Hello Fellow CruiseMates,
This was my first cruise and I had no idea what to expect. This turns out to be a good thing as the cruise was more than I could have dreamed of.
I took the Eastern Caribbean with Holland America Line-Zuiderdam and have nothing but great things to say about the cruise. The staff was more than efficient and went out of their way to help you with anything you needed, small or big.
Two standouts for me were James Deering, the Hotel Manager, who was exceedingly gracious and always had time and a kind word for everyone. Mr. Deering took his job very serious and always asked if there was anything he could do to improve on the service we were getting. Since the service we got was excellent, we certainly had no complaints.
The second standout for me was our cabin steward Rony. He is such a happy person and a very competent cabin steward. Always polite and helpful and never missed a thing. Rony went a long way in keeping us comfortable during our cruise.
The food was above average in taste and presentation in both the dining room and Lido deck buffet. Again their staff went out of their way to remember your name and inquire if there was something they could do for you. They were behind the scenes when you were busy and where you needed them whenever you had a question.
We met Captain Scott and his lovely wife Susan for cocktails and after dinner drinks. As a first time cruiser I was quite impressed that I was invited twice! The ship is very elegant yet not stuffy.
We met so many wonderful people on board and many who will remain good friends.
The people we met on CruiseMates message boards were wonderful and so helpful in planning this cruise. We arranged to meet at the Crow's Nest Bar on the first sea day and what a grand time we had. Even James Deering came to ensure we were getting everything we needed and promised prompt resolution by a phone call to him if we ever needed his help. I especially enjoyed meeting Joe, his wife and various members of his delightful family. I definitely would love to keep in contact with them. They were just incredibly nice, down to earth people.
On the whole I was surprised at the variety of ages with active seniors, mothers with children, young couples with and without children and many solo travelers. The Zuiderdam was very accommodating to all the different groups. You could see the children were having the time of their lives whenever you chanced to come upon them.
The whole ship and cruisers were happy and friendly. Everyone had a good morning or some other lovely comment as you past by them or traveled the elevators with them.
I believe I could write a book about how incredible this cruise was. Perhaps that is what I will do on my next cruise with HAL-Zuiderdam. In my opinion, when sailing with Holland America Line-msZuiderdam, you get paradise at a very reasonable price.
I am already planning my next cruise with HAL and hopefully the Zuiderdam, but their "Signature of Excellence" goes way beyond the comfortable beds. It seemed a philosophy with the crew and officers alike to make this and every cruise memorable. I am certainly thankful I had the opportunity to sail with all these wonderful people. Hope to see you on board next time. So long for now, Dani