10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Embarkation was smooth. Like others have said the ship was nicely appointed and decorated. Seemed clean and fairly well updated. Staterooms were adequate in size and offered ample storage space both for hanging and shelves/drawers. Our ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth. Like others have said the ship was nicely appointed and decorated. Seemed clean and fairly well updated. Staterooms were adequate in size and offered ample storage space both for hanging and shelves/drawers. Our room stewards (Heri & Jito) were excellent! Always cheerful and ready to provide any request we had. We didn't get ice on the first day but as soon as we made that request known we had ice in our room ice bucket twice daily from then on. The main dining room was nice and service there very good. We were a bit disappointed in the menu offerings at the first gala night but the second one at the next to last night of the cruise was excellent. The turf & surf was wonderful! Best, most tender steak I have ever had! Those were the positives. The negatives, unfortunately, were MANY. We did the open seating dining for dinner and made reservation on the first two nights only to find we still had to wait in the LONG lines so it seemed a reservation really was unnecessary and ignored. They need 2 lines for dealing with those having reservations and those who did not make them. The Lido Dining area was very poorly organized and run. Even when there were small numbers of people the waiting times were long and unnecessary. It was difficult when busy to tell where one line started and another began causing confusion and frustration to passengers. Items and areas were NOT well marked as the signs were WAY too small to read by the average middle aged to older person and were hidden behind people standing in line most of the time. If you wanted scrambled eggs with toppings you needed to stand in one line to get the eggs, then stand in a second line at either the omelet or eggs benedict station (which was not labeled) to get anything like mushrooms or cheese to top your eggs...ridiculous planning (or lack thereof!). AND the very loud pounding basketball noise on the starboard side during breakfast and lunch was extremely annoying and unpleasant while trying to enjoy a leisure breakfast or lunch. Once again, crazy planning for ship layout! Also on the pool Lido Dive In burger/taco bar there was often a lack of clean drink glasses and ice machine there was broken almost from the first day. When ice or clean glasses was requested we were generally told we needed to go inside and get them ourselves. NEVER have we had that kind of response from staff on any other cruise line we have travelled with. Usually staff is eager to please and serve but we did not feel this was the case on any of the Lido areas. Entertainment was also lacking in comparison to other cruise lines. The ship singers, dancers and musicians were good and both production shows were quite good. Otherwise entertainment was lacking. One comedian and one magician other than the ship staff entertainers was minimal and, frankly, below par. There was never live entertainment in the main dining room, as in a pianist or something during dinner which happens on many other ships, and the music loop in the dining room was the exact same loop night after night with the exact same songs repeated over and over again. Also, on ship days there was never live entertainment provided on the Lido deck as is often done on other cruise lines. Just seemed we got the very basic minimum they could get away with. All in all things could have been done much better. Probably wouldn't use HAL again unless the itinerary is something that's a must for us and isn't being offered by any other cruise line. Glad we went to see Alaska, but didn't leave anywhere near 100 percent pleased. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We took the 'Double Denali' cruise out of Vancouver. Boarding and orientation was very good. Bags arrived in a timely manner. Overall, the ship is in great shape with plenty of staff attending to multiple maintenance details at ... Read More
We took the 'Double Denali' cruise out of Vancouver. Boarding and orientation was very good. Bags arrived in a timely manner. Overall, the ship is in great shape with plenty of staff attending to multiple maintenance details at all times. Easy movement around ship with multiple elevators so 'no wait' was common. Good signage to assist with orientation and movement. The cabin was as advertised with good storage, comfy bed and furniture in good shape. (We had a verandah cabin). Cabin staff was superb and, once they knew what we needed and liked, they kept us very comfortable. The staff to client ratio was nearly 1:2 such that they were EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, they are not cross trained so when we asked a question the staff member usually didn't know the answer, referred us to somebody else (who often did not know the answer) or gave us bad information. Eventually, we just directly called the front desk if info was needed and that staff was knowledgeable and helpful. Dining: The 2 story dining room was excellent and reservations were important. The Lido restaurant (buffet style) was difficult at times. We eventually gave it the nickname of "Cattle call" as finding a seat could be difficult and the crowds were, well, like a cattle call. Food was good throughout the ship however. The only problems we encountered was the poor English speaking of the staff serving the food. One night it took 6 questions to determine what a cook was serving. Nobody in line around us understood her, but we eventually pieced it together. The floor serving staff was attentive, though a couple of them had bad non-verbal attitudes. That is, the faces made suggested I was bothering them by asking for some tea! A significant complaint was the dinning chairs in the Cattle room. With rare exception, every one was sunken in a concave manner. VERY uncomfortable and in need of immediate repair/replacement. Entertainment: We did not participate in much of the onboard entertainment, spending our time onshore visiting places. Ports: All the ports in AK were fun to visit and obviously fully oriented toward the tourists. It was easy to navigate when onshore. Excursions were mostly excellent, but depended on the skill and experience of the guide. Some leaders were well educated and verbally skilled. Others were more or less doing a job. All excursion staff were attentive to our safety and needs. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My wife and I are frequent travelers and have taken 15 cruises on a number of different cruise lines. This was a last minute booking. We flew into Anchorage a day prior to the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. The hotel offered a ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent travelers and have taken 15 cruises on a number of different cruise lines. This was a last minute booking. We flew into Anchorage a day prior to the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. The hotel offered a free shuttle from the airport, The receptionist said the shuttle would be 30 minutes but they would pay our cab fare to the hotel. We enjoyed our 2 free drinks at the Embassy and took the free shuttle to downtown Anchorage. The driver suggested several places to eat, all were extremely crowded and long waits for a table.The city of Anchorage was nothing special. In the morning the shuttle was again busy, the Embassy paid for a cab to take us to the "check in" for our shuttle to the cruise. The check in for the shuttle to Seward was at the convention center, it was well organized and convenient. We checked are bags and did not have to bother with them again until on board the ship. During the few hours we had until our bus left we explored the local outdoor market. The bus from Anchorage to Seward was excellent, the driver gave great information on our 2 1/2 hour ride. The views from the bus were also good. Embarkation was a breeze, there were no lines. We checked into our cabin and instantly noticed that the temperature in the cabin was hot. The thermostat was at the lowest setting and began to wonder if this was going to be a problem. We brought the two bottles of wine on board that Holland allows. Our cabin steward kept the bottles iced down for us the entire cruise. The cabin although a bit outdated was kept clean and the service was excellent. The first night we noticed a banging noise coming from the ceiling above our cabin, it continued night/day sounding like someone banging on a pipe then later in the cruise it sounded like drilling into the pipe. Later we determined that the kitchen was above our cabin, twice during the cruise we noticed water dripping from the ceiling in the hallway outside our cabin. The temperature in the cabin remained hot for the entire journey. The quality of food was good but we were disappointed at the limited selection each day in the dinning room. The first 3 days had French onion soup on the menu. Each day offered a choice of 4 appetizers, 2 soups, and 5 entrees. The same food could be found on the