Surprisingly, the public area chairs provided some of the most unique art experiences on the ship. These chairs were uniformly very heavy, very expensive, and interesting to look at, but almost always less than completely comfortable (poor low back support). Still, the chairs (and all of the décor) have great entertainment value if you keep your eyes open. Unfortunately there was no art and architecture tour of the ship it would make a good option during a day at sea.
The cabins are pleasantly decorated with warm colors and easy-to-appreciate lithographs. Even the inside cabins are a reasonable size, so no one will suffer the surprise we had a few years ago on another (highly regarded but old) cruise ship when we found our cabin had two bunk beds, one desk, and an ottoman squeezed into a less than 7 by 9 foot space (the renovated bathroom added another 4 by 6 feet).
The Zuiderdams numerous balconies vary in size. Ours was a category BB (the least expensive) on deck 5 amidships, and it was quite shallow (room for two chairs and an ottoman but no table to enjoy breakfast al fresco) because of the adjacent lifeboat hardware. In this category the lifeboats block the view downward to the water (but not outward to the horizon), so you may want to avoid this category if that is important to you. My wife loves the privacy and fresh air of a balcony, and this ship is one where balcony pricing is quite reasonable.
Our cabin was provided with a mini-refrigerator, television (with the usual movies, cable news, weather cams, and music channels, but surprisingly no classical music, just pop), a mini-safe, and more than adequate closet space (but only a dozen coat hangers and open shelves rather than drawers in the closet). Bring a few extra plastic hangers with you (more about this later). If you cannot find that extra blanket, try looking inside that ottoman under the vanity.
Inside the door of each cabin is a small slot to hold the do-not-disturb sign. This makes a great place to leave your key-card whenever you return to your cabin. Searching pockets for missing cards can be a thing of the past.
Balcony cabins (and I believe most outside cabins) have the luxury of a bathtub rather than a shower, but do not expect a plush terry bathrobe to wear after your hot bath. Bathrobes are now only supplied to the highest category cabins (suites). Personally I think this is a false economy that will have negative returns. Cruise lines are beginning to offer two standards of service, sometimes with designations such as "concierge class". Only the future will tell if snobbism sells. Fortunately, most of the upgraded amenities offered on the Zuiderdam are available to all. Nothing in our past cruises was a greater turn-off than the three-class system we encountered on the QE2. We thought class distinctions went down with the Titanic, but apparently they will live on with the QM2.
One thing you definitely will not find on HALs new Vista class ships is a launderette or ironing board - they still exist on older HAL ships, but on the Zuiderdam (and its newer sister-ship the Oosterdam, which sailed alongside us on our final day) you either wash clothes in your sink or you pay very high prices ($12 per small bag) to have the crew do it for you. A clothes-pressing package deal is also available. Again, we think eliminating self-service launderettes will backfire and will alienate mainstream passengers.
One thing you may not find easily is a restroom in each public area. Actually there are more restrooms than one thinks, they are just discreetly hidden. If you need a restroom, look up as you search, since most have lighted ceiling signs in the adjacent hallway. However, some areas truly have no convenient restroom - men dining on the upper level of the main dining room will have to go up or down one deck to find the nearest restroom.
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