Home for the Holidays: Christmas on ms Zuiderdam

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#1
Chicagoland
2,568 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Herein I will provide pictures, pull together random facts & opinions, and, hopefully, not duplicate my sporadic "semi-live" thread: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1957475

It was the first Christmas without my mother,which meant no more negotiations as to who was to visit when. And my DH's 3 wonderful sons were focusing on the failing health of their mom. So. We left town. More specifically we left Fort Lauderdale on a 'dam ship. As I said "Home for the Holidays." We had eyed Westerdam's 7 day Western Caribbean cruise, but it would involve spending Christmas Day in St Thomas with 20,000 or so of our closest cruising buddies. We opted for the Zuiderdam's Christmas Day at sea.

Any regular reader of this board knows that Zuidy has been getting not so great reviews lately, although it is unclear how genuine some of those reviews are. So I set out to see how Zuidy actually was. Her decor is garish and inconsistent, however there are pockets of of decorative rationality here and there. Both will be shown in this pictorial view.


Our Waterford seahorse in the Atrium.

We heard of one AC problem on Deck 4 that lasted 11 hours. All tested toilets flushes and in the process I learned the secret of how to best flush a HVAC toilet. There were very small amounts of wear here and there, but overall she was a clean and well run ship. Only reported untoward smells were on shore. But then what do you expect from a park full of pigeons? Only noticeably slow service was the first night in MDR. The MDR food was the best I've had on HAL. Embarkation and Debarkation were decent speed. I've had faster and slower. The customs line in Fort Lauderdale on our return was not speedy, but the line did move. It did help that we were the only ship in port that day.


A view from our Rotterdam Deck Verandah cabin

We smuggled our non-starred traveling companion into Mariner's Lunch without a problem. It was the same menu as I've seen twice before, but this time the Pasta Primavera was delish.




The summer fruit tart was its reliable self.

I looked for the CC group both at the midships Lido pool and the seaview Lido pool and did not find them. So the three of us settled down at the latter and made the first dent in our key cards. I was worried that we'd be drowned out by HALcats as we were on our Eurodam Norway cruise, but they must have been someplace else. What we did have was a sampling of the other entertainers, including a steel drummer who was excellent.

We were in port with Maasdam and a Celebrity and Oceania ship. Maasdam left first.



And then it was our turn to slip quietly out to sea.


**My apologies for the oversized pictures. I will resize for the next installment**
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'Life is short, drink the good wine first'









2018: Diamond Princess 7 day Circle Japan.
2017: Prinsendam 14 day Scotland/Ireland ; Volendam 16 day Trans-Pacific, Tokyo to Vancouver; Eurodam 7 day West. Carib.
2016: Rotterdam 18 day Viking Passage, Rotterdam to Boston; Noordam 13 day Australia/New Zealand; Zuiderdam 11 day partial Canal.
2015: Amsterdam 16 day Lima to San Diego; Oosterdam 3 day Coastal; Botticelli 6 day Seine; Veendam 7 day Bermuda; Volendam 17 day N. Pacific Crossing, Kobe to Vancouver
2014: Veendam 18 day Circle Hawaii; Seine Princess 4 day Seine, Paris RT; Veendam 7 day Historic Coasts; Noordam 11 day Med. Explorer; Celebrity Century 8 day E. Carib.
2013: Zuiderdam 7 day E. Carib.; Eurodam 7 day Norse Legends; Veendam 7 day NE/Canada,
2012: Volendam (HAL) 7 day Alaska, CC Review

1980s: SS Dolphin IV; Vista Fjord (Cunard); Rhapsody (Paquet) (Statendam IV); QE II (Cunard) TA; Skyward (NCL). 1970s: Mermoz (Paquet); Orpheus (Epirotiki-Swan's Hellenic); Royal Viking Sea.
#3
New Brunswick, Canada
1,604 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Please don't resize the pictures. They are perfect. Always like seeing the larger pictures.
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Glen



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Zuiderdam April 2010 (10 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam October 2010 (20 days)
Maasdam March 2012 (10 days)
Statendam June 2013 (19 day Cruisetour Dawson/Denali Plus Y4T)
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Nieuw Amsterdam November 2014 (14 days)
Oosterdam April/May 2015 (36 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam Jan/Feb 2016 (14 days)
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Westerdam Mar 2017 (19 days)
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#5
Orange County, Calif
22,010 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Really enjoying your review and love your pictures. Can't wait for more of your report.
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Melodie

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#6
Albuquerque, New Mexico
12,711 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
OK, you've whetted our appetites, literally and figuratively So keep them coming...And I third or fourth it, DO NOT resize the photos, they are perfect!!

Joanie
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"To me a stranger is just a friend I have not yet met."

Our Personal Web Site for our cruises, photos, menus, activities, etc. http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/


Past Cruises
:

Brendisi-Piraeus Jun 83

Greek Islands Jun 85
Piraeus-Venice Dec 85
Oosterdam-
VA 5054-Alaska May 08
Westerdam-SA 7076-Alaska May 09
Westerdam-
VF 8154-Caribbean (E&S) Feb 10
Nieuw Amsterdam-
SC 6164-Caribbean (W) Nov 10
Oosterdam-SC 6166-Mexican Riviera Apr 11
Zuiderdam-SC 6166-Alaska Sept 11
Noordam-SB 7142-Caribbean (S) Mar 12
Nieuw Amsterdam-SC 6175-Caribbean (W) Nov 12
Westerdam-SA 7085-Caribbean (S) Dec 12
Zuiderdam-SC 5190-Alaska May 13
Zuiderdam-SC 6166-Panama Canal (PT) Nov 13
Westerdam-SC 5190-Alaska July 14
Westerdam-SS 6052-Alaska July 14
Nieuw Amsterdam-SB-5187-E/W Caribbean 7-21 Dec 15
Noordam-SB-7142-San Diego/Alaska 5-23 May 15
Oosterdam-SB-6166-Caribbean Wayfarer 16-27 Nov 15
Nieuw Amsterdam-SC 5186-San Diego to Alaska Inside Passage - 19 Days-25 Apr through May 14 2016
Zuiderdam-SB 5190-Panama Canal (Partial Transit) 20 November 2016
(FINAL Cruise due to HAL Smoking Policy Change)
#7
Chicagoland
2,568 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Well I've already resized two posts worth, so we'll see...

As I noted the first night dinner in The MDR was slow. We did have great waiters though, Odhe and Wartam. Despite being "any 'dam time" diners, we managed to get on their station for every evening and ended up having a blast with them. We were downstairs.

DAY 1: Day at Sea
I've come to the conclusion that every cruise should begin and end with a sea day as a buffer between LIFE at both ends of the cruise. Zuidy complied. We did have rough seas the first few days as we were headed into the wind. This created a sensation I have named "chuddering", a mix between shuddering and chattering. You are well aware that the ship and the sea are involved in an ongoing negotiation. It was ok for us, but by the time we turned around after Philipsburg we were ready for the joys of having the wind at our back. Our 1st time cruising companion was terrified the first night, certain we were doomed. We assured her that it would take a LOT more than that. In fact in the Captain's Q&A he said the ship could safely roll to a 50 degree angle. But at that point the water would rush in the lower promenade deck and render that moot. He said, I think, that the worst he has experienced was a 30% roll.

The Zuiderdam Lido is one of the places where I think the bright colors work. The ceiling seemed lower and the area near the buffet was narrower, but the seating area itself had low walls that made the actually eating experience feel quieter.


The Zuiderdam magenta, blue, orange and turquoise color scheme at its best.


I did not retouch this photo. The water was just that blue

As a retired teacher I was fascinated by the Steel Drumming class at the Lido Pool area. The drummer taught just the way my Japanese professor teaches.; bit by bit. It took a long time for them to put 3 or 4 sounds together, I left for about 20 minutes and when I came back they had several longer phrases under control and, while not up to performance speed, not at a dreary pace either.



I'm not sure what Mr Polar Bear and cub thought of the drums and the warm temperatures.



