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Zuiderdam Alaska Review


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Good day Cruise Critic. I just returned from the Zuiderdam and thought I would share my impressions of the cruise. A few weeks ago, I was torn between Zuiderdam and Zaandam and decided to go with Zuiderdam. I do not regret it at all, although there were still some hang ups. I'll get to that later though.

 

First off, I have to say this cruise restored my faith in Holland America. This was my second HAL cruise, the first of which was in 2012 on Nieuw Amsterdam. This cruise was 100% better than NA and I think a lot of it had to do with the Cruise Director. The CD, Hamish, was fantastic. Out of 46 cruises on 5 lines, I think he was one of the best I've seen. Not only was he at every event and was very funny, but the entertainment scheduling was so much better than my last HAL cruise. The piano bar played later, the HAL Cats played more often, Adagio and the solo guitarist were frequent...there was always live entertainment playing somewhere. He even made trivia fun. Huge kudos to Hamish. In fact, I'd say the entertainment was better than my Alaskan Celebrity Millennium cruise last year. Because of this great experience, I purchased an open booking.

 

Also much better than NA was the MDR. We were very happy with the MDR food. Even the daily strip steak was nice and tender. The sugar free chocolate dessert was to die for. We did open dining and never waited for a table and always got a table for 2.

 

Service throughout the ship was excellent. Our room attendant, the bar staff, and the rest of the service team were always smiling and always attentive. I have no service complaints whatsoever.

 

Also much better than NA were the main shows. The singers and dancers were typical, but the comedian had me in tears and the show Recycled Percussion was excellent and a lot of fun. Handing out old pots and pans to the entire audience to bang on was a nice touch.

 

Pinnacle Grill was excellent. We enjoyed it so much, we booked it twice.

 

Glacier Bay. Wow! We got very lucky. It was a bright, sunny day and we were able to see everything, including some really good calving that actually made the ship rock. Our day in Glacier Bay was the best part of this cruise, in my opinion.

 

Now for the balanced part of this thread. I'll start off with the ship. I thought it was ugly. The interior was kinda gaudy, so much that at times I thought I was on a Carnival ship. Not the entire ship....just large portions of it. I think the ship could use a little updating and they should add interactive TVs to the staterooms.

 

The Lido buffet was awful. Selection was very poor and they kept odd hours.

 

Balcony smoking. It ruins a very nice experience. Come on HAL, catch up to your competitors. I won't say anymore about that because I know it's beat to death around here.

 

But one other thing happened on this cruise that I think is unacceptable. There was a large Jewish group on board and they were allowed to reserve the Crows Nest for their private functions. This wasn't just once or twice. I saw it three times. It is beyond me why HAL or the Zuiderdam staff would allow a private function, a religious one at that, to take over the one and only scenic lounge on the ship during an Alaskan cruise.....the lounge where the coffee shop and Internet cafe were located. This was Alaska where the majority of the cruise is scenic cruising and to lose out on this lounge unless I wanted someone else's religion to be shoved down my throat was very disappointing. Shame on you HAL for allowing this to happen. This should have taken place in a more private lounge.

 

That's it for now. If I can answer any questions, fire away. :)

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Thanks for your feedback on the cruise. I am on the same ship sailing on the AUg 16th.

 

Did you do any excursions on your own or through HAL? Bringing my Mom( 65) and my Niece(12). Would like to hear about your port excursions or what you did in the ports on your own time.

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

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Hi Tim. We had been to these ports before and I spent a month in Alaska for work before the cruise, so we did not book any excursions. We just did our own thing, mostly hikes on the local trails.

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Thanks for taking the time to write and post a review of your Zuiderdam cruises. Glad you enjoyed it.

My suggestion to you on the Crows Nest take over, email Hal about it. Tell them what happen and tell them it was unacceptable. The more complaints they get maybe they will stop doing this. We had the Crows Nest taken over on 11 days out of a 12 day cruise every evening. To say the least we were not happy. There are so many other rooms like the Hudson room where they can hold these groups without interrupting the other paying passenger pleasure of being in the Crows Nest which is a public venue.

You might even copy your paragraph word for word.

