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Holland America Zuiderdam Cruise Review - Caribbean Cruise on the Zuiderdam

Cruise Report on the Zuiderdam Cruise Ship - Page 4

By Calgon

Heading on back, you’ll pass through the Windstar Café and the Coffee Bar. Two nice areas for relaxing and watching the world go by with both old and new friends. The Are Gallery is next and usually spills into the Explorer’s Lounge. Many very nice works (canvas) and the prices are not too bad. If you’re really interested, don’t miss the art auctions. You can get some great pieces for very low prices. Finally, you’ll reach the Lower Vista Dining Room.

Main Deck (1) – Again, only cabins.

A Deck (0) – Generally not used by guests, except for tender embarkation/debarkation and the infirmary.

Were there weak points? Sure. If you look hard enough, you can find a worn spot of carpeting, a mar on a passageway bulkhead (wall), etc. But to be perfectly honest, I have better things to do with my time than try to find fault in things, especially when I’m on vacation!

The Drinks
With eleven regular bars and lounges, and between three and four temporary bars (usually set up by the pools), there is no excuse for not finding a Frozen Thingie when needed. I’m (basically) a non-drinker, but them that do told me that they felt the bar prices were reasonable. Mixed drinks were in the $4.25-$6.50 range. US domestic beer was $3.75 with imported beer/ale at $3.95. Wines were $4.25 – $7.50 per glass. Fruit juice (at a bar) was $2.10, but free at the self-serve drink stations. Mocktails (non-alcoholic drinks) were $3.25 and soda-pop was $1.75. Regarding sodas, if you’re a soft drink person, I strongly suggest buying the “soda-card”. The cost is $35 for the week. For that price, you get a sticker on your sign and sail card. Just show the card to any bartender or cocktail waitress and soda is free (note: I did see a few people who would get their free soda at the bar, give the drink to their partner, then order a free soda from a passing waitress. Come on - If money’s that tight, maybe you should just reconsider this whole vacation thing – just my opinion. Water, iced-tea, lemonades, fruit juices (from the drink station), milk, coffee and tea were free, except for the specialty coffees in the Coffee Bar (think Starbucks).

The “Frozen Thingie of the Day” runs $4.25.

  • Saturday - Cuban Mojito
  • Sunday - South Seas Aviation
  • Monday - Hand Shaken (not stirred) Champagne Dreams
  • Tuesday - Fresh Lime Margarita
  • Wednesday - Fresh Squeezed Lemon Drop
  • Thursday - Fresh Grapefruit Cosmo
  • Friday - Cucumber Lime Smash

The Food on the Zuiderdam
Oh … my … gosh! Well if you know me, you know I love food; and HAL has once again given me a reason to fall in love. The meals were fantastic. Starting with the Saturday afternoon sail-away party up on Lido Deck, and going on through to the farewell breakfast a week later, I was very seldom disappointed. SunFlower did have one item she didn’t care for (the pâté one evening just wasn’t quite to her liking). No problem ma’am. Whoosh. Immediately replaced with a double serving of jumbo shrimp cocktail! From my perspective, it was all great--from the three perfectly prepared New York Strips for lunch, to the double escargot appetizer accompanied by the four (yes, I said four) lobsters on the second formal night! My usual day consisted of early coffee, with whole cream (not coffee-mate or half & half) and a couple of chocolate croissants on Lido Deck, aft. Then it was time to take SunFlower a cup of hot coffee, to help her wake up before breakfast in bed. Then, it was down to the dining room for a nice, sit-down, a la carte breakfast. Bet you didn’t know breakfast can be a five course meal, did you? Then, there were plenty of fresh pastries to tide me over to lunch.

We alternated lunches between the Lido Cafés and the Vista Dining Room. It all depended on if it was a shore or sea day, and whether we had an excursion scheduled or not. Dinner was (almost) always in the Vista Dining Room.

The Vista Dining room, under Executive Chef Raymond Southern, is a two deck restaurant aft, on 2 and 3 Decks. There is an elevated platform in the middle of the dining room atrium, which holds a small piano to provide light dinner music. We had a very nice table for four (#173) aft on 2 Deck (lower level), overlooking the stern and a beautiful; view of the sea and our wake. Our waiter was Putu; an amazing young man who spoke English one whole heck of lot better than we ‘talked’ American.

More on the Lido Cafés
Under the culinary direction of Chef Cochrane, the Lido Cafés are a collection of eleven serving areas set up cafeteria style on Lido Deck.

For breakfast you have a 24 hour drink station (coffee, tea, fruit juices, lemonades, iced tea and ice water). Next are two omelet stations. On the side are the potato cakes, link sausage, sausage patties, bacon, ham, and four to six different breads and muffins. The juice bar is next with fresh squeezed orange juice, on request. Other juices include: tomato, grapefruit, apple, V-8, cranberry and good ol’ prune.

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