6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first time on Holland America, which we feel is not as good as our favorite cruise line, Princess. We loved all of the ports on this cruise. The drop down boxes above didn't give ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first time on Holland America, which we feel is not as good as our favorite cruise line, Princess. We loved all of the ports on this cruise. The drop down boxes above didn't give me the choice to say this was the Northern Isles cruise. We visited two ports in Norway, spent 5 days in 4 ports in Iceland (overnight in Reykjavik), and stopped at the Faroe Islands and Shetland Islands. We spent a day in Copenhagen before boarding, visiting Tivoli Gardens. Boarding was smooth, and we were very pleasantly surprised that our room was ready when we arrived. The ship was recently refurbished, but we did not see much evidence of it. Our room was standard issue cruise cabin, which we expected. The bathroom needed serious attention: the toilet seat had deep scratches, as did the bathtub. It was just very tired looking. We chose Open Seating for our dining option. Our cruise consultant assured us we would be able to make 6 PM reservations, but once on the ship we found we could not. The choices in the dining room and in the buffet did not offer much variation. Room service kept bringing me decaf tea when I requested regular, so I finally gave up. Canaletto, the $15 per person Italian restaurant, was a disappointment. It's located at one end of the buffet, so it doesn't seem in any way special. The food was no different in quality or variety than the regular dining room. The entertainment in the Main Stage was okay. We've seen better on Princess and Royal Caribbean. Activities on sea days were disappointing. Talks on upcoming ports were given once, so if you couldn't make it you were out of luck. Seems like it would be simple enough to record them and give the option of watching them on the TV in one's room. Our room stewards were great! Always attentive and very helpful. The buffet staff and dinner waiters were also outstanding. Breakfast and lunch waiters in the dining room were curt and almost surly, as were some of the room service delivery persons. We took only three cruise line sponsored shore excursions because there just weren't many to choose from. All were very good. We appreciated that Holland America helped us with hearing assistive technology for my husband. One of the three tour operators had a system for him to use. Maybe Holland America could be more pro-active about this. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise very much, mostly because we were able to visit ports that we were interested in. I doubt we would choose Holland America again unless they offered an itinerary that another cruise line does not, as in this case. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Sailing the Baltics was on my bucket list. The ports were what was expected. The meals onboard certainly was not. Have been on HAL before on an Alaska cruise 4 years ago. Ship was docked quite far away from the city center in Helsinki ... Read More
Sailing the Baltics was on my bucket list. The ports were what was expected. The meals onboard certainly was not. Have been on HAL before on an Alaska cruise 4 years ago. Ship was docked quite far away from the city center in Helsinki and Stockholm. There was a free transfer to town in Stockholm but none in Helsinki. Dining - We dined in the Main dining almost every night as we like to socialize. The food were surprisingly disappointing on this cruise - certainly not up to expectations. Common complaints among our fellow cruisers were that the food were lukewarm when served. I like my soup and meals hot. One good indication is that the plates with the food were cold to the touch. You would expect them to have food warmers considering the number of meals that have to be served. It generally took 2.5 hours to sit through dinner each night. Coffee after meal were no better - lukewarm. We were on Cabin 4014 - right above the Ocean Bar (deck 3). When they have something going on like Trivia Games - they crank up the loudspeaker to the max. Went down to complain and was told this is normal ship operations. Had to leave the cabin when something goes on below - especially on sea days - so beware. Service overall were great. Meals at Lido were much better than the Main Dining or at Pinnacle Grill. Has to send back the porterhouse steak - ordered medium and got a steak that was medium on the edges that got more rare as the cut get closer to the bone! A medium steak should not have blood on the plate. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Our fourth cruise with Holland America, we booked about a year ago after hearing about the Baltic experience from a relative. Unlike some cruises there is no particular reason to be on a specific side of the ship. We were on the Upper ... Read More
Our fourth cruise with Holland America, we booked about a year ago after hearing about the Baltic experience from a relative. Unlike some cruises there is no particular reason to be on a specific side of the ship. We were on the Upper Promenade deck amidships, with a large balcony cabin. There are great parts of this cruise that the balcony is a wonderful place to watch the scenery, including especially entry and exit to Stockholm. We had booked the "Signature Experience" in Copenhagen prior to start of the cruise. HAL representatives met us at the Copenhagen airport, and we were taken to the Scandic Hotel - a tired, barely serviceable hotel in central Copenhagen. We spent two nights in this hotel. We also went with several dozen other cruise passengers to visit a Kronberg Castle, and the suggested dinner never materialized - replaced by finger food and one glass of champagne. Hardly a "Signature Experience", but oh well. . . Our luggage was left outside our room for collection and transport to the ship. Nice! HAL-organized buses were provided to take us from the hotel to the cruise terminal, almost an hour outside of the city. As we were in a Neptune cabin, we had a rather late departure time from the hotel and when we arrived for check-in, there was no wait and we were escorted smoothly through the process and boarded immediately. Cabin was immediately available, and we had a later lunch in the dining room without any difficulty. We were previously on the Zuiderdam just last year, sailing to Alaska. Since then the Zuiderdam had a "soft upgrade" - you could get that new-carpet smell from the hallways and stairwells. Service levels were typically Holland America terrific. Cabin attendants were friendly without being familiar, and the service in the restaurant was first-rate. Had some early problems with the wine steward, but they were smoothed over as the cruise continued. With so many stops we didn't have much time for the shipboard activities, but didn't miss them. Internet service was virtually unusable despite all the hype at the beginning of the cruise. Still can't figure out how the airlines can provide pretty high-speed internet on an airplane going 500mph, and the ships can't seem to get it right. With much of this cruise close enough to get a good cell phone signal from shore, I'd say save your money. We rarely book any of the proffered HAL excursions. We enjoy off-beat day trips, and we had organized our own for the entirety of this cruise. We're not much for seeing new destinations from bus windows. . . . .we'd rather see one or two things on foot, exploring ourselves. We DID have an extensive tour of St. Petersburg of course, which we've reviewed separately. Keep a close eye on your cabin billing prior to the last day. HAL seems to make a lot of errors that then produce long lines at the cruise office on the last day as people try to sort out the issues. We were double-charged for gratuities on two different days, but had the overcharge removed a couple days before the cruise ended. Disembarkation was at our leisure. After reviewing the options (including a taxi ride to Copenhagen airport at over $120), we took the public bus to the nearby train station, and arrived at the airport in 40 minutes for about $8. Sweet. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity. We like the small-medium ship scale of the ... Read More
