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Zuiderdam Review May 17 - June 19 (33 days)


canaturelover
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My husband's first trip to Europe so he chose this port intensive cruise as an introduction. This was also his second cruise, the prior one being in the Caribbean for 7 days. I have been to Europe before and have been on many cruises but not for about 10 years. This cruise was actually 3 legs - 11 days each. Barcelona - Rome - Venice - Rome. We had an inside cabin on aft deck 5.

 

We both enjoyed the cruise. We did our own port excursions, be it Hop on Hop Offs, taxis with others at ports, tours found at the ports, and 3 booked tours. Cruising Excursions for Livorno (Florence and Pisa), Rome and Naples ( Pompeii, Positano and Sorrento) and Ephesus Deluxe for Kusadasi (Ephesus tours) all which were very good. I should add that whilst the ship's tours were expensive compared to DIY, there were others who preferred to have the peace of mind and the ease of booking their tours with the ship. KK was good but busy. Watching the taped info on TV was very helpful. Michael was a good Cruise Director involved with a lot of the Trivia, Dancing with the Stars, Wedding Games etc.

 

We found the Crew starting with Captain Turner to be available, friendly and interactive with the cruisers, which is not what usually happens I think. The Captain got us into every port - and that is saying a lot about his skills as sometimes, slightly rough seas can be used as an excuse for cancellation of a port.

 

The staff was mostly Indonesian and Filipino. They were good but could be better with customer SERVICE in certain locations as opposed to talking amongst themselves. Our cabin stewards worked very hard and were good but as our cruise continued service was not very consistent and some information ex. last laundry times were not given to us. A couple of our initial wake up calls were forgotten, most room service breakfasts missed something, and the front desk was often inconsistent with their information.

 

We had the open seating dining option and ate dinner during the first leg, less the second and even less by the third leg. There was a lot of repetition, especially with the deserts. The Dining room staff was good and generally friendly but busy. About 3 times, the wait for the entree was over 30 minutes. Sarat at the dining entrance was excellent in remembering our names and cabin number.

 

The Lido deck food was good. We enjoyed the lunches - which we usually missed due to being in port, and the Dive-In burgers were delicious. They did have some Sail-Aways with Greek food, Italian foods, Croatian foods buffet style on the Lido deck and once with a band, which they should have used more often. We had dinner once at the Canaletto and the food was very good, but I commented to DH that this was the kind of food served in the Dining rooms before, and now one has to pay for it.

 

Our inside cabin was spacious enough for us, with a king sized bed. We slept very well and used the automated wake up calls together with a room service breakfast to make sure we were up. For 33 days my husband found it no problem, but in hindsight maybe I would have liked to move for one leg of the cruise to a room that had a window or a balcony. I also feel we had a teeny bit of steward fatigue by that time.

 

Which brings me to the ship condition. Generally speaking it was old, but was being looked after best they could. It was the maintenance that was taking place all the time that was a problem for some. Water leaks, water drips from the ceiling, hammering whilst eating, paint fumes at night (this caused us to have to move to another cabin for that night at 1am), odors on certain deck levels, and other breakdowns that we were told of in other parts of the ship. I will say that our problem was recognized apologized for by Customer Service, and we were given a complimentary dinner and a bottle of wine.

 

We bought the laundry package and that was well worth it for us. Just find out what the last day/time is, if that is important to you. It was for us as we had another 6 days in Rome and would have liked to make sure all the necessary clothes had been cleaned. We did not buy or have any other packages. My husband enjoyed a few of the Happy Hour beer buckets on the Lido deck. Did not use the spa. My husband used the gym on sea days. We did go to see 2movies and enjoyed that.

 

Shows: This is where we actually found we could get some free time as there were a lot of repeats! The outside entertainers were good. All the Bars had their fans: We enjoyed and danced at the B B King's Lounge and Aussie pals shook their thangs in the Disco on Abba Nights. The Ocean Bar Band was excellent and a lot of people enjoyed their music and the Happy Hour drinks. Adagio was also greatly enjoyed and so was Damian at the Piano Bar.

 

Embarkation and Disembarkation were as smooth as the port officials and the port locations allowed. We had no problems in Barcelona or Rome (we booked a big cab with friends who were also staying on in Rome).

 

In conclusion, it was tiring but fun! Different cultures, languages, foods, lots of ruins, churches, wines and beers. Friendly and helpful people in every country, many who do not have what we take for granted back home. And many who have much less but are happy. On board we made new friends we will be in contact with, who made the trip even more special. And yes, cruising is not like it used to be in many ways and even the luxury lines have downgraded a lot of services they used to offer, but cruising is still an easy way of visiting many places in comfort. We will cruise with HAL - but on new/er vessels.

 

PS - I wonder if they ever finished that puzzle in the Library? Deck 10

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Thanks...we go on board for 22 days starting July 11 so it was nice to hear.

 

For the dining room, did they repeat the 11 night menus each new 11 night cruise?

Also, did you ever exchange for Euro on board and if so, what was the exchange rate?

 

My wife would like to know if the coffee bar or somewhere else had milkshakes :D

 

Thanks!

