4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
1.0 star rating 10/3/2016 The worst cruise line that I have traveled on-- comparing to Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. The food and the food service is inferior to the other cruise lines. The spa staff gave a terrible first ... Read More
1.0 star rating 10/3/2016 The worst cruise line that I have traveled on-- comparing to Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. The food and the food service is inferior to the other cruise lines. The spa staff gave a terrible first impression of the ship by lying about the steam area, exercise area, and lockers and showers only being available if you pay an expensive fee. The seated restaurant was so slow and the food so sparse and unappetizing that it was not worthwhile. The servers in the buffet lines were below serving expectations compared to other cruise lines. The buffet lines stay open for too little time, and the stations are abruptly closed whether you are served or not. Cold cut sandwiches are later brought out. Ship staff were allowed to break in line and were served much better food than the passengers. For the same general price for a cruise on Holland America, you can opt out for a better cruise line. I urge you to do so. The other cruise lines are much better. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We went on a land and sea journey with Holland America during the first 2 weeks in September. We were hoping to see the Northern Lights as it was a new moon and fall. We had one opportunity but because we moved rooms they failed to call ... Read More
We went on a land and sea journey with Holland America during the first 2 weeks in September. We were hoping to see the Northern Lights as it was a new moon and fall. We had one opportunity but because we moved rooms they failed to call so all we saw were pics from some guys cell phone. Note, don't count on a wake up call. The trip went as follows: Fairbanks, Riverboat, Bus to Denali for 3 days, Rail to Anchorage, Rail to Seward then the 7 day cruise. We have cruised 5 times over the last 3 years with Holland. Most of our fellow travelers were on their first cruise. The Riverboat consisted of a trip of about 2 miles down the river with a take off and landing of an old float plan, stops along the way included a dog sled kennel from the side of the boat with commentator on shore talking about the operation and you in the middle of the river as the audience. The Alabaskan village stop you actually got off the boat to see the demos. The meal afterward was meatless stew with a decent salad. The land portion was very disappointing as the accommodations were awful in Denali at the Holland compound. They first put us in the Canyon Lodge across from the second floor elevators, laundry room, garbage shoot, and smoking room. Asked to be moved which resulted in a worst room at the Cottonwood. Two days no hot water because the unit kept tripping off and takes hours to recover once reset. Also, "were in Alaska for the view" but our windows looked out on parking lots. Ask Travel agent to request a river view if possible before leaving. We bought the land meal package for $700 which included the Music of Denali dinner show. They served you thin cut brisket that is tough as leather and a BBQ sauce that is indescribably awful and grilled salmon. The waiter/actor/chefs try really hard but come up way short of entertaining. The cruise lines have the entrance to the park pretty much to themselves with a few other places to go most notably Pizza and Subway. Otherwise the food made us sick with diarrhea and is very expensive if you don't have the meal package. The trip included a bus trip into Denali park for roughly 72 miles of which 30 or so are paved. Watch out if you have vertigo as the bus drives along steep hill sides. The bus was a Blue Bird prison bus that had few operational windows and leaked dust making us all sick. Once in Denali the wildlife is few and far between but we did see everything albeit at a distance. Mount Denali was shrouded in clouds but we did see the North and South peeks apparently an unusual event. We went on a Black Diamond ATV tour which is done in Healy not in the park. Expensive at $239 per person for 3 hours and no lunch. Expect to pay a lot for any extra tours. Rails to Anchorage and Seward have great views but freight trains have priority so it was a long trip, each car has a narrator which became a real pain after listening to them take about themselves and provide little information about surroundings for 8 hours. The domed cars were comfortable on the trip to Anchorage but totally uncomfortable and no dome to Seward. Scenic and beautiful sights along the path to both cities. The Hilton in Anchorage was sub standard with our room window looking at a wall. Holland has a select menu of about 10 crappy items from a 50 item interesting normal hotel offering. The Zaandam ship experience was not any better. Everyone was sick with colds and who knows what else. The roomer mill said 30% were having gastrointestinal issues with the others fighting colds. Yes, we started off healthy only to get sick with colds upon retuning home. We stayed in our room and out of public areas most of the trip. At least our room had a balcony and the ship turned to allow viewing from both sides. The in-room dinning was good and we could order anything served in the dinning room even if it wasn't on the menu. The late night seating was warmed up leftovers and not to Holland's standards we expected. We figured one night would have crab legs but the chef said Holland was to cheap to buy them. The gala night also left a lot to be desired with a very limited menu. Please note the room only has one outlet so bring a multi plug adapter. The shore excursions we expensive and because this was the last ship of the year the staff wasn't much in the mood for anymore tourist. The towns have been overtaken by Caribbean stores selling at twice the price. Ask your travel agent a week before for an upgrade and also the day you arrive. Met first time cruisers whose agent got them a suite for $200 per person. We've sailed with Holland 6 times and never received anything more then what we paid for. Overall we had very high expectations because of all the good we heard from friends and neighbors. We have always wanted to see the Northern Lights. We found the towns in Alaska distressed and grim and people to match. Not a lot to do unless you are flying, cruising to see whales, or kayaking to see wildlife or glaciers all at premium prices if you can afford them. The fall colors added to the trip making it a varied landscape. Bucket list checked off, been there done it but very disappointed. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
The rating of this ship is generous according to reviews. Service was awful to non existing. Out of 14 nights in dining room my husband only had one night where his iced tea or water was refilled. Gone are the days where customers ... Read More
The rating of this ship is generous according to reviews. Service was awful to non existing. Out of 14 nights in dining room my husband only had one night where his iced tea or water was refilled. Gone are the days where customers mattered. Asked for condiments when I ordered dinner so I would have them. Never came with dinner either. Again, ignored and didn't give a damn for their customers. Worse cruise I have been on. As a seasoned cruiser we know the difference. Every thing is a cost center and they don't work too well. Pinnacle specialty dinning was no different. Nothing special there!!! Lamb chops were too fatty to consume and Steak was way over cooked after ordering Rare came well done with no pink at all. Got two horrible meals with no reimbursements and they didn't even care if we ever came back. Should have offered a try again to "win" us over and satisfy their customer but did not bother! Still charged the $29.00 up charge. Went away hungry and dissatisfied. Not good if you want to keep clients coming back. One review is one thing, but every evening was the same. Food not prepared as ordered and server never did call backs or cared if we were satisfied. Many meals were delivered and thrown in front of us. I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly would not serve rotten fruit in an appetizer. I would not serve what I would not eat!!!! Waiter never bothered to even look at what he was serving and had many meals messed up between different people at the same table. This was a Wow moment for us. And we won't ever do that one again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
First the good, The ship reflects the grandeur of the past glory days of cruising. Quality decor and comfortable surroundings gave us the initial good feeling that we would be enjoying the next 16 days sailing the pacific. Unfortunately, ... Read More
First the good, The ship reflects the grandeur of the past glory days of cruising. Quality decor and comfortable surroundings gave us the initial good feeling that we would be enjoying the next 16 days sailing the pacific. Unfortunately, that was about the only good thing about this cruise. We were welcomed to our cabin with a revolting smear on the rim of the toilet seat. After we mentioned it to our cabin steward he said "oh, you would like it extra clean? Needless to say, we used our Lysol wipes to disinfect our drawers, power switches, etc.. But, it's a cruise, how bad can it get... Well, it seemed that the entire ship was very short staffed. In fact, if something disastrous would have happened onboard, I would not have felt safe with the crew. The room steward had twice the number of rooms to clean compared to Princess ships. He seemed exhausted and sleepy all of the time. We felt sorry for him so we kept our room very clean just to give him a bit of a break. As far as the food was concerned, you likely would get far better quality from any N. American cheap fast food joint. Seriously! Despite the fact we dined in the main dining room everyday, the service and the food was atrocious. Now I know what magazine posed foods tastes like. Yea, it looked good, but I wouldn't feed it to a dog (mainly because a dog wouldn't eat this garbage). Crunchy, parboiled rice and risotto, tomato sauces right out of a no name jug, and meat that could substitute for shoe leather. And that was the good stuff. Now I understand why they gave you so little on your plate, because anymore would have made you sick. Our highlight was escaping the dining room two hours after being seated to go up to the Lydo buffet and have some ice cream. Unfortunately, that didn't last very long. We read the ingredients labels on the ice cream containers. It listed high fructose corn syrup and glucose as the sweeteners, artificial flavouring, and other items I could not pronounce. Even bulk foods ice cream uses real milk and sugar! Princess and NCL makes their own ice cream on board with real ingredients. H.A. has gone way too far. What a dump! The service in the dining room was pathetic. The waiters are responsible for twice the number of tables as on other ships. You could never get their attention. And we were always waiting nearly an hour between our appetizer and main course. It took us no less than two to two and a half hours to have a simple meal. As we waited in long lines for every meal in the dining room, we only met one person in the 16 days who said she liked the food. She also loved the hotdogs and lard fried French fries served poolside. Everyone else was revolted by the quality of the food. The thermal spa was also a major disappointment. One of the two showers had a plugged drain and the staff did nothing to rectify the problem in 14 days. You would think that for $450 you would get a working facility. We were wrong! In fact, the aromatic steam room should be infused with relaxing scents. It never worked throughout the cruise. We asked 5 different spa staff members to tell us if they smelled any aroma. They all said no except for the manager who sold us the package. Needless to say this will be our last Holland America cruise. Beware, as all of those old mariners we talked to onboard say that H.A. has dropped to new lows for quality cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2013
