Just got back from the Eastern Caribbean 5/8 to 5/15 Was just wonderful. Booked in Suite category, S7073 on Rotterdam Deck midships. Fabulous. Cabin was huge. Like being at home in your living room. Verandah was 8í by 25í long with full size table and 4 chairs as well as 2 other chairs with ottomans.
Bathroom had two double sinks as well as two medicine chests and a tub with shower as well as another separate shower stall. Both had hand held adjustable sprayers.
Had read on the board previous to cruising complaints about drawer/shelf space in the cabin. Well, maybe the other cabins, but certainly not the Suites. There must have been at least 35 shelves in cabinets to put things. We came nowhere near using all of them. Lots of hanging closet space as well.
Mentions on the board previously about soda cards re the drinks being watered down or coming from soda fountains. Not so. All the drinks are poured right out of the can. You donít get the can but they do pour them right in front of you. In the dining room they bring you the soda glass but it also tasted like right out of the can. Same thing with the bars. Poured right out of the can in front of you.
We bought the soda cards and they were well worth it for us. We drink a lot of soda (normally $1.75 each) and was just so convenient flashing the card and not having to sign every time.
The matter of a sewage smell others mentioned. Yes, we did smell it. Not the first few days, but one night returning to the cabin around midnight the smell in the cabin and out on the verandah was VERY strong. We even brought our own Airwick room freshener warmer plugged in all the time and it was very strong even over that.
But then by the morning the smell was gone. It was this way a few times, especially at night for a few hours and then it would be gone. Had read people only smelled this at times on the lower decks. Well, we were midships on the 7th deck and it was there, yet friends in a balcony cabin on the same deck at the very front of the ship said they never noticed it. Believe me, you couldnít miss it.
The only other smell which was present all the time was when the toilet cover was open in the bathroom. Phew! What a smell from that water, but as long as it was closed when not in use it was fine. Rest of the bathroom water in sinks and tub/showers was fine. Canít explain it. Water pressure was very good.
Donít know where the strong room/verandah smell came from but it certainly would not deter me from taking a cruise on the Zuiderdam again since everything else was just great. I did note it on our departure card the ship asks you to fill out.
We did eat in the Odyssey restaurant the last night, and must admit we were disappointed. Well, maybe disappointed is too strong a word. The setting is beautiful, but I guess we expected too much. Actually, the food in the main dining room was just as good and the service by the regular servers in the main dining room was superior to that of the staff in the ďpayĒ dining room. Again, had read so much about the chocolate volcano dessert in the Odyssey. It was good, but certainly not better than the dining room desserts OR the specialty desserts served in the Explorerís Lounge every night at 9:30 p.m. Loved the trio playing the ďbreak your heartĒ music classics in the Explorerís Lounge. Group called Champagne Strings. We stopped by every night for the specialty dessert and to hear them play for awhile.
One improvement they do need to make is to have TWO people in the Lido Buffet at lunch dispensing pay sodas, beers, etc. There was only one person with a small cart located at one end of the restaurant. Would have saved a lot of trucking back and forth if there were two people doing this, one at each end.
Donít know why, but also throughout the cruise at various times the main pool in the center of the ship was closed off, as well as various hot tubs on a random basis. Maybe for some kind of chemical cleaning, but didnít know why.
We had a table for two at the railing at the 8:00 p.m. seating on the Upper level. Was just great. Table was letter B. They kept telling us we had the best table for two, and you know, I think they may have been right, as we looked down on the spiral staircase and across at the Champagne Strings while they played every night for about Ĺ hour during dinner.
We did have lunch one day at the back on the ship in the lower level dining room and, yes, there was a vibration while the ship was sailing, but then . . . it is a ship so what do you expect. Would not be upset by sitting there as it was not THAT strong, but I think the upper level is the way to go if you can.
The Neptune Lounge was very convenient. Was always stopping in for some kind of little snack. They have a large collection of DVDs for Suite passengers to choose from. Sandy and Joena were wonderful and couldnít be more helpful.
Iíd be remiss unless I mentioned a few names here Ė Joena & Sandy in Neptune Lounge, Charles as Cabin Steward, Gusti, Presti, Antonio and Tagel were all superb handling their dining room duties. Was a little confusing though when it came to who did what. On a past Princess cruise a few years ago, when the wine steward found out we didnít drink, we never saw him again. On Holland, the wine steward still serviced our table with sodas instead of the regular waiter. Presti (who I assumed was like an asst. maitreíd actually served more in a waiter role as well as the regular waiter (clearing dishes, etc.). All seem to pitch in to do everything.
Regarding tipping, we decided to tip them all beyond the automatic tipping. We may have overtipped but I think thatís okay. They do work hard and I believe whatever you do give will somehow come back to you again.
Re Suite cabins on the back of the ship. Almost booked one of these but worried about posters on the board saying a great deal of vibration at the very end cabins. Donít know. Might consider it the next time. The corner end cabins all the way aft on every desk are huge. 3 times the size of the regular suite verandahs, but, yes, the lido deck does look down on them in a cascading pattern. They did have the table and 4 chairs, the two other chairs with ottomans, but also had 2 regular-type beach lounger chairs, with still plenty of room to spare. Iíd have to think about it down the road. Oh! The the insulation between cabins must be really good as we never heard a sound when we had the verandah door closed. Ship noises, but not people noises from next f
Colors used in the ship. Bright, but not garish. Sounded like they might be from reading some posts, but they really werenít. Colors are vibrant, but deep, and used in luxury fabrics like leathers, suedes, etc. Somehow it all works.
The entertainment? Was okay. I thought the Princess shows were better but Iím sure that changes from cruise to cruise depending on who theyíve booked.
Actually liked Champagne Strings a lot and went looking in the gift shop for a cd of theirs, but couldnít find one. The gift shop did have dvds of the magician and the Elton impersonator, but not what I wanted. Too bad. These guys really were good.
Half Moon Cay Ė Just beautiful. The nicest sand Iíve ever seen and Iíve been to many islands, including Hawaii and Tahiti. If youíre thinking of not getting off the ship, pelase donít You must get off just for a stroll around.
St. Thomas Ė Just got off, walked around the shops and took the Paradise Tram to the top of the mountain. $15.00 round trip. Worth it. Beautiful view of the harbor with the ships and neighboring islands.
Tortola Ė Stayed on the ship. Was nice having it to ourselves for awhile.
Nassau Ė Took a cab ($4.00 per person each way in a van cab holding 10 people) to and from the Atlantis Hotel. Paid the $29 to see the aquarium. If youíve never seen one of them, do it. If not, keep your $29. The hotel is beautiful, but if youíve been to Vegas itís reminiscent of other large super mega hotels there.
Well, there you have it. Not a comprehensive review, since there are many on here, but just some random thoughts. If youíd like to know anything else I might be able to answer for you, please let me know.
Re: Re: Back from Zuiderdam 5/8-15 Some Observations
Hi, the regular balcony cabins are similar to Princess in that the ones on each side of the ship are covered. The cabins, be they Suites or there are some SS cabins squeezed inbetween the Suites at the very end of the ship are tiered and open and the decks above look down on them. I didn't think originally I would want to book one of those, but now that I have seen them I might have second thoughts. The corner verandahs at the end are very spacious on each deck. Another concern though I thought about one day when I was standing on the Lido deck looking down on them was I wondered if they could hear the loud band music when it's playing from the back of the Lido deck. I would think so, but not sure. Hope that answers your question.
Had the same great experience that you had and felt like it was worth every penny for the Suite.
We had a wonderful violinist named Florian Costache who played during dinner and then in the Explorer's Lounge.
We must have had almost the same table during dinner as ours also overlooked the staircase and the musicians.
This was our third Caribbean with HAL and the first time we were able to stop at Half-Moon Cay. The other times the seas were too heavy to allow for the tenders.
Must say we enjoyed the day on the beach although we're not sun worshipers by any stretch of the imagination.
We had sailed last year on the Zuiderdam and the vibration that has been noted on many posts was was less noticeable this year. The crew reported that the Zuiderdam had been in for her one-year check-up during December.
We have not sampled the Odyssey because we have been so pleased with the meals and the service in the Vista Dining Room. If it ain't broke, why fix it?
Thank you for your info. We have been on the Grand twice. .Once in a balcony cabin that was covered. The second time in a suite that had an open balcony. We loved the spacious suite and got over the fact that others could look down. This year on the Zuiderdam we have a balcony cabin, no suite. So I will enjoy the covered balcony.
But like you, the suites are something to be appreciated and the open balconies something not to get upset about.