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We flew down from Boston to Ft. Lauderdale the day prior. No delays, a straight flight on Jet Blue. Jet blue did not charge for bags checked. The flight was relatively cheap at $180 round trip p/p. Was comfortable too. At the airport we grabbed our two bags off the luggage carousel.We went outside and grabbed a cab. It took us to the HYATT Pier 66. Taxi cost $17 from the airport. HYATT cost $180 a night. We had a canal view ground floor patio room. Absolutely would do it again. Beautiful grounds and pools. On site restaurants were expensive but were good. We walked around the grounds, ate lunch/dinner then took the water taxi tour of the inland waterway in the area. That was fun. The money some folks have, I could win $200 million Powerball lottery and still could not even dream of owning some of the yachts and homes. I hope this suggestion will help some of you decide where to stay in Ft. Lauderdale if you like to walk around the day before or after a cruise. We have stayed at the HYATT Airport North twice. I feel those were two wasted days now. The location of HYATT Pier 66 is great and other hotels on this side of the bridge probably are too. The water taxi was easy and accessible from many stops along the waterway.The next morning about 5:30 we woke up to the sound of a LOUD ships horn! Zuiderdam had arrived. We got up and ate at the hotel resturant, a bit expensive as stated prior. Took a swim in pools and hot tubs. Back to the room we dressed and got our bags in order. We then walked out onto the large 4 leaf draw bridge and got our first view of the Zuiderdam. It was near the Radisson Seven Seas Mariner. It made the Zuidy look big. We went back to our room and grabbed our luggage and boarded the shuttle we had booked the night before. Got to the pier around 11:00. We were on the ship by 11:30 am. We were not priority or anything. HAL has the embarkation process down.This was our first time sailing Holland-America. Will not be the last.The Ship.This was the smallest ship we ever sailed. It certainly didn't feel all that small. The ship has a lot of small bars and places to sit and look out at the sea. Our cabin a VA 7124 was at the aft 100' of the ship. It was comfortable and had a good deal of open floor between the bed and glass balcony wall and door. The balcony was 6' by 9', good size as a standard. I did not notice any smoke smell in the halls, room or for the most part the balcony. I smelled cigarette smoke on debarkation in Ft. Lauderdale, then none. Our room attendants were the best we ever had on any cruise. Two great hard working guys. Nothing was ever neglected. Bathroom was clean and no mold anywhere as I have read in other reviews. I could ask for no better in a cabin or attendants. Fruit was replenished every day too.Also as a suggestion. We did room service for breakfast everyday except Panama day. On Panama day we went to Lido, room service rest of time. The food came to our cabin exactly at time we wanted and was hot or cold as necessary. Only I ordered a danish everyday instead of toast. The first day I ordered toast but it cools to quick. I can't say enough about the room service. For breakfast it is the only way to go IMO. We did not try lunch or dinner room service.I do have to say, and this will not be accepted by most of you. I truly do feel the cruise lines must bring on the fuel supplement or raise cruise fares. On HAL the hotel services were great, no complaints. The maintenance of the ship was lacking. The deck crew were always busy scrapping and painting, just not enough of them to keep up. A lot of small things inside needed attention too. Burned out lights, small tears in drapes and carpets. Loose fittings, like floor thresholds, door knobs, other fixtures. I do admit I noticed a lot of the little things due to reading reviews like this. Then I looked for them. The exterior of the ship looks nice from a distance. Close up you will notice rust and especially dirty windows. The RCCL Oasis of the Seas was docked next to us on debarkation day. They had rust and mismatched paint all over too, so its not just HAL. I think all the cruise lines have to cut back somewhere, HAL must be using less man hours on maintenance. this was our tenth cruise and it is noticeable the with the ships condition compared to the other ships we have sailed. I bet it is the same for the other lines too. I personally would like to see the ships be in better physical condition. The fairs should rise to stay with inflation.We ate the any time dinning. Never a wait for the table. Food was always good with the exception of grissly short ribs on the