Truly bad experience. We cruised up to Alaska with holland America and had a horrible experience. The check in was smooth and efficient and the cabin steward was good but there the positive experiences end. The remainder of the crew seemed ... Read More
Truly bad experience. We cruised up to Alaska with holland America and had a horrible experience. The check in was smooth and efficient and the cabin steward was good but there the positive experiences end. The remainder of the crew seemed to have no clue about customer experience - every time you asked for anything, even asking for glasses by a water machine, they sent you somewhere else as if helping you was too much trouble. They all looked surly and miserable and didn't seem to want to be there. Unfortunately that isn't a nice environment to spend your holiday. The food as terrible too. The only hot thing was the plates which were invariably scorching. The food was always warm at best and tasteless. We found the cafe by the pool was the only place service freshly cooked food but that meant a diet of burgers, chicken, burgers, pizzas and Mexican tacos. Couldn't wait to get off the boat at ports to get some decent food. One of the worst bits was the cabin. The room itself was fine but the bathroom is in desperate need of renovation. The tiling has been repaired but badly. The smell from the toilet was terrible every time you lifted the lid. The only really positive was the port stops. Good schedule and they are one of the few boats who can get into glacier bay. I understand only 2 cruise boats are allowed in each day so not sure how they decided which ones but it was a truly stunning day We cruised back with Norweigian and had an amazing experience so you just need to be careful about which cruise line you pick. We met some people on princess who also were having a great experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
Ship: The ship is dated and many items just do not work. Coffee machines (two broken for 3 day straight), steam rooms for which you pay an upgrade fee and do not work for two days of complaining and flickering stateroom lights. The ship ... Read More
Ship: The ship is dated and many items just do not work. Coffee machines (two broken for 3 day straight), steam rooms for which you pay an upgrade fee and do not work for two days of complaining and flickering stateroom lights. The ship served a Mexican buffet lunch out on the Lido deck one day...the next day, the same food, now looking a bit onry , was re-served. They even ran out of milk on Day 6 and served chocolate milk at the buffet with the cereal. In a very small fitness center, one elliptical and one treadmill were broken the entire 7 days. Nobody around to fix things it seemed...and people were always standing around waiting to use the machines... Service: But the ship's shortcomings were nothing compared to the staff 1. Room stewards being clueless as to when you are in or out-- and barging in to aggressively clean (or check the box) 2. A random breakfast we did not order left on the bed and not removed even after three phone calls to do so (ended up just putting it out in the hall) 3. The restaurant waiter asked what we wanted for dessert--then told us the souffle would be 30 minutes--why were we not told that at the beginning of the meal? 4. Multiple times the wrong food brought to our table in the restaurant 5. Tofu Korma with no tofu!...the explanation: "ooops....typo" 6. Even though the entire second level of the restaurant had empty tables, a refusal to seat us for dinner at 630PM because of concern about the 800PM reservations...we were told to "go to the buffet" 7. An upgrade restaurant that would not seat us on one of its several open tables because they could not guarantee we would get good service! 8. Incompetence in accounting....my son's "tips" were not put on the bill. We received a frantic phone call at 730AM the last day asking us to pay the bill which we did. But someone forgot to tell the gorilla bouncers who screen you as passengers leave the ship at the end of the cruise. My son was "detained" for 10 minutes because the computer told the bouncer he was a slacker. Then I heard the bouncer yell into his phone "this is the third passenger I have had to detain whose bill was already paid!" 9. Spa staff comes 20 minutes late to a treatment, short changes me on the time and then tells me afterwards I need to see her two more times to get "rid of tension" 10. The cruise director was AWOL at times except when it was time to push the port shops that provide HAL with a kickback...part of the guaranteed shopping experience. 11. Apple juice that looked like water with food coloring--"the machine is broken" we were told 12. Scoffing when simple requests were made like "Can he have cheese on his pasta?" 13. "nothing we can do" about broken fitness center machines. We have sailed Carnival twice and had been told that HAL is "so much better", but in fact, Carnival runs a much better ship. As does Celebrity.... The PV and Cabo ports were fun and generally the Mexican Riviera is a good choice for a week's cruise. But HAL is not. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