Lido deck buffet. Since we booked last minute our dinning time was optional, we never waited for a table and ate when we liked. On two occasions we found the service in the dinning room to be very slow and received the wrong food. The entertainment was average. We enjoyed the band in the "crows nest." The best value on the ship was the happy hour in the "Crow's nest" where your second drink was $2. The casino was small and offered very few slot machines. Glacier Bay was the highlight of the trip. The scenery was breathtaking. Park rangers boarded the ship and explained about the wildlife and glaciers. We spotted whales, bald eagles, seals and porpoises from the ship. Haines was a very small port, we walked around the town and took advantage of the free internet in the library. We found that most of the shore excursions cost more than we paid for the entire cruise. Juneau we took a bus from port to Mendenhall glacier for $35. The bus driver was a local resident who was very informative and pointed out much of the wildlife. At Mendenhall glacier we hiked about 45 minutes to "Nugget Falls" with a nice view of the glacier. Ketchikan we found that most of the tours were more than we spent on the cost of the cruise. We took the free shuttle to "Creek Street" the salmon were not swimming up stream yet but did see some seals in the creek. We found the vendors in Ketchikan to be much more aggressive and rude than the other Alaska ports. Disembarkation was smooth, We chose to take a cab to the airport for a flat fee of $35 instead of the Holland Shuttle that was $45 a person. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had cruised twice before on Holland America and thought it was a great cruise line. Unfortunately things have changed over the past several years. We took the inside passage to Alaska, then three nights in Denali. We booked a suite and ... Read More
We had cruised twice before on Holland America and thought it was a great cruise line. Unfortunately things have changed over the past several years. We took the inside passage to Alaska, then three nights in Denali. We booked a suite and sailed with two other couples who also booked suites. Service and food have deteriorated considerably in comparison to our two previous cruises with this line. With the exception of the salmon, which was excellent, every seafood entree we had was mediocre or worse. The Alaskan Halibut -- which we loved at restaurants on shore -- was thin, brown, and almost inedible. The rainbow trout was oily, salty, and fishy. At "High Tea," we felt crowded and rushed. The head waiter told us, as he ushered us to a table, that space was limited -- though tea was held in the main dining room with many, many empty tables. We felt that we were herded in, pushed to hurry through our tea, and offered only limited selections of dainties. In most situations, service was slow and they seemed understaffed. ENRICHMENT: Most likely the naturalist on board knew a lot, and I heard that the presentation she made in the auditorium was excellent. It was not possible to understand any of the information she related to us on deck because the sound system was so very bad, EXCURSIONS: Excursions offered by Holland America were generally very good, and the prices were competitive. The one exception to this was the Denali Covered Wagon meal which was a waste of time and money. There was little scenery because of the narrow pathway and canvas cover on the wagon. We were crowded onto benches in the covered wagon, and the food, while plentiful, was not very good. BUS RIDE TO (OR FROM) DENALI: The bus ride to Denali was long and cramped. There was no place on the bus to put a drink or a snack. After making restroom stops twice at facilities without running water, we stopped for lunch at a Holland America concession for a "sandwich buffet." Hundreds of people were crowed around open tables of bread, sandwich meat, potato salad, etc. Mustard was in common squeeze dispensers -- quite smudged and dirty. Hundreds of people had no choice about where to eat or use the restroom, so they lined up for the restroom, or chose to got right to the food line without washing up. One of the men's rooms was un-usable because the toilet had overflowed, in a very disgusting way, but there was no sign warning people to stay out. Many people went through the open food line after having stopped at an out-house to relieve themselves, and without bothering to stand in line to wash their hands. With all of the warnings about norovirus, I was afraid to eat this lunch. Friends who were on the southbound cruise two weeks before us told us that 300 people were confined to their cabins for several days because of an outbreak of some type of virus. I wonder whether they picked it up at this lunch stop? DENALI: Denali was wonderful, but we stayed in Holland America's McKinley lodges and wasted lots of time waiting for shuttles to the main lodge. Sometimes the shuttle was full, so we almost missed some excursion departures. Walking was OK for some of us, but one of our party is disabled, so she often felt that she was an impediment for the rest of us -- It was not her fault but the fault of the cruise line for being understaffed and under-equipped. WESTMARK HOTEL: In Anchorage we stayed at the Westmark owned by Holland America. Our room smelled musty, but they could not move us because the hotel was full. I think this cruise line has stretched its resources to the maximum while minimizing service to its customers. All six of us were disappointed and regretted our choice to take a cruise. A land tour would have been more comfortable and would have given us more control of our time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We had this cruise planned for three years. Our travel agent suggested strongly that we use Holland for our air travel even though I could get it cheaper. We had trouble from the very start. They never purchased the tickets and when I ... Read More
We had this cruise planned for three years. Our travel agent suggested strongly that we use Holland for our air travel even though I could get it cheaper. We had trouble from the very start. They never purchased the tickets and when I tried to check or get a seat assignment their web site would just say that changes were being made. I called Holland about it but the representative was very short and said she would not talk to me because I used a travel agent to plan the trip. When they did finally purchase the tickets (two weeks before we were to leave they booked the other couple we were going with on a different flight. Are travel agent made several calls to Holland to get things straightened out. They ended up adding an extra stop on our return flight and added four hours to the trip. On the Boat we signed up for an excursion which they totally messed up. After purchasing the excursion they called the night before and told us the time had change from 11:30AM to 8:15AM. They put us on the wrong bus so we missed part of what we had signed up for and we were not allowed to join in on the last part of the excursion with the people we were put with. They would only refund 15 percent of the cost because it was the tour agents fault. I personally would look at a different cruise line if I were to do it again. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Selected this cruise because it was part of our Vacation points options and it was in the time frame when we wanted to travel to Alaska. Ship is medium size, about 1250 passengers. Common areas are very nice. Cabins are OK but a ... Read More
Selected this cruise because it was part of our Vacation points options and it was in the time frame when we wanted to travel to Alaska. Ship is medium size, about 1250 passengers. Common areas are very nice. Cabins are OK but a regular stateroom with a large window felt cramped. Plenty of room for our luggage and clothes. A balcony is nice to have but we seldom used it on a previous cruise. I think it would have been nicer to have the option weather permitting. Dining room food and service was excellent. Lido was OK but service needs some help. In-room dining service was good. Technology is lacking. The ship internet service can only be used to see some menus & agendas. One cannot order excursions or shop. You have to wait in line at front desk or travel consultant area when they are opened. Onboard internet service is $55/hour. I did not receive my onboard credit and am still trying to get it resolved. We heard mixed reviews on entertainment. Most people loved the comedian. Ports visited were great. Quaint towns with lots of shops. Never realized Alaska ports were into the jewelry businesses. Heavily emphasized on the ship too. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My wife and I did a similar cruise on the Zaandam from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago and wanted to try it from a different port, and to see what changes may have occurred to the ship and/or ports of call. The ship seems brighter ... Read More
