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  Cruise Ship Reviews : Holland America Line (HAL) Reviews

HAL Zuiderdam reviews


HAL Zuiderdam reviews

Average customer rating:
    3.88 / 5

Average Rating based on 13 Reviews:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 3.693.69
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 3.923.92
EntertainmentEntertainment = 3.583.58
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 3.383.38
Food QualityFood Quality = 4.174.17
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 3.693.69
SpaSpa = 3.833.83
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 4.334.33
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 4.424.42




HAL Zuiderdam itineraries and information



wegelman saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 44
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
EntertainmentEntertainment = 44
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 55
SpaSpa = 33
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 55
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
Nice voyage with interesting ports of call., February 12, 2016
Reviewer: wegelman

Pros: The service is excellent.

Cons: Entertainment is highly variable by venue.

Date of cruise: January 25, 2016

Departure port: Fort Lauderdale

Region visited: Panama Canal

Cabin category: Balcony

Cabin number: 4037

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

The Zuiderdam has been given some so-so reivews by others. I think this is unfair. The ship is a bit old but is still in fine shape. The service is terrific. The food is consistently good to excellent. It is a mid-size ship with about 2,000 passengers so it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of larger ships.

The passengers are on the older side and this is the butt of many jokes especially by onboard comedians. However, if you like to do your own thing, and don't need constant activity, this is a fine experience. I have sailed on a number of HAL cruises and this ship is a bit below the other ships, but with the right itinerary, I would have no hesitation sailing on this ship again.


picklet8359 saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 33
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 33
EntertainmentEntertainment = 44
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 33
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 11
SpaSpa = 22
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
If this ship were totally upgraded at time it sailed, I may consider going again, May 5, 2015
Reviewer: picklet8359

Pros: The wait staff was EXCELLENT, cabin clean and fresh daily, Lido deck AWESOME

Cons: No hot shower, constant noise from construction, outdated furnishings, no plugin

Departure port: Cvitcchecia Rome

Region visited: Europe

Cabin category: Balcony

Cabin number: 8066

We were overall dismayed with this cruise. We have been on a number a cruises and this was by far the WORSE ever. The ship was brought out of dry dock before work was completed and we endured construction noise throughout our entire trip. Use of the spa was interrupted by the construction noise directly above it, no relaxation there. They drained the hydro pool two days before the end of the cruise so those of use who purchased packages did not receive the full value.

My wife fell on the first day due to a torn/frayed carpet in the main dining room and no officer ever came to check to see if she was hurt. The carpet was never repaired. There was no hot water in the showers and often times the toilets were out of commission.

The staff in the shore excursion office were rude and not helpful, up to and including the manager of the shore excursions.

The furniture was outdated and fabric was faded and cushions were full of "honey holes." There was never any entertainment around the pool area. Hot tubs were out of order more than they were in order.

The food was wonderful and plentiful. What made our cruise the most enjoyable was the wonderful waitstaff that we met and became acquainted with. The only officer that ever spoke to us was the second captain and that was because we spoke first, the other officers would pass you in the hall never making eye contact or speaking to you - it was if they were better than everyone on board, from their staff to the guests who were paying their salary.


elbur saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 33
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
EntertainmentEntertainment = 33
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 33
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 44
First time on HAL, February 19, 2014
Reviewer: elbur

Pros: Great food in main dining room

Cons: Maintenance of an aging vessel

Date of cruise: February 20, 2017

Departure port: fll

Region visited: Panama Canal

Cabin category: Balcony

Cabin number: 8145

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

Compared to other lines, you notice the little things. No "Do not disturb" signs or "Turn down cabin signs, hot tubs that hold 30 people on a ship of 2,000, minimal on-deck entertainment, port descriptions that are sales pitch rather than overview of area, rust blooms that should be ground out, filled and painted, buffet area tables that have gouges in mylar tops, the stuffing coming out of the chaise pad on our balcony.

A Panama Canal presentation consisting of an individual reading a script to us. On board TV choices of MSNBC, Fox News, BBC and endless ESPN prattle made their DVD collection an attractive choice.

The Good: Spacious staterooms and balcony. Great food in main dining room. An aged ship serving an aged population


amr50 saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 11
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 11
EntertainmentEntertainment = 11
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 44
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 11
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 44
Cruise From HELL, December 26, 2012
Reviewer: amr50

Pros: Tai Chi lessons and port talks.

