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Zuiderdam Review 10/15-10/22

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My husband and I left Boston on the morning of the 15th and arrived at the pier around twelve thirty. Check in was a little long (the line for online check in was a much longer line - go figure). Our room wasn’t ready yet so we headed to the Lido for some lunch - right away the food was good. I will agree with many others on the board that the sushi needs some work.


The decor - The ship was for the most part nice however there were some random pieces thrown in. The ship is a little worn but nothing that you would notice if you weren't looking for it. The only exception I can think of was the elevators - they were pretty beaten up. I think we just have to remember that this ship carries 1800 people on it every single week.


Our room - we were in a VA on deck 7 - perfect for two people! Good size room, great size bathroom compared to Carnival, bathrobes were so comfy, and balcony was nice but would’ve liked a bigger table out there. Our package came with the pinnacle grill for two plus two bottles of wine - both certificates and wines were in our room. Prior to our trip I had ordered appetizers and the Bon Voyage package - the appetizers also made it to our room but the Champagne did not. After two calls to the front desk the Champagne was finally delivered (5 minutes before departure). The only complaints about the room were the bathroom door didn’t lock properly and the bathtub drain was very slow. Our room steward was very nice, and always did a wonderful job of our room - however he never did actually introduce himself.


Dining - We had the 8:30 dinner seating at a table for six and were extremely fortunate in having two great couples seated with us, the best waiter (Roni), and an excellent wine steward (Ramon). The food in the dining room was delicious - especially the blueberry soup!!! On the sea days the dining room was open for lunch but I never liked the menu - I do feel this needed some work. The Lido for lunch was always very good and the staff was always friendly.


Half Moon Cay - we had waitlisted for a cabana but reserved a clamshell. My husband and I were actually glad we didn’t get a cabana because we spent 80% of our time there in the water. The sand was so perfectly soft and the water was beautiful and warm. The BBQ was nicely done and the food was good but not on the same level as on the ship.


Tortola - we did the Virgin Islands Sail Away excursion and had a great time. The Catamaran sail over to Norman Island had some of the best scenery ever! The crew was great, the drinks were good, and my husband snorkeled and loved every minute of it! We then headed over to Pussers Pub for some lunch and Painkillers (the best drink but be careful because after just one I definitely wasn’t feeling any pain).


St Thomas - we did the Champagne Catamaran Sail to St John we again had a great time! The sail was great, the food was good, the drinks were great, snorkeling was good but not as good as Norman Island. Honeymoon Beach was very nice! We then went shopping in town. Overall we liked Tortola better than St Thomas - St Thomas is much more city like and touristy but that’s just our opinion.


Nightlife - My husband and I never went to any of the shows - which was unfortunate but we would join our table mates in the casino, or in one of the lounges, etc. I’ve read several reviews about people saying the ship was empty after 10:00 and this was definitely not the case on our cruise - people were always out and about especially in the Northern Lights.....good music, great bartenders, fun little booths. We would sometimes be out till 3:00 am and the place would still be packed when we left.


We had a great time and would definitely sail again with HAL but we did end up having two problems. The first was because of Wilma our stop in Nassau was cancelled so that we could refuel in San Juan in case we had to stay out at sea. We understood this was the best option for our safety and we weren’t overly fond of Nassau anyways so we were fine with this.


The second problem we had was that we were without a toilet for 13 + hours - someone in the vicinity of our room blocked the toilets so everything had to be shut down until the engineers could find and fix the problem. We were never notified of the problem, nor of the progress, nor when it was fixed - we had to just keep going back to our room and checking and/or calling the front desk. The way the situation was handled by the front desk and the Guest Relations Manager was very poor (Which was so strange to us because every other employee on the ship that we in any way encountered was amazingly friendly and outgoing). Also, corporate headquarters would not provide any compensation as it was due to another passenger. Later that day we received a plate of chocolate covered strawberries, pineapples, and macaroons - we assumed this was sent to us because of this situation. This was nice but I didn’t feel this was in any way an appropriate apology for being without a bathroom for 13 + hours.


If you have any questions feel free to ask!!

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I really enjoyed reading your report---thanks!

Aren't those chilled soups divine!:) When I learned what goes in to them I realized just why I like them so much. Dessert before the entree! :D

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I really enjoyed the blueberry soup and the stawberry bisque as well. I usually had either two starters or two soups and skipped most of the salads.


Our head worked fine but we did notice as the week went along a slight smell seemed to grow from it, nothing horrible, just noticeable.


It is funny, I enjoyed the stop in St. Thomas better, but we didn't stay in Charlotte Amalie. I loved the Champagne Catamaran, Captain Rocco and his two mates did a great job. Not to knock Tortola either, both were great. Now I just need to talk my wife into teaching down there!


Florida is beautiful, but it is a poor second to the Virgin Islands, that is for certain!

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My husband is already planning a week vacation next year to Tortola - - and trying to figure out how to move there permanently :)

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