18 Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

Super-friendly staff with excellent customer service attitude. Easy embarkation & debarkation. Beautiful food presentation in Lido market & dining room. The staff were very accommodating for my food allergies. Many choices for ... Read More
Super-friendly staff with excellent customer service attitude. Easy embarkation & debarkation. Beautiful food presentation in Lido market & dining room. The staff were very accommodating for my food allergies. Many choices for excursions. The Curacao Beach Express & Costa Rica Tortuguero Canal were very enjoyable. High quality, talented entertainment onboard. The Step One dance show was rather frenetic with too much running about the stage. Would have liked more synchronized steps and/or traditional ballroom dances. The dual pianos at Billboard Onboard seemed to be the most popular live music entertainment. Super-talented guys...Andy & Luke. Clean, attractive public areas that never felt crowded or noisy. Balcony cabin was clean & comfortable. On a couple of nights, there was considerable vibration & shudder that could be felt in the bed while trying to sleep. Our dining table mates mentioned the same thing. We were both in forward cabins. This was our 2nd cruise on Holland America & will likely stick with them for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At ... Read More
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At least Four cruise ships were departing on the same day..Holiday Inn at hollywood had a shuttle waiting for it and Candlewood hotel, we loaded up..Dispite them doubling their rates for rush at HI, they serve a decent breakfast, and accomadations were very nice.. Mind you there is not much else close here and 8 lanes of high speed traffic in front if you want to cross the hwy...I believe one 4x4 pu tried to see how close he could get, defintely did NOT slow down, There is NO crosswalk for protection. Ok, we paid $15.00 each for the ride to the port #21. and tipped the driver. I was satisfied with the process of checking in and forming groups to board..We were in a SY suite for our cruise and it was nice too, except for the heavy deck doors. the one next door #8076, closed loudly and disturbed me in the evenings. I turned in a request to have their closer and shock tested and repaired, but Hal did not fix it.So it reminded me of a cheap thin motel room when slammed..They were seniors next to us and I did not speak with them about it. The hot water controls were great in the Jetted tub and shower, you could get very hot water if you soaked. I did use the hot-tub on the rear of the ship, there were about 5 . The food was hit or miss after breakfast, which was great and so was the room service. By this I mean you could get great Fish and vegs, but their pasta sauce was not flavored enough, simular to Ragu..Pizza and Pasta was there all the time and hot served any time. There was a huge salad available at all meals, built with care by an attendant and plenty of vegetarian food.Ice Cream was served all day and lots of flavors, Seniors Love their Cold deserts.The whole ships crew worked hard to please anyone..The Steelband performance was the best, and second was the Magician show.. The port stops were nice, we enjoyed Willenstad, Curacoa in the old dutch section...We stayed on board at the canal, and went exploring in beautiful Costa Rica. This was our Diamond anniversary, and we were recognised at Gala Dinner..Thanks to HAl and the crew, especially a very efficient Captain, We will book another cruise with them soon...Jonyyuma Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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
The food was worse than you could imagine -- think truckstop, then go three grades lower. The problem is the sourcing of their ingredients -- EVERYTHING loaded up for an 11 day cruise in Ft Lauderdale and frozen or refrigerated, and ... Read More
The food was worse than you could imagine -- think truckstop, then go three grades lower. The problem is the sourcing of their ingredients -- EVERYTHING loaded up for an 11 day cruise in Ft Lauderdale and frozen or refrigerated, and NOTHING brought in fresh from ports visited, as I've seen on many cruises. Rancid looking shrimp, overcooked dried out chicken, beef you can't cut, slimy BBQ chick at island stop, flavorless bland food, and RECYCLED ingredients constantly -- leftovers are used for 2-3 days. Fruit unripe and flavorless. Flies all over the saladbar ingredients. Only good thing was bread. We had to eat at ports just not to lose weight. I saw things that should not be in any restaurant or ship (I've taken 38 cruises so I know). It's not the staff (which was wonderful) -- it's the company and their rules to put as much $$ on the bottom line by reusing food. Cheating practices -- We were supposed to get a credit for an excursion we did not go on. We are still waiting for this credit 28 days later. Poor entertainment, and nothing to do during the day that didn't lead to you buying something. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose the Holland America Zuiderdam ship for our 2018 Christmas family vacation. The only reason I would give any stars for this cruise is for the room and dinning stewards who provided the utmost impeccable service. Cheers to all of ... Read More