My wife and I did a similar cruise on the Zaandam from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago and wanted to try it from a different port, and to see what changes may have occurred to the ship and/or ports of call. The ship seems brighter and refreshed, except for the TVs in the cabins which are from the 70s, or so they appear based on the very poor picture quality. Speaking of which I can't understand why we were void of major TV news channels on the last three days back to Seattle except for two ESPN stations, and the only TV weather updates were for South American countries through the BBC channel. HAL, it's 2017 and we have the technology so PLEASE USE IT!! Try for some better customer service here. Our primary negative perception about the cruise and the ship is about how cool/cold the ship's public areas were kept requiring us and many other passengers to habitually walk around wearing our coats, hoodies, etc. We would sit in, for example, to listen to Adagio only to have cold air conditioning blowing on our heads, as well as elsewhere about the ship. Uncalled for. The lack of a librarian/IT supervisor was another failure in customer service, and the staff at the front desk was no substitute, nor should they be. The excessive cost coupled with the poor quality of WiFi service is a slap in the face for any passengers trying to make use of that service and should be improved. One thing that seemed to have changed for the better was the overall quality of the entertainment throughout the cruise, at least in comparison to our last four cruises with HAL since 2014 on other ships. But the over amplification of the band and singers constantly corrupted what could have been a better musical experience and often took away from the quality of the singers voices who always seemed to be trying to be heard over the band; those gals and guys deserve better treatment and respect from any musical group that accompanies them. The cabin stewards were good, and the 5th floor dining staff excellent. The Lido's dining chairs need reupholstering, now. Almost every chair's cushioning has been flattened down to the frame. Our overall experience was such that, contrary to our usual practice, we didn't sign up on board for a specific future cruise; we did leave a future cruise deposit that will be good for the next several years on a cruise of our choosing. If there is one. Our next several cruises will be with Cunard and we'll just keep reading CC's blogs and look forward to hearing about improvements. I'm not going to say anything about the tours offered under the precept of, if you can't say anything nice...... But if HAL perceives all touring passengers to need a shopping stop, please do away with them on cultural tours and just organize plain old shopping tours for those who want to shop and visit markets, etc. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
we chose this cruise because we just wanted a short getaway and one that did not involve a long distance plane ride. We ate dinner every night in the dining room and sat at different tables with different people every day which was OK. It ... Read More
we chose this cruise because we just wanted a short getaway and one that did not involve a long distance plane ride. We ate dinner every night in the dining room and sat at different tables with different people every day which was OK. It is cool to get to meet people for different places. We ate breakfast most days in the dining room and sat with other people. We had food at the Dive Inn a couple time and it was good. We ate lunch mostly at the lido. There were not as many activities that we were interested in on this cruise as there were on other cruises we have been on. The night life was not very good on this ship as the last cruise we were on. There was lots of trivia if you are someone who likes trivia. The shows at night were pretty good. Didnt really like the comedian to much. We only did one port on our cruise which was Victoria. Been there before but enjoyed our horse drawn carriage ride and our dinner in town. It was a long walk into town from the ship. We were glad it was not a rainy day. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
After returning from a Panama Canal on the Maasdam, sorting thru upcoming cruises the 32 day explore South America Passage and Inca Discovery was of great interest. Fortunately for future travelers, the Zaandam is going in to dry dock to ... Read More
After returning from a Panama Canal on the Maasdam, sorting thru upcoming cruises the 32 day explore South America Passage and Inca Discovery was of great interest. Fortunately for future travelers, the Zaandam is going in to dry dock to be rehab in 2018. In the Lido dining the chair cushions show great ware as they are sunken in. There was very little variety of foods from day to day. No specialty nights with native food from the country we were in. Randomly closed parts of each food line thus had to go from side to side to complete a meal. Food became 'same-O-same-O'. Internet very expensive, very slow, basically non functional. On some other cruise ships, internet is free. Waste many of your minutes waiting for it to connect. Entertainment has really gone down hill. No entertainment on the pool deck. Very little variety in the lounge - mostly singing and dancing. Some of the ShipFlicks permanently missing or so scratched they would not play. Returning to America and Clearing Immigration i.e. final disembarkation was an experience of disorganize chaos. This could have been handled much better. It put a big black mark on what to that date had been an excellent relaxing time. Bathrooms definitely need some attention. On the bright side, the Captain's 12 noon briefings were very interesting as were his Q/A meetings with the passengers. The staff was very attentive, nice group of young people. For the fitness bugs, the center is treat. A variety of equipment. The morning stretch class was a huge hit. I attribute this in part to the personality of the instructor. About the deserts. Too good, need I say more! The system for dismissing guests and matching them with their selected excursions was very efficient. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Wanted to see South America and enjoy life aboard the Zaandam. Trouble first started at the Casino where I was supposed to get $75 of free play. It took 3 days and a lot of fighting with the casino manager to get the money. Next was the ... Read More
Wanted to see South America and enjoy life aboard the Zaandam. Trouble first started at the Casino where I was supposed to get $75 of free play. It took 3 days and a lot of fighting with the casino manager to get the money. Next was the casino manager promised a free drink when playing but was nowhere around to give one. Next the Lido food court was in disarray. The server had past me up in line twice before I complained that I was next to be served. After receiving the food. It was cold. The food seemed cold or luke warm everyday because the meat would be sitting out before serving time. The shore excursions where very expensive. The only thing that was good in my opinion was the deserts. These the could not recycle like the main vegetables. I believe if you pay for the food and service it should at least be satisfying. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise simply because it was going to Santiago in Chile were we would be spending Christmas. Having said that the ports of call were excellent. I especially liked the Falklands and would recommend the Penguin tour . I ... Read More
We chose this cruise simply because it was going to Santiago in Chile were we would be spending Christmas. Having said that the ports of call were excellent. I especially liked the Falklands and would recommend the Penguin tour . I booked direct with a tour operator based on the Falklands and this was half the price of the cruise ship tour. The ship itself looked tired in areas and in need of a refurbishment. We were in cabin 7076 VISTA SUITE. The cabin itself was a good size and comfortable. The Bathroom was in need of upgrading. we had a Jacuzzi but on inspection I would not have used it. There was staining on the tiles which was from condensation. Our Cabin Stewards were excellent. The food in the Lido restaurant and the main dinning room was of good quality with plenty of choice. Unfortunately the service in both these places was hit and miss. In the Lido Dinning room it took rather a long time for the tables to be sided. Some staff were seen to have a cough. I understand that people can be under weather at times, but to carry on serving food which you have just coughed over is unacceptable. this happened on more than one occasion.one of the things which stuck out was that there seemed to be no one in charge We had a few sea days and on these days the entertainment was lacking I appreciate that it was not always possible to put Deck games on due to the weather but there was very little to do in doors. The entertainment at night was hit and miss but did get better towards the end of the cruise I have cruised before and this was my first time with Holland and America i feel there are other cruise companies out there who offer a better cruise experiance. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Check in was a breeze as we were in a Neptune suite. Others complained of a disorganised shambles and taking up to 3 hours! Suite appeared very nice, but the bathroom DEFINATELY needs a serious upgrade compared to other top suites we ... Read More