I took our friend to the Le Cirque cooking demo. She enjoyed it immensely. The space for the cooking demos on the bigger ships is too spread out to really see, except on the TV monitors. I had seen this demo twice before and despite my "no not again" feeling, I had a good time. Both the chef and the host spoke clearly and were informative as well as amusing. I learned a lot more than I had in the previous demos. However, it's time for HAL to change the Le Cirque menu or the dishes they demo. Creme sans-Brulee was passed out in nice plastic spoons like those used for Asian soups. I am sure this is why we were "sans brulee."


Poached Lobster starter and Creme Brulee



My Pompano fish dinner. Both delicate and flavorful. I am beginning to think cruise lines have their own preferred vegetable. Someone on the Celebrity forum was complaining about constant carrots. HAL seems to be favoring broccoli.

After dinner we usually retired The Explorer's Lounge to listen to Adagio. I will reserve extended comments on them for another day as they were discussed in my "semi-live" thread. Classical music was followed by our second night of "chuddering."
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'Life is short, drink the good wine first'









2018: Diamond Princess 7 day Circle Japan.
2017: Prinsendam 14 day Scotland/Ireland ; Volendam 16 day Trans-Pacific, Tokyo to Vancouver; Eurodam 7 day West. Carib.
2016: Rotterdam 18 day Viking Passage, Rotterdam to Boston; Noordam 13 day Australia/New Zealand; Zuiderdam 11 day partial Canal.
2015: Amsterdam 16 day Lima to San Diego; Oosterdam 3 day Coastal; Botticelli 6 day Seine; Veendam 7 day Bermuda; Volendam 17 day N. Pacific Crossing, Kobe to Vancouver
2014: Veendam 18 day Circle Hawaii; Seine Princess 4 day Seine, Paris RT; Veendam 7 day Historic Coasts; Noordam 11 day Med. Explorer; Celebrity Century 8 day E. Carib.
2013: Zuiderdam 7 day E. Carib.; Eurodam 7 day Norse Legends; Veendam 7 day NE/Canada,
2012: Volendam (HAL) 7 day Alaska, CC Review

1980s: SS Dolphin IV; Vista Fjord (Cunard); Rhapsody (Paquet) (Statendam IV); QE II (Cunard) TA; Skyward (NCL). 1970s: Mermoz (Paquet); Orpheus (Epirotiki-Swan's Hellenic); Royal Viking Sea.
#9
113,034 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
I am enjoying your review.

Please keep the larger pictures.
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Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#10
Greater Vancouver
4,935 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Zuiderdam seems to be short on Christmas decorations. I would have been extremely disappointed. Didn't care for the ship or our Neptune Suite in May either. My least favourite ship so far. Glad to read you are enjoying yourself. Happy New Year.
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#11
Chicagoland
2,568 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
TBH I thought most of the holiday decorations were pretty tacky and showing their age. I do have 2 photos later in the report. Someone liked toy trains a lot and the blades on the windmill in Explorers Lounge had trouble staying on. On the other hand how do you decorate a ship whose color palette is orange, blue, magenta and turquoise? My answer would be to have all the decorations silver, with a few gold touches. You can't fight those colors and win.

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy Zuidy. It isn't my favorite 'dam ship either, but I would cruise on her again.
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'Life is short, drink the good wine first'









2018: Diamond Princess 7 day Circle Japan.
2017: Prinsendam 14 day Scotland/Ireland ; Volendam 16 day Trans-Pacific, Tokyo to Vancouver; Eurodam 7 day West. Carib.
2016: Rotterdam 18 day Viking Passage, Rotterdam to Boston; Noordam 13 day Australia/New Zealand; Zuiderdam 11 day partial Canal.
2015: Amsterdam 16 day Lima to San Diego; Oosterdam 3 day Coastal; Botticelli 6 day Seine; Veendam 7 day Bermuda; Volendam 17 day N. Pacific Crossing, Kobe to Vancouver
2014: Veendam 18 day Circle Hawaii; Seine Princess 4 day Seine, Paris RT; Veendam 7 day Historic Coasts; Noordam 11 day Med. Explorer; Celebrity Century 8 day E. Carib.
2013: Zuiderdam 7 day E. Carib.; Eurodam 7 day Norse Legends; Veendam 7 day NE/Canada,
2012: Volendam (HAL) 7 day Alaska, CC Review

