfast menu every day. The one evening of surf and turf featured perfectly done lobster. Wine prices have continued to rise, but asking $79 plus 18% for a bottle that retails for $15 seems a bit over the top. My big disappointment on this cruise was the scenery from my ocean view cabin. Cabin 4114 gave new meaning to the term "obstructed view". From my floor to ceiling window, I could view lifeboat #16 and its davit....a bit of sky above, and looking directly down could see those walking on deck 3 below. Not a bit of "ocean" aside from the time they lowered the lifeboat to use as a tender at one port. The room itself was fine, and my steward was outstanding as always. Lots of hanging closet space but no drawers other than tiny ones in the bedside tables. Nice tub with shower in the bathroom, and lots of storage space. Now if they would just give loyal passengers a few complimentary minutes of internet time like the other cruise lines do, I would continue to be a happy camper on Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are prior HAL passengers although it's been several years since we cruised with them. We were anxious to take the Zuiderdam through the S. Caribbean, particularly because of her itinerary. We were not disappointed. Our experince ... Read More
We are prior HAL passengers although it's been several years since we cruised with them. We were anxious to take the Zuiderdam through the S. Caribbean, particularly because of her itinerary. We were not disappointed. Our experince with Zuiderdam was, for the most part consistent with the other HAL cruises we have taken in the past. Here are our impressions from this cruise: The good: Like all HAL ships we have been on, Zuiderdam was spotless. The crew was constantly cleaning, polishing, scraping, painting and in general keeping her in tip top shape. Everything, including our bathroom (including tub!) was without flaw. Personnel: True to HAL's legacy, I don't believe you can find a surly crew member. No matter what crew person you ran into, in the corridors or wherever produced a giant smile and a pleasant "Good morning". The majority of service personnel are Indonesian or Filipino and are products of HAL's own training facilities in these countries, and it shows. They seem to take a pride in their work that I haven't seen reflected in some other lines. Our cabin stewards were always prompt, cheerful and adjusted very well to our particular schedule of when we were "in" and when we were "out". They did an exceptional job. We had dinner in the regular Dining Room, The choice of food was outstanding and the quality was excellent. Prime Rib, Rack of Lamb and NY Strip Steak were some of the daily offerings. For formal night we were treated to a Surf and Turf that was genuine Filet Mignon with Lobster Tail, I'm still savoring it. Breakfast and lunch was half and half room service (a real treat) and the Cafeteria. Lunch at the Cafeteria was just like it sounds - it's real old school where you get in one long line and the personnel serve you according to your selections. We found the lunch selections to be fairly weak - however there are always other choices like Pasta and Pizza, Oriental and a variety of sandwiches which were excellent. The bad: One unpleasant (and very unusual surprise, particularly for HAL) was the mandatory life boat drill on the afternoon of embarkation. We have been on 23 cruises, 4 of which were with other HAL ships and we have never seen anything as disorganized and unproductive as this drill. We wandered around until finally being corralled on deck (in the Ft, Lauderdale sun at 4:00) which a few crew members shuffled from here to there and back, trying to account for each passenger. Unlike ANY other ship on which we have travelled there was an almost complete lack of instructions from the bridge as to what, when, or where, Finally it appeared we had finished and we all wandered back to our cabins, little the wiser for what to do in case of an emergency. This is so atypical of HAL that I feel constrained to comment on it on the chance that someone from HAL reads these reviews. In general, it is an excellent ship, small and therefore not crowded at any time. There are hardly any waits for anything and embarking or debarking at ports of call was very easy. One comment on the itinerary: the ship stopped at Cartagena, Colombia, a stop which many travelers had not previously visited. Nonetheless, we were only offered a five-hour stay, which was not nearly enough to see all that this colonial walled city had to offer, By the same token we rushed to Curacao which, being Sunday, was totally and definitively shut down. Nonetheless we stayed there all day until 11PM! It seems that the schedule planning could use some reworking. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We picked this NYC to Quebec cruise to see New England and Canadian Fall colours but we picked to early in the season to do that. Pre cruised 4 days in NYC and post cruised with 2 day stays in each of Quebec, Montreal and Toronto. ... Read More
