Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
POA1

'Twas the Cruise During Christmas - Zuiderdam 2018

Recommended Posts

There are about two dozen shops located around the plaza. There is a map of the shops a couple of posts back. There are also some Dominican Republic Historical & Cultural Exhibits. I wouldn't go as far as to call it a museum, but there are a few educational displays.  The shopping plaza is flat, and  a pretty easy walk. The pathways are made of concrete brick, so keep that in mind if you are using any wheeled walking aids. (It's smoother than the paths in Curacao if you need a reference.) As far as the stores are concerned, they're your typical Caribbean port fare, including of course, Diamonds International.

 

SAM_2919_LUCiD.JPG.e254f6cde56ed4d098e7ed9e431326c2.JPG

 

SAM_2920_LUCiD.JPG.eeb30208fb3bc491660ead55501355f0.JPG

 

There were a number of benches places around the plaza in case you wanted to rest. They're in the shade, which is nice because the Dominican Republic was the toastiest of the ports we visited. (I was a little surprised by this, since the ABC Islands are almost at the equator. However, the DR was a good 10 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 1/2 degrees Celsius warmer.)

 

SAM_2915_LUCiD.JPG.92f91ea4c55d18e9e7919b03de2cd89b.JPG

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Puerto Plata, the town nearest Amber Cove, is known for its waterfalls. There is a hiking excursion that goes there is you are so inclined. However, would rather stay in the port area, there's this waterfall you can use for a photo op - as long as you're willing to wait for it to be clear of people.

 

IMG_1843_LUCiD.thumb.JPG.6a610f6963da34680bd26ef31d6c863a.JPG

 

Pretty impressive, huh?  You'll have to pose it just right, because if you back up a few feet, you'll see that it's a man-made water feature. A nice one, but if you frame it wrong, you kind of lose the magic.

 

SAM_2916_LUCiD.thumb.JPG.f09078749ce2f248c8830968db6effc8.JPG

 

There a small "trail" the extends to the right of the falls. It doesn't really go anywhere special, but if you want to tell people that you hiked a trail by the waterfalls in in the DR, you could - and be technically telling the truth.

 

There is some live entertainment in the plaza. It can make for some nice photos. If you are in the mood to dance, the ladies are more than willing to dance with you. Even if you are not in the mood to dance, they'll try to rope you in. (Consider this either a warning or an invitation, depending on how you feel about public cultural exchange flamenco.)

 

SAM_2921_LUCiD.JPG.c4891a73a7046ed3e0a9191b32a50230.JPG

 

Our crack team of restroom testers report that the restrooms were very clean and in good order. Almost Disney-esque.  This may or may not be important information for some of you, but speaking on behalf of the misses, it is crucial knowledge.

 

IMG_1845_LUCiD.JPG.a1bf0b0147b2cd1fc5f94b34fbf042cd.JPG

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were in port with an AIDA ship. AIDA is Carnival Corp's German subsidiary.  The AIDALuna has a passenger capacity of 2,100 (double occupancy) at 69,203 GT(gross tons.) The Zuiderdam has a passenger capacity of of 1,916 at 81,769 GT. You can see how the AIDA ship has much narrower verandahs as compared to the HAL Vista class.

 

SAM_2904_LUCiD.JPG.9ec96dd9e25a6f7ebdf88c711d301cd4.JPG

 

 

Our balconies were about the same depth of the ones on the AIDALuna's bump-out, which is at the top of their lifeboat level.

 

The photo below was taken on Christmas day, not when we were in Amer Cove. A regular HAL verandah has enough room for a chair & footstool, with plenty of clearance for the cocktail tables.

 

suited-and-waiting.jpg.c5c1ba34b703e356a14b1b29fd09f12e.jpg

 

 

AIDAVeranda.jpg.daf321d442c2efa3ae6f00cc6e64dba0.jpg

 

My point - which I was probably going to get to eventually - is that Amber Cover didn't feel remotely crowded with our two ships in port. My secondary point is (and I apologize if it offends) - What the heck is with all the crap on the AIDA balconies? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are cruising on Holland America an you are traveling with children who are wondering where all the water slides and zip lines are, Amber Cove might help you out. There are a couple of water slides, one open and one enclosed, and two zip line runs available to you. If you had kids and you were on our cruise, your children would have had their own personal water park. Amber Cove was designed to accommodate two of Carnival's 3,000+ passenger ships. When you pull up in your HAL vessel, you basically own the place. Note the crowds.

 

Amber-Cove-water-slides.jpg.6f2ae67896e145fcfd9e80b2aecfeed3.jpg

 

 

Zip lines are available for $20/pp, unlimited runs during your stay. There's a big tower where the runs start. It's the inverted ten thing in the photo.