1980s: SS Dolphin IV; Vista Fjord (Cunard); Rhapsody (Paquet) (Statendam IV); QE II (Cunard) TA; Skyward (NCL). 1970s: Mermoz (Paquet); Orpheus (Epirotiki-Swan's Hellenic); Royal Viking Sea.
#12
Central Maryland
18,896 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Did you have anything like these displays on the Prinsendam? They seem to have been created by the pastry shop and I thought they were very nice:

Dining room lobby:


Forward stairs deck 7:


Roy
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#14
Apple Valley, CA
2,473 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by solocanadian
Zuiderdam seems to be short on Christmas decorations. I would have been extremely disappointed. Didn't care for the ship or our Neptune Suite in May either. My least favourite ship so far. Glad to read you are enjoying yourself. Happy New Year.
I was on the cruise just before Shrimp's and they put up the decorations while we were on board (we disembarked 12/20). On 12/19 I went through the ship, top to bottom and photographed all the decorations I saw and will be posting them once my photos are all edited and ready to go.
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AMY






August 2017 - Roundtrip Vancouver - HAL Volendam (7)
August 2014 - Voyage of the Midnight Sun - HAL Rotterdam (14)
December 2013 - Sunfarer Panama Canal - HAL Zuiderdam (11)
November 2012 - New Zealand Discovery - HAL Oosterdam (14)
August 2010 - Celtic Legends - HAL Westerdam (12)
September 2009 - Mediterranean - HAL Oosterdam (12)
October 2005 - Canada/New England - HAL Maasdam (8)
August 2004 - Alaska - HAL Ryndam (7)
July 2002 - Baltic Capitals - HAL Noordam (10)
#15
Beautiful BC, Canada.
6,785 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Oh my, that Pompano fish dinner looks so yummy. I absolutely must try that next cruise. Obviously food is on my mind, I keep zoning in on the food photos, LOL.
#16
Chicagoland
2,568 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Day 2: Grand Turk
Pulling into Grand Turk the basic elements are visible: blue-green water and sand, chairs on the beach and buildings for shopping, eating and drinking.



We docked alongside Maasdam,


so a family portrait was essential.


We began this day with good intentions. After all GT is designed to trap and sate the cruiser. So we were going break the pattern by visiting The Turks & Caicos National Museum and eating at Jack's Shack. We'd show 'em! We were slowed by the new heat and humidity (compared to Chicago) and decided that we needed something cool to drink before we started... you know where that leads... straight to Margaritaville.



After a cooling drink and a passing downpour we lost our will and sucumbed, just as they wanted us to. We did a bit of shopping, then we went back to the ship for lunch, leaving our friend ensconsed in a shady beach chair.



And then we watched the Maasdam sail away...
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'Life is short, drink the good wine first'









2018: Diamond Princess 7 day Circle Japan.
2017: Prinsendam 14 day Scotland/Ireland ; Volendam 16 day Trans-Pacific, Tokyo to Vancouver; Eurodam 7 day West. Carib.
2016: Rotterdam 18 day Viking Passage, Rotterdam to Boston; Noordam 13 day Australia/New Zealand; Zuiderdam 11 day partial Canal.
2015: Amsterdam 16 day Lima to San Diego; Oosterdam 3 day Coastal; Botticelli 6 day Seine; Veendam 7 day Bermuda; Volendam 17 day N. Pacific Crossing, Kobe to Vancouver
2014: Veendam 18 day Circle Hawaii; Seine Princess 4 day Seine, Paris RT; Veendam 7 day Historic Coasts; Noordam 11 day Med. Explorer; Celebrity Century 8 day E. Carib.
2013: Zuiderdam 7 day E. Carib.; Eurodam 7 day Norse Legends; Veendam 7 day NE/Canada,
2012: Volendam (HAL) 7 day Alaska, CC Review

1980s: SS Dolphin IV; Vista Fjord (Cunard); Rhapsody (Paquet) (Statendam IV); QE II (Cunard) TA; Skyward (NCL). 1970s: Mermoz (Paquet); Orpheus (Epirotiki-Swan's Hellenic); Royal Viking Sea.
#18
Chicagoland
2,568 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by startwin
Oh my, that Pompano fish dinner looks so yummy. I absolutely must try that next cruise. Obviously food is on my mind, I keep zoning in on the food photos, LOL.
It was delicious. It came with saffron rice and a bit of slightly spicy mango salsa.