We chose the Holland America Zuiderdam ship for our 2018 Christmas family vacation. The only reason I would give any stars for this cruise is for the room and dinning stewards who provided the utmost impeccable service. Cheers to all of you!!! However, Holland America Ships are severely lacking customer service, acommodations are poorly described. The cabin layout was terrible and considering this was a Holiday cruise, it severely lacked festive activities, entertainment and decorations. We were advised by Holland America the Zuideram Veranda Cabins accommodate 3-4 passengers. We had 3 in our cabin. However, to accommodate anymore than 2 passengers, access to the veranda balcony and bar fridge are "completely blocked" and they had to "remove furniture" from our cabin to make room for the 3rd person for the entire cruise. I guess the 4th person would have had a caught on the balcony because there is absolutely no room for a 4th person. This was extremely disappointing when we had paid the extra $2,000 to have a balcony cabin but couldn't access the door to get out onto the balcony. SAVE your money a book an Ocean View or Interior Cabin for a much lower rate. The Ship's Customer Service Relations were not helpful in providing any alternative nor compensation for the extra cost we paid to have a balcony we had no access to. There were minimal Christmas decorations throughout the ship not making it feel very festive for a holiday cruise. Santa came aboard the ship to visit the 40-50 children on board and gave them all a dollar store gift that broke within the day. We expected much more for a Holiday cruise considering the inflated cost for a cruise during this peak time. We would never consider Holland America for future Holiday cruises. PS to Smokers: there is only 1 smoking section on board and they refuse to let anyone smoke prior to the ship leaving port. It was a long 6 hour wait from the time we boarded to leaving port. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
First a bit of history. My husband and I are not retired and do not gamble. We are in our early 60’s and very active. This cruise was great! We have been on previous cruises but this was our first Holland American. The embarkation at FFL ... Read More
First a bit of history. My husband and I are not retired and do not gamble. We are in our early 60’s and very active. This cruise was great! We have been on previous cruises but this was our first Holland American. The embarkation at FFL was the smoothest we have ever experienced. Fast and organized. The food was wonderful on the Lido buffet but we were not too impressed with the main dining room’s food. My husband is diabetic and he was able to eat at both areas- just better/warmer/tastier at buffet Lido area. This is just the opposite of our view on the Carnival Cruise line. Carnival has better food in their seated dining area than their open buffet. IMO Royal Caribbean’s main dining and buffet were about the same. The overall food was best on HAL second on Carnival and then Royal Caribbean. But we never went hungry on any of them! The Zuiderdam has wonderful entertainment but caters to a older population so violins, piano, steel drums live music presentations were available (I loved them but my husband was just mildly impressed but he did like the magician and dancers). On the Zuiderdam there is no “hairy chest contest” or similar activities. They have great educational presentations, new movies in the screening room and the best TVs and in room free on demand movies ever! Zuiderdam’’s WIFi was about the same as all cruise lines, slow and you can get kicked off often. I was able to do the work I needed to though. We paid $189.00 for 11 days. We had room SS6073 with a great deck. Very quiet and lots of room. The Panama Canal was an amazing cruise and I would take this cruise again. We did the EXC all day excursion and it was wonderful but as others have mentioned you need to do it but only once! And don’t drink much before leaving the Zuiderdam- it could be almost three hours before you can use the facilities- depending on how fast they load the busses and if you have to wait in the non bathroom buss to clear the locks to go over them. The bathroom stalls are very small on the boat that you go through the locks on. I’m thin but tall so closing the stall door is challenging if you are big or tall... It’s very hot and humid! We went on Trikes (motorcycles) in Aruba (our second time) and it’s by far the best experience we have had! Booked