 

SAM_2946_LUCiD.JPG.6db1a4054c34f109994c737348301ce0.JPG

 

The first run leads to the mid-point, shown with the grass roof. (I'm just kind of winging this. There was no way they were hauling me up there and strapping me to a wire.)

 

ziplines-pool4.jpg.5d2e89210831c34d34747bdcf2274a97.jpg

 

 

The two photos below are from the now defunct Fathom Cruise Line, CCL's Cuba cruise line. (Please see my previous sentence about how yo're not strapping me onto a wire.)

 

 

2144354009_OvertheOcean-2jpg.thumb.jpg.a841c7d59a3a98c354e938d25e446be8.jpg

Not me.

 

Amber-cove-zipline.jpg.a154d4a88019b6e40cab55b34d7763cd.jpg

Also. Not. Me.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The crap on the AidaLuna balconies are hammocks actually.

Aida is ammajor European line, under the umbrella of Costa, and mainly  geared to the casual German speaking market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have really enjoyed your very thorough information about your cruise on the Zuiderdam, as we will be taking an 11-day  partial Panama Canal transit cruise on her in March. When you have time, would you mind posting the MDR menus? I think you posted two days, but not the others. I know that ours may be different, but still enjoy looking at the possible choices. Even your post on Lido breakfast was informative--never thought there'd be that many choices. :classic_biggrin: Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amber Cove looks very impressive and it looks to have more things to do than HMC. How do you compare the two stops from a HAL customer prospective? Since Amber Cove is a docked port stop, I would guess it doesn't get skipped like HMC when there are high winds. On our last HAL cruise we skipped HMC because of winds and spent the last day of our cruise circling off of FLL, not a great way to end a very nice cruise.

Edited by terrydtx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Despegue said:

The crap on the AidaLuna balconies are hammocks actually.

Aida is ammajor European line, under the umbrella of Costa, and mainly  geared to the casual German speaking market.

 

Thanks. That makes sense. It seemed to be too much to be all towels and laundry drying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, terrydtx said:

Amber Cove looks very impressive and it looks to have more things to do than HMC. How do you compare the two stops from a HAL customer prospective? Since Amber Cove is a docked port stop, I would guess it doesn't get skipped like HMC when there are high winds. On our last HAL cruise we skipped HMC because of winds and spent the last day of our cruise circling off of FLL, not a great way to end a very nice cruise.

 

We prefer Half Moon Cay. It's got a prettier beach. However, Amber Cove is really a nice stop for families. If you are on a typical HAL cruise, the small number of kids will practically have the water park to themselves. From what I understand, Carnival Corp is building a similar port stop on the east side of Grand Bahama Island.  That's probably of greater import to Carnival with its many shorter itineraries, but it could be a welcome change for any HAL ships that stop there. We haven't been to the Bahamas in years, but I don't remember being particularly impressed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pool at Amber Cove is huge and there were plenty of chairs. I believe that the port is designed to handle two large CCL ships and their capacities are far higher than anything in Holland America's fleet. With just the Zuiderdam and the AIDA ship in port, the pool area felt downright empty. As you can see in the photo below, the zip line extends over the pool.

 

SAM_2940_LUCiD.JPG.d0664e7f83282aa33b01888c1ba7f066.JPG

 

IMG_1848_LUCiD.thumb.JPG.38f68e1e0625d1d31eabd788928d84e0.JPG

 

SAM_2937_LUCiD.JPG.d70f38f7ac3455cfeda1e10d21e121e9.JPG

 

There is a swim-up bar that extends into the pool.

 

IMG_1847_LUCiD.JPG.60f093dc22af85cc7e90d0c9b285ff7c.JPG

 

SAM_2936_LUCiD.JPG.212fd6944669328b8a01c14403b0d815.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a large, two level bar and restaurant adjacent to the pool area.

 

SAM_2942_LUCiD.JPG.861a4f90e53b192701f4df7c3522ce5f.JPG

 

SAM_2935_LUCiD.JPG.58dcf2146a4c93782b4b2814d700612e.JPG

 

SAM_2932_LUCiD.JPG.507b062279c0defcdd0173d116ff5028.JPG

 

I tried to de-skew the signs so you could see the menu and prices. Click on the images to zoom in on them.

 

SAM_2934.thumb.JPG.764320b255e66ea8167d0d66ba923171.JPG

 

SAM_2933.thumb.JPG.0a8ca852ae9cf4678244d1d50fb12dfd.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, flagmom said:

We have really enjoyed your very thorough information about your cruise on the Zuiderdam, as we will be taking an 11-day  partial Panama Canal transit cruise on her in March. When you have time, would you mind posting the MDR menus? I think you posted two days, but not the others. I know that ours may be different, but still enjoy looking at the possible choices. Even your post on Lido breakfast was informative--never thought there'd be that many choices. :classic_biggrin: Thanks again!

