4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed on well over 20 cruises with most main cruise lines. Carnival, Princess, NCL, but mostly with Celebrity which we have elite status. Celebrity did not offer a partial Panama Canal transit, so we opted for HAL on the ... Read More
We have sailed on well over 20 cruises with most main cruise lines. Carnival, Princess, NCL, but mostly with Celebrity which we have elite status. Celebrity did not offer a partial Panama Canal transit, so we opted for HAL on the Zuiderdam with 22 of our friends and family. To a person, we all said we wouldn’t book another HAL cruise, as we were disappointed with the lack of activities that interested our group. Most of us are around 65-70 and one couple in their 30’s. PROS: Boarding the ship was the easiest we have experienced. We parked the car at Park N Go (great experience) and were taken to the ship about 11:30. We checked in immediately and were group #13 to board. They were boarding 9 when we got there and were called in no more than 5 minutes after using the restroom. The best part was the rooms were ready immediately so we could drop off our carry on before seeking a libation and lunch. It was especially nice since we brought on 2 bottles of wine and a 12 pack of water in a small roller bag. The luggage was delivered to the room within a couple of hours. The ship is lovely. Not fancy, but clean & well cared for. The only place I noticed wear and tear evident was on our cabin balcony. There were rust spots and the one deck chair really needed to be replaced. The crew were great. Very helpful. Always smiling, good service. By far HAL’s biggest asset. Several of the crew mentioned that HAL really treated the staff well, and they have many long term employees. The captain was very visible around the ship and seemed very approachable. A+++ for the crew . Best entertainment I have seen at sea was the Island Magic steel band. They played two days. The first was a mix of show tunes and classical. I know, classical steel drums, right? It was just awesome. If you have the opportunity to see them, don’t miss it. We did not purchase a drink package. However, at various hours and at different venues, there was Happy Hour, which meant buy one drink, get the same for $2 more. We took advantage of that, so that kept our bill quite reasonable. We enjoyed all of the ports. The itinerary was good. The excursion talks were very good and interesting. Half Moon Cay is awesome. I did have a very good lunch there on jerk chicken and salads. Curaçao is beautiful. We did a Tuk Tuk tour through Viator that was really fun. Aruba is fun, but we arrived late due to windy conditions. Panama was fantastic. Don’t miss the Panama rolls served on deck 4, the bow of the ship, during the transit. Costa Rica was very interesting and we enjoyed our Canal our there. CONS: I know food is subjective. We are not fussy eaters. I had heard that HAL food was pretty good. We were disappointed in the dining room food and selection. I can’t say that I had one memorable meal, and had several that I’d like to forget. I know you can always order something else, but I just won’t do that. The food was served hot, which is good, but sometimes that meant things were dried out, like the potatoes. We went to the Pinnacle Grill one evening. Even that was hit or miss. My steak was good, my husband’s and our friend’s were rather tasteless. LIdo food was much better and the hamburgers and fries from Dive In were really good. I didn’t lose any weight, but it was just disappointing to look forward to a nice dinner and not having one. Our biggest complaint and why we will not do another HAL cruise was the lack of activities that we enjoyed. No music around the pools, no dancing in the evening, no silly games to participate or watch others do. The gift shops were closed for the first 5 days of our trip for remodeling. So no shopping. And when they did open, a lot of the shelves were empty. Finally, on the next to the last day of the cruise, there was a deck sale. It was all items you could have used during the cruise like hats, coverups, totes, jewelry. People were flocking all over that. The casino is small and the slot machines weren’t paying much. Most evenings there was only one black jack table open. BB King’s was good, but not always playing when you were looking for entertainment. Anyway, all 24 of us were always trying to find something to do, so for the first time in over 20 cruises, I was bored. We were bored. As I mentioned, we are no spring chickens, but this cruise definitely skewed much older than us. I suppose the 10 day itinerary and Panama Canal was of more interest to that crowd. We didn’t see much of the cruise director and the port shopping guy wasn’t very interesting. SUMMARY: We had a nice time but if asked, I wouldn’t recommend a HAL cruise to a friend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This was my 25th cruise and my first with HA my sister was her first and having nothing to compare with she is more leaneant than I am With ther evaluation of the cruise. I had the impression that HA are trying to updgrade the services ... Read More