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Thanks for the review! We too will be on the 22 day cruise starting on July 11. We leave for Rome on Wednesday for a week in Italy before boarding and can't wait!

 

I am curious about the availability of unlimited internet on the ship. Did they offer that as a package option? And if so, do you remember the pricing?

 

Cheers!

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Thank you so much for your review. We are on the 13th August sailing. If it's not to much trouble, could you please tell me how much the laundry package is? It's good to know some of the little details to help with the budgeting. Cheers, Jen.

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Thanks...we go on board for 22 days starting July 11 so it was nice to hear.

 

For the dining room, did they repeat the 11 night menus each new 11 night cruise?

Also, did you ever exchange for Euro on board and if so, what was the exchange rate?

 

My wife would like to know if the coffee bar or somewhere else had milkshakes :D

 

Thanks!

No they did not repeat it exactly.

Euro on ship was 80E to $100 US. We got better outside (85-87). In Rome we found out that Italian banks do not exchange money only the little Money Exchange places do. Make sure what your net is as they can charge up to 19% service fee. We saw 67E for $100 Canadian.

Don't change too much Kuna in Croatia - we and others found ourselves buying things we did not need to use up the money. Same with Kusadasi lira. Both places take Euro if you ask them. The Duty Free airport in Istanbul had all it's prices in Euro and we had to ask them what the Lira was as we wanted to use ours up.

Sorry not sure about milk shakes, but do not see why they could not make one.

Enjoy!

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Thanks for the review! We too will be on the 22 day cruise starting on July 11. We leave for Rome on Wednesday for a week in Italy before boarding and can't wait!

 

I am curious about the availability of unlimited internet on the ship. Did they offer that as a package option? And if so, do you remember the pricing?

 

Cheers!

 

They offer that as a package - not sure how much, but what I do know is that everyone complains about the slowness and the disconnects.

 

Also for those who want to connect with wifi when you get off, a lot of the the Tourist offices had it for free, but since everyone is there the connections is very slow or not. Same for the restaurants that are right off the dock. We have drunk a few beers for no wifi:) Better to get further away and see where the ship staff go.

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Thank you so much for your review. We are on the 13th August sailing. If it's not to much trouble, could you please tell me how much the laundry package is? It's good to know some of the little details to help with the budgeting. Cheers, Jen.

 

Ours was around $300 for 33 days and don't recall what the others were. Maybe $260 for 22 days??? I know I have seen the pricing somewhere on this board before.

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The reviewer said the ship wasn't in best condition....odd because I thought it was recently in for dry dock (some new cabins, changes to dining venues, etc. So I cannot understand why on this recent cruise, you thought ship not in good condition....

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Thank you catnaturelover for answering my question re the laundry package. It is really appreciated that you have answered all the questions asked of you after posting your review. From what you have said, we should all have enjoyable cruises. :)

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Thank you for your review. We are booked for a cruise in Oct. and have 1042 inside cabin. I was wondering how close you were to this cabin?

 

Sorry for my lazy reading. I reread your opening and now see where you were located. Thanks again for your review.

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We just disembarked the Zuiderdam this morning, and a review will follow...

 

I will say this though: The vessel is in a very good condition, those who tell otherwise simply do not know the harsh environment sea going ships sail in.

 

Zuiderdam has all new carpeting and furniture upholstery in the MDR, which makes it extremely elegant.

 

Showlounge is refurbished with new and elegant carpeting.

 

Sportsbar completely overhauled.

 

Atrium very elegant with blue/gray/ turquoise carpeting ( flower pattern) and newly designed lights and walls and bar. Very modern and elegant.

 

Explorers lounge: completely new carpeting and upholstery

 

Ocean bar: new carpets and upholstery...

 

Lido Restaurant: new carpeting like on Nieuw Amsterdam

 

Teak decks in excellent condition

 

Cabin was in excellent condition, however one morning, toilet did not flush ( quickly resolved) and dvd player did not work ( also quickly fixed).

 

Flowers everywhere, service amazing.

 

Food in MDR acceptable, a step,down from Celebrity though...

 

 

Full review later 😉

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We just disembarked the Zuiderdam this morning, and a review will follow...

 

I will say this though: The vessel is in a very good condition, those who tell otherwise simply do not know the harsh environment sea going ships sail in.

 

Zuiderdam has all new carpeting and furniture upholstery in the MDR, which makes it extremely elegant.

 

Showlounge is refurbished with new and elegant carpeting.

 

Sportsbar completely overhauled.

 

Atrium very elegant with blue/gray/ turquoise carpeting ( flower pattern) and newly designed lights and walls and bar. Very modern and elegant.

 

Explorers lounge: completely new carpeting and upholstery

 

Ocean bar: new carpets and upholstery...

 

Lido Restaurant: new carpeting like on Nieuw Amsterdam

 

Teak decks in excellent condition

 

Cabin was in excellent condition, however one morning, toilet did not flush ( quickly resolved) and dvd player did not work ( also quickly fixed).

 

Flowers everywhere, service amazing.

 

Food in MDR acceptable, a step,down from Celebrity though...

 

 

Full review later 😉

 

Good to hear. Thanks for sharing.

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