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scluvsrain

Just back from 7/17 Zuiderdam - Eastern Caribbean

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Just returned yesterday from the 7/17 sailing of the Zuiderdam to the Eastern Caribbean. It was my 5th cruise with HAL, my first on the Z and my first time to the Caribbean.

 

Thanks to this board, I booked a cabana for our day at Half Moon Cay. Glad we did. It was hot hot hot hot hot!!!! The island is beautiful, sand like powdered sugar. Water so clear and warm. The BBQ lunch was pretty decent. The cabana "boys" delivered a selection from the BBQ to us in our cabana, so we didn't have to go up and get the food ourselves. Nice touch! Lots of people rented the clam shells because there are not too many shady places on the island. If your budget won't allow for a cabana, definitely get a $9 clam shell. Well worth it.

 

We had a suite, cabin 8135, deck 8, Navigation deck, aft corner. The suite was a tad bit smaller than the regular suites (I took pics if anyone wants to see them, email me) but the balcony was enormous and it wrapped around the side of the ship. I absolutely loved it. Being on the top deck, just under the aft Lido, our balcony was covered and private. I was very glad it was covered, as it was so very hot and muggy on the cruise, so being able to have some shade on the balcony was great.

 

We chose to do a dolphin swim excursion on Tortola. I recently had shoulder surgery and did not want to chance the Baths at Virgin Gorda, what with the climbing possibilities. The town was just so-so. We liked the swim very much, a nice experience for my 16 year-old daughter.

 

When we got to St. Thomas, we took a cab to Red Hook, caught the ferry to St. John, then another taxi to Trunk Bay beach. It was a nice beach. Clear warm water, showers, snack bar. Costs $4 for age 17 and up. We spent about 2 hours at Trunk Bay, then headed back. Took a different ferry back, this time to Charlotte Amalie. Longer ferry ride, but really nice, and it dropped us right in town. We did some shopping, then cabbed it back ($3) to the ship.

 

We were in Nassau on Friday from noon to 7 pm. All aboard was 6:30. We walked off the ship, into town, went up to the Queen's Staircase, back down and to the Straw Market. We had fun in there and picked up some last minute gifts. Back to the ship and spent the afternoon at the pool, where it was not crowded this day.

 

The purpose of the trip for my daughter and I was for relaxation. We did not book a bunch of excursions, rather, we just tried to take things easy and keep open to what we might want to do.

 

The weather was nice and sunny every day. A couple of days we had a brief rainshower in the late afternoon, but that was it. It was very hard to get pool chairs by the pools, as it was crowded. Unless, of course, you wanted to get out there early in the morning. We were sleeping......Oh well.

 

The Z is a bit bigger than I prefer for a ship, but it was laid out nicely and easy to get around. I liked the glass outside elevators and we tried to ride in them whenever we had to take an elevator.

 

There were a lot of kids, I think over 400 of them. By and large they were all very well behaved and they looked wonderful on formal nights!!! My daughter did not join in the HAL club this time around (you know some teenagers....) but I heard lots of rave reviews about HAL club from other parents and kids alike.

 

We ate in the Odyssey twice, once the first night and again on our last night. The food and service were wonderful. We had been booked for the 6:15 seating in the dining room. The time was fine for us, the table was nice, we did not sit directly at the window, but had a nice view out it anyway, and we were at a table for 2, which is what we wanted. Our servers were nice and polite, our food was good, and served timely. My complaint about this is only that we missed what we have had on other cruises and that is the more relaxed and personal service. On the Z the wait staff were very very busy and did not have time or take time to chat with us as we have been used to on our other cruises in the past. I missed it.

 

The shows were fine. The comedian the first night, Tom Drake, was a scream! Everyone loved him. He happens to be married to the outgoing cruise director, Dottie. Apparently, Dottie's reputation precedes her. I wondered at first if she was a he who turned into a she. Know what I mean? But apparently not. She was okay. Her voice was squeaky. She has left the Z now, as her 17 week contract was up. She said she's taking a vacation and then has a new contract on the Volendam. That's all I know.

 

The other shows were fine too. We did not go to any of the cast and crew shows because we've seen them before. One night there was a juggler/comedian and he was good, but not terrific. Another night there was a guy named Joel Mason who is an Elton John impersonator and he was very very good. I'd rate his show my second favorite, after Tom, the comedian. Another night was a magician. We didn't see him either, but some other people said he was okay.

