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cathryn58

The Traveling Rudolph's Review the Zuiderdam

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Hi all. We were fellow CC's on the April 16 cruise on the Zuiderdam. And here is our review of the Zuiderdam and that sailing; From a family of four perspective. Married couple mid forties with two daughters 12 & 17.

 

 

Our Eastern Caribbean cruise started out with a Cruise Critic Roll Call party at the Seaview Bar on embarkation day. Edwin had nametags for all of us. (Thanks, Jo) IT was so fun to put together faces and names with screen-names that I had been conversing with for months. It seems that James Deering, the Hotel Manager of the Zuiderdam had been following our Roll Call Board and showed up at our get together. He had printed out all of our postings. WOW! Makes me feel that my opinion counts or at least that I am being heard. That's a good feeling.

 

 

From there it just kept getting better. The first day, the spa sold a limited number of unlimited hydrotherapy tickets. So I used the hydrotherapy pool in the spa every chance I got. It was so relaxing to look out onto the pool through the one-way window (or not) and not hear the excited splashing of everyone in and around that pool. Just the sounds of bubbling waters. The adults only hydrotherapy pool was just the thing to escape into for a while. Also, I found it relaxing to shower and dress in the Spa changing area when my room seemed overcrowded by two daughters also getting prepared for dinner. Funny how that relaxing hydrotherapy pool called to me just before dressing for dinner... (not really that funny)

 

 

Our 6:15 seating table for four in the Vista Dining room was great. We could look out the window onto the marine blue ocean. Our waiter was professional and precise with our orders. He had no time to chit chat but delivered our delicious meals quickly and made sure we had everything we needed every night. If an “extra” order of an appetizer was taken it was delivered quickly and in the correct order to make our dining experience ideal. There was much care taken with the place settings and a full service of sterling silverware was set each night. Plates were set onto the linens so that the logo of the china was at the top and the presentation of the meal was correct.

 

 

Half Moon Cay was the highlight of our trip. We rented a clamshell for the day and we were lucky enough to have fellow CC’ers near us who shared their cabana with us. We snorkeled with the Rays and that was quite an experience. It was low key and not too crowded in a nice area away from the beach and food areas. Actually, nothing was really crowded. The only time we stood in line the entire trip was at the Food pavilion on Half Moon Cay. And it wasn’t that bad.

 

 

We had an excellent experience everywhere we went. We took the Virgin Island Sailaway and were very pleased with the catamaran and the crew. We sailed to Norman Island (Treasure Island) and snorkeled in the clearest warm waters I have ever been in (and let me say that Hawaii is quite an experience). That day was so beautiful. But so were the ones before and after it. Our Trunk Bay, St John tour was cancelled and we quickly scheduled a tour to replace it. As it turned out, this sail to Secret Harbor was wonderful. Even though we missed the bus, they sent us on our own bus and we were lucky to not miss the boat. (Our other excursion was for 12:15 in St Thomas and the new one left only minutes after booking it 8:30 am, so gathering the kids and stuff and running for the boat was an adventure in itself.)

 

 

I loved the on-deck (Sail Away) party at St Thomas! Fun (new) friends and lots of dancing and entertainment to watch across the deck.

 

 

My DH and I renewed our vows on the ship. The renewal of vows package was very nice. We received flowers in our room, a special gathering (with our new CC friends -- thank you all SO much for making our special evening even more SPECIAL) the Captain and also James Deering the Hotel Manager. Captain John Scott said some lovely words and each renewing couple had the opportunity to speak their vows to each other. The Captain then congratulated all of the newlyweds on the ship and then we shared cake and bubbly. This package also included photos with the Captain and James that were placed in a large Holland America embossed album that included pages of short love poems and room for our photos. I must say here that prior to this loving experience I wondered if a renewal at sea would be corny. IT WAS NOT. It was really quite moving for the two or us, and our daughters.

 

 

We also enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill as a part of our package. We were lucky enough to enjoy it twice. Both times were amazing. We were given the best table in the place and the best server as well. Second time we were lucky enough to have wonderful dining partners that were interesting and truly added to our experience. As a meat lover, my DH had the 20 oz. porterhouse both times and he ate every delicious bite (I had the fillet both visits). His comment was that it was the BEST steak he had ever had (and this guy has steak EVERYWHERE). I must say that I had never had a steak as good as the one (and the second) I had in the Pinnacle. And the second night, just and GREAT as the first. I had the volcano cake for dessert and LOVED it.

