The Zuiderdam is barely one year old, but because of the number of passengers, over time its starting to show some wear and tear in the dinning room, state rooms and other high traffic areas. The elavators in particular are nicely appointed with red velvet interiors but hardly any of them escape the street artist who wants to write their name or do a finger painting to personalize their ride to the Lido Deck.
The quality and variety of the food was very good and as I remember, slightly better than what was served on the two Norwegian cruise line ships my wife and I sailed on not long ago. My only two regrets are that we sailed during the Thanksgiving holiday,and even though the dining room and some other areas were decorated for Thanksgiving, it seemed like just another day at sea. The other is that I was attracted by the price. The reason it was such a good deal was because the cabin was on the Main Deck. Even though our cabin was large and amidship, we experienced three distinct noises that caused 7 sleepless nights. We were getting a very strong vibration that ran right up through the bed. It was as if we were in a Motel 6, on a coin operated vibrating bed. The second noise sounded like a fog horn and was cyclical, on for 13 seconds and off for 3. That went on for hours on end. The last was because we were on the Main Deck, the crews quarters were directly below us and several times each hour of each day it sounded as if something huge and metallic was being dragged along the narrow hall way. I complained to the front desk about the noise and was told that I should have addressed that sooner, that perhaps they could have moved us into another cabin. I pointed out that we tried that even before the ship left port but was told the cruise was sold out. So my reaction to the Zuiderdam is mixed. Its still a beautifull ship with very good food and an exceptional staff. But I may not want to sail on her again. And as far as HAL's no tipping policy, we still tipped, but they won't give you any guidlines so you have to use your own judgement.