We picked this NYC to Quebec cruise to see New England and Canadian Fall colours but we picked to early in the season to do that. Pre cruised 4 days in NYC and post cruised with 2 day stays in each of Quebec, Montreal and Toronto. Departure was relocated from Manhattan to Brooklyn due to damage at Manhattan terminal so was pretty disorganise ashore and messed up transfers. Holland America was it's usual warm, friendly, welcoming way. Cabins ready early so once aboard the relaxation commenced. Much appreciated after the bustle of NYC. Did a walking tour of the Freedom Trail in Boston. Interesting insight into early US history. Bar Harbour is a pretty, friendly little town very easy to explore at your own pace. The Halifax Waterfront is also very interesting and suited to some easy walking. Sydney NS we did a small group tour with Blue Thistle, the highlight being the scenery and the Alexander Graham Bell museum. What a brilliant man. The weather was so foul in Charlottetown that we stayed aboard. That's not a problem on HAL because they do maintain activities and services aboard so it is quite enjoyable. In Saquenay we did the Le Fabuleus Culture show which is an amusing and well staged production in a theatrical hall. Well worth the visit. Quebec is of course one of the most beautiful and historic cities in North America and the mix of French and Canadian makes it a relaxing change from the hassle and bustle of the US. Our onward stays in Canada included Niagara etc and was very a pleasant experience. A good move with HAL is to pre-order a wine selection for the dining room and a bottle of something for an evening drink or nightcap to the cabin. Works out well if you are mainly interested in wine with your meals and the sommelier will keep half bottles for you from meal to meal. Entertainment in the Shows is about what you expect aboard shipe but HAL does provide a very high standard in the Blues Club and other venues round the ship Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, and knew nothing about Holland America. But so glad we took a chance! Friendliest crew we have ever met on a cruise- ok. we didn't meet our cabin steward till the second day, but no ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, and knew nothing about Holland America. But so glad we took a chance! Friendliest crew we have ever met on a cruise- ok. we didn't meet our cabin steward till the second day, but no problem. Lots of things on this ship that we felt were done very well. We loved the system with sunbeds- no need for pool towels in our room- they're already rolled up and ready to use on the beds. Great retractable roof over the pool, and we were always able to get a bed there when we wanted one. Food in the Lido and restaurant was generally of a high quality- I loved the make your own salads in the Lido. Although the ship was full, it never seemed crowded anywhere. Evenings meals we had in the restaurant. We generally went down about 7, asked for a table for two, maybe had to wait 10 minutes, then straight in. Maitre d always very accommodating, as were all of the staff. Our cabin was on Rotterdam deck., towards the rear of the ship. Very comfortable, very quiet. Entertainment in the evening was ok. We enjoyed B B Kings, Trivia quizzes ( met some great people) and some of the entertainment in the theatre. Billboard wasn't for us, although they were very popular. Daytime activities on sea days we found to be very limited, but that's no different from most cruise ships we've been on. Gave me time to catch up with reading! The Crows nest area we found to have a bit of a strange layout. No library on board this ship, which was a first for us- books available to read in the Crows Nest, but we didn't find it a particulary inviting area. We did four shore excursions through Holland America- no problems with any of them, except for the price! Would recommend that people checked out independent tour operators for all the ports- we booked with Travelling Viking in Akeyuri prior to cruise. Prompt pick up at11 in a mini bus, great tour guide, and a lot less than Holland America wanted for simoilar tour. Embarkation and disembarkation very well organised- had to wait a while for coach to come to airport to pick us up for transfer to ship, but because we were the last transfer, went straight onto ship . Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our second cruise on the Zuiderdam. This ship introduced us to Holland America ten years ago and left us with a very favorable view of the cruise line. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America with the last one being three ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Zuiderdam. This ship introduced us to Holland America ten years ago and left us with a very favorable view of the cruise line. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America with the last one being three years ago on the Eurodam Baltic Sea St Petersburg itinerary. We selected this cruise due to its low price based on lowest category Interior Guaranteed rate. We ended up in a Deck 4 fully blocked view HH category cabin similar to what we had on our first Zuideram cruise ten years ago. The ship was in excellent condition. The cabin was comfortable for the two of us in an excellent location forward, and convenient to elevators. It was quiet due to no interior cabins across from it. The cabin stewards did the usual excellent job of maintaining the cabin. Dining room experience was very good. We had Anytime Dining and over the course of the cruise migrated to having dinner in the 6:15 to 6:30 pm time frame. Since we had no problem sharing a 4 or 6 seat table, we were always seated with no delay. The various sections where we were seated, for the most part, had excellent waiters and helpers. Dinner food was very good to excellent. Lido buffet was as expected: hectic for breakfast and lunch but we could find seats. We found that arriving before 7 am for breakfast gave us the best choices for seating at tables. The Dive In burger setting was nice although one was guaranteed a wait of 20 minutes for their food. The one area that was annoying was the wine stewards pushing wine choices. I thought that Holland America could decrease the number of wine stewards. We did not use speciality dining rooms. Lounges and bars: On previous Holland America cruises I enjoyed the Crow's Nest lounge. Well that experience is gone thanks to the Exploration Lounge. To me, it is just a sitting area with a coffee bar. I missed the Happy Hour promotions for the Crow's Nest and the finger food provided. I did not purchase beverage packages because with only three sea days in fourteen total, it would not be beneficial or practical. Adult beverage pricing a la cart was excessive. Entertainment: I only witnessed one guest group act in the evening. I did not go to any of the production shows due to dining timing and next day excursion schedules. An afternoon performance by a local group at the Inverness port stop was excellent. On Board experience: It was a very laid back Cruise Director with nothing special to entice me to join. It was most likely due to only three sea days. EXC presentations, compared to Princess Cruises, were lacking in my opinion with very general introductions. Internet Packages: The ship has gone to 24 hour rates based on data limits. We took the middle package mainly for emails and Facebook. I don't think we came close to exceeding the data limit and may have survived with the lowest rate. The gotcha here is that they may restrict you from Facebook et al packages. While attempting to print boarding passes on the three workstations near the customer service desk, I could not gain access to the airline website. I just relented and checked in using our Android tablet. Excursions: Since this appeared to be a one time only itinerary, I will not go into details. We used EXC excursions, and except for the excursion to Mt Michel in France, thought it was the way to go. The Mt Michel excursion used very cramped coaches, and the tour guide was lacking in his personal approach (very cold and with an attitude). Embarkation and Disembarkation: It was a typical mad house waiting to check in and board the ship. Groups were called by number. Cabins were ready upon boarding. Leaving the ship on last day was very easy with us doing expedited disembarkation. Walked off ship with our luggage, said goodbye to a very friendly Captain, and was in a taxi bound for the airport with no queues. We easily made our 10:45 am flight to the States. Final thoughts: The Zuiderdam is showing her age well but with no central atrium, some guests may feel it lacking. We didn't since we knew the layout already. With five Holland America cruises now under our belt, we may continue to look at Princess itineraries in the future. We think Princess does a better job with on board experience and speciality dining venues. We could return to Holland America with our three star Mariner membership but to us it is not a grand incentive to do so. Good memories with Holland America especially with the Eurodam may sway us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at ... Read More
