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This was our fourth Holland America cruise and our second HA cruise this year. We last sailed on the Westerdam around Japan which was fantastic. As this was also a vista class ship and we had also been on the Oosterdam we expected similar levels of service. Sadly that wasn't the case. The embarkation from Copenhagen was managed well as was the disembarkation. We only did the 14 night section of this so we started and finished in Copenhagen. The cabin we were assigned was balcony cabin 7036 and while it looks good on the ship plan it is as noisy as hell. There is a crew access door immediately opposite the cabin door so all crew movements at early hours can be heard through what seems to be a paper thin door. Most staterooms are relatively soundproof when you take into account the white noise from the air conditioner / heater. People conducting conversations nearby in the hallway honestly felt like they were about to enter our room and could be heard clearly. It didn't help that the neighbour on one side had their tv at an audible volume until 11pm most nights and the other neighbour had room service delivered every morning at 7. The latter was a guaranteed wake up call as we heard the steward knocking and calling out room service every morning. I've had issues with rooms (plumbing or air conditioning faults) in the past where we were moved to another room but in this case they only had worse rooms (disabled which had no storage or a room adjacent to the lifts). We asked them to run some foam around the door to stop noise entry but that was done in a half hearted way and made no difference. At that point customer service ended. When we were on the Westerdam the food was so good I was advising people to switch from Azamara to HA. The food on Zuiderdam could be described as average at best. I have honestly had better meals in pubs and only one meal stood out over the 14 nights. Not sure if it is a new policy but breakfasts in the dining room didn't have pastries being offered and you had to request them. Even when you did request them you were offered a small selection in a bread basket. When I asked for a specific pastry I was told they didn't have them and yet when I walked upstairs they were in the Lido. The service in the dining room was good at a personal level but horrible at a systemic level. They would be nice as pie but forget to return with items you had asked for. Or they would bring two courses at the same time so one got cold. Or if they didn't do it that way they would serve the second course which had been sitting under a heat lamp and was baked dry and crispy. Think Swedish pancakes bain maried to a crispy tough mess. The ship is the oldest of the vista ships and it really looks it. Only two years older than the Westerdam and yet it looks very tired. Broken windows on upper decks and lift shafts and lots of clouded or water filled double glazed windows on lower decks. Not the end of the world but it spoke of the lack of effort evident in everything else we experienced. Instead of Holland America meaning a level of quality it reeked of cost cutting. As I said the itinerary was brilliant. We did Copenhagen, South Queensferry, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Belfast, Dublin, Cherbourg, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Oslo and back to Copenhagen. Shore excursions are notoriously overpriced but they come with the guarantee that the ship will wait for you if the tour goes pear shaped. Fine if that is your worry. We don't use them because they are so pricey. At two ports we paid for a taxi and did our own thing for less than the cost of a per person ship transfer. That speaks volumes about the HA penny pinching IMO. I don't sail for the "enrichment activities" or the casino or shows or fitness and am happy reading a book watching the world go by with a drink so my average rating on all reflects that. With what we paid per day I'm thinking next time I'll find the extra and go with Azamara because If this was indicative of how they are headed I fail to see any difference in quality between them and the cheaper brands under the Carnival banner.

Fantastic itinerary terrible food and service

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by ybb

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
This was our fourth Holland America cruise and our second HA cruise this year. We last sailed on the Westerdam around Japan which was fantastic. As this was also a vista class ship and we had also been on the Oosterdam we expected similar levels of service. Sadly that wasn't the case.

The embarkation from Copenhagen was managed well as was the disembarkation. We only did the 14 night section of this so we started and finished in Copenhagen.

The cabin we were assigned was balcony cabin 7036 and while it looks good on the ship plan it is as noisy as hell. There is a crew access door immediately opposite the cabin door so all crew movements at early hours can be heard through what seems to be a paper thin door. Most staterooms are relatively soundproof when you take into account the white noise from the air conditioner / heater. People conducting conversations nearby in the hallway honestly felt like they were about to enter our room and could be heard clearly. It didn't help that the neighbour on one side had their tv at an audible volume until 11pm most nights and the other neighbour had room service delivered every morning at 7. The latter was a guaranteed wake up call as we heard the steward knocking and calling out room service every morning. I've had issues with rooms (plumbing or air conditioning faults) in the past where we were moved to another room but in this case they only had worse rooms (disabled which had no storage or a room adjacent to the lifts). We asked them to run some foam around the door to stop noise entry but that was done in a half hearted way and made no difference. At that point customer service ended.

When we were on the Westerdam the food was so good I was advising people to switch from Azamara to HA. The food on Zuiderdam could be described as average at best. I have honestly had better meals in pubs and only one meal stood out over the 14 nights.

Not sure if it is a new policy but breakfasts in the dining room didn't have pastries being offered and you had to request them. Even when you did request them you were offered a small selection in a bread basket. When I asked for a specific pastry I was told they didn't have them and yet when I walked upstairs they were in the Lido.

The service in the dining room was good at a personal level but horrible at a systemic level. They would be nice as pie but forget to return with items you had asked for. Or they would bring two courses at the same time so one got cold. Or if they didn't do it that way they would serve the second course which had been sitting under a heat lamp and was baked dry and crispy. Think Swedish pancakes bain maried to a crispy tough mess.

The ship is the oldest of the vista ships and it really looks it. Only two years older than the Westerdam and yet it looks very tired. Broken windows on upper decks and lift shafts and lots of clouded or water filled double glazed windows on lower decks. Not the end of the world but it spoke of the lack of effort evident in everything else we experienced. Instead of Holland America meaning a level of quality it reeked of cost cutting.

As I said the itinerary was brilliant. We did Copenhagen, South Queensferry, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Belfast, Dublin, Cherbourg, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Oslo and back to Copenhagen.

Shore excursions are notoriously overpriced but they come with the guarantee that the ship will wait for you if the tour goes pear shaped. Fine if that is your worry. We don't use them because they are so pricey. At two ports we paid for a taxi and did our own thing for less than the cost of a per person ship transfer. That speaks volumes about the HA penny pinching IMO.

I don't sail for the "enrichment activities" or the casino or shows or fitness and am happy reading a book watching the world go by with a drink so my average rating on all reflects that.

With what we paid per day I'm thinking next time I'll find the extra and go with Azamara because If this was indicative of how they are headed I fail to see any difference in quality between them and the cheaper brands under the Carnival banner.
ybb’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VD 7036
Noisy as hell and adjacent to a loud crew door. Only get this cabin if you are hard of hearing or get it at an enormous discount.
Rotterdam Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins