Sail Date: July 2019
We recently completed a 17 day cruise across the North Atlantic aboard the Zuiderdam, billed as “Voyage of the Vikings” from Boston to Rotterdam. This is actually first part of a longer 35 day cruise that returns to Boston, visiting ... Read More
We recently completed a 17 day cruise across the North Atlantic aboard the Zuiderdam, billed as “Voyage of the Vikings” from Boston to Rotterdam. This is actually first part of a longer 35 day cruise that returns to Boston, visiting different ports coming and going. We were among the minority of guests who departed halfway through. Many guests don’t enjoying flying and dealing with jet lag and a voyage that begins and ends in the US is attractive to them. This cruise is only done once a year, and many people have apparently done it multiple times and sign up for it months in advance. Despite that the ship was not full. You want to learn about Vikings? If so, this is the cruise for you and there are quite a number of talks and presentations about the Vikings as explorers, plunderers, and traders, along with history of the various countries visited. This was reinforced by shore excursions. Cruisers should note that it's a rather expensive voyage, and that is also true of the shore excursions. At the last minute we were pleasantly surprised by an upgrade from the signature class cabin we had booked to a Neptune suite, a much larger cabin (#7073) with various extras, including a dedicated lounge. So that got the voyage off to a rousing start. Service met the usual high HAL standard whether we are talking about cabin stewards, dining room staff or concierges for the lounge. The concierges were quick to handle any minor issues we encountered, and were proactive in trying to be of help. I remember one rather rough night where they called and wanted to make sure we were not sea sick. On this voyage, we noticed the continuation of a trend we’ve perceived on HAL which is to make their voyages more “authentic”, which means substituting more “live” music for the traditional cruise song and dance shows, presentations by experts, and shore excursions that are more about exploring local cultures. HAL continues to go down this road by announcing they are bringing in more artistic dancers and local chefs. This is clearly how HAL seeks to differentiate itself from other cruise lines, including others in the Carnival Group. Given the age and economic status and propensity to travel of the average HAL guest, I can’t fault them for the strategy (and I very much appreciate the strategy myself, for this is my vision of what a cruise should be) but this is not a cruise for people who want an experience with games and pool parties and sports and late night entertainment on board, particularly if you have children. We ate in the dining room most nights, but also in the Pinnacle grill twice and once at Sel de Mer, which exists as a “pop up” restaurant only opening one or twice during the voyage. All the food was very good, though there seemed a little less variety than previous voyages. Though we frequented many of the music venues and enjoyed them very much, the other entertainment on board left a great deal to be desired and we hardly went to any of the shows. Entertainment is the weakest aspect of the HAL experience, but it is also the aspect of cruising I care about least. We took part in six excursions coordinated by HAL. There was the usual level of good organization, though as noted they were rather expensive. Weather was not particularly cooperative but that is not HAL's fault. This is something like our 11th cruise with HAL. We think of ourselves as quite experienced cruisers, but many of the travellers on this trip have hundreds and hundreds of cruise days to their credit, and travel to all corners of the world on multi month voyages. It’s a completely different kind of passenger than you find in the Caribbean or Alaska and you can learn a lot from them. I cannot say enough about the professionalism, positive attitude and courtesy of HAL personnel but in truth this is nothing new, for this has always been our experience with HAL and why we continue to use them exclusively for ocean cruising. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So ... Read More
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So when I wanted to go back and do it again, I found that this cruise had become one of HAL's favorite and pricest itineraries, too rich for my travel budget. However, the Zuiderdam's 17 cruise from Rotterdam to Boston, which in fact was 1/2 half of the V of the V cruise, was a good deal. I booked an inside room, as most outside and better were sold out, and it got us there, thank you. With almost midnight sun part of the trip, the dark inside room wasn't so bad, but "it ain't no verandah" either. This review will be brief; This cruise was a dream. The Zuiderdam, at the ripe old age of 17, one year older than the Maasdam was at the time 10 years ago, is showing her age in places like the vista windows on the mid ship elevators, but was still very satisfying. Our room was fine. The MDR, we had assigned dining at 7:45 with a window side table, was excellent. Our waiter explained the offerings every night and his assistant remembered our preferences. Holland America has improved the food over the years and our seafood and beef selections were 5 stars. One complaint: the flowers have disappeared from the tables both in the MDR and the Lido. The enrichment lectures were excellent on the first half, not so good on the second. The officers greeted us at the gangway Portside on returning to the ship, unusual on a 1900 guest sized ship. They also were at every Gala night MDR entrance. We made every port this cruise and Captain Bart and Hotel Director Darren were visible and helpful as were many of the officers. We met a lot of wonderful people on this cruise, most of whom were well traveled and educated adventurers, some young, many older, from all over the world. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose the Zuiderdam for the Baltic cruise because we wanted an itinerary that had us in St Petersburg for two days since we wanted to more fully explore that port. We also wanted a smallish ship because we don’t want to contend with ... Read More
We chose the Zuiderdam for the Baltic cruise because we wanted an itinerary that had us in St Petersburg for two days since we wanted to more fully explore that port. We also wanted a smallish ship because we don’t want to contend with the number of people on the large ships and some of the small ships get too pricey. We chose wisely. We had an amazingly experience and among our group of 6 with mixed levels of cruising experiences we all agreed we would do it again. My husband and I got off and most ports and did things on our own with the exceptions of St Petersburg and Warnemünde where we had lined up tours with TJ Travel and Harry’s Taxi respectively for our group of six. Both tours were tremendous and well worth their price which was way less than the ship. In Stockholm my husband and I got a cab so we could start at the Vasa Museum and walk back. One couple did the Hop on Hop at some ports and the Easy Excursions from the ship at other ports except Tallinn which is an easy enough walk around for them. Our remaining twosome used a combo of HOHO and just walking off the ship at the other ports. We needed a cab in Tallinn for our couple with limited walking abilities. Tallinn has a HOHO but you cannot get into old town. This same couple used wheelchairs in St Petersburg provided by TJ Travel. We were confused the first couple days by the dining but got it sorted out. The flyer we receive each evening in our cabin indicated that it was open seating (or some similar term). We thought that meant our scheduled dining time was not being honored and instead we should go anytime. Well good news is that you can go at your scheduled time OR anytime. I like this feature a lot but it was a little confusing. We did want to go at the same time and have the same servers so we figured it out on day 2 and we did that going forward. The food was always amazing and varied. The only exception was embarcation day but I bet that is a crazy day for the kitchen. Great experience had by all! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
