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PrincessMelody

Zuiderdam Cruise Review 9/18 To 9/27 Part One

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Holland America Ms Zuiderdam

 

Western Caribbean Cruise - September18th to September 27th 2004

 

Scott and Melody

 

 

 

Day 1 Ft. Lauderdale: Casual

 

Day 2 Key West: Formal-Captain’s Gala

 

Day 3 Cozumel: Tropical/Casual-Dutch Night

 

Day 4 Costa Maya: Casual

 

Day 5 At sea: Formal-Farewell Dinner-Lobster and Baked Alaska Parade, and Dessert Extravaganza

 

Day 6 At sea: Informal

 

Day 7 At sea: Casual

 

Day 8 At sea: Casual

 

Day 9 At sea: Casual

 

Day 10 Ft. Lauderdale

 

 

 

Ports missed: HMC and Grand Cayman

 

Cruise extended to Monday 09/27 due to Hurricane Jeanne

The Captain made the announcement Friday night 9/25 at 6:30pm.

 

 

Embarkation: Smooth as silk. Got there at 11:30 and by noon we were relaxing in the Neptune Lounge.

 

 

 

Cabin: We were in Suite 7133, at the stern of the ship. Talk about a hike!!:eek: The cabin was lovely. Perfectly clean, and very spacious, yet it is quite a bit smaller than the side suites. The balcony was HUGE!! It had a dining table and 4 chairs, 2 chaise lounges with a small table, and 2 nice chairs with ottomans on the side wrap-around part of the balcony. The entire balcony is uncovered and exposed to the cabins above and to the lido deck, with the exception of the side part, which is completely covered.

 

The bathroom is nice and has a whirlpool tub with removable shower head, plus a separate shower stall. It has the nice dressing room area too, and I really like the lighted magnified mirror that you can move. There is plenty of storage and closet space as well. The towels were bigger and fluffier than on the Maasdam. The bed was heaven! The new mattress and comforter and pillows were wonderful! I loved cranking up the AC at night and snuggling under all that fluffy white bedding. Bliss!! I wish the TV was bigger though…(only 19”)

 

 

 

Cabin Steward: Yudi was wonderful, kept the cabin nice and clean, and made sure we had plenty of towels, (I use tons of towels and washcloths), ice, glasses, etc. We needed an extra long extension cord for my water pick and stuff, (I have braces) and he took care of us. He folded the clothes we left laying around, and even neatly arranged the makeup and stuff on the vanity that I left out. We took full advantage of the free laundry and dry cleaning, and left stuff out for Yudi daily. We always got it back the same day or next day. What a wonderful perk. At the end of the week, Scott gave Yudi the “handshake”(extra 40), and Yudi was very pleased.

 

 

 

Neptune: Love it. We enjoyed cappuccinos and juices every morning, along with my mandatory chocolate croissant…yum! I also enjoyed snacks throughout the day and before dinner, including chocolate dipped strawberries, which they had every single day! Access requires a card key, which was not the case on the Maasdam.

 

 

 

Concierge: Wilma and Ester were very nice and extremely efficient. They had their hands full too, with people trying to make phones calls to loved ones, and trying to re-schedule flights.

 

 

 

Dining Room: We enjoyed every meal we had there. Service was spotty at times, but overall-no major complaints. Our waiter was Pepep, and he was awesome. He was always smiling, and quite efficient. One evening I couldn’t decide between 3 desserts, and when I finally decided on one…Pepep brought me a sampling of all 3! How sweet. Scott gave him the cash handshake too at the end of the week, as we saw many others doing, and told him not to share it. Everyone says if it not in an envelope, it does not have to be turned in or shared…hence all the “loaded handshakes” We sat at a table for 2, (we originally had a table for 6 but changed). The choices were good, and we had no problems ordering two appetizers or entrees or desserts if we wished. We didn’t have Bami Goreng on Dutch night, but had Nasi Goreng instead. Similar, but over rice instead of the noodles. They did serve Bami Goreng later in the week at the lido, however. I also missed the Barneveld Pasteitje, which is the chicken and mushroom in pastry shell. That was not offered on Dutch night either. The beef was very good on this cruise, and well prepared. The seafood was quite good too. I am a picky eater, and I was well pleased. The lobster was tender and juicy, not at all overdone. I had 2 tails, plus a filet…no problem. I also tried pecan crusted salmon one evening, and it was yummy. Fresh fruit was abundant, and offered every night. Delicious. I enjoyed the chilled fruit soups too. I usually ordered two, because the bowls are small, and less than half full. The after dinner HAL Espresso Martini was fantastic, and offered every night. It had little coffee beans floating in it…how cool. The desserts were good, with plenty of variety, but the Flambes are no longer offered in the dining room, but in the Explorers Lounge after dinner. I have all the lunch, dinner, and dessert menus, if anyone wants more info.

