2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
ITINERARY is the reason to pick Holland America Line. However, we both came home sneezing and coughing because of the airco in the cabin that is placed right over the bed and cannot be shut off. This was also the case two years ago ... Read More
ITINERARY is the reason to pick Holland America Line. However, we both came home sneezing and coughing because of the airco in the cabin that is placed right over the bed and cannot be shut off. This was also the case two years ago when we also sailed with Zuiderdam but we figured this major problem would have been solved after the ship had been refurbished. But NO. We were certainly not the only people complaining about this problem and I would never book such a ship again. Service, food choice had also declined in two years. The menu was cut down, no more surf and turf, or baked Alaska. I do not mind paying for lobster ($20) but the quality was poor, lobster was small, hard and tasteless. Other dishes failed to impress as was the case earlier. Now the service has always been excellent, but also here they started dropping the ball, almost constantly. Three times our wine got lost and most dinner they were unable to serve us wine with first course, which is really a shame. Also on deck nine staff sometimes unfriendly, and hardly willing to serve. A great let down! We are going again with HAL in September on Koningsdam and on New Statendam service was better and the airco could be shut off, we always take veranda cabin to get in fresh air. Cabin staff was fine and we like the older look of Zuiderdam too but they really must get their act together and stop counting pennies. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The destination and also wanted to see how good the silver line sailing was, first day entering the cabin we were allocated the toilets were not properly cleaned. We had to buy water which is a bare minimum when you see the cost.Even ... Read More
The destination and also wanted to see how good the silver line sailing was, first day entering the cabin we were allocated the toilets were not properly cleaned. We had to buy water which is a bare minimum when you see the cost.Even in remote places in India and Peru hotels provide bottled water for health reasons.No here it cost $27 for 6 litres of water. The entertainment was so sad the mainstage had only about 3 days of worth while entertaining! 2 good british acts ( one singer/entertainer Martin Kay and another comedian juggler) the dance troupe first production was so dated but the second was more modern and good ! The BB King Jazz team was good and entertaining! but only a few limited numbers. The billboard pianists were very good too. The classical shows were just ok.Like listening to you children performing at a term end concert. The Cruise director was non existence (very sad compared to NCL) the cruise captain was fabulous and kept the passengers well informed. The food at the Lido and dining room was the only saving grace! The burger by the pool is not worth mentioning! Such dry burgers ! The drinks were expensive but thanks for the happy hour!After charging excessive amounts still want passengers to pay a daily gratuity.Disgusting! If you are over 75 and have plenty of cash and want to retire to the staterooms by 7 this is a cruise ship for you.Spa the prices are three times at NCL.For meditation class 312.what a laugh Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 days we had music at the Ocean Bar twice, one great show with Ikos Lakis and his Saxsophon which was as always magnificent. The rest of the shows were comedians than couldn't make anyone laugh, a piano player which was just o.k.. The Pinnacle Grill was the best food in the ship, as always. Excellent food and service. The dinning room food was o.k. twice I had to send my salmon back be cause was not even half cook. The best part of the dinning room were the servers, as always excellent service. My husband went a few times to the Lectures which he enjoyed. I went to American Test Kitchen which was very good. The ports. Bermuda was o.k. Pria de Vitoria was empty, not much to do. The Baltic stops were fantastic Amsterdam, Sudden, Belgium, Cherbourg France, Tallin, Berlin, Kiel, and the best by far 2 days in St. Petersburg, all amazing ports. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, ... Read More
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, Princess, NCL, Carnival, Royal Carib.I'm mid 50s but it was like an Alaska Cruise, I felt young and thin Manicure/pedicure was great. Young gal said this was actually the youngest group she'd seen in 4 months. I did miss the energy of the other boats but Everyone was super friendly, staff and cruisers. Room was large. Ship is going in for refurbishment and that is good. It's needed. Now to food. Honestly, it was ok. I didnt like the Lido because there was a line for everything. I get cutting down on germs but it was a pain waiting to ask for most anything hot. Not just omelettes and waffles. Dining rooms always better. My favprite breakfast dining room is still Carnival, go figure. Dinners were nice, but not as good as Princess, Carnival or Royal. Similar to Norwegian. Workout area was also subdued machines weren't individual tv/music, so not at nice. Would I go again. Entertainment was nice. Not as lively again and not as much to do, but you can only do one thing at a time anyway. Would I go again. Sure. What's not to love about doing whatever you want , someone cooking for you and chocolates at night. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We were looking very much forward to this cruise starting with 11 days in Central America and the Panama Canal. After that we did cross the Atlantic ending up in Copenhagen. When we were checking in, we were very well taken care of by ... Read More
We were looking very much forward to this cruise starting with 11 days in Central America and the Panama Canal. After that we did cross the Atlantic ending up in Copenhagen. When we were checking in, we were very well taken care of by a Norwegian man. Entering the ship was a little less pleasant. The staff showing you onboard was not at all polite. Ok we expected to have a glass of champagne, when getting onboard, but no. For the first time ever on cruises (first time with HAL) there wasn't a glass of bobbles as a welcome. Our cabin was not ready yet, so we went up for some lunch. After lunch we went down to our cabin and could get in. The first thing we did was trying to put something in the small bedside table. The top drawer. In there there was some used napkins. We were surprised, but removed them. Then we found out, the small tabel in front og the sofa was really dirty. We called the cabin attendant and he came and we told what we were disappointed about. He found a wet cloth and wiped away the dust on the foot of the table. The top of the table was sticky, so we wanted that clean as well. We then saw, there was a table knife in the chair placed in front of the desk. When we got our suitcases and was unpacking we found some chocolate under the bed. Not at all ok cleaning. We didn't feel it was done at all better than what they was supposed to do every day, yes even worse. We thought it had to be reported to the head of the cleaning of the cabins, so we went to guest relations and a very polite and helpful young man from Austria took report and said he was very sorry. Later the head of cabins came and required the two cabin attendants to do a full and complete cleaning of the cabin. He offered us a bottle of wine as compensation. Later the guy from guest relations came with some fine chocolate as well. The temperature in our cabin was terrible, above 25 degree Celcius. A man from the repair department tried to mend it, but no matter what we did with scale there was no change. He would do something with the entire system, but when we came back after dinner, there was no change. We went down to guest relations again and they regretted and would send a new man. We said that otherwise we would come back to guest relations and sleep on the floor, as the temperature was fine here. The temperature was after a couple of days better, but we could still not regulate it. And some days later, we had the same problem again with too high temperature. Later in the cruise - on the second cruise - the opposite was the case with the temperature. One day it was less than 16 degree C. We complained again, and now it wasn't easy to get the temperature higher. Finally - five days before we ended up in Copenhagen - they managed to fix the aircondition. We could raise and lower the temperature. What a relief. But like the rest of the cabins it was not possible to turn off the airconditioning. Old ship! One day while we were laying on a sunbead by the pool we saw a man in the spa. He went in with his clothes and shoes and what was even worse, he was all the time spitting in the hot water. I went and told him to stop spitting as it was a source to people getting sick, if he had a disease. It would explosively grow in the very hot water. The man started screaming, that I was insulting and bothering him. He was really screaming. There is no pool-attendants at all by the pool, only waiters trying to sell drinks. Is that ok? we don't think so. The man went up of the spa and went to one of the waiters and talked to him. What they were discussing we don't know. After a while a very polite and pleasant man came and asked what happened. I told the story and he said they would make a report and I would get a copy. They knew who the man was. Later a couple of officers came. The went to the ladies from the beauty salon and talked to them. Then they came and asked for my version of the incident. They also said a report would be made. While they were talking to me an elderly American lady went into the spa and she was wearing outdoor sandals in the spa. No-one said anything to her. For several days we did not see the man in the spa, but some of the last days on the cruise he was back. He was still wearing jogging