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boatlover

Zuiderdam July 2 - 9

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Two late 30's/early 40's Mom's left the husbands and kids behind and set sail on the Zuiderdam (Western Caribbean) July 2 - 9. I have cruised 3 other times, 2 x's on Celebrity, and last spring on the Zuiderdam Eastern Caribbean. It was my friend's first cruise.

 

Embarkation was a breeze. Arrived at the port around 1:30 and waited maybe 5 minutes to present our documents, then walked right on the ship. We were escorted to our cabin, Rotterdam deck aft cabin 7131, by a nice young man. Luggage wasn't there (didn't expect it to be) so we went upstairs to get some lunch. Our luggage arrived piece by piece over the next 2 hours.

 

We booked a VB guarantee, so I guess we were upgraded one category. The cabin itself was standard, very comfortable. There are pluses and minuses with the aft verandahs. 7131 was huge (I don't think the others to our right were as big) large enough for 2 chairs, an ottoman, a small table, and 2 lounge chairs. The downside is that they are not as private (didn't really bother us), trash blows down from the aft pool (nothing horrible, just some straw wrappers and other bits of paper), and soot from the stack gets really bad as we pulled out of port. Several times someone came to clean the floor so the soot problem wasn't much of a problem, just turned our feet black occasionally, which then turned the bathtub black, ... but our cabin steward did a fabulous job keeping everything clean. Can't remember his name but the cabin was always neat and tidy.

 

Overall it was a great week. Some random thoughts -

 

Food was good. I thought the evening meals were improved over last year's Zuiderdam cruise. I have been reading on this board about the sometimes bad service in the dining room, those guys are overworked and the service does suffer. They are very professional though and do everything in their power to provide excellent service. I sort of "burn out" on the Lido at mid-week, nothing particular about the Zuiderdam, I have felt that way on the other cruises I have been on too. The crowds of people (although there is never a wait) and all of the different smells..., but the food there is fine. Room service was the best of all of my cruises, fast service and good food. We enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill one night, good and worth the $20 per person service charge.

 

Ports were enjoyable. It goes without saying that Half Moon Cay was fabulous. Perfect weather and the water was great. It was my first trip to Grand Cayman, I would definitely go back there for a longer stay. Costa Maya was interesting. I would have liked to explore more but my friend wasn't so comfortable there so we went back to the ship after some looking around. I know some people refer to it as Costa Garbage but the beaches looked clean. There were 2 other ships there so it was crowded and hot. Key West was canceled because of Dennis. We floated around the Bahamas instead. That was disappointing but couldn't be helped. I have been there many times but my friend hadn't so she was very disappointed but everyone realized that is the chance we take cruising during hurricane season. Our port taxes were refunded and we all enjoyed a complimentary glass of champagne with our dinner.

 

I have read many posts about the poor condition of the ship. There are a few worn spots, but one would have to look to find them. I didn't see any of the damaged windows/doors previously written about so those must have been repaired. Hallways on our deck were uneven but had I not read about it I probably wouldn't have noticed. Overall the ship was very clean.

 

Crew was very good, friendly and helpful. We only went to one show, the illusionist, he was great. We also attended the final round of the Zuiderdam Superstar contest (sort of like American Idol) and that was a lot of fun. Didn’t participate in any of the daytime activities or play in the casino.

 

It was a younger crowd when compared with my Zuiderdam cruise April of 2004. There were many young children and teenagers. I didn't observe any out of line behavior, but then my children are 2 and 6 and my friend's are 13 and 17 so our tolerance level is probably MUCH higher than average. The adult time at the aft pool was for the most part respected. Honestly, the worst behavior I observed was from those old enough to know better.

 

Saturday morning in Ft. Lauderdale was a little hectic. We were delayed coming in because of some bad weather, thanks again Dennis. We didn't get into a taxi until about 11:30, but made it to the airport in plenty of time for our 1:00 flights.