The Northern Isles cruise was a great 14 day tour of Nordic country and history in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Shetland Island and Scotland. The cruise had 5 full days in Iceland, longer than most tours. My husband and I went early to tour ... Read More
The Northern Isles cruise was a great 14 day tour of Nordic country and history in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Shetland Island and Scotland. The cruise had 5 full days in Iceland, longer than most tours. My husband and I went early to tour Copenhagen/Sweden. Copenhagen has so many wonderful things to see you could easily spend 5 days just in that site alone. We took a fjord cruise and shopped in Bergen. We went on the troop wall tour in Ålesund, highly recommend. We booked a private tour to reduce the price. Seydisfjordur was a lovely town with colorful buildings. We took a tour to the interior part of Iceland’s Eastland. Next came Akureyri with the huge Godafoss waterfall and the really interesting Laufas Museum of a Church and preserved sod house. In Isafjordur, we took a tour with a local to Flateyri with a waterfall and the most amazing views of lupine flowers all over the county side and hillsides. The guide has rested eider down for the over 10000 ducks on his land. Then there were 2 days in Reykjavík with an Super Golden Circle tour and a city tour with the historic open air museum the next day. Lerwick and the Shetland Island was amazing, taking a small bus tour with a local, seeing the southern part of the island with amazing views, the Croft House museum, Scalloway museum with 5000 year old ruins and Sumburgh Head with Lighthouse and Puffin lined cliffs. Last stop was Inverggordon/Inverness, Scotland with a tour of Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns and Inverness shopping. Many’s memories, any pictures. A cold was going around the ship and we both picked it up, luckily near the end of the cruise. The on ship experience was very peaceful. They had great EXC tour specialist that gave information. The shows did vary, some were not as interesting. They did have three large music venues to attend, we found we enjoyed some of the music days better, especially the five piece Ensemble at the Lincoln center room. The in room dining with always great with fresh food and came quickly. The main dining room, the food was very good and non-gala nights. The Lido market had a variety of food that was just fine. We ate once at the Pinnacle Grill, you can eat lunch there for only $10. This was a really good restaurant. I recommend purchasing the unlimited laundry, you can bring less clothing. We purchased drink cards of $250 rather than a higher price drink package. At the end of the cruise the money left on the gift card was applied to your account. Embarking and disembarking went very easy. We took a morning tour with airport transfer to the airport on the last day. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
always wanted to visit Denmark, the homeland of my husband and since the cruise started in Copenhagen, this was our opportunity to do the Baltic Sea cruise. We always choose Holland America as the mid size ships are our preference. The ... Read More
always wanted to visit Denmark, the homeland of my husband and since the cruise started in Copenhagen, this was our opportunity to do the Baltic Sea cruise. We always choose Holland America as the mid size ships are our preference. The HAL ships are always relaxing and comfortable. The staff is fantastic, very friendly, approachable and well informed. The safety of the passengers is very evident and welcomed. The captain of the MS Zuiderdam was very visible and hands on. Dined at the Pinnacle restaurant and the food was superb. The ship was very clean and the décor tasteful. We chose a balcony suite on the fifth deck and it was convenient located to access both the Explorers Lounge, Main Stage as well as the main dining room. Both the embarkation as well as the dis-embarkment went very smoothly. Look forward to our next adventure with Holland America, it is always a well satisfying experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff ... Read More
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff "Herman" any time dining located on floor 2, Herman was a wonderful server with a big smile, very helpful and tentative to me, the bartenders were wonderful. The candy man who was the greeter he always had a smile. The pasties were delicious and nicely displayed; Oliver in the bar was excellent he knew what I wanted to drink before sitting down. Oliver works in the Crows Nest. The towel staff and the pool area was supreme. The piano bar and BB King great music and dancing all night long. I learned a lot during the cooking demonstration well presented and demonstrated. The crew members who help you on and off the ship are great. The photographer Andrew was wonderful and Wayne in the Jewelry shop was full of hugs and smiles. Sung who worked in the perfume store beautiful girl. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is our third cruise on Zuiderdam so we knew what to expect from the ship and were looking forward to seeing the Panama Canal up close and personal. We were given the opportunity to upgrade from our usual Neptune Suite to the Pinnacle ... Read More
This is our third cruise on Zuiderdam so we knew what to expect from the ship and were looking forward to seeing the Panama Canal up close and personal. We were given the opportunity to upgrade from our usual Neptune Suite to the Pinnacle Suite and jumped at the chance to experience this once in a lifetime deal. It did not disappoint. Embarkation and settling into our suite as a breeze. There are lots of activities on the ship from the Microsoft classes to musical performances to the EXC presentations. You can find something to do or do nothing with ease on this ship. There are a number of areas of the ship that we have found that were quiet and comfortable for relaxing and reading during the sea days. We occasionally visited the casino and really enjoyed the fact that it is one of the only HAL non-smoking casinos. We purchased a couple of excursions from HAL and both were well put together and done perfectly. Panama Canal transit was narrated by a naturalist with lots of facts about the history of the canal. We stayed on the ship for the whole day, most of it spent on our balcony, marveling at the engineering of this historic endeavor. Disembarkation was also perfect as we were escorted off the ship by the Neptune Lounge staff with our luggage waiting for us. Grabbed a porter and went through customs and to the garage and were on the road back to Ohio by 9am. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Overall, we loved our cruise. We took advantage of $49 for 3rd and 4th guests to take two of our grandchildren, ages 11 and 13, and along with cruise credits obtained via CCL stock ownership and monitoring price reductions on our cabin, ... Read More