clothes and shoes when he went into the spa, and no-one of the staff did say anything. No-one was taking any notice of what was happening in the pool and spa. That is absolutely not ok and not something we have experienced before on cruisen on other shipping companies. On the first part of the cruise there was a show team onboard. This is also what we are used to from other cruises. The team disembarked in Fort Lauderdale, but we were sure a new team would board to the next cruise. No. Only entertainers was there. Some very good and some quite poor and without any experience. Only a couple of nights impressed. The wine, beer and drinks are very expensive. A drink-package is around 50$ per day for the cheapest. Much more expensive than what we have experienced elsewhere. On for instance Celebrity the drink package is included if you have an outer cabin or veranda cabin. The staff gratuity is not included in your ticket. You have to pay 14,5$ per person per day. Take that into consideration when you compare prices for different cruises, as it is included in some cruises, for instance in Celebrity cruises. All the staff in the dinner room is from either Philipines or Indonesia. Most are very polite and helpful, but many are not good enough understanding and speaking English. Some of the wine waiters do probably never taste wine, being Muslims. How can you then advice what is good for the food? The ship is built in 2002 and it seems as if there has been no upgrading since then. It is "tired" and really needs some renovation. We will most likely not travel with Holland America line again. We will choose Celebrity or something even better. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We went on a Panama Chanel Cruise in March 2019. Here are our good and less impressive experiences from our trip. Stateroom: We lived in a veranda on the 10th floor. Beautiful view. The stateroom was really nice. We were supposed to be ... Read More
We went on a Panama Chanel Cruise in March 2019. Here are our good and less impressive experiences from our trip. Stateroom: We lived in a veranda on the 10th floor. Beautiful view. The stateroom was really nice. We were supposed to be 4 people in our cabin why they arranged 4 beds the first evening – 2 regular beds, one bed coming down from the ceiling and the sofa was changed to a bed. The last bed made it difficult to get to the veranda but it was only arranged as a bed at night time – not optimal but I prefer that solution compared to the solution with 2 beds coming from the ceiling as we have experienced before as you almost need to be an acrobat moving back and forth in the stateroom. As we were only 3 they only arranged the bed from the ceiling at night and moving around even at night was no problem at all. The bathroom was great and big with a nice bathtub. There was a nice TV with plenty of both life TV, movies and more available. The TV was somewhat small but did it’s purpose. The staff was friendly but not very effective e.g. they never removed dirty dishes from the room – we needed to put them outside the stateroom to avoid the smell and have our small stateroom properly organized. Dinning: The food was generally okay – great during gala nights but below expectation other nights. It was a big disappointment we were charged extra on gala nights to get an extra serving!! We ended up with anytime dinning but ended up eating most night at the same section i.e. getting the same servers which was nice. The afternoon tea in the dining room was really nice The buffet on the Lido deck was nice but that section was severely under dimensioned. At most meals we had to walk around for a long time to find a table. It was also understaffed, or the staff was not properly trained – you were lucky to get a drink 5 minutes after asking. Resulting in us going after our drinks our self. The drink section was poorly arranged making it difficult to get a drink – had they swapped the drink machines and the glass/cups then more people would have been able to get drinks at the same time!! In our opinion then they utilize the boat poorly – there are many areas where there was almost nobody – why not remove many of the redundancies at the buffet, make more tables and then more food options other places on the boat?? My son went many times disappointed to get an ice cream – the ice cream shop opens and closes with the rest of the buffet – why??? The had a great Dive-In shop with fantastic burgers and hot dogs – my oldest sons favorite. Unfortunately, the Dive-In was next to the buffet so no seats Entertainment: We were disappointed by the entertainment. Some of the shows at the main theater were spectacular others were okay but disappointing they substitute an evening with a movie shown in poor quality – really!! The varieties of activities were below expectations – everyday was almost the same which is nice if you like bingo, trivial and cooking show but … They had some sport activities which we liked to join – some of them were great and some of them – yeah it seems like they forgot – nobody showed up to organize. We somehow got an activity going but … We knew Zuiderdam is a smaller boat, but the entertainment director could have done better e.g. ice sculpturing, magic show, parrots, juggler and a lot more. Amenities: The two pools were nice and deep enough to swim and play though small. There were many hot tubs which we enjoyed as well They had a giant chess board – we played it once risking our health – the board was not properly fastened and very slippery – again one of the many small but important details which would not cost them much to ensure was proper, but it was not taken care of Two nice table tennis located in a corner giving as little wind as possible – very nice The Explorations Central on deck 10 was impressive. Great view, games, books, monitors showing details about the boat and how it was operated. Large interactive touch screens showing highlights of the destinations and tour description. We really enjoyed that a lot. The HAL club was nice – fairly small but there were less than 10 kids on the boat so it did its purpose at our trip – not sure how it would work on a trip with more kids?? The staff there were amazing. My boys did not spend much time there, but they were always in the middle of some activities they were excited about when I picked them up. I enjoyed staying there for a little while following the activity waiting for a good time to break off – big respect for the staff there They could easily have utilized areas almost vacant throughout the cruise for more exciting activities – a strong recommendation from us. Overall: A nice trip with interesting destination but too many shortcuts from Holland American making the trip overall disappoint and not worth the money – we will search other cruise lines for our next cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this particular Panama Canal cruise for the itinerary. The ship stopped in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica, in addition to traveling through the canal, which were all new ports for us. After reading reviews, I did not expect a ... Read More
We chose this particular Panama Canal cruise for the itinerary. The ship stopped in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica, in addition to traveling through the canal, which were all new ports for us. After reading reviews, I did not expect a "new" ship, but since it had been in dry dock less than 2 years ago, I figured it would be okay. My husband and I have taken about 10 cruises over the years, and this was our first Holland America cruise. The cruise before ours had a norovirus outbreak, and we received an email the day before embarkation alerting us to a late embarkation due to their need to sanitize the ship. A bit disconcerting to say the least, but we preserved. As a result, embarkation was a bit hectic due to the larger crowds boarding the ship at the same time. The embarkation agent forgot to give us the activities planner for embarkation day, which we did not realize until much later, when we did not find any information in our cabin. After asking our room steward for the activities information we kept hearing others speak of, it was only then that we realized we were missing information. That did not start us off on the right foot, but we let that go and had a nice evening. The first stop was Half Moon Cay, the private island of HAL. There was another ship on the island that day as well, so it was extremely crowded. The ship arrived around 8:30, and after disembarking and being tendered over at 10:00, the clam shells we had signed up for (and paid for) were nearly gone. We had to walk a VERY long way down the beach, speak with a variety of (grumpy and inattentive) personnel at stations along the way to continue to direct us to some open clam shells. We stayed on the beach for a couple of hours -- which WAS beautiful -- then decided to head back to the ship. The thought of fighting for a meal with so many on the island was unappealing. Not the most auspicious start to our much anticipated cruise. Recommendation for Half Moon Cay - many of the loungers are under trees and are nicely shaded. Save your money and do not get a clam shell. We would not have had to walk so far if we wanted a free lounger in the shade. The next day was a sea day, and we attended a wonderful wine tasting. The day was really relaxing and enjoyable. The following days at the various ports of call were fine and we enjoyed Aruba and Curacao. Going through the Panama Canal is an experience not to be missed. We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the experience, and we very happy with the day. We opted to get off the ship in Colon "just to say we were in Panama." We spent about 10 minutes there and got back on the ship. Not a nice place, to say the least. Unfortunately, it was POURING rain in Costa Rica. We did go on a canal tour, but honestly, it was pretty miserable due to the weather. It was raining so hard, it was hard to see into the jungle at times, and we were just plain wet. No one's fault, to be sure, but it did take much of the enjoyment away from that day. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable, and we met some wonderful people with whom we dined with and enjoyed our time with on sea days. Our experience in the main dining room was EXCELLENT. The staff was warm and accommodating. We had anytime dining, and never had to wait more than 5 minutes to be seated. And as the cruise went on, we went to dinner with a group of other couples, and were easily and quickly accommodated. The food was varied and tasty. I think there was only 1 night that I was underwhelmed by the choices for the evening. The wine stewards were helpful and accommodating as well. We had ordered a wine package which we felt was a good value. However, there were some problems that HAL needs to address, and we did tell them so in our survey response to HAL. 1. Maintenance: It was VERY disruptive the amount of maintenance that was ongoing during the cruise. There was the smell of paint/varnish several times when sitting and relaxing on our veranda. Also, one day after arriving back on ship, we grabbed a meal in the Lido and went to sit outside to enjoy our meal. Amazingly, there was LOUD banging and sanding/sawing going on right above the area where the tables were -- so that option of where to sit outside was totally out of the question. WHY?? And to our shock, one day when we had just arrived in a port and were readying to leave our cabin, all of a sudden a man was on our veranda hosing down the entire deck, and he was opening all the dividers and washing all the decks on our side of the ship. No warning given at all by anyone. All the cushions were soaked, as was a beach towel we had left on a chair. We were flabbergasted to say the least! If maintenance such as this needs to be done - and it so disruptive to those of us who have paid a considerable amount of money to enjoy a vacation - this ship should spend a week out of rotation to be attended to. Much of this was "routine" maintenance, not something that broke while at sea. We found this unacceptable that we were forced to endure noxious fumes and "wet paint" as well as sanding/noise etc. on various decks. 2. Lido Dining: Okay, so Lido is the buffet/cafeteria style dining. I do understand one has to pack some patience for the buffet, We went there for lunch when on the ship, and for breakfast on days when we were heading out early for an excursion. . But the drink stations were woefully inadequate - there were only 2 for the entire dining room. That means only 2 water filling spots for a ship that had 1,700 people on board. Waiting in line for a glass of water, from machines that trickled out water (thus the line) and the ice machine that was frequently empty, was inexcusable. We did discover that the staff in the eating area inside would bring you water (they had pitchers), but they were busy with lots of folks, and it was hard to get them to focus to get to your table. We really did feel that we had to "work too hard" just to get a glass of cold water during dining times. Also, while in ports where we had early calls, they did open the Lido earlier than usual so we could get breakfast -- the problem was they only opened half the available stations, so the lines were VERY long, and the staff was fairly inefficient. This made for a stressful start to a vacation day - as we were on a time schedule to make our excursions. Fellow cruisers: We are in our late 50's and had plenty of company. There were very few younger than us, however, and there were plenty older. Disembarkation: We opted to take our own luggage and leave as soon as they allowed as we had a morning flight. This was the quickest disembarkation we ever experienced. From the time they let us off the ship to arriving at Ft. Lauderdale airport less than 30 minutes. No stress at all! Overall, in spite of some "head shaking" worthy circumstances, we really did overall enjoy our vacation. We chose to focus on the positive. Interesting ports of call, meeting wonderful people whom we hope to remain in contact with, and for the most part, very accommodating and caring staff. Was it the best cruise experience we ever had - no - but honestly, when we reflect back on the trip, it was a good trip overall, one that we were happy we took. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed on well over 20 cruises with most main cruise lines. Carnival, Princess, NCL, but mostly with Celebrity which we have elite status. Celebrity did not offer a partial Panama Canal transit, so we opted for HAL on the ... Read More
We have sailed on well over 20 cruises with most main cruise lines. Carnival, Princess, NCL, but mostly with Celebrity which we have elite status. Celebrity did not offer a partial Panama Canal transit, so we opted for HAL on the Zuiderdam with 22 of our friends and family. To a person, we all said we wouldn’t book another HAL cruise, as we were disappointed with the lack of activities that interested our group. Most of us are around 65-70 and one couple in their 30’s. PROS: Boarding the ship was the easiest we have experienced. We parked the car at Park N Go (great experience) and were taken to the ship about 11:30. We checked in immediately and were group #13 to board. They were boarding 9 when we got there and were called in no more than 5 minutes after using the restroom. The best part was the rooms were ready immediately so we could drop off our carry on before seeking a libation and lunch. It was especially nice since we brought on 2 bottles of wine and a 12 pack of water in a small roller bag. The luggage was delivered to the room within a couple of hours. The ship is lovely. Not fancy, but clean & well cared for. The only place I noticed wear and tear evident was on our cabin balcony. There were rust spots and the one deck chair really needed to be replaced. The crew were great. Very helpful. Always smiling, good service. By far HAL’s biggest asset. Several of the crew mentioned that HAL really treated the staff well, and they have many long term employees. The captain was very visible around the ship and seemed very approachable. A+++ for the crew . Best entertainment I have seen at sea was the Island Magic steel band. They played two days. The first was a mix of show tunes and classical. I know, classical steel drums, right? It was just awesome. If you have the opportunity to see them, don’t miss it. We did not purchase a drink package. However, at various hours and at different venues, there was Happy Hour, which meant buy one drink, get the same for $2 more. We took advantage of that, so that kept our bill quite reasonable. We enjoyed all of the ports. The itinerary was good. The excursion talks were very good and interesting. Half Moon Cay is awesome. I did have a very good lunch there on jerk chicken and salads. Curaçao is beautiful. We did a Tuk Tuk tour through Viator that was really fun. Aruba is fun, but we arrived late due to windy conditions. Panama was fantastic. Don’t miss the Panama rolls served on deck 4, the bow of the ship, during the transit. Costa Rica was very interesting and we enjoyed our Canal our there. CONS: I know food is subjective. We are not fussy eaters. I had heard that HAL food was pretty good. We were disappointed in the dining room food and selection. I can’t say that I had one memorable meal, and had several that I’d like to forget. I know you can always order something else, but I just won’t do that. The food was served hot, which is good, but sometimes that meant things were dried out, like the potatoes. We went to the Pinnacle Grill one evening. Even that was hit or miss. My steak was good, my husband’s and our friend’s were rather tasteless. LIdo food was much better and the hamburgers and fries from Dive In were really good. I didn’t lose any weight, but it was just disappointing to look forward to a nice dinner and not having one. Our biggest complaint and why we will not do another HAL cruise was the lack of activities that we enjoyed. No music around the pools, no dancing in the evening, no silly games to participate or watch others do. The gift shops were closed for the first 5 days of our trip for remodeling. So no shopping. And when they did open, a lot of the shelves were empty. Finally, on the next to the last day of the cruise, there was a deck sale. It was all items you could have used during the cruise like hats, coverups, totes, jewelry. People were flocking all over that. The casino is small and the slot machines weren’t paying much. Most evenings there was only one black jack table open. BB King’s was good, but not always playing when you were looking for entertainment. Anyway, all 24 of us were always trying to find something to do, so for the first time in over 20 cruises, I was bored. We were bored. As I mentioned, we are no spring chickens, but this cruise definitely skewed much older than us. I suppose the 10 day itinerary and Panama Canal was of more interest to that crowd. We didn’t see much of the cruise director and the port shopping guy wasn’t very interesting. SUMMARY: We had a nice time but if asked, I wouldn’t recommend a HAL cruise to a friend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This was my 25th cruise and my first with HA my sister was her first and having nothing to compare with she is more leaneant than I am With ther evaluation of the cruise. I had the impression that HA are trying to updgrade the services ... Read More