If you like a budget vacation that fits a budget vacation in every way this is for you! I have been on a few cruises with Carnival and the last one was in 2009. Now maybe Carnival has deteriorated to the level of this cruise so comparing ... Read More
If you like a budget vacation that fits a budget vacation in every way this is for you! I have been on a few cruises with Carnival and the last one was in 2009. Now maybe Carnival has deteriorated to the level of this cruise so comparing the 2 may not be fair but compared to the 2009 carnival cruise this was pathetic! Quantity over quality best describes the food! If you like a lot of food and taste isn't important than you will be happy! Everything about this cruise was cutting corners to save money! The food, the entertainment every thing was done in a Wal-mart manner. Very disappointing! There were very few games which is surprising because they don't cost HAL anything and it keeps the people from eating more food! We were ready to get off when it was over and had a plan to take our own luggage and get out first when one of us was called to the front desk which had a 30 minute wait. We couldn't get off the ship until we cleared up the problem which was so ridiculous! we had an $11.00 credit due us! That 30 minute delay put us into the busiest part of the disembarkation process! carrying our own luggage this was a major pain! Dining room experience was pitiful, While the waiters were fine it was the front dining staff that was very arrogant, we had trouble getting any flexibility in our seating because we had to accept open seating...don't do this if at all possible! My advice over all...look into Carnival.... Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Stayed at Langham Place in Hong Kong prior to cruise for two days, really nice hotel great service and handy to shops etc. First sight of Zaandam and we thought what have we done as its more than showing its age, first part of check in ... Read More
Stayed at Langham Place in Hong Kong prior to cruise for two days, really nice hotel great service and handy to shops etc. First sight of Zaandam and we thought what have we done as its more than showing its age, first part of check in was a breeze but then deteriorated into a free for all to get on board when boarding was announced.No organization just people every where. Once on ship we went to stateroom, four star ship had cracked sink in bathroom, torn valance that stayed on bed the whole cruise even after being pointed out to members of staff, the whole stateroom was tatty, and to top it all off the air conditioner didn't work either really hot, or really cold. Food is subjective and we choose to eat in Lido and the food was always either lukewarm or cold, even after pointing this out to chef no improvement, plus quality has dropped dramatically since we last sailed with Holland. Ports of call Shanghai we missed altogether because of fog,Beijing we did a two day private tour which was great, but there was a debacle over passports with the ship letting people off knowing they needed there passports for hotels,but no information given out. Korea was fine, but once again confusion as they said shuttles would be available when we got ashore none. Overall we paid a premium price for a four star cruise that should be rated two at most,will be complaining to Holland America. Oh nearly forgot they don't change smoke detectors batteries till they go off, so we had screeching noise one night rang reception no answer, so went to front desk who sent some one up to remove battery, this was going on all over the ship. We will never sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Ship - Internally and externally TIRED. Food - repetitive after first 14 days. Second 14 days food portions in Rotterdam greatly reduced and service also went downhill. Cabin - tired and desperate for re-fit. Bedding needs replacing ... Read More
Ship - Internally and externally TIRED. Food - repetitive after first 14 days. Second 14 days food portions in Rotterdam greatly reduced and service also went downhill. Cabin - tired and desperate for re-fit. Bedding needs replacing asap. Many had air con/heating problems. Main complaints: Ship Freezing for the first 14 days - 13 degrees C. in restaurant - had to wear jackets whenever we went about ship. Management seemed totally incapable in dealing with immigration issues at certain ports, it appeared as though this was a first time experience for them. We never got to Shanghai - sat at sea for a day and a half in 'fog' then told we were going to Shanghai but when we got up next morning realised we were going north!! Beijing - were sent ashore with only passport copies - HAL refused to give us our passports despite being told we were staying in Beijing. Ended up being refused to check in at hotel as we did not have our passports. Tried to resolve this by various telephone calls but ship staff totally unhelpful. Ended up waiting in freezing cold -5 degrees C for first train and taxi back to ship where we received half hearted apology. Never went back as it took us 24 hours to get over the trauma. Guest relations manager would not meet to discuss problems. This totally ruined our holiday as we only booked the first 14 day cruise so that we could visit Beijing and Shanghai. Ship Captain - he made very few announcements - only ship's position and weather every day - never saw him around ship. Cabin and restaurants staff - excellent, shame management did not take some training from them!!! Shore excursions - far too expensive. Entertainment - Third rate - apart from occasional visiting artist. Had much better on other cruise lines. Overall Opinion. Our holiday was totally ruined by the Beijing passport debacle. Not at all impressed by HAL. We were told before we booked that they were the best (5*) I would suggest 2* was a better description. Never again will we go HAL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