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at all what others are seeing in their overly negative reviews. The food is very good to excellent- the best dining room food we have ever had at sea, and I have cruised 4 other lines. I am a foodie and saw no need to go to any specialty restaurants. The entertainment is limited, but excellent- BB Kings played jazz to blues to dancing music, and the band and singers were outstanding. Billboard 100 which is a duel piano sing along type bar/ club- was by far the most attended just for good old fun. The shows were also great- the dancers all could be on dancing with the stars. Piano player/singer, opera etc. were all excellent. Crew were all genuinely attentive and friendly- and in talking to them can see they love working for Holland. The only thing people need to learn is to book their excursions privately, as the cruise lines rates are absurd. One caution- if you go to book "Landscapes and Sheepdogs"- you will pay $200 pp to be taken to a gift shop (Called "Scottish Woolen Center"- its a gift shop) that has Free, I repeat Free sheep dog demonstrations. We felt deceived and grossly overpaid for this. Other than that one negative experience- we loved Holland, loved this ship, and loved the crew from the Captain to the waiter. Book this trip with confidence that you will love it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We had never been to Canada. We live in Florida so this longer cruise was perfect, we only had to fly one way. We love to travel on Holland America Lines, so the fact that Zuiderdam was due for an interior face lift did not bother us. We ... Read More
We had never been to Canada. We live in Florida so this longer cruise was perfect, we only had to fly one way. We love to travel on Holland America Lines, so the fact that Zuiderdam was due for an interior face lift did not bother us. We know and love their standards, so could put up with a few chips and rips. The Crew was wonderful, always helpful & Roxan in the Ocean Bar is the Best Waiter on board. the Food was a little odd by the second week. (an awful lot of fish, for someone who does not eat fin fish.) The food we ordered was good & we could order a baked potato if the sides did not appeal. I must say that the entertainment on board was a little disappointing, where did all the small bands and other singers & guitar players, that used to be in the small bars, Crows Nest, Atrium & Dining Room go? We miss being able to order afternoon drinks & listen to a Duo or single musician entertain us. The music seems to be at night & if that band is needed for the main show, nothing!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Wonderful itinerary- some of the best port visits seen after 7+ cruises. Boston, Bar Harbor, Charlottetown & Quebec were excellent - the latter two very picturesque. My criticism of Halifax was too many ships in port on one day - ... Read More
Wonderful itinerary- some of the best port visits seen after 7+ cruises. Boston, Bar Harbor, Charlottetown & Quebec were excellent - the latter two very picturesque. My criticism of Halifax was too many ships in port on one day - numbers should be restricted. Zuiderdam was berthed in a commercial dock well away from the Pier 21 & adjacent sights. Zuiderdam really needs a refurbishment- looking quite tired & worn. Crew standards extremely high as usual, although entertainment teams seemed reduced in numbers. Not enough "expert" visiting lecturers to develop history, geography sights & culture of visited ports. Sailaway parties seemed minimal. Embarkation & disembarkation very well organised & went very smoothly, Shore excursions & tender transits well organised, although it took a while to stop people congregating near & sitting on stairways near tender gangway area. A big plus was the wonderful efficiency and friendliness of ALL crew members, particularly our cabin stewards& Explorations Cafe baristas Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
7th cruise with HAL. Usual high standard of services, especially cabin stewards Santana & Made. As mentioned below, a disturbing situation being locked out of cabin on our balcony occurred sailing from New York City.This situation ... Read More
7th cruise with HAL. Usual high standard of services, especially cabin stewards Santana & Made. As mentioned below, a disturbing situation being locked out of cabin on our balcony occurred sailing from New York City.This situation was made worse by no-one coming to let us out. Either officer below on promenade deck or front desk took a long,long time to do anything about it. It was lucky our neighbour went onto his balcony over an hour after we were locked out! Dining standards in main dining room/s and Lido deck not quite as good as in previous cruises. This itinerary is wonderful. - All port visits were great, except because there were so many cruise ships in port at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Zuiderdam was berthed in an industrial area & this cosequently restricted time available in the Cruise Terminal & Pier 21 areas. There needed to be earlier intevention in stopping people crowding stairways prior to going ashore. Embarkation in NYC and Disembarkation in Qubec was well organised apart for long wait for taxis in Quebec. Zuiderdam is overdue for dry-docking & refits Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Missus Charlie and I just returned from the Northern Isles cruise. We upgraded during the last pre-cruise week from guaranteed Veranda to Neptune class stateroom 7052. The crew was exceptionally friendly and attentive. Particular ... Read More