This was my 25th cruise and my first with HA my sister was her first and having nothing to compare with she is more leaneant than I am With ther evaluation of the cruise. I had the impression that HA are trying to updgrade the services with newer way of doing things so they picked up a little bit from each cruise lines offers them but do not quite master the process. From my perception still a long way to go to top certain cruise lines with more cultural feartures. Example: there were beautiful art work on the ship why not offer a free showing on what they represent, something on the authors or artist; meanings etc. Ship’s 10th floor is not easily accessible so if you want to purchase shore excursions you have to find them first. Why not put them on the 1st floor with information desk and newpapers? Cabins: Our room was super clean and maintained that way all through the cruise with Faisal and Oom our room stewards. Those who complain about an obstructed view need to know that there is an extra cost to get the non obstructuve view. Beds very comfortable, lots of movies, information on flat screen tv; lots of closet space; bathroom with bath, lots of how water, and shower big shower head. The ship showed its age in many places but inside cabins and some areas have been redurbished in 2017. On our balcony, there was rust and the oustside chairs extremelly stained and one was covered with a more stained fabric made us wonder how much it would cost to buy new ones considering the cost of the trip. Dining: Main dining room on the 2nd and 3rd in the back of the ship made it easy to travel from our room to the dining room as we were 8th floor in the back so an elevator hop and we were there.The dining room director Alfan and his assistant Krisna went out of there way to please us. I am scealiac and found it very difficult to find food with no gluten as the menus did not indicate in what there was gluten I was sick at the beginning and was asked to choose the meal for the next night something I did not want to do so chose to eat at Canaletto ($15 each night extra) on the 9th floor next to the Lido. A small restaurant, no more than 75 places, with Denise as the Lido manager who made sure with the executive chef that my food was not contaminated with other flours.and his team in the dining room. I am not a fan of cafeteria food and could not eat at the lido when I missed the dining room lunch I would have a salad with all kinds of ingredients: very good but always the same very little variety. Pineaccle is the other specilaty restaurant grill meat and sea food. We went twice but returned very quickly to Canaletto. Be aware that if you choose the select dining approach you will be asked to eat before 6pm or after 8h30pm. There are no other timeframes that can be provided. I always choose that on other ships and never had a problem to eat at 6h30 ou 6h45. At the Canaletto I was able to eat at the time I wanted to. Entertainement and activities: Music awesome and for every taste. Classical offered live in a small salon where a sign was showing quiet please live performance The Classical musicians were fabulous and did play a variety of offerings even accompanied documentaries of Planet earth I did not miss those! 2 pianist and awesome signers Aidan and Meaghan who sang wonderfully and asked for requests. Aidan immitated Elvis and Meaghan had more of a country signer voice sang Patsy Kline and other great signers wonderfully. Too bad this music was next to the casino we could hear the bells and all noises coming from there. The entertainers are very dedicated in involving everyone. We were encouraged to sign with them and some danced. Test kitchen during the day with lots of information from the captain. Other that Royal C, I have not seen a captain so present he was very reassuring a no nonsense person with a nice sense of humor. Safety: There was constant maintenance going on. Buzzing and drilling, cables hanging from the ceiling as well as mineral wool on the floor. My sister slipped and hurt herself quite badly we should have been instructed that the front of the ship which was opened for the crossing at Panama was wet! Wood treatment with epoxy next to the pool is at the height of the day when people were sunning and swimming had a strong chemical odor; elevator stopped from the 9th floor to the 6th never heard why no notice at all! Unacceptable. The drill took more than 45’ I could assuredly tell you that with the quantity of challenged and less mobile people on the ship it would be disastreous if there was an evacuation. Service: Intended to go the morning stretch but never found the so called gym! Trying to make my way there past the pool everything became a commercial fare: was asked to do an imprint of my feet. Anti aging talks were commercials for skincare. They even do botox and fillers! And teeth whitening! Bought my sister a good oil and get for her back after the accident got so much pressure to have her go in for assessment and massages and accupuncture...just decided to short cut them when possible. If you own a time share you will get my jist as they pressure you to buy another one and go to meetings by promising all kinds of free promotions that lead into a big expense. There were no passenger participation activities! Specifically no talent show., trivial pursuit or other. This was the first cruise I was on where they didn't have, at the very least, Karaoke! Very different that other cruises. Our Shore excursions: two 3 hours excursions with Holland were okish and quite expensive nothing Special to write about would not repeat the experience or encourage it. Having been on that cruise with Celebrity I had done the zip lining in Costa Rica, the Panama City tour which are very good. Colon should not be a port stop it is extremelly dangerous, lots of drugs and promiscious night life looking for the balcony looked like a ghost town with run down hotels and buildings. I am sure there were other places we could have stopped to pick up the people who took the shore excursions. Love the Fort Lauderdale tour. Gatun lake it so beautiful. Embarkation and disembarkation: Other than river cruises, this was probably the best and most efficient disembarkation i have ever experienced. Cannot say I will not be going on another Holland America Cruise, but not on the Zuiderdam! My next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
there was many disappointing things on the cruise. And a lot of excellent things. The staff was amazing her room stores were exceptional everyone seemed very friendly. The food was very average gnome memorable meals. We had prime rib one ... Read More
there was many disappointing things on the cruise. And a lot of excellent things. The staff was amazing her room stores were exceptional everyone seemed very friendly. The food was very average gnome memorable meals. We had prime rib one night was very good, had steak it was tough and seasoned odd. Breakfast want anything special. The entertainment on mainstage was OK the comedian was excellent only there one day, he was an improv comedian working off the audience which was excellent. Then to piano players a young woman and a young gentleman that played the duration of the cruise they were amazing unbelievable very enjoyable to listen to. it seems like most of the day planned activities during the day on the ship were trying to sell you some thing a spa treatment or shoe inserts. The most disappointing thing was for afternoons our cabin had a strong paint smell which they were painting in different parts of the ship and it went to do the air conditioning system . And there was a couple days they were working on the electrical system outside the cabin banging away. We called and voiced our concerns and were told they were trying to improve the ship for future cruises, didn’t seem to care about us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
had nothing to do and wanted to get away from family for thanksgiving, so took son on a cruise. getting on was a breeze and a lot of very friendly people were at the cruise port to check us in. you ain't gonna travel with the ... Read More
had nothing to do and wanted to get away from family for thanksgiving, so took son on a cruise. getting on was a breeze and a lot of very friendly people were at the cruise port to check us in. you ain't gonna travel with the people in the sales brochure. granted, for these prices you get what you pay for. baby with no diaper in pool, 600 slow moving scooters, smart casual(if adhered to) means a clean t shirt with no relish stains from mcdonalds. if i spent many thousands on this cruise expecting gentrified shipmates i probably would have escaped in aruba. we coined the daily movement at the lido restaurant as the lido shuffle, an odd quarter step dance moving aimlessly, constantly changing direction but moving very slowly. not that most guest were not kind and mostly friendly, as was the crew. always ate in the dining room for dinner which was was not as bad as some people have written.. son had steak every night and it was not bad. very friendly staff exect for a few. colon is horrible. limon is horrible. if you tend to adhere to contract terms you will probably be frustrated. twice we have waited for stragglers getting to the boat very late after stated departure times despite the clearly stated terms otherwise. the boat is a very nice size and i wish they would keep the ship in good repair. on my balcony the varnish is gone from the railing and there is a massive amount of rust showing on various surfaces. the panama canal portion is a joke. you go through, park about 1000 yards in, then return to colon to pick up the excursion crowd. it would be nice if they would clearly state this..... i half expected to cruise the lake a little and look at some monkeys. i honestly don't know how people can drink and gamble all day on these things. if you don't spend your kids' birthright on these vices i think 11 days is a little long Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because of the Panama Canal partial passage.Getting on ,and back of the ship was handled efficiently. Food was reasonable. Our biggest ,and nastiest , problem was a liquid that kept coming up from the grout lines in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Panama Canal partial passage.Getting on ,and back of the ship was handled efficiently. Food was reasonable. Our biggest ,and nastiest , problem was a liquid that kept coming up from the grout lines in the tile floor from the Lido buffet restaurant the first few days on the cruise.It was not adequately kept clean for quite a while.Cabin was sufficient and kept clean.Shows were good, especially the Steel band from Trinidad.Ship is clearly dated, lots of fogged up windows because of cracked panes and broken seals between panes.Crew were friendly and efficient. I would not cruise with HAL again, I had really expected a better experience. I would not recommend this cruise if you have young children, I believe the average age of the passengers was at least 65 years.The choice of shore excursions was extensive. I recommend the Canal experience excursion where you are taken by bus towards the Pacific Ocean and then go by boat through the locks on that side. It is pricey but I guess it is not cheap to go through the locks. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We went on this cruise - Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena, Panama Canal (+Colon), Puerto Limon Costa Rica & back to Fort Lauderdale - to spend time with some American friends too unwell to do a conventional ... Read More