Cons: Cabin

Date of cruise: December 10, 2012

Departure port: Ft Lauderdale

Region visited: Panama Canal

Cabin category: Inside

Cabin number: 5008/4017

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

Because the ship was in dry dock, they were late letting people on board. It took three hours to get on the ship; second time Holland America did that to me. No water offered.

Once on board, could not put carry-on luggage in stateroom because hallways were locked. Heard thumping noise in cabin, for 45 minutes, while trying to unpack.

Next day, after stop in Bahamas, wanted to lie down at 4 p.m. Heard singing and music as if I was on stage. I was two decks above stage. Floor shook. Called front desk. Gentleman said I should not be hearing any noise. Manager called 15 minutes later saying they had to investigate. He said nothing was scheduled in showroom therefore it could not be from there. I went to showroom and confirmed they were rehearsing. Went to front desk; purser said they would send email to leader. What happens at night during show?

At 12:15 a.m. they decided to rehearse again and woke me. Called down and said they will have to move me. It took five people confirming the noise before there was an interest in resolving the problem as there were no spare cabins. I was in cabin 5008. The third night they finally moved me to 4017; could still hear the noise but the floor did not shake.

At 7 a.m. the next morning, in the middle of nowhere, the ship lost complete power; was using backup generator for minimal lights. This lasted 35 minutes. Later that day, there was a fire in the engine room. Several days later the alarms went off because of a fire in the incinerator room.

The toilet in the cabin did not flush 100 percent of the time; had to wait 30 minutes sometimes. No hot water for three mornings. The bed was short sheeted. I had to tear it down and remake it.

The buffet ran out of glasses, cups and silver every breakfast and lunch. No one refilled the items unless asked to do so.

The singers thought you had to yell in order to perform unless they had terrible voices so this would mask that. Had to leave the showroom several times because it was too loud. In the middle of one show they had a technical problem and had to stop the show; I used this opportunity to leave.

The food was good except for the John Dory fish and the halibut; both were overcooked. The steaks in the Pinnacle restaurant were the best I have ever had.

The topside pool smelled musty when the cover was closed.

The ship was two hours late leaving Ft Lauderdale and getting into the Bahamas and Aruba.

Never again.


jmeema saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 55
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 55
SpaSpa = 55
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 55
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
My husband and I were first-timers on HAL and could not have been more pleased, November 18, 2012
Reviewer: jmeema

Pros: Really like that the median age was a litte older. Ship was clean and beautiful

Cons: Couple of spots showed a little wear but the ship is going for a makeover

Departure port: Fort Lauderdale

Region visited: Panama Canal

Cabin category: Balcony

Cabin number: 7118

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

Boardng was fairly simple and we boarded about 12:30. The Lido deck was prepared for us with lots of tasty yet simple foods. I like that the staff served us for 48 hours to cut down on spreading infections brought on board.

We found the staff very friendly and helpful. Happy to bring drinks and the forgotten soup spoon. The Lido has a circular format featuring different types of cuisine as you go around; Italian, Chinese and a grill. The salad bar was huge and delicious.

We were delighted to find plenty of closet space in our absolutely lovely stateroom. We were very surprised to find that we had a BATHTUB. Usually there was a shower on all our other 12 cruises so we were impressed.

The lifeboat drill was tough for me, I suffer with my back as did many of the other passengers. A necessary evil, I suppose, but there were a lot of us complaining about our backs. It took a little longer because they were keeping track of everyone there and we had some folks who decided not to come.

The ship was so beautiful that every spot was a photo op. Even the hallways to the staterooms were decorated with statues and tasteful pottery. On each floor that the elevator stopped there were chairs. As I tried almost all of them I can vouch that they were comfortable and attractive. Each floor had a different set of chairs.

I used the spa once for a mani-pedi with a very lovely and very friendly Jamaican lady. She used hot oil and hot stone on my arms and legs and it felt wondeful. There were huge windows looking out on the ocean, so as I got my mani-pedi I was lookin out over the ocean. AWESOME!!!!!

Most of the crew was Indonesian and they seemed to really enjoy their jobs. They seemed to sincerely want to please every guest. My husband and I really needed the rest, so we didn't do a lot of running around checking out things. We did spend a lot of time on deck 10 at the library which was in the front of the ship. From here we had a awesome view of going through the Gatun Lake locks of the Panama Canal.

There is a coffee shop and a bar for other types of drinks. There was high tea everyday at 3 p.m. We went to one and it was lovely. Tea and pastries served English-style.

Although the ship is lovely, it is going to dry dock in December for some touching up. Has some small signs of wear but not really noticeable.

We spent a lot of time also on our balcony. This is the only wasy to do this trip. 11 days, you really need a balcony. We used room service a lot and throughly enjoyed it. Whatever we ordered was tastefully displayed on the tray. Hot food was hot and cold food was cold. What more could you ask for? We had breakfast delivered very early each morning with a pot of coffee.

Had a bad experience on Aruba with the tour that I chose. Went on the See & Sea tour because it sounded interesting and it was advertised as not much walking. The walk from the bus to the tourboat was more that I was really able to do and I was the last one to arrive. The water was rough and the tour boat was bobbing quite a bit which brought on my motion sickness. So in spite of my patch behind my ear, I got really sick and had to discontinue the tour. We got a cab back to the ship and went to bed.

I celebrated my birthday on the ship and my husband reserved dinner at the Canelleto restaurant. I love Italian food and it was delicious. We had a pasta dish and a fish dish and they were both very good. My favorite port was Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. Our tour included a tour of a banana production from plant to package. This was really something to see!! There were not a lot of children on board but I did notice that they had activities for children.


ediej saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 33
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
EntertainmentEntertainment = 33
Food QualityFood Quality = 44
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 55
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 44
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
This lady is showing her age but still is maintained quite well, February 22, 2012
Reviewer: ediej

Pros: This ship is very easy to get around on

Cons: It is quite obvious she is going to go into drydock soon even though well kept

Date of cruise: February 6, 2012

Departure port: Fort Lauderdale, Fl

Region visited: Panama Canal

Cabin category: Suite

Cabin number: 6057

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

This is your typical Holland America ship. The passengers were mainly elderly (lots of walkers and wheelchairs). For cruise ship food it was generally very good on the Lido Deck, the Main dining room and the Pinnacle (not outstanding, considering the mass amount of people that had to be fed at any given time).

The shows were most entertaining although how many variety shows can you see? We prefer the comedians. I would recommend Holland except for the 30-40 age group.


ting saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 44
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
EntertainmentEntertainment = 55
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 22
Food QualityFood Quality = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 44
SpaSpa = 33
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 33
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
Great value, service and food were excellent, February 11, 2012
Reviewer: ting

Pros: Crew was accommodating, friendly & service was excellent

Cons: Gym was crowded and lacked variety of equipment

Date of cruise: January 27, 2012

Departure port: Ft Lauderdale

Region visited: Caribbean - Southern

Cabin category: Inside

Cabin number: 6158

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

Enjoyed the cruise to the Southern Caribbean and Panama. Ports were all very interesting although the excursion we took at Half Moon Cay was very disappointing.

Highlight of the 10-day cruise was going through the Panama Locks and the day excursion to Embera Village. Although the service, crew and food were excellent, activities on-board the ship lacked abundance and variety.


cshell saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 44
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 22
EntertainmentEntertainment = 55
Food QualityFood Quality = 44
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 11
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 33
Disapointed in Holland America - not what I expected, November 20, 2011
Reviewer: cshell

Pros: Port of calls were good

Cons: Ship's condition was really really bad, needs a face lift

Date of cruise: November 4, 2011

Departure port: Ft. Lauderdale

Region visited: Caribbean - Southern

Cabin category: Inside

Cabin number: 8118

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

Public places were in poor condition. Seats ripped in Lideo and other places. Lamp shades coming apart in Lideo. Door knobs missing on doors out to pool. Dead flowers on tables for two nights in Vista Dining Room. Curtains not attached in places. Some public bathrooms locked/or not working most of the cruise. Some staff was friendly and some very indifferent. Disembarkation was horrible. Stood on stairs and in hallways an hour after our color was called.

