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Zuiderdam docked in Cozumel, Mexico.

(c) Susan Breslow Sardone.

The Bottom Line

Aboard Zuiderdam you won't find many young honeymoon couples, but you can enjoy a serene romantic getaway here nonetheless. Holland America's Zuiderdam is one of its new, large Vista Class ships, and as such the majority of cabins have a balcony. The spaciousness of Zuiderdam extends to its public areas; you can always find a lounge that feels practically private, and on port days you may have the aft swimming pool almost to yourselves.


  • All Zuiderdam cruises call at Half Moon Cay, Holland America's gorgeous private island
  • Ship features many balcony cabins
  • Excellent gourmet restaurant (additional charge)


  • Dining room food is below par and haphazardly presented
  • Average ages of guests is 55+
  • Majority of dining room tables seat 8 to 10 guests


  • Zuiderdam accommodates up to 1,848 passengers per sailing, yet it never feels crowded.
  • The Greenhouse Spa aboard Zuiderdam offers a full range of spa and salon services.
  • There's a relaxing indoor thallassotherapy pool inside the spa.
  • Amuse yourselves on the nearly deserted sports deck, the indoor golf simulator, the library.
  • Bring your wi-fi laptop; you can use it outside the Internet Cafe, which also has PCs.
  • For night-time fun, Zuiderdam has the Northern Lights disco, sports bar, and lively casino.
  • You can get married in Zuiderdam's wedding chapel, but you must make arrangements before boarding.
  • Although Zuiderdam has a well-staffed kids area, you won't find many children when school's open.
  • There's no midnight buffet on Zuiderdam but there is Dutch Tea, culinary highlight of any voyage.

Guide Review - Zuiderdam

First the bad news: If only the food were better on Zuiderdam, I would recommend this ship wholeheartedly to couples of all ages. But on a recent cruise, dinner after dinner ranged from disappointing to nearly inedible. Plus, preparation was careless and the wait staff did their job only perfunctorily. The unvarying menu at the Lido cafe was also a disappointment to casual diners. Since so many cruisers complain of gaining weight, Zuiderdam may inadvertently offer an antidote to that problem.

The one culinary exception was the Odyssey Restaurant with its Pinnacle Grill. Although it levies an additional charge per diner (and drinks are extra), it's well worth choosing this gourmet Northwestern eatery.

Another thing that differentiates Zuiderdam from other cruise lines is that Zuiderdam holds on to several traditions from when cruises were primarily for older, very wealthy couples.

At least once per sailing, Zuiderdam has a formal night. And its passengers take that seriously, decking themselves out in tuxedos or dark suits and ties for men, long dresses and skirts for women.

Zuiderdam also harks to the days when travelers -- especially new couples -- didn't mind eating with strangers. Most of the tables in Zuiderdam's main dining room seat four to five couples. If you hope to make new friends aboard, you'll like that. Otherwise, have your travel agent pull some strings before you sail and request one of the few tables for two for you to sit at dinner aboard Zuiderdam.

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