Day 3: San Juan, PR - Arrival
After leaving Grand Turk I wandered up to Observation Deck, home to what our companion called "The Crobar", referring, I suppose to what it takes to get us out of there after Happy Hour. It also houses Explorations Cafe and The Observation Terrace. The latter seemed to be one of the best places on the ship for warmth, sun and solitude.



Here we have the Zuiderdam's color range in full bloom. The problem with the decor, Venetian/Italian thematically, was not individual elements, but the failure of those elements to form a coherent whole. These chairs represent Italian furniture style, but make no sense as part of whole, other than to make sure your eyes are open wide. OK a question. The forward elevators were RED inside, the midships ones BLUE. What color are the aft elevators?

To the relief of the classic ship lover, this fine specimen was on display as you enter The Crobar.



San Juan
Sailing into San Juan is storied for its history and beauty and it did not disappoint. Since we were to be there from 1pm to 8pm, no sleep deprivation was involved. Port side was where to be.


El Morro Fortress


Getting closer


Docked


Zuidy at rest

It was our first visit to The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It is fair to say that we fell in love with the architecture, the people, the art galleries and the drinks. Getting off a ship in a port that is US, but also not, was fascinating. I felt both at home and an intruder. Security was good and very American in style, which whatever we think of what the world has become, was reassuring. DH took the El Morro shorex, which was fascinating, but also quite tiring. It really should be marked with three little people rather than two according to him. Our friend and I decided to explore the old part of the city on our own.

Next: Our afternoon in San Juan, PR
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'Life is short, drink the good wine first'









2018: Diamond Princess 7 day Circle Japan.
2017: Prinsendam 14 day Scotland/Ireland ; Volendam 16 day Trans-Pacific, Tokyo to Vancouver; Eurodam 7 day West. Carib.
2016: Rotterdam 18 day Viking Passage, Rotterdam to Boston; Noordam 13 day Australia/New Zealand; Zuiderdam 11 day partial Canal.
2015: Amsterdam 16 day Lima to San Diego; Oosterdam 3 day Coastal; Botticelli 6 day Seine; Veendam 7 day Bermuda; Volendam 17 day N. Pacific Crossing, Kobe to Vancouver
2014: Veendam 18 day Circle Hawaii; Seine Princess 4 day Seine, Paris RT; Veendam 7 day Historic Coasts; Noordam 11 day Med. Explorer; Celebrity Century 8 day E. Carib.
2013: Zuiderdam 7 day E. Carib.; Eurodam 7 day Norse Legends; Veendam 7 day NE/Canada,
2012: Volendam (HAL) 7 day Alaska, CC Review

1980s: SS Dolphin IV; Vista Fjord (Cunard); Rhapsody (Paquet) (Statendam IV); QE II (Cunard) TA; Skyward (NCL). 1970s: Mermoz (Paquet); Orpheus (Epirotiki-Swan's Hellenic); Royal Viking Sea.
#19
Denver, CO
864 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Thank you for your review.
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Ms Westerdam 2019 13 Day North Pacific Crossing
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#20
Australia
310 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
[quote=shrimp56;41144116]It was delicious. It came with saffron rice and a bit of slightly spicy mango salsa.

Very much enjoying your review, Shrimp! Love your writing style. We are doing another cruise - the Mediterranean on the Noordam in April next. 22 days and very port intensive. Will be very different to Norway!

All the best,
Ozcruizer


Aug 2013 - Eurodam - Norway & Baltic States
Nov 2012 - Volendam - Great Barrier Reef & Asia Discovery to HK
Feb 2010 - New Zealand
May 2007 - Alaska Inside Passage