 

Enough rambling and bad spelling. We had a great time. I probably won’t travel on the Zuiderdam again, I would like to try something else in the Holland America fleet, and my husband and I really enjoy Celebrity so we will look at their schedule again. The Zuiderdam is a fine ship and I think a good value.

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thank you so much for your review.. we are booked in cabin 7131 for Sept 10th & 17th.. so I loved your review of how large the balcony is.. can you tell me what size the sofa/love seat is, and how many other chairs are in the room.

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Nice review of this ship. There are so many negative comments it is nice to see that maybe those things have to be looked for. Those hurricanes sure do play havoc, don't they? We were on the Z for the late Aug.-early Sep. go round. Was a real bummer.

 

We have cabin 4183 booked in October. Do you think the bits of crapola and the soot would be a problem 3 decks lower? We had the same problem on Explorer of the Seas on deck 10 a few years ago. It was awful one day, so bad that we would not go out there much afterwards. But it sure is a great view, no?

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Boatlover - glad to see the nice review - can only imagine the stressful week you had!

 

Italian Nancy - please join us over on the roll call thread for 9/17 - we have a very active thread going with some great people.

Peggy

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Boatlover, very nice review. I really enjoyed reading it, thanks for taking the time to share it with us!

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Italian Nancy - The sofa will seat 2 people. There are some storage drawers on the bottom that I didn't notice until our room steward pointed them out. Nice place to stash some of your stuff. There is a height adjustable coffee table infront of the sofa. The only other chair in our room was the little ottoman that slides under the desk area. It was perfect for sitting infront of the lighted make-up mirror. The top also lifts off and that is a good place for storing dirty laundry. One word of caution, the mini fridge doesn't get all that cold so make sure you ask your room attendant for plenty of ice. He always fills the ice in the am and pm, but we had him fill it about 2 additional times per day.

 

drdaddy - You're right, the best view. Not sure about 4183, since the back of the boat is tiered I would guess that you might get some soot, but maybe not as much as we had. And it really wasn't that bad, plus the steward was very quick to clean it, but it did turn our feet black. As far as the cushions on the chairs go, you can flip them over or wipe then down with a towel. I doubt you would get much paper garbage from the aft pool, we were only 2 decks below so that would explain why we noticed it.

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Boatlover, thanks for the review of the Zuiderdam, it brought my many fond memories of when myself and 4 other of my friends did a "girls" cruise on the Zuiderdam this past March. We also had aft cabins, one suite and one VA. We loved being aft and the size of our suite balcony was incredible. My review of the Zuiderdam mirrored yours in most areas, we had a blast and are planning another cruise for our 50th birthdays.

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I know some people refer to it as Costa Garbage but the beaches looked clean.

The beaches at the cruise port and in the small village were okay, but we made the mistake of walking the path from the cruise port to the villiage. Try that and you'll see why some of us call this port "Costa Garbage" .

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drdaddy - We had 4183 in June and didn't have a problem with garbage or soot.

Once I picked up a straw wrapper. Sure things could blow down.

We totaly enjoyed this cabin and would book it again.

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Hi, Annbanan. Wow, with all the trips I've taken I've never found anyone who actually had the same cabin as us. (except the aft corner on Explorer of the Seas!)

 

We had an option on deck 6 exactly amidships but we went for the aft. I THINK it might be a little bigger than some of the other VB's, or so I heard from HAL.

 

You wouldn't have any pics of the cabin and balcony laying around, would you? If you have then posted on webshots or such, let me know. Otherwise, if you have some to send, I would appreciate it.

 

drdaddy at earthlink dot net

 

Thanks!

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I did find two awsome pictures on this site. If you do a search you'll find them.

Someone had taken them from another ship showing the back of the Zuiderdam.

I keep one on my desktop and I love looking at it.

 

I don't remember what I put in search. Try Zuiderdam aft.

They weren't too hard to find.

 

You'll love these pics.

 

Ann

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heartofamerica - I thought that might be the case. I wanted to walk to the village but my friend wasn't interested. Did I read that most of that garbage washes ashore from somwhere else?

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