We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity. We like the small-medium ship scale of the Holland America fleet, and love that most staterooms have a bathtub, (great to relax weary bodies after a busy day ashore). Our Holland America itinerary was the perfect balance of ports and places to visit. Highlights of our travels were snorkelling between the European & American teutonic plates in Iceland, and discovering the breathtaking wonders of Shetland! The service in the main dining rooms and speciality restaurants was excellent. Sometimes we had to wait perhaps a little too long to order wine via the wonderfully knowledgeable Sommeliers. Perhaps HAL needs to employ more sommeliers..... I am always a little disappointed that HAL only offers 'Windows' workshops.. Most of the passengers I spoke with were MAC folks, even using their iPhones instead of traditional cameras. More attention to enrichment workshop diversity would be a good thing. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise was a 100% transport logistic success. From the departure Airport to the final destination airport / from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the ship. We took all arrangements with our Holland America Travel Agent. ... Read More
This cruise was a 100% transport logistic success. From the departure Airport to the final destination airport / from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the ship. We took all arrangements with our Holland America Travel Agent. Arriving at Copenhagen Airport a HA Representative greeted us and led us to the right carousel for our luggage pick-up and then to the bus outside that took us to our well located Scandic Hotel. At the hotel an other HA Representative greeted us and gave us documentation and explanations on the embarkation process and transport to the ship. The disembarkation went smoothly and on schedule. Our luggage were already waiting for us in a big Tent at the Airport. Being both 65 of age my wiffe and I like to be pampered and taken in charge for all the logistic aspects. Holland America is an expert at that. The embarkation process went smoothly. Our suite 6061 was clean and ready at the embarkation. Since that cruise was very tour intensive, we had all our dining in the main dining room. Food was very good. Our dining waiters and sommelier were very smart and attentive to our needs. Along the cruise our cabin stewards did an excellent job at getting our stateroom clean and ready. As some tours depart very early we called our breakfast in our cabin and they were delivered at the time requested. Entertainment and activities: The classic musicians were excellent along with the BB Kings band. The main lounge musicians were excellent too. We had 2 shows from the ship dancers, 2 excellent shows from a musician duo. On this cruise we noticed that the passenger population diversity was important, so a stand-up comic may not be suited for an international passenger diversity. I would have preferred magicians or juggler, etc. Regarding the general activities onboard our cruise director hasn't been too proactive. We have seen far better on other HA cruises. We had a very informative conference on the famous Fabergé and the sory of the Fabergé Eggs. We called at Tallin (Estonia), St-Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden), Warnemunde Port for Berlin and Kiel (Germany). As the tours are expensive we took three tours, St-Petersburg, H elsinki and Berlin. Taking a tour is quite mandatory in St-Peterburg because of the Visa required and the location of the Port. Our two days tour was intensive but excellent with competent toour guide and bus drivers. In Helsinki, the Port being quite distant from the city we took a tour to visit the city, had some stops along the way and also a boat tour in the bay. At Warnemunde Port you need to take a 3 hour train run to Berlin to visit the city. Our tour guide was competent and informative. We had lunch and water provided in the train back and forth. In Tallin and Stokholm you can go by yourself to the city. Kiel in Germany is a nice place to visit by foot too. The ship docked along the boardwalk and marina. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our 12th cruise and our first with Holland America. (Our previous cruises were on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess.) I will start at the end by saying that we were impressed with HAL and we loved our cruise. The thing ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise and our first with Holland America. (Our previous cruises were on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess.) I will start at the end by saying that we were impressed with HAL and we loved our cruise. The thing that stood out above all else was the service. Everyone, no matter what their position, greeted us whenever they passed. Our cabin stewards made me remember what good service really means! They were phenomenal. The staff in the main dining room and the Lido buffet were unfailingly cheerful, no matter how busy they might have been. To other cruise lines: this is how it’s done! On most days, we had breakfast and lunch in the Lido and dinner in the main dining room. The food ranged from good to great, and overall it was a notch up from most of our previous cruises. We looked forward to mealtimes. The entertainment was the most professional of any of our cruise experiences, with the standout being the incredible Duo Yalba. We saw several other good performances on the main stage, including the very talented ship dancers and an amazing pianist. In addition, HAL partners with the Lincoln Center and there were wonderful concerts throughout the day. The performers in both the Billboard Onboard bar and the B.B. King Blues Club were very talented and fun. HAL has also partnered with America’s Test Kitchen and BBC Earth so that there is a definite “learning” emphasis in their activities, although they still have fun favorites like Bingo too. HAL handled our air and since there are no direct flights to Copenhagen from our location, we had to make connections; however, there seemed to be just the right amount of time between flights. Embarkation and disembarkation were among the smoothest we have experienced. Regarding the ports: COPENHAGEN - This was our embarkation point and for the lucky people who stayed aboard for the second leg of the cruise, it was also a regular port stop. We came three days early to explore and we loved it. We booked our own accommodations rather than going through HAL. We couldn’t recommend the wonderful Hotel Andersen more highly for service, location, and style. It was easy to get around Copenhagen (we enjoy walking) and the people were the nicest we have ever encountered. Tivoli Gardens, Rosenborg Castle, and Christiansborg Palace were highlights of our visit. TALINN - Easily walkable from the ship. The old town is beautiful, picturesque, and compact. ST. PETERSBURG - We did a two day excursion with Alla Tours and it was phenomenal. I was not prepared for the grandeur of the palaces, churches, and museums. I still dream about it. Definitely my favorite port. HELSINKI - HAL had shuttles into town for 10 euro round trip. We took an enjoyable 90 minute panorama bus tour with audio guide through Stromma tours, with a stop at the Rock Church. You can pre-book with Stromma online or find them near Esplanade Park. Afterward we strolled the area and bought delicious grilled salmon from a vendor at Market Square for lunch. Very nice people in Helsinki and a lovely city. We wished we had more time there. STOCKHOLM - We did a three hour HAL excursion that included the fascinating Vasa museum and an overview of the city. It was a good tour but the guide spoiled it at the end by