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1st time cruise on Zuiderdam

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by charliec, May 13, 2003.

  1. charliec

    charliec Guest

    My wife & I are considering a cruise on the Zuiderdam in August. I have been researching on the internet but still have a few questions about crusing. I hope some experienced cruisers will be able to answer some of my questions.

    We are travelling from Southern California and were quoted over $600 pp for the airfare portion through HAL. I was able to find other rt air for just over $200 (the times would ensure . Is it worth $400 to get the HAL air with the cruise?

    What % chance is there that you don't get the room you request? Does the room guarantee make a difference?

    Is category SS really considered a "suite" with regard to priveleges (boarding, parties, etc.)?

    I don't mind the lack of privacy on the lower verandahs, but will the verandahs toward the front of the ship avoid the problems of trash thrown from higher common levels & ash from the smokestacks?

    I don't expect anyone to be able to answer all my questions, but will be grateful for any help at all. Thanks in advance.

  2. peaches

    peaches Guest

    Charlie, I'll be glad to answer what I can and others will join in, I'm sure.

    -Air fare: We always drive, but from what I read on different cruise boards most people get their own air at a better price. They also recommend flying in the day before your sail date to prevent any chance of plane problems and missing your sailaway. The advantage of booking air thru HAL is that they are then responsible for waiting for your flight to arrive. Me? I would book myself and come in a day early.

    -Room- If you book a specific cabin #, that is what you will get. On our next cruise we specifically booked #7061 and that is where we will be. This is what we always do- I am very particular on selection of cabin. A 'guaranteed room' rate will give you a cheaper fare, but you are only guaranteed a particular cabin 'category' or better, not a specific cabin itself. You could be assigned any cabin in the category you select (or a better category maybe) and will not be assigned a lesser cabin category. But you will not know exactly which cabin you will be assigned until just before sailing and it will be a cabin that was not selected by anyone else. If location is important to you, then book a specific cabin and that is what you will get.

    -Suite- Category SS is not considered a deluxe suite and does not get the same perks that the Category PS (penthouses) or Category S (deluxe verandah suites) gat such as priority boarding, use of the Neptune Lounge and concierge service, special parties with the captain, etc. Only PS and S get the real perks. We book Category S (larger cabin, too) because we enjoy all the perks and luxurious cabin, but that is a personal decision.

    -Verandahs- The verandahs on the aft cabins are larger, but as you note are less private and protected. The verandahs along the starboard and port sides of the ship do not have the problems you mention. It all depends on what is important to you. We always book the side cabins as I want the privacy and feel the verandahs (at least in the S suites) are plenty large enough. You can look at the deck/cabin plans and get a feel for SS verandah size. For me they are small, but that's just me.

    Good luck! These decisions are so hard to make, especially the first time.

  3. charliec

    charliec Guest


    Thank you very much for your help. I didn't expect such a thorough answer so soon. My wife and I are now leaning toward the S suite. Right now we can choose between an aft cabin on deck 8 or a side cabin on deck 6. We are still trying to figure out how much a privacy problem there will be on the aft cabin. We are not so worried about being able to be seen as the problem with debris from the lido deck. All things being equal we are leaning to the aft cabin on 8, but judging from what I've read, they don't seem equal in this issue. We would probably mainly use the verandah early in the morning and in the late evening, so it may not be such a problem.

  4. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    We just returned from back-to-back cruises aboard Zuiderdam and everything "peaches" wrote above it exactly correct.

    We had a wonderful time and loved the ship. Exec Chef Mike Mahn aboard provided the best dining we have ever enjoyed in over fifty cruises aboard the ships of HAL, Celebrity, RCI, Princess and Carnival (sort of--long story).

    We liked it so well we will be returning for another set of b-to-b's in August.

    As to cruiseline air for so much additional money, no way it would be worth it. Best advise most people offer is to book the flights you want at the best price you can get and go to your embarkation port a day pre cruise if at all possible. That gives you peace of mind if you encounter any flight delays.

    If you have any specific questions, ask away and we'll all try to help.
  5. peaches

    peaches Guest

    Yes- go for the S!!! I promise you you won't be sorry, even if it means eating chili for 6 months after the cruise. SS is not much more I don't think than being a passenger w/ a balcony. S gives you everything and makes the cruise so special! You'll feel like a king.

    Can't advise on aft on 8 or side on 6. Sail7seas would know much more than me on this, but I would pick one (probably aft on 8) and then be sure to have your TA get you on a wait list for one on 7- the Rotterdam Deck. I just want to be near the Neptune, but I'm a little nutty about this issue. You can be sure there will be cancellations on Rotterdam Deck 7 and a good TA might be able to move you up (or down) to 7. S7S- opinion???

    Now I have to scurry. My husband went fishing all day and I have been hooked on the computer, completely wasting the day. We'll see how fast I can get the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and get dressed before he comes down the driveway!
  6. peaches

    peaches Guest


    One more thing. Not to be nosy, but I looked at your deck choices on Travelocity. If the S cabins available on Deck 6 are the ones starboard and port right by the glass elevators, think again. The glass elevators protrude out and the people on those elevators can look right onto the verandahs of the first S suites there- 6083 and 6094 I think the #'s were. As you are concerned about privacy I thought you should know- I have not been on the Zuiderdam, but it was mentioned by posters who have been
  7. charliec

    charliec Guest

    Wow, thanks for all the info. everyone. This has been a great help. Right now we have a hold on the deck 8 aft cabin. We will probably go with that. I do have one more question. What is the Neptune Lounge?