Overall, we loved our cruise. We took advantage of $49 for 3rd and 4th guests to take two of our grandchildren, ages 11 and 13, and along with cruise credits obtained via CCL stock ownership and monitoring price reductions on our cabin, the final price including tax and port fees was very reasonable. This was our 15th cruise, our third on Holland. The kids adapted well, even though there were few children on board, and they were well behaved and popular with the crew and other guests. The cabin was a little crowded, but functional. Pros: Service was outstanding. Our room steward Frank was very smart and talented— always smiling and a very hard worker. He was fluent in English, impeccably honest and the best towel animal maker we have seen. He was assisted by Ami, who was not so communicative but a good worker. Food service people were terrific. On the breakfast Lido buffet, the cooks were attentive and consistent. Our granddaughter is gluten free, and Sous Chef Antonio personally attended to making pancakes for her. The Burger joint was consistently good. The grandkids liked it and loved the pizza place where our granddaughter got gluten free pizza without any trouble. Nearly every evening, we went to the main dinning room. The staff was fantastic. Our wait staff included Samuti and Heri of Bali, both excellent servers and just great guys whom I would be proud to count as friends. The Maitre d’ and Assistant were also very attentive and made sure everything operated well. Consistently, the food was excellent. We had one lunch in the Pinnacle Grill and the food was also very good, but the service was a little slow compared to what we became used to in Main Dining. I might add, the kids loved the ice cream, sorbet, etc. We did the kitchen tour, and it is impressive how they maintain such high quality for so many. On the Spa staff, I recall Anina of the Republic of South Africa who is a good communicator and a fine young lady with a beautiful spirit. I enjoyed our conversations. On the Excursion Desk, Lannay of the Netherlands was excellent. She helped us as we needed it. and assisted in a matter that should have been resolved by Guest Services. The only truly incompetent person we ran into was a woman in Guest Services. We asked for clarification regarding credits we should have received for my wife as a CCL shareholder. The woman kept concocting nonsense about us trying to claim credits through a travel agent or a previously booked cruise— simply not true. We finally got clarification from her boss, a ship officer Joras of the Netherlands, an excellent officer. We received all the credits we believed we were due, and our faith in Holland service was restored. Some people asked us if our grandkids could have a good time with so many older people aboard. This was not a problem. They are homeschooled and have learned to get along with all age groups and even made friends with kids their age aboard, playing chess, ping pong and puzzles. They also really enjoyed the entertainment, including the Musical stage presentations, the magician James Cielen (talented and funny with cute dogs) and the master pianist Hyperian Knight whom my grandkids liked a lot. Also, the Lincoln Center group was great, a very talented group of young people. I personally liked BB King Blues Club and many others. We did two excursions, the Caves of Curacao, much better than expected, and the Costa Rica Tropical Rain Forest, the favorite of the kids. Perhaps my only complaint is that the morning “news” was provided via a summary of the New York Times, which I had not read for years. It is a shameless totalitarian socialist propaganda rag. So I chose to ignore it, and my days were happier for the absence of news. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We recently returned from a partial Panama Canal transit aboard the Zuiderdam. This was our tenth cruise on a Holland American vessel and as always we were very satisfied with the voyage and especially the service. On the one occasion ... Read More
We recently returned from a partial Panama Canal transit aboard the Zuiderdam. This was our tenth cruise on a Holland American vessel and as always we were very satisfied with the voyage and especially the service. On the one occasion when we complained of an issue, after resolving the issue, Holland America staff made multiple attempts to follow up to ensure we satisfied and even sent a complimentary bottle of wine as an apology. We had a very large Vista suite cabin #6076 midship on the port side. From our spacious balcony we seemed to always be on the side with the port view so the view was much more interesting. I also must note however the continual creaking of the boat when there was any sort of sea motion. It did make a good night’s rest a little harder. Highlights of this trip was the cave excursion in Aruba and the train trip across the isthmus of Panama, which included a stop at the visitor centre for the new larger lock complex. We appreciated that the captain periodically opened the bow area for passengers to get a better view of what was ahead when sailing. Food and service were up to the usual HAL standard. We were a little disappointed with the entertainment as many of the shows were the same as we saw on our last cruise a year ago. However, I must single out the steel band that performed twice during our trip as being excellent. We very much enjoyed the performers on the Lincoln Centre stage, though the Billboard pianists were nothing special. There were many other interesting shipboard activities during the several sea days, most particularly America’s test kitchen and the lectures done by members of the excursion team. As always, the excursion team themselves functioned extremely well for the duration of the voyage. We ate most nights in the dining room, with two nights at Pinnacle. All meals were very tasty but in most cases not too much food. We used the Lido only for breakfast and lunch but most times went outside as the inside dining areas are both crowded and noisy. I heard some people complaining about the relatively sedate nature of evening activities during the voyage, but if you want dancing and late night entertainment, you are best served by a line such as RCC or Disney that caters to a younger demographic. HAL has changed their internet packages to be based on data used rather than time online. I liked this approach better as our data needs are low. Prices have also been reduced though response time still needs improving. We have booked three additional cruises on HAL ships over the next 18 months so I think that tells you all you need to know about our ongoing satisfaction with this line. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The Panama Canal was exciting.it was awesome to see how it was done, The crew on the ship was fabulous expecially as follows Danny , was so amazing always making sure everything was okay, and went out of his way to make you feel so ... Read More
The Panama Canal was exciting.it was awesome to see how it was done, The crew on the ship was fabulous expecially as follows Danny , was so amazing always making sure everything was okay, and went out of his way to make you feel so welcome and enjoyable Rene our drink guy , was so informative of drinks , wines ,if you weren’t sure what you liked he was sure he’d bring something you like and he did Zeri, our mint man after dinner was so entertaining and such a comedian , he even went out of his way to take a picture with the professional photographer. Lucky, our waiter was so deliteful to see every evening, how he remembered everyone’s name was amazing, so astonishing. Aguhn, our server, was so remarkable how he knew everything on the menu. Olivia in Lido restaurant, was so sweet and pleasant. It was a delightful day to see her smiling face every morning and afternoon who went out of her way to make sure you got what you wanted and came and talked to see how your day was going. Sweet as cotton candy, I told her. I will cruise again with Holland American. One complaint, was the evening menu, seem to be a lot of the same, except each night things were changed a little. We did start with the norovirus, it was amazing to see how well everyone was sure not to make it spread. , very well accomplished so our cruise was deli. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to see the Panama canal in a confortable cruise with excellent food and relax atmosphere. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, quick and smooth. We reverved for the first time an Inside cabin and we found it a little ... Read More
