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Carole Schuster

Age: 40's

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 15

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Zuiderdam

Sailing Date: December 20th, 2003

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

We are a family of repeat cruisers on various lines, and decided to make the Zuiderdam our holiday family trip. After all I had read about this ship, mostly negative but more recently positive comments, we decided to give it a try. Well, we were more than 100% satisfied!

Holland America, in our opinion, is a great value. The food seems to get better on every cruise-both in the Vista Dining room and in the Lido. And for a special treat the Odyssey Restaurant ($20 surcharge per person) can't be beat-the best steaks we have had in a long time, cooked and served to perfection. The service everywhere was attentive and we tipped generously to those that took such good care of us. I only wish that the other passengers took as good a care of the staff as we did. (I do think that HAL needs to revise their tipping policy)

The things we appreciated on this ship versus other Holland America ships we have recently sailed (Veendam, Maasdam and Volendam) are absolutely NO lines anywhere, the variety of lounges and evening options, larger spa and exercise area, and the lovely balconies. The cabins are spacious and well designed and the balconies large enough for two chairs, but we did find the lack of self-service laundry to be disappointing.

Entertainment was better than normal, perhaps because it was a holiday sailing. There was some type of big show each evening, and many other evening show options including a fun karaoke knock-off on American Idol called "Zuiderdam Idol". Our fellow passengers were very talented and provided us all with great entertainment during the week of competition.

We can't wait to try the Oosterdam or the new Westerdam coming out in 2004. HAL just keeps getting better & better!

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