Originally posted by NYCBeach:
I have several questions about the Zuiderdam and would appreciate hearing from you.
1. Can you preregister for the Culinary Arts Center Classes. I would very much like to participate and wondered if, like shore excursions this is possible.
2. I have a SZ guarantee. How long in advance can I expect to hear what my cabin assignment will be? I have been told by my on-line TA that I will find out at boarding time. I can't imagine how this works if you have luggage that needs to be tagged with a stateroom number. Has anyone had this experience? And I notice that there are only two SZ cabins on the ship. What have other people found their cabin assignments to be using the GUAR fare?
3. I am travelling solo and would ideally not like assigned seating so that I can eat when I wish and alone if possible. The As You Wish feature has not been introduced fleetwide. Can anyone who has travelled on the ship alone tell me how they handled their dining experience.
4. Is it possible to eat at the bar at the Pinnacle Grill? Has anyone been able to "walk in" and sit at the bar?
5. Do the Friends of Dorothy meet on the Zuiderdam? (several daily programs from 2005 have the lsiting but the official program I viewed from 2006 made no mention of a meeting.
6. Is is possible to cruise on the Zuiderdam and be left pretty much alone? (Before you say anything, please understand I am really looking for some alone time which is why I am going solo on this cruise.)
I'd appreicate hearing from you.
Our first cruise was on the Zuiderdam! We have been hooked ever since! You can't pre-register for the culinary arts as far as I know, but as soon as you get on the ship go to the front desk and ask. It's usually held on the days at sea. But you should go and check the minute you board the ship, it fills up fast. You can also check on Holland American's site online,to see if they offer an early registration.
About the Pinnacle Grill, there is no bar to eat at. Only tables. If you wish to eat alone you can and let me tell you the food is wonderful. You will have to pay a charge of about $20 to eat there. The food is out of this world and sevice is great.
If you want to eat by yourself in the main dining room you can also go right to the dining room after you take care of signing up for the culinary class after boarding the ship. People who are not happy with their dining tables, etc. are there asking to change. Go to the main floor of the main dining room and ask to change. If it's not possible, then you can dine in the lido restaurant which serves the same food as in the dining room, it's less formal you can wear shorts up there and sit by yourself without anyone trying to sit with you. In your cruise documents it will give the time of dining. usually the travel agent asks you if you want a small table or large table, etc.
You will know what your cabin is when your tickets are sent to you about one month to a couple weeks before the cruise. It will be in your documents.
The Zuiderdam is a wonderful ship. It's a ship that attracts all ages. The older crowds seem to like HAL's smaller ships. I like the Zuiderdam and think it's gotten some bad knocks from people. It's a nice ship and I'm sure you will find plenty of alone time. Noone pressures you to do anything. The service on HAL ships is top notch. Enjoy your cruise!