making unsolicited and unnecessary political comments. This caused like-minded passengers to start chiming in. One minute we were learning about this beautiful city and the next we were forced to listen to divisive commentary. That is not what I paid for, and it really tainted the experience. Hopefully it was a one time event because as I said, otherwise it would have been a great tour. We returned to the ship for lunch, then went back into Stockholm on the free HAL shuttle. It’s a lovely and easy place to walk around except that it was extremely crowded and when it was time to return to the ship, there were so many buses that the HAL bus was unable to park to pick us up. We must have waited an hour before HAL finally arranged for a P & O bus to bring us back. Perhaps this too is not an everyday occurrence because I have not seen many references to it in other reviews. WARNEMUNDE - We took the HAL excursion to the charming, historic town of Wismar which included a stop for beer and pretzels at a beer factory. We had already been to Berlin, another option for this port, so we chose something fun and relaxing. After our return, we walked into Warnemunde, visiting shops and strolling by the water. I enjoyed seeing all the German families on their vacations. KIEL - We planned to take the ferry to the u-boat. You can get information about this at the TI in town. Unfortunately it did not return until 2:00 and we were supposed to be onboard at 3:00. We were uncomfortable cutting it that close, because if we missed the ferry, the next one would have been too late. Instead we walked around the city and strolled the waterfront promenade. It was fine but we were disappointed about our original plans. A few other pros and cons: *The onboard Internet is poor. We ended up buying it on the at sea days and using free WiFi in port. *The HAL laundry service is amazing! Don’t hesitate to use it to make your packing lighter. *This is a small thing but we really appreciated the way they did happy hour. Rather than a drink of the day at a special price, you order what you want and the second drink is $2. They serve the drinks with delicious complimentary snacks. In summary, we loved Holland America , the Zuiderdam, and the Baltic. It was near perfect. I just wish they hadn’t made us get off at the end! :) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary which included six European countries and possible visits to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and the races at Royal Ascot. It also included stops in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bruges, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary which included six European countries and possible visits to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and the races at Royal Ascot. It also included stops in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris (LeHavre), Normandy, Gurnsey, Southampton, and two in Scotland. So overall this itinerary was excellent. We read several reviews that were disappointed in the condition of the ship. We did not find this to be an issue. For sure it is an older vessel, however, it had recently undergone some cosmetic updates and presented itself in decent shape. The crew onboard were generally excellent. In fact, most of the servers were from Indonesia and were very pleasant ... in contrast to some cruises we have taken where Eastern Europeans were less than happy to be serving us. Our major issues centered around Food, Menus, Quality, and Dinning Times. We have sailed many times on most of the major lines including Princess, Royal Caribbean, NCL, and Celebrity. The food offerings and quality could on the Zuiderdam could not begin to compare with any of those. We have moved away from eating in the main dinning venues most days on a cruise like this where the tours were very lengthy and we often returned late and exhausted. So, our only option was the Lido Buffet. Absolutely terrible! Most nights there was nothing edible to eat. So, it was pasta, pizza, or salad. We are early risers and it was impossible to get anything for breakfast until 0700 most mornings unless the ship had some early departure tours. I mean nothing .... no pastry, doughnuts ... nothing. Other days we returned to the ship exhausted from our tours around 1700 (5 P.M.). We were hoping to grab a quick dinner and settle in for the night. No way Jose! No food available anywhere. We've never been on a ship where you couldn't get something to eat 24/7. And most offerings are the cheapest they could offer ..... pasta, Asian, etc. Oh, well. I'll close with another warning we had ..... that HAL tends to attract an older clientele. That's not really the problem as we're up there now ourselves. It does mean, however, that many of the cruisers had serious ambulatory issues. I've never seen so many wheel chairs, walkers, and motorized scooters on a cruise before. Let me make it clear that I'm happy these folk are still cruising and living their life to the fullest. However, it did tend to really slow down walking, getting food service, etc. We were also nearly run over several times by the motorized ones. A much more serious problem developed with the gentleman in the cabin directly opposite us. His walker was way too big to fit through his cabin door and he was not able to fold it up and make his way into the cabin. As a result the walker stayed out in the hallway most of the night and anytime he was in his cabin. I'm sure most of you know how narrow the hallways are to begin with. A real safety issue that was not corrected by the ships staff. In closing .... despite the itinerary, we'll be sailing on one of the other lines from now on. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our second cruise on Holland America and our first on the Zuiderdam. This cruise was chosen for the itinerary. It did not disappoint. Holland America usually has an older crowd on board which was the case with this cruise ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Holland America and our first on the Zuiderdam. This cruise was chosen for the itinerary. It did not disappoint. Holland America usually has an older crowd on board which was the case with this cruise although there were quite a few families traveling with children as well. We spent 4 nights in Copenhagen prior to the cruise. Copenhagen is a lovely and safe city to visit and very easy to get around. We took a taxi from our hotel to the cruise port. Embarkation went very smoothly. We were in our cabin within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. The ship was in good condition. The crew was always doing some kind of maintenance. We saw quite a bit of painting going on throughout the ship. Our balcony was worked on during the cruise but we were never inconvenienced by it or any of the other maintenance. We upgraded to a signature suite since this was a 14-day cruise and enjoyed the extra room in the cabin, balcony and bathroom. We weren't sure if we would get use out of the balcony given the itinerary but found that we did and really enjoyed sailing out of the ports and listening to our EXC tour guide over the loudspeaker as he described what we were seeing as we sailed along the coast. We did have wonderful weather the entire cruise. Blankets were provided in the room for use on the balcony as well as binoculars. Our cabin crew were excellent and kept the cabin in good condition. We had as you wish dining and never had any complaints with regard to the food. We found the service in the main dining room to be inconsistent depending on which section we were in that night with the exception of two female wine stewards who were excellent the entire cruise. Our main issue was with the maitre d. We prefer a table for two and had reservations each night for one but were always asked to share a table which we refused and we were then seated at a table with just the two of us. Our reservation was usually for 8 and could never understand why it was a problem to seat us at a table for 2 or 4 since after being seated