 

"But one other thing happened on this cruise that I think is unacceptable. There was a large Jewish group on board and they were allowed to reserve the Crows Nest for their private functions. This wasn't just once or twice. I saw it three times. It is beyond me why HAL or the Zuiderdam staff would allow a private function, a religious one at that, to take over the one and only scenic lounge on the ship during an Alaskan cruise.....the lounge where the coffee shop and Internet cafe were located. This was Alaska where the majority of the cruise is scenic cruising and to lose out on this lounge unless I wanted someone else's religion to be shoved down my throat was very disappointing. Shame on you HAL for allowing this to happen. This should have taken place in a more private lounge."

 

 

guestrelations@hollandamerica.com

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You mentioned the Piano Bar and the comedian in passing, but you didn't give the names. Would you, please? That way others know who to look for on their cruises.

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You mentioned the Piano Bar and the comedian in passing, but you didn't give the names. Would you, please? That way others know who to look for on their cruises.

 

I'm very sorry Ruth but for the life of me, I can't remember their names. The comedian was a tall guy who supposedly played a butler role in a Seinfeld episode.

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I think you might get further with HAL if you don't harp on about it being a "Jewish group". The group does not matter, the fact they took over one of the best places to be is the main reason. Would you feel the same if it was a Christian group? If so don't mention the religious part.e to watch the scenery is unacceptable.

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I guess the Meet and Greet better be moved from the Crows Nest too. ???

 

How was the smoke in the casino?

 

Lucky you for getting a perfect day in Glacier Bay.

Edited by Sam.Seattle
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I guess the Meet and Greet better be moved from the Crows Nest too. ???.

 

Nope. That is not even remotely the same thing. A Meet and Greet can hardly be compared to a religious ceremony taking over full control of the room numerous times throughout the cruise.

 

I don't think the casino smoke was too bad. I don't ever really remember being bothered by it when walking through.

 

Thanks for taking the time to write and post a review of your Zuiderdam cruises. Glad you enjoyed it.

My suggestion to you on the Crows Nest take over, email Hal about it. Tell them what happen and tell them it was unacceptable. The more complaints they get maybe they will stop doing this. We had the Crows Nest taken over on 11 days out of a 12 day cruise every evening. To say the least we were not happy. There are so many other rooms like the Hudson room where they can hold these groups without interrupting the other paying passenger pleasure of being in the Crows Nest which is a public venue.

You might even copy your paragraph word for word.

]

 

Wow! 11 out of 12 days? :eek: Well, having just experienced this, I feel your pain. It would be one thing if there was another scenic lounge available, but on Zuiderdam, the Crows Nest is it.

Edited by Aquahound
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I'm glad you enjoyed Zuiderdam with all her quirks. We had a similar experience last December. "WooHoo" Hamish was an amazing CD, full of humor and good will. MDR food was pretty 'dam good for us too. And we also had several private groups take over Crow's Nest. We were in the Caribbean, so it wasn't as much of a biggie if it had been in Alaska.

 

I agree the decor is rather garish, but after a while we just giggled. And we loved what we called "Bonsai Alley."

 

We just finished a Mediterranean cruise on Zuidy's sister ship, Noordam and can report that they got just about everything right on her. The Cafe/computer/library has been moved to a lower deck and is much larger and more comfortable and Crow's Nest is returned to its normal size. Give Noordam a try sometime.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just back from my first Alaskan cruise. We sailed on HAL Zuiderdam, the ship was OK she showing her age, was clean and well maintained, the activities on board was geared towards the more mature crowd and I found the atmosphere to be very quiet, but then an Alaskan cruise is less about the on-board activities and more about the scenery. Seeing glaciers up close for the first time was simply awesome Menderhall and Glacier Bay, and the humpbacks were on queue had the opportunity to watch a group of about 8 bubble net feeding for over 45 mins - great photos - the staff on the Zuiderdam, were mostly good, and tried wherever possible to keep cruisers satisfied (special mention Dody and Irfan - housekeeping) the quality of the shows were less than expected (I'm comparing to Cunard and Celebrity). Overall a pleasant experience, and would recommend to those who and into scenery and wildlife

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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