online-private. There were two children (I only saw one but hubby thinks he saw another one) around 12 years old on this cruise. I’m sure they were board. This was a partial Panama Canal crossing but I was so impressed that we may do the whole crossing next year. We had anytime dining but did not eat in the dining room but 4 times and no waits. People on this cruise seem to be mostly retired but still enjoying life! Bottom line- if you want to party until dawn and eat their wonderful Lava cake- pick Carnival. If you are looking for a bit more relaxing and life enriching choices (in my opinion) chose HAL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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 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 took this 11 day cruise because of excellent experience on the Westerdam a few years ago. This was our "bucket list" trip through part of the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, this is one of the oldest ships in the HA fleet and ... Read More
We took this 11 day cruise because of excellent experience on the Westerdam a few years ago. This was our "bucket list" trip through part of the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, this is one of the oldest ships in the HA fleet and most passengers complained of the motion sickness which has never bothered us on several cruises before. We observed that by the end of the trip there were at least 20 passengers wearing leg braces due to falls. Remember this cruise caters to mostly 60+ passengers. Perhaps the stabilizers were not functioning properly, but the ship constantly swayed so much that it caused the beds to actually twist while we were sleeping and the walls squeaked. This ship suffers from metal fatigue and many other shortcomings in spite of a muti-million dollar partial upgrade. Many corridors had dryers running the entire trip due to plumbing overflows. We were waiting to enter a theatre and water was dripping on us. We could not use the entire Promenade deck for a daily walk because part was always under maintenance. There have been many cutbacks since our last fabulous cruise with HA. For example, stop in Half Moon Cay was a full day now a half day, gone are the live bands on the pirate ship. No more champagne greeting when embarking except a glass of juice. Breakfast menu in the room cutback on the variety with charges for some items. Parade of staff in the dining room - gone. Lower quality of entertainment overall although we enjoined a few entertainers in the theatre very much. The 10th floor entertainment lounge gone and converted to a high pitch sales lounge for future cruises. There are many more shortcomings which are too numerous to mention. Food quality and variety was generally very good. It seems HA charges for just about everything extra. All the shops on board are boring strictly jewelry and clothing mostly for women. The Microsoft courses were excellent. I should mention we were charged $130US extra after disembarkation when we arrived home. HA accused us of taking the bath robes and towels that were left in the bathroom. It took almost 8 weeks and 3 calls before we were reimbursed. Apparently, this is not an uncommon practice these days. We recommend if you insist on taking HA cruise don't go use this ship. It should be sold off. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Holland never disappoints and this cruise proved it again. We were a little worried having read some negative things about the Zuiderdam recently. No idea what those folks were talking about. The ship came out of dry dock this year and it ... Read More
Holland never disappoints and this cruise proved it again. We were a little worried having read some negative things about the Zuiderdam recently. No idea what those folks were talking about. The ship came out of dry dock this year and it is beautiful! The stateroom was terrific; the bathroom actually beautiful! The entire ship looked good - we didn't seen anything that needed maintenance. The food was the best we have had so far on Holland. Crew was wonderful, Lido was full of friendly and efficient staff and even more choices than before. The only complaint we have is that the library has been mostly dismantled in favor of putting the excursions desk up at Crow's Nest. Not cool. Also that moved the coffee over into the bar area, also not really appreciated. But, those were small things in comparison to the great time we had. Oh, and the pop up Sel De Mar dinner was fabulous! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise to check another destination off our bucket list and are totally satisfied with our choice. Our cruise was the first after the Zuiderdam's recent rehab, and everything was bright, airy, polished and ... Read More
