CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Zuiderdam M Danzik Eastern Caribbean March 1, 2008

The Ship We had a cabin with a veranda on deck 8 which was comfortable, not spacious, but with good closet and drawer space. The beds were comfortable, our cabin steward was excellent, the food was generally very good with a wide selection for dinner, the dining service was very good, and we enjoyed most of the entertainment. The ship has two pools, which at some of the peak times were insufficient to handle all of the interested passengers. But most of time, there were enough chairs. I suggest that ship excursions be booked before hand online, as the ship's desk had a long line the first couple of days. Also, bring something warm as the air conditioning in the public areas was on high, and it was uncomfortably cold in the hallways, lounges, dining areas, etc. Each cabin has a thermostat, so it was not a problem there.

Grand Turk We spent several hours at the complex by the ship. A very nice beach, lots of lounge chairs, and shade if desired. There is also a huge pool behind Margaritaville which was very nice. An added plus was there was a good band at the pool. We did not go into town, but the couple that we were traveling with did. Their comment was it was not much. We did not snorkel or dive, but heard that it is quite good there. Our friends had sticker shock when they got the bill for two margaritas at Margaritaville, so be prepared if you order a drink.

Tortola We were tendered in as there were 4 ships in port when we arrived. This process took about an hour, but was handled efficiently by the staff. We opted for a local tour of the island in an open air bus, of which there were many waiting, for $20 per person. We had some very good views of the island and the tour lasted about 2 hours. The roads are narrow, bumpy, and with lots of curves. We returned in late afternoon, during which time the ship had docked. That evening, there was a Caribbean BBQ buffet on the pool deck, which was very good.

St. Thomas It is necessary to get a green card and immigration ID. This was required of every passenger on board, regardless if you were getting off the ship or not. This was done by decks, and the first announcement over the loud speaker was at 7 AM. Once our deck was called, it was a very fast process. We left the ship mid morning and took a taxi ($4 per person) to town as the ship docked away from the downtown area. In addition to the hundreds of shops, there was an open air market, mostly clothing and costume jewelry. Since there were 5 or 6 ships in port, the downtown was very busy and crowded. There were a lot of open air tour taxies, and we took a tour of the island for $25 per person. Again, lots of nice views of the island, and much smoother roads. We stopped at Coki beach for a break. Typical clear blue water, nice beach but not too large, and very crowded. The van took us back to the ship, so we did not need a taxi on return. There were also tours that included beach time as well.

Half Moon Cay It was as nice as many other reviews said it would be. We were the only ship in port and were tendered in and out. The beach and water are great, with plenty of lounge chairs. We had prearranged to rent a clam shell, and got another when we got to the beach, after being told aboard ship that they were all sold out. Additionally, there is some shade available and a few hammocks. Good swimming, shallow water. Did not snorkel, but it looked like there was not much to see in the snorkel area. They handled the BBQ lunch very well, and there were sufficient facilities for the large crowd. The food was good; hamburgers, hot dogs, steak sandwiches, ribs, chicken, salads and soft drinks.

Overall, we were pleased with our trip. The Zuiderdam is supposed to be retrofit within the next few weeks, and we heard that they were going to add about 100 rooms.

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