Mariners Brunch day. The service was good everyday except two days. We had a 45 min. wait between appetizer and Entree. The food was equal to any other MDR meals on other lines. We ate at the Pinnacle grill one night. It was great, the service was about the same as in the MDR, nothing anymore special. Was it worth $20 p/p? I would have ate there again later in the cruise had they not been booked up.At night it is real apparent the stabilizers are inactive. The ship rolls. To tell you the truth, I love that. I sleep so nice. The ship saves on fuel to travel at night with out stabilizers, when most are sleeping. And yes, the captain said they will sail with out them at night for the fuel savings. Fair enough.As far as shows, we did not see most of them. I heard from others they were good. what I did see for entertainment was good. Funny comedian, Jeff Trachta. The cruise director David Shaw (?) he was a nice guy. I feel he was too inexperienced for the job. He had only been on cruise ships 3 years. A lot of the activities had to be rescheduled or cancelled due to conflicting times and venues. A guy came on with a little dog to do some shows. Someone asked him where his dog goes to the bathroom. He said the poop deck.The ship I do like, I wouldn't mind sailing on the newer Eurodam or Nieuw Amsterdam to check out some of the added venues on them. The Zuiderdam atrium though is small, very much so. The Waterford seahorse chandelier should have better lighting. It looks like it could be impressing, but it isn't.Ship wide as a whole. Not much in the way of being bothered by smokers, yes the casino stinks of it, but I wasted a few bucks there anyway. Outside on deck 10 starboard side some smokers there too. It did not bother me. I did not notice anymore smokers than any other line I been on. To read the boards here on Cruise Critic you would think people are running around everywhere smoking like there's no tomorrow. Simply not true.My wife and I bought the thermal spa package for $190 dollars on our first day. Priced per couple. If you were to purchase a day pass it would cost $40. We used the hydro pool and thermal spa, steam room and 190 degree sauna twice a day. That $190 was worth every cent paid. They sell only 40 passes for the entire cruise. The place was never crowded. The cost was enough to keep out folks who where just curious, no kids in there at all. For those of you that don't know what a hydro pool is. It is 99 degrees f. A small pool sided multi-jet relaxing, very relaxing place. If you are into that sort of thing (I am. I work bridge construction, and am all beat up an sore) this is for you. As a couple without the package deal we would have spent $800, that would have been a steep price. Of all packages on board, that's the one to get IMO.We went to the question/answer programs with the captain and also the lectures by Lance the travel guide. Fun and informative. Captain Timmers is a card, funny guy. Very much loved by his crew and the guests. He was getting off in Ft. Lauderdale for a much needed 3 months off. Lance the travel guide guy, was really interesting. He described the locks in the Panama-Canal, its history and anything else you might like to know.ResturantsLido, we did most days at lunch. That pasta station is awesome, I ordered some daily. There is a burger grill out by the mid-ship pool. Taco bar in the afternoon too. In Lido is an Asian grill, deli, salad bar and standard buffet. Ice cream and desserts too. First 48 hours the buffet is all served by dinning room staff. Didn't bother me, but some did not care for that. We didn't try Canaletto's (an Italian rest. in the Lido area).The Crows Nest area has library, Internet cafe a bar and great observation lounge.You know I could go on and on. But I won't bore you. In closing, I have sailed on the Celebrity Solstice, Mariner of the Seas (RCCL), Star Princess, Jewel of the Seas (RCCL), Carnival Dream, Explorer of the Seas (RCCL), Caribbean Princess and now Zuiderdam. All these lines are about the same in quality of food and service. The activities and amenities differ. I put the service edge to HAL. Activities to Carnival and RCCL. Amenities to Celebrity. I love food, and I will be booed for my opinion. The food is good on all the lines IMO. If I were to get a meal on Princess delivered to Carnival or RCCL, HAL or Celebrity, I would not notice. The specially restaurants are better yet. I loved the Pinnacle Grill in the Zuiderdam, but I liked Chef's Art on the Carnival Dream the best of all the Specialty rest I have eaten at. If you are thinking of taking a cruise on the Zuiderdam, do it. I absolutely have no regrets and would do it all again.