Missus Charlie and I just returned from the Northern Isles cruise. We upgraded during the last pre-cruise week from guaranteed Veranda to Neptune class stateroom 7052. The crew was exceptionally friendly and attentive. Particular plaudits to the Culinary Center, Pinnacle Grill, and Ocean and Explorer staffs. The entertainment was as expected. The on-board troupe occasionally appears to substitute volume and kinetic energy for musical and terpsichorean ability - but, they make a great effort to entertain and deserved the applause. Activities tended toward sedentary which is not surprising given the ship's demographic. (Not a significant complaint, by the way. Neither Missus nor I are into rock climbing. Food was as expected to disappointing. The Pinnacle Grill was uniformly excellent. The main dining room menu occasionally suffered from the idiosyncratic and exotic choices of the Celebrity Chefs to whom Holland has given its menu planning. Food was well prepared and presented. Staff were very attentive. Shore excursions were limited by the Icelandic venue. The Falkirk Wheel and Antoinine Wall were fascinating, though the walk to the wall is longer and its terrain more varied than described. The Blue Lagoon was fun and not too crowded. Some ship carpets and furniture upholstery appeared worn. The exercise center was disappointing. Elliptical machines do not have audio connectivity to television displays. The variety of weight machines was more limited than we've seen on some ships. However, we understand that the ship will go in to dock for refreshment this fall and these minor problems will be corrected. All-in-all, our second cruise on Zuiderdam (and our fifth cruise on the Dam ships) will go down as very enjoyable and worth the price. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Holland started the cruise out perfectly. We were met at CPH by Holland representatives. Since the flight arrived at 7:30 am, too early to board the ship, they provided us with a 2 hour tour of Copenhagen. Embarkation went very smoothly ... Read More
Holland started the cruise out perfectly. We were met at CPH by Holland representatives. Since the flight arrived at 7:30 am, too early to board the ship, they provided us with a 2 hour tour of Copenhagen. Embarkation went very smoothly without any long lines, quick boarding and our stateroom was available immediately. We had a Vista suite which was a good size for the length of the cruise. Our cabin steward was outstanding. The weather was as might be expected in the Baltic in early June, some sun and some blustery rainy weather. The ports were excellent. As always the Pinnacle Grill was a wonderful dining experience with impeccable service and very good menu. We attended a hands on cooking class which included lunch in Pinnacle Grill. Entertainment was so so but not too bad. There were only two real negatives on the cruise. Holland often moors several walking miles from the tourist areas. I'm sure this is not their choice but they do moor far out they then charge $20 for a shuttle into town. The shuttle should be free or at least a more nominal amount. Passengers who don't want to take a ship excursion are left to fend for themselves with public transit. The other negative is that Holland seems to have cut staff. This was particularly evident in the main dining room where service was cursory at best. It used to be that your waiter was attentive to the guests at his or her table and got to know your preferences. Now they are covering so many tables service suffers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
A TransAtlantic offers us a lengthy cruise at a reasonable fare with lots of sea days to relax and/or take advantage of the amenities and activities of the ship. We've done several before and always had a good experience. Holland ... Read More
A TransAtlantic offers us a lengthy cruise at a reasonable fare with lots of sea days to relax and/or take advantage of the amenities and activities of the ship. We've done several before and always had a good experience. Holland America attracts us (seniors in our late 70s) because of the spacious and comfortable Neptune suite and the accompanying Neptune Lounge which offers service and fine snacks all day. This cruise offered a good number of sea days as well as interesting ports with a final destination of Copenhagen where we visited a lifelong friend. So, ideal of us. Check in at Ft. Lauderdale was smooth and we were soon in our suite with the luggage not far behind us. I love the layout of the Neptune Suite but it's quite out of date compared to other HAL ships and is ready of dry dock which I understand is coming up in a few months. The verandah lounge chairs lacked cushions and for someone who likes to nap out there, I had to carry out my bed pillows etc. to get comfortable. More about the cabin in cabin review. The first few days out of Florida were sunny with low to moderate seas. Unfortunately, as we got further northeast we encountered wind and higher seas and, by the time we got to Normandy (having had to miss the port of