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LMHSRN

The Zuiderdam - 5/21 to 5/28/05

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Hello all:

 

What a fantastic time we had.

 

This was a special trip for me as I took my mother (82 y.o.) on her first cruise. It was just a week for mom and I.

 

We live on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida so we left the house at 7:00 a.m., boarded a "Cruise Connection" bus which took us to Ft. Lauderdale. This is the only way to go if you live in Florida. You hand over your luggage to the bus driver and you never handle it again until you hand it back to him when you get home.

 

We arrived at the pier at about 11:00 a.m. The doors had just opened and we were able to walk right up to the "Suite" desk (we had priority boarding), signed a couple of sheets of paper, were handed our packet with cabin key, etc. They gave us a large gold star to place on our blouses. We then proceeded thru the check point scanner and up to the waiting area. As I said we had priority boarding so about 5 minutes later, we were among the first 10 or so allowed to board.

 

As we approached the Atrium, we were greeted by staff members who immediately took our hand carried bags from us and escorted us to the Neptune Lounge where we had a very nice light lunch.

 

At 1:30 p.m., the announcement was made that the cabins were ready. Our cabin was 7055, right accross the hall froim the Neptune Lounge (oh boy was that ever convenient). The cabin exceeded my expectations. When we arrived, there were fresh flowers and a bottle of champagne on ice.

The balcony was fantastic. There is a round dining table with 4 side chairs, two wicker lounge chairs with ottomans and a small round side table. The balcony was extremely roomy. We enjoyed many a meal out on that balcony. We ordered a full breakfast every morning and enjoyed it on the balcony.

 

The robes were quite nice that they furnish and you also get a pair of matching slippers (which you of course get to keep).

The bath products were "Dutch" products. You received nice 8oz bottles of Shampoo and Lotion. These were relpinished if you needed. The hand and bath soap were very nice.

 

The cabin had a lot of storage capacity. There were two sets of closets and multiple choices for drawers. One of the closets has a safe for your use. There is a mini bar in the desk area right under the TV. There was a VCR and a DVD player. All you had to do was go accross to the Neptune loungs and check our videos/DVD's.

 

The first evening was the recpetion in the Neptune Lounge, with the Captain, for Suite passangers. We missed this as it was held during our dinner time. The reception was 7:15 to 8:00 p.m.

 

On Thursday, there was a very nice luncheon in the Crows Nest, by invitation only, for the Suite passangers. Again, attended by the Captain (John Scott), the Hotel Manager (James Deering) and the Cruise Director (Dane Butcher). We were able to get some very nice pic's with my mom and the crew.

Mr. Deering is a very special person. I introduced myself as a CC'r and told him I was sorry to have missed the meet and greet on Saturday (We were in bed by 9:30 p.m.). He told me he missed it also. After the reception line concluded, he came over and sat with mom and I and was very interested in our observations and comments. He said he reads this board evey day and he puts a lot of weight into what we all think and have to say about the ship. He told us the ship was the first in her class, built in 2002 and will be going to dry dock in December. She will be ready for the Christmas Cruise. He said he will be on her and take her to dry dock and then he will be going back to the Osterdam (Zuiderdam's loss, I am sure). When she is in dry dock, that is when the changes in bedding etc. will be concluded. All the upgrades will be complete before she sails again.

 

This cruise was the last one for Dane Butcher (Cruise Director), he was leaving the ship. It was fortunate for all of us as we were treated to some very special entertainment which was dedicated to him all week. His wife (Julie Barr, the comedian) will be staying aboard for the time being. Dane was indeed very emotional all week. Even the Captain and all the crew got into the act with his farwell show on Friday night.

 

I have taken about 120 pic's of the ship and this trip. I will be posting them real soon and will provide the link for viewing.

 

The food was great

The entertainment was great

The staff/crew were great

The cabin was marvelous

The Neptune lounge was great

The Art Auction was Great

The casion was ok (would have been great had I won hahaha)

 

I only had one negative comment, which I shared with Mr. Deering. He assured me it would be addressed with the person involved. It was so minor and personal that I will not expand on it here.

 

If you have any hesitations what-so-ever about this ship, this cruise line, etc., forget them and GO FOR IT! A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL!!!!

 

If anyone has any questions, ask away.

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Great review, sorry I didn't get to meet you onboard. Your cabin and the amenities sounded very nice.

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We were sorry to have missed the meeting also. Mom was truly tired after the long day.

 

We were in a "S" Suite and it was great. I didn't even mention all the extras that came with it.

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Absolutely sure!!!!!!

 

Did not think it was a secret. They boasted about it the entire week.

 

He introduced her that way and they were in attendance at all functions as man and wife!

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So glad you had a great cruise - thank you for sharing it with us.

 

You are lucky to have been able to share this vacation with your mother.

 

We had cabin 7060 on the Oosterdam in April, and your feelings about the stateroom echoed mine.

 

Looking forward to your photos.