We wanted to see the Panama canal in a confortable cruise with excellent food and relax atmosphere. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, quick and smooth. We reverved for the first time an Inside cabin and we found it a little tight (150 square feet). We missed the day light. But the cabin was very clean at all time and our stewards were very attentive to our needs. We bought a wine package and we appreciated a lot to have a drink (our wine) anywhere on the ship at any time, including different bars and main dining room. Food was excellent in the dining room and at the buffet. At both places, service was incredible. Entertainment was great and we appreciated to watch the superbowl live on giant screen at the main stage. It was fun to have superbowl food (chicken, tacos, pizza,.....) in the main stage. Unfortunatly, we didn't stop at Half Moon Cay because of rough waves but we agree with captain as safety is number one on ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have wanted to see the canal for years. We always choose HAL. For us they are the best! The ship is newly refurbished, the verandah cabin fantastic and comfortable. Most of all the service all over the ship is extraordinary! The food is ... Read More
We have wanted to see the canal for years. We always choose HAL. For us they are the best! The ship is newly refurbished, the verandah cabin fantastic and comfortable. Most of all the service all over the ship is extraordinary! The food is delicious and there is a lot to do for the older adults ( us!). We went on shore excursions and enjoyed all of them! The Hato caves in Curacao were amazing, the Gatun Lake and Locks fabulous and the Tortugua Canals and Verugua Rain Forest amazing! All of the days at sea were filled with interesting things to do and the evening entertainment full and we'll done. All of the food was nicely presented and delicious. We are at the Lido a lot for convenience and there was always more than enough selection. I am a vegetarian and I had no problem finding great meals. The salad bar is awesome! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Cruise staff was excellent. Ate in MDR every night. Daily vegeterian options every day or weekly always available. Dive In & Taco Bar were fantastic, but only available in afternoon. They have some of the best smoothies anywhere at ... Read More
Cruise staff was excellent. Ate in MDR every night. Daily vegeterian options every day or weekly always available. Dive In & Taco Bar were fantastic, but only available in afternoon. They have some of the best smoothies anywhere at bars or MDR. Wait staff was excellent and catered to our every need. We had table for two entire cruise, and the wine steward helped us pick out Mocktails several times. Surf & Turf (lobster tails for no extra charge on last night of cruise in MDR (I got 2 tails). We tried lots of things (escargot, Chilled pineapple soup, fancy veggeterian options) we would never think of trying. Shore excursions were great, and lots of selections for every budget. Several EXC tours ran late, but ship waited for them. Several times saw people on private tours running down the dock to barely make ship departure. We stayed on board during Canal locks, and got great pictures from several angles. Even participated (with certificate) in pool swim across canal (aft pool late morning). Several people who took shore tours from Canal complained about length, heat, food, bathrooms ( availability, cleanliness, etc). Several said they would not recommend their tours, especially anyone with mobility issues. If you do Dolphin Encounter/Swim go to photo area immediately. They get backed up in a hurry. Make your selection, pay, and then go to gift shop, cafe, exhibits, etc. Go back and pick up photos, and they had package of 3 photos (1 framed), extra photos on USB. Atlantis submarine was great, even with people on canes. Tight fit, but everyone had access to window. Water was a little cloudy, but we saw dozens of varieties of fish & several wrecks. Costa Rican rainforest/tram ride was great, even for people with significant mobility issues. Great butterfly garden with lots of different varieties flying around. Wish you could have bought nectar and feed them like I have at other places. I got off ship in Colon, and found great shopping center within 150 ft of exit gate. Cross street and take a left. Cheap souvenir shops, restaurants, and large grocery store with great prices (many crew shopping). Billboard, Licoln Center, & BB King music great. Mainstage acts were excellent, especially comedian. Backstage tour good, but crowded. Took Galley tour, get there early. Digital workshops great, with handouts for every class. Some times extra handouts for other classes, but can get filled in a hurry. All classes Windows 10 based, but he sometimes could answer IPAD questions. I tried to go to several Test Kitchen programs, but seating fills up in a hurry. Did not attend any of the movies in small theater. All were available on room TV, with restrooms readily available (pause function works great. Even saw some long movies with break for food or beverages. Would go back on HAL & Zuiderdam anytime money allowed. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We were invited to join this particular cruise because of some close friends participating with the Bells of the Cascades (a professional handbell group). We enjoyed the English bells of course. However, the ports of call, self arranged ... Read More
We were invited to join this particular cruise because of some close friends participating with the Bells of the Cascades (a professional handbell group). We enjoyed the English bells of course. However, the ports of call, self arranged excursions, meals and personalized service exceeded all our expectations. We made our reservations through a local travel agent and received several added perks, the best being a fine dining experience at the Pinnacle Grill. (You also can reserve lunch there!) Kudos to the Captain and entire staff. If you are lucky enough to have Wii and Ari as your room stewards, you are definitely in for extraordinary service and a delightful surprise every evening. I am an underwater photographer and brought on board all my dive and camera gear. Although my self arranged diving was very good, I will not bother with all the extra gear for just two days of diving on a ten day cruise. I will schedule a week long vacation at one of the islands we visited to have a more worthwhile diving trip experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I was worrying before the cruise due to many negative reviews and feedback here regarding the ship and the cruise line itself. I think if someone is "hardly American or Canadian" should be a different category in the reviews. ... Read More
