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SeaYa52

Just Back from the Zuiderdam

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We've just returned from the Zuiderdam, and had a wonderful cruise. I would be happy to cruise this ship again, and am looking forward to trying other HAL ships in Alaska and Europe. Overall - the cruise was excellent - a few glitches - food in dining room - average, desserts - below average ( except for the icecream in the Lido), service - excellent - overall we loved the ship - and I will be posting a more detailed review later. Hope all my fellow cc'ers made it home safely - I95 was HORRIBLE.

Sandy

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This is very encouraging! The majority of the Zuiderdam posts showing up lately are positive. :)

 

Looking forward to the review.

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We've just returned from the Zuiderdam, and had a wonderful cruise. I would be happy to cruise this ship again, and am looking forward to trying other HAL ships in Alaska and Europe. Overall - the cruise was excellent - a few glitches - food in dining room - average, desserts - below average ( except for the icecream in the Lido), service - excellent - overall we loved the ship - and I will be posting a more detailed review later. Hope all my fellow cc'ers made it home safely - I95 was HORRIBLE.

Sandy

 

Yikes there's the "H" word (horrible) but I'm not sure to which I95 you're referring in this post?

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slsmartin,

Thanks for the feedback. We are looking forward to the Zuiderdam. Glad you had a great time. Welcome home--I95 horrible(at least not HORRIFIC)---back to reality. A bummer isn't it?

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Yikes there's the "H" word (horrible) but I'm not sure to which I95 you're referring in this post?

 

I-95 from Ft. Lauderdale to any destination North is pretty stressful. There is always a one lane for miles and miles for construction in Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina plus throw in a few wrecks so they can detour everyone through the small towns and Highway 17.

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Gee, sounds like 'Vegas. Hard to drive anywhere without running into construction.

 

Glad you're safely home and that you had a good time on the Zuiderdam. We really enjoyed the ship when we sailed her 2 years ago.

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I95 South driving down Thursday evening - pre cruise - we spent 2 1/2 hours at a complete standstill near Brunswick, Ga. Must have been a horrible wreck - we prayed for the safety of those poor folks- and felt fortunate not to be involved. Coming home on Saturday things were slow - mostly due to construction - spent alot of time driving 20 miles per hour....we normally enjoy road trips but will probably opt to fly from now on when leaving from Fort Lauderdale or Miami.

 

We booked the Marriott Courtyard - air & cruise port - because they offered a free shuttle. We stayed at the Courtyard in Port Canaveral in 2003 and this was a wonderful service (plus - we were allowed to leave our car at the property. The folks at the Port Canaveral Courtyard were wonderful). In Ft. Lauderdale - they do not allow you to leave your car - and were not very nice about it. I was not pleased with this Marriott and will be contacting the home office. The desk staff was not helpful about alot of things -ie directionsto the port, location of a Wallmart or Target, and - somewhat rude.....not really used to this from a Marriott property.

 

We used the park & fly/cruise located just outside the entrance to Port Everglades; with the coupon located in your documents it cost $45 for the week. They were prompt and courteous, and the shuttle was quick. I give them a thumbs up. The parking deck at the port costs $10 per day - however you no not need a shuttle if you park here.

 

Embarkation was smooth. Make sure you fill your paperwork out (online)ahead of time, as well as your onboard credit info......and you'll be through quickly. We arrived around 11:30 and were aboard before noon.

 

We met Hunky Dorrie as soon as we entered the Lido - he is delightful. He was shocked when I told him I knew his Grandmother had given him the nickname. I told him how famous he was from these boards - he seemed very pleased and ALWAYS greeted you by name when he saw you....very nice young man. (another member of the Lido staff was trying to keep up with Hunky Dorrie - he claimed to be Burt Reynolds - but he didn't quite match up to HD's skill or style - yet) The food in the Lido was excellent. (yes - especially the pizza - it really is that good!)

 

We had a balcony cabin on the Navigation Deck, port side - we've become spoiled and would not book a cabin without a balcony; however - we may have to try one of the SS Suites next time if we can afford it. It is so nice to just sit on your on balcony - we had coffee each morning and happy hour each evening as the sun set - it was perfect to relax, read, or just watch the sea.

 

Met up with the some of the CC crowd in the Crows Nest after the LB Drill - great group - and it was fun to see them through-out the week. Joni - thank you again for the mugs - drank out of mine this morning! :-)

 

We sat at a table for six (8:30, which is the lower level main seating) and met two great couples. We prefer a group table - to meet new people - and looked forward to seeing the same folks each night. The food was good - not great - but good. The service was excellent. Our wine steward was wonderful.

 

Enjoyed the Casino - probably came out about even - once I started winning on (of all things - a nickle slot). I'm not a big gambler - but enjoy the slots - and after losing on the quarter & dollar machines - started playing a nickle slot and won $90.....fun for me - probably boring for others. My DH came in 3rd in the slot torunament and won a t-shirt. 1st won $500 - 2nd also won money (the entry fee is $20pp - so between the two of us I guess it's a $40 t-shirt. haha). He did win at Atlantis - so we broke even for the week. All in all - we had a great time.

 

The shows were ok - however - some of the cast members were injured and could not participate - so I'm sure it's better with everyone in the show. Loved the Comedian and the GREAT guy who does the Elton John show.....that was probably the best show I've ever seen on a cruise ship - sorry - but - I'm completely blank on his name right now - but don't miss his show....EXCELLENT!!

 

HMC was beautiful - the best private island out of Princess, Carnival, and RC. We snorkled on our own - and had a good time - not the best snorkling - but ok - but what a BEAUTIFUL place! There is a sign that says "I want to stay here forever" and I certinally agree with that. For most of the day we just relaxed and enjoyed the beach. Lunch was good. PinaColada in the big travel bottle tasted great was a bargin.