 

I'll get them posted. I have all the dinner menus for both the MDR and the Lido.  I just need to work with the files because HAL uses some fonts (the Neutra family) that I don't have. I found an open source substitute, but I have to go file by file and swap out the fonts. I want the menus to look they way they do when you see them on the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to the regular pool chairs, there is also a VIP area and some two story pool cabanas.  As you can see, there were not a lot of takers for the $125 VIP experience. In addition to the VIP area by the pool, there's also a VIP beach area with VIP drinks and food included. We didn't take photos of the VIP beach area, seeing as how we are only moderately important.

 

SAM_2938_LUCiD.JPG.ccf4d505629c18ea808c1b5f84486e64.JPG

 

 

 

SAM_2939_LUCiD.JPG.2e94bb1e5d3fa57d29cf670818545bcb.JPG

 

In addition to the poolside cabanas, there are hillside cabanas and ocean cabanas. You can see the hillside cabanas in the photo below. (They would be the ones on the hill.)

 

ziplines-pool4.jpg.b330ff581d92d8ab636eecdc90fc932f.jpg

 

SAM_2945_LUCiD.JPG.634e4cccca8be6e4b6c1a75304a78dff.JPG

 

 

Edited by POA1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are also over-water cabanas, including the Super Cabana. I believe it's listed as the Grand Cabana in the shore excursions.

 

SAM_2931_LUCiD.JPG.8cd67917f39b446ceded1feb15c9b131.JPG

 

SAM_2943_LUCiD.JPG.03cc670f5e5929d014db5444db1732e8.JPG

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few last photos to wrap up Amber Cove.

 

Remember that sign with all the arrows pointing to where things are?  They have a version for people who prefer pictures to words.

 

SAM_2948_LUCiD.thumb.JPG.c56ddd1e47495186bc42807fe1e0c75f.JPG

 

If you want to go to the Sky Bar, or up to the hillside cabanas, you'll have to walk uphill. Otherwise, most things are on ground level. The Sky Bar is that inverted tent-like structure that I probably mislabeled as the starting point for the zip lines. (Which I did not do. I'm just not a zippy guy.)  The drink prices are the same at all the venues in the port, but you'll feel more like you've earned that beer if you trudge up the hill. It's also a great spot for photos.

 

If you want a little elevation for picture taking but don't feel like a hike, you can go to the second story of the bar by the pool.

 

SAM_2942_LUCiD.JPG.7a8ef19602c167fdfc974573eed846dd.JPG

 

If you are taking an excursion that leaves the port area, or if you want to catch a taxi, there's a transportation hub. It's well marked and you can't miss it.

 

SAM_2929_LUCiD.JPG.dc76088728bc08e5f50fe1d0f52aad12.JPG

 

There's a decent photo op at the stylized Amber Cove sculpt-a-sign. People from the AIDA ship were filming some footage for a Segway excursion while we were there. Depending on which side of the pier your ship is on, you can get a nice shot of your ship in the background, depending on where you stand and how you frame it. The Zuiderdam was on the far side, obscured by the AIDALuna.

 

SAM_2924_LUCiD.JPG.ca25e3928faa8028f90a9b8250dcf571.JPG

 

SAM_2925_LUCiD.JPG.6f6d1657087948917120da580b790eb0.JPG

 

SAM_2926_LUCiD.JPG.11edd7e347c14cf0698cdb40b7b3776c.JPG

 

A couple of random shots that should, but don't exactly, give you an idea of how far the walk is to the ship. There are plenty of rickshaw bikes offering rides if you don't feel like walking. It's about 520 m or roughly a third of a mile.

 

SAM_2949_LUCiD.JPG.d8e61a8e3d6a219b3c23cd8968b07797.JPG

 

SAM_2950_LUCiD.JPG.4d7ad5a55a81dff8190ce2278248767a.JPG

 

SAM_2928_LUCiD.JPG.7dd84a0baa865070f60fd9a750c94184.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here you go @flagmom

 

The first 5 days of menus:

 

For each day, I've supplied a copy of both the Main Dining Room and Lido Dinner Menus. For the most part, you can get everything in the Lido that they have in the MDR. You're not missing out simply because you want a casual meal.

 

Since it's been a while since I posted menus, here's a refresher.  When you click on one of the links, it will open a page on the Evernote server. You don't need to install Evernote. Just click on the little icon for each menu to download or open it. I've outlined the icons with red rectangles in the image below. (This is just a screen capture of the Evernote web page for the Day 2 dinner menus. You'll be clicking on the page after you click the links below.)