Horta, Azores due to high wind and seas) it was raining. So weather this particular trip really was an issue. And we often couldn't use our verandah because of the cold and wind. But that isn't the ship's fault. As suite passengers we had the privilege of going to the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast each morning. That was nice not having to deal with the usual Lido crowds on those sea days. Food and service were very good. We went to the main dining room almost every night and food and service were consistently good. Evening entertainment, particularly the singers and dancers, was excellent. However, with a 6:30 and an 8 p.m. show, we often had to change our dinner time or rush in order to catch something we didn't want to miss. Movie theatre played great movies but was usually too crowded to get in to see. My husband enjoyed the gym every morning. Cooking classes were fun. There were many interesting enriching lectures to take advantage of. We loved the dueling pianos on Eurodam and were disappointed they aren't on Zuiderdam. Yet. I'm guessing they will be. Crew service and attitude were excellent across the board! Because we were visiting in Denmark, we shipped our big bags back home to Florida. Although expensive, it was very worth it. We walked off the ship in Copenhagen with our carry ons and walked right out to the street. Amazingly easy and quick. I'm sure Zuiderdam will have a pretty new face after dry dock and that is needed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Holland America generally appeals to an older crowd and as a couple in their mid-sixties we were definitely among the youngest onboard. The Zuiderdam is starting to show her age (a 2002 build) with some upgrades made. We were told that ... Read More
Holland America generally appeals to an older crowd and as a couple in their mid-sixties we were definitely among the youngest onboard. The Zuiderdam is starting to show her age (a 2002 build) with some upgrades made. We were told that she was due for a heavy dry dock later this year. Service on board was exceptionally good. The Indonesian and Philippine crew members were always smiling and met or exceeded expectations. The Dutch technical crew were all but invisible--the only time we saw the captain was one night when we ate at Cannaletto, the extra charge Italian restaurant. He and the staff captain were sitting at the next table. We were in a Signature Suite--nice and large at about 350 sf and an extra large balcony that held two recliners, two chairs and a table with room to spare. Our room steward managed to spruce up the room at least three times a day with fresh towels and beds straightened after an afternoon nap. Decor had a definitely dated look but had been refreshed with new soft fittings and drapes. We took one shore excursion in Panama and visited "Monkey Island"--definitely the highlight of the trip. Disembarkation in Fort Lauderdale was time-consuming and very slow but arriving on a Sunday with six other cruise ships made for a very crowded port area. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We choose the 10 Day Cruise instead of the 11 Day because we liked the only being at sea 1 day between ports. We drove from Iowa to Ft Lauderdale and arrived in time to embark without a long waits or lines. Parking was very close to the ... Read More
We choose the 10 Day Cruise instead of the 11 Day because we liked the only being at sea 1 day between ports. We drove from Iowa to Ft Lauderdale and arrived in time to embark without a long waits or lines. Parking was very close to the ship terminal.Embarkation was smooth and we we liked the efficiency of the the process. Our stateroom was a handicap accessible (ordered by choice) interior and was very spacious. Our Steward was very attentive and helpful throughout the the cruise. We selected open dining, but made reservation each night at 5:30. We requested the same table so we knew where we would be seated. The Dining staff knew our names and what we liked after the first night. The food was very good, but not as good as we had experienced on Carnival. The was a daily Microsoft Digital Workshop on the cruise, and I attended several of the daily sessions. They were all on some aspect of Windows 10 and I got a lot out of them. The instructor was very knowable. There was also a daily Q&A about Win 10 and allow you to ask suspect question about you personal use of Win 10. We got off the ship at each port, but only went on one excursion. In the other ports we explored the lock markets and streets of the port. In Jamaica we hired a local taxi and drove the country side. It was cheaper than the excursion, and we saw just as much. In Costa Rico we took a bus tour and it ended at a Tourist stop with Caribbean Dancers. We saw two shows on board Matilda & Patrick, and a Comedy Magician. Both were excellent. Overall this was a very good cruise. I would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose to cruise on the Zuiderdam ship because it went to the Southern Caribbean, Central America, and the Panama Canal. The price was excellent for a long cruise. We had a great cruise with no real issues. I had read some rather ... Read More