there was always a lot of tables available. We also did not appreciate the maitre d not enforcing the dress code especially for gala nights. Why have one if it is not going to be enforced. We found food in Lido to be good. Seating was sometimes a challenge but usually found a table within 5 minutes or so. We ate there for breakfast as well as lunch a few times. I really enjoyed the create your own pasta section for lunch and always enjoyed grabbing a late afternoon ice cream. We also ate at the taco bar and Dive-In by the Lido pool which were always good. We had dinner at Canaletto one night which was okay and had dinner twice at the Pinnacle Grill which was excellent. Both service and food were worth the price. Even though this was a port intensive cruise we found the energy to go to 4 of the main stage shows which were very enjoyable. One was an ABBA show, a magician comedian who was entertaining and a Scottish entertainer who we saw twice and enjoyed his show both times. We went to the BB King Blues Club on several nights and really enjoyed this group. We went to the Billboard piano bar one night. We found these performers just okay but they usually had a good crowd each night who seemed to enjoy them. We enjoyed sitting in the Crow's Nest one day enjoying the view from a couple of chairs. I like the location but don't understand why they took away the bar. There is a lot of space wasted here. The EXC desk is located here and EXC takes up a lot of unnecessary space. We went to a few of the EXC shore talks in the main stage and found them informative for exploring the ports. We also enjoyed the EXC talks as to what we were seeing on our way out of each port. We did not do any of the ship excursions since most of the ports were very easy to do on your own which was what we did. We did do two private tours which we found a better value for the money as well as what was visited. We did do the ship transfer to the airport since we had an early flight and found this very convenient to put our luggage out the night before and pick up at the airport. Embarkation was quick and easy. The captain and his crew were very visible and engaging on port days. We found service to be very good for the most part throughout the cruise. We really enjoyed this cruise. The itinerary was excellent. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We went with friends who chose the Baltic cruise, and we'd never been to any ports on the itinerary. We are 3-Star Mariners, and our friends are 4-Star, so we are predisposed to like HAL. Everything was handled very well and food was ... Read More
We went with friends who chose the Baltic cruise, and we'd never been to any ports on the itinerary. We are 3-Star Mariners, and our friends are 4-Star, so we are predisposed to like HAL. Everything was handled very well and food was just fine, as usual. Entertainment was up a notch from some other HAL cruises we've been on. We took HAL shore excursions in Tallin, Warnemunde and Kiel. Took a 2-day excursion with Alla Tours in St. Petersburg (highly recommended). We used the HAL bus shuttle (USD11) to the city center in Helsinki, and used a Hop-On, Hop-Off boat to see Old Town and the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Spent 3 nights in Copenhagen before the tour and 2 more nights after the tour. The cabin was the usual veranda on the starboard side, aft. It was just fine, although I would have liked to spring for the upgrade to Signature Suite, which was being offered at a very attractive price. But, we wanted to stay close to our accompanying travelers in 2 other cabins. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
The crew on this ship is exceptional. All the stewards are friendly and very helpful and attentive. Whenever passengers are embarking or disembarking, senior officers are on the pier to wish you welcome or to wish you a good day or to ... Read More
The crew on this ship is exceptional. All the stewards are friendly and very helpful and attentive. Whenever passengers are embarking or disembarking, senior officers are on the pier to wish you welcome or to wish you a good day or to problem solve if needed.. The food is very good, although the portions are astoundingly large. On this 24-day voyage my traveling companion and I ate in the Canaletto 8 times because of the food and service. We also ate in the Pinnacle Grill twice, with its impeccable food and service. The beverage service in all of the served dining venues leaves a little to be desired. It takes a long time to receive bottles of wine that are ordered at the table or pre-ordered, and there is no written method for passengers to keep track of bottles used if a package is bought. The Lido food and service is good, but a sign indicating which direction the serving line is going would be very helpful. As usual, the bread pudding is available every day at noon, but it is now served by the ice cream attendant. My Signature Suite, 8051, was very nice, but also very noisy. Loud banging is heard every night from overhead; sometimes for a few minutes, but sometimes for a half hour or more. Also, the cabin is across from the steward serving area which has many stainless steel cabinets, including an ice chest. Ice is brought from elsewhere and dumped into the chest and then individual cabin ice containers are filled from it. The door was left open and noise from the area radiated into the cabin. The ports were by and large interesting and the excursions well managed. Disembarkation and embarkation for excursions was well managed, even the two tender ports, where weather and current were challenging. Because some of the excursions were very long, my attendance to the ship's entertainment was spotty, but what shows I saw were very good -- especially the ABBA show. As a Signature Suite passenger I was treated to a complimentary Signature Experience in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, the Scandic Hotel chosen by HAL was outside the city center and no Hop On Hop Off service was available, and insufficient information was provided in advance on the difficulty of walking to the Hamlet Castle venue, so I was very disappointed. I was unable to tour in the city and unable to attend the special event. The only real downside to the ship was several cracked windows. I don't know what caused the cracks, but I think they were stress fractures. An especially noticeable one was in one of the outside elevators. Others were in dining areas. Tile was also broken in the elevator with the cracked windows and a broken area at the top step of one of the stairways outside the Lido took many days to be repaired. There was no sign put up to notify passengers of the danger. I wouldn't hesitate to sail on this ship again and recommend it to potential passengers of all ages. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose cruise for the itinerary. British Isles followed by Baltic Cruise. Started in Copenhagen, a wonderful city and is well worth going back to for a longer stay. We were in a Signature Suite cabin. Had been updated. Excellent ... Read More