 

 

Our two daughters (ages 12 & 17) found plenty of kids to befriend. They found "secret" places on the ship to hang out in (secret to them but the staff in the Lido always knows where to find "lost" 17 year olds after midnight). They enjoyed the dining room (to our surprise) while we enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill. They also enjoyed the Lido and Hunky Dorey always greeted them by name asking where their Mother or Father or friend or sister were (all by name, mind you). He would sing to Holly the name song that he made for her. And his counterpart Burt Reynolds was right on his tail with remembering hundreds of names of passengers as well. The food (of course) was fab. Always something good to eat. The Ice Cream bar was the 12 year old’s favorite! She also attended many of the Club Hal offerings. I must say that this trip was a little less Club Hal intensive for her. Being the top age of an age group is a hard place to be. Some activities were a little young for her. And I think that the Teen club would have been too old. That’s what Tweens are I guess, she picked and chose the activities that fit her style. 17 was “too cool” for some Club Hal activities. She found a group of friends (through Club Hal) and they hung out around the ship together. The teen club starts at 10pm, and this is good for the older kids. They had fun in the Disco doing the trivia games, movies twice a day, swimming, sunbathing, they both attended (separately from each other and us) the Chocolate dessert extravaganza. We all LOVED it! I was proud to see each daughter eating in the Vista dinging room with friends for lunch. Showing the new friends the dining room experience for lunch rather than sticking with the Lido all week.

 

 

Our Verandah room was a little cramped when the four of us were all bustling around but we managed well and enjoyed and used the balcony every time we went into our room. Our room steward was great at the turndown part of the day and he got that egg crate foam right away for the firm bed. Plus those extra pillows came in handy.

 

 

We ordered room service a couple of times and the food was good and the order correct. I wish there were waffles/pancakes and hash browns on that breakfast menu. DH and I also ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room. I love to be waited on with all that linen and silverware. All of the servers make sure the silver is correctly positioned for every course. Brushing the crumbs away before dessert is always nice as well.

 

 

Details, details that is where HAL really makes it RIGHT. Fresh flowers and real art pieces around every corner. I just love to walk up the staircase to see what art lives there.

 

 

I'd better run -- this is too long as it is. Thanks to ALL for making our trip a once in a lifetime experience!

 

 

Cathy

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From the sound of it your whole family enjoyed their cruise very much.

 

So nice of you to share it all with us. Thank you.

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Thank you for sharing your trip with us! I wish there were some who would share the Western Carribean trip. It seems like most reviews are EasterN:( . But I still appreciate all the info on the ship as we'll be spending most of our time on it!!:D

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Thank you for the wonderful review. I'm glad that you had such a lovely trip and that you took the time to share it with us.

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Thank you for sharing your vacation experiences aboard the Zuiderdam. You were actually embarking, the day I disembarked.

 

I'm a single man with no children, but can certainly appreciate your watching your lovely daughters turning into young ladies. Sounds as if they too, enjoyed their time on-board, as well.

 

Best,

 

Bruce

 

MS Volendam, December 16th, 2004

MS Zuiderdam, April 9th, 2005

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Cathy....Very truely enjoyed your review. Sounds like the perfect vacation. Was your ROV ceremony on Thursday night?? Bill

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hi cathy,

hope the weather was great when you got home. it was a wonderful week getting to know you and your family. did you hear the hogwildz are getting married in may. isn't that great. we kept talking about a mexican riveria cruise, if we do we'll keep in touch maybe we can get some of the same group together. how nice we could drive to the port like lin. hope all is well with you and the family

brenda and eric

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Hi Cathy & Family,

 

Welcome Home! So glad you had a nice time. We sail next month

I have a few questions, if you could take the time. Is the unlimited hydrotherapy pass only sold on the first day? What is the charge? Also, Do you have to go early to get them?

Thanks Much!

Bella

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Thanks for the great review. My dh wants to know if there was a sushi bar onboard and spa cuisine near the hydrotherapy area?

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Yes, our renewal of vows was on Thursday night between the dinner seatings. (Second formal night)

 

The hydrotherapy pass was only available until they were sold out. I do not recall how many they sold, I think 50? It was $80 and we purchased it when we took to Spa tour on embarkation day. They also offered other "specials" including unlimited thermal suites passes, and this relaxation pod thing (which I also got).

 

There is no sushi bar per say (no one rolling by request) but there is sushi available at the "Wok" in the Lido restaurant every day. He does rool it in view. So the answer is that there are a variety of certain rolls available every day.

 

Cruisebunny, we returned to snow and rain and the weather has not been good yet. My tan is fading... And it looks like there may be rain on our Giants game tomorrow night. We expect over a foot of snow Sunday!!

 

AND we have been on the Oosterdam for the Western Caribbean cruise. IT was GREAT. We loved Key West, Cozumel was windy when we were there and we actually MISSED Grand Cayman And then there was Half Moon Cay (Absolutely the greatest experience). The lesson learned that trip is book your cruise for the SHIP rather than specifically the ports of call because sometimes one doesn't get there. We loved the SHIP, service, everything Holland America Line had to offer. That's why we came back. I'm sure your Western trip will be excellent. My DH and I had been to Cozumel and Grand Cayman and enjoyed snorkeling in both ports VERY much. The shopping at Grand Cayman was good but that trip helped us to learn that scheduling an excursion at each port is the way we want to plan our trip. Getting out and seeing or diving is where we want to be rather than walking the path of 1000 other cruisers, shopping.

 

Now... back to the real world until next time I can seek a peak at the Boards.

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How was the "relaxation pod thing"? Was that nice? Is that worth purchasing?

 

 

Also, did you request an egg crate mattress before you arrived on the ship? I know on Princess you are asked to send in a request before you sail to get one. Also, some cabin stewards seem a little put out to put one on the bed so I always feel bad for asking for one but it always helps out a lot with back problems.

Thank you.

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GREAT review ...thank you so much!!

 

The spa sounds absolutely wonderful. Congratulations on your Renewal of Vows ceremony, and I'm glad to hear your daughters had fun.

 

Enjoyed reading your report - so much good information.

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Wonderful review !! Thanks so much for sharing it with us :)

Congratulations on your Renewal of Vows ceremony, sounds very memorable! We enjoyed ours too!

 

So how was the Pod thing ????? What was the cost ??

 

Thanks again!

Debbie

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Dear Cathy and Don:

 

What a super review! John and I want to thank you for including us in your ROV celebration (and Cathy's right, it wasn't corny at all) and for helping make our cruise the wonderful experience that it was. I agree with Brenda, I'd cruise again with y'all in a second - just tell me time and place and we'll be there.

 

The two of you can be justifiably proud of your daughters - they were delightful and I'm glad they enjoyed themselves.

 

If anyone from our roll call is interested in doing another cruise, please count John and I in! I'd love to sail the Westerdam or Oosterdam - shoot, I'd go back on the Zui again tomorrow if I could!

 

We enjoyed dinner Friday night at the Pinnacle (and yes, I did eat the entire Pinnacle cut filet mignon!) with the two of you - how did the picture turn out? We misplaced one of our underwater cameras so all shots of Virgin Gorda are gone but the memories are in my head/heart.

 

Stay in touch!

 

Lin and John:)

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Dear Cathy and Don:

 

What a super review! John and I want to thank you for including us in your ROV celebration (and Cathy's right, it wasn't corny at all) and for helping make our cruise the wonderful experience that it was. I agree with Brenda, I'd cruise again with y'all in a second - just tell me time and place and we'll be there.

 

The two of you can be justifiably proud of your daughters - they were delightful and I'm glad they enjoyed themselves.

 

If anyone from our roll call is interested in doing another cruise, please count John and I in! I'd love to sail the Westerdam or Oosterdam - shoot, I'd go back on the Zui again tomorrow if I could!

 

We enjoyed dinner Friday night at the Pinnacle (and yes, I did eat the entire Pinnacle cut filet mignon!) with the two of you - how did the picture turn out? We misplaced one of our underwater cameras so all shots of Virgin Gorda are gone but the memories are in my head/heart.

 

Stay in touch!