We chose this cruise to check another destination off our bucket list and are totally satisfied with our choice. Our cruise was the first after the Zuiderdam's recent rehab, and everything was bright, airy, polished and 'shipshape'! The food was above the standards we have had lately on Carnival and Royal Caribbean on the Lido deck and in the main dining room. Every meal we had in the dining room was superb in presentation, taste, and in the service by the waiters. Room service was also excellent. The casino was fresh, which was quite a change, and did not allow smoking. I didn't find anywhere on board the ship where I smelled smoke. Our veranda rooms were nice, clean, and included a bath tub. Very spacious. Our cabin steward did an excellent job of keeping our cabin fresh and clean. The entertainment was exceptional, in the main theater, the movie theater and in the lounges. We booked the Panama Canal Excursion via EXEC, and were completely satisfied as well. In all, we came away in good moods, full of 5 star food and service, and educated in the building of the Panama Canal. It was a very satisfying 10 day cruise. The only bump in the road was embarkation - it seemed to take forever, but we made it! This was our 12th cruise. Our stop at Limon, Costa Rica was exceptional. We booked an all day taxi with Lobo, or the Wolf, and he did an exceptional job of showing us around the country with many fascinating stops and commentary. I would recommend his service without reservation and encourage you to ask for him by name when you get off the ship! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Chose this cruise for the itinerary because it included the Panama Canal. The ship is older and needs to be renovated. Our cabin had a tub which should be removed and replaced with a shower which will provide more room to move about. The ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary because it included the Panama Canal. The ship is older and needs to be renovated. Our cabin had a tub which should be removed and replaced with a shower which will provide more room to move about. The closets in the cabin creaked which made it difficult to sleep. The carpets are well worn, some areas of the ship smell bad, the entertainment, food and dining service leaves a lot to be desired. Even the "specialty" restaurants did not deliver as hoped. The best part of the cruise was the BB King Blues band. Most of the excursions were interesting but expensive. The comedian/ventriloquist joked that the average age of the guests was 108...he wasn't far off. This was the oldest crowd that I've ever cruised with. They provide good facilities, scooters and such for the disabled client. I definitely would not recommend this for a young couple. My advise is to choose an ALL-INCLUSIVE resort or cruise because by the time you pay for EVERYTHING (including water) you will spend as much if not more. Because of this experience I will not choose Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
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
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
I heard lots of complaints about the lack of the Wow factor however the service, food,shows and ports of call more than made up for it. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the State rd. It took 10 minutes to get to the port and thanks ... Read More
I heard lots of complaints about the lack of the Wow factor however the service, food,shows and ports of call more than made up for it. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the State rd. It took 10 minutes to get to the port and thanks to All Star transport, we were picked up after the cruise within 5 minutes of our call. You need to be aware of the port charges (if not included in your charge) We paid over $500. each in port fees and taxes-quite a chunk. In addition there is a service charge of $11.00 per day per person-not a huge amount but it adds up. If you drink don't expect a hefty one. They carefully measure each drink to the tune of 4 to 6.50 each with a 15% gratuity added on. You are not permitted to carry on hard liquer but can take as much wine as you wish. The excurisions were good but for me I chose to stay on board during the actual canal trip. We actually saw more on the way out so we're glad we did it. We would do it again and loved the experience. The low point of course was deimbarkation which is always the case. Long lines, finding the luggage and getting your transportaion-however this one was well organized and efficient. Do at least one dinner in the Pinnicle and one in the Italian(free) restaurant. Our favorite was the zip line in Costa Rica. No matter what age you are you will love it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This was our 2nd cruise (both on Holland America), our first on the Zuiderdam, and the last time we will book anything other than a Deluxe Veranda Suite, because if the room is nice, you WILL spend time in it, no matter what anybody else ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise (both on Holland America), our first