We went on this cruise - Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena, Panama Canal (+Colon), Puerto Limon Costa Rica & back to Fort Lauderdale - to spend time with some American friends too unwell to do a conventional tour or long-haul trip with us. The ship was mid-sized - just under 2000 people - and didn't feel particularly crowded, though the demographic was definitely ‘older’. It was also very stable - the only time we felt even a mild pitch was on the last sea day. The staff were almost without exception really friendly and helpful, and the service overall was very good. Our verandah cabin on deck 6 was comfortable if a little cramped, and they'd used the space well; under-bed stowage was particularly useful. The food in the main dining room was generally good, with 1 or 2 exceptions, and the waiters particularly friendly. We also found the crew - the Captain and his officers - friendlier, more engaging & more in evidence than on other cruises we've been on. We ate dinner only once outside the main dining room, and the experience was not good. We booked "Rudi's Sel de Mer", a pop-up seafood restaurant in their Pinnacle Grill, at an extra $45 a head. The food was just OK - the bouillabaisse came in a plastic bag(?!), cut open at the table, the lobster tails were pleasant but unexceptional and the desserts reasonable, but the wine list was very limited and fiendishly expensive, the service slow and poor and the food lukewarm. Getting things like bread on the table seemed to be an almost-impossible feat for them. This was poor value for the $45 supplement, & having experienced the service in what was effectively the Pinnacle Grill, we didn't go back. The Lido buffet restaurant was a scrum at breakfast & lunch - inadequate seating and often long lines at the counters. The breakfast servery seemed rather bizarre - if you want just oatmeal, or just (pre-prepared) bacon & scrambled egg, or a specially-prepared omelette or made-to-order waffles, you join the same line. At lunch, we often managed to grab a table by the front pool & then go into the Lido & come back with food. The Asian options were often good, but I didn't try too many others as the lines were ridiculously long. Drink prices were - as you'd expect - high, and the spa prices astronomical. BEWARE - they have 'info sessions' about pain management, which are simply sales pitches for you to buy over-priced treatments or products. A 'personal trainer' from the gym is pitching GoodFeet orthotics. DON'T BUY FROM HIM! He'll tell you that his $199 price is up to $100 cheaper than elsewhere, & that his products will last for 10-15 years. These statements are UNTRUE; we visited a GoodFeet store in Delray Beach after the cruise & discovered that the orthotics he sells are the cheapest in their range, cost the same $199 and last for 2 years at most. If you're interested and live in the 'States, buy them back home, where you'll get a much better service. And don't do the acupuncture. I went for what I understood would be a 'consultation', which anywhere else would be a free-of-charge precursor to actual treatment, while they understood your issues and planned the sessions for you. Next thing I knew, I was on the couch with a load of needles in me, wired up to electricity. The 'therapist' then LEFT THE ROOM - just as my thigh muscle started to go into spasm! And they wanted to charge me $169 for this. AVOID! I've had great acupuncture (which this wasn't) for much, much less. The entertainment was a bit mixed. The 2 pianists at Billboard Onboard (especially Noah, the younger one) were astoundingly good. The bar pianists and the Mainstage dancers were also excellent, what we heard of BB King's All Stars was good, the Island Magic steel band were great and America's Test Kitchen was fun (but very over-subscribed, so arrive early). The Mainstage singers, however, were frequently off-key & the acrobats from Cirque du Soleil did a lot more posturing than actual acrobatics. And we were on board at Halloween, which the ship celebrated by doing - NOTHING! Hardly anyone dressed up, & it was a real disappointment. The EXC excursions were a mixed bag. The Monkey Watch at Gatun Lake seems to have been the best Panama excursion, with a great experience of the Canal & the wildlife. AVOID the one that takes you on through the locks to Panama City - you wait for hours in a small boat shadowing a bigger vessel through the locks, and frankly you see enough of the locks on the journey from the Caribbean to Gatun Lake. (This trip arrived back at the ship over an hour after we should have departed!) The Veragua Rainforest & Tortuguero Canals trip in Costa Rica is good, though the canals themselves are rather disappointing. The Cartagena Sightseeing trip is a waste of time & money if you want to see the World Heritage Old City; you seem to go everywhere BUT this part of town. The 'Eco tour' at Half-Moon Cay was a disappointment - snorkelling may be a better option - and the Aruba snorkelling trip was mediocre. We liked the Curacao 'Beach Express' - the beach was nice, the snorkelling better than in Aruba, and the trip was about the right length. The ship was in Curacao on a Sunday, so virtually EVERYTHING in the historic town was closed - even Diamonds International! Overall this trip suited us well. Our American friends enjoyed the cruise, were able to do everything with us and it wasn't too tiring for them. Embarkation & disembarkation were reasonably straightforward, despite the very hostile security people around the port area. We got to visit 2 places - Colombia and Panama - we'd never been to before, although our time in Cartagena was disappointing. HAL is one of the better cruise lines we've used, though (like the others) the most important piece of equipment on board seems to be the giant vacuum cleaner that sucks additional money from passengers. (For example, the wi-fi was outrageously expensive). Would we cruise with them again? Maybe, but it's a big old World and cruising only gives you a fleeting glimpse of some fascinating places, so it'll be a few years before we cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
There is a cruise vacation out there designed for sedentary people - the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal. If you want to go, you should know that most of the good times will be experienced from a chair. No games on the private island, no ... Read More
There is a cruise vacation out there designed for sedentary people - the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal. If you want to go, you should know that most of the good times will be experienced from a chair. No games on the private island, no band around the pool, little dancing, not even many slot machine players. Hardly anybody out after 9 pm, even though the late shows in the theater don't start until 10pm. And while the very good BB King Rhythm and Blues band was going strong until late just about every night, their audiences were small. My wife and I took this cruise because of the Panama Canal. We considered a trans-canal trip. But at the time I booked, their prices were going up. So we decided to jump in three months earlier than I have ever booked a cruise. I joke that the ship required me to show my grey hair before letting me onboard. But there were only five children on the ship. And one lady who said that her dark hair came out of a bottle. Everybody else - shades of gray. One of the strange things was the folks with walkers who step out in front of people in crowded hallways. There were lots of walkers on the ship. But not all their drivers were so rude. I don't see carelessness like this in the midwest, even with able bodied folks who want to walk quickly. Avoiding running over them on the ship kept me on my toes. I was expecting great food. It was not to be. Breakfast was fine. Other than that, the food in the main dining rooms was poor to middling. Toughest prime rib I've ever tried to cut. My waiter tried to give food advice, and I should have listened to him. The buffet restaurant was horrible, except for the Asian station which had some tasty Thai dishes. For some strange reason the whole buffet area was crowded at every meal. Speaking of pools. They are deserted on this ship. The mid-ship pool has a roof that was generally closed, and which made the area feel like a sauna (as if the tropics needs more heat and humidity). The rear pool was nice for relaxing, except for the clouds of cigar and cigarette smoke that waft across the waters from the smoking section. Our room steward did a good job cleaning up. But after opening the room door several days while we were dressing for dinner, he really should have learned to check the time. The waiters were okay. The assistant waiter was my favorite employee, but unfortunately his main job was to carry food from the kitchen to the wait station. Zuiderdam, if you are reading this, you need to promote Jaja. I don't go out to bars very often, but the bars on the ship were a lot of fun (though of course, sitting down fun.) Happy hour, one at 4:00 and another at 9 pm, had a buy one get one for $2. There was a wine tasting with an inexpensive glass of wine at 5:00. The