 

 

 

Lido: I love the way the Lido is layed out, with the various stations serving different types of food. We had breakfast here most days, and enjoyed the made to order omelets, and fresh squeezed orange juice. The staff were all very cordial and helpful. Oh how I had missed the bread pudding!! It was “hunky dory”…Which reminds me of Imam, aka Hunky Dory!! He was so sweet, and said “Aloha to me every day. (I always wore a flower in my hair). He even gave me a recipe for the bread pudding and vanilla sauce. We really liked the burgers at the lido grill, too. Late night snacks were good too, with a different theme every night, such as Tex-mex, Oriental, Italian, etc. beginning at 11:15pm. Love the waffle cones!!

 

 

 

Pools: They were pretty nice, and there was a calypso band playing by the lido pool every day between 1:30-2:15, and 2:30-6pm.

 

 

 

Room Service: Very good. We ordered coffee and pastries and fruit every day, as Scott calls it “Our pre-breakfast”. Accurate and on-time every time. We tipped the room service gentleman a buck or two each morning when he dropped off our tray.

 

We also ordered hot and cold hors d’oeuvres in our suite before dinner each night, and were very pleased. They would include: spring rolls, fried shrimp, little quiches, spinakopata, meatballs, or jalapeno poppers, etc. All very good. We also had high tea in the suite a couple of times. Silver trays would come with various teas, pastries, and sweet goodies. Very nice and elegant. BTW, we had a cocktail party for 6 on our balcony, and wanted to order hot and cold appetizers for 6. We were told by the concierge that Vista class ships limit the appetizers to service for 4, with a surcharge of 15.00 for each additional person. This was not the case on the Maasdam, although we were told that it will be implemented on S and R class ship as well in the near future.

 

 

 

Public Areas: The lounges were all very nice and intimate, and each offered a different atmosphere and music. They now offer a “Cocktail of the Day” which is 3.75, and a “Mocktail of the Day” for 2.75. All featured fresh fruit juice, and were fantastic! If anyone wants details of the daily offerings…let me know. I also have details of the beverage packages offered, if anyone wants info on that.

 

 

 

There is a Windstar Café’ instead of the Java Café we experienced on the Maasdam. The difference is that the Windstar charges for ALL coffee drinks. Didn’t like that much... Just headed for the Neptune when the urge for java struck.

 

 

 

The glass elevators are really neat, too.

 

 

 

Entertainment: The Elton John impersonator was very good. We didn’t go to any other shows, but heard a lot of mixed reviews and some negative comments.

 

CONTINUED...

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Shopping: The boutiques were nice, nothing special. I would like to see more of a variety of stores, and better prices. I bought a (overpriced) teddy bear for my daughter, and a (way overpriced) Zuiderdam polo shirt for my Mom. Hey HAL, how about some gift certificates for ship gear for us mariners?? I was kind of sad that I went to buy myself a Z coffee mug on the last night (the only thing for myself..lol) and they refused to sell it to me because they were counting the register…even though they were still open for at least 15 minutes! Oh well, no Zuiderdam mug for me…sighL

 

I would like to see more of a variety of stores, and better prices.

 

 

 

Scott did run out of cigarettes, since the cruise was extended and got a carton for 19.95. Good deal. Problem was, his lighter died, and the gift shop was sold out of lighters. So we went to the bar and asked for a book of matches, and the bartender informed us that is is against maritime rules to have matches on a ship. I did not know that. Interesting.

 

 

 

Casino: I liked it. Mainly because I am a slot player and I won 300.00 on a quarter machine. (Triple Diamond) I thought it was nicely laid out, with a pretty good array of machines and table games. The slots ranged from nickels to five dollars, with plenty of poker machines mixed in.

 

 

 

Greenhouse Spa: Very pretty and elegant. The staff was extremely friendly and not at all pushy. They offered some nice deals on port days, and daily specials every day. We really enjoyed the Hydrotherapy pool, and the aromatherapy sauna and heated tiles lounges with views of the sea. So nice and relaxing. I have the full menu of spa services and prices, if anyone is interested.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous: We had a Captain’s Suite Brunch in the Crow’s Nest on Thursday, with lots of hot and cold food. Complimentary champagne was served. It was lovely. We also had a Mariner’s reception in the Vista Lounge, where people with 25-300+ days on Hal were awarded and photographed. Complimentary champagne and cocktails were served. We also had a Captain’s cocktail party in the Neptune Lounge which was very nice, including white-gloved service of hors d’oeuvres and complimentary cocktails and champagne. The Captain and other Officers were all there. We bought a few photos this cruise, and did not find the photographers or staff pushy at all. They were nothing but nice and helpful. I really like the ship, even though it has a much different atmosphere than the Maasdam. It is bright and glitzy, (which suits its Caribbean itinerary), whereas the Maasdam is much more understated and elegant.

 

 

 

Overall, another wonderful HAL cruise.

 

 

 

Ports:

 

 

 

Key West-Very nice…we saw the Hemingway house, and did some shopping and exploring.

 

 

 

Cozumel-Been there, done that…stayed on the ship and went to the spa instead.

 

 

 

Costa Maya-Quaint and cute, we watched some traditional Mexican dancers do a show, and walked around and did some sight-seeing. The beach was nice, but quite crowded.

 

 

 

We missed HMC, and hope to see it next cruise.

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Great review. Thanks so much for all the details and the changes you noticed. I was on the Maasdam in August and will be on the Oosterdam in November, so it was a good comparison for me.

Dee

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Thanks for the kinds words Dee...I think both ships are really nice and truly enjoyed them both. Please let us know how you like the Oosterdam.

 

 

Melody

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Thanks for taking the time to write your review. Really enjoyed reading it - sounds like you had a wonderful time. We also tried the Zuiderdam this July. We weren't sure if we wanted to try one of the larger ships, but ended up having one of our best cruises yet. Loved the glass elevators too!

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Thanks for taking the time to write your review and share with us. Dh and I really enjoyed reading it! We were on the Zuiderdam last Aug for 2 weeks. We had one of the best cruises. Now DH is addicted to cruising hehehee Loved the glass elevators too but they were busy! Thanks for the chance to relive our cruise thru yours!

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Melody,Great review.We are doing a B2B in cabin4180 on the back Oct16th,an 23rd.So your review is just what we were looking for.Thanks again TOM

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Trinity1, thanks so much for the great review. I feel sorry for you missing Half Moon Cay, to me, that's the highlight of the entire cruise with HAL. Well, there's only one way to fix that, book another AHL cruise, LOL.

 

I am looking forward to my cruise on the Zuiderdam.

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They now offer a “Cocktail of the Day” which is 3.75, and a “Mocktail of the Day” for 2.75. All featured fresh fruit juice, and were fantastic! If anyone wants details of the daily offerings…let me know.

 

Thanks for the review. I enjoyed it.

Yes, I would like to hear some details about these drinks.

Thanks,

Giz

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Thank you! Excellent review, makes me much more anxious for our next cruise in December. Which night was the cocktail party with the captain?

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Great review. Thanks for taking the time. Hearing as many positive things as you had to say, puts my mind at ease!

 

~Kelly

Zuiderdam 11/7/04

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Thanks for the review. We are new to HAL and are waiting for our cruise on December 18.

 

If it's not too much trouble could you send me the menu and spa pricing. My oldest son has been asking what is on their menu. And I'm really interested in the spa. Not sure we'll have time for the spa since our cruise is only for 5 days.

 

Thanks again!

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Melody it's Rico & Kari.

We are booked on the Z for a B2B in November. :)

We enjoyed your review and are getting excited.

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I've never heard of this "Loaded Handshake" rule. Everything I've read says that if you leave the automatic tipping intact, tips given directly to the server, even in an envelope with a name on it, are for them alone and not to be shared.

 

...snip...One evening I couldn’t decide between 3 desserts, and when I finally decided on one…Pepep brought me a sampling of all 3! How sweet. Scott gave him the cash handshake too at the end of the week, as we saw many others doing, and told him not to share it. Everyone says if it not in an envelope, it does not have to be turned in or shared…hence all the “loaded handshakes”./QUOTE]

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"Cruise extended to Monday 09/27 due to Hurricane Jeanne

The Captain made the announcement Friday night 9/25 at 6:30pm."

 

 

 

Thanks for the review....Interesting that the passengers were not informed until 630pm. Funny...I think the rest of us knew far earlier then that. Seems the passengers were the last to know.

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Trinity1

 

Thanks for the wonderful review. We to sailed the Maasdam and then the Zuid and "did the comparisons" as well and enjoyed each...so much so we are booked on our first btob on the Zuid next August! I thought they were doing away with the suite brunch? (I thought I read that somewhere at some point - hopefully mistaken!)

