Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: March 19th, 2005
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Before I start, I must say that the Zuiderdam was a grand experience and one that was very memorable.
The embarkation process took all of five minutes. There were more than a dozen people that would help you and it went really fast. There were many Holland America workers that would take you up to your room and open your balcony and they were extremely friendly. As to the rumor of the ship smelling of sewage, completely false. I don’t know who came up with that one and why they would complain, the ship had no order whatsoever. It was a nice to sit outside, the Lido deck was only really crowded at the leaving of port. The dining room staff was superb. Our waiters, Muid and Dharma, were extremely friendly and nice and of course, there was Hunky Dory. The crew seemed to go out of their way to be friendly and were always willing to help with the slightest problem. Our cabin steward was also very nice and would not come in if we were in the room. Somehow, the room always got clean.
The captain and the cruise director did a great job at keeping us informed on what was happening and where we were at. The only line we waited in was to get a tender (run by Holland America) to the private island. Hunky Dory, a staff member in the Lido and in the restaurant, managed to learn every ones names and remembered them. The great thing about the dining room is that you don’t have to pay for the food but it is as good as anything you’d get in a five star restaurant. If you didn’t like the menu, they always had stuff like steak and Caesar salad. The shore excursions sell out quickly so be sure to get there ahead of time. We went snorkeling in Tortola and it was a very nice trip. We saw a lot of fish and coral. We even saw a sea turtle. It was great and it was all Holland America people.
Except for the drinks and shore excursions, there was nothing to pay for. The entertainment was top notch. They had an Elton John impersonator who was an unbelievable piano player and joke teller (he played a solo while lying under the piano). Also, they had an amazing magician who did the neatest tricks ever. The Lido was open all the time and the lido pool had a grill with burgers and fries. You don’t have to pay for coffee, tea, iced tea, and lemonade so you don’t need a soda card.
All told, it was an amazing cruise and I would recommend it to everyone. The only problem with disembarkation was that you had to get of the ship. I would definitely cruise the Zuiderdam again. Thanks HAL for one of the best weeks ever.