1. Zuiderdam Cruise November 10-17 2008 The suite life, the spa life, and the “big screen TV”
2. We booked this sailing in May, 2006, and had been eagerly anticipating it ever since. After careful planning to take pictures on the cruise, our camera acted up just before boarding. Since no pictures may be taken in the check in area anyway, I have substituted the current view, from the extensive artwork collection aboard ship. The earliest Holland America Line cruise vessels held somewhat fewer guests than Zuiderdam and had no suites, except for the captain’s.
3. The cannon is a real artifact. Evidently it was used by the purser to collect unpaid onboard accounts.
4. Turns out the camera was fine. Priority boarding, part of having this suite, is all it is cracked up to be: an exclusive, no-waiting line and very nice customer service from very senior agents. The door to cabin 4180, category SC. After 17 months of waiting, this is it. Was it worth it?
5. In a word, yes. More on the cabin, below.
6. Our verandah. 265 square feet overall. We could have had a pickup basketball game in the main aft area. Carnival Liberty in the background.
7. Our side verandah which wrapped around the port side. Two lounge chairs , not shown, complete our furniture. Scene of the bowling league trials.
8. Unfortunately, some guy tied up his dinghy behind the ship and blocked our view of the rusting cranes and container stacks down the way. John U Lloyd park to the extreme left.
9. We resolved not to let having such a nice accomodation go to our heads. Looking up from our verandah at the Lido Deck where guests had gathered for sailaway. Peasants...
10. A military ship helped guard our port side...
11. ...with vertical take-off aircraft...
12. ...while the real enforcer followed us off our starboard side.
13. A picturesque sailboat which we slowly glided by. By now we were already getting the idea that our suite had a view worthy of the name Big Screen TV.
14. Coral Princess and Grand Princess seem innocent enough, hardly moving, but...
15. Coral follows Zuiderdam into the shipping channel...
16. ... and Grand Princess follows Coral Princess out to sea
17. View up the coast at Ft Lauderdale
20. The Princess ships are left behind along with every care...
21. Our stateroom measured 14 feet by 14 feet in the main area, including the as-advertised super-comfortable king size bed and the seating area with couch, two chairs, and coffee table. The entry hall behind the picture plus the path next to the bar measured about 50 square feet, the size of many balconies on ships. A built in desk to the left of the TV had its own window. The terrazzo bar on the right is over the mini fridge and storage cupboards. Note the mirrors, just some of many in the suite. The champagne was with the captain’s compliments. Ah, the suite life for us!
22. There were four closets on the side of the bed, each cleverly equipped with folding shelves as well as a hanging bar so you could set them up for your needs. More closets in the vanity area, and various cupboards all over the suite, and under bed storage too. The perfect size cabin for a world cruise. Light switches on either side of the bed, by the table lamp shown, and around the corner by the door gave four different lighting choices. My kind of joint.
23. The couch is a convertible bed. The TV came with a DVD player and a radio tuner. The big orange fish kind of grew on ya the longer you lived with him.
24. Bathroom vanity with two sinks. One of the two medicine cabinets is shown. Note glass shower reflected in mirror.
25. Hello in there! Shower to extreme left, Jacuzzi tub beyond it. Overall including the vanity area, see next, the bathroom measured about 9 by 11 feet.
26. Vanity area with swing arm makeup mirror, triple fixed mirror, three drawers and storage hassock. Cathi enjoyed this area so much she asked me if we can remodel the house just like it.
27. More mirrored closets across from the vanity. Yikes! Who’s that lurking in our room?
29. Early morning at sea.
30. Although very breezy on the side verandah while underway, the main area was of course sheltered by the bulk of the ship, and was always very easy to enjoy.
31. I suppose after a few cruises some people become bored with the sights of the sky and the sea, but I never will.
32. Midships elevators. Outboard glass elevators beyond. Crew member showing lots of hustle. Or maybe late for work!
33. Cathi outside glass elevators. Tip for clients, these elevators respond faster than the main ones since fewer folks remember to use them.
34. Up we go to the Neptune Lounge.
35. Trick photography: outboard elevator stack shot later in trip.
36. Interior of the Neptune Lounge, midships, Deck 7. Only accessible with a superior suite keycard. A buffet and drink machine at far end, left, attended by one of the top stewards, along with the concierge desk, right, where staff members in naval whites always addressed guests by name (how do they do that?) No need to mix with the rabble on Lido Deck or at the Main Desk to have any of one’s needs taken care of. A comfortable lounge, scene of one memorable event where the shopping coordinator gave the assembled audience, mostly elegant elder women, an exclusive chat on tips for getting the best out of St. Thomas. Hint: buy a pet rock. Unset precious stones are considered mere ‘rocks’ by US Customs...
