Sail Date: July 2013
We are in our mid-50's and have cruised before. We booked two cruises, first Anchorage-Vancouver on the Princess Diamond, then one night in Vancouver, then back to Anchorage on the Holland Zaandam. We chose the Zaandam last because we ... Read More
We are in our mid-50's and have cruised before. We booked two cruises, first Anchorage-Vancouver on the Princess Diamond, then one night in Vancouver, then back to Anchorage on the Holland Zaandam. We chose the Zaandam last because we wanted to end in Seward. Before leaving, we purchased a Northern Lights coupon book. Toursavers is very similar. I highly recommend checking them out. We saved hundreds. In our short time in Anchorage we enjoyed watching the sea planes from the patio of the "Fancy Moose" (at the Millennium hotel). We really liked the Alaskan Native Heritage Center (coupon). We stayed at the Alaskan Frontier Gardens B&B which was good. Renting a car at the airport was a snap. On the first leg of our trip, we used Anchorage Tours and Transfers to transfer to Whittier. They also do transfers to Seward. With the NL coupon it was a great deal, and our driver was a teacher at the University of Alaska. We enjoyed her as much as any tour guide we've had! We stopped at the Wildlife Conservation Center on the way down. I'd use this transfer service again. In Vancouver, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency. It's walkable from Canada Place. The Vancouver Trolley Hop-On-Hop-Off was an easy way to see the city. We enjoyed walking in Stanley park, the seawall near Canada Place, and Granville Island. The best thing we did was take the shuttle out to the Suspension Bridge Park in the morning before embarking on the Zaandam. We walked down to Canada place to catch the first shuttle bus because the early buses often fill before getting to the hotel pick up points. We were back by noon. Once we got through a very long, very slow customs line, embarkation went smoothly. We were lucky to be able to visit each port twice, first on the Princess Diamond then on the Zaandam. Skagway: 1) Rented a car through Avis rather than take the train. We enjoyed the drive, but being from Colorado, it wasn't as spectacular as we'd hoped. People who took the train told us it was pretty but got a little long. We had a beer at the famed Red Onion afterward. 2) Took the ferry to Haines, rented a car, and went to Kroschel's wildlife center. It was a unique and wonderful experience! (Google Kroschels) Another couple had set this up, and we were lucky that we were able to tag along. I'd highly recommend this excursion, but the ferry, car, and Kroschel's need to be reserved in advance if you don't book through a ship. Juneau: 1) Went fishing with another family on Wolverine Charters. The captain, Jim Lewis, was wonderful. A retired teacher, he was personable and able to relate to adults as well as the child onboard. His boat and equipment were well kept and clean. 2) Rented a car with another couple and drove to Mendenhall and other sites. Great day, and we were easily to do the sites in a day. Be sure to walk to Nugget Falls if you can handle a couple of miles. Ketchikan: 1) Morning, Great Lumberjack show. It's cheesy but great fun for all ages. It's best to get tickets in advance from the ship. They're $35 either way, you avoid the line, and are assured a seat. In the afternoon we did the Bering Sea Crab Fishing tour. Incredible!!! We booked independently and saved a few dollars compared to the identical tour with the ship. It boards right at the pier, so no transportation is required. You'll see a better eagle show on this excursion than anywhere else. Out of all the excursions we've done, anywhere, this is one of the most memorable! Dress warmly. 2) Misty Fjords Flight seeing with Island Wings, booked independently. Absolutely spectacular. Also highly recommend! Glacier Bay was a highlight on both ships. Even though the Zaandam is much smaller than the Princess Diