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steelcity5044

Zuiderdam 1/29 review!!!

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Hi,

Just returned from 4 night Bahama cruise aboard Zuiderdam and herre are my thoughts and opinions:

 

Prestay and Embarkation:

Flew down from Pittsburgh on Friday 1/28 on USA3000. Nice trip and even had free tv shows, music, and lunch(sandwich/cookie/chips/whole can of pop).

Stayed at Sheraton FLL Airport. Booked thru Priceline for winning bid of $50 and well worth the price. Had the Sweet Sleeper beds. Nice place for a pre-stay night but wouldn't book for a vacation since not near anything. Took a taxi to the pier which cost $11.50 before tip. Went to embarkation at 11:15am and on ship within a half hour. Was originally booked in VA #6003 and was plaesantly suprised at checkin to find out was upgraded to SS#5001.

Took picture and away we go!!!!!

 

First Thoughts and Cabin :

Biggest newest ship we have ever been on and only have Carnival to compare to. Color scheme very similar to Carnival but in a more upscale way. Lots of teak wood and extra special touches like fresh flowers and art work. Was suprised that therre really wasn't an atrium and the seahorse crystal not given justice. Husband couldn't believe how tight the ship felt at first. Hallways very skinny and ceilings are low leaving you with a cluasterphobic feeling. Also not too many windows in public walkways. I am happy to report that by second day the closed-in feeling was gone and you didnt even notice.

I also didnt like that you had to walk through the casino to get to the Vista Lounge and walk through the Spa to get to the Lido. Felt too much like in your face advertising. Did end up finding other ways around eventually.

Cabin was HUGE!!!! Therre was plenty of drawer space and three cupboards. The bathroom had whirlpool tub and free standing shower. Medicine cabinent was ample sized and utilized easily, liked that it had bars so items could not fall out. There were 2 telephones, a tv and a dvd player. Like that doorways were wide with no step over due to being a handicapped cabin. We are not in need of this service but choose 6003 due to floorplan looking larger than other cabins in this category and it is true-they are. We were bumped to SS but still a handicapped cabin in very front of ship. This was a great location in that you had floor to ceiling window and door and a second window which overlooked fron of ship. There was a deck right outside our window so it felt like you had this huge balcony!! Only drawback to this cabin was that it sat over anchor so you knew when you stopped, but we didnt mind. Also, would have been better to book even numbered side of ship because this faced ports instead of nothing.

Our cabin did contain magnifying mirror and vanity, fruit bowl, robes, and silver plated ice bucket but did not have upgraded bed or bedding yet.

All in all a great room and great accomodations!!! Would book again in a heartbeat

 

Food and Service:

Everything was very nicely presented and very good in my opinion. Ate at the Pinnacle on the first night and it was excellent. Only $10pp and dress was causal even though most dressed more like business casual. Top notch food and service. Husband had clam chowder, 20oz porterhouse, and volcanoe cake while I had cedarplank halibut and berry shortcake.

Vista diningroom was very elegant and food very good. Waitstaff was wonderful. Had 3rd floor 8pm seating at table 82 which was a twotop right along the railing by the stairs. had no movement or vibrations. Only item wasnt too crazy about was the surf and turf. The staek was chewy and lobster tail small and watery. Loved everything else, especially baked potatoe soup, mushroom ravioli, raspberry sherbert, and cheesecake sampler. All salads were good too. Service exceelent!!! Always had breakfast delivered to room and ate on balcony. Had nice assortment to choose from and served on same china as Vista. Came on time as did any time ordered room service.

Lido had a lot of choices and always found something easily to eat. Only time that was bad was first on board and everyone there at same time. Could not find a table because most just sitting waiting for room to be done. Alot of people ate with plates in lap by the pool. Yes, there were liquors for the icecream and Hunky Dory was there too!!!!

Overall service was incredible. Lots of smiling faces and thank-yous to go around. Everyone seemed to really go out of there way to make you feel special. Lots of joking around and singing to be heard.

 

Entertainment :

This is where I would say Holland is lacking. Yes you could always find somethig to do but your only real choices were drink, spa gamble, art auction, bingo, drink, shop, drink, show, and an occassional other activity. I dont drink very much and didnt use the spa. Never made it to the art auction. Played bingo once. Shopped a little. Gambled some but didnt have any luck. The magician was incredible! DO NOT MISS HIS SHOW!!!

Julie Barr the comic act sucked. not funny at all. Her xrated show was kids playground humor(called her private area her sweet spot), MISS HER SHOW!!!

The showtime live acts were good. They did a summertime musical and last show was a Broadway showtune with glamourous Bob Mackie costumes.

This is a good cruise to take if you want laid back activities and minimal choices. We always found things to do but not always plentiful choices.

Biggest complaint was that Windstar, where they sell specialty coffees closed at 9pm each evening. Not a great way to get late night or after dinner coffees. Was disappointed.

 

Ports :

Key West was nice. Very party-like and alive. Walked all of Front Street, down Duval and up Whitehouse? Shopped and saw alot. Was pretty cool that there was an Arts Festival going on in town with lots of local artists selling their arts. Way cool!

Nassau was kinda scary. We were there 2 years ago and cant believe how much it changed. Now there is this "compound" you have to pass through to get into town with armed guards wearing fatigues. Streets in town much more hectic and busy with cars wizzing around with out a care for pedestrians. We are stopping there again in August on Disney Wonder with kids but dont think will get off the boat. First time I ever felt that I could easily be in some kind of danger in a port. When we went last time we walked all over town, even up to fort and Queen Annes Staricase and took public bus to Radisson cable beach. And took a taxi at night to Atlantis. This time I couldn't wait to get back on ship. There was a definite air of desperation with the public, from hurricane devestation maybe? and a definite crackdown by military or police. Did not like this port.

 

Half Moon Cay:

As everyone says HEAVEN!!!!! We rented clamshell, thank-god or would have fried more than did. Water is sapphire blue and transparent. Sand is like Baby powder. Could easily have stayed here for whole cruise. We did horseback riding excursion which I would highly recommend. Take truck out to stable and trainers pick you a horse you ride around in ring until everyone has a horse and then you start on hike down beach and up and down hillsides. You come back to stables for a can of pop or bottle of water and horse is changed from saddle to a mat. You then ride into ocean and water is waist high. Horse gallops and swims and then you return to beach. Was the most incredible thing I ever did. I have never rode a horse before and was scared Sh*%less but in a complete giddy way. Going into ocean on horseback was breathtaking. Only bad part was that husband dismounted from horse badly and tore knee muscles. Had to push him around in wheelchair for remainder of cruise. Be very careful dismounting and dont think you are too manly to have trainers to help you off horse. These are big beautiful Jamacian horses.

Went to BBQ on island. Standard fare like hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, salads and desserts.

Disenbarkation :

EASY EASY EASY

 

All in all would rate this as one of the best cruises I ever took. Would go on Holland again in a heartbeat. Might be a little sedate for children but not too much. Would take my kids if itinery right. Club Hal looked small and not sure what kids activities were like. Age mix on this cruise was varied from 20/30 all the way to 80's. Best thing we brought was lanyards for room key cards that we hole punched at front office and wore around our neckes for duration of cruise. Made purchasing and getting on/off ship a breeze. And we never lost or misplaced key. Would also suggest bring spare suitcase for purchases and alcohol or YOU WILL EXCEED WEIGHT LIMITS FOR AIRLINE LUGGAGE>

Please ask any questions you may have and thanks for all your hellp!!!

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Oh thank you for the Zuid review. wondered why we had not seen any reviews in a while. We will be sailing on her on the 12th and very much looking forward to it. Thanks again for posting! Marilyn

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Thank you so much for your positive review of the Zuiderdam. I board her in March and am now looking forward to sailing on her.

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Great review. Thanks for sharing all the info. Will be cruising in March and was happy to hear some positive things.

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Thanks for your positive review - we're first-timers on HAL and sail the Zui in April. Glad that you enjoyed yourself.

 

Lin

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Thanks for your review. I want to book the Horseback riding excursion for our cruise in March. I am not an experienced rider and was a bit afraid, but your review made me decide to book it.

 

Thanks again.

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How did you book a handicapped cabin when you "were not in need of this service?"

 

The OP didn't "book it", they were assigned it by the line....

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Glad you had a good cruise! :)

 

The HAL ships are not designed as open and airy as many of the other new ships, but I have grown to love that HAL ships really feel like a ships, not a floating city, like some of the larger ships! :cool:

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We did book handicapped room. We were told by HAL that was ok but to realize we could be bumped to same category or higher if someone who was handicapped needed the room. We just happened to be bumped to another handicapped accessible room though a category higher. We never hid from cruiseline that we were not handicapped and were choosing cabin due to larger cabin size according to deck plan. No problems

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Thanks for the review. We are looking at HAL for the first time. We like the casual atmosphere of Carnival and its entertainment. You talk about not much to do on board -- what is the average age of passengers?

