Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: March 12th, 2005
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was out second cruise on the Zuiderdam. We had been with them for a Christmas cruise in 2003. Things have gone decidedly down hill on the Zuiderdam.
Cabin: basic veranda was average and as expected. Tip: don't book an adjoining room unless you know or want to get to know your neighbor, gap under the door is large. Our second cruise was in a deluxe suite. It was fabulous and on day one you get the red carpet treatment! After day one is a bit of a let down because then you become part of the crowd. Tip: ask to have your fridge emptied if you are not interested on the mini bar. It can come in handy for your own use.
Service average. Speedy room clean. Room service has improved over out first cruise. Without being politically incorrect, the 2003 cruise featured a telephone waitress who spoke very little English. Getting the order for a piece of cake took from 9 until 11pm. With the poor waiter (also with limited communication skills) making several trips trying to understand what I wanted. March cruise was a fluently English speaking waitress.
Food: Bland buffet with obvious "salvaged" items from the night before. ie. evening menue, twice baked potatoes, next day lunch, twice baked potato soup. One evening our steaks were literally raw. We sent them back and they actually scrapped the steaks from out plates. This was surf and turf night and they apparently could not spare the extra "surf" to bring us fresh meals. This would be shocking in a run of the mill restaurant, much less on a "premium" cruise line. After several days the food all sort of took on the same flavor regardless of what you ordered. Very disappointing.
Club Hall if you are with children is wonderful. Our 5 and 9 year old had a great time.
Don't expect night life. We were surprised to find most of the evening shows were repeats from our previous cruise, over a year and a half ago. The first time the shows are moderately entertaining but once is enough. I guess they don't expect any repeat business??
Itinerary was four stops on this cruise, so it was a great one for bringing the kids to the beach. The private island is beautiful and one of our favorite stops. Tip: book a sun shade on the ship as soon as possible. They sell out before you hit shore and even though this was our second visit we were not aware that you needed to book ahead. Great snorkel spot for children. They can stand in the water and see the fish as the snorkel area is shallow. Tip: bring a bun from breakfast and watch the fish close up!
Overall: Will not travel with Holland American again.
There is too much competition out there to settle for average anything on a cruise!