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A Dam good cruise ... Dam long review too ...



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 8th, 2004, 04:52 AM
SNUMBER6
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Default A Dam good cruise ... Dam long review too ...

Review of Zuiderdam 1/31/04 - 2/7/04

To sum it up ... Fan .... Tastic .... with any adjective you want to emphasize
it ...

First - Embarkation ...
We flew down the night before on Spirit Airlines not wanting to chance missing
the cruise due to a snowstorm cropping up ... besides $144 total price RT New
York to Fort Lauderdale per person was also appealing ... We stayed at the Best
Western Marina only because they had free transfers both for the airport and
the cruiseships ... The accomadations were spartan ... but a firm comfortable
mattress and a strong refreshing shower were all we really wanted ...and they
were there ... a side benefit was being able to walk around the marina and have
some not too distant views of the cruise ships docked at Port Everglades ...
Docked at the the marina was a beautiful yacht called Victory Lane out of North
Carolina ... the Nascar symbols should this was someone's reward for fast
driving (all I get are tickets ...)
Since our free transfer was not until 12:45 pm ... we decided to take the $6
taxi ride and get to the ship around 11:30 rather than wait ... Great choice
.... boarding took all of 5 minutes to check-in ...get out keys ... take the
obligatory embarkation photo ... and be escorted to the Lido Deck buffet ...
Rooms were not ready for another hour ... but that buffet was enough to keep us
busy until then ... I made good friends with the sushi chef ... available every
day ... with a decent variety ... a definite plus ... in an area of many
plusses ...

Our Stateroom ...

We loved the rear balconies we've had and so booked 8124 ... on the Navagation
Deck ...one cabin portside of the middle ... thanks to some hints here ... The
people on the rear balconies below us could do much the same as we could though
.... only not naked ... In addition having a roof allowed us to enjoy the
verandah ( a better term as it was the largest we've had) during the rainstorm
we had when leaving and also keep the beating sun from burning my sensitive
skin on other days ... We got full use of it ... and luckily Nearly Full to
Full Moons lit the wake and the water up nicely ... 11pm - midnight out on that
verandah made the cruise very special ...
The room was typical with a nice sized bed hard yet comfortable ...a love seat
couch ... and a bathtub ... The Cabin Steward did the generally fine job one
expects from him ...

The Food ...

The Lido
They had good sushi everyday ... so I'm probably biased in my overall excellent
rating ...The variety of the hot dishes from day to day was fine ... always
good fresh fruit at breakfast ... and chocolate croissants for my wife ... the
station concept made for only small lines at worst ... and fresh cooked eggs
and omelets done quickly, effieciently and tastily ... btw ... over easy is
over easy ...if you want the whites totally done ... order over medium ... well
trained cooks ...
Oh ... find the one cook from Vancouver ... generally on the port side ... and
just tell him June 14, 1994 ...
One can't go wrong for eating any meal there ... and plenty of nice seating
inside or outside to enjoy your meal ...
Or just Pizza and Pasta and Ice Cream until 1 AM ...

The Main Dining Room ...

The two things that jump out at me were the many choices available for the main
course ... and the presentation of the desserts ... always interesting ... The
"simple" fare such as boiled beef or prime rib were really done quite well ...
all meats were tender and juicy ... Not many "fancy" choices ... and though
good with no bad points ... did not seem that special ...

The Odyssey and Pinnacle (or is it Pinochle because nothing was lower than a
nine) Grill ...

The BEST ... and I mean BEST specialty restaurant we've eaten at ... A truly
fine dining experience that one gets at places like "The Four Seasons" in NYC
.... Cheapskate that I am, ... We did this the first night for half price ...
and talked about it the rest of the trip ... We would have done this again ...
but would not want to leave our tablemates alone ...

Tea Time ...

Tea was done everyday ... one day was the "Royal" tea ... with brewed teas and
a larger selection ... the other days one got hot water and a tea bag of your
choice ... Either I am just a picky SOB ... or all else was so good ...that was
my one disappointment ... The scones with the marmalades and jellies were fine
....

Room Service ...

We had one breakfast and the food arrive on time and warm ...

Entertainment ....

Although on the surface it was cruiseship schlock ... a comic ... a
ventriliquist ... a magician ... a singer ... and the Zuiderdam singers and
dancers ...
In reality, each of the acts ( save the comic maybe) ... were superb ... well
rehearsed and staged ... and very appealing ... Entertainment in the lounges
was also very enjoyable ... with an area for people with all sorts of tastes
.... The lounges are off in little nooks and crannies that give you an intimate
small club atmosphere ... the piano bar was especially good this way ...

The Ship ...