hors d'ouevres were always interesting. The customers at the bars were the friendliest people on the ship. Yuliya the lady from the deck 1 bar and also the disco person, always had a story about hors d'ouevres; and she was one of the most genuinely happy and friendly people on the ship. Most of the entertainment in the main theater was uninspired. The ship dancers were a big exception - they were really good. And the highly entertaining steel drum band Island Magic played some excellent classical music (and other unexpected genres.) On the other hand, there were some acrobat/dancers who looked like they should have been on Ed Sullivan in 1965 (I see Topo Gigio every time I think about them.) The poorest evening consisted of some old movie. There was a comedian and a magician. The first night was an introduction to entertainment. And there must have been one other night that was even more forgettable. The ship had several other venues. The already mentioned talented BB King band put on a great show almost every night. There was also a piano/string quintet that was quite good. I really enjoyed the cooking demonstrations; they were full of information. Didn't see any of the Oprah shows, and cannot even imagine what they were about. There was a dueling piano show in the casino. And the casino itself was smoke-free, small, and uncrowded. I've got to tell you about the process of going through the Caribbean locks in the canal. Previously, we had been told to be at the front viewing room at 5 am. Then the schedule was changed to 6. I was there, ready to go, coffee and Panama roll in hand. And the windows were so dirty and foggy that they were hard to see through. But a narrator from off the ship came on to describe what we should have been seeing. His first revelation - the ocean is at sea level. It got no better from there. I went to an outside viewing area at the front of the ship, which was already full of passengers. I waited at the side for about an hour, until ship security ran off a bunch of us. Finally went back to my cabin and sat comfortably on the balcony, while the ship just sat in the lower canal. When the ship started moving, I checked out the view again from deck 3. There was nothing much to see; you had to be standing at the very front of deck 4 to even see the lock doors. I could see nothing other than the lock walls slowly sinking. The Zuiderdam cleared the locks about 10:00. We took a really unusual excursion on the canal. The best thing was that we could actually see the workings of the locks. The boat was running late because we kept having to wait for a container ship to catch up and join us in the locks. In the second to last lock, one of the gates opened and we got through, but had to wait for the container ship to get through. After about an hour, the stuck gate opened. The ferry was two hours late by this time, and the passengers got an outstanding sunset cruise in the Pacific Ocean. The private island had a great beach, but it was disappointing that the ship didn't even put up a volleyball net. Went to an Aruba beach that was pretty dirty, but we made up for that experience by having a great seafood dinner at a restaurant near the cruise port. No other excursions. We had a great time walking around Curacao. In Cartagena the heat was so oppresive and taxi drivers so irritating that we refused to leave the port; but that was okay because a small zoo with birds, monkeys and an anteater at the end of the dock was fascinating (I let a parrot climb on my arm, where he proceeded to dismantle my watch). At Puerto Limon, the ship people tried to scare us into not walking around town - we did so anyway, and it was interesting and safe though rather decrepit; we found a vendor selling fresh made empanadas, a park with a sloth high in a tree, a pretty beach, and the best straw-market of the cruise. I wasn't going to rate the exercise facilities. Then I remembered all those walks around the ship on the third deck. It was great. Never windy. Lots of people out walking. There is a running track on the tenth deck, but it is too short to enjoy anything except the act of running. Embarkation was weird. I had gotten an upgrade a couple of days before the cruise was due to leave. The staff on shore didn't seem to know about it, and wanted to give me the old room. Still, got it straightened out and we boarded the ship in plenty of time. Debarkation was great - we were off the ship maybe ten minutes after what had been predicted. Customs didn't even ask what we were carrying. Other non-cruise stuff. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Ramada Inn Airport - Cruiseport; it is a very clean, classic Florida motel from the 1960s, with impeccable shuttles running from the airport and to the cruise port. After the cruise, we rented a car from Enterprise, who seem no longer to claim that "we'll pick you up", at least not at Port Everglades. Drove down to Homestead to the world's best tropical fruit stand - Richard Is Here. Stayed in the downtown Ramada Inn in Fort Lauderdale, which was every bit as funky Florida as the first one. But like a reminder that nothing is perfect, we ended up enduring four hours on the torture devices that American Airline calls seats. The ports were by far the best part of the cruise. Although having cruised in the Caribbean many times, each of these ports was new to me. I would go back to any of them. Considering that I have paid less for a seven day cruise than what the taxes cost on the Panama Canal cruise, I probably won't cruise through the canal again. And if HAL wants me to go on another of their cruises, they will have to convince me that they have improved their food a whole lot. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We went early and explore Quebec City before the cruise. Our hotel-Hotel Le Priori was centrally located and we walked everywhere. Go the the L'Oriyin restaurant which offered organic and local food. The pier was just two blocks ... Read More
We went early and explore Quebec City before the cruise. Our hotel-Hotel Le Priori was centrally located and we walked everywhere. Go the the L'Oriyin restaurant which offered organic and local food. The pier was just two blocks away from our hotel and we walked to the ship on embarkation day. The ship was nice and clean with lots of space for quiet reading and sitting. However, there were not too many things to do in the evening! You can sit and listen to music, but no places to go if you want to go dancing or stay up late. BB Kings was very loud! We went a few times just for something to do, but ended up with headaches each time. The two gentlemen playing at the Bill Board were good, but you just sit around a large area and listen. Crow's nest used to be a nice place to go to for good music and late night drinks. Crow's Nest is now centrally located for people wanting to sit, drink coffee, read and do puzzles. We go up there for the happy hours. So the ship did not offer too much choices for people to choose from in the late evening other than casino. We watched a lot of shows and movies on the TV. Thank goodness we booked a balcony on deck six. At least we could go out and sit when the weather was nice. The shows on board the ship were goods and the staff friendly. Everyone in the dining room were excellent and tried hard to accommodate. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to explore New York for 3 days prior to embarking on our cruise. Embarkation did not go smoothly as we had to utilize Brooklyn Terminal instead of the original Manhatten terminal as the Zuiderdam had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to explore New York for 3 days prior to embarking on our cruise. Embarkation did not go smoothly as we had to utilize Brooklyn Terminal instead of the original Manhatten terminal as the Zuiderdam had sustained some damage and had to be repaired in the Brooklyn Terminal. This made our cab fare more from our hotel where we stayed for 3 nights to the terminal as we had preplanned our hotel bearing in mind we were going to sail out of Manhatten. We were promised an upgrade to an ocean view cabin when we booked our cruise. That never happened despite many visits to Customer Service. Holland America staff were hard to deal with. There were no laundry coin- a-matic machines, so laundry was taken away from your cabin and washed and returned to your cabin for an additional cost dependent on how many bags you had! With respect to dining, food was very good; however, they would not allow us to put our filled plates on a tray, we had to carry our food in our hands and at times this was awkward as other people were doing the same thing till they reached a table to sit down. This was in the Lido room where there is no service at tables except for beverages. In the other dining rooms where we were served by waiters, service was very good and the food was excellent. Entertainment was o.k., have seen better on other cruiseships. Their excursion fares are very pricey! We took mini buses and cabs to see the tourist attractions and saved a lot of money. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We've been on about 5 cruises with HAL because we feel they offer good value for the price as well as good service, food and itineraries. This time we were very disappointed in our cabin which was supposed to be only partially ... Read More
We've been on about 5 cruises with HAL because we feel they offer good value for the price as well as good service, food and itineraries. This time we were very disappointed in our cabin which was supposed to be only partially obstructed but turned out to be fully obstructed by machinery and a tender boat. We were also very disappointed with the food quality which we would rate mediocre at best. To add insult, we saw a rat running on the Lido Deck where the food buffet is set up. Unfortunately we could not recommend the itinerary either as most of the ports in Canada were quite boring and the optional tours were pretty lame unless you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables or Alexander Graham Bell. With the exception of Quebec City, Boston and Bar Harbor, the rest of the itinerary is a snooze. The Zuiderdam, like many of HAL's ships, is beginning to show it's age. On a bright note, the service by staff onboard was very good and the nightly entertainment was also quite good. Sorry to say we will probably be looking at other cruise lines for our next adventure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this Baltic cruise because we liked the 10 day itinerary, with only 2 sea days and starting and ending in Copenhagen. We thought our balcony room was in excellent condition, with fresh paint, nice bedding and carpeting and a ... Read More