We chose to cruise on the Zuiderdam ship because it went to the Southern Caribbean, Central America, and the Panama Canal. The price was excellent for a long cruise. We had a great cruise with no real issues. I had read some rather negative reviews so I wanted to share my experience to balance out the reviews for this ship. I would cruise on this ship again as it provided us a wonderful, laid-back cruise with outstanding service throughout the ship. Embarkation: We arrived at the cruise port by taxi from Ft. Lauderdale Airport. This is a short 10 minute taxi ride which cost about $20.00 (set by Florida law). Once we arrived at the cruise port, we had to stand in line for an hour to embark. Even though this was not an awful experience, it could have moved faster. I think we just arrived at the prime time (12:30pm) when most people arrived. They did need more help during embarkation, at least for this busy time period. Once on board, everything was great. Our room was ready when we arrived with luggage arriving in about 2 hours. LIdo Dining: We had lunch on the Lido deck the first day and most days thereafter. We found the food choices varied and good. Service on Lido was excellent with wait staff bringing drinks to your table once you obtained your food. The Lido staff was helpful, pleasant, and hard-working. We usually ate lunch here each day and found the food to be good. We really liked the salads which the staff made as you selected items from a diverse choice of ingredients. They make the salad to prevent spread of germs which I applaud. I hate buffets where everyone touches the utensils to serve themselves. This staff ensures less spread of germs by serving the cruisers. Ship: The ship is an older ship but did not look completely worn out as some have reported. The outside had been painted so we did not see the rust others discussed. The outside is dark navy and white which is not beautiful to look at but that is not why we choose a ship. Some carpets had been replaced but some needed to be replaced. Some furniture was outdated but not torn or in disrepair. Overall, the ship was easy to navigate, clean, and well-designed. We actually loved the ship and would sail on it again. The art work and decor is vibrant and interesting (sometimes strange looking) but colorful. I never saw anything that looked dirty or in disrepair on this 11-day cruise. There needs to be more shopping on the ship. The shopping was extremely limited on this ship. However, that is not why I choose a ship, either. Dining Room: We loved the formal dining room (Vista). The food choices were varied and mostly good. The highlight of the formal dining room was the staff. They were outstanding, making the experience so nice. We never went to the restaurants that charge extra as we were pleased with the formal dining room menus. We ate there each night. We did not eat breakfast in the dining room but many did and liked it. We preferred room service as we enjoy eating on the balcony in our room and not rushing out in the mornings. On my partner's birthday, the dining room brought a beautiful cake and sang to him. They did this twice that week. It was very nice. Room: We had cabin 4145 and it was great. We had an extended balcony with lounge chairs and a table. For the first time on my cruises, I had a bathtub which I truly enjoyed. The balcony room (Category VB) was adequate in terms of storage and space. I would like to see more up-to-date furniture and a larger TV but this did not negatively impact our trip. The bedding was really good. I have never slept so well on any ship as the mattress and pillows were fantastic which is very important on an 11-day cruise. Overall, the room served our needs well. We had plenty of space for two adults, ample storage and closet space, and a great balcony. There are drawers under the sofa and under the bed which was nice to have for things you did not need every day. Service: Our room stewards were fantastic. No matter what I asked for, they provided. They even brought me a fan because I am very hot-natured but my partner likes the room warmer than I do. The AC worked fine in the room. Our stewards kept the room clean and were always available to assist us, if needed. The deck is showing its age but it was clean and very large compared to other lines we have traveled on. The service on Lido and the formal dining room was great, too. We found bartenders and wait staff in other areas of the ship to be very customer-focused. We have no complaints about service. In fact, this is one of the best ships for excellent service that we have traveled. Entertainment and Activities: The band in the BB Blues Club was outstanding, playing a variety of music that the cruisers loved. We danced there every time they were playing. They