Living in Florida has its perks for folks like me who like to cruise. During the winter months, the cruise lines base several ships in Port Everglades to take those who want to escape the cold to the warm climate of the Caribbean.
Our friends, Regina and Mike, called us (around the end of December) to tell us they just booked a 10-day Panama Canal cruise and asked if we wanted to go. Heck yeah! Going through the Panama Canal has always been on my bucket list.
When I called, they still has a Ocean View (with a port window) stateroom available so we booked it.
Our cruise was February 5-15 and here is our itinerary.
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After spending a day in Fort Lauderdale, we are off to board on Holland America Line‘s ms Zuiderdam.
The Zuiderdam, flagged in The Netherlands, was the first of Holland America Line’s Vista class vessels and was launched in 2002. The name of this ship and its three other sister ships — the ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam, and ms Noordam — represent the four directions of the compass in Dutch, with “Zuider” meaning “south.”
By ship-years, she’s old…but she’s very well maintained. We were always seeing crew working on this or that.
We arrived at the port at 11 a.m. and were on board by 11:30 a.m. and in our state room. This is the only photo I took of our statement (I can’t believe it). And this is where we are going through the Panama Canal — you can see the side of the wall through the port window.
We dropped off our luggage and went for a tour of the ship in order to get our bearings.
Here is a quick tour through the ship.
Here’s the atrium…
There are multiple dining options on the ms Zuiderdam ranging from the Lido, pictured above, to the luxurious, reservations-only Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant.
There’s also the two story Vista Dining room, pictured above, with both fixed and open seating, as well as several other dining options including 24-hour a day room service.
Swimming, Sunning and Lounging
The ms Zuiderdam has two swimming pools. The Lido Pool is mid-ship with a retractable roof that can be closed for swimming in cool weather and/or rain.
The ship was renovated in 2015 to include new 25 new staterooms on the observation deck. In addition, new private cabanas were added to the ship on Deck 11.
This area is called the Retreat, and includes 16 private cabanas for rental by the day or throughout the cruise.
At the aft end of the ship you will find the adults-only Sea View pool. This back deck is a popular place for sail-away festivities.
There are 10 lounges/bars on the ms Zuiderdam (sorry I don’t have any photos of them either — what was I thinking on this cruise).
And the Vista Lounge where you could see nightly entertainment from comedians to musicals.
They have a full gym and spa.
We went to the gym a couple of times, but then opted for walking.
On Deck 3, the teak wrap-around Promenade Deck is the perfect place for taking in ocean views while getting some exercise. Approximately three laps around the ship equals one mile of walking.
Have you cruised on the ms Zuiderdam, or any of the “dam” Holland America Line ships?
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