This is a description of our Cruise Nov 8 thru Nov 15, 2003
Holland America Cruise Lines' Zuiderdam.

Itinerary and Overview
  • Sat - Fort Lauderdale
  • Sun - Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
  • Mon - At Sea
  • Tue - Philipsburg. St Maarten
  • Wed - St Thomas, VI
  • Thu - At Sea
  • Fri - Nassau, Bahamas
  • Sat - Ft Lauderdale

As usual we had a great time. This cruise was a gift from Carlson Wagonlit Travel for their Golden Circle. They took the top 10 sellers of preferred cruise vendors for 2002 from their Leader Agencies (agencies over 10 million) and the top 10 from the smaller agencies for this program. Marsha made it for 2002. This cruise, verandah cabin, was all paid for and we supplied air. Congratulations Marsha for a great job!

For the cruise itself the weather was not so good. It rained in Ft Lauderdale on the day we left so our bags arrived on the ship late and wet. The first stop at Half Moon Cay was great, beautiful beach, more great food and beautiful, warm, clear water. After we left Half Moon Cay it started raining, pouring most of the time, all the way through Thursday (at sea). Due to the adverse weather we did not land in St Marten at all and we did not spend too much time on St Thomas because of the weather. Seas were fairly high, swells were 7 to 10 feet with "near gale" winds. The ship rode fairly nice through this and we were not bothered by it.

On Nassau we went to the Atlantis Resort. Very impressive place. They have 11 pools, a significant number of lagoons filled with fish from sharks to rays to sea bass, etc... Most of those lagoons had underground viewing ports to see the fish. The Mayan temple slide was also very impressive. It was probably 2 to 3 stories high. One side was very fast and the other side was slow. Both dropped into tubes in a lagoon filled with sharks. You slide through the tubes surrounded by them. Pretty cool. In a couple of pictures you can see what looks like a bridge between two of the hotel towers. That bridge is actually a suite owned by Michael Jackson. 5,500 sq ft. 13 bedrooms and it rents for a mere $25,000 a night. It is booked six months out.
Of course the highlights of any Caribbean cruise are Senor Frog's in Nassau and the Hard Rock Cafes in Nassau and St Thomas (more T shirts).

Cruise notes:
It appears that to compete in the Caribbean cruise lines have to be very, very price conscious. In order to still be profitable at these low price points the cruise line service and food has taken a hit. The Zuiderdam was designed by Holland America to be specifically for the Caribbean. This means it is larger and holds more passengers and the color decor is brighter than a traditional Holland America Cruise Ship. Here are our impressions of Holland America, Zuiderdam.


  • All the staff on board were great. All had a smile and made an effort to be friendly.
    If you take this ship you must visit Tony in the Atrium Bar.
  • The wine tasting we had was the best ever. Kevin was knowledgeable, outgoing and personable.
  • The rooms were spacious, well decorated, had a refrigerator and we had a verandah!
  • The bathroom had a shower with a tub. This means it was the largest shower we have ever had on a cruise. Very nice.
  • I liked the brighter decor. Many other people did not care for it.
  • Food in the Lido Buffet was very good and had a large variety. In addition to the regular lunch that was open until 1:30 there was a Wok station (Sushi and stir fry), Pizza/Pasta station, Deli with sandwiches and soup, Ice cream and desert station, salad station and numerous drink stations. All but the Wok station were open till 5pm.
  • Disembarkation was great. You could stay in your cabin and have room service breakfast.


  • Main service dining food quality was poor
  • On Dutch night do not go to dinner. Eat in the Specialty Dining area.
  • While the Specialty Dining restaurant, Odyssey, was very good it wasn't as spectacular a meal as Celebrity or Princess. Having said that I had a great rack of lamb done absolutely perfectly.