HAL Zuiderdam

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by NH Cruisers

Trip Details
We flew down from Boston to Ft. Lauderdale the day prior. No delays, a straight flight on Jet Blue. Jet blue did not charge for bags checked. The flight was relatively cheap at $180 round trip p/p. Was comfortable too. At the airport we grabbed our two bags off the luggage carousel.We went outside and grabbed a cab. It took us to the HYATT Pier 66. Taxi cost $17 from the airport. HYATT cost $180 a night. We had a canal view ground floor patio room. Absolutely would do it again. Beautiful grounds and pools. On site restaurants were expensive but were good. We walked around the grounds, ate lunch/dinner then took the water taxi tour of the inland waterway in the area. That was fun. The money some folks have, I could win $200 million Powerball lottery and still could not even dream of owning some of the yachts and homes. I hope this suggestion will help some of you decide where to stay in Ft. Lauderdale if you like to walk around the day before or after a cruise. We have stayed at the HYATT Airport North twice. I feel those were two wasted days now. The location of HYATT Pier 66 is great and other hotels on this side of the bridge probably are too. The water taxi was easy and accessible from many stops along the waterway.The next morning about 5:30 we woke up to the sound of a LOUD ships horn! Zuiderdam had arrived. We got up and ate at the hotel resturant, a bit expensive as stated prior. Took a swim in pools and hot tubs. Back to the room we dressed and got our bags in order. We then walked out onto the large 4 leaf draw bridge and got our first view of the Zuiderdam. It was near the Radisson Seven Seas Mariner. It made the Zuidy look big. We went back to our room and grabbed our luggage and boarded the shuttle we had booked the night before. Got to the pier around 11:00. We were on the ship by 11:30 am. We were not priority or anything. HAL has the embarkation process down.This was our first time sailing Holland-America. Will not be the last.The Ship.This was the smallest ship we ever sailed. It certainly didn't feel all that small. The ship has a lot of small bars and places to sit and look out at the sea. Our cabin a VA 7124 was at the aft 100' of the ship. It was comfortable and had a good deal of open floor between the bed and glass balcony wall and door. The balcony was 6' by 9', good size as a standard. I did not notice any smoke smell in the halls, room or for the most part the balcony. I smelled cigarette smoke on debarkation in Ft. Lauderdale, then none. Our room attendants were the best we ever had on any cruise. Two great hard working guys. Nothing was ever neglected. Bathroom was clean and no mold anywhere as I have read in other reviews. I could ask for no better in a cabin or attendants. Fruit was replenished every day too.Also as a suggestion. We did room service for breakfast everyday except Panama day. On Panama day we went to Lido, room service rest of time. The food came to our cabin exactly at time we wanted and was hot or cold as necessary. Only I ordered a danish everyday instead of toast. The first day I ordered toast but it cools to quick. I can't say enough about the room service. For breakfast it is the only way to go IMO. We did not try lunch or dinner room service.I do have to say, and this will not be accepted by most of you. I truly do feel the cruise lines must bring on the fuel supplement or raise cruise fares. On HAL the hotel services were great, no complaints. The maintenance of the ship was lacking. The deck crew were always busy scrapping and painting, just not enough of them to keep up. A lot of small things inside needed attention too. Burned out lights, small tears in drapes and carpets. Loose fittings, like floor thresholds, door knobs, other fixtures. I do admit I noticed a lot of the little things due to reading reviews like this. Then I looked for them. The exterior of the ship looks nice from a distance. Close up you will notice rust and especially dirty windows. The RCCL Oasis of the Seas was docked next to us on debarkation day. They had rust and mismatched paint all over too, so its not just HAL. I think all the cruise lines have to cut back somewhere, HAL must be using less man hours on maintenance. this was our tenth cruise and it is noticeable the with the ships condition compared to the other ships we have sailed. I bet it is the same for the other lines too. I personally would like to see the ships be in better physical condition. The fairs should rise to stay with inflation.We ate the any time dinning. Never a wait for the table. Food was always good with the exception of grissly short ribs on the Mariners Brunch day. The service was good everyday except two days. We had a 45 min. wait between appetizer and Entree. The food was equal