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Carol Perlman

Age: 60+

Occupation:Educational therapist

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Zuiderdam

Sailing Date: November 12th, 2005

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

My husband and I sailed on the Zuiderdam again this year and took the same cruise we took in November, 2004. This time we had a veranda cabin and the extra price was well worth it. We loved having breakfast on the veranda and watching the ocean go by. Room service always came on time and they always got the order correct. However, when making the reservation, we weren't told that our room was only one flight above the lifeboats. While they didn't block our view, we would have been happier one floor higher.

Embarkation took about an hour. We had prepared two immigration forms, one on line and one handwritten as was suggested by a previous poster, but it didn't really seem to make a difference. It still took an hour to board.

Our steward kept our room very neat and we appreciated it. We had asked for a table for two and did get it. I think it was because we renewed our wedding vows on the trip. The captain performed the "ceremony" in a candle lit room with a four piece stringed quartet playing. They served us champagne and took pictures. We also got to have a free dinner in the Pinnacle Grill which was excellent and well worth the extra money they usually charge. About six other couples renewed their wedding vows at the same time, but each couple was called up individually. The captain made it very special and we were glad we had decided to do this.

Service in the dining room was very good and when we ordered crudités they came every night without having to ask. However, while the food in the dining room was good, it wasn't exceptional. The lido had long lines and I got tired of waiting on them to have my food cooked. Every possible kind of food was available for lunch, but still the lines were annoying.

I won't mention the ports since I covered them in my last review and it's still online. We went to the same beaches again and loved them.

My only complaint is that in the past year, I went to the Caribbean and the Panama Canal with Holland America so this was our third trip on the line in a year. The shows were all the same and it got pretty boring to hear the same musical numbers again, even if the staging was slightly different. Since they have so many repeat cruisers, it would be nice to have new shows.

School was in session and there were very few children. Most of them were under three. During Thanksgiving week, they were expecting 400 children and I can't imagine what that would be like. The average age on this cruise seemed to be between 50 to 60, slightly younger than what I've seen before.

One night we were in a tropical depression and the captain took us out of the Atlantic and into the Caribbean so the trip would be smoother. When we got to our next port, we talked to some people who were on another line and they said they had a terrible night because their captain didn't change the course.

The Zuiderdam is a little too big for me. I preferred the Rotterdam which was a perfect size, but I would sail this ship again.

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