August 2015 - Zuiderdam to Europe - Mediterranean
We were warned by a couple that are 4 star mariners that we would see a marked downgrade in the Holland offering. They were sure correct!!!
From the dinning menu to the ship's appearance it is clear that this is not what we have historically experience on our prior curses. Specifically the dinner menu offering were far fewer. In effect, down to one page vs. historically a broader selection of two full pages. My question on ship appearance was when will Zuiderdam be going in for refurbishment? The answer was it just came out. You draw your own conclusions.
We took 5 shore excursions; 1 from Holland and 4 through United Cruses (out sources to local operators). We are sure glad that we only booked one through the ship. We were taken by the Holland offering via bus with 35 to 40 of our fellow ship mates to a small sea side town on a Sunday; dropped offer for a hour with no direction at this location where most of the businesses were closed. The second half was booked as visiting a local winery. In reality, it was a small store front where you had an opportunity to purchase a very limited selection of local over priced wines. The only plus you were allowed to bring back on board one bottle per person w/out corkage fee. As a contrast, United Cruse offering was 4 to 5 couples with a local tour guide on a mini bus providing significantly broader highlights and a far more rewarding experience.
Cabin accommodations: we were assigned a handicapped veranda room with no tub and lack of closet space. My wife and I do not need nor want this type of state room at this point in our lives. The only veranda offered on board by the front office was a mid ship accommodation directly outside the passenger stairway and elevators. This was unacceptable and we finally settled on a suite upgrade at a higher additional price to us.
To be balanced the ship's crew was attentive, helpful and all-around great and I would rate them 5 star out of 5.
My wife and I expected much more based on our historical experiences and contributed to the reason for the 3 star rating. If I could of rank the cruse 2.5 it would have been more accurate.
I would not recommend Holland unless they reverse course and add back quality and breath to their offering.