 

2018-12-16 - Day 1 Dinner Menus - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFhdJhULvy9L17Ep3ITXahlgEthj8kC7beA/

 


2018-12-17 - Day 2 Dinner Menus - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFiSmXNYXtVNob25s24NrcFsZHpvaFj7bNc/

 


2018-12-18 - Day 3 Dinner Menus - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFhaFZONeWFNvYU50FUhx4rbBfCj1Jz5wR4/

 


2018-12-19 - Day 4 Dinner Menus - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFgHewU_jbVJfaOgM4CusWUh93_HhMxQ7JY/

 


2018-12-20 - Day 5 Dinner Menus (1st Gala) - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFjCTySoNMJP8roo4_IhMFzVLxuIFgsY-DQ/

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Mac with Safari is not able to open the links.....just get a blank page.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

4 minutes ago, PSR said:

My Mac with Safari is not able to open the links.....just get a blank page.

 

You need to have the Acrobat reader installed for it to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You and Michelle should start a ***** Page, so we can reimburse you for your courageous and selfless research.

 

Actually, HAL should give you a free cruise.

 

Thank you for the work you put in to this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The second 5 days of menus - Days 6 - 10

 

Interesting thing I only noticed now.... Instead of having lobster tail on the second gala night, they moved it to Christmas. I mentioned that before. What I didn't realize was that the Lido's Surf & Turf was Filet Mignon and Shrimp, while the MDR's was Filet & Lobster. I wouldn't have noticed that if I hadn't been posting the menus. (So I guess there's something to be learned even if you're the one writing the reports. I also guess there's something to be said for wearing long pants and a collared shirt. :classic_biggrin:)

 

2018-12-21 - Day 6 Dinner Menus - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFhVPUsNNhZIKY-l9PZ5v1ljabhhP--W-Qk/

 

 

2018-12-22 - Day 7 Dinner Menus - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFjwg5HQnbhMbIgbsCD_HR79iRKI-7xkE-8/

 

 

2018-12-23 - Day 8 Dinner Menus - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFg_uqOwdOVH8bH2j9VCfTzEGMddXurSIRo/

 

 

2018-12-24 - Day 9 Dinner Menus (2nd Gala) - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018


https://www.evernote.com/l/AFhDPvRfUTJDAIEJb5mfPA8dsRdSs3B21BE/

 


2018-12-24 - Day 10 Dinner Menus (Christmas) - Zuiderdam Christmas Cruise 2018

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFgHmYEBHcRDNZl7tTJ-YC2KRrt1ochXgiE/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Specialty Restaurants

 

And finally, the menus from the three specialty dining options: Canaletto, The Pinnacle Grill, and Chef Rudi's Sel de Mer. They're all embedded in one Evernote note.  There was also a special Christmas Eve Menu in Canaletto. It was posted way back around the 25th because @RuthC reminded me. I would have forgotten otherwise. Please note that the Chef Rudi Experience is a one night affair and is held in The Pinnacle Grill. On that night, the whole restaurant becomes Sel de Mer and the normal PG menu is not served.

 

Zuiderdam Specialty Restaurant Menus

 

https://www.evernote.com/l/AFhnCXK5DiVIJrDjQz4fQlRwP7eBc-UDWMw/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, POA1 said:

You need to have the Acrobat reader installed for it to work.

 

Thanks... I have that; it may be my older Safari browser that I can't update. Have had problems with other random sites, also. :classic_unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, PSR said:

 

Thanks... I have that; it may be my older Safari browser that I can't update. Have had problems with other random sites, also. :classic_unsure:

 

See if you can save the files. If you can and you have Acrobat, you should be able to open them.  Here are Apple's instructions:

 

https://support.apple.com/guide/safari/download-items-from-the-web-sfri40598/mac

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A word on these menus - 

 

From what I have been able to find out, these menus were fairly unique. Other than a few Chef Rudi dishes, the Culinary Council was no where to be found. Usually there is a dish or two from a Council member each night, but we had none. That's not a complaint at all, just an observation. Portion sizes were more generous than they've been for the past few years, with many proteins in the 6 ounce range. That was surprising as they had been tracking in the 3-4 ounce range in 2014 and 2016. It may be a function of the cruise being a holiday sailing, or it might be a trend. Sadly, we don't cruise often enough to be able to make a near term comparison. If anyone is going on the Zuiderdam soon, pop back in and let us know how your MDR experience compares. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Amber Cove, is there a beach area other than the VIP area  in the photo ?

TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...