37. This frame and the following: a model of the Nieuw Amsterdam from the 1960’s. Identified as “Travel Agent’s Model” on the nameplate.
38. The model is about 4 feet long, and very detailed. Imagine back in the day, when Mr and Mrs Client came into the office, and you could point out where their cabin would be as they signed up for a sailing. No Internet available for them to browse, and then tell you, “I saw it for $29.00 dollars less online”(!)
39. Door to the port side Owner’s suite, Deck 7. The Neptune Lounge is just down the corridor. Time for a refreshment...
40. ...at the cozy Ocean Bar, Deck 3. Almost 11am? Two mimosas, please!
41. The Atrium, with the slowly rotating crystal seahorse...or is it the mimosas?
42. The Grand Staircase, seahorse above, Pinnacle Grill, Windstar Café, and several nice lounges below
43. Better chase the champagne with a specialty coffee at the Windstar, complete with sailing ship motif. Think they’ll rename it at refit?
44. Entrance to and bar at the Pinnacle Grill, near the base of the Atrium staircase. The sign inside says Odyssey Café. Fun to sit at Windstar and watch diners march past in search of the Pinnacle...
45. Pinnacle interior. The second night of the cruise was unexpectedly changed to be Formal Night, and we already had a pre-booked reservation to eat here.
46. Lounge, Deck two. Very comfortable and quiet.
47. Another adjacent lounge. Cheerful and relaxing.
48. More of the art collection. Way too many items to even try to photograph, or even list. This is a medallion, maybe two and a half feet in diameter, of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
49. Sliding doors from forward elevator lobby to Deck 10 sundeck. Triangular design and stripes on glass are reminiscent of Frank’s designs.
50. That’s it, architecture lesson over. This metal ship model is about one and one half feet long.
51. Lalique crystal etching of sailing ship, about 18 inches across
52. One of many paintings aboard, this one is small, about 14 inches by 20
53. This medallion is in the forward stairwell, deck 10. Over 4 feet across.
54. Art glass on ledge outside the Pinnacle. I hope it is glued down.
55. Art glass on the other side of the Atrium lobby.
56. Franchesina, the nameplate says. One of several different figures around the ship inspired by characters of the commedia del arte. About three and one half feet tall. Across from the outboard glass elevators...
57. Beautiful metalwork central elevator doors. Time to explore the decks.
58. Radar, antennas, and horn.
59. The famous mahogany deck chairs on display.
60. The sliding roof over pool.
62. Stairway from pool deck up to forward sun deck. Note the lift for wheelchairs.
64. I knew the shuffleboard had to be hiding somewhere. Deck 10.
65. Comfy chairs outside the Oak Room smoking lounge. Smoking is permitted here too. These chairs were lined up to close this area off for the Captain’s cocktail party suite guests were invited too. Many of the people who attended seemed like they were trying to impress themselves somehow...
66. Oak Room interior. Just outside the Crow’s Nest lounge.
67. Crow’s Nest interior.
68. Crow’s Nest Bar
69. Enough exercise gear to calm the guilty.
70. The skylight above the therapy pool.
71. Therapy pool, skylight above. Tremendous bubbling action and two big jets to turn your tight muscles into mush. Stainless steel framework at one end where you lay down and simply float and sway in the bubbles and the movement of the ship. Nearby was the sauna, the steam bath, the aromatherapy chamber, and the heated mosaic lounge chairs, along with refreshing misting showers. We bought the couple’s package on the first night of the cruise giving unlimited use of all of these facilities for about $14 per day per person. The day rate for the pool is $20pp and another $20pp for the sauna area. We went every night to wind down and then had the steward pour us under our cabin door. Highly recommended package for your clients. Sorry, no pics of the sauna, too relaxing.
72. Our informal Formal Night photo, taken by our server at the Ocean Bar. The corsage and boutonniere were complimentary, a surprise left on our bed by our top-notch cabin steward, Didek (DD), which we found when we came back to the suite that afternoon to get ready for dinner. The little things really do make it special. Dinner at the Pinnacle was absolutely great, very excellent food, total killer dessert, and with terrific service, too.
73. Day three started with a threat of rain...
74. ...and the threat grew into a little squall which passed quickly...
75. ...and after it rains...
76. ...we arrived at Grand Turk.
77. View of the tourist area, all newly built storefronts, shops and bars. A few smaller stalls leased by local merchants had some of the nicer souvenirs for sale.
78. The Memolis, my clients who booked this sailing. Past guests of Holland, during their welcome home call they commented that although HAL is still pretty terrific, it is not what it once was in the way of impeccable service, the elegant finishing touch, the quality of the cuisine, the unexpected extras no longer received.
79. It is a long walk from ship to shore, and the constant winds do make it a brisk challenge!
80. Guests filled the beach area while we were in port, and just as quickly vacated as departure time approached.
81. A map of the Turks and Caicos shows Grand Turk at the eastern end of the island group; and the tourist area is at the extreme eastern end of Grand Turk. The idea may have been to keep the ships and the tourists reasonably removed from the fragile coastal ecosystem, but close enough to attract an inflow of money.
82. The wake shows our zigzagging course away from Grand Turk...
83. ...followed by another great sunset at sea.
84. Next morning, Mysterious Islands arose from the mist...
85. ...haunts of the pirates of old...
86. ...receiving a dose of “liquid sunshine.”
87. Who’s that girl? A Mysterious Ship appeared...
88. The Queen Mary 2
89. Skies clearing as we passed, many aboard took the opportunity to look the QM2 over...but no one seemed to be on her balconies checking us out...hmm...
90. Crossing the Queen’s bow.
91. The pilot jumps aboard to guide us in. He makes it look easy.
92. Homes and sailboats at Tortola.
93. The Tortola waterfront.
94. Our modern tour bus...
95. View up the hills.
96. Homesite in the hills. Many buildings appeared to have the anchors on the roof ready to accept a second story as needed.
97. Zuiderdam is joined by sister Noordam while the QM2 minds her own business...
98. Yo, Ho Ho! And a bottle of (Pusser’s) Rum. The island called Dead Man’s Chest.
99. Which Sea Witch is which? Turn to the left for Zuiderdam...
100. Don’t know if the guest in the ambulance is from Z or N, but with all the luggage piled up behind the rig, all there is to say is, buy travel insurance...
101. The same suite as ours, but on the starboard side, of Noordam. Note the wrap-around balcony.
102. The next morning we arrived at St Thomas. We were supposed to get stuck in the outer anchorage and have to tender ashore, since we were smaller than other ships calling that day. Instead, we were first in at the West Indian Company Dock. Carnival Glory was late. Time for breakfast on the Verandah.
103. Definitely back in the US. The greater prosperity than on Tortola flows down out of the hills and into the sea.
104. There goes the neighborhood: Noordam eases in followed by Disney Magic.
105. Lido Pool with Noordam in behind.
106. Magic prepares to drop anchor at an inner anchorage...
107. ...while Enchantment of the Seas eases in behind Noordam. Is it possible that St Thomas is popular?
108. Carnival Glory in the outer anchorage we were supposed to get...the words of Nelson rang in my ears (not of Trafalgar, but of The Simpsons: “Ha! Ha!”)
109. Level roads of St. Thomas
110. Level building site
111. Merrily we bounce along
112. View from Drake’s Lookout
113. View from St. Peter Greathouse
114. View of Magen’s Bay beach
115. Zuiderdam, Noordam, and Enchantment
116. Enchantment as we depart St. Thomas. How can anyone not like to cruise?
117. View of the sea and sky...
118. ...and view of a passing squall
119. Beautiful morning at Half Moon Cay. Breakfast is served on the main verandah.
120. Half Moon Cay from a tender
121. Beach at Half Moon Cay. More bars per square mile than anywhere on the face of the earth, kind of.
122. Publicity Shot “A”
123. Exhibit X
124. 10-4 to that Forever bit...
125. The colorful and pricey Private Cabanas
126. Orange Cabana, occupants shooed away...
127. Exhibit Y
128. Passenger Tram. Funny, from the promos I though it would run on rails...
129. Powder soft sand
130. Publicity Shot “B”
131. ...and the last sunset of the cruise inevitably arrives.
132. Baggage at the ready. Priority disembarkation, took our time, left late, no crowds, no waiting, bags were in a pile of about 30 instead in a pile of 300, what could be easier?
133. Approaching Port Everglades. Costa Fortuna to the left.
134. Princess slips by as we ease in.
135. Home again. We’ll have one more breakfast aboard, disembark at 9:30, and be out of Customs and in the car by 10:15.