on the Zuiderdam, and the last time we will book anything other than a Deluxe Veranda Suite, because if the room is nice, you WILL spend time in it, no matter what anybody else says! EMBARKATION - Several days before our cruise, our travel agent informed us of the opportunity of upgrading from a Superior Verandah Suite to a Deluxe Verandah Suite at a fairly substantial discount over previously advertised rates. We jumped on the opportunity, since this was a 10-day cruise and we wanted to take full advantage of the larger room size and the special services provided at that level. As a suite-holder, you are also whisked right to the front of the line for registration, so if you don't like the feeling of being part of a large crowd, it's a great benefit. CABIN - We were assigned to Stateroom 7084 on the Port side, aft of mid-ship. The room size did not disappoint (our prior cruise was in a standard Verandah Stateroom) and there was more storage than two people would ever use. There was a full sized sofa (my husband reports that it was great for napping), a separate dressing room, full size bathroom with dual sinks and two medicine cabinets and a full-size tub/shower and 2nd shower compartment (which seemed a little redundant). The king-size bed had every pillow type imaginable, and the robes and slippers provided were comfy. The room also contained a large writing desk, small (but adequate) flat screen TV, a DVD Player and a separate CD Player (although I always travel with our iPod and docking station. Wouldn't it be nice if these Suites were equipped with Bose Docking Stations in the future?) Other amenities for our cabin class were an umbrella (did not use) and a pair of binoculars. The Deluxe Verandah Suite also gave us access to the Neptune Lounge, which was great for bypassing lines at the Front Desk (they took care of EVERYTHING!) as well as a quick place to grab a snack or refill a coffee cup. Our Cabin Stewards, Frank and Hydy, never seemed to take a break and were always at our service. They cheerfully fulfilled my request to remove some of the standard desk chairs on our Verandah and replaced it with a reclining, padded lounger (which was MY preferred place for a cat nap!) FOOD - We have several favorites . . . the Lido Deck for breakfast (thank you to Joanne at the Omelet station!) and the Pinnacle Grill for dinner (we are not big fans of the dining room, preferring the more intimate setting of the Pinnacle for dinner. We tried the Pinnacle once for breakfast, since it's available to Suite holders, but don't need that level of civility over breakfast, so typically grabbed breakfast at the Lido, instead. We are early risers and never experienced crowds at the Lido, but I understand that by 8:30 or 9 a.m. it can get pretty busy. Breakfast and lunch at the Lido are quick and efficient, and I never experienced a bad meal for either. Another great option for Lunch is the Terrace Grille, with made to order burgers (including pretty great veggie burgers). Maybe it was just our timing again, but I never had to wait for more than a few minutes. And sometimes, if you just don't want fancy schmantzy, a tuna melt is the perfect thing for lunch. We never visited the main dining room for lunch (other than our embarkation day) or breakfast. Favoring the Pinnacle Grill (four evenings) over the Main Dining Room (two evenings), we were very happy with the service at the Pinnacle, the quality of the dishes, and the ambiance. I had taken part in two Cooking Classes in the Culinary Arts Center (sponsored by Food & Wine Magazine) and got to meet the Pinnacle Chef, John Soares, who graciously made our final evening at the Pinnacle Grille very special by making us two dishes from his hometown of Mumbai that were not on the menu. The care he puts into his cooking is evident. The quality of the food at the main dining room was also good, but for our money, the Pinnacle is the way to go if you like to avoid dining with up to 700 other people at once. I also have to comment that the Suite member luncheon served up some of the finest food we have ever experienced. The staff chef (which is comprised of many people from Indonesia) cooked our lunch that day and I can only rave about the quality of the food. (Next time, I would like to sneak into the staff mess hall, just for another taste of the Beef Sumatra and Nasi Goring (fried rice). Room service is available 24 hours a day and is an excellent way to enjoy the view as you come into port from your own Verandah. STAFF/SERVICE - Clearly the hardest working group of people at sea! We were happy to meet the Captain, Werner Timmers, the Hotel Manager David and Cruise Director Patty on the first evening in the Neptune Lounge. Everyone was relaxed and cordial . . . they had their hands full the very next day when they needed to declare Code Red due to suspected gastro-intestinal virus, which remained in effect for the duration of the cruise. The staff appeared to take this in stride and didn't appear to be affected by the long extra hours that they needed to spend to disinfect every surface on the ship each night after their normal working day was over. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them; not only for the dedication, but the fact that they continued to do everything in their power to take care of the passengers on the ship. It was a minor inconvenience compared to what they went through, or compared to getting ill and being quarantined to your cabin. SHIP - Although the Zuiderdam shows signs of age (over the much newer Eurodam), it is still a comfortable ship. I loved walking the Promenade Deck for exercise, and there were plenty of areas to grab some sunshine or watch a sunset in private. We very rarely felt like we were part of a large crowd. Deck chairs and towels were generally ample, and the staff ensured that tables were cleaned in a timely manner, so there was never a feeling of clutter. ENTERTAINMENT - The String Quartet that played nightly in the Explorer's Lounge each evening was superb. The only other entertainment venue we took advantage of was the stand-up comic. He was entertaining, current, and pretty darned hysterical. PRESENTATIONS - As stated earlier, I took advantage of two hands-on cooking classes in the Culinary Arts Center, and met other like-minded foodies. For a nominal fee ($29 per class) we all picked up some great cooking tips from Chef John Soares and dined on our own creations at the Pinnacle Grille over lunch, with complimentary wine to pair with our meals. Recipes were provided to take home, and I am excited to be making the Caribbean Menu this evening for friends for dinner (Jicama & Mango Salad, and Coconut Crusted Caribbean Chicken stuffed with Prosciutto & Banana enhanced with an Avocado Tequila jalapeño sauce ... Yum!) I also took advantage of some cooking demonstrations (again, co-presented by Chef John and Party Planner Michele McDowell, a wonderful and friendly Vancouver, Canada native with an endless amount of energy!) Once again, recipes were provided and even without hands-on or tasting, we all took away some great tips and fabulous menu ideas. The Celebrity Cook-off with the Captain, Hotel Manager and Cruise Director turned into most a Q&A session, but it was a terrific way to see the playful side of the staff and it's clear that they like and respect each other. Captain Timmers, if this "ship Captain-thing" gets old, you should consider a career as a stand-up comic. SPA/GYM - Clean, un-crowded, and best of all, a nice-quality Stott Pilates table, which I took advantage of nine of the ten days on board ship. There are classes available (some complimentary, some $12) as well as private instruction if you need it. Having done pilates for over four years, I didn't need the instruction or a class and I enjoyed working out on my own. The gym is fully stocked with everything including bikes, treadmills, rowing, weights and ellipticals. Something for just about everyone, although I could live without the dance music at 6 a.m. Bring an iPod for an undisturbed workout. We both took advantage of spa services. I am still a skeptic of a service that promises to remove inches and cellulite, but at sea, it's a good time to try something you wouldn't normally do on land (and no, I don't believe that I lost 8 inches from my abdomen . . . I just don't). We also took advantage of the Thermal Suite package, but sadly, only got to use that terrific pool (with a waterfall that feels like a fire hose on your back and neck) before they emptied the pool due to Code Red (money was refunded). FELLOW CRUISERS - Perhaps the destination (Panama Canal) or length of cruise (10 days) brought out a much older crowd, but we both prefer this to a cruise ship filled with children. However, I must say that I personally witnessed several instances of guests treating the staff like servants, and was embarrassed to witness it. To the fellow standing to my right barking bagel his order to the Lido cook on the last day of the cruise and then snidely remarking under his breath about it being "the last day . . . it's about TIME they understood English", I say, "Shame on you." (You know who you are). To the cook, who smiled and said, Yes, Sir, coming right up,", what I would have LOVED for you to say is, "Sorry Sir, my English is a little weak. Would you prefer that I speak to you in the other five languages in which I am fluent?" Now THAT would have made my day! OVERALL - We loved our experience. We felt pampered and spoiled, and have already paid a down-payment on a future cruise, which we hope to be in the Mediterranean in 2010. The only room for improvement is to create more "As you Wish" dining options (like the Eurodam) for people who don't want to feel part of a herd. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Zuiderdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click