usually take one night off each week. The room (Queens Lounge) has a great design being shaped like a half moon with the band on a stage and a dance floor in front of the band. From anywhere in the room, you could see the band and the dancers. We loved dancing in this club. The Disco Club was not some place we wanted to dance. It is definitely designed for a younger group. The show band played about 5 out of 7 nights from 5-8 in the Ocean Bar which allowed ballroom dancers a venue to dance. However, there needed to be more dancing in this area beyond 7:45pm. Some nights, there was no music in this area. The shows in the theatre were alright but the singers and dancers were not super talented and the shows were short (about 45 minutes). The band and dancers usually only had about 3 shows in an 11-day cruise. However, the band did play for other events and the band was great. The comedian acts were very mediocre. This is the one area that the ship needs to improve for future cruises. Activities included cooking classes, fitness group activities, technology workshops, and art meetings. There were 3 days that included dance lessons but there needed to be more dance lessons offered, especially with so many older cruisers aboard. This is a great exercise for older adults and a way to socialize. There were cards games, etc. offered but we did not do these types of activities. I did learn how to make creme brulee which is a favorite on the ship. We did attend dance lessons but not enough were offered. I do think the cruise director needs to add more dancing classes on the ship. The casino is very small but includes different games to play. Ports and excursions: We loved Aruba and visited the city and interacted with the people. The beaches were pretty and the people were very friendly. We did take several excursions and was pleased with them as they were as described. Curacao was beautiful. We toured the island with a cruiseline excursion and enjoyed learning about the culture of the people. In Costa Rico, we visited the city and visited the banana plantation plus visited a village where the people shared their culture through dance with us. The private island was outstanding with many activities, including a lunch prepared by the cruise ship staff. Due to inclement weather, one of our excursions was canceled by the cruiseline and we were refunded. The Panama Canal was awesome to experience. Many people got off the ship while we were in Lake Gatum but we remained on the ship to travel through the locks again. Overall impression: We loved this cruise. We are 64 years old and found that most cruisers were above age 55 which meant it was a quiet experience in all venues we visited on the ship. We enjoyed the quietness of this cruise and found the overall experience was excellent with the service being the best part of the ship experience. I would cruise on the Zuiderdam again, even though she is an older ship. We loved the BB Clues Band and enjoyed dancing each night on the ship. Food was very good and offered diversity to suit various tastes and preferences. I am ready to go again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first cruise and we had mixed expectations. But overall we felt it to be a good experience. We found that the Zuiderdam was a well maintained ship, the staff very serviceminded and the food was good and varied. However ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had mixed expectations. But overall we felt it to be a good experience. We found that the Zuiderdam was a well maintained ship, the staff very serviceminded and the food was good and varied. However on the negative side was the last two days experience. The tropical storm that started in Florida had worked its way north along the US-eastcoast, and would come to our waters. So the captain decided not to go into Halifax but instead to sail directly from St. Johns (New Foundland) to New York, our final destination. He had so decided to ensure the passengers and the ships safety. But we experienced two days in windforce 12 with winds up to 90 miles/hour and wawes of up to 6 meters. A terrible experience. We fail to understand why the captain did not go into Halifax to await better sailing conditions. As we did not habour in Halifax we asked the frontoffice on the ship whether we would receive a credit for that reason. The staffmember, after consultation with a superior, confirmed, that all passengers would "automatically" receive a credit for habour due and other fees not spend as we did not land in Halifax. Following our return to home we have received no credit. We have written twice to the cruiseline, but no reply nor action. Then a telephone call to their customer service, which promised us the credit. Now 6 weeks after the cruise nothing has happend. We find this very bad service and very bad for their repution. Thus this critics. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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