I was worrying before the cruise due to many negative reviews and feedback here regarding the ship and the cruise line itself. I think if someone is "hardly American or Canadian" should be a different category in the reviews. These people usually cannot recognize any kind of food but hamburgers and fried things. Every other food is just an "unknown thing" for them and after, they write a really negative review, mostly complain about the food. European cruise lines (HAL, MSC, Costa, NCL) are really different then Princess, Celebrity and especially Carnival. If you hate European food and don't like the European vibe and style - stay away from there companies and don't mislead others with your negative reviews. Zuiderdam is a little bit old ship and you can see some signs of her age (Carpets, walls in the elevators), but the staff tries their best to keep it clean and good condition. There is a lots of elderly person on board, not such much child you can see on MSC or Carnival. However HAL doesn't focus on families with children, there is enough activities and programs for children. My kids ( 8 and 11) loved the Club HAL and the pool area. Dining room staff entertained kids during every dinner, made their dining time funny and unforgettable. Embarkation and the check in is very well organized, it was very quick and smooth with only few minutes of wait. Our room steward was excellent, but I can say the whole crew on board was extremely nice and helpful. I have not experienced this kind of service before. The only negative I can say is the hotel service charge. HAL charges the same amount for kids and adults ($14.50 per person for a balcony stateroom). But, you can ask the customer service to reduce this amount or even remove every hotel service charge. We decided to make it zero and we gave cash for our steward and our dining room waiters. It was out first cruise with HAL, but not the last. I have already booked a new one on board for the summer break and I definitely recommend this cruise line for everyone who is not afraid of the European things. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
First a bit of history. My husband and I are not retired and do not gamble. We are in our early 60’s and very active. This cruise was great! We have been on previous cruises but this was our first Holland American. The embarkation at FFL ... Read More
First a bit of history. My husband and I are not retired and do not gamble. We are in our early 60’s and very active. This cruise was great! We have been on previous cruises but this was our first Holland American. The embarkation at FFL was the smoothest we have ever experienced. Fast and organized. The food was wonderful on the Lido buffet but we were not too impressed with the main dining room’s food. My husband is diabetic and he was able to eat at both areas- just better/warmer/tastier at buffet Lido area. This is just the opposite of our view on the Carnival Cruise line. Carnival has better food in their seated dining area than their open buffet. IMO Royal Caribbean’s main dining and buffet were about the same. The overall food was best on HAL second on Carnival and then Royal Caribbean. But we never went hungry on any of them! The Zuiderdam has wonderful entertainment but caters to a older population so violins, piano, steel drums live music presentations were available (I loved them but my husband was just mildly impressed but he did like the magician and dancers). On the Zuiderdam there is no “hairy chest contest” or similar activities. They have great educational presentations, new movies in the screening room and the best TVs and in room free on demand movies ever! Zuiderdam’’s WIFi was about the same as all cruise lines, slow and you can get kicked off often. I was able to do the work I needed to though. We paid $189.00 for 11 days. We had room SS6073 with a great deck. Very quiet and lots of room. The Panama Canal was an amazing cruise and I would take this cruise again. We did the EXC all day excursion and it was wonderful but as others have mentioned you need to do it but only once! And don’t drink much before leaving the Zuiderdam- it could be almost three hours before you can use the facilities- depending on how fast they load the busses and if you have to wait in the non bathroom buss to clear the locks to go over them. The bathroom stalls are very small on the boat that you go through the locks on. I’m thin but tall so closing the stall door is challenging if you are big or tall... It’s very hot and humid! We went on Trikes (motorcycles) in Aruba (our second time) and it’s by far the best experience we have had! Booked online-private. There were two children (I only saw one but hubby thinks he saw another one) around 12 years old on this cruise. I’m sure they were board. This was a partial Panama Canal crossing but I was so impressed that we may do the whole crossing next year. We had anytime dining but did not eat in the dining room but 4 times and no waits. People on this cruise seem to be mostly retired but still enjoying life! Bottom line- if you want to party until dawn and eat their wonderful Lava cake- pick Carnival. If you are looking for a bit more relaxing and life enriching choices (in my opinion) chose HAL. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
First time with this cruise company mainly because we wanted to see the Panama canal in action. From start to finish the cruise was faultless in every aspect. Every destination were worth the visit, with interesting things to see ... Read More
First time with this cruise company mainly because we wanted to see the Panama canal in action. From start to finish the cruise was faultless in every aspect. Every destination were worth the visit, with interesting things to see made more special by excellent tour guides. The cruise staff from top (the captain especially who regularly walks around) to bottom were all happy, efficient and always there to help. Food was excellent and fine dining was true to its word. The most important and impressive part of this cruise company is the fact that they have brought the old style of cruising to the present day. Guests are more sophisticated and pleasant to talk too. I know this might sound snobby but this is not the cruise for you if you like to party till 4am and make noise!! String quartet, piano bar, band, singers and dancers first class. Excellent gym and knowledgeable staff. Food is served by staff everywhere, therefore better for hygiene and waste control. Thank you to all and will look forward to our next cruise. Better than Norwegian, Costa and on par with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This is my second Holland America cruise. The first was last year to Alaska, and it was so much fun I wanted to take another Holland America cruise. I wanted to go to the Panama Canal, so this cruise offered the chance to do both. I ... Read More
This is my second Holland America cruise. The first was last year to Alaska, and it was so much fun I wanted to take another Holland America cruise. I wanted to go to the Panama Canal, so this cruise offered the chance to do both. I made an excellent decision. First...I could not disagree more with those who say the food was not good. I thought it was excellent. Not only did I think it was excellent, but every night I sat at a table with 5 to 9 different people, and every single night every single person at the table raved about how good their dinner was. I don't know where the people who complained about the food were, but in 11 nights of sitting with different people, I never heard 1, not 1, complaint about the food. Second...the ship was spotless! The wonderful, friendly crew were out every night, and often during the day polishing and cleaning. I received a last minute upgrade from an ocean view to a balcony and it was wonderful. Loved it! Third, the ports...I booked 5 excursions through HAL. They were a little pricey, but they offered everything they promised. The Stingray experience at Half Moon Cay, the sailing/snorkeling cruise at Aruba, the horse drawn carriage ride in Cartegena, the Embrera Indian village at the Panama Canal, and the arial tram tour through the canopy in Costa Rica. READ the tour descriptions...if you want animals don't book a tour that does not promise animals! My favorite tour, however, was not a HAL tour. I booked the Shete Boka/snorkeling tour from Curacao Actief through tripadvisor and it was amazing...we had a small group and actually ended up snorkeling with about 100 turtles! Fourth...this cruise was during October...school was in session! I don't know how many families with children cruise HAL during school breaks, but there was only a few children that I saw on this cruise, and most of them appeared to be preschool. Don't expect a lot of children's activities. Also, most of the other cruisers said that they choose HAL because there are not usually a lot of children. Fifth...onboard activities. I would take another cruise just to be able to enjoy the wonderful Lincoln Center Stage performance. A delightful piano/string quintet that performed 2 or 3 concerts every day. This is a program offered between HAL and Lincoln Center and it is fantastic. I loved the piano/singer duet who played and entertained every night and the BBC earth movies offered daily. The best evening show was definitely the steel band, Magic. The others were not earthshaking. Sixth...embarkation and disembarkation were handled very efficiently with very few delays. It is hard to load 1800 people on and off a ship at one time...some people seemed not to understand that there is going to be a wait. Patience is recommended. HAL did everything possible to keep everything organized from having luggage delivered directly to staterooms, having the rooms ready for occupancy immediately upon boarding, delivering luggage to staterooms expeditiously, having assigned disembarkation group codes with approximate times to expect to disembark, having luggage sorted into groups to make picking it up and taking it through customs as easy as possible. All in all, HAL offers a laid back, relaxing cruise experience. It does not brand itself as a PARTY cruise, and those who choose to cruise on HAL are glad it does not. My only real complaint was the America's Text Kitchen. It was fine to watch the different foods prepared, but it seems silly to sit and watch a food demo and not get to sample what was prepared. You may as well just watch it on TV. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This 11 day cruise served up an excellent itinerary of ports that were mostly new to us. Zuiderdam is classy and easy to get around on. No place ever felt too busy or crowded, even the pool deck. This seemed like an adults-only cruise, ... Read More
This 11 day cruise served up an excellent itinerary of ports that were mostly new to us. Zuiderdam is classy and easy to get around on. No place ever felt too busy or crowded, even the pool deck. This seemed like an adults-only cruise, mainly because of the time of year and itinerary. There were probably only a dozen children on board. Embarkation was easy, even though we had made a last minute upgrade the night before. We enjoyed our set dining at a table of 8. Dinner conversation with our new cruise friends was lively and entertaining as we shared the day's adventures. Service at dinner was impeccable and the wine sommelier Edison was quick to learn our preferences and to make very good suggestions. Dinner choices were varied and appealed to both of us as well as the table. The appetizers were particularly good. Some chose from the always on offer classic menu that included American standards. We enjoyed BB King Blues after dinner several nights, as well as the steel drum classical band which seemed to be a hit with the audience. Our cabin was carefully tended to and as requested, we had ice provided at least twice a day. We usually ordered coffee and juice the night before and it was always delivered promptly at the requested time. The excursions were mostly a lot of fun and provided a taste of each port. Half Moon Cay is delightful and offers the best of the Bahamas for a quick stop. The beach and water are exquisite and the food, provided by the ship was quite good for a beach buffet. We especially liked the Tortuega Canals excursion (we saw sloths and monkeys!) in Costa Rica and the City Highlights (with less shopping) in Cartagenia. Both times the guides demonstrated great pride in their countries and offered a good combination of interesting facts and historical background. The Panama Canal excursion on the boat to the Pacific was quite expensive and as such, disappointing. The boat itself is kind of run down with uncomfortable metal chairs and doesn't offer much in the way of shade or A/C. Lunch was pitiful -- I hadn't anticipated much based on the reviews I'd seen, but this was likely the worst meal I've ever had anywhere. Fortunately there were plenty of cold drinks and cheap beer. We tried not to let this get us down and parked near the back of the boat for a good view of the canal behind us. There was no viewing area at the front. We did make comments to the EXC staff on board Zuiderdam as well as Guest Services. In all, we enjoyed our Panama Canal adventure. We are glad that we picked this itinerary and liked the sea days in between to rest up. We also appreciate that HAL offers daily mass and participated a few times. Disembarkation was quick and we took the HAL bus to the airport in plenty of time for our flight home. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Have recently arrived back in Australia following the Viking Passage cruise on Zuiderdam. I was slightly anxious about a cruise of this length as our first cruise, but totally enjoyed the experience and my husband and I are already ... Read More
Have recently arrived back in Australia following the Viking Passage cruise on Zuiderdam. I was slightly anxious about a cruise of this length as our first cruise, but totally enjoyed the experience and my husband and I are already talking about where we will cruise next. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of our stateroom - we had a large inside room on main deck and we would happily book this type of room again, although the lack of natural light did mean that I was never quite sure if I should be getting up or staying put in the mornings!! I found that sea days have a particular appeal, especially when I had the opportunity to see whales (from a distance) and dolphins (quite close to the ship) and many icebergs over the course of a couple of days. I particularly enjoyed the mainstage shows each evening and thought the Lincoln Centre Stage performers were exceptional. The dining options were quite good, however we found that we did prefer the casual dining in the Lido over the main dining room, mostly because of the lack of tables for two in the dining room. However, I must commend the helpfulness and friendliness of all the food and drink service staff. I did have some concerns with the laundry service as on the majority of occasions we had some problems including items missing or damaged. One time we received an item that was not ours, so returned that via our fabulous cabin steward. On all but one occasion these problems were addressed, however it was slightly disappointing that I needed to regularly contact guest services about our laundry. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity. We like the small-medium ship scale of the ... Read More
We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity. We like the small-medium ship scale of the Holland America fleet, and love that most staterooms have a bathtub, (great to relax weary bodies after a busy day ashore). Our Holland America itinerary was the perfect balance of ports and places to visit. Highlights of our travels were snorkelling between the European & American teutonic plates in Iceland, and discovering the breathtaking wonders of Shetland! The service in the main dining rooms and speciality restaurants was excellent. Sometimes we had to wait perhaps a little too long to order wine via the wonderfully knowledgeable Sommeliers. Perhaps HAL needs to employ more sommeliers..... I am always a little disappointed that HAL only offers 'Windows' workshops.. Most of the passengers I spoke with were MAC folks, even using their iPhones instead of traditional cameras. More attention to enrichment workshop diversity would be a good thing. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise was a 100% transport logistic success. From the departure Airport to the final destination airport / from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the ship. We took all arrangements with our Holland America Travel Agent. ... Read More