Shows were excellent, food was good, cruise director was very good. Cruise was enjoyable but expectations were higher for HAL and we were disappointed. Many other passengers were past HAL cruisers and said other ships were much better and Zuiderdam was disappointing.


inetcnslt saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 44
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
EntertainmentEntertainment = 33
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 11
Food QualityFood Quality = 33
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 55
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
Good ship at a decent price, December 20, 2010
Reviewer: inetcnslt

Pros: Friendly crew and good ship layout.

Cons: Broken equipment in the fitness center, food quality was inconsistant

Date of cruise: December 3, 2010

Departure port: Ft. Laulderdale

Region visited: Caribbean - Southern

Cabin category: Outside

Cabin number: 1055

We booked our entire trip through HAL and that saved us. Our flight to the port was delayed and we missed the departure. HAL supposedly has an agreement with Delta Airlines, but we spent hours getting them to agree to send us to the next port-of-call. I feel HAL and Delta should have been on the phone together instead of me having to be the middleman.

It was very stressful, but they did end up flying us and paying for our hotel and food. Of course, our luggage was delayed and we had to buy some clothes, etc. Delta will supposedly reimburse us $50 each, but we'll see. It was impossible to find even beach clothes in Aruba for that price, but most of the stuff we bought will be used on future trips.

My wife has some dietary restrictions and HAL was excellent in meeting her needs. The food at the buffet was generally good, although the chicken was sometimes dry. The grill had the best tasting food during the day. Dinners were usually pretty good, but not always. The last night is a 'Chef's Special Dinner'. That is fine if you like his selections, but there wasn't much choice that night.

The fitness center was disappointing. Alot of the cardio equipment was broken. There was only one working stair machine and most of the TVs on the treadmills didn't work. Weight machines were OK and there was a nice set of dumb bells.


gilmerday saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 55
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 55
EntertainmentEntertainment = 44
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 55
SpaSpa = 55
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
Outstanding, October 29, 2010
Reviewer: gilmerday

Pros: Wonderful facilties, perfect accommodations, loved the library

Cons: Some crew members seemed aloof

Date of cruise: October 14, 2010

Departure port: Ft. Lauderdale

Region visited: Caribbean - Western

Cabin category: Balcony

Cabin number: 6063

Good for children: Yes

Good for teenagers: Yes

Wonderful trip to the Panama Canal. Second trip on Holland America and truly appreciate their ship and service.

Embarkation and debarkation very orderly and well planned.

Superior veranda stateroom perfect size for a 10-day cruise.

As you can sense, this was a perfect experience. Ports of call were interesting but not really for water or sun enthusiests. Really wanted to see the Panama Canal.


salfamily saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 55
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 55
EntertainmentEntertainment = 44
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 44
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 55
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
Fantastic Zuiderdam!, September 10, 2010
Reviewer: salfamily

Pros: Friendly staff and wonderful food

Cons: Ship is a bit dated and oddly appointed

Date of cruise: August 1, 2010

Departure port: Vancouver

Region visited: Alaska

Cabin category: Suite

Good for children: Yes

First cruise on HAL. Been several times on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and most recently on Celebrity. HAL was much better than all three, including Celebrity.

First, for the very few negatives: The Zuiderdam's decor is somewhat dated - worn carpet in places, dents/scratches throughout hallways and elevators, faded and moldy areas on the pool deck, etc. The exception was the cabin which was clean/seemed recently renovated and decorated in a very neutral way.Carnival call pull off this type of odd decor because it fits within their overall theme, but it was out of place for such refined service and clientele.

Those were the only very minor negatives in what is a fantastic ship in terms of food, service and activities.

FOOD: We did the "As You Wish" in the main dining room which allows you open seating from about 5 to 9 p.m. We always got the table size we wanted without any wait whatsoever. It was the first time we did not take a fixed seating, and I thought I would miss having the same servers nightly. It was just the opposite -- each night we were greated by servers who were not "looking for tips" (since thay all share in the on-board tips) but rather looking to be sure we were well taken care of.

Food in the MDR was excellent -- everything ordered came at the right time, cooked perfectly and at the correct temperature. In a word, the MDR experience was perfection.

The Lido for lunch and breakfast was fine. Standard cruise buffet, although with servers that took a real interest in your enjoyment. Smiles everywhere from the staff and some started calling you by name after the first day or so. Room service, while very limited, was prompt and accurate.

There were plenty of the usual activities (except for the usual belly flop/hairy legs type activities) that ranged from lectures to cooking classes to beer tasting and bingo. All that we attended were handled perfectly by the on-board staff -- they started on time and were exactly as promised.

While there were frwer children than on Carnival, RCCL or even Celebrity, they had most of the usual kids camp activities, but dont expect the "royal kids" treatment like on other lines. There was no kids pool area, the game room was very tiny (smaller than a stateroom!) and even the Club HAL facilities were tiny. That said, our kids had as much fun on HAL as all the other lines and even though it's a more mature crowd, the kids were always made to feel welcomed and special, including in the MDR where they offered to bring whatever they could to keep the kids happy even if it wasn't on the menu! Same for the Lido, where the kids were treated like VIPs, getting thier meals carried to the table, etc. All with a big smile and some pleasant conversation from the staff.

The evening entertainment was also pretty much standard cruise fare -- variety shows, comedians, string quarterts, bands, etc. It does quiet down early (say 11 p.m. or so) but those looking to stay up can find the piano bar or a few other places still jumping. There was no entertainment by the pool, but this was Alaska and even though the pool was enclosed, it was quiet. ould have used some music at times during the day up there.

The casino is small and is not the centerpiece of the entertainment district like on some other ships, but it was fun and friendly nonetheless. Machines are all coinless and work like they do on Carnival (your room key is your player bank as well).

Our cabin was a Deluxe Veranda Suite (SB) and was clean, spacious and well taken care of by the two attendants. Category SB allows entrance into the Neptune Lounge. Other than having a private "front office" desk in there to handle reservations, shore excursions, departures, etc. for just the few suite guests, there not much in the Neptune Lounge that you can't find elsewhere on board. fferings included coffee, fruit, cookies and small sandwhiches...no alcoholic beverages. We knew that in advance so we were not disappointed.

We pre-ordered shore excursions online and even had a few wait-listed-items with second choices. Once on board, all was in order and the correct tickets were in our stateroom when we boarded and credits were on our on-board account for the second choices since our waitlists were all cleared. It was very easy.

Overall, HAL and the Zuidy exceeded our expectations and is likely the best overall cruise we have had the pleasure of enjoying.


Geewillikers saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 55
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 55
EntertainmentEntertainment = 33
Food QualityFood Quality = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 44
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
A very special way to celebrate my 60th birthday, it surpassed all expectations, July 13, 2010
Reviewer: Geewillikers

Pros: Our cabin was spacious and well appointed, food was exceptional

Cons: No late night dancing

Date of cruise: June 11, 2010

Departure port: Vancouver

Region visited: Alaska

Cabin category: Balcony

Cabin number: 8147

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

My husband was reluctant to take a cruise but since he offered to take me wherever I wanted to go (within reason)to celebrate my 60th birthday, he was happy to go along for "the ride." I'm pleased to report that we were both extremely surprised at how much we enjoyed it. It was one of the best holidays we've ever had.

Our cabin was stunning and being on the corner aft, we had the benefit of a wrap around balcony, which certainly added to our experience of Alaska. We could have actually stayed in our cabin for the duration of the cruise because it was so comfortable and the room service menu looked pretty good (at no extra charge). We didn't avail ourselves of it however, except for coffee in the morning, because we felt we wanted to have a more complete cruising experience and to mix with other passengers.

We chose to eat in the Vista dining room each evening... but at different times and with different people. (I can't remember what they call this style of dining. We never had to wait for a table...and the standard and choice of meals was exceptional, which was a pleasant surprise for me because as a vegetarian, I often struggle to find something to my liking and it was a rare pleasure to have choices each night. We couldn't fault it.

Because we're late risers we tended to eat breakfast in the Lido restaurant, which again was a pleasant surprise. The choices were endless and considering it was buffet style, the standard of food was far better than we would have ever expected. And, contrary to what we'd read, we never had to wait for a table - often getting one right next to a window - and the tables were cleaned as soon as people left.

From the perspective of offering some constructive criticism, we were only slightly disappointed by the embarkation process and felt that it would be better if they advised people to arrive a different times - for example, perhaps they could arrive according to their deck number or something like that. As it was, we arrived quite early but still had to wait in a couple of long queues to first check in and then to go through immigration etc. They seemed to be trying to stagger it a bit... but not enough in our opinion and given the average age of most passengers on this ship would be around 60 years of age, I think more consideration could be given to making it a more comfortable process.