 

Thank you again,

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Loved your very positive review! Are you going to write on the ports you visited? What did your mother think of her first cruise? I especially like your countdown to retirement clock!! I might think about doing that except I don't think the numbers go that high!!:D Nancy

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The first port was Half Moon Cay - it was beautiful. The buffett luncheon was excellent. We did not do anything special due to mom's age and stamina restrictions. We just walked around, did some shopping and enjoyed the sights. Island was beautiful, clean and very pleasant.

 

Second port was Grand Cayman. We did the sights of Grand Cayman - Turtle Farm, Hell and rum Factory. Tour of the island was nice. Still a lot of hurricane damage being cleaned up/re-copnstructed. Enjoyed the Rum factory and naturally had to bring some cakes home with us.

 

Costa Maya. - we did the shopping thing in the mall. The pool in the mall was beautiful, the music was everywhere and the shops were failry good on prices. When you got to the locals under the tiki huts in the mall, the pressure was on. I hate that!!!! They just dog you and won't leave you alone. My advice is to stick to the structured shops. They got pushy, I walked away. Mom was not quite as able to do that as I was. I had to rescue her several times......(lol)

 

Key West - Did the Margaritaville (spelling) thing, had coffee at Starbucks and shopped till we dropped.

 

Mom was just "Queen for a week". She was overwhelmed by the end of the week. She loves the casinos, the shows and she had a ball dressing up for formal nights. We did do the Pennicle Grill - to die for...Food, service, I can't say enough about it.

 

You will love the ship.

 

The count down clock to retirmenet is the only way I get thru each and every day without cruising!!!!! Because then I can cruise till the cows come in (provided I win a lottery between now and then).

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It was fun reading your upbeat reveiw. Isn't cruising great??? I do prefer to drive to the pier, and stop at Sawgrass Mills on the way home. My mother has joined me on many cruises, and I always enjoy her company.

 

Cheers! Steve

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We were on this cruise too. I also thought that Julie Barr and Dane Butcher were serious about being married. My husband knew it was a joke all along. We found out the truth when we were in Costa Maya. We had the priviledge of sharing a table at a restaurant off the pier with Alfreda Gerald (the singer)

and the new cruise director Bobby who will be taking Dane's place. My husband asked them if Julie and Dane were married and they looked at each other and laughed and shrugged their shoulders and said they couldn't say but they both shook their heads no. So that was their answer. They are both really nice people and we enjoyed talking with them. We had a wonderful time on this cruise. This was our 20th cruise and the crew were the friendliest of any we have been on. The food was also among the best.

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OK, then does that mean that Dottie Kulasa and Tom Drake being married was a joke, too? We had two Zuidys in a row with them onboard.

 

Candy <-- also wonders about the piano player and Asst. CD on the Seawind crown years ago.

 

We were on this cruise too. I also thought that Julie Barr and Dane Butcher were serious about being married. My husband knew it was a joke all along. We found out the truth when we were in Costa Maya. We had the priviledge of sharing a table at a restaurant off the pier with Alfreda Gerald (the singer)

and the new cruise director Bobby who will be taking Dane's place. My husband asked them if Julie and Dane were married and they looked at each other and laughed and shrugged their shoulders and said they couldn't say but they both shook their heads no. So that was their answer...snip...

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Julie and Dane are married....to each other.....

 

If you were on the cruise, you also saw the old pic's they showed of Dane (and Julie) through the years.

 

I am sure if this information is not accurate, someone from the ship will correct us.

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OK. I'm ready to go after that glowing review.....Well, not yet...

Still 18 more days of school left and then another month after that until it's OUR turn to board the Zuiderdam.:)

Anticipation is also fun....I'll just keep telling myself that.....:rolleyes:

Thanks for the review. Glad you and your Mom had such a great time!

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Julie and Dane are married....to each other.....

If you were on the cruise, you also saw the old pic's they showed of Dane (and Julie) through the years.

I am sure if this information is not accurate, someone from the ship will correct us.

 

Well I am not from the ship but know people who are and according to them, Julie is just not Dane's "type"...in fact, no female really is. ;) Where is cruizinqueen when I need her??? :)

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Absolutely sure!!!!!!

 

Did not think it was a secret. They boasted about it the entire week.

 

He introduced her that way and they were in attendance at all functions as man and wife!

 

Actually that was just a joke they were running with all week. They started it one night and just kept it going. There where pictures of him with his wife at the final show.

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Whatever!

 

Not worth stewing over!

 

Just had a fantastic time.

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Dottie Kulasa is now working on HAL ships?

She is a former neighbor of ours - many, many years ago.

We met her twice on different NCL ships.

Does anyone know what ship she is presently working on?

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Dottie was CD on two of our Zuiderdams last year. I heard she was taking some time off, but I could be wrong.

 

Dottie Kulasa is now working on HAL ships? She is a former neighbor of ours - many, many years ago. We met her twice on different NCL ships. Does anyone know what ship she is presently working on?

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