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Honeymoon on Zuiderdam- I've got questions

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by rhbjmi, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    My fiance and I, both in our mid-thirties, are taking our Honeymoon on the March 20, 2004 sailng of the Zuiderdam to the Eastern Caribbean. We are both first time cruisers, and I am a perpetual researcher, hence my lurking and now posting on this board.

    We are booked in an "S" class on the Concierge/Nepute Lounge level, in a mid-ship cabin about two cabins back from the elevators, which from what I am reading is a good choice with a bunch of extras. Any insider info here would be great.

    We have requested the late dining, but after reading all the messages I am not sure which dining room we should request - upper, lower, front, back. Where is the area with the vibration that I have been reading about and would like to avoid?

    I have never been on cruise, and have no problems on the regular boats, but am worried about my sea legs, so I would love to avoid vibration by any means. I plan on bringing Bonine. Do I need anything else?

    The reason for my post is that being that this is our first cruise and its our Honeymoon, I would love to hear any inside tips, suggestions and recommendations about the ship, the ports we are stopping in (Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, Tortola and Freeport) to make this the most special and stress-free trip for the both of us.

    I am asking for your cruising experience to help us have a great Honeymoon. If you have a suggestions about an excursion to take, not to take, for us just to rent our own and how we go about it, I would be so grateful.

    Thank you in advance.
    Randi - First Time Cruiser!
     
  2. Cruzman

    Cruzman Guest

    Randi, check out my review of the Zuiderdam, May 24, 2003 sailing posted on this board. I also have a photo gallery posted here labeled Zuiderdam, 5/2003. The vibration to which you refer has been identified as being only noticeable in the extreme aft, lower level of the Vista Dining Room. The "Z" is scheduled for dry dock in the next few weeks and this problem will likely be addressed and shouldn't be a concern when you sail. You're gonna love that "S" suite!
     
  3. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    Thank you for the response. I think we are looking forward more to the honeymoon than we are the wedding. The S suite sounds awesome.

    Thanks for the info.

    Randi
     
  4. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    Randi, first...congrats on the upcoming marriage and second...congrats on your first cruise. We spent our honeymoon on the Amsterdam a few years ago in an S suite and you'll love it! Here are my tips: 1) Bring a travel alarm clock, preferably lighted. There is a hanging wall clock but no bedside alarm clock. 2) Order room service for breakfast on your verandah at least a few mornings. 3) Since you're on your honeymoon, make sure your TA notifies HAL. We got an extra bottle of champagne from the captain with a "congratulations" note. Also, check the Daily Program for the Honeymooners' Registration. Ours was on the first sea day. We met with the social hostess in Crows Nest and gave her our names. Then she sent us an invitation to the honeymooners party. It was in between first and second seating dinners one night and there was music, a huge cake, the captain gave a toast, free champagne, and each couple was introduced to the captain and got a turn at cutting that big cake with the captain standing next to us. The photographer was there taking pictures. A few days later we received a certificate that we had honeymooned on the Amsterdam with the picture that was taken (no charge for the picture). OK, that's only 3 tips, but this has gotten much longer than I thought it would!
     
  5. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    Thanks for the email. I appreciate the tips on the Honeymoon gathering. We booked directly with HAL and our CC has noted on our file that we are honeymooners. I am so excited. I can't wait!

    Thanks
    Randi
     
  6. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    OK, it's me again...just can't stop myself!! :grin

    Dining room vibration - Sail7Seas has been on the Zdam 4 times (or maybe it's 6 - she's on HAL ships more than she's off them) and sits in the upper dining area near the entrance door. She said she has never experienced any vibration where they sit.
     
  7. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    Keep em coming. Thanks - I'll put my request in for upper dining near the entrance.

    Have a great night!

    Randi
     
  8. 777steve

    777steve Guest

    Congratulations.... :)

    And for what it's worth... I also took some good advice from S7S ...

    Try table for 2 upstairs by the rail ... Table 73, 77 or 79 .