I booked a massage ($79) but was not pleased with the massage. The table was wobbly - and it was hard to relax and enjoy the massage with the table rocking - 1/2 through I had to get off the table so the MT could adjust the table. Could not hear waves - just loud people talking and enjoying the area - it was not a relaxing massage. I've had beach massages in Hawaii, Bermuda, Mexico, California, Florida, and the Carolinas - never a bad experience - so if you want a nice, relaxing massage - book one on the ship not HMC (IMHO). HAL: INVEST IN BETTER TABLES ON HMC.

 

I enjoyed the first wine tasting very much (Monday - first day at sea) - a bargin at $7.50. I also booked the premium wine tasting for Thursday - $30 - but it was my only other disappointment of the trip. The wines were wonderful - but there were a number of loud (perhaps drunk?) people who attended....they talked throughout the entire tasting - and you could not hear the steward......even when asked by the steward to " Please be quiet and settle down" they continued.....ruined what could/should have been a delightful experience.

 

In St. Thomas we booked a day sail on the RUMBABA! After research on these boards - we selected the Rumbaba. It was a fantastic day - Karen and Captain Bobby were wonderful - and the lunch was outstanding. I had grilled mahi-mahi and DH had the grilled tuna.....EXCELLENT! We had a perfect day of sailing and snorkling - can't wait to book with them again when we return in August. The frozen drinks were great too!!!!!! Cost $120 pp credit card - $110pp cash.

 

In Tortola we booked the Virgin Island Sail Away.($57 pp - I think - pre booked online through HAL) 1/2 day sail and snorkle to Norman Island (RLS Treasure Island) where we had the best snorkling of the cruise....snorkling in the caves was very exciting. I wrote my kids that night that I was selling the house, moving to Tortola & buying a boat.....loved the day & the BVI's. The second half of the trip was a stop at Pirate's Bight (a beach bar) where you could swim or snorkle - or drink - for an hour....the PinaColads were the best ever.....however......WARNING.....don't try the "free shot" of their homemade rum.......unless you're really, really brave.....burns the whole way down and for a while after that....wearing my Pirate's Bight t-shirt today. :-)

 

In closing - we LOVED the Zuiderdam. I would sail her again in a heartbeat. The staff and service were probably the best we've experienced. I think she is a beautiful ship. (just don't drive down I95 before or after unless you don't mind stop & go driving). Be happy to answer any questions I can. Please forgive/excuse any spelling errors. :-)

 

Sandy

Charlotte, NC

 

 

I

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I almost forgot - we found our way to the very front of the ship - (thanks to a heads up from these boards) Enter from the 4th floor - go all the way to the front and enter through some heavy doors ( only found it locked once - the last night). It was great - and very few people were ever there. Don't forget to check this out. Easier to spot the flying fish from here than deck 8.

:-)

sandy

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We did dine in the Pinnacle - it was excellent - highly recommend the crab cakes. Well worth the extra cost.

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I almost forgot - we found our way to the very front of the ship - (thanks to a heads up from these boards) Enter from the 4th floor - go all the way to the front and enter through some heavy doors ( only found it locked once - the last night). It was great - and very few people were ever there. Don't forget to check this out. Easier to spot the flying fish from here than deck 8.

:-)

sandy

 

Thank you for the review!!!!!!!! We sail on her in May and I can hardly wait! It is nice to have a good review with all the post lately on the Zuidy was wondering if we had made a mistake...but then a cruise is what you make of it and even a few bad things wont spoil my fun!!!! Also thanks for the tip on how to get to the bow...my favorite place on the ship. We found it on the Zaandam but it was so windy in Nov. they kept the door locked and we never made it out there!

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Thanks for the review Sandy! I am really glad to get a current review of the Rumbaba Day Sail, since we are booked with them on our stop in St. Thomas. Did you tip Karen? If so how much, and how did you handle presenting the tip?

 

Too bad about traffic on I-95, we got stuck in a nightmare traffic jam on our way down to Disney World after Thanksgiving last year so needless to say we decided to fly out of Charlotte (after dropping our daughter off at Grandma and Grandpa's in Gastonia) instead of driving.

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Thanks for the great review Sandy! Made me feel as though I was there too!

 

Did you take pictures ???? If so will you be posting them ???

 

Thanks for the heads up on how to get to the front of the ship!:)

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Hi Ziggy & Carrie -

I will post them - once I figure out what I'm doing - my daughter is the wiz at pics - but she's at school in Chicago (I'm technically challenged - where are your kids when you need them - haha). Anyway - will do my best asap.

 

I tipped both Capt. Bobby & Karen - we had such a great time and they both were so nice - I gave them each $20. that's alot for me to tip - my DH & I are both teachers - but it was such a great trip - I wanted to say a special thankyou......usually I tip 10% on a tour (not sure what the "correct % to tip" would be )- I just go with my heart - and these folks went out of their way to be nice....you pay at the end - so I just gave them each the tip then.

:-)

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Sandy, we were at both wine tastings too, and were surprized at how loud people were during the second one! Did love those fancy wines, though! We spent more on wine this trip than ever before, the couple we were cruising with were also wine lovers. Our wine steward, Jao was one of our favorite crew members of all. A really friendly young man.

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Hi Meff - sorry we missed meeting onboard. Jao was terriffic.......we had him as our steward also....he had great suggestions and was a wealth of information.....gotta go back and watch the Tarheels.

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Hi Sandy,

 

Thanks much for your review on the Zui. I sail this Saturday, April 9th, and can't wait to board.

 

Thank again,

 

Best,

 

As always,

 

Bruce

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