We chose this Baltic cruise because we liked the 10 day itinerary, with only 2 sea days and starting and ending in Copenhagen. We thought our balcony room was in excellent condition, with fresh paint, nice bedding and carpeting and a sofa bed in good condition. In the public areas everything had been redone with blue and teal furnishings, and it all looked nice. The ship is older with not a lot of razzmatazz but we knew this ahead of time. The entertainment was mediocre at best-we liked the Billboard piano hits the best, the BBKing music was always too loud to enjoy, and the main stage events were mostly acceptable if unexciting. We enjoyed an American Test Kitchen event and went to a wine tasting. Other than that we did not pursue any onboard activities. We like the open promenade on deck 3 for walking around the outside of the ship. The food in the main dining room was just average, with a couple of good meals mixed with some rather poor options. We had two meals in the Pinnalce Grill with one halibut dinner and one steak dinner that were good but nothing especially memorable. The Cannaletto was the highlight-both our dinners there were delicious and the service was excellent. The lido breakfast and lunch were both nice. Overall I think the food is cruise ship average. Given the reputation for service on HAL we were disappointed. Our room steward twice left dirty dishes/bottles in the room. The wait staff often rushed us, hurrying us to take our orders. The wine steward was slow, and complained about having to check for our open bottle in the dining room At the Pinnacle Grill they twice sat us at terrible tables (which we requested to be changed) even though good tables were very much available. We reserved 6 pm dining over a year earlier but they gave us 8pm dining. We asked to be switched to open dining on the first night in the dining room and they said they would do that. Each time we went to the main dining room they said we had an 8 pm reservation and we had to explain the situation again. Overall, I recommend this cruise for the itinerary, and for those who are not concerned about having a new ship with lots of entertainment options, but will be content with pleasant cabins and a low key atmoshphere. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have been cruising on Holland America now for a number of years and have been on a number of ships cruising North America and all over Europe. This particular cruise departing Copenhagen and visiting Norway, Iceland, Lerwick UK and ... Read More
We have been cruising on Holland America now for a number of years and have been on a number of ships cruising North America and all over Europe. This particular cruise departing Copenhagen and visiting Norway, Iceland, Lerwick UK and the Faroe Islands was overall good but with some negatives as all cruises have. We sailed on the second half of the 24 day cruise called the ""Northern Isles Enchantment Cruise”. which already had some passengers onboard from the Baltic Sea part. The transfer from Copenhagen airport was fine with a 1 ½ hour tour of the city prior to arriving at the cruise terminal where the embarkation was a little chaotic which seems to be the norm lately. The PA system at the terminal was not functioning properly and it was difficult to understand the boarding instructions. Once onboard we noticed that the Zuiderdam was recently renovated and all of the public areas were updated to include our Signature Verandah Suite which was both spacious and comfortable. Our cabin steward quickly appeared to introduce himself and offer any assistance that he could. He did a very good job of locating and delivering our luggage which took some time as apparently it was misdirected. The encountered staff members were very friendly and professional with the exception of 2 or 3 members at the gangway entrance who seemed to be a little frazzled with the new passenger arrivals and were a little snippy with directions. After settling in to our cabin we went to the main dining room to make our “Open Dining” reservation and quickly found out that the dining room scheduling desk on Deck 2 was preferable to making reservations than the reservation telephone number as the representatives weren’t all that accommodating or informed. The overall food in the dining room was fair with some hits and some misses as should be expected. We did notice a slight decline in food quality from previous years. One point to make is to order any breakfast eggs “well done” as other Cruise Critic reviewers have noted that the eggs are served watery and undone both in the dining room and with room service as well. The Pinnacle Grill was fabulous and the Canaletto Restaurant not so much as the food quality decline was very evident. The Lido at lunch was extremely crowded with the seating limited. On the last sea day before leaving we just handed our full plates to a steward to throw away as there wasn’t even any shared seating available to include in the adjacent pool areas. We ended up waiting a half hour and picked up two chicken sandwiches from the Dine In Grill and sat at the outdoor pool lip/bench area with the food in our laps. The overall entertainment was not of any interest to us as we only enjoyed 3 of the 14 nights in the Main Stage and ended up leaving after a few minutes for the 11 performances that we didn’t care for. The “Billboard Onboard” piano/singers were fantastic but the BB King Band was not as they were way too loud for the small room and not up to the standard of other BB King Bands that we enjoyed on previous cruises. The America’s Test Kitchen activities were very entertaining and fun to attend. We purchased 3 excursions and were disappointed a bit with all of them as there were many glitches obviously with the contractors and a lack of communication with the ship. A point to make is that when trying to review the excursions on the Holland America web site the review option seems to have disappeared. Maybe I am doing something wrong and looking in the wrong place. Guest Services appeared to be “Out of the Loop” on many occasions with inaccurate information being distributed to us often with a later correction. On the plus side our final invoice was correct and billed to our credit card. The Captain was always visible around ship and gangways and was seen interacting both with the staff and passengers. There were many passengers that were coughing and sneezing all over and for the most part the personal hygiene/health habits left a bit to be desired to say the least. All in all a “fair” cruise experience with some pluses and some minuses and the cruise was nothing special. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We left on the Zuiderdam’s July 7, 2018 sailing for a two week cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark visiting Norway, Iceland, The Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands. We flew a day in advance so as to make certain we would feel refreshed ... Read More
We left on the Zuiderdam’s July 7, 2018 sailing for a two week cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark visiting Norway, Iceland, The Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands. We flew a day in advance so as to make certain we would feel refreshed for boarding. We stayed at the Clarion Airport hotel which was an easy walk with luggage from the airport. We checked in and walked half way between the hotel and the airport and took the metro to the city center our first afternoon. From there we did a boat ride through / around downtown. We left for the airport check in the next morning around 10:45 am. Boarding the bus was straightforward and we arrived at the pier around 11:30 am. The check in process was also smooth. We were on the ship within half an hour. The cabins were available by the time we got on (noonish). The weather was warm and we had specifically packed our bathing suits for the pool. Excellent check in experience. The ship is looking a little worn. The benches in the hallway by the elevators are just pure ugly and chipped. The corridor artwork is also old and outdated. As far as maintenance, there were a few issues. Some of the arrows above the elevators are burnt out. You cannot tell if the elevator is headed up or down. The reading light by my bed was also burnt out. The wooden door that covers the mini fridge had screws that had been pulled out from the frame. Also, during the voyage, maintenance staff were sanding down the metal door frames to each cabin and repainting them. The screeching from the sanding was annoying and I had to request that they stop so I could take an afternoon nap. They obliged. (It seems to me that since this ship just recently came out of dry dock, that would have been the place and time to address these issues.) In terms of entertainment, I did go to the shows featuring various headliners. In the main show lounge, there was a pianist who was rather showy. Also there was a couple who did Cirque du Soleil style entertainment including the ropes/ acrobatic style high wire movements. There was a rather showy violinist from Iceland. But, one or two songs from her were sufficient. Also, all of the instrumentalists gathered for a BBC multimedia presentation. This was the highlight in the main show lounge. Besides the main show lounge, there was ‘The Lincoln Center’ featuring two violinists, a violist, a cellist and a pianist. Unbelievable