14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
That was our second cruise with Holland America, out of tens of cruises with 10+ cruise companies over the last 20 years or so. First Holland America cruise was aboard the Maasdam, years ago, and it was a pleasant experience. We choosed ... Read More
That was our second cruise with Holland America, out of tens of cruises with 10+ cruise companies over the last 20 years or so. First Holland America cruise was aboard the Maasdam, years ago, and it was a pleasant experience. We choosed this second one based upon our prior experience and because we wanted a cruise back home, from US, along South America's Pacific coast - the 34-day San Diego to Rio cruise. Embarkation process was straightforward. Ok, as suite guests, we had a dedicated line, but the ordinary line was also empty by the time we arrived at San Diego Cruise Terminal. Stateroom condition, on the other hand, wasn't that good. The deck that runs along the windows was dirty and greasy. TV remote was greasy, as well, so that we had to point it to the steward and ask him for a thorough cleaning. Cereal remnants under the bed and chocolate behind the curtains were also not very nice findings. Dining was an experience that swung between heaven and hell. We had most of our meals at the Main Dining Room, with excellent service. We had most of our breakfast and lunch at the Lido Market, with the most terrible experience of all cruises. Apart from a very few attendants and their managers, Lido crew was the worse ever. Most of the times we could see managers doing attendants' chores, like cleaning tables and serving drinks. I guess this is not what managers are for. Entertainment and Activities are a little more of the same - the fabulous ship's dancers and singers, comedians, performers, lecturers, movies - one will always find something to enjoy. Port and Shore Excursions staff does a very good job. Some flaws here and there but, in the end, things worked fine. I still cannot understand why cruise companies insist in choosing ports like Puerto Chiapas or Huatulco (MX), with absolutely NO activity one could do on his own - options were to stay on board or to join a ship excursion. We expected far more than this. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I had not sailed this portion of coast north of Valpraiso. This trip from San Diego to Valpraiso was changed or diverted from Valprqiso to San Antonio two weeks before us all being willing to npay for decent food by going to a sailing. ... Read More
I had not sailed this portion of coast north of Valpraiso. This trip from San Diego to Valpraiso was changed or diverted from Valprqiso to San Antonio two weeks before us all being willing to npay for decent food by going to a sailing. Many of us had prepaid car and hotel reservations in or near Valpraiso that were non refundable. We spent $150 USD getting backce t way.o our hotel and rental car and Holland America would make no arrangement unless you purchased a $86 excursion to the Santiago Airport. Not Sure why I should have paid as it wasn't my screw-up. The food was mediorcre as we have witnessed the last several years across thee cruise fleet. This was facilitated by going to up-charge restaurants so they could let the food quality decline. So we who use the up charge restaurants. These ports are mostly industrial ports,normally you could visit them only on a freighter cruise. Many excursions from these ports inviolve 2 hour or more bus rides each way. Not much here for any tourist. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
I chose this cruise because it offered a visit to the Denali Wilderness Park. It also visited Skagway and Fairbanks, both places I had not visited. My first mistake was booking through a secondary seller. My usual travel agent was told ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it offered a visit to the Denali Wilderness Park. It also visited Skagway and Fairbanks, both places I had not visited. My first mistake was booking through a secondary seller. My usual travel agent was told by Holland America that they had not heard of the trip I was trying to book. So my friend and I booked through the secondary seller. The price was very low and as the trip progressed we discovered why. A complimentary cabin upgrade was offered. When we asked, no such upgrade was available. Gratuities were advertised as included. We were billed onboard for gratuities. Holland America's response to my inquiry about this was to politely say that it was my fault for taking such a cheap trip. The food on board ranged from acceptable to mediocre. Things that had been complimentary when I last travelled on Holland America were now charged for. Service was acceptable but orders in the dining room were frequently incorrect. There seemed to be an expectation that every service person you encountered was owed a tip. Shore excursions were aggressively marketed and overpriced. The hotel we overnighted in in Anchorage was badly in need of renovations. It was advertised as three star. I would call it closer to two stars. The breakfast buffet was terrible and outrageously priced. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Holland America used to have a very good reputation but since Carnival bought the cruise line forget it. It is a typical Carnival owned cruise line, mediocre at best. We ate in the main dining room and never went back. We had dinner in ... Read More
Holland America used to have a very good reputation but since Carnival bought the cruise line forget it. It is a typical Carnival owned cruise line, mediocre at best. We ate in the main dining room and never went back. We had dinner in the Pinnacle Steakhouse and it was not a good steak. I get better steak consistently in my local Texas Roadhouse. The buffet was blah. I even had one of the cooks tell me I didn't know how to order my eggs correctly. In our cabin, we had a broken lounger on our veranda that I wouldn't sit in. I told the room steward and his response was "I know". What was really strange, and not very nice, the entire ship was non-smoking except they allowed smoking in roughly 1/3 of the casino so naturally you smelled smoke. The ship however was clean. This was at least my 10th cruise, not counting a river cruise, and would I sail on Holland America again; No way. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a ... Read More