I was looking forward to my trip from Sydney to the South Pacific islands and then up to Singapore via Indonesia. The cruise ran over Christmas and New Year but we hardly noticed those events, so little effort having been made by the ... Read More
I was looking forward to my trip from Sydney to the South Pacific islands and then up to Singapore via Indonesia. The cruise ran over Christmas and New Year but we hardly noticed those events, so little effort having been made by the company to make those days extra special. Christmas was really flat - the only change to the dining was that a fancy piece of ribbon was placed across each table and the menus for lunch and dinner was just like the usual menus. They did make a little more effort at new year and there were various events at different venues on board to see the new year in but no special entertainers were booked. We just had the usual Zandaam singers and dancers (who were dire and who seemed to think volume was everything). My cabin was the first disappointment. On boarding at Sydney at 2 pm the cabin was still occupied and had not been cleaned. The departing passenger was being moved out of the room as I went to occupy my cabin to unpack. However, I had to wait for the steward to clean it and when I returned the cabin was very unpleasant, it stank! I asked for it to be cleaned again and even then, it stank! It took at least a week with the air conditioning running and lots of water running through the shower to finally clear the air. In the meantime I had been to the front desk and they told me I had been upgraded and, in any case, the ship was full so there was no other cabin available. In addition to the stink in the cabin I discovered it was designed for a wheelchair user and did not have all the facilities I would have had in the guaranteed MM grade and this was supposedly an upgrade to category L. It was shabby as well as dirty and there was no where to sit to read or watch TV except on the bed. The bathrobes were rags - I asked the steward if they were clean and he said they had just come from the laundry but got me another one - it was still a tatty old rag. How I wanted to be "downgraded" to the better cabin that I had been expecting! The tours were a bit of a rip off but something we have come to expect with cruise lines. The most disappointing of all was at Komodo Island where we booked for a tour of "approximately 2 1/2 hours" and what we got was approximately 1 hour. Yes, we did see dragons but very little of the island and we were not permitted to go off under our own steam without a pre-booked ranger. The entertainment was poor all the way through, particularly as it was the so-called festive season. We had comedians who weren't funny; one unfortunate chap who came on board 2 days after the previous one left was telling the same cruise related jokes that we had heard 2 days before. He was becoming rather peevish when he barely raised a titter from the audience; not surprising really. In the first two weeks of the cruise there were lots of Australian school students on board and a certain amount of bad behaviour around the pools. The bar staff in each case were supposed to supervise things but were doing nothing. When I complained at the front desk they were as unhelpful as previously when I went to them about my cabin. In general they were unhelpful and really didn't want to know about problems. I paid a lot more than many other travellers because I was travelling alone but in spite of this I think I and fellow lone travellers are treated as 2nd class passengers. Because of the chaos around my cabin when I boarded and the fact that the daily programme was not delivered to my cabin I missed out on various events such as being able to join other single travellers for lunch on the first day. It was only when I went to the front desk to acquire a copy later that I discovered what was on the programme. The seating arrangements in the dining room didn't make it any easier to meet other people travelling alone. The port lectures were unbelievably amateurish. The talks were run by a man who claimed to have been educated at universities on several continents and also claimed to be well travelled. Well, he appeared to be reading from notes cobbled together (from the internet?) and were poorly presented alongside the photographs he got "from a friend" and which were of too low resolution to be shown on a large screen, consequently they were rather blurry. The leaflet we were given prior to each port produced by HAL was much more informative. So much for enrichment. The foregoing are just the main "highlights" from the cruise and there were a lot more points that I raised in my letter to HAL. Overall the cruise was a tremendous disappointment and I won't be travelling with Holland America again. Holland America, particularly with the Zaandam, seems to be living on their past reputation but standards seem to have slipped drastically. The reason I booked on this cruise was because of the reputation they previously had and seemed to have a lot of positive reviews on this site and others. 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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