    Cheers!

    Steve in Houston
     
  9. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    Thanks Steve in Houston from Randi in Houston.

    Table numbers noted and will be requested. You have no idea how much this all helps. I want to make this a trip we will both remember.

    Randi
     
  10. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Hi All.... :) Seems I'm aboard again!!!

    We are currently on Maasdam but would reiterate what has been written here. re: table selection on ZUDM.

    Upper level, forward in the dining room is IMO the best area for comfortable seating.

    Plenty of rounders of six/eight and a number of twos and fours so there should be a table "to suit" you.

    When I return, I'd be happy to discuss specific numbers but I don't have my table number chart with me and this internet cafe thing adds up.

    I'll check in when we return from b-to-b's.
     
  11. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    Hi Sail. What the heck are you doing in the internet cafe????? You're on a cruise, woman, get to the pool...or the bar...or your verandah!!! :grin

    Randi, you said "I want to make this a trip we'll both remember".......
    you're on your honeymoon, that'll be enough to make it memorable!!!

    St. Thomas suggestions: if you're beach/water people, Coki Beach and Sapphire Beach both have good snorkeling, Magen's is gorgeous but snorkeling is not good. If you're into scenery, take an island tour that includes Drakes Seat and Mountain Top. Also go up the Paradise Tram for the views from the top. Website for tram is <http://www.paradisepointtramway.com> There is a picture taken from the top. You could actually have time to do both the beach and island tour in one day and still have time for the tram. And, of course, shopping. There are now two docks at St. Thomas. The main/original one is WICO-Havensight and the new one is Crown Bay. WICO is much more convenient to everything and Crown Bay is much less convenient. Make sure you know which pier you're at so you go back to the right pier at the end of the day! A good website for St. Thomas info is <http://www.vinow.com> There's a whole section on info for cruise ship pax.

    Oops, just thought of something....note to Cap'n. John - if there's a problem with my putting these websites in here, feel free to delete as necessary. Sorry John.
     
  12. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    Thank you everyone for your replies. I have noted the dining room seating, the ports of call information, the websites.

    I do hope to hear back from you, sails7seas, when you return from your trip, which I hope you are enjoying. I would love to hear about your experiences and any knowledge you can pass along would be greatly appreciated.

    I know my honeymoon will be memorable in and of itself, but adding a great cruise to the experience would be so awesome. My fiance and I travel so well together, but it has always been for pre-planning and research. So I appreciate everyone's input.

    Also, thanks for asking my inquiry, you made a lurker feel welcome.

    Randi
     
  13. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    Randi, Welcome to Cruise @ddicts! =welcome :wave I didn't realize you were a newcomer or I would have put out the welcome mat first thing! Glad you decided to come out of lurker mode!

    A few more things I thought of...

    Since you're in an S suite, do you have a list of all the amenities that go along with that S? If you've been lurking here, I'm sure you do, but just wanted to check. Having hors d'oeuvres delivered to your cabin before dinner one or two nights is something nice to try. Be sure to let the concierge know a day in advance. And speaking of the concierge, be sure to use them for everything. Don't stand in line at the front office or shore excursion window, do all that through Neptune Lounge. Also check out the little munchies they have all day long in Neptune Lounge.
     
  14. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    Thank you Cruisin Tex. Everyone has been so nice to this lurker who has finally come "out" of the message board closet.

    I think I have read about the S amenities which seem to be a lot and all great. I am sure my husband by then and I will be spoiled by it and will never be able to cruise at any other category, but you always have to aim him don't ya.

    I will definitely us the Neptune Lounge. Can they set up our accounts with credits cards and all the other administrative items you do with the front office?

    Thanks for checking in on me.

    Randi
     
  15. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    Yes, Neptune can do all that. Although, you'll be registering your credit card when you check-in pierside at embarkation. If you want to use your onboard account (credit card) to charge stuff at the casino, you'll need to have the concierge take care of that for you (non-S pax go to the front office to do this). I have never been able to figure out how come the onboard account covers everything except the casino, and to use it in the casino requires special registration. =shrug
     
  16. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    Randi, don't know where my brain was yesterday - it was a crazy day! :dizzy Major mis-information I gave you...HAL doesn't take credit cards at check-in...so yes, you can give your credit card number to the folks in Neptune Lounge and they will set up your onboard account through the front office. Gee whiz, I'm sorry. My last cruise was on the QE2 a few months ago, and Cunard takes credit cards at check-in, so I guess I was confusing Cunard with HAL. I'm sorry.
     
  17. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    Thanks Cruisin Tex. You have been most helpful and I appreciate it tremendously. I have taken note of all of your recommendations and information.

    I knew there was something I liked about you, I just realized Tex is in your username so Thanks from a fellow Texan - Houston to be exact.

    Have a great weekend!

    Randi
     
  18. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    Randi, I'm in Austin now but lived in Houston for 5 years back in the 70's. Have a great weekend yourself!
     
  19. hbogart

    hbogart Guest

    Randi,
    Welcome to the world of cruising...another born and raised Texan here - Ft. Worth.

    We have cruised 4 times (all HAL). My parents are what I call "Ancient Mariners" with well over 300 days on HAL. They introduced us to cruising a couple of years ago.

    Congrats on your upcoming wedding and honeymoon. You will love the S Suite and amenities. Here are some general thoughts and suggestions...

    1. Actually, HAL did register our credit card when we checked in on the Zuiderdam last month...so that may be new. In either case, it is easy to get your onboard account activated.

    2. HAL ships are more formal ships than the "party" boats. The crowd is a little older, lots less kids, but very very classy. We love to dress up in our tux/formals on formal night and stay dressed all evening as suggested. It really makes the entire evening special as opposed to just dressing for dinner. But that is what we like to do.

    3. Absolutely do not miss having dinner one evening in the Odyssey restaurant. It costs and additional $20 per person, but it is worth it in every respect. My personal suggestion is to make your reservation online or through HAL before boarding ship to make sure you get the day and time you want. As a heads up, formal nights are typically the days you are "At Sea". So we booked the Odyssey on the day after the first formal night. That way we got a chance to meet our table mates first, without missing formal dinner in the dining room, which is always a treat.

    4. Just a tip - if you guys plan to do any shopping, remember to leave some room in your suitcase or pack a collapsable, empty bag/tote in your suitcase to carry stuff home in. Check your airline though, you might get charged for extra bags if over limit...but they usualy don't catch that if you check in with a porter instead of the ticket counter.

    5. Not that you will ever be apart since you are honeymooners, but there is so much to do on board, you may actually find times when you will want to do one thing and your spouse something else at the same time. That's OK. We found it really helpful to take along those little walkie talkies so we could find eachother quickly on board. Also works great in port when husband is looking at one thing in the shops and wife runs off to another part of a store! But the ship is wonderful and not too hard to get around after a couple of days exploring.

    6. Above all - ENJOY YOURSELVES.
     
  20. rhbjmi

    rhbjmi Guest

    HBogart - Thanks so much for all of you suggestions. We definitely plan on going to the Odyessy one night and the online beforehand reservation is a great idea. I am sure we will enjoy it. How do you book it online?

    We booked our Holland America cruise, because it was a more-reserved, and less of "party" ship. Even though, the timing is during spring break. We were looking for a cruise line, where we wouldn't run into college students have a "party" cruise, so it looks like we made the right choice. For a first-time cruiser, it looks like we've made the right decisions so far. It never hurts to do research.

    I love the ideas of walkie-talkie. My future husband is into electronics maybe its something I get him for Christmas. I never thought of that.

    We will definitely enjoy ourselves. I think at this point we are looking forward more to the honeymoon than the ceremony. LOL :)

    Did you enjoy your cruise on the Zuiderdam? What's your review of it?
     

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