Chose cruise for the itinerary. British Isles followed by Baltic Cruise. Started in Copenhagen, a wonderful city and is well worth going back to for a longer stay. We were in a Signature Suite cabin. Had been updated. Excellent job, very comfortable and spacious. From what we heard from others, smaller cabins have not been done yet. (6/18). Cabin service was excellent. Always on spot to take care of things. Room service excellent. Started ordering all breakfasts delivered as eggs elsewhere were never cooked properly. In Lido, they kept dumping oil on grill and eggs were a mess. Dining room failed to serve unless they were crispy on edges. If you use room service, be ready a few minutes early. If you say between 7:30 & 8:00, it may get there at 7:25. Menu offered Signature Suites were well above offerings for room service in lesser cabins. Dining room was fair. Prime Rib was extremely tough, most waiters warned guests not to order. We were not warned. Other meats were also rather tough. Ordered fish twice, once really overcooked and soggy. Most vegetables were overcooked. If you wanted tea or coffee you would have wait 5 to 10 minutes to get it if you were lucky. One night we were finished with our desserts and coffee still had not arrived. Pinnacle Steakhouse was excellent. Service outstanding. Lobster Bisque was unbelievable, with a small loaf of bread could be entire dinner. Lido Buffet was typical for a cruise ship. Some good and bad. My wife thought the Asian section was excellent. Entertainment was much less than on previous big ships. Only about 2 big cast shows, the rest single performances. Violin, piano, stale comedian, etc. Public areas on ship were very nice and looked updated. Elevators were great. It seemed that no matter what was going on, they kept up. Did not take any of the offered tours, booked all in advance using outside companies. Saved about 30-50%. Also had small group tours with 6-8 people vs the big buses. Captain was the most visible and engaging of any cruise ship we had been on (7). Port briefings were held by a member of EXC, (tour operator on board). Outstanding and informative. Was expecting a sales job, but not any. Just good information presented in a humorous and factual way. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Have sailed many time with Holland America and are 4 star martiners. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth. We where able to go right to our cabin. Over the past few years we have noticed that the food in the main dinning ... Read More
Have sailed many time with Holland America and are 4 star martiners. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth. We where able to go right to our cabin. Over the past few years we have noticed that the food in the main dinning room seems to be going down some. My husband and some others at our table ordered the steak (the one that is always on the menu) and all stated the same thing, "tastless and no flavor". None of them ordered it again. Everyone at our table that had the salmon said it was good. The Lido's breakfast was always good. We ate at the Lido two nights in a row and it was the same food both times. The DIVE burgers are the best! We also did a wine package (the top one) and everytime my husband order a red wine they never had the one he ordered and would bring us another stating, "we do not have the wine you ordered". Again, this was everytime he ordered the red wine. They did have the white wine he chose. The dining room staff, as always, was good and always willing to help. The ship itself was clean with some wear and tear in some places. The services, as always, was good. The cooking shows on board are fun to go to. A good place to spend time while at sea. We did not attend the computer classes this time but, have in the past and they were good with a lot of good information. The BB King All Stars is always good. All in all, a very good cruise and would sail on the Zuederdan again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This Baltic Cruise was our first HAL experience. The ship was, for the most part, beautiful, well appointed and spacious. Our cabin, located forward deck 8 was spacious but definitely in need of a face lift. Walls were damaged in two ... Read More
This Baltic Cruise was our first HAL experience. The ship was, for the most part, beautiful, well appointed and spacious. Our cabin, located forward deck 8 was spacious but definitely in need of a face lift. Walls were damaged in two areas and deck chairs worn with cigarette burn holes on one of them. This lack of attention to detail could be much improved. Overall, our dining experiences in both the main dining room and at Pinnacle Grille were good. Our waiter Aris in the main dining room and our wine steward Jude took exceptional care of us whenever we were in their charge. As for Pinnacle Grille, this was by far the best meal of the trip, my only issue is that you shouldn’t have to pay such high prices to get such quality food, this should be HAL’s norm. Since we had on-board credit, we joined the spa for the pool. The main problem here was they did not keep the spa pool filled high enough so the jacuzzi jets were not as effective as they were designed to be. Despite making staff aware of this issue, it was rarely resolved in a timely manner. Again, attention to detail was lacking. The most upsetting and distressing part of this cruise involved the debarkation instructions given to all passengers who did not have HAL excursions booked for St. Petersburg. We had booked our tours through Alla. The night before arrival in St. Petersburg, HAL instructed all non-HAL excursion passengers to remain on board for an additional 90 minutes because of a ‘new policy from The Port of St. Petersburg’. This was extremely distressing for us as we were to meet our tour at a specific time and this was either going to make us miss our excursion or miss an hour of our tour. While waiting in our cabin we looked over our balcony and noticed a steady stream of people exciting the ship. We decided to take our chances and exited the ship without incident. After going through Russian customs, we learned they knew nothing about this directive and that HAL was giving false and misleading debarkation information to its passengers. Many, many passengers were extremely upset about this as it would cost an hour off previously reserved tour time and some passengers could miss their tours entirely. We went to Guest Relations about it, asked to see the ‘policy’ and were told it was an email from the port authority, they could not show us the email either. Apparently, many of the other cruise lines are doing this as well, hoping you panic and sign onto their excursions at the last minute which many people did. The public areas were attractive, the fitness center updated with good equipment. The casino was small, I did not see many people winning. The entertainment was good but we only went to one show. Overall, based on the false information given to passengers about debarkation in St. Petersburg, I will never be able to trust HAL and will most likely not cruise with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the Baltic area and it was an exceptional itinerary. I had previously cruised on the Eurodam and the Zuiderdam, although in fine shape, was a bit smaller leading to some shortcomings. It should ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the Baltic area and it was an exceptional itinerary. I had previously cruised on the Eurodam and the Zuiderdam, although in fine shape, was a bit smaller leading to some shortcomings. It should be noted that this cruise was the 10 day Baltic tour, which CruiseCritic didn't allow me to select. Starting with a balcony, I upgraded to the Signature Experience which included two nights in Copenhagen with a castle evening tour. Afterwards, I then was offered to upgrade to a Neptune Suite, which I took. The hotel for the Signature Experience was inconveniently located in Sydhavnen, without eating options outside the hotel and 8 miles from city center necessitating a commuter train ride. I got and recommend a Copenhagen Card which gives you unlimited train rides and free entrance to sights. The train doesn't go everywhere and a lot of walking was involved. Copenhagen is incredibly expensive and main courses at the hotel were $40. Even a burger at Hard Rock is $25. Tivoli is a disappointment if you've been to Disneyland. We did enjoy the boat ride included with the Copenhagen Card which gave a great view of many sites and buildings. I walked many miles and the weather was unusually warm this year. The Zuiderdam has a layout similar to the Eurodam and I had no complaints. The Crow's Nest Bar, however, was shrunk to make room for Explorations Tours, and was tiny and underused compared to Eurodam, where it was always hopping. The Neptune Suites were updated, spacious and beautiful with exceptional room stewards. The best feature was access to the Neptune Lounge, with friendly concierges