CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Zuiderdam Eastern Caribbean November 11, 2006

Grand Turk, Tortola, St Thomas, & Half Moon Cay

This review is my opinion of what we thought of this cruise and ship. Any thing we might not like is our opinion. Only. We have cruise a lot and found totally different opinions with in our own group. We live in Florida, so we drove to the pier and arrived around 11:30 am. There were 6 of us, my parents who are in there 70ís, my wife and myself and our 2 daughters 17 & 19.

Embarkation was the best of all our 18 cruises, I dropped our bags at 11:30, and I parked right across the street. We printed out the paper work from home. We were in the Lido having Lunch at 12.

Cabin Our Cabin was 6132 and was very nice. I had read that the cabins seemed smaller than others that people have sailed, Our opinion was they seemed just as big as any Balcony cabins we have had in the past on various lines. There was ample storage. Also there are drawls under the bed for extra storage. The bathroom was big and the tub was a nice feature although we never used it. (The girls had a inside cabin across the hall with shower only) Wow the beds were amazing, we asked our room steward for an egg crate to get rid of the crack between the beds and it worked out great. My wife loved the beds and I kept telling her it was only because she was on Vacation, Man when we got home and tried our bed, wow was I wrong. My bed (#@$$#@) Guess new beds are in the future budget. Thanks Hal!!!

My parents had Cabin 5067 and although there room was the same size there balcony seemed to be a couple feet smaller, depth wise. They were very happy though. Our cabin steward was efficient and did a good job but nothing that wowed us; the little fridge only gets stocked at the beginning of the cruise. I ask our steward about more stuff and he said room service was the only way to restock it. It was a small thing I found weird.

Ship The ship was very nice and very easy to navigate; at the end of the first day I pretty much knew where every thing was. You need to investigate due to the fact there are little room (shops, lounges, ect.) Tucked away. A very nice atmosphere. Iím not sure if it because of low kid count but the elevators were very fast. The gym had a nice selection of equipment and free weights. The crows nest is a awesome place, its to bad they reserve this room for lots of private gatherings, We tried several times to go there with signs posted private party. The secondary show lounge (The Queens Lounge) is kind of small to have some of the events there that they tried to have. Bingo, Not so Newlywed game. There was standing room only a few times, I feel the main show lounge (The Vista Lounge) would have been better. You can walk all the way around the ship on deck 3 (the Promenade Deck) 3 times around equal a mile. Overall the ship is great. It never seemed to crowded at all. There was only a few times where it seemed a little crowded.

Out side the dining room before dinner, the first day in the Lido and as mentioned before, the Queens Lounge. Other than that it seemed at times we had the ship to our self.

(Note) At the pool Hal puts a rolled towel on every lounge chair in the morning, so you can make the mistake that the chairs are all taken. If the towel is rolled the chair is most likely free. Many people made this mistake. The Casino dealers and pit bosses were friendly and talked to the players. That adds so much to the experience. My 19 year old played for the first time and got 4 of a kind on Caribbean stud and won $700, I hope I didnít create a monster. LOL the shows were ok, not anything special but we did enjoy them.

The Ports

This is going be brief do to the fact that everyone does such different things while at port.

Grand Turk: This was our favorite stop. The beach, Margarita Ville, and the Pier was all right together. There was a huge pool with drinks and a DJ that provided fun entertainment. The beach was nice. The rocks you read about are about 15 feet out in the water, not on the beach. They are very large rocks so you cant miss them. The rock only go about 30 feet out and then there is no more. Itís only like a little ledge and the are not sharp at all.

Tortola. This was our least favorite island and I might not being fair. By the time you dock it was dark in 21/2 hours. They offer a island tour on the ship for $59. They offer the same tour at the pier for $20; we were riding with people who paid the ship. They were going to complain but I donít know how that worked out.

St Thomas Well after 10 or more times their St Thomas is St Thomas, The morning cost me a bundle and in the after noon we took the sky tram and had some bushwhackers. We also ate lunch at the top of the hill and it was OK, Good bar food.

Half moon Cay This is just paradise. The only reason it wasnít our favorite was the fact you had to tender, also a pretty good rainstorm came in about noon that put a damper on the day.

The FOOD The dinning room food was excellent and the service was awesome. The pinnacle was slow and the food wasnít as good as the dinning room, and to think we paid $180 extra dollars for this. No I did not tip extra, the service was so slow. I did take the extra tip and gave it to our main wait staff. I know they pool their tips but it made me feel better. Oh well live and learn.

The Lido was ok It would fill you up.

Room service was great, although a little slow at times.

Over view. Overall this was a very good cruise (5 star out of 6) and we will defiantly cruise Hal again. At the same time there wasnít any thing so outstanding that I would only cruise Hal, The youth program might be ok for younger teens but my 17 year old said it was kind of corny, (I donít think that was her exact word) and there just wasnít much for her to do. The rest of us had a great time.

When I got home a friend ask me if anything if there was any thing that made Hal better than other cruises we have been on.

I donít know if any thing made it better, but there were some things that stood out.
  1. The bedding was awesome.
  2. Cloth hand towels in the public bathroom
  3. less crowds around the ship
  4. the 12 to 10 room service menu.
  5. Being able to order room service from the main menu.
  6. staff all seemed friendly and said hi
  7. Dinning room staff. The best
  8. At the end of your cruise they give you a little journal of your cruise.
  9. we like being able to share a soda card.
  10. First rate toiletries in the cabin.
  11. Different ports than the same ol run of the mill.

Some of these are silly but made our cruise better. If you have any questions fill free to ask.


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