talent here. They performed at least once if not twice a day. Also, there was the B.B. King Blues Club featuring a group of talented musicians performing appropriately named style of music. Also, there was the Billboard lounge. Here, there were two pianists who did not receive enough recognition. They were incredible. In summary, the entertainment onboard was tops. The gymnasium was small, in comparison to other ships. The treadmills were often all in use, especially at opening time, 7:00 am. The resistance equipment was minimal. There was a trainer on board who did classes throughout the day. If you like to watch TV during your time on the treadmill, as do I, you need to ask for the TVs to be turned on. The sound was minimal, but you can ask to have the dialogue text option turned on. The service desk did a good job, although this part of the ship is also small so the lines can get long to speak with one of the few representatives. A plus here is that they will exchange currency for you. Right next to the service desk is a single kiosk to print out current bills throughout the voyage. (Being able to review charges is not possible from the stateroom.) The shore excursion office, the future cruise booking office and the library have been moved up to Deck 10 in the Crow’s Nest. The size of the future cruise booking office is the size of a large closet. I consider this to be a shame. These offices should be centrally located and closer to the service desk. During this sailing, there was flooding from above. Carpet dryers and shop vacs were all over deck 10 forward to dry this space. I used to enjoy listening to music up here in the past, but the room is no longer set up in this way. Speaking about the future cruise booking office, I asked for an atlas for next year, specifically one with deck plans. Apparently HAL no longer considers printing deck plans in their promotional literature important. Here, I highly disagree with this decision. In addition, I had a couple of run-ins with the shore excursion manager, Reanetse Atema. This was by far the low point of the cruise. (Don’t be surprised by what the shore excursion office won’t be willing to do / discuss). Dining in the main dining room was a bit of a letdown. We had open seating and in order to get a table within a reasonable time frame, without making reservations for a specific evening, in advance, showing up before 6:00 pm was important. That seemed to be the time when the lines began. I find having opening seating and needing to reserve for a specific time to be a bit contradictory. But HAL is not the only company who follows this type of policy. With respect to the food, I had some disappointments as well. The baked potatoes were white potatoes, not baker potatoes. That was disappointing. The Caesar salads were soggy. The dressing was not seasoned with anchovy paste, but rather a single anchovy was placed on top of the salads. The crème brulee was flavorless. The everyday sirloin steak was so so. Otherwise the food was acceptable. Dining in the ‘market place’ lido buffet was great. Breakfast and lunch choices were plentiful. As an aside about space in the lido buffet, I noticed there were no identified areas as ‘reserved for the handicapped’. There were multiple passengers in motorized scooters who would have to navigate the close tables in order to eat here. Although the ship has rooms that are handicapped accessible, more attention needs to be given to other public spaces onboard. We ate in the specialty dining area 4 times. Three times, the room was noted to be the Pinnacle Grill. The 4th time, the same space was noted to be Rudi’s sel de mer. Each night the service and the meals were excellent. The lobster bisque was one of my favorite dishes. I had lobster one night, a pork chop another night, a filet mignon a third night then had Alaskan crab another. Remarkable dining here. There was one other spot noted for specialty dining called Canaletto. This Italian dining venue was actually part of the Lido Market Place. I ate in this venue two summers ago on the Koningsdam and swore I would not return here. Only the Lido Bar and the Ocean Bar on deck 3 offered drink specials (basically 2 for 1) from 4:00-6:00 pm every night except for the first night. Space was tight here during these times especially on dress up nights. Drinks were good and reasonably priced during these hours. I was disappointed that this offer was not available across other bars on the ship. Nevertheless, thanks to Nice and Albert for your service. In summary, weather or not I sail with HAL again will depend upon a response to a letter I wrote to President Orland Ashford regarding the shore excursions office. I am a 3 star mariner with HAL and have sailed with them since 1968. Shore excursions: Our first port Bergen. We were on a bus ride to see the general area of Bergen. That trip was O.K. What was better was strolling the main road for souvenirs, including wool sweaters, and stopping for a beer. Also, there is a Star bucks here that has free WiWi. So, if you are not up to spending $20.00 a day for a WiFi connection on the ship, this is the location to head for. Port two was Alesund. We did a great boat ride through the fjord. This provided us wonderful views of the area. We highly enjoyed this experience. The third port was Seydisfjordur. We payed $70.00 for this tour. It was a walking tour through the town. We chose this tour because we did not know where the town was in relation to the pier. After all is said and done, I would recommend getting off the ship and walking the town independently. The pier is at the base of the town. No need to spend the money. Also, in hindsight, I would suggest that HAL remove this port as there is really nothing here. Or, if not, I would recommend staying onboard. Port four was Akureyri. Once off the ship we boarded a bus to Myvatn Nature baths. This location is not as popular as the geothermal baths in Reykjavik, but as enjoyable without the hype. It was part of a combo tour visiting a ‘falls’ on the way. I would recommend, for sure. This was booked directly the HAL. Port five was Isafjordur. From this location we boarded a boat to take us to the now non-existent town of Hesteyri. I would say skip this tour as well. It was an hour’s boat ride in each direction to walk in the fields with a talk about the way this town used to be. There is currently one family living in this town. They provided us with some sweet bakery delights and coffee before our return back to the ship. Port six was day one in Reykjavik. Here we boarded a bus for the ‘Golden Circle day trip’ featuring Thingvelir, Gullfoss waterfall and the viewing of a Geysir. I had some issues on this trip. The bus itself was old with broken reclining levers, no seat head rest covers and most importantly inoperable seatbelts. We were told to wear seat belts and that we could be individually fined for not wearing them. But many, including several senior citizens, could not wear them due to the condition of the bus. The tour itself was fine. The problem was with the tour operator. I sent a letter to the HAL president about this experience. Port seven was also Reykjavik – day two. Although the Blue Lagoon is a highlight from my trip – 2nd time to a geothermal bath, the operator was once again a problem. The bus was not air conditioned so the escape hatches need to be opened. One person was not on the bus at departure time, so a bus full of people needed to wait 50 minutes before returning to the ship. After pre-showing we had about an hour of time in the lagoon. We were treated to a silica mask and a drink. This was certainly a novelty. Had the tour operator returned on time and the bus had air flow, I would have rated this activity as a 5 star opportunity. This also entailed writing a letter to the HAL president about this experience. Port eight was Torshavn, Faroe Islands. From this port, we traveled by bus to Gjogv. At this site we had a midday snack of cold pancakes and instant coffee. From this restaurant, we walked down the hill to Gjaar church. It was nice but not impressive. I cannot imagine living her in the winter. Port nine was Lerwick, Scotland. This was a tender port. We boarded a bus to take us to Scalloway Castle, the Scalloway musem and to see some Shetland ponies. The castle was small and not impressive. Same can be said for the museum. Seeing the size of the Shetland ponies was impressive. PS, downtown Lerwick has some wonderful souvenir shops. Read Less
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
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
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
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: March 2018
I was disappointed in the quality of this cruise. I felt the dining experience to be sub par and the center stage entertainment to be not nearly as good as other cruise lines I’ve been on. Parts of the ship were very cold while other ... Read More
I was disappointed in the quality of this cruise. I felt the dining experience to be sub par and the center stage entertainment to be not nearly as good as other cruise lines I’ve been on. Parts of the ship were very cold while other parts too warm. Several of the bars ran out of lite beer 3days before the end date of the cruise and there was an area on the second deck that had a horrible odor. Personally I would not travel with Holland America again. Maybe it was this particular ship that was the problem, but I wouldn’t be inclined to take a chance again. It’s an expensive trial and error way to travel. The shore excursions were fun for the most part and going through the locks at the Panama Canal was extraordinary. However the cost for the drink package was way out of line....especially since both people in the cabin had to purchase the drink package in order for one person to get it. I don’t drink much at all and no way would I ever consume over $500 in drinks so my husband could not get the drink package either. 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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