 

Our cabin steward, Marulak, was great. He brought me fresh ice twice a day so I could ice my shoulder (part of my surgery rehab). We left him an extra tip on top of Hal's new tipping policy of $10/day/person. He deserved it. He also took apart the j-trap of one of our sinks when my daughter's necklace slipped down the drain.....

 

The Lido food was pretty decent, as was the dining room food. No complaints.

 

On our first sea day, there were about 8 cruise-critic'ers that met up in the Crow's Nest. That was nice!!!!

 

Well, I think that covers it. If anyone has any questions, let me know.

 

--sherita

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:) scluvsrain

So glad that your daughter and you had a wonderful cruise. Summer is a very hot time of the year in the Caribbean. I can remember when we had to take cruises to the Caribbean in the summer because of work schedules.

We have also noticed that with the HAL cutbacks, the waitstaff in the dining room do not have as much time to chat with people.

:)

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I see that you were totally impressed with Dottie too. :D Thanks for the chuckle!! Have you heard who the new guy is? I will need to warn my parents about Dottie...they sail the Volendam in Sept to Alaska. ;)

 

By the way, how was your blue cabana?? Hope I left it clean enough for you! Was Romano your cabana boy?

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I did not hear who was/is replacing Dottie, sorry.

 

The blue cabana was really nice!!! The misters were great and had to love the snacks in the fridge, plus our cooler was stocked with Fanta, Beer and water. Only asked for water and Fanta, but knocked back a couple of the beers too.

 

Our cabana guys were Rene (nice!), Roberto and Romano. I don't recall which one Romano was versus Roberto, but Rene was the nicest of the 3. He always had a nice smile and he's the one who brought our lunch. The other 2 seemed more interested in taking smoking breaks or looking at the young girls walk by (can't say I blame them on that one, though....boys will be boys)

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And believe it or not those "boys" are in their early 30s....Romano has four kids at home in the Philippines!!

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Sherita Thanks for the review..

 

 

How much time did it take to actualy get to "Trunk Bay" (total with taxis and ferry) , and what time did you end up getting off the ship that morning before heading over (Wednesday right?)... Also Why only 2 hours at Trunk Bay ? Just curious..

 

Thanks

 

Srpilo

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There were a lot of kids, I think over 400 of them. By and large they were all very well behaved and they looked wonderful on formal nights!!!

 

400 kids? Oh my goodness gracious. Ever see the movie "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang?" My favorite character was the "Child Catcher." :D

 

When you say "they looked wonderful on formal nights!!!!" what do you mean? Were they piled onto a barge and towed behind the ship on formal nights? That would look wonderful to me. ;)

 

Seriously ... how did they dress? I'm curious.

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Thanks to this board, I booked a cabana for our day at Half Moon Cay. Glad we did. It was hot hot hot hot hot!!!! The island is beautiful, sand like powdered sugar. Water so clear and warm. The BBQ lunch was pretty decent. The cabana "boys" delivered a selection from the BBQ to us in our cabana, so we didn't have to go up and get the food ourselves. Nice touch! Lots of people rented the clam shells because there are not too many shady places on the island. If your budget won't allow for a cabana, definitely get a $9 clam shell. Well worth it.

 

 

Hello Sherita,

 

I am new to not only the boards and site here but our forthcoming cruise as well!

 

I was wondering how much as well as how to book a cabana for Half Moon Cay? It sounds wonderful and essential for myself (oh and my family) on my birthday ;)

 

Also I read in a Frommer's Caribbean cruise book that there are massages available on Half moon Cay yet I have never heard anyone as of yet mention having one nor is it listed on HAL's site...but then again neither are the cabana's! Did you happen to observe this being available?

 

Thank you for suffering my newbie questions....your description makes me excited for our cruise coming in December to the same ports!

 

Morriganfae~uncool cruiser...but not for long~

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Thanks for sending that but I have been on the site and perhaps I am missing it....I just can't seem to find a thing on cabana's.

 

I had read twice on this these boards about them and was interested (very interested) in finding more info.

 

Thanks again for the reply....

 

Morriganfae~

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Oops! I stand corrected!

 

Sorry there it was right in the middle of the list....I wonder why this different version of their site has it not the flashy one :)

 

So yes huge help and again thanks so much!

 

Morriganfae~feeling kinda silly~

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Thanks for sending that but I have been on the site and perhaps I am missing it....I just can't seem to find a thing on cabana's.

 

I had read twice on this these boards about them and was interested (very interested) in finding more info.

 

Thanks again for the reply....

 

Morriganfae~

http://www.hollandamerica.com/servlet/ShorexDetailBuildServlet?idShorex=211&nbrDest=020000&codePort=HA1

See in red below

 

spacer.gifShore Excursions spacer.gifspacer.gifAll-Day Snorkel Gear Rental

Beach Party Certified One-Tank Scuba Diving Deep Sea Fishing Eco Lagoon Cruise Eco Lagoon Kayak Adventure Flats Fishing Glass-Bottom Boat Historic Nature Walk Parasailing Private Cabana Package - BluePrivate Cabana Package - EmeraldPrivate Cabana Package - GreenPrivate Cabana Package - Pink Snorkel by Boat Treasure Hunt & Ice Cream Watersports "Toy" Rentals

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dont click on the word links, go to the top link and scrool down to the words on that site :)

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dont click on the word links, go to the top link and scrool down to the words on that site :)

Is this an old version of the site or some cool version only you are privy too? ;)

 

Morriganfae~

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ok lets try this :) Hope this helps :)

Private Cabana Package -

at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Enjoy the ultimate in luxury during your stay on Half Moon Cay with the use of your own private cabana. Board the first tender ashore, or have priority tender use, to maximize your time by being the first guests to arrive and the last back to the ship at the end of the day. For your comfort you will find your cabana outfitted with a refrigerator, ceiling fan, air conditioner, table and chairs inside, and deck chairs and a misting shower on the private terrace.

You will be provided with fresh fruit, vegetables with dip, and chips and salsa to snack on as well as an assortment of soft drinks and bottled water to quench your thirst. Beach towels, floating mats, snorkel gear, and binoculars are also included for your use throughout the day.

 

Easy Activity

Very light activity including short distances to walk over relatively even surfaces with few stairs to climb. Some of these tours may be accessible to wheelchairs. Passengers in wheelchairs must be able to walk a few steps to negotiate their way on and off transportation, as wheelchair lifts are not readily available in most ports

Price

US: $219 for up to 4 guests

Notes

You may choose to upgrade your cabana stay by selecting the "Butler Package" which includes unlimited beverages available from the various bars on Half Moon Cay, drinks made from house brand liquor, all beers, soft drinks, bottled water and wine. The Food and Beverage Manager will personally meet with you to discuss your picnic lunch items which will include an appetizer, entree and dessert.

 

 

The evening prior to your arrival a complimentary travel bag, which is yours to keep, will be delivered to your cabin to hold your personal items for the day. Upon arrival at Half Moon Cay, your butler will assist you ashore with your travel bag and will see to whatever needs you may have while on the island including a private "in cabin" shopping session from the island shops. Your butler can also assist you with booking HMC shore excursions and activities throughout the day.

 

The Half Moon Cay Cabana Package rate is $219 for up to 4 guests. The Butler Package rate is $270.00 for up to 4 guests. An additional charge of $45.00 per person for the Cabana Package and $100.00 per person for the Butler Package will be charged for additioanl guests (over quantity of 4). Reservations may be made by calling 1-800-541-1576.

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Thanks or your review, I enjoyed. I have one question. Could you please tell me more about the dolphin swim on Tortola?

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I too was on this cruise, and had a nice time. I was in a category S suite, and wouldn't do it any other way. The suite was huge! Floor to ceiling windows, huge verandah, dressing room, double sinks, separate shower and whirlpool tub. The Neptune Lounge and concierge service was impeccable. I never had to go to the front desk for anything, and snacks were always available at the Neptune. I ate at the Pinnacle grill the first night, complimentary as I paid with Amex platinum. I gave the server a $20 tip, and he seemed pleased. The other passengers didn't seem to tip at all...?? There was no mention anywhere that gratuities were included.

I've always said that ultimately its the passengers that can make or break your cruise. The Cruise line can only do so much. Had I thought it through, I wouldn't have booked a 7 day Carribean right before school starts, as it seemed that the kids took over the ship. (Pools, disco etc) So, I had a relaxing time in my suite, and early to bed every night! Very unlike me!