and light food and capuccino throughout the day. We would always have breakfast in the lounge, with bagels and smoked salmon, Danish pastries and coffee. Consequently we never had to deal with the Lido buffet in the morning. If there were early tours the lounge opened an hour early. Our dining room choice was open seating because of the large number of tours and we never had trouble getting a table for two, perhaps because we ate late and because of Neptune Suite status. The food emphasized fancier preparation rather than the highest quality ingredients. One steak was tough and below USDA Standard grade meat. We ate at Canaletto and Sel de Mer. Loved Sel de Mer with its seafood tower and lobster but it's a bit expensive. Canaletto is just ok but it was a welcome change from the main dining room. Never made it to the Pinnacle Grill on this cruise but it was ok on the Eurodam. I wasn't thrilled with the burger "fast food" stand by the pool- New York Pizza on the Eurodam was far superior. I will never purchase a beverage package as it would cause me to drink far more than I'm capable of, instead searching out the happy hours where a second identical drink is $2. The Eurodam had a far better selection of happy hours including Crow's Nest Bar as mentioned previously. On Zuiderdam, many happy hours were at the Gallery Bar, with no view and on two occasions we were the only people there. Drink prices were reasonable in any event. We're not much for entertainment and didn't go to any performances, tours taking up much of our time. My partner had some mobility limitations and although I tried to book an outside tour on Viator, even though the tour specified a bus ride the tour operator demanded that we cancel the tour fearing mobility problems. HA however, researched each tour and made sure it was suitable. One HA tour (not mine) came back late and the ship waited for it. My tour guide explained that it is extremely expensive for ships to wait and HA tours are selected to be reliable and therefore cost more to allow for these contingencies. An example of HA's thoughtfulness, we had booked two St. Petersburg tours with a short time between them, and HA recognized this and sent a note explaining that lunch baskets had been prepared for us. In Talinn I just walked around town, but we took canal and boat tours in Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg, in addition to Hermitage tours. The train to Berlin tour was excellent as was the bus tour to Hamburg. All tour guides were excellent. I was especially impressed with all the Mercedes, BMWs and Range Rovers in St. Petersburg, an eye opener for someone raised at the time of the Soviet Union. All in all, we had a phenomenal cruise experience to an area neither had ever been. Service onboard was excellent. Weeks later, we are still dealing with lack of sleep due to the sun setting at 10:30 and rising at 3:30. When the sun is just over the horizon you think it will be dark soon but the sun just sits there for hours! After the cruise we spent a night at the Scandic Palace, downtown with easy walking to the central sights.Afterwards, I figured out that the Holland America post cruise package of two transfers and Scandic Palace was cheaper than making my own arrangements. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Purely for the ports... If you are sailing out of Denmark, beware of the extremely high costs during high season in Copenhagen prior to sailing!! Loved Scotland & Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Finland. Russia was good ... Read More
Purely for the ports... If you are sailing out of Denmark, beware of the extremely high costs during high season in Copenhagen prior to sailing!! Loved Scotland & Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Finland. Russia was good booking 2 HAL tours. The easy 3 hour tour day two, was wonderful. The 1 day tour with 5 hours on you own... a good way to experience the sights in your own as we were dropped near the Hermitage area. Absolute highlights: Isle of Skye - Dublin- Cobh - sailing in out of Stockholm. Holyhead Wales was missed due to high winds. On board highlights: Cast show talent - Ian (Commentator). - Dining Room staff Dislikes: the new Explorers lounge in the Crows Nest... buying a coffee in the very small space was normally a long wait. These will be a professionally edited video highlight of each cruise available late June 2018 on Bellairvideo (YouTube) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise for the ports of call, time of year to take advantage of long sunny days and the well spaced sea days. We were very happy with all our ports of call with most having free shuttles to the city (except Edinburgh) and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports of call, time of year to take advantage of long sunny days and the well spaced sea days. We were very happy with all our ports of call with most having free shuttles to the city (except Edinburgh) and the ability to walk into town less than 15 minutes. The boat is in great shape and is staffed by friendly crew and officers who do not hesitate to interact with you. Food was top notch, cabin clean, entertainment good especially the BB King Blues club.and Billboard on Board. We were unable to go to Wales as the winds were to high for docking. HAL fully refunded our port of call charges. Isle of Skye was incredible- Wild and unspoiled.Did a 5 k hike up a mountain for spectacular views. Belfast-did a free walking tour that was superb Dublin- Drank a lot of beer! Try O' Neill's for supper. Lovely Victorian House with loads of food that you pick up by yourself, very reasonable. Went to Howath on the DART. Take the green DART not the green/blue DART! (Easy and affordable) Cobn- stayed in town and went to Kelly's for Irish coffee. Live music by Jubilly(thanks for the fun!) Holyhead-canceled due to wind Glasgow-docked and stayed in Inverclyde and did a free tour with the village out to Newark castle.The locals are very nice. Invergordon-Great town with a super museum by the locals. Went to Dalmore Distillery( book ahead) Queensferry-Took the X99 shuttle to Edinburgh ( 6lbs. return)Walked the mile and poked around. Kristiansand- Went to the Kanomuseum- 2nd largest canon in the world. Take the bus to Kroodden and walk 15 minutes to the museum. we got a deal 25 NK return on the bus.Museum was 90 NK each. Lovely town well kept good shopping but be ready to pay $$. Seadays- 3with and extra for missed port. no problem made the cruise lesuirely and we weren't worn out at the end of vacay. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
It was a transatlantic crossing that included a stop in Normandy, both Bucket List items. This was our second cruise on Holland America. The crossing was wonderful, calm seas and great weather. We enjoyed Beginner Bridge, the Art Auctions ... Read More
It was a transatlantic crossing that included a stop in Normandy, both Bucket List items. This was our second cruise on Holland America. The crossing was wonderful, calm seas and great weather. We enjoyed Beginner Bridge, the Art Auctions and the gym. We met wonderful people from all over the world, many who have cruised on Holland America exclusively. We took shore excursions in England and France. The Normandy excursion was excellent, worth every penny. The London tour was not a great value, lunch was included but the restaurant was ill prepared for our bus load, we were seated on the third floor, rest rooms were on the fourth floor, average age was about 70 years old so climbing steps not convenient. I would not recommend this cruise for anyone with a disability. My husband has a disability and we booked a room to accommodate his need for handrails in the bathroom. We had four maintenance calls for toilet problems. The improper repair resulted in an accident, causing injury to my disabled husband. The staff onboard was excellent but our dealings with Holland America Claims in Seattle have been very unprofessional. We loved the cruise, the ports of call and our vacation despite the accident. Only now that we have returned home are we left with a bad feeling about the cruise due to the claims process. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Our cruise was 28 day, Transatlantic & Baltic itinerary. From boarding in Ft Lauderdale to leaving the ship in Copenhagen everything went well. The cabin stewards were attentive, the wait staff in both the Lido and MDR were ... Read More