 

Lin and John:)

We Love for all of you to join us during this cruise :) We would have a grand time :)

 

Join us for Cruise Critic's First Ever Group Cruise on the:



Info: Westerdam - "HAL-O-Ween Dam Cruise"

Talk: HAL Westerdam - 10/29/06

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Hey Cathy and Dan, great review and we feel the very same as everybody in our group has about this cruise, I can not think of one thing that I would change about the entire week, it had to be the best cruise ever and as for a matter of fact, of any vacation on land or sea. It's always a pleasure to meet new people and the ones we met, the group of cc'ers on this cruise is what made this one a special one, we too would love to sail again with any and all of our new friends and would do this at any time. Thanks to each and everyone of you for a great cruise and new friendships, and yes we are getting married the 21st.~~~~~~ how about a HONEYMOON CRUISE ?:)

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Dear Steve & Sherri:

 

The 21st of what month?!!

 

We truly enjoyed the time that we spent with the two of you (how's your feetsies Steve :p ), especially our day on Shamwari. We'd sail with y'all, Dan & Cathy, Brenda and Eric, etc in a heartbeat.

 

Hope that Steve's pictures turned out great (can't imagine that they wouldn't) and hope to see them posted up on the web somewhere!

 

Please stay in touch.........I think I hear a cruise calling our names!:D

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Dear Lin:

It is the 21st of May (two weeks from now)! We are so excited. We are going to have the ceremony at a historic B&B in the spa city of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Now for cruising - we would love to take another cruise with you guys, and enjoyed your friendship and the time on Shamwari. Steve's feet are fine NOW, and if you will e-mail us at ssphoto1@comcast.net - we will be glad to e-mail you back some photos and explain what happened to over half of our photos that got ruined in the lab. We do have some of us (y'all) at the Baths, and on the Shamwari, so get in touch and catch you later. Sherri :p

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Hey, Watchdiva, Hogwild Cruizers, Cathryn 58-----Momentarily sent email to each on your home mail. Just bumbling around and found all your comments on Cathy's review. Way to go, Cathy !!!!!! It's amusing to read all the negative things some folks post, especially knowing what an exceptional experience we had on the Zui. My feeling is that you are given the service and consideration which your demeanor exudes. Miss all of you. Catch you again. Countdown to wedding ----12 days ? Best wishes, S & S.

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Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! You have chosen one of our favorite places for the ceremony. We love Hot Springs!!!

 

Hope you have a wonderful wedding and a blissful honeymoon and married life.

 

Dear Lin:

 

It is the 21st of May (two weeks from now)! We are so excited. We are going to have the ceremony at a historic B&B in the spa city of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

 

Now for cruising - we would love to take another cruise with you guys, and enjoyed your friendship and the time on Shamwari. Steve's feet are fine NOW, and if you will e-mail us at ssphoto1@comcast.net - we will be glad to e-mail you back some photos and explain what happened to over half of our photos that got ruined in the lab. We do have some of us (y'all) at the Baths, and on the Shamwari, so get in touch and catch you later. Sherri :p

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Cathy - or anyone,

How is the relaxation pod? They had a capsule on Maasdam that I really liked a lot - so much that we snuck in and used it after-hours on the last night(until security came):o I wonder if it is the same thing. Do you remember what it cost or how long you got to use it? If we have one, I know I will be in it way too much... Thanks so much in advance!!!

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Cathy - or anyone,

How is the relaxation pod? They had a capsule on Maasdam that I really liked a lot - so much that we snuck in and used it after-hours on the last night(until security came):o I wonder if it is the same thing. Do you remember what it cost or how long you got to use it? If we have one, I know I will be in it way too much... Thanks so much in advance!!!

 

$45 for 25 min or on embarkation, you get $25 for 25 min.

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Scrumpy:

 

Thanks for the well wishes. We are getting excited now, it is only 10 days away now! I can't believe you are familiar with Hot Springs! Isn't it great? We love that place and hope to move there in the near future, it is golf heaven there you know! Now this is the kicker, we are honeymooning in COLORADO!!! We are going to the Sand Dunes National park, Aspen, Rocky Mountain National park, and stop when we see a place we like. Steve is a professional photographer and is going to really enjoy the abundant photo opps. We will be camping also, which will be enjoyable. Still love cruzin and join us on our next cruise Oct. 2, 2005 on the Conquest out of New Orleans. :)

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We are about to embark on our 42nd cruise with HAL - Prinsendam for the Holidays if we didn't like it, we would never return.

 

We had one trip on the Q M it was dreadful. Never sail with Cunard again!

Food was vile - Service wasn't much better. The ship itself is beautiful,but much too big. Total disorganization starting with a 2 hour embarkation process.

 

JACKBOB412@aol.com

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