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trinity1.... GREAT Review and FUN to read!!!! :)

 

Glad the Casino was "good to you"! :p Do you remember if there was a Blackjack Tournament?

 

Happy Sailing! OCruisers :)

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Thanks for this interesting review.

 

I was curious about your 3-day extension: Did they repeat menus from previous evenings? What additional entertainment was presented - repeat shows, reworked comedy, etc?

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Trinity1

 

Thanks for the review. I'm intrigued, partly because I have yet to sail HAL and my two upcoming cruises are on the same ships as you reviewed and compared; the Maasdam followed by the Zuiderdam.

 

Marc

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Hi all...Hey Rico and Kari!!:D

 

Thanks to all for taking the time to read the review...

 

Doone, we are already shopping around for our next HAL cruise...:p

 

Gizmo, here are the offerings:

 

day 1-cocktail: Mojito-Bacardi, fresh mint, fresh lime juice and soda

mocktail: Grapefruit "not a cosmo" Hand pressed limes and grapefruit shaken with cranberry and soda

 

day 2-cocktail: Fresh Grapefruit Cosmo-fresh grapefruit and lime with vodka and cranberry

mocktail- Ultimate Unleaded Margarita: made with fresh juices

 

day 3-cocktail: Champagne Dreams-hand pressed oranges shaken with vodka and a poof of champagne

mocktail: Cool as a Cucumber: fresh mint, cucumber, fresh lime and soda

 

day 4-cocktail: Fresh Lime Margarita

mocktail: Fresh squeezed lemonade

 

day 5-cocktail: Fresh Pressed Lemon Drops-a mix of hand pressed lemons, orange liqueur, and vodka

mocktail: Fresh Grapefruit "not a cosmo" see day 1

 

day 6-cocktail: Spiced Daiquiris-Captain Morgans rum, fresh sours, and your choice of tropical flavors

mocktail: Ultimate Unleaded Margarita-see day 2

 

day 7-cocktail: Cucumber Lime Splash-made with fresh juices

mocktail: Cool as a Cucumber-see day 3

 

day 8-South Seas Aviation-A unique blend of tanqueray gin, maraschino liqueur, fresh lemon and grapefruit juices

mocktail: Lime Rickey: Fresh lime juice, simple syrup, angostura bitters, and club soda

 

day 9-Caipirosca: A version of the Brazil classic..lime, vodka, and simple syrup shaken to perfection

mocktail: Lemon Daisy-Fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, grenadine, and 7-up

 

They were all very good and fresh!!

 

Jollycruiser, the Cocktail party with the Captain was the first night.

 

Lakesidedreamer, I will work on getting that info to you.

 

Rico and Kari, It is great hearing from you!! We sure had a great time on the Maasdam, didn't we!:D Hope you have a wonderful time on your btob on the Z!! I think you will really like the ship.

 

Candy, I don't know if the "handshake thing" is a rule, we just saw other people doing it as well. Must be a "guy thing" :rolleyes:

 

Searanger, you are right, we were the last to know...I was getting ready for dinner Friday night when the Captain made the final announcement, and he made it sound like it had just been decided. Go figure...

 

Robertmartha, The Suite Brunch is alive and well!! (at least for now lol) Enjoy your b to b!!

 

Ocruisers-Yes there was a blackjack tournament, and a slot tournament as well.

 

Bryan-They did not repeat menus at all, the food was completely different. They did repeat a couple of shows-the juggler, and the comedian I believe.

 

Marc, I hope you enjoy both ships as much as I did. They are very different, but both have a lot to offer. I posted a very detailed review of the Maasdam on the old boards if you can find it, or if you are interested I can email you the word document.

 

Thanks again everyone, and let me know if you have any other questions.:)

 

Melody

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Marc, I hope you enjoy both ships as much as I did. They are very different, but both have a lot to offer. I posted a very detailed review of the Maasdam on the old boards if you can find it, or if you are interested I can email you the word document.

 

Melody

Melody,

 

Thanks for the offer, but I think I've seen it. When I had just booked the Maasdam I did a google search and remember coming across your pictures from that cruise.

 

Marc

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Melody .... Thanks so much for your time to reply on the Blackjack Tournament -- my DH just loves doing this!!!

 

Another CASINO question please: Did you find it fairly "active" most evenings?

 

Happy Sailing! OCruisers :)

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Hi,

Ocruisers, the casino was pretty lively every night after dinner...not so much during the day though (except sea days it was a little busier). If you have any other questions, let me know...:)

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