By contrast, disembarkation was very speedy; which actually, was a shame because we would have preferred to delay it a little longer since we had a late afternoon flight out of Vancouver and importantly, I would have happily stayed on this ship for at least a few more days!

We availed ourselves of the Neptune Lounge occasionally and it was certainly useful to be able to pick up the phone and to have our needs met by them, rather than having to do it through the Front Desk. It did however seem a bit unreasonable that we had to still pay for internet access in this lounge.

The only other somewhat negative point I would make is that the entertainment closes quite early in the evening. We weren't really into the Vegas-style shows in the Vista Lounge or the casino... and we didn't exactly want to kick up our heels 'til the wee small hours of the morning... but we do enjoy a bit of a dance and a drink after dinner.

We found the Queens Lounge met our needs but since we usually didn't finish dining until 9:30 or so, by the time we made our way there we only managed to get a couple of dances in before the band finished; which on most evenings was around 10.30 p.m. We were just warming up... and they were packing up! There were many other bars with piano players and string quartets... in fact, every taste was catered to... but I would think it's reasonable to be able to have dancing until at least 11:30 p.m.

I hasten to add there was a disco which played music until very late... but the type of music in there was geared more for a much younger crowd - of which there weren't really many?! In fact, one night in desperation we had a dance in the disco... but found we were not only the only couple dancing, we were actually the only people in the whole place, which was a bit off-putting.

I now seem to be only focusing on the negatives... but in fact, none of these things bothered us very much. They are really only mentioned so as to create a more balanced report.

In conclusion, we had the most magnificent seven- night cruise... it was truly memorable and thankfully, my husband is open to the idea of doing another cruise at some time in the future.... though, for him, it would need to be to equally interesting destinations rather than for the simple pleasure of cruising.

I, on the other hand, would go again in an instant. I loved being able to unpack my suitcase and to hang freshly pressed clothes, in an very adequately sized wardrobe...and to then have my "hotel" move me from place to place, instead of dragging suitcases around from town to town, or country to country, was BLISS!! And, I loved not having to think about meal planning and cooking. In fact, I loved everything about it.

This was a real "bucket list" experience... a once in a lifetime holiday - though I do hope there'll be many more like it for us.

Simply superb!!!


awrighter saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 22
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 55
EntertainmentEntertainment = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 22
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 55
SpaSpa = 55
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 11
Disappointing food and service, June 9, 2010
Reviewer: awrighter

Pros: Beautiful ship, beautiful glacier cruise

Cons: Understaffed food and stateroom service

Departure port: San Diego

Region visited: Alaska

Cabin category: Jr. Suite

Our stateroom was nicely laid out and well kept once the steward got to it (usually around 1-2 p.m., unacceptably slow, at least to me). The once ever-available room steward is a person of the past. Our single steward, with one helper, was assigned some 40 cabins. These guys need help.

Having sailed on several other HAL ships (Oosterdam x2, Veendam, and Noordam), I have to rate the Zuiderdam pretty poorly. They seem to have cut the service crew to the bone (cafeteria, though not so much the dining rooms). Downsizing in the cafeteria-style restaurant (Lido) resulted in long lines of guests waiting interminably for one server to carve a chicken, serve it, serve vegetables, and then move to the next diner. Really poor form.

In the dining room, the service was more traditional, but the food was so marginal (lukewarm to cold, vegetables that seemed out of a freezer box, meat overcooked when rare was ordered (or vice versa), dry fish, "hashbrowns" that seemed to come from Arby's) that I sometimes thought I was in a fast-food place that was trying to look fancy.

I'm not sure how cruise ships operate, but I believe my disappointments narrow down to the hotel part of the ship. This hotel is basking in some past glory. Half the public toilets (the ones you stop at on the way from bar to dinner, say) out of order? Holes in the upholstery in one of the lounges? Deck blankets the size of (small) bath towels? Untimely room cleanup?

I hope the Zuiderdam has gone downhill. I hate to think it's always been this way. To those who sailed on her in better days: I'm sorry I wasn't there with you.

 
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