Our cruise was 28 day, Transatlantic & Baltic itinerary. From boarding in Ft Lauderdale to leaving the ship in Copenhagen everything went well. The cabin stewards were attentive, the wait staff in both the Lido and MDR were exceptional. I'd like to say we ate in one of the alternative restaurants, however the food was so good in the MDR, we never felt the need to eat elsewhere. The music venues were eclectic in that there was a venue for most musical taste. America's Test Kitchen was always well attended. The Captain and his crew kept us well Informed of weather or delays. We had exceptional weather throughout the entire cruise. It was the warmest May on record for Northern Europe. We were able to use our balcony the whole trip. Did not part in any of the ship tours, however in some ports the Hop on Off Bus was at the dock and u could change to u our room, very convenient. I did find that the EXC tour guides on board did a great job on their port presentation. Not only did they give info about the ships tours but also how to get around on ur own. Never had this happen before, usually if u weren't on a ships tour, too bad. Kudos to HAL for going beyond the norm. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This has been on my bucket list. Planned a Panama Canal raise 5 years ago, but was unable to do this because of serious family illness. After the death of my husband I decided that it was imperative to do a cruise I had always dreamed ... Read More
This has been on my bucket list. Planned a Panama Canal raise 5 years ago, but was unable to do this because of serious family illness. After the death of my husband I decided that it was imperative to do a cruise I had always dreamed about doing. Only did the 11 day round trip from Fort Laudetdale with partial Panama Canal transit We flew into FLL on Southwest Airlines and stayed both pre and post cruise at Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale, which is a hotel that I have used for years. Have previously sailed on smaller HAL ships, so was curious about whether I would like the larger ship. I felt very much at home because HAL retains a similar floor plan for their public decks. The crew was very friendly and helpful. After trying another cruise line, I truly enjoy seeing the friendly Indonesian and Filipino faces that are a hallmark of Holland America. We took excursions in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica. Enjoyed our visit to a banana plantation in Costa Rica most among the shore excursions. We stayed on the ship during our visit to the Panama Canal and felt we truly got to see lots of the actual workings of the canal. We enjoyed the movie and TV program about the Canal in our cabin prior to our Canal day. A nice HAL touch was the Panama buns and coffee on deck In the early morning. We enjoyed the Billboard Onboard nightly. Pianists could certainly draw a crowd of us oldies that loved the oldies that they played. The only other entertainment that we saw was a marvelous steel drum ensemble “Island Magic” that captivated a large number of passengers. Embarkation and Debarkation were handled with usual HAL precision. We got thru Immigration and outside the terminal just as a thunderstorm passed through. (Welcome back to Florida,) Have already scheduled another cruise on the Nieuw Statendam, so will be looking forward to another great Holland America Cruise! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary that included the Panama Canal and Cartagena. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was a breeze. We landed at FLL around 1:00 and were enjoying a light lunch by 2:00. Disembarkation was also a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary that included the Panama Canal and Cartagena. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was a breeze. We landed at FLL around 1:00 and were enjoying a light lunch by 2:00. Disembarkation was also a breeze. We chose luggage direct and were off the ship by 8:30. Got to the airport a little after 9:00. Our luggage arrived at our final destination, BWI, without incident. The ship had a more laid back vibe, We did not miss the belly flop or wet t-shirt contests. Lounge chairs were at a premium on sea days. You could, however, find a very comfortable deck chair on the Promenade deck. The entertainment was good. The B.B. King All-stars were the best band we have heard on all of our cruises. Listened to them every night they played. The shows in the theater were also good. Drink prices were quite reasonable compared to other cruise lines. The evening special $5.00 martinis at the Billboard Lounge were excellent. Food was uniformly good. We chose anytime dining and only had to wait one night. Service was excellent. The Lido grill served excellent food. Seating could be a challenge at lunch. Canaletto and the Pinnacle Grill were outstanding. The tours in Cartagena, Panama City, and the hacienda tour in Costa Rica were awesome. We had excellent tour guides for all of our tours. We look forward to going back. After 30 cruises, this was our first on HAL. It will definitely not be our last. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We just returned from an absolutely amazing cruise of the Panama Canal. Before we left, I confess I was apprehensive because of some of the reviews I’d read that said the boat was old, that the itinerary wasn’t good, and that the ... Read More
We just returned from an absolutely amazing cruise of the Panama Canal. Before we left, I confess I was apprehensive because of some of the reviews I’d read that said the boat was old, that the itinerary wasn’t good, and that the activities were too few. I couldn’t disagree more, and I honestly have no idea what all the whining is about. Of course, it could be that before the ship was dry-docked last November it was shabby, but it sure isn’t any more. The furniture in the rooms was new, the doors and carpets all appeared new, the public spaces were well-maintained, and the beds were more comfortable than ours at home. That said, if you’re into glam and glitz, huge ships with entire shopping malls and bowling lanes in them, then, true, this is not the boat for you. But what the Zuiderdam does have—and which is way more important—is high-quality, healthy food that isn’t just sugar, salt, and fat rearranged into different shapes; impeccable service in the rooms, dining rooms, kids’ club, spa, casino, and more; quality dance, comedy, music, and magic acts by talented people; almost no lines for anything; and just enough excitement to make each day fun and relaxing. We stayed in room 6017, a balcony room on the Upper Veranda deck. It was perfectly situated for viewing the canal and its feats of engineering as well as the breathtaking jungle canopies filled with toucans and parrots on either side. Our friendly room steward Gede and his assistants did an amazing job of servicing the room in a timely manner and leaving all sorts of whimsical towel-animal creations for our 8-year-old to enjoy. On the canal tour day, we even had breakfast delivered to our room so that we didn’t miss any excitement. (Do work on those scrambled eggs, though.) Our boy was one of probably only 30 kids on the whole boat! Before you decide that this cruise isn’t good for kids, let me tell you how awesome it was for him to have gotten to know the majority of the others by name and be able to play with them in and out of Club HAL throughout the trip. Besides, he enjoyed the Club HAL activities immensely and appreciated all the love and energy the staff members, like Allison and Amanda, put into organizing enriching things for the kids to do. By day, we took advantage of a wide variety of activities. We played lots of bingo, ping pong, and music trivia, all of which the assistant cruise director Alice made super fun, we hung out by the pool, which is the only cruise pool I’ve been in that wasn’t frigid, we gambled on the wide variety of slot machines, and we had spa services. In particular, the hot stone massage and the acupuncture treatments I got from the knowledgeable Lauren Steigmayer were great ways to start the trip off relaxed and healthy. We also took five excursions, two by Holland and three through our booking agent. We enjoyed all the ports of call except for Colon, which was pretty sketchy. But Holland offered excursions from Gatun Lake that made it well worthwhile to stop in Panama. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Panama. You can read detailed reviews of the excursions we took—the Panama monkey island tour and the Everglades airboat tour--on Holland’s web site. The other tours we took were through prestigecruises.com. The photographers did a great job of capturing all our comings and goings without being pushy. By night, we loved having dinner in the dining room with our excellent waiters Dindin and Asep, who were so welcoming to our son. Thanks to the variety of healthy choices, decadent options, and ethnic dishes, we never tired of the food, which we usually do. (I’m on a special diet, so imagine my pleasant surprise on learning that the Lido deck offered gluten free pasta and bread!) The Pinnacle Grill had amazing crab legs, and when we dined there a second time, they were out of crab legs but made up for it with free lobster tail, instead. The entertainment, which I’m usually not too excited about, was surprisingly fantastic. As a former ballet dancer, I’m a tough critic, but I thought the dancers were quite technical and fun to watch. As music goes, we especially enjoyed Billboard Onboard, featuring the dueling pianists Danny and Ian. Ian was so kind to my son, Cameron, playing his requests and encouraging him to stick with piano. We also really liked the BB King All-stars band, the comedian with his dry sense of humor, and the magic act with the adorable Pomeranians. Nick, the cruise director, did a great job of organizing the activities and getting us excited about them. Zuiderdam, we love you and think you deserve this praise. Keep up the great work! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I referred to Cruise Critic A LOT when planning my cruise so I want to return the favor and post my review of our cruise on the Zuiderdam. To give some background- myself and my husband went on this cruise. I am 44 and he is 42. This was ... Read More
I referred to Cruise Critic A LOT when planning my cruise so I want to return the favor and post my review of our cruise on the Zuiderdam. To give some background- myself and my husband went on this cruise. I am 44 and he is 42. This was our first HAL cruise and our 5th cruise total (other cruises were with RCI and Carnival). The ship overall- This ship got a partial refurb last year and I think it shows. It looks great overall! It doesn’t have that wide-eyed WOW factor that you first get/feel when stepping onto other bigger ships we have been on but it is beautiful! It has a classy/refined look overall. There is a lot of art...pictures and sculptures throughout the ship. I loved this and would encourage you to pay attention to all of the fabulous art. The colors of the ship are more neutral..not loud/bright. I preferred the neutral tones. The ship is not glaringly loud. There is music playing in different areas but it isn’t super loud...another thing I really liked. The ship seemed way less packed than other ships...I didn’t feel claustrophobic in public areas! It definitely did not have that spring break/party hard type of feel to it...another plus in my book. The room- We were in a Signature Suite, Room 8059. It was AMAZING! We have always had balcony rooms but this one definitely topped them all. The extra room you got with the Suite and the biogger bathroom was amazing! The balcony was plenty big and had two loungers with a side table and a bistro table with two chairs (we ate room service breakfast out here a lot). The bathroom was so roomy!! I definitely feel spoiled now! Food- Main Dining Room- On our past cruises we tended to eat in the MDR as much as possible, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For this cruise, we found the MDR a bit less appealing. To help with this review I want to add that my husband and I are typical, middle-class people who typically cook at home and go to moderately priced restaurants when we eat out. That said--- we found the food in the MDR to be a bit “fancy” for our tastes. We did eat there most every night and most nights there was something that sounded good (prime rib, etc) but a lot of the menu just didn’t appeal to us. Things we really liked were the Prime Rib, French Onion Soup, any of the “Crisp” desserts (Cherry Crisp, Peach Crisp, etc). Lido- I think the Lido buffet on this cruise is the best Lido buffet we have experienced. I love how there are different areas (Bistro, Italian, Salad Station, Asian, etc). and I love that they serve you instead of the typical buffet style. We tried the pasta station where you ‘create’ your own pasta dish...and this was excellent! I loved the salad station and my hubby loved the dessert section. The biggest drawback (that can be easily avoided) is that if you try to go the the Lido at noon..it is PACKED! Like in an annoying/miserable kind of way. So...we just learned to go early (11:00) or to go later (1:00 or later). This solved the problem wonderfully! Dive-In- The is the burger/hot dog spot. It is only open until 5pm (which is way too early, IMO). We tried a couple of the burgers, one of the hot dogs, and the cheese fires. The burgers were delicious!!! The Cheese fries were fabulous!!! There will be a wait after you place your order...but it is worth the wait!! Room Service- We used Room service for breakfast on a few occasions and for late nights “snacks”. We found the breakfast food to be very very good...and the other foods to be OK. It is definitely nice to have coffee delivered to your room in the mornings..so take advantage of this service! Pinnacle Grill- We chose to try the Pinnacle Grill for lunch one day. The cost is $10 per person. We did this on the last sea day of the cruise. It was AMAZING for only $10!! I think if we had tried it earlier on we probably would have eaten there more than once! I can’t review the dinner (which is $35/pp), but it is definitely worth it for the lunch! Entertainment- We went to several of the evening shows and found most of them to be entertaining. We LOVED the comedian and the Steel Drums Band show! The illusionist and the song/dance shows were worth watching as well! As far as daily entertainment..we loved the America’s Test kitchen shows. There were usually two per day on sea days (different topics at each). We also enjoyed the BBC Eart showings and watch a great live game show that the cruise director hosted. I will say that although we were never bored...a bit more variety of options during the day on sea days would have been welcome. If you don’t like cooking, BBC Earth, Windows classes, or Bingo you may not be happy with the daily selections. But again--- we were never bored and wondering what to do! We also loved the option of in-room movies!! Take the time to really explore the offerings on hour TV..and check back throughout the cruise because they add new movies after they are shown on the main stage. Overall- Overall, we had a great time and we will definitely consider cruising with HAL again in the future! For cruises where we take our children, I think we will stick with RCI or Norwegian because this one did not really Cater to children But, as an adult who is ‘over’ the party scene...this was a wonderful, relaxing cruise!! Read Less
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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