We were on the Zuiderdam in May. We had upper dining and it was 8:00pm. I don't know if it is still the same though.
Enjoy, the food was fine dining! We liked it so much we did not even try the "pay"dining room. Also, a neat trick that they do not tell you about. The main dining room (where dinner is served, not the pay for dinner but the main dinner dining room) also serves breakfast and lunch. It is sit down off the menu with may 7 choices but it is much better and nicer then the buffet dining room (which is not bad either).
Each evening, when the room steward does turn-down service in your cabin, he leaves, among other things, the ship's program for the following day. On the program is clearly shown the dining hours in the Vista Dining Room for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also the dining hours for the Lido. No trickery on the part of HAL. It's all clearly there, in black and white.
Have been travelling on H olland for yrs and have always eaten in the main dining room for both breakfest and lunch.If I am paying the price ,I am not standing in line caferteria style.This is why cruising appeals to the different class of people and I will have the first class service of the main dining room.Might add you can not get eggs benedict in the caferteria line .Try this and you may enjoy and you certainly will not pig out as I have seen so many others do.
There is no charge for any meals in the main dining room, or in the Lido, or for room service. The Pinnacle Grill, which is the alternative restaurant, is $20/p.p., except for the first night when it is $10 p/p, but has to be reserved in advance by a call to HAL's ship's services dept.
If you haven't discovered this website yet, go to: boards.cruisecritic.com, click on "cruise lines "A" -"O", then scroll down to Holland America. It's a much more active website than cruisemates with many highly-experienced cruisers as members. They've very generous in sharing tips & assistance. Give it a try.