Hello. After many years of nagging, my husband has agreed to cruise with my cousins and myself on Zuiderdam on 12th November to the Eastern Carribean. I can't wait, he has his reservations!
We have had fun reading all the reviews but one thing that seems to be a recurring theme is the quality of the food. As Europeans and regular travellers to the Mediterranean with its fantastic choice of quality food I have a feeling we may be disappointed. We want quality as opposed to quantity!
Is there anybody out there who has recently travelled on the Zuiderdam and enjoyed the food?
Even if you haven't, are there any tips you can give us on what to order and if the speciality restaurant is worthwhile?
We traveled on the Zuiderdam Western Caribbean on August 27-Sept 3rd 2005. I have been on 9 other cruises before this and I have to say that we really enjoyed it. As far as the food, I really felt it was pretty good in the dining rooms. The buffets were pretty good, lots of choices. Room Service was exceptional. We did not try the specialty restaurant, but from what I heard it was good. A tip, on HAL if you want to try the speciality restaurant and save a little money make your reservation for the 1st night of the cruise, only $10.00/pp instead of the normal $20.00/pp.
Dining Room...the food was great...the only thing they lacked was an extensive dessert menu, but they were really pretty good. We could not have asked for a better waiter or asst waiter. There were 4 of us and we were seated with a couple in their mid 30's and the wife's parents so we had great companions during diner. We only missed dining in the dining room one night because we had "Main Seating" which on HAL is the 8:00 seating, and there was a Caribbean party on the Lido deck aft that night and we wanted to go to it, it started around 9:00 pm, so we did buffet that night.
The ship is really beautiful, and with having sailed on Celebrity, NCL, and Carnival in the past, we were not sure what to expect, but we were defintely pleasantly surprised. We had an inside cabin (the first for us) and it was quite roomy and you did not feel closed in. Cabin Steward was great..so all in all I feel like for a first cruise you will have a great time.
Don't know what time you have diner seating, but most of the one-time shows, such as newly wed and not so newly wed game are usually around 7:30 or 8:00 pm so we missed those, but the shows in the theatre are twice a night, so you will have an opportunity to see them.
You will have a great time....tip....if you want to get some sun and enjoy a swimming pool that is not crowded, go to the Lido Deck Aft pool, it was never very crowded...lots of space to sit and Chris the bartender at the bar was great...tell him Carol says hi. Also that pool is for Adults only during the hours of 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm daily so there will not be many children splashing around on you..also there are 2 hot tubs out there.
On the first sea day at the main pool on the Lido deck they have the Massage Therapists out there doing massages for $1.00/min...so you can get a great massage for around $10.00.
Also, as a first time cruiser, dont run to the gift shop and buy your souvineer T-shirts on the first day, wait until the last sea day...they will be set up around the pool for 1/2 price on select shirts.
If you have any more questions....fire away....I will try to answer them for you.
Thank you for replying in such depth - it is really kind of you and we do appreciate it very much.
I note your comments regarding the $10 first night offer in the speciality restaurant - do you know if you can book it before you get on board, or do you have to take a chance when you first arrive?
We will sit in the quiet area by the pool and have a massage at the main pool - but is it private? Don't fancy being mauled around in public.
If you leave the beach to take one of the excursions what happens to your belongings? Do you have to take them with you or is there a staff member who will take them for safekeeping?
Tipping - $140 charged to your account for a couple seems a lot of money. We would sooner tip the individuals who looked after us and deserve it - also would it not be advisable to tip a nominal amount of the beginning to cement relationships? We would like to do this and not have to have the fixed amount charged to our account. Can you do this?
Again, thank you for your help and going into such a lot of details. Looking forward to your reply at your convenience. Best wishes Angela and Kevin (London)
We went on Zuiderdam early this summer and we had a lovely time. We thought the food was quite good. I especially loved having my breakfast brought to the room each morning. I felt like a princess. The specialty restaurant was good, but I doubt that we would do it again because we liked the food in the dining room just as well.
We had a balcony cabin and it was wonderful. Our relatives had an interior cabin which we thought was slightly larger than ours and nice as well.
Tipping seems like a lot when you see it in one lump sum, but the employees work so hard for it. Ideally, the cruise lines would pay them a living wage, but for now, this is the way they get paid. When you think you are tipping the ones who wait on you hand and foot about $3.50 a day, it's a bargain. We tipped extra to our favorites at the end of the trip but they really deserved it. I liked having the majority of the tips put on the account because it meant we didn't have to travel with lots of cash.
It's possible to remove the tips from your account, but I can't recall who you see to do it. I'd go to the front desk and ask.
I have to tell you how much I LOVE London and every person we've ever met there. It's an amazing city.
hi there ,we are going on the zuiderdam on jan 28th and are are a young 50's London couple and this will be our 1stHAL cruise.are there any others that will be our shipmates?,perhaps we can 'meet' before, i am sure the food will be plentiful and good we look forward to hearing from you