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a couple of negative reviews of the short repositioning cruise just prior to ours - the one from San Diego to Vancouver. We heard rumours about up coming changes to the Zaandam during its next refit - such as the elimination of a library and changes to the Crow's Nest that we are concerned about, but change is constant in our current world, and we will wait to see if these rumours are true and, most importantly, if we feel they are positive ones or not. Handrie, or dining room steward, was excellent in his attention to our needs during our entire cruise, and our several visits to the Pinnacle Grill reconfirmed what we had experienced on our three Hawaii previous cruises on the Zaandam - the steaks are outstanding. We have never experienced better in our business travels around the world. Great to experience the same captain, Christopher Turner, as last year! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This is my 3rd Holland America cruise, the first two were also short - but both were great with good food and impeccable service. First I will say that my room steward was STILL amazing; Heri ! Room 3410. Without him this would have ... Read More
This is my 3rd Holland America cruise, the first two were also short - but both were great with good food and impeccable service. First I will say that my room steward was STILL amazing; Heri ! Room 3410. Without him this would have been a total loss. I went with 3 girlfriends a a short fun vacation. Well, all fun that was had - was created by us. It started with cranky front desk people with extremely forced smiles when we first arrived, who also gave us wrong information about buying a drink package. I insisted to my group that we eat in the Rotterdam dining room each dinner to the dismay of my group... and later I had to end up apologizing for my insistence because it was so bad. We ended up calling the rotting ham diner. Nothing was AMAZING. LOTS was bad. Not even one great dessert that I can talk about. Steaks were OK. nothing I couldn't get at Mr. Steak or Dennys. I didnt have the lobster which everyone else did and they all thought it was good. When the lobster was served no butter came with it. Sauces were in VERY stingy supply at EVERY MEAL. We had to ask our waiter Handri (who was not obliging to us in any way- but he was the only waiter who gave us attitude.. the rest were nice. Painfully slow but nice) for the butter- which he had about 3 feet from our table in a large silver dish. He had not even offered us any. So Weird and rude. so then he came and put the button on top of the lobster. NOPE you don't get any to dip!! LOL! The appetizers were so very strange. Absolutely everything had no flavor what so ever. Now I realize that 3/4 of those passengers were over 70 but my gosh! could I have SOMETHING WITH FLAVOR!!! the one and only meal we had that I didn't have to use 1/2 the salt shaker on was the Hamburgers and tacos at the Dive in - which of course closed early every day so you better be quick if you want to eat there. The desserts were all BAD. the flourless chocolate cake was tasty - but it had said it would be a molten chocolate cake - so we were disappointed. Our shock was on the next to last night when we went by the Lido cafeteria after dinner only to see EVERY SINGLE BITE OF OUR DINNER ON THE CAFE LINE!! Why did I go into the dining room and wait at least 1 hour for my food when I could go to the Lido and get everything the exact same there without the attitude in the dining room. That was when we got really mad. The comedian was sad. Maybe with another group it would have been successful but with our audience it was really bad. He was way too young and unmarried and no kids and couldn't relate to the crowd at all. so... Basically he just kind of put us all down . I put that on Holland America. They should match the comedian up with the crowd, FAIL. OK..... the boat was really rocking during his performance and we all got sick.. I will say this is the first time I have ever encountered some snotty drink servers. Mostly in the pool area. BY the last night everything was leftovers in the cafeteria. We took so many choices and found most of it non-edible. Old, hard, stale, cold and of course...flavorless. I spent a lot of time at the spa and loved Liza who did my facials and Joji who I also worked with. I bought some product and didnt buy some others. I never felt pressured by them and they were delightful to deal with. thanks! not nearly enough things going on. oh yeah.. and I played bingo for $35 for 1 game of blackout and the prize was a Holland America Cruise for 2, Guess what I WON!! oh yeah.., then another lady yelled bingo after me and we had a run off of 4 corners and I lost.... Holland America Giveth.. and Holland America taketh away...... That stunk. I was given a $50 credit. wow. That was a low point. Especially the next day at bingo when there were 4 pots from $250 up to $475. each. I really thought a better consolation prize was warranted. Sadly I wont ever sail Holland America again- way too many negatives. Hi-lights - The bathroom products are nice. good shampoo and conditioner and body wash. a tub in the room - that was nice. comfy beds. Great room attendant. Lots of empty areas on the ship for us to go and make our own fun and play games. Loved watching and dancing with the performers in the crows nest. After convincing the DJ to play something other than Donna Summer we had fun up there.(But really what DJ does not have Flo Rida Low ? and Sir Mix a lot???) Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Choose this cruise as they were going where i wanted to see !! Getting on the ship in Buenos Aires was a nightmare as all computers crashed. Once on board we did'nt sale until the following evening ,just as well the heavens ... Read More
Choose this cruise as they were going where i wanted to see !! Getting on the ship in Buenos Aires was a nightmare as all computers crashed. Once on board we did'nt sale until the following evening ,just as well the heavens opened that night ,floods in quite a few area in the ship .. After sailing i realised looking at the daily programme there was not a lot to during the sea days (6) ,entertainment was poor after you had seen the dancers and singers.and it did not get better for the 14 days That all said the food was very good in the dining room and lido,I prefered the lido as you picked exactly what you want ( suprised that hand sanitizer was not available by the cruise staff) there were machines as you went in but most people went straight passed !! NOT GOOD !!! Cabin was 2519 nicknamed "the coffin",of course an inside!! The staff in the main were very good,but did notice the dinning room staff got slower as the cruise went on. Getting off was ok until we had to hang about for 2 hours while they looked for a case of one of my group (found it on the ship WOW !!) Overall i have been on much better cruise lines (NCL and CELEBRITY) so my cruise money won't go to HAl again, Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This has taken much too long to complete because of the lack of response from Holland America subsequent to the cruise. But it is too important not to complete it, so that potential customers know what they are getting into with Holland ... Read More
This has taken much too long to complete because of the lack of response from Holland America subsequent to the cruise. But it is too important not to complete it, so that potential customers know what they are getting into with Holland America. First let me say that the overall Antarctica/South America experience was unique and fulfilling. The scenery and educational experience in Antarctica were spectacular. The South America ports of call were less than fulfilling. Shopping did not cater to tourists, and merchants were only open at limited times. The shore excursions – I did white water rafting, a winery tour, a gaucho farm, and a park with a waterfall and a whisky sour and dance celebration afterwards – were all excellent! Onboard entertainment catered to the elderly, but that is what 99% of the people onboard were. Unfortunately, the Holland America experience was extremely disappointing. I have sailed with Holland America on 3 prior occasions and had always been favorably impressed. This sailing was surprisingly different from what I had always remembered. The ship was Ms. Zaandam. I believe there are newer, more luxurious ships, and perhaps they concentrate more on a luxurious experience. However, I can only speak to the Zaandam in this review, which exhibited extremely poor customer treatment before, during and after the cruise, from booking to onboard and onward to the President’s Office post-cruise. My first encounter in booking this cruise was with a cruise consultant in the Seattle, Washington office, who did not return phone calls or emails. After a month of trying, I went to a non-affiliated cruise company from whom I received quality customer service and was able to book the cruise. The stateroom was less than impressive. The room stewards were very pleasant and helpful, unlike the majority of the rest of the crew. Very surprisingly, the food on the Lido Deck was bland and sometimes awful. This was the cafeteria type food onboard. In addition, the servers were somber and sometimes rude. The food improved in the Rotterdam Dining Room. However, the customer service was terrible. My recollections of customer service on prior Holland America Cruises was that of consistently friendly and caring personnel. It was not so on this cruise. The servers in the dining room were miserable. And the service was painfully slow, even for alcohol. If you wanted good food with excellent customer service you had to go to the Canneletto Restaurant or the Pinnacle, and of course, these were not free. The onboard movie offerings and live presentations regarding Antarctica were excellent. They offered Microsoft classes, which were worthwhile. The jewelry was a big push onboard, sometimes with pushy salespersons. There were absolutely no Antarctica items for sale onboard, and since there is no port of call in Antarctica, such items were hard to come by. We found this odd for an Antarctica Cruise. There was an offering for a $15 Beer Tasting onboard. Guests were probably expecting exotic beers, but were given small cups including Miller Light, Molson, Becks, and Grolsch. This is one of many examples of cutting corners and having customers pay extra for nothing that is evident throughout the ship. I am not proud to say that I am a smoker, so only a limited number of people may be interested to know what I am about to say. But it is not about the smoking that this is so crucially important, so please try and understand the point. The smoking policy prior to sailing was that smoking was permitted outside on the Lido Deck in the Sea View Bar, in the Casino (only if you were gambling) and on Stateroom Verandahs. This cruise embarked on January 10, 2017. On January 10, 2017 Holland America changed its policy and no longer allowed smoking on the Verandahs without informing people of the change prior to the cruise. For those who paid a premium for a stateroom with a Verandah so that they could smoke, this was very shocking and upsetting. The new smoking policy allowed for smoking outside of the Crows Nest Bar. There was a group of us that all smoked together outside on the Lido Deck. On several occasions, an abrupt and discourteous crewmember told us that we must leave immediately so that they could clean the deck. Although smoking was supposed to be permitted outside of the Crow’s Nest, no such smoking was allowed. Therefore, there was no place to go to smoke at that point. I visited the Front Desk about all of this on two occasions, and neither of the persons that I spoke with, one of whom was a supervisor, properly addressed the issues. The Front Desk customer service was courteous but completely ineffective. They failed to address the inconsistently handled smoking issue, as well as the discourteous crew who demanded we leave the Sea View Bar immediately. When I returned home, I wrote to the President’s Office at Holland America to address the aforementioned issues. I have corresponded with the office on two occasions. Having received no satisfactory response, other than a coupon for a discount on a future cruise, I write this less than flattering review. Something is radically wrong at Holland America. It is evident from the experience with the cruise consultant who did not answer calls or emails, to the rude onboard crew, to the ineffective Front Desk, to the President’s Office who does not address any of the issues, that there are severe morale issues that result in poor customer service and relations. The food reflects a severe deterioration of what Holland America has offered on prior cruises. I am not alone in these opinions, as several of the people I met on the ship have also written to Holland America with similar outcomes. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We selected a one-way cruise from Vancouver to Seward (AK) before a business meeting in Anchorage, and to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Chose this cruise line because they had the route we needed at the time it was needed. But we will ... Read More
We selected a one-way cruise from Vancouver to Seward (AK) before a business meeting in Anchorage, and to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Chose this cruise line because they had the route we needed at the time it was needed. But we will not sail a second time on this ship or cruise line. Most of the staff are Filipino, who have the gift of hospitality. Especially noteworthy was Michelle who worked at the Exploration's Cafe and Riben, our cabin attendant. Food was average in all eating areas except for the Pinnacle Grill and the Rotterdam Dining Room. While embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, we had issues with our cabin (Veranda Vista Suite). While the cabin needs to be updated, that wasn't the big issue. We asked for a chemical free room because of allergies and had it for the first 3 days. But when sheets were changed, they weren't chemical free. That was a rough night of intermittent sleep. Next day we alerted them to the issue, and they said they would change sheets to chemical free. Unfortunately all they did was put another set of non-chemical free sheets. We had to strip the bed that night and sleep on the mattress or in bathrobes. Internet brought back memories of the dial-up modem days even though it was wireless (Very slow). This was irritating because you had to pay for the Internet. Nothing like watching your minutes/$$$ evaporate while that symbol just keeps spinning away. Frustrating. The "C" in Holland America Cruise Lines stands for CASH. At every opportunity it was buy this, that and another. The biggest negative for us was that we were pressured into purchasing a "Beverage package plan" of 15 drinks a day per person (Alcohol and/or non-alcohol) by the waitress. Afterwards, we wondered if she got a commission? Anyway, just hours later we realized it was a mistake because I don't even drink alcohol and can't drink 15 drinks a day! When we told them we didn't want the beverage package, we discovered it was "Non-refundable." Yes, in small print at the bottom of the flyer it stated such. Hundreds of dollars wasted. One of the biggest disappointments was the balcony outside our room because of a smoker on one side. We couldn't enjoy sitting or standing outside, so this upgrade was a waste of money. HACL needs to have non-smoking floors/decks. This is enough, I could go on with a couple of more critiques, but I think you get the picture. All in all a disappointing cruise experience, and will not go again with this cruise line. We cannot recommend cruising on Holland America or this ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I went on the 20 day Alaska Land and Sea Holland America trip. The Holland America hotels in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, were a disgrace to the name of HAL. Soiled sheets, soiled carpets, wallpaper that ... Read More
I went on the 20 day Alaska Land and Sea Holland America trip. The Holland America hotels in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, were a disgrace to the name of HAL. Soiled sheets, soiled carpets, wallpaper that was torn and tattered. The meal plan was very expensive and had little variety of venues. The restaurants at the various cities were very limited and VERY expensive. The train was great! Service was above average and the scenery was breath-taking! The ship was accommodating, yet, the restaurant service was beyond frustrating. Our table sat for 40 minutes before the wine steward came to our table to take our order. He was over near the servers table talking to a co-worker. The food in the dining room was below average. Small portions, tough meat and inappropriate temperatures on the various foods. The servers were concentrating on themselves and "messing around" with one another rather than the guests. The ship's excursions were OK. Overall, the hotels are a BIG disappointment as well as the dining room meals and service. Read Less
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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