This was my 25th cruise and my first with HA my sister was her first and having nothing to compare with she is more leaneant than I am With ther evaluation of the cruise. I had the impression that HA are trying to updgrade the services with newer way of doing things so they picked up a little bit from each cruise lines offers them but do not quite master the process. From my perception still a long way to go to top certain cruise lines with more cultural feartures. Example: there were beautiful art work on the ship why not offer a free showing on what they represent, something on the authors or artist; meanings etc. Ship’s 10th floor is not easily accessible so if you want to purchase shore excursions you have to find them first. Why not put them on the 1st floor with information desk and newpapers? Cabins: Our room was super clean and maintained that way all through the cruise with Faisal and Oom our room stewards. Those who complain about an obstructed view need to know that there is an extra cost to get the non obstructuve view. Beds very comfortable, lots of movies, information on flat screen tv; lots of closet space; bathroom with bath, lots of how water, and shower big shower head. The ship showed its age in many places but inside cabins and some areas have been redurbished in 2017. On our balcony, there was rust and the oustside chairs extremelly stained and one was covered with a more stained fabric made us wonder how much it would cost to buy new ones considering the cost of the trip. Dining: Main dining room on the 2nd and 3rd in the back of the ship made it easy to travel from our room to the dining room as we were 8th floor in the back so an elevator hop and we were there.The dining room director Alfan and his assistant Krisna went out of there way to please us. I am scealiac and found it very difficult to find food with no gluten as the menus did not indicate in what there was gluten I was sick at the beginning and was asked to choose the meal for the next night something I did not want to do so chose to eat at Canaletto ($15 each night extra) on the 9th floor next to the Lido. A small restaurant, no more than 75 places, with Denise as the Lido manager who made sure with the executive chef that my food was not contaminated with other flours.and his team in the dining room. I am not a fan of cafeteria food and could not eat at the lido when I missed the dining room lunch I would have a salad with all kinds of ingredients: very good but always the same very little variety. Pineaccle is the other specilaty restaurant grill meat and sea food. We went twice but returned very quickly to Canaletto. Be aware that if you choose the select dining approach you will be asked to eat before 6pm or after 8h30pm. There are no other timeframes that can be provided. I always choose that on other ships and never had a problem to eat at 6h30 ou 6h45. At the Canaletto I was able to eat at the time I wanted to. Entertainement and activities: Music awesome and for every taste. Classical offered live in a small salon where a sign was showing quiet please live performance The Classical musicians were fabulous and did play a variety of offerings even accompanied documentaries of Planet earth I did not miss those! 2 pianist and awesome signers Aidan and Meaghan who sang wonderfully and asked for requests. Aidan immitated Elvis and Meaghan had more of a country signer voice sang Patsy Kline and other great signers wonderfully. Too bad this music was next to the casino we could hear the bells and all noises coming from there. The entertainers are very dedicated in involving everyone. We were encouraged to sign with them and some danced. Test kitchen during the day with lots of information from the captain. Other that Royal C, I have not seen a captain so present he was very reassuring a no nonsense person with a nice sense of humor. Safety: There was constant maintenance going on. Buzzing and drilling, cables hanging from the ceiling as well as mineral wool on the floor. My sister slipped and hurt herself quite badly we should have been instructed that the front of the ship which was opened for the crossing at Panama was wet! Wood treatment with epoxy next to the pool is at the height of the day when people were sunning and swimming had a strong chemical odor; elevator stopped from the 9th floor to the 6th never heard why no notice at all! Unacceptable. The drill took more than 45’ I could assuredly tell you that with the quantity of challenged and less mobile people on the ship it would be disastreous if there was an evacuation. Service: Intended to go the morning stretch but never found the so called gym! Trying to make my way there past the pool everything became a commercial fare: was asked to do an imprint of my feet. Anti aging talks were commercials for skincare. They even do botox and fillers! And teeth whitening! Bought my sister a good oil and get for her back after the accident got so much pressure to have her go in for assessment and massages and accupuncture...just decided to short cut them when possible. If you own a time share you will get my jist as they pressure you to buy another one and go to meetings by promising all kinds of free promotions that lead into a big expense. There were no passenger participation activities! Specifically no talent show., trivial pursuit or other. This was the first cruise I was on where they didn't have, at the very least, Karaoke! Very different that other cruises. Our Shore excursions: two 3 hours excursions with Holland were okish and quite expensive nothing Special to write about would not repeat the experience or encourage it. Having been on that cruise with Celebrity I had done the zip lining in Costa Rica, the Panama City tour which are very good. Colon should not be a port stop it is extremelly dangerous, lots of drugs and promiscious night life looking for the balcony looked like a ghost town with run down hotels and buildings. I am sure there were other places we could have stopped to pick up the people who took the shore excursions. Love the Fort Lauderdale tour. Gatun lake it so beautiful. Embarkation and disembarkation: Other than river cruises, this was probably the best and most efficient disembarkation i have ever experienced. Cannot say I will not be going on another Holland America Cruise, but not on the Zuiderdam! My next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. Read Less
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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
As a three-star mariner with Holland America, I have enjoyed many of their ships over the years. The latest improvements did away with the wonderful library and great coffee bar. Explorations Café is now up on deck 10, with nice places ... Read More
As a three-star mariner with Holland America, I have enjoyed many of their ships over the years. The latest improvements did away with the wonderful library and great coffee bar. Explorations Café is now up on deck 10, with nice places to sit, but no books to browse. The "passenger exchange books" shelf had a dozen or so books in foreign languages, but none in English until I left a few had brought along. The bar here handles both specialty coffee and alcoholic drinks. One latte proved to me that it wasn't that great a cup. So it goes. The new Lincoln Center Stage was filled to capacity at each performance, with some classics on the heavy side for my taste. I loved the old piano and violin combo that played more Strauss and standard melodies. Billboard on Board with its twin pianos was crowded at each performance, with standing room across the way in the casino for the overflow. The area shared by B.B.King's All-Stars (evenings) and America's Test Kitchen (daytime) also has more people than seating. The permanent lounge seating at the back of the room is fine in the evening. Folding chairs are added for the daytime cooking shows, with those in the lounges seeing only heads and backs since the closely lined up chairs are quite a bit higher. The food in the dining room is still very good every evening (and breakfast and lunch). The Dungeness crab benedict was wonderful, and on the breakfast menu every day. The one evening of surf and turf featured perfectly done lobster. Wine prices have continued to rise, but asking $79 plus 18% for a bottle that retails for $15 seems a bit over the top. My big disappointment on this cruise was the scenery from my ocean view cabin. Cabin 4114 gave new meaning to the term "obstructed view". From my floor to ceiling window, I could view lifeboat #16 and its davit....a bit of sky above, and looking directly down could see those walking on deck 3 below. Not a bit of "ocean" aside from the time they lowered the lifeboat to use as a tender at one port. The room itself was fine, and my steward was outstanding as always. Lots of hanging closet space but no drawers other than tiny ones in the bedside tables. Nice tub with shower in the bathroom, and lots of storage space. Now if they would just give loyal passengers a few complimentary minutes of internet time like the other cruise lines do, I would continue to be a happy camper on Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
there was many disappointing things on the cruise. And a lot of excellent things. The staff was amazing her room stores were exceptional everyone seemed very friendly. The food was very average gnome memorable meals. We had prime rib one ... Read More
there was many disappointing things on the cruise. And a lot of excellent things. The staff was amazing her room stores were exceptional everyone seemed very friendly. The food was very average gnome memorable meals. We had prime rib one night was very good, had steak it was tough and seasoned odd. Breakfast want anything special. The entertainment on mainstage was OK the comedian was excellent only there one day, he was an improv comedian working off the audience which was excellent. Then to piano players a young woman and a young gentleman that played the duration of the cruise they were amazing unbelievable very enjoyable to listen to. it seems like most of the day planned activities during the day on the ship were trying to sell you some thing a spa treatment or shoe inserts. The most disappointing thing was for afternoons our cabin had a strong paint smell which they were painting in different parts of the ship and it went to do the air conditioning system . And there was a couple days they were working on the electrical system outside the cabin banging away. We called and voiced our concerns and were told they were trying to improve the ship for future cruises, didn’t seem to care about us. Read Less
3 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
9 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
Sail Date: January 2019
The food was worse than you could imagine -- think truckstop, then go three grades lower. The problem is the sourcing of their ingredients -- EVERYTHING loaded up for an 11 day cruise in Ft Lauderdale and frozen or refrigerated, and ... Read More
The food was worse than you could imagine -- think truckstop, then go three grades lower. The problem is the sourcing of their ingredients -- EVERYTHING loaded up for an 11 day cruise in Ft Lauderdale and frozen or refrigerated, and NOTHING brought in fresh from ports visited, as I've seen on many cruises. Rancid looking shrimp, overcooked dried out chicken, beef you can't cut, slimy BBQ chick at island stop, flavorless bland food, and RECYCLED ingredients constantly -- leftovers are used for 2-3 days. Fruit unripe and flavorless. Flies all over the saladbar ingredients. Only good thing was bread. We had to eat at ports just not to lose weight. I saw things that should not be in any restaurant or ship (I've taken 38 cruises so I know). It's not the staff (which was wonderful) -- it's the company and their rules to put as much $$ on the bottom line by reusing food. Cheating practices -- We were supposed to get a credit for an excursion we did not go on. We are still waiting for this credit 28 days later. Poor entertainment, and nothing to do during the day that didn't lead to you buying something. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had been planning this cruise for several years to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary as well as her completing her PhD. We had booked an ocean view cabin on Deck #1. We did not find out until out first night that we ... Read More
My wife and I had been planning this cruise for several years to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary as well as her completing her PhD. We had booked an ocean view cabin on Deck #1. We did not find out until out first night that we had a cabin under the B.B.King nightclub! Could someone please explain to me why a cruise line would put passengers in a cabin under a noisy night club! We complained to Guest Services several times and finally we moved to another cabin. 4 nights of a 10 night cruise spent in a cabin we could not sleep in! GRRRRR! I wrote to Holland America corporate customer service after the cruise to express my displeasure with their accommodations. They offered us $500.00 in Ship Board credits on our next cruise. So in order to avail ourselves of their offer we have to spend several thousand dollars. Not a good option. We also booked a Romantic Getaway Package. We were supposed to get complimentary pictures, casino lessons and credit at the casino, as well as flowers, sparkling wine, (upon entering our cabin on the first cruise day) and chocolate covered strawberries in our cabin. The wine was not chilled. We were told the florist was running behind. In order to get the pictures and the lessons and credit at the casino the letter with the package was not accepted. We had to go back to Guest Services and get a card showing that we should receive the services. We ended up doing this over several days as we tried to get our package services. So, basically we went to customer service on a nearly daily basis. GRRRRR! Holland America had many opportunities to make things right. Many of the onboard staff did a commendable job trying to resolve these problems. Corporate could have done a better job. The dining room staff and the Green House spa staff were great. The excursions were good. Overall I would have to say that when a problem arose the onboard staff tried to make the situation right. Holland America Customer Relations - Not so much. Read Less
2 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
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 3.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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