  8. peaches

    peaches Guest

    Well, the Neptune Lounge is THE reason to get a suite, IMHO. It is a concierge lounge like you would find in a 5 star hotel- it is midship on the main suite deck. On the Zuiderdam it is midship on the Rotterdam Deck (7). Check out your deck plan on the HAL site or Travelocity. It is a comfortable lounge (no alcohol) w/ leather couches and big screen tv, current newspapers and magazines, snack type food all day long such as danish, fruit and juices early in the morning and small sandwiches, fruit, cookies and candies the rest of the day. Even a special coffee machine that makes cappacino, latte's, etc. That's the reason I want my cabin close by the Neptune! It is only open to S and PS passengers - a nice little place to drop in, relax, grab a snack, say hi, meet other suite passengers. The Captain has a cocktail reception in the Neptune for you the first night.

    But that is not the best part. The 2 concierges are the friendliest people on the ship and literally will do everything and anything for you. No need to EVER have to go down to the front desk. Stop in the Neptune when you first board, say hi and they will never forget your name. Register your credit card there, make shore reservations, make alternative restaurant reservations (don't worry about not being able to get any reservation you want- the Neptune girls can get you into anything), cash traveler's checks, plan a cocktail party in your room for friends you make on the ship (they also make out the invitations for you and deliver them!), etc., etc., etc. They will do it all and are always gracious and smiling. They deliver all information you may need as the trip progresses, issue you your invitations to the special Suite parties with the Captain and officers, and can answer questions like 'what should I wear?' Can't tie your bowtie with your tux? I guarantee they can and will! Any problem that comes up- take it there. Forget all the other perks- this is the BIG one!
  9. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    IMO...I would NOT book an aft Suite or Mini-Suite either, for that matter.

    There is no privacy as the decks are tiered as they go up and each looks down on the one(s) below it and everyone can look down on all of them from the railing at the aft pool....which, BTW is very well-liked spot many folks stand at to watch the wake while out at the pool.

    Peaches is sooooo right....One of the best features (truly fabulous IMO) is the Neptune Lounge which is on Rotterdam Deck. The nearer you are to it, the more you will be able to enjoy it.

    I also agree to NOT book any balcony cabin immediately adjacent to the glass elevator. People can see onto the first balcony on either side....but the cabin next to it (the second away from the elevator) is fine.

    Hope this helps.

    Just had an e-mail from a crew friend on Zuiderdam and all is well aboard!! :)
  10. peaches

    peaches Guest

    S7S- You do know I am 'peaches from georgia' from the CC site, don't you? The one w/ the attitude problem over there is sailing ZUI on 6/7. You're safe! LOL!!!
  11. charliec

    charliec Guest


    Thanks for your reply. My wife and I are more concerned about litter from the deck above than people seeing us while we are out on the verandah. I was led to believe by HAL that the level 8 aft cabins don't have as much of a problem as the lower levels because they don't stick out as far. Someone even implied (or maybe it was wishful thinking on my part) that the verandah rails on level 8 were flush with the end of the lido deck. I take it from your reply that this is not the case?

  12. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    I do not think that Navigation Deck Railings are flush with Lido Deck. Personally, I would not wish to be on Navigation Deck aft. But I don't enjoy any aft cabins on any ship regardless of the "tiering" so I guess I am the wrong person to ask.

    I remember standing at the aft rail on Lido Deck out at the pool and I looked down on every balcony below. The balconys for "S" suites aft are huge and I think there is some part of it that is covered and not exposed but the front edge of all of them are visible from above.

    As to litter.....I am sure if there was any debris, your steward would keep it clean.
  13. thulewx

    thulewx Guest

    If you're going to get an aft cabin, deck 8 is the way to go. Less vibration (minimal), more overhang (therefore a little more privacy from the lido deck above) plus your balcony extends around the corner to the side, but the downside is that you're right below the lido deck which may be a little noisier (deck chairs being moved - they're stacked right above your cabin), and the other downside is that you're farther away from the Neptune lounge.
    You'll love the Zuiderdam!
  14. charliec

    charliec Guest

    Thanks everyone again for all the info. We booked our air ourselves and confirmed our cruise. We are looking forward to our 1st cruise. I found an interesting site in doing research on the net, that has a lot of 360 degree pictures of the Zuiderdam, as well as some other cruise ships. I hope others may find it useful.


  15. peaches

    peaches Guest

    What cabin did you decide on? Did you ask to be waitlisted for the Rotterdam Deck 7? You will have a wonderful cruise wherever you are!
  16. charliec

    charliec Guest


    We chose cabin 8135, aft w/L-shaped balcony. We did not ask to be wait-listed, since we actually prefer the aft location other than the privacy issue. Even the privacy issue wasn't so much being seen from above as having things fall on us from above. After doing a lot of research on this matter, I think there's enough of an overhang from the lido deck so that we won't have to worry. We are really looking forward to this trip, it will be our 2nd wedding anniversary. Wish it was this weekend. :)

  17. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Hope you have a great time.
  18. gilligan6143

    gilligan6143 Guest

  19. charliec

    charliec Guest


    Thanks for that link. Those pictures confirm what I was told about the lido deck overhanging deck 8. They also gave me a better feel for how big the verandah really is. I really appreciate the info.

  20. Cruzman

    Cruzman Guest

    Charlie, I am booked in cabin #8135, May 24 sailing. I will take some digital pictures of the cabin inside as well as the verandah and make them available to you after returning. It is my understanding that the two aft S suites on Navigation Deck are nearly completely covered by the Lido Deck overhang. In any event, I will know for sure in 8 days.

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