We're a young couple (I'm 33 and she's 28) planning our honeymoon. Its between the Zuiderdam and Caribbean Princess on October 1st. We're laid back, don't plan on spending much time in the casino and bars. We exercise daily (especially when I know we'll be eating so much!), like to try different foods, don't normally dress formal where we live but know it'll be fun to do so on formal nights (suit, no tux if that's ok!).
As far as activities, we're into a bit of everything - music, sports, suntanning and doing whatever else is there. Not heavy partiers. More interested in a kayak or hiking excursion than a beach day as we live in a beach city.
The specific date we're looking at has 3 stops for the Caribbean Princess and 4 for the Zuiderdam at not much of a difference ($125 more for the Zuiderdam per person).
That the Zuiderdam has 4 stops, bigger rooms and less people is an advantage. The impression I got from reading many reviews is that the crowd is older (which is nice, but if you were in your late 20's/early 30's, you wouldn't want to be the only one 20-30 years younger!).
I'd love to hear some opinions from those who've been on both ships and anyone else as well.
I'm assuming you're considering a Caribbean itinerary? The reason I ask is that some don't realize that September-October period is still hurricane season. With Ivan followed by Jeanne last year, the whole month of September was pretty much tropical storms.
Have you looked at Mexican Riviera itineraries for that time of year, such as on the Sapphire Princess or Carnival Pride?
Yes, I know. I checked for cruises to other areas and those're the only two that fit into our 4-5 day window of when we can do this. We're hoping that the few weeks we're in South Florida are quiet as far as hurricanes this year!
I have been on the Golden Princess which I think is a sister ship of the Caribbean Princess. I have been on the Zuiderdam 3 times. I hated the Golden Princess. It was too big with many unruly kids. The Zuiderdam is a little smaller and the HAL club takes really good care of the kids. The Zuiderdam to me is the perfect size. Never encountered any huge lines, the entertainment was good and the staff was one of the friendliest I have ever had. My last Zuiderdam trip was only two weeks ago and I am ready to go again. Nuff said! Good luck with those hurricanes. I live in Southwest Florida and it seemed we had a hurricane coming at least once a week beginning mid August to mid September. UGH. Here we go again. Good luck!
I have sailed the Caribbean Princess and wouldn't suggest saling on her.(just ones opinion). I just didn't think the food was all that good and selctions were limited. Our balcony cabin on Aloha deck was small compared to other lines even her sister ship Grand Princess. There were alot of unruly and out of control teenagers on our cruise as well. I don't have any input on the Zuiderdam but looking forward to sailing her in Sept. this year.
I sailed both ships on back to back 7 day Easterns in November. Got off one ship and on the other same day. The Zuiderdam is more laid back, the dinner food was better, but the buffet on the CB, I thought was better and presented better. Remember the CB was for warm weather only and the Zuid for cold weather also, not much sun by the mid pool. The Zuid had better shows though. The CB was more lively as far as fun goes. I enjoyed the CB better. I like the CB better since she is so new and larger 86vs118ktons.
Email me if you like.
We too have been on both ships. Either one would be
a great choice.
Z'dam is one of the spin-offs from the Carival Pride, Spirit,
Legend, Miracle series. The ship is much more Carnivalistic
than say the Statendam or Rotterdam classes of ships.
Many people who think HAL is just full of stuffy old people
would say that is a good thing.
Caribbean Princess is a spin off from the Grand Class ships,
but with one more deck of cabins and about 500 extra people
on board, but no real increase the dining room or show lounge
capacity. You can tell there are a lot of people of CP. The
Princess Theater is packed, and I mean packed, every
night. If you are not there at least 15 minutes before every
show you can plan on standing or sitting on the stairs,
because there won't be any seats left.
I think the food is excellent on both lines. The free
ice cream is great on HAL, but so is having food
available 24 hours a day at the Horizon
Court on Princess.
HAVENT HEARD TOO MANY GOOD THINGS ON CARIBBEAN PRINCESS. THE
SAME VARIETY SHOWS EVERY NIGHT AND THE FOOD NOT THAT GOOD.
JUST CAME BACK FROM "ZUIDERDAM" AND I WOULD HIGHLY SUGGEST THIS
SHIP. DIDNT GET DRESSED UP ONCE AND YOU CAN DRESS CASUALLY.
HAWAIIAN SHIRTS, SHORTS, CHINOS AND T'S ARE THE WAS TO GO FOR THIS
SHIP. WE DIDNT GET DRESSED UP ONCE. THIS WAS OUR 12TH CRUISE.
PLEASE TRY THIS SHIP. YOU GUYS WONT BE DISAPPOINTED AND LET
ME KNOW HOW YOU MADE OUT. E-MAIL ME.
We are a couple in our late 40's and have sailed with hal 8x and with Princess 2x. I enjoyed the smaller amt of passengers and larger rooms vs Princess. The indo/asian staff are very attentive and we've never had problems. Princess had some issues on our Panama cruise 3/05 with tours,dining and boarding. Our 18 yr. old son enjoys both ships due to his interest and freedom with time and the Girls. The ships are large and we like to walk around the deck and exercise a lot too. Ports do not matter since we've been to Alaska to LA and the Caribbean, souther and east/west We've been on 32 cruises in the 26 yrs. of marrage.. We just relax on our balcony or on the promonade deck. good luck making your choice. fern
I agree FERN, that the ports really aren't all that important to some. I know that is the case for my wife and I after we have have experienced more cruises. We love at sea days and some of the transatlantic offerings are looking more and more attractive to us.
I just finished my first cruise with HAL_Zuiderdam and was floored. I did a 7 day Caribbean and there was nothing I would have changed if I could. I just turned 40 and I found the age demographics varied. Lots of younger couples aged around 30, my age, mother's with young children, couples with and without children and lovely, helpful seniors.
The ship was well suited to all age groups. The shore excursions were varied, the spa huge with lots of services although expensive unless you book a special with port days.
I can't imagine another ship with service so exemplary, food so wonderful, staterooms very large when compared with other ships, and an all around happy ship.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this ship or the Holland America Line.
Hope this helps a little. Have a wonderful cruise no matter what you choose.
I think Italy next..................
Just wondering where you ate on formal and informal nights since you mentioned that you didn't get dressed up even one night. Informal nights are jacket, w/ or w/out a tie, and formal nights are coat and tie or even a tux.
I haven't sailed on the Zuiderdam and was wondering if it was alright to go to the main dining room on these nights in chinos and t-shirt or even shorts?
My DH is anxious to know your experience re dress codes.
Zuiderdam is far superior to Princess ships -- service, attitude of young passengers (they run wild on Princess - but have a great program on HAL ships). Hurricane season should not be a concern -- unless a storm is hitting Fort Lauderdale just as you are scheduled to sail -- the ships have flexibility as to ports and can easily outrun -- and avoid storms -- od course, if tghere is an active storm in the region, the seas will be rougher, but nothing to be concerned about. THere is usually a good mix of age groups on HAL ships -- of course, in October, you are not likely to have too many school-age kids on either line.
Formal nights (suits - or even blazer -and cocktail dresses are fine) should be respected in main dining room -- many passengers enjoy the formal nights, so it would be a discourtesy to show up in an open shirt -- I would hope that the dining room staff would encourage ultra-casual dressers to try the Lido Deck as an alternative.