This cruise was a 100% transport logistic success. From the departure Airport to the final destination airport / from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the ship. We took all arrangements with our Holland America Travel Agent. Arriving at Copenhagen Airport a HA Representative greeted us and led us to the right carousel for our luggage pick-up and then to the bus outside that took us to our well located Scandic Hotel. At the hotel an other HA Representative greeted us and gave us documentation and explanations on the embarkation process and transport to the ship. The disembarkation went smoothly and on schedule. Our luggage were already waiting for us in a big Tent at the Airport. Being both 65 of age my wiffe and I like to be pampered and taken in charge for all the logistic aspects. Holland America is an expert at that. The embarkation process went smoothly. Our suite 6061 was clean and ready at the embarkation. Since that cruise was very tour intensive, we had all our dining in the main dining room. Food was very good. Our dining waiters and sommelier were very smart and attentive to our needs. Along the cruise our cabin stewards did an excellent job at getting our stateroom clean and ready. As some tours depart very early we called our breakfast in our cabin and they were delivered at the time requested. Entertainment and activities: The classic musicians were excellent along with the BB Kings band. The main lounge musicians were excellent too. We had 2 shows from the ship dancers, 2 excellent shows from a musician duo. On this cruise we noticed that the passenger population diversity was important, so a stand-up comic may not be suited for an international passenger diversity. I would have preferred magicians or juggler, etc. Regarding the general activities onboard our cruise director hasn't been too proactive. We have seen far better on other HA cruises. We had a very informative conference on the famous Fabergé and the sory of the Fabergé Eggs. We called at Tallin (Estonia), St-Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden), Warnemunde Port for Berlin and Kiel (Germany). As the tours are expensive we took three tours, St-Petersburg, H elsinki and Berlin. Taking a tour is quite mandatory in St-Peterburg because of the Visa required and the location of the Port. Our two days tour was intensive but excellent with competent toour guide and bus drivers. In Helsinki, the Port being quite distant from the city we took a tour to visit the city, had some stops along the way and also a boat tour in the bay. At Warnemunde Port you need to take a 3 hour train run to Berlin to visit the city. Our tour guide was competent and informative. We had lunch and water provided in the train back and forth. In Tallin and Stokholm you can go by yourself to the city. Kiel in Germany is a nice place to visit by foot too. The ship docked along the boardwalk and marina. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our 12th cruise and our first with Holland America. (Our previous cruises were on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess.) I will start at the end by saying that we were impressed with HAL and we loved our cruise. The thing ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise and our first with Holland America. (Our previous cruises were on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess.) I will start at the end by saying that we were impressed with HAL and we loved our cruise. The thing that stood out above all else was the service. Everyone, no matter what their position, greeted us whenever they passed. Our cabin stewards made me remember what good service really means! They were phenomenal. The staff in the main dining room and the Lido buffet were unfailingly cheerful, no matter how busy they might have been. To other cruise lines: this is how it’s done! On most days, we had breakfast and lunch in the Lido and dinner in the main dining room. The food ranged from good to great, and overall it was a notch up from most of our previous cruises. We looked forward to mealtimes. The entertainment was the most professional of any of our cruise experiences, with the standout being the incredible Duo Yalba. We saw several other good performances on the main stage, including the very talented ship dancers and an amazing pianist. In addition, HAL partners with the Lincoln Center and there were wonderful concerts throughout the day. The performers in both the Billboard Onboard bar and the B.B. King Blues Club were very talented and fun. HAL has also partnered with America’s Test Kitchen and BBC Earth so that there is a definite “learning” emphasis in their activities, although they still have fun favorites like Bingo too. HAL handled our air and since there are no direct flights to Copenhagen from our location, we had to make connections; however, there seemed to be just the right amount of time between flights. Embarkation and disembarkation were among the smoothest we have experienced. Regarding the ports: COPENHAGEN - This was our embarkation point and for the lucky people who stayed aboard for the second leg of the cruise, it was also a regular port stop. We came three days early to explore and we loved it. We booked our own accommodations rather than going through HAL. We couldn’t recommend the wonderful Hotel Andersen more highly for service, location, and style. It was easy to get around Copenhagen (we enjoy walking) and the people were the nicest we have ever encountered. Tivoli Gardens, Rosenborg Castle, and Christiansborg Palace were highlights of our visit. TALINN - Easily walkable from the ship. The old town is beautiful, picturesque, and compact. ST. PETERSBURG - We did a two day excursion with Alla Tours and it was phenomenal. I was not prepared for the grandeur of the palaces, churches, and museums. I still dream about it. Definitely my favorite port. HELSINKI - HAL had shuttles into town for 10 euro round trip. We took an enjoyable 90 minute panorama bus tour with audio guide through Stromma tours, with a stop at the Rock Church. You can pre-book with Stromma online or find them near Esplanade Park. Afterward we strolled the area and bought delicious grilled salmon from a vendor at Market Square for lunch. Very nice people in Helsinki and a lovely city. We wished we had more time there. STOCKHOLM - We did a three hour HAL excursion that included the fascinating Vasa museum and an overview of the city. It was a good tour but the guide spoiled it at the end by making unsolicited and unnecessary political comments. This caused like-minded passengers to start chiming in. One minute we were learning about this beautiful city and the next we were forced to listen to divisive commentary. That is not what I paid for, and it really tainted the experience. Hopefully it was a one time event because as I said, otherwise it would have been a great tour. We returned to the ship for lunch, then went back into Stockholm on the free HAL shuttle. It’s a lovely and easy place to walk around except that it was extremely crowded and when it was time to return to the ship, there were so many buses that the HAL bus was unable to park to pick us up. We must have waited an hour before HAL finally arranged for a P & O bus to bring us back. Perhaps this too is not an everyday occurrence because I have not seen many references to it in other reviews. WARNEMUNDE - We took the HAL excursion to the charming, historic town of Wismar which included a stop for beer and pretzels at a beer factory. We had already been to Berlin, another option for this port, so we chose something fun and relaxing. After our return, we walked into Warnemunde, visiting shops and strolling by the water. I enjoyed seeing all the German families on their vacations. KIEL - We planned to take the ferry to the u-boat. You can get information about this at the TI in town. Unfortunately it did not return until 2:00 and we were supposed to be onboard at 3:00. We were uncomfortable cutting it that close, because if we missed the ferry, the next one would have been too late. Instead we walked around the city and strolled the waterfront promenade. It was fine but we were disappointed about our original plans. A few other pros and cons: *The onboard Internet is poor. We ended up buying it on the at sea days and using free WiFi in port. *The HAL laundry service is amazing! Don’t hesitate to use it to make your packing lighter. *This is a small thing but we really appreciated the way they did happy hour. Rather than a drink of the day at a special price, you order what you want and the second drink is $2. They serve the drinks with delicious complimentary snacks. In summary, we loved Holland America , the Zuiderdam, and the Baltic. It was near perfect. I just wish they hadn’t made us get off at the end! :) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We went with friends who chose the Baltic cruise, and we'd never been to any ports on the itinerary. We are 3-Star Mariners, and our friends are 4-Star, so we are predisposed to like HAL. Everything was handled very well and food was ... Read More
We went with friends who chose the Baltic cruise, and we'd never been to any ports on the itinerary. We are 3-Star Mariners, and our friends are 4-Star, so we are predisposed to like HAL. Everything was handled very well and food was just fine, as usual. Entertainment was up a notch from some other HAL cruises we've been on. We took HAL shore excursions in Tallin, Warnemunde and Kiel. Took a 2-day excursion with Alla Tours in St. Petersburg (highly recommended). We used the HAL bus shuttle (USD11) to the city center in Helsinki, and used a Hop-On, Hop-Off boat to see Old Town and the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Spent 3 nights in Copenhagen before the tour and 2 more nights after the tour. The cabin was the usual veranda on the starboard side, aft. It was just fine, although I would have liked to spring for the upgrade to Signature Suite, which was being offered at a very attractive price. But, we wanted to stay close to our accompanying travelers in 2 other cabins. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the Baltic area and it was an exceptional itinerary. I had previously cruised on the Eurodam and the Zuiderdam, although in fine shape, was a bit smaller leading to some shortcomings. It should ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the Baltic area and it was an exceptional itinerary. I had previously cruised on the Eurodam and the Zuiderdam, although in fine shape, was a bit smaller leading to some shortcomings. It should be noted that this cruise was the 10 day Baltic tour, which CruiseCritic didn't allow me to select. Starting with a balcony, I upgraded to the Signature Experience which included two nights in Copenhagen with a castle evening tour. Afterwards, I then was offered to upgrade to a Neptune Suite, which I took. The hotel for the Signature Experience was inconveniently located in Sydhavnen, without eating options outside the hotel and 8 miles from city center necessitating a commuter train ride. I got and recommend a Copenhagen Card which gives you unlimited train rides and free entrance to sights. The train doesn't go everywhere and a lot of walking was involved. Copenhagen is incredibly expensive and main courses at the hotel were $40. Even a burger at Hard Rock is $25. Tivoli is a disappointment if you've been to Disneyland. We did enjoy the boat ride included with the Copenhagen Card which gave a great view of many sites and buildings. I walked many miles and the weather was unusually warm this year. The Zuiderdam has a layout similar to the Eurodam and I had no complaints. The Crow's Nest Bar, however, was shrunk to make room for Explorations Tours, and was tiny and underused compared to Eurodam, where it was always hopping. The Neptune Suites were updated, spacious and beautiful with exceptional room stewards. The best feature was access to the Neptune Lounge, with friendly concierges and light food and capuccino throughout the day. We would always have breakfast in the lounge, with bagels and smoked salmon, Danish pastries and coffee. Consequently we never had to deal with the Lido buffet in the morning. If there were early tours the lounge opened an hour early. Our dining room choice was open seating because of the large number of tours and we never had trouble getting a table for two, perhaps because we ate late and because of Neptune Suite status. The food emphasized fancier preparation rather than the highest quality ingredients. One steak was tough and below USDA Standard grade meat. We ate at Canaletto and Sel de Mer. Loved Sel de Mer with its seafood tower and lobster but it's a bit expensive. Canaletto is just ok but it was a welcome change from the main dining room. Never made it to the Pinnacle Grill on this cruise but it was ok on the Eurodam. I wasn't thrilled with the burger "fast food" stand by the pool- New York Pizza on the Eurodam was far superior. I will never purchase a beverage package as it would cause me to drink far more than I'm capable of, instead searching out the happy hours where a second identical drink is $2. The Eurodam had a far better selection of happy hours including Crow's Nest Bar as mentioned previously. On Zuiderdam, many happy hours were at the Gallery Bar, with no view and on two occasions we were the only people there. Drink prices were reasonable in any event. We're not much for entertainment and didn't go to any performances, tours taking up much of our time. My partner had some mobility limitations and although I tried to book an outside tour on Viator, even though the tour specified a bus ride the tour operator demanded that we cancel the tour fearing mobility problems. HA however, researched each tour and made sure it was suitable. One HA tour (not mine) came back late and the ship waited for it. My tour guide explained that it is extremely expensive for ships to wait and HA tours are selected to be reliable and therefore cost more to allow for these contingencies. An example of HA's thoughtfulness, we had booked two St. Petersburg tours with a short time between them, and HA recognized this and sent a note explaining that lunch baskets had been prepared for us. In Talinn I just walked around town, but we took canal and boat tours in Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg, in addition to Hermitage tours. The train to Berlin tour was excellent as was the bus tour to Hamburg. All tour guides were excellent. I was especially impressed with all the Mercedes, BMWs and Range Rovers in St. Petersburg, an eye opener for someone raised at the time of the Soviet Union. All in all, we had a phenomenal cruise experience to an area neither had ever been. Service onboard was excellent. Weeks later, we are still dealing with lack of sleep due to the sun setting at 10:30 and rising at 3:30. When the sun is just over the horizon you think it will be dark soon but the sun just sits there for hours! After the cruise we spent a night at the Scandic Palace, downtown with easy walking to the central sights.Afterwards, I figured out that the Holland America post cruise package of two transfers and Scandic Palace was cheaper than making my own arrangements. Read Less
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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