to any other MDR meals on other lines. We ate at the Pinnacle grill one night. It was great, the service was about the same as in the MDR, nothing anymore special. Was it worth $20 p/p? I would have ate there again later in the cruise had they not been booked up.At night it is real apparent the stabilizers are inactive. The ship rolls. To tell you the truth, I love that. I sleep so nice. The ship saves on fuel to travel at night with out stabilizers, when most are sleeping. And yes, the captain said they will sail with out them at night for the fuel savings. Fair enough.As far as shows, we did not see most of them. I heard from others they were good. what I did see for entertainment was good. Funny comedian, Jeff Trachta. The cruise director David Shaw (?) he was a nice guy. I feel he was too inexperienced for the job. He had only been on cruise ships 3 years. A lot of the activities had to be rescheduled or cancelled due to conflicting times and venues. A guy came on with a little dog to do some shows. Someone asked him where his dog goes to the bathroom. He said the poop deck.The ship I do like, I wouldn't mind sailing on the newer Eurodam or Nieuw Amsterdam to check out some of the added venues on them. The Zuiderdam atrium though is small, very much so. The Waterford seahorse chandelier should have better lighting. It looks like it could be impressing, but it isn't.Ship wide as a whole. Not much in the way of being bothered by smokers, yes the casino stinks of it, but I wasted a few bucks there anyway. Outside on deck 10 starboard side some smokers there too. It did not bother me. I did not notice anymore smokers than any other line I been on. To read the boards here on Cruise Critic you would think people are running around everywhere smoking like there's no tomorrow. Simply not true.My wife and I bought the thermal spa package for $190 dollars on our first day. Priced per couple. If you were to purchase a day pass it would cost $40. We used the hydro pool and thermal spa, steam room and 190 degree sauna twice a day. That $190 was worth every cent paid. They sell only 40 passes for the entire cruise. The place was never crowded. The cost was enough to keep out folks who where just curious, no kids in there at all. For those of you that don't know what a hydro pool is. It is 99 degrees f. A small pool sided multi-jet relaxing, very relaxing place. If you are into that sort of thing (I am. I work bridge construction, and am all beat up an sore) this is for you. As a couple without the package deal we would have spent $800, that would have been a steep price. Of all packages on board, that's the one to get IMO.We went to the question/answer programs with the captain and also the lectures by Lance the travel guide. Fun and informative. Captain Timmers is a card, funny guy. Very much loved by his crew and the guests. He was getting off in Ft. Lauderdale for a much needed 3 months off. Lance the travel guide guy, was really interesting. He described the locks in the Panama-Canal, its history and anything else you might like to know.ResturantsLido, we did most days at lunch. That pasta station is awesome, I ordered some daily. There is a burger grill out by the mid-ship pool. Taco bar in the afternoon too. In Lido is an Asian grill, deli, salad bar and standard buffet. Ice cream and desserts too. First 48 hours the buffet is all served by dinning room staff. Didn't bother me, but some did not care for that. We didn't try Canaletto's (an Italian rest. in the Lido area).The Crows Nest area has library, Internet cafe a bar and great observation lounge.You know I could go on and on. But I won't bore you. In closing, I have sailed on the Celebrity Solstice, Mariner of the Seas (RCCL), Star Princess, Jewel of the Seas (RCCL), Carnival Dream, Explorer of the Seas (RCCL), Caribbean Princess and now Zuiderdam. All these lines are about the same in quality of food and service. The activities and amenities differ. I put the service edge to HAL. Activities to Carnival and RCCL. Amenities to Celebrity. I love food, and I will be booed for my opinion. The food is good on all the lines IMO. If I were to get a meal on Princess delivered to Carnival or RCCL, HAL or Celebrity, I would not notice. The specially restaurants are better yet. I loved the Pinnacle Grill in the Zuiderdam, but I liked Chef's Art on the Carnival Dream the best of all the Specialty rest I have eaten at. If you are thinking of taking a cruise on the Zuiderdam, do it. I absolutely have no regrets and would do it all again.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VA 7124
Nice sized standard 6' by 9' balcony, no cigarette smoke smell most of the time. Stewards station right out door. Quiet location. Feel the ship roll at night. Bathroom was standard. Very clean.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews