November 2013 - Zuiderdam to Caribbean
Holland America Line is the tops in the cruise industry. This trip on the Zuiderdam was no exception. We enjoyed a beautiful suite on the 6th level (Upper Verandah Deck) and had mostly very positive comments during the 10 day cruise to the Panama Canal. The food, as usual, was the best. We had meals mainly in the first floor of the dining room using the Open Seating meal plan. Met many very enjoyable travellers, and had exceptional service. We also had a few meals in our stateroom, especially breakfast. Eating breakfast on our verandah, early in the morning watching the ocean go by, is a great way to start your day.
We also took four excursions during the cruise, all ports except Costa Rica which we had visited previously. All excursions were well managed and we had only positive comments about them all. We especially enjoyed the jet ski (personal watercraft) experience on the island of Half Moon Cay. We're in our mid to upper 60's and throughly enjoyed this experience. Obviously, the Panama Canal experience was exceptional, including the Ferry excursion we took to complete the transit through Gatun Lake and into the Pacific Ocean.
My wife and I have cruised on most of the Holland America ships. While the Zuiderdam is a beautiful ship, the only negative we had was that the Zuiderdam is starting to show its age and is in need of updating. Nothing major, but you notice the rust around the ship, as well as the wear and tare on the dining room furniture. In past cruises, we always noticed the maintenance crew painting parts of the ship on a daily basis. On this cruise, not once did we see any maintenance personnel painting or updating anything. This is just a minor observation, but it's time to get the ship into dry dock for a major overhaul.
Overall, we had a great cruise with Holland America