Check in was a breeze as we were in a Neptune suite. Others complained of a disorganised shambles and taking up to 3 hours! Suite appeared very nice, but the bathroom DEFINATELY needs a serious upgrade compared to other top suites we have had on other ships.Toilet was blocked. Bedding was great, very comfortable and plenty of pillows. For the size of suite TV needs to be bigger. Use of Neptune Lounge was convenient but the variety of food needs to be more varied specially the late afternoon snacks. Also complimentary cocktails would be welcomed pre dinner,as provided by other same class of other ships. Dining room food needs seriously looking at! Too much couscous,the vegetables came hidden under the meat and were too often soggy! Overall, the food in the main dining room was a breath above what was served in the Lido and was mostly very disappointing. The Pinnacle pay restaurant was very good and was the standard of food that used to be served in the main dining room of previous cruise ships! It seems now HAL is under the umbrella of Carnival, the standard has certainly dropped! Went ashore in Cabo and during that evening awoke next morning with bites on my neck and abdomen?? After going ashore in Mazatlan, I showered and took a nap to awake with more bites on my arms and legs! I very discreetly spoke to the concierge that there were bed bugs biting me. The bed linen was changed but during the night I had more bites so next port I told them again and saw a DOCTOR in Puerto Vallarta as ship doctor was on short hours while in port. Yes it was confirmed some bug had been biting me and she gave me a script for tablets and topical cream for itch and antiseptic. Concierge said I must see the ship doctor to confirm the bites were from bugs at a cost of $120! I did this and yes I was bitten, but by what? I already knew that, so I gave the bill to the concierge who duly took it and arranged for the whole bedding including the MATTRESS be changed. No more bites!! Bed bugs gone! Now, company would not accept Drs account, but the concierge did arrange a beautiful Spa complimentary for us both. So they made good in the end. I do not question that they endeavour to uphold a high standard of hygiene, but even in the best of best, a bug can get into bedding. Husband got stuck in an elevator in formal tuxedo on first formal night, nearly steamed to death as no a/c in elevator and the time it took to be released! Made good with a $50 drink card. Balcony separating door latch broken and banged all night, fixed 3 times and third time done correctly! No drink card for that. Cabin stewards were fantastic, Danny and Narn were absolutely great. They knew when we needed the ice bucket topped up and turned our cabin around in a blink each morning. Pity some one didn't check our room properly as we were shocked to find a charge on our Amex for bathrobes and binoculars! They have since agreed to credit our Amex but could take 6 weeks! Really!! We actually left the ship with money still on our drink card and our suite card...... Hoping HAL will consider this as a constructive review as there are a lot of positive things that made part of the cruise enjoyable. I would not do the trip from San Diego again but join in Valparaiso. Hoping they can lift the game up a little on the negative issues. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The only reason this has three stars was the amazing day we spent cruising in Glacier Bay. If it wasn't for this, it would only be 2 stars. Firstly, we complied with all their requirements about my husbands food allergies (Celiac) ... Read More
The only reason this has three stars was the amazing day we spent cruising in Glacier Bay. If it wasn't for this, it would only be 2 stars. Firstly, we complied with all their requirements about my husbands food allergies (Celiac) and the crew (staff) were very ill informed about all food allergies. So much so, we spent the first day in port shopping for safe food. The three ports we visited were the usual over crowded tourist traps with three ships in each small port. I do not recommend using Holland America's transport from Seattle Airport. We were at the airport by 9.30 in the morning and we didn't get on board till 4 p.m. No stops, only for immigration. Then we found all food stations were closed. Our cabin was very good, we took the guaranteed option and I can recommend 3368. It is on the promenade deck, we checked and with a tinting on the window, no one can see in. This cabin is close to the elevators and only a couple of cabins away from the exit to the deck. We heard that you couldn't stow luggage under the bed so we took a pair of nesting suitcases and were able to stow them in one of the closets, plenty of storage space. We asked for a call if the Northern Lights were visible and it worked. Great service. This is our second try on a Holland America ship, the last time was many years ago and we were hoping that by now, they would have trained their staff in accommodating passengers with food allergies. NO. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was my first cruise. All in all it went well. The positives: cabin very clean, ship very clean, staff extremely attentive (except the front desk people who were not always helpful). Negatives: in my cabin you could hear the music ... Read More
This was my first cruise. All in all it went well. The positives: cabin very clean, ship very clean, staff extremely attentive (except the front desk people who were not always helpful). Negatives: in my cabin you could hear the music being played from the floor below, the cabin had an odor as if the there was an issue with the plumbing system. The entertainment was not very good and that was disappointing. Also the port of Haines was VERY boring as there really is not much to do there. There are not many activities to do on the ship and the ship needs updating. We took the train from Anchorage to Seward. The ride was nice but they messed up our registration on the train so when we were going to the ship we had to wait for our boarding cards. Getting off the ship also did not go very smoothly as we purchased the package for transportation to the airport and for the ship to take our bags to the airport. They call EVERYONE at the same time to the lounge at 7:50am. We did not board our bus until 10:00am! We sat for over 2 hours in the lounge doing nothing. No reason for that. We had dietary restrictions (kosher) and the food specially ordered was NOT edible. The cruise line needs to get a new supplier. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had taken another Holland America Cruise and it was great. This one, not so much: 1) Travel to Anchorage was problematic. We wanted to go 2 day2 before but the agent talked us into going the day before and of course there was ... Read More
We had taken another Holland America Cruise and it was great. This one, not so much: 1) Travel to Anchorage was problematic. We wanted to go 2 day2 before but the agent talked us into going the day before and of course there was weather. So instead of getting into Anchorage at noon, we got in at Midnight. I called several time the Holland America "Help" Desk. They weren't of any help. If it had not been for DELTA, we would have missed to Trip to Denali. 2) Of course we had trouble with luggage 3) the Trip to Denali includes a 9 hour train ride and a ten hour bus ride (Lvs at 6:45am) back, so time in Denali is two evenings and one full day. So you are on the train/bus longer than you are in Denali. 4) Our Holland America bus driver talked the entire time! He also said alot of inappropriate things 5) Coffee on board was horrible. You can buy $tarbuck$ downstairs. Wait... you don’t think they have crummy coffee so as to sell…. 6) On board they are Constantly sell, sell, sell, sell,sell. I thought we were on the home shopping channel cruise. 5)Holland America STRONGLY suggests you get your boarding passes before leaving the boat. Of course that requires you to purchase internet $$$$. 7) No need for a balcony. They have dividers up between rooms which limits the view. We were mostly up in the public areas. 8) Remember 15% service charge on all alcohol. 9) No soft drinks available in the dinig rooms. So you have to buy $oft drink$. 10) No outlets near the bed so bring a long extension cord for your CPAP machine 11) Little gym with only a few treadmills, walk upstairs. The $spa is expen$ive they offer a pass into the spa fpr %250 for two, but you can only use it about once a day so do the math. However, the crew and ship were first rate, and the excursions were ok. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We are fairly seasoned travellers, looking for and adult environment and great trips. Between my wife and I, her on her 13 cruise, we found the Zaandam, our first HA cruise, to be not up to par. The water leak in our room that ... Read More
We are fairly seasoned travellers, looking for and adult environment and great trips. Between my wife and I, her on her 13 cruise, we found the Zaandam, our first HA cruise, to be not up to par. The water leak in our room that covered a third of the carpet was one thing, and was graciously compensated for by a meal in the paid restaurant. That was by far the best mean on the trip. The day to day food was not as good as other lines sailed with and we have collectively been on Celebrity, Princess, and Carnival. The ship is only 60+ tonnes and I'm personally at a point where 100 tonne and up is the way to go. Our next trip this October from Rome Italy to Florida with Princess will be on a 140,000 tonne. Nice. What was nice, was that contrary to some mother that argued with me that the total craziness of the Norwegian cruise we took last December out of New York was fine with all the typical uncontrolled children, our HA cruise was quiet. NOTE TO PARENTS: No cruises were never designed for kids, but if you are lucky to be able to afford one with your little darlings, keep them quiet and tethered as on this cruise so the adults can enjoy their cruise. We heard other adults with the same sentiments. Norwegian Cruise lines with its 'Freestyle' nonsense style of cruising is not for us. Like most parents, of which we are, adults want quiet and not to be tripping over kids as we were on Norwegian. Nor do we want to sit at dinner on a formal night in our dress clothes (i.e. suit, tux), and sit beside a family in old jeans because they don't respect a dress code...oh, yes, Norwegian doesn't care either! NOTE TO CRUISE LINES: If you want to cater to adults that are paying the fees, keep dress standards on formal nights and standards even on casual nights where pants should be worn. I loved it when on the Zaandam, when it looked like 2 US farm boys from yuck yucksville tried to actually enter the dining room dressed in jeans or overalls looking like they had just put the pigs away in the barn. They were asked to leave. Bravo Holland America. We may try another ship and possibly the food will improve. I will say that other passengers said they always cruise Holland America. Last note. We ended the cruise with a Holland America 4 day land tour of Alaska and we loved it. What a wonderful state, if you don't encounter one of their many earthquakes. Great seamless job on the luggage following us to each resort. Well organized and recommended. I will add that if you are expecting Mt. McKinley to be at the National Park and in easy view, well its misleading. The mountain is many miles away and you really can't see it without an excursion. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I was already in Seward so I chose an low priced cruise to return to Vancouver. The ship was older but quite lovely, being very well maintained. The cabin was about 25 sq. feet larger that the average inside cabin on other ships that I ... Read More
I was already in Seward so I chose an low priced cruise to return to Vancouver. The ship was older but quite lovely, being very well maintained. The cabin was about 25 sq. feet larger that the average inside cabin on other ships that I have sailed on [such as Royal Caribbean]. I use the cafe rather than the dining room as I travel alone and prefer casdual service (and no tie & jacket)! The food was not as good as on the Royal Caribbean or Princess, with dinner items being repeated several times during the 7 days of the cruise! The entertainment was good with the ship's dance dance & music ensemble being FANTASTIC, Broadway touring quality. The ports & Shore excursions were pretty standard Alaskan cruise fare though the wildlife centre was the highlight. The scenery (including the glaciers & icebergs) was breathtaking and the ship's captain tried to point out all of the highlights on the way. I never thought I would be continually thrilled to watch those majestic mountain peaks for days on end. Safety was sadly not a priority. While eating dinner one day, part of the ceiling collapsed, with a ceiling panel striking my shoulder. Once the steward ascertained that I wasn't really hurt, they cleaned up the floor & continued seating people under the open ceiling, never checking to see if more of the ceiling would come down. Nor did they check on me afterwards in my cabin to see how my shoulder was. Also, those entering the cafe were not req'd to use the hand sanitizer even though they were serving themselves food with shared serving utensils. I think that if an outbreak of Norwalk virus would have occurred, it would have spread like wildfire. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our first HAL cruise. We have cruised about 12 other times on Carnival, Norwegian and Celebrity. This was a cruise/land combination (Double Denali). The Zaandam is smaller so that it can go through the inside passage (about ... Read More
This was our first HAL cruise. We have cruised about 12 other times on Carnival, Norwegian and Celebrity. This was a cruise/land combination (Double Denali). The Zaandam is smaller so that it can go through the inside passage (about 1200 passengers). The cabin was very nice and spacious (ocean view). The decor of the ship was clean and simple with a musical theme. Lots of space to move about. The staff was very good, especially the casino staff who were probably the most friendly and helpful that we have ever met. The food quality was good in the dining room and service good. We found dining options lacking compared to other cruises that we have taken. We found it very odd that the Lido buffet closed at 8 p.m. reopening at 10:30 p.m. which left a gap where there was zero food available during the evening unless you wanted to wait until later. If you didn't want to make it to the dining times, you were out of luck. There is only 1 optional dining bar (a hamburger joint on the Lido deck) and it is only open until 5 p.m. daily. The service was incredibly slow and, of the two times that we went there, the orders were wrong both times. The lounge entertainment was the most disappointing part of our cruise. There were 4 options: A jazz trio in a lounge that were decent but played very low key music. An individual guitar player that played some modern music but preferred to fall back on his Irish roots. He was the best choice to listen to for us. A piano player who was an excellent musician but played Gershwin, Streisand, Sinatra and mostly show tunes. The HALcats who played in the Crows nest and I assume were trying to be the upbeat group - not particulary good to listen to and appeared to be a few musicians who had been thrown together by HAL. I know that HAL caters to an older crowd and many people would probably love to listen to showtunes every night but I am 60 years old and these entertainment choices were far too low key for us. "Sedate" would be a polite word. Guest services staff were very polite and helpful. I found the Tour desk staff to be very methodical and just want to process the line. Port excursions were plentiful (we did Snorkeling in Ketchikan, whale watching in Juneau and Glacier Wilderness in Skagway) - definitely recommend the Glacier Wilderness tour. We continued on to the land tour after our cruise and really enjoyed the included activities. The Discovery Riverboat excursion (included) was excellent and I booked Golf at Black Diamond in Denali - would definitely recommend the Golf and Dinner combination - amazing food and lots of fun golfing at night! Hotels on the land portion were better than expected with good service. **** WARNING: When we boarded in Vancouver, Customs was experiencing significant slowdowns with boarding. Passengers were waiting up to 4 hours to get through security. If you have a NEXUS card, use it! We had ours and only took 15 minutes to bypass the chaos. Overall, we enjoyed our tour (no such thing as a bad cruise in my mind) but don't think that we will go with HAL again based on the Food and Entertainment experiences. As I said, at 60 I have to consider myself older but apparently HAL is catering to people with different expectations than us. For us, Norwegian is probably the choice. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We are experienced cruisers, recently sailing on Crystal, Azamara Club, and Princess. This was our first Holland America ship in over 15 years. My wife has mobility difficulties, so we booked a special cabin. The cruise was 21 days ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers, recently sailing on Crystal, Azamara Club, and Princess. This was our first Holland America ship in over 15 years. My wife has mobility difficulties, so we booked a special cabin. The cruise was 21 days long, the highlight a three day cruise of the shores of Antarctica. We chose HAL because the itinerary suited our desires and the price our purses. The itinerary was excellent. We had fine weather throughout, notably in the Falklands and the Antarctic. The cruise of the Chilean fjords and glaciers I also found fascinating. The Zaandam stopped at 4 Chilean ports: Punta Arenas, Chacabuco, Castro, and Puerto Montt and all were interesting. The excursions, though pricey, were very good – we visited 3 separate penguin sites, near Puerto Madryn, in the Falklands, and in Isla Magdelena (the most spectacular) and all were different as well as fascinating. The Antarctic experience was less satisfying because although plenty of icebergs there was comparatively little wildlife. To see more watch a BBC nature documentary or take an adventure cruise where zodiacs bring you closer to the shore. The Antarctic lecturers, however, were excellent, plentiful, informative, and interesting. The Zaandam is in good shape, very pleasant public spaces, the two-floor dining room impressive. Our room was cramped, though the special washroom was large and certainly accessible. Staff was always friendly and helpful. The Lido buffet was amongst the best I've enjoyed (by contrast the Star Princess was loathsome), clean, organized, lots of variety, full of tasty treats at all times – as a foodie, this was the best feature of the cruise ship. The poolside grill was also tasty and efficient. But unfortunately not all was good with the food on the ship. The dining room food was usually varied and decent – except soups were poor, steak sometimes tough and tasteless, and fish dishes uniformly a failure. The so-called premier specialty restaurant the Pinnacle Grill also had poor steak – an extraordinary failing, especially given the fact you had to pay extra, roughly $60 a person. The bistro offered bad coffee at a price, yet another sin on a cruise. The most irritating aspects of the cruise, however, was the mix of greed and meanness. HAL is one of those lines which charge for bottled water, whether in the room or going on an excursion. Indeed they constantly seek to sell booze and wine, all manner of trinkets, shoddy clothes, trashy art – it is pathetic and gets on your nerves after a week. The wine (a good selection however) is over-priced. Entertainment was often mediocre, except for a classical music duo called Adagio, and they were superb – surely the administration can put some more money into better performers? We just stopped going to the shows at night after a series of failures. The video of the Antarctica experience was poor: either the videographer lacked the talent or the equipment to do the job right – and you had to purchase the video sight unseen. The charge for internet service was exorbitant, especially when other lines give free hours or no charge service. The self-service laundry was tiny on a ship the size of the Zaandam plus you had to carry a kilo of coins to get the machines to work. So many small disservices to their clients. Disembarkation at Valparaiso was a shambles for most people, though we benefitted from the excellent wheelchair service the ship provided and the fact we independently booked a transfer to a Santiago hotel. Would I travel HAL again? Likely not. Fortunately we sailed out of Valparaiso soon after on a Crystal ship, and that experience has been far superior. But I don't regret the trip on the Zaandam because the itinerary was so fine. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Old and tired ship.Had problems with air/heating, cold and hot water and a "flooded" cabin. These were truly inconveniences as it was an incredible journey around South America to Antarctica! Food was at best, mediocre in ... Read More
Old and tired ship.Had problems with air/heating, cold and hot water and a "flooded" cabin. These were truly inconveniences as it was an incredible journey around South America to Antarctica! Food was at best, mediocre in selection and consistently served cold or lukewarm. Christmas goose entree was served cold and so tough it had to be sent back. The wine steward was rude and loud. In room dining was on time and arrived hot, or cold as appropriate with great coffee. The Lido buffet was lacking in variety. Limited fruit offerings and tasteless desserts. Food was served warm at best including the "hot" oatmeal. Service here was limited. You could sit several minutes and not have anyone offer to bring a drink. The grill on the pool deck had superb hot grilled sandwiches.The Cannaletto was superb. Entertainment was good to horrid. Crew shows were by far the best at Christmas and the Filipino crew show as outstanding.There is nothing funny about a ventriloquist or a comedian with a limited repertoire. Bar entertainment was good but loud. The best was the Adagio duo. A professional and virtuoso pianist joined by an equally impressive violinist. We went every night! The Cruise Director and Captain made this a memorable cruise due to their involvement with the passengers, the incredible itinerary and the utilization of fantastic and very knowledgeable group of scientists who provided lectures and comments. Probably not choose Holland again unless they are the only ones going where we want to go. . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
I am not quibbling about Alaska. Alaska was lovely, and I am delighted to have had a chance to experience some of it! This review is solely about the cruise itself. Ever since cruising to Canada on the Veendam, I'd been looking ... Read More
I am not quibbling about Alaska. Alaska was lovely, and I am delighted to have had a chance to experience some of it! This review is solely about the cruise itself. Ever since cruising to Canada on the Veendam, I'd been looking forward to this. The Veendam was amazing! I could hardly wait to have a similar experience, but with ALASKA! Unfortunately, it was not to be, mostly because of the Zaandam's staff. While the Veendam's staff was attentive and proactive, the Zaandam's staff did a reasonably professional job, mostly, but were going through the motions. One had to nag them for service. The waiters regularly delivered the wrong dishes to people; sometimes it seemed like they ignored our orders and just distributed dishes at random. The cabin attendants routinely ignored "Service, please" tags, often for hours. And the real crowning glory was when our toilet failed at round midnight. For two solid hours the front desk assured us that someone would be up promptly, when we nagged repeatedly. At a bit after 2 a guy showed up, with a tool. I heard his tool clanking in the bowl, then a flush, then more clanking, then another few flushes... And THEN he had the gall to tell me that there was never anything wrong with the toilet, I just hadn't bothered to flush it. Um, no. I would not be awake at 2 am when I wanted to crash at midnight if *I* had been able to do anything about the toilet. Very offensive. The front desk did comp us a bottle of wine, but that hardly made up for 2 hours of anxiety rather than sleep, and an insult at the end. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
I last sailed on Zaandam 5 years ago. Since then I have sailed with Celebrity and Azamara. Celebrity in particular makes HAL look like a poor cousin. The menu in the main dining room was almost identical to the menu 5 years ago. ... Read More
I last sailed on Zaandam 5 years ago. Since then I have sailed with Celebrity and Azamara. Celebrity in particular makes HAL look like a poor cousin. The menu in the main dining room was almost identical to the menu 5 years ago. Perfectly OK but no wow factor. GI on board didn't help matters. Cabins badly need refurbishing and the shampoo and conditioner provided is just awful. Entertainment was OK but the HALCATS at the pool were far too loud. That said my main reason for this cruise was to do the horribly expensive overland to Machu Picchu. I asked for an aisle seat on all flights and every time I had to organise it myself at the airport. If they can do a group check in and have boarding passes ready why was this so difficult? The hotel in Cusco, J W Marriott was wonderful and the Hiram Bingham train was superb. A bad dose of altitude sickness meant I didn't really get to appreciate it but it was all well organised and Machu Picchu was just like all the photos. The option of a slower tour on site was really good, but I am so over listening to guides raving on and having to stand and listen with nowhere to sit. Would I recommend this tour? No. If you are pressed for time do it, but if you have any other option, go for it. Several people on this tour did not make it from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Too sick, and speaking of sick! we were given a boxed lunch to carry with us on the last day, Cusco to Lima and Lima to Trujillo. A pain to carry along with hand luggage and souvenirs but several people ended up with a nasty gastric bug. The flight from Lima to Trujillo was late and Zaandam waited for us. This is the big advantage of a ship's tour. At the other ports I did my own thing, much more satisfactory. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My now wife and I did our honeymoon on the Zandaam and had an absolutely wonderful time! To start out with, we are both young. I turned 30 thirty two days before we got on this boat. When we got there, we noticed that the AARP would highly ... Read More
My now wife and I did our honeymoon on the Zandaam and had an absolutely wonderful time! To start out with, we are both young. I turned 30 thirty two days before we got on this boat. When we got there, we noticed that the AARP would highly recommend this boat as it was 90% over the age of 60. That's fine though, as we realize that Holland America is the "old people" brand and one of the reasons we chose it is a lack of small children running around. That being said, there were always a ton of activities for younger folks to do and we were never bored. The assistant cruise director, the band, and the bars had a lot to do with this. The boat itself is a little tired. Not horrible, but the bathrooms could have come out of the 80's, the furniture, the 90's. Our room, a Neptune suite, had holes in the carpet and the sofa was beat to pieces. But the bed was mostly comfortable, although they did not have any "T"'s to combine the twins into a queen. Instead, we had our steward (who, by the way, like all the staff, was fantastic) stuff the bed with towels. And though it was worn, the ship was always spotless. The excursions were mostly good. There are a lot of cattle car tours where you sign up for a bus and they herd you on and off to take pictures and say, "I've been there". With the exception of Montevideo and Santiago, there was always one more active excursion that was excellent. We particularly loved hanging with Penguins, canoeing, and white water rafting. The last day, however, there were no options but bus tours. Our driver droned on and on about how capitalism is superior to socialism and communism and also stopped the whole bus so he could smoke. Yeah, glad I paid $400 for that... So if the cruise was mostly good, why would I not go with Holland America again? The food. The food was the worst food I have ever had on a cruise ship. Breakfast was two eggs, bread and a cheap piece of meat. Oh, it sounded fancy with names of foreign countries attached to it, but there is no fooling this guy, its all the same! For 14 days in a row! Lunch was bland, often cold, and tasted like I was eating a run down Piccadilly Cafeteria. Bland, often cold, no variety or variation, and all as cheap as they pencil pushers could make it. It was nasty. Dinner was OK, but there was a serious lack of flavor. It seems as opposed to offend someone with taste, they would just not have any taste at all. And here is the thing that made me so mad about it all: The Pinnacle, the specialty restaurant on the boat was hands down the best food I have ever had on a cruise. Holland America is totally capable of making food that taste good (the burger bar on the pool deck was also good), but they chose not to. The food alone will keep me from ever sailing with Holland America again. Also, the coffee was terrible. It was like they took the grounds from other cruise boats, let them sit in the sun and dry out, and then make their coffee from that. I hate that one thing was so bad that it would keep us from coming back. We really did have a great time and I have never seen such an awesome staff of people on a boat. Even the Captain was great and joined us for breakfast one day. For the most part, they really had great options of things to do and shore excursions for young couples and we were able to totally avoid large numbers of kids. It would have been perfect had the food issue not been there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
We are a fit couple in our early 70s. Having had a great first cruise to Alaska with HAL we decided to take the South America trip. We went from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. The public areas of the ship were spotless and someone was always ... Read More
We are a fit couple in our early 70s. Having had a great first cruise to Alaska with HAL we decided to take the South America trip. We went from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. The public areas of the ship were spotless and someone was always polishing something. Our Verandah stateroom was clean but dated. The bathroom was very poor. Having paid top money we did not expect a chipped bath, painted tile grouting which was peeling off and black mold in places. I have the photos. I found a small bottle of mouthwash and a hair grip in the bathroom cupboard.The door frame had been hastily repainted and the other side had no paint on at all. The verandah furniture had been badly repainted too.It was tatty. HAL proclaim they are saving the planet but having a spa bath is very wasteful and not hygienic. Climbing into a bath to have a shower is so last century and dangerous to the elderly in rough weather. The food was excellent. The 'open dining' idea is good as you meet different people every meal. Lunch in the LIDO was a bit of a scramble and the meal could be cold by the time you found a table. The drinks policy is archaic. Other cruise lines allow you to purchase drinks ashore. The wines were far too expensive and people said they had never drunk so little at table. The ship is considered a 'hotel' but the cost of wifi was disgraceful. They said it was because it was satellite. Most people would have been happy with any wifi near a port FREE. We go on a cruise to visit places we could not visit solo. eg.The Falklands, Cape Horn. We want to see places, talk with locals, wander about at leisure and experience things. We were very disappointed with the 'at sea' days. There were no guest speakers.Some of the Senior crew gave talks but we did not want to learn how to cook, play cards, or the 'pokies'. We can do that at home. The shows were on too late for us 'oldies' and the musicians playing the bars were pathetic. No wonder the rooms were empty. The exception was the Piano/violin couple, Adagio. They were superb but when we pointed out to HAL staff that people coming out of the dining room laughing and shouting while they were playing was rude and disrespectful, they said they would do something about it, sent us a plate of chocolates and did nothing. A simple notice, saying QUIET PLEASE was all that was necessary. The tour instructor was awful. His talks were garbled from his laptop. Ask him anything else and he did not have a clue. Someone said he had swallowed a tour leaflet! The talks were shallow. He said he had been doing them for 3 years! One years talks 3 times! Even the Captain had to intervene when he did not know about fish farming in the Darwin Channel. Only 70.000+ people work in fish farming out of Puerto Montt! It was unfortunate that the 3 days cruising the Chilean Fiords was shrouded in cloud and mist but it cannot have been the only time it happened. Why were there not extra things put on for us? The trips from the ship were very expensive for what they were, and too short. Trying to get 160 people onto tenders, then onto buses and then a ferry to Magdalena Island was very time consuming. Perhaps more trips with less people might be better. We took a bus tour round Buenos Aires for $20 for 2 lasting 4 hours with lovely photos of us and a CD of the places we had seen given to us at the end. HOW MUCH was the trip arranged by HAL?   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
60++ cruises so I have been there done that to include many Holland America Cruises. I found this Zaandam experience to be perhaps the worst of all my Holland America cruises. It simply is not up to par. There are no huge differences but ... Read More
60++ cruises so I have been there done that to include many Holland America Cruises. I found this Zaandam experience to be perhaps the worst of all my Holland America cruises. It simply is not up to par. There are no huge differences but multiple small things that overall add up to a lot of disappointments. Sadly many of the small shortcomings could seemingly be fixed at little or no cost but somehow it goes on. The once very proud premium Holland America line is not what it once was. A few observations: The Lido: The ice and water dispensing machines in the Lido and by the pool were out of order for the entire 22 days. Ice was served in a walmart looking plastic container that means everyone was picking up the lid and then replacing it which no doubt transferred a lot of germs into the ice. The water was in metal pitchers sitting there open to the elements and even more contamination. The coffee machines also seemed too often not quite right. The hot tea water dispensers worked about half the time if you were lucky meaning more backups and waiting as passengers tried to figure them out. The salad selection in Lido was poor at best with pretty much the exact same selections for lunch and dinner most every day. It appeared to be an attempt to serve the least expensive possible ingredients over and over compared for example to the Oosterdam that had a wonderful selection. The cooked to order omelet had only one cook and no helper so of course the lines got long and were just more trouble than it was worth. The Lido staff was very pleasant and helpful in spite of the lack of working equipment and overall poor food selection. Shame on management for not providing better support by keeping the equipment up to date and working. The stateroom: I had an outside ocean view room on Dolphin deck. Overall the room is fine though dated. Some new flat screen larger TVs would be a cheap but good improvement. Also a refrigerator should be standard these days. One plug is not enough to charge all the cameras and gadgets that most passengers now carry. As usual on Holland the room stewards were excellent and their good service and constant smiles makes up for other shortcomings. For the fourth cruise in a row on Holland even though requested well in advance that as two men travelling together we wanted two beds only to arrive and find one bed meaning it had to be redone. Sounds like a small thing except after flying all night it would be nice to walk into the room and be able to take a nap without hassles/waiting hours for beds to be redone...and of course more work for the steward rather than get it right to begin with. Once upon a time apparently the stewards were given a print out showing bedding preferences of newly arriving passengers but apparently that no longer happens or if it does no one pays any attention to it. Self service laundry: In spite of showing several on the deck plans there is only ONE for 1400 passengers. No explanation as to what happened to the other ones which no longer exist. Even the deck plans in the elevators still list non- existent self service laundries so good luck if you came on board expecting three or four only to find ONE (deck 3). Entertainment: Some good ones like Neal the magician and a few others but overall second rate at best. HAL singers and dancers/props in my opinion were pretty awful....something from a high school presentation and just generally not professional in the least. Appears to be another CCL attempt to minimize expense by providing sub par entertainment. The Wiang Movie theatre has good but unrealized potential to be a big plus....but for some reason the screen is mounted so low on the wall that the projection barely clears the front passengers heads so you literally have to sit up very straight to see over the heads. Movie selection is really poor. Even on sea days same crappy movie shown maybe at 3, 7 and 10 pm....and on port days when many passengers do stay onboard no movies at all. WHY in the world can't Holland buy a high definition DVD player, mount the screen properly , and play a variety of movies with multiple showings all day every day? Holland has a big library of dvds that passengers can borrow for stateroom viewing so why not show some of them in the theatre on a big screen? I suspect most of the passengers may well have a better video system in their home than the Wiang theatre. The popcorn is good though. One wonders if any of the ships officers or CCL execs have ever even been to a movie there and if so why in the world don't they fix some of the obvious problems? Several days sitting in the crows nest in the morning with a few other passengers trying to read books in quiet the music being played (can we ever just have quiet?) was a mix of soft rock and some ghetto RAP....give me a break Holland do you really think your older passenger demographics want to listen to RAP music? Get a clue. Casino: If you like the smell of stale cigarette smoke then this is your place. I avoided it like the plaque as it flat out STINKS. On the plus side it seems most of the smokers are finally getting the idea and other than a few die hards there were no smokers on the decks other than the back pool area starboard where it is smokers heaven. The Library: One of the best things about the Zaandam is a large well stocked library with excellent seating etc. Better than the Oosterdam Library which though serving more passengers is smaller and not well laid out at all. Walking deck: The Zaandam has the usual good Holland fake teak full circle walking deck with four laps to the mile. Unlike other Holland ships no water fountain on the deck. For some strange reason the maintenance guys seem to almost go out of their way to schedule some minor maintenance tasks and block off parts of deck access just at sailing time when lots of people are on deck and trying to walk the decks. Several times the deck chairs were piled up and left in a big mess for hours at a time. Unlike other Holland ships I noticed that the deck chair cushions were often left out overnight to get wet. One badly broken chair sat for two days before it was removed. Also unlike other Holland ships they actually TIE the chairs to a rail with some cheap string/twine to keep them from sliding in rough weather. Other Holland ships long ago built a small wooden teak railing to hold them in place.....but i guess at age 15 the Zaandam hasn't quite figured that out yet? The doors to the bow of the ship housing all kinds of equipment were left standing open day after day which seemed to me to be a security breach at best. Elevators: Several of the elevator doors open or close at glacier speeds and remained that way for 22 days. I suspect a can of WD 40 would have fixed them but again nobody much seemed to care. Shore excursions: Nothing new here. As with all Holland ships (and most other cruise lines as well) the object is to sell as many overpriced tours as possible....and naturally this means going out of their way to NOT give you any information about taxis, internet, atms, exchange rates or any information that an independent traveler would find helpful. This is not going to change so best advice is do your homework before the cruise on the ports if you prefer to go out on your own. The "scare tactics" used to push the tours that you may well miss the ship if you don't go on a Holland Tour are dishonest at best....shame on cruise lines for trying to scare a bunch of older people with these BS tactics. Newsletter: I write the same thing after every cruise but of course nothing changes. The newsletter is AWFUL. Zero imagination, typos and errors, and if anyone proof reads it they sure aren't very good at it. The newsletter being the number one way to communicate with all the passengers is a marketing lesson in missed opportunities. How about featuring ONE of your HARD WORKING service staff in each days' newsletter with their picture and a brief bio of where they are from, their hobbies, their family etc? The passengers I am sure would enjoy it and comment to the staff member and it would be a big source of PRIDE for the staff and the cost to Holland would be pretty much ZERO. Holland/CCL certainly doesn't mind working them long hard hours and even expecting them to do a late night crew show so how about a little RECOGNITION for the very people that are your best asset? . The staff: Carlos the cruise director was excellent in my opinion. Very nice and personable guy who seemed to be everywhere all the time and genuinely interested in personally getting to know as many passengers as possible. In 22 days I saw the captain ONE TIME walking quickly through the LIDO. Never saw him anywhere else except for official functions. A good hotel general manger makes it a point to walk through every restaurant and public area EVERY day to see for himself what is going on. This does not seem to be the case on the Zaandam. As usual the lowest paid Indonesian/Fillipino staff seem to carry the ball and without their good service and constant smiles I suspect a lot of long time Holland customers would be long gone as CCL continues to cut staff and cheapen the Holland brand. The itinerary: Overall about what I expected. For me the two Peru stops were terrrible at best. Lima is a big traffic jam city with hardly a tree left standing. My favorite ports were by far the three Chile stops. Ship Log: The final day all passengers receive a "ships log" to recap the journey. For many no doubt this goes into a scrap book. But once again no proof reading and obviously nobody gives a hoot about accuracy. Our cruise log lists the distance from Vancouver to Victoria at 2443 kms (actually 80 km) . From Puerto Chipas Mexico to Corinto Nicaragua is shown at 2363 km (actually approx 800 km)....the last two ports are left off completely. The distances shown are obviously WAY OFF but again nobody seems to proof read anything. The number of passengers is shown as 1989 rather than the 1400 that is the real number. SLOPPY. Sorry if this all comes off as a whine session but it is frustrating to a long time cruiser such as I am to see the overall decline of what was once a proud well run cruise line like Holland America. There is still much that is good with Holland. I do like the classic design of the ships without all the silly bells and whistles of rock climbing walls and the like. The itineraries are overall good. The wait staff is still among the best at sea in spite of having to service more rooms and people with smaller numbers of employees. Holland is no different than other lines in turning the once mostly inclusive cruise into way too much nickle and diming but that seems to be unavoidable these days. There is a fine line between too much cost cutting, lack of maintenance, and too much nickle and diming before you start to lose customers. Holland/CCL might do well to make sure not to cross that line excessively as it is becoming very apparent to many long term customers what's up since the CCL takeover. If any of the execs at CCL in Miami ever read any of these reviews it would seem that they might actually FIX some of the sloppy work and issues that are raised by real passengers over and over. I understand full well that CCL is out to squeeze every penny out of every passenger but even that is no excuse for just stupid and sloppy management.   Read Less
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.7
Service 3.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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