 

Thanks.

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I would say average age was 45-50 but there was a good mix of 30 on up. Didnt see too many younger than that but everyone had a good time. Didnt feel like a retirement home, there was always activities to do just seemed to be same ones alot of the time. We had no problem finding activities just dont expect a wide assortment. It was more "refined" than Carnival and that is what gave HAL a more upscale feel while still being a good time(wasn't stuffy). We really enjoyed this cruise, more so than Carnival and we enjoyed those cruises also.

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thank you for the extensive review. it was nice to hear such positive feedback as we are first-timers on HAL and will be sailing the Zuid in March. Glad you had a good time, i'm looking forward to the same.

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Thanks for the wonderful review. My husband and I can hardly wait until November! Does anyone know if the S Suites have the new mattresses yet?

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Great Review of the "Z". My husband and I cruised on the "Z" in May 2004 and November 2004. We had absolutely great cruises! Made some friends on the ship and have kept in touch with one of the guys but haven't heard anything from anyone since the Tsunami. I see alot of people on this forum have cruises booked on the Zuiderdam in the near future. Could someone do us a favor and check on our one friend who we aren't sure what part of Indonesia he is from. His wife died a short time before our May 2004 cruise and he was working to support his young daughter. We were happy to see he had been promoted to the Pinnacle Dining Room the week of our November 2004 cruise. He was the only Indonesian waiter in the Pinnacle Dining Room. If someone wouldn't mind forwarding a note from us, please let me know. Thanks for your help!:)

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Thanks for the wonderful review. I feel like I have been on the ship already. First cruise 3/5. Cannot wait. Going to St Thomas. Thanks to Doone have reservations for the Pennicle (sp) restaurant the first night. Anyone else out there that can give us their review?:p

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Great Review of the "Z". My husband and I cruised on the "Z" in May 2004 and November 2004. We had absolutely great cruises! Made some friends on the ship and have kept in touch with one of the guys but haven't heard anything from anyone since the Tsunami. I see alot of people on this forum have cruises booked on the Zuiderdam in the near future. Could someone do us a favor and check on our one friend who we aren't sure what part of Indonesia he is from. His wife died a short time before our May 2004 cruise and he was working to support his young daughter. We were happy to see he had been promoted to the Pinnacle Dining Room the week of our November 2004 cruise. He was the only Indonesian waiter in the Pinnacle Dining Room. If someone wouldn't mind forwarding a note from us, please let me know. Thanks for your help!:)

 

I'd be happy to inquire about your friend. We'll be on the Zuiderdam a week from tomorrow. Do you happen to know his name? We'll be dining in the Pinnacle our first night.

 

It was wonderful to see a positive review of the Zuiderdam. We've never sailed on Holland America before, which I think is a good thing because many of the negative reviews have been more of a comparison of other HAL ships. We've only been on RCCL. We're very much looking forward to our cruise!

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Cathyp, I am so glad I was able to help you and you got your reservation, I only have eaten at the Pinnacle Grill once, last March on the Rotterdam. We LOVED it and can't wait to eat again on the Zuiderdam. If you like crab cakes, be sure to order those at the Pinnacle, they are wonderful, the steaks are incredible and like I told you, that chocolate volcano cake, incredible. We were so fully last year, but I had to have that cake, we got one for the table so we could all have a bite or two. I'd pay the $20 just for the volcano cake, it was that good. Enjoy.

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nope - no ATM, but you can get a cash advance at the front desk. They will charge your room for the cash.

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The OP didn't "book it", they were assigned it by the line....

 

Actually the OP said she did specifically chose 6003 (a handicapped cabin) when she saw that it was larger. They were then upgraded to an SS. I'm confused that she was allowed to book the handicapped cabin when she didn't need it. I once asked if there was any chance of booking the handicapped cabin (in case no one needed it) and was told that those were saved specifically for the handicapped. My guess was that at the last minute they put "guarantees" into those cabins if not booked. In fact I've seen people on these boards actually complain about getting one!!

 

Steelcity, thanks for your great review:) . I'm so glad you had such a fantastic time! It was really nice to read about having a good time for a change since many reviews lately tend to be on the negative side.

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