I would recommend this ship to families wanting to have a great vacation. I think though I'll stick to the longer cruises and smaller ships.

CruiserDan

http://www.saintpeterealtors.com

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Sherita, I would love to see your pictures. My home e-mail address is doone1957@verizon.net if you wouldn't mind. I am sailing the Zuiderdam in March with 4 other friends, kind of a "girls" cruise, if you know what I mean. We have a suite and a mini suite aft and would love to see your pictures.

 

Great review, can't wait to go.

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Sherita, I will be in cabin 7126 in Sept. which was below you but in the center aft. I was wondering if we are totally open or are we covered alittle? We have in fact 4 cabins going across the aft and if the pool area is to crowded I will just stay on the verandah. Thanks

 

Toma

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ok lets try this :) Hope this helps :)

 

Private Cabana Package -

at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

 

Enjoy the ultimate in luxury during your stay on Half Moon Cay with the use of your own private cabana. Board the first tender ashore, or have priority tender use, to maximize your time by being the first guests to arrive and the last back to the ship at the end of the day. For your comfort you will find your cabana outfitted with a refrigerator, ceiling fan, air conditioner, table and chairs inside, and deck chairs and a misting shower on the private terrace.

 

 

Thank you soooo much!! I still cannot seem to find the info that you produced (makes me feel less techy then accustomed) but thanks again for taking the time with me!

When I use the link you gave I see the lists but still it did not state how many people were included in the 219.00 price nor did it mention the butler service addition. And still the site that I am accustomed to going to ( http://hollandamerica.com/ ) does not list this service at all in any form. Well that I can find anyways!

You are a indeed a very cool cruiser Ziggy....:)

Morriganfae~

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I ate at the Pinnacle grill the first night, complimentary as I paid with Amex platinum.

 

you eat there free if you have an amex platinum?

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"Thank you soooo much!! I still cannot seem to find the info that you produced (makes me feel less techy then accustomed) but thanks again for taking the time with me!

 

When I use the link you gave I see the lists but still it did not state how many people were included in the 219.00 price nor did it mention the butler service addition. And still the site that I am accustomed to going to ( http://hollandamerica.com/ ) does not list this service at all in any form. Well that I can find anyways!

 

You are a indeed a very cool cruiser Ziggy....:)

 

 

Morriganfae "

 

I think that webpage is an old link to Holland America so dont feel you are any lesser because you cant find it on the new site, they dont have it linked there anymore. Because I have never been to Half Moon Cay and my hubby and I love the beach, I did allot of research on this place. Hubby and I are celebrating our 28th wedding aniversary ( second honeymoon) and have been granted permission to have our renewel of vows ceremony on the beach at Half Moon Cay ( never hurts to ask for what you want, all they can do is say no).

In my many message boards searches I picked up that link (cant seem to remember where sorry) and bookmarked it.

Glad this information helped!

Have a wonderful time on your cruise!

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I Hubby and I are celebrating our 28th wedding aniversary ( second honeymoon) and have been granted permission to have our renewel of vows ceremony on the beach at Half Moon Cay ( never hurts to ask for what you want, all they can do is say no).

Congratulations on your second honeymoon! I'm sure it will be beautiful based on the pictures I have seen and the many descriptions here on this site!

 

I did bookmark the link and have already booked a cabana! With your help we were only the second to book a cabana out of eight available. Now I do hope I chose the best one. The yellow one was taken so I took the one next to that...green. I made the assumption that is was more private over on that side of the island...well from what was described to me from the CSR.

 

So cheers to you and yours!

 

Morriganfae~

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have been granted permission to have our renewel of vows ceremony on the beach at Half Moon Cay

You will certainly enjoy that!! We married barefoot on the beach last year (St John) and repeating your vows with the person you love in such a beautiful location just can't be beat! :)

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Congratulations on your second honeymoon! I'm sure it will be beautiful based on the pictures I have seen and the many descriptions here on this site!

 

I did bookmark the link and have already booked a cabana! With your help we were only the second to book a cabana out of eight available. Now I do hope I chose the best one. The yellow one was taken so I took the one next to that...green. I made the assumption that is was more private over on that side of the island...well from what was described to me from the CSR.

 

So cheers to you and yours!

 

Morriganfae~

Awesome! You got a cabana :)

Here is another discussion with great information and pictures! Enjoy!

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=32745

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