CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Zuiderdam by Schusize Eastern Caribbean May 17, 2003

I cruised on the Zuiderdam, May 17 to the 24th with a group of 12. We did the Western Caribbean. You would never know over 1800 passengers were on board. There are so many areas to hide and little bars all over the ship. The week I was on it, there were few children. It seemed the average age was around 50. Much younger than I thought I would be with.

I had an S Suite. What a room and balcony, 7087! Friends kept coming by just to visit and relax. It will be difficult to ever go to a smaller room. The S Suite offers access to the Neptune Lounge and Concierge. Included is finger foods, pastries, juices, and coffees. Laundry service is included with the S. The ship ran a special for others, for $15.00 you can have all the clothes you could stuff in a given bag cleaned. The suite has a DVD player along with a stereo, so bring CDs. DVDs are available for your use.

As for food in the main dining room, it was average. The food in the Odyssey Restaurant is worth the $20.00. You might want to go twice! The Lido area food was good for breakfast and lunch. Room service has some kinks in that they couldn't get the order right but it was delivered as promised. Liquor purchased in the shops had the best prices I've ever seen. You can take it back to your room with you.

As for vibration, our table was on the 1st floor at the very back of the ship. I had late seating and at 9:30 to 10:00PM, the engines do kick in. It is noticeable due to the back and forth rocking of the ship. I would suggest sitting as far forward and on the 2nd floor if possible. It feels like the engines are not synchronized. This is the only time I noticed the vibration everyone talks about on the message boards.

This ship is well laid out but appears to have been made for the Alaskan market. The pool areas are smaller than other ships I have been on. The middle has a glass enclosure that was open only partially. It felt slightly claustrophobic because of it.

The ports on the Western tour are fun. Key West is a blast. Cozumel has the most beautiful water that I have ever seen. I couldn't stop looking at the blue hues. The port itself is okay. I much prefer Cabo San Lucas because its cleaner. As for Grand Cayman, the water is just as beautiful. The town is clean and friendly but 4 ships were in town at the same time. It was crowded and busy. The private island is one of the nicest beaches I have ever sunk my feet in. The time you are there is much too short. I could have stayed 2 days there.

Jazzy Jeff (event coordinator and DJ) is a character and well worth meeting. He tries his hardest to get people involved if you want to be. Several college students work as his assistants during the summer. They were all friendly and fun.

Overall, this is a nice new ship with good service. When the Zuiderdam pulls up in port, all the other people on the other ships gawk at how nice it looks from the outside. I would sail on her again but I have to admit I still like Celebrity over Holland America.

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