For a very short time things were confusing ... but once you realized ...
Dining aft ... shows forward ... Lido Deck 9 ... Front desk and shore
excursions on 1 ... all else on 2 and 3 ... getting around was simple ... I
liked the decor and the artwork ... all was spotless and in great repair ...
the best elevators on any cruiseship ... fast ...well spaced ... never crowded
.... the midships port and starboard ones give nice ocean views ...
What made all else special was the many little niceties ... The Times Digest
delivered to the stateroom in time for breakfast ... the daily movie with
popcorn ... a well stocked library ... Pepper and salt mills (not shakers) on
all the tables ... a daily Mass and other religious services ... fruit in the
room ... the themed modnight snacks ...

The Casino ...

I played a little then mostly stopped ... Had a scary lucky streak ... first
converting $5 into $35 ...hitting a bonus on one machine ... then converting
that $35 into $60 hitting another bonus on another machine ... The hitting our
anniversary number on the first spin of roulette ... with $200 to the good I
decided not to put it all back ... and just played $5 or $10 a couple of times
for the rest of the trip ...

The Staff ...

HAL seems to staff people of the same nationality in the same areas ...
Indonesian waiters, Filipino cooks, Romanian waitresses in the Odyssey ... I
think their feeling is that this generates a team concept in each function ...
I don't know how true that may be ... but service was superb all around ... I
wish they would change that no tipping required policy ... too many people
think that meant no tipping ... but even they wanted to give the waiter $10 for
the week ... I tried to explain nicely what these guys should get ... but I'm
not sure I got through ...

Shipmates ...

I was warned ... Old ... very old ... and that was very much on the mark ...
Some there reminded me of Commadore Pike from Star Trek's "The Menagerie" ...
and the median age appeared to be over 70 ... but except for looking older ...
all but those few comatose were no different from the shipmates on any other
cruise ... so though an older group ... no problems ...

The Ports ...

Half Moon Cay - Just lazed on the beach ... had to get reated for the following
sea day ...

Saint Thomas, Saint John - I had wanted to rent a boat for the day and scoot
around from Island to Island ... I'm sorry I chickened out didn't ... The area
between the islands was beautiful ... channels well marked and one could easily
in a day visit and swim around most of them ... we did do a little scooting
around on a rubber boat near where the ferry docked in Saint John ... but next
time that 18-20' center console will zoom us all around ...
All the beaches on those two islands were gorgeous ... I found it hard to rate
Trunk Bay any different as all were super ...
We also did Coral World after returning to Saint Thomas ... Skipped the Sea
Treking though that appeared to be a fine excursion ... one of the divers there
was from Montvale NJ ... so we talked about his home a little ...
Road Town, Tortola - We were kinda water sportsed out after the previous day
....so for $20 took a nice tour of the Island ... taking pictures from the top
point were we saw even more how travelling around in a small boat was easy and
interesting ... Nice souvineer shopping in Road Town ... nowhere near the
hustlers of the BAhamas or even American Virgin Islands ...

Nassau ...
We've been here twice before ... so just took the $3 ferry to Paradise Island
.... and looked for some interesting shells for my aquarium after returning to
Nassau... The last time were we there ... in a back alley near the central
hawkers market I got a lot of stuff ... this time just two small shells ...
Good texture for my reef tank ...

Anybody who has specific questions feel free to email ... I loved this cruise
.... and the more I can relive it the better I'll feel ...

Interesting on this trip was the number of ships we encountered ... from the
SeaBourn Legend, Queen Mary II to the Carnival (Fantasy?) and the Regal Empress
.... and a whole bunch in between ... from all the lines ...
I'll have to go by my pictures to remember them all ...


Be seeing you
In the Village
Number 6

  #2  
Old February 8th, 2004, 06:19 AM
Candy
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Posts: n/a
Default A Dam good cruise ... Dam long review too ...

....snip...

The Odyssey and Pinnacle (or is it Pinochle because nothing was lower than a
nine) Grill ...

The BEST ... and I mean BEST specialty restaurant we've eaten at ... A truly
fine dining experience that one gets at places like "The Four Seasons" in NYC
... Cheapskate that I am, ... We did this the first night for half price ...
and talked about it the rest of the trip ... We would have done this again ...
but would not want to leave our tablemates alone ...


We loved it so much the first time that our whole main dining room table
dined there (together) again. Outstanding food and wonderful service.
We're trying to book her again right now!

Candy

  #3  
Old February 8th, 2004, 01:37 PM
Jeff Gersten
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Default A Dam good cruise ... Dam long review too ...

Was there a big Super Bowl party?

  #4  
Old February 8th, 2004, 03:33 PM
SNUMBER6
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Default A Dam good cruise ... Dam long review too ...

From: (Jeff Gersten)

Was there a big Super Bowl party?


All around the ship ...several locations ...wide screen TV's ... shoulder to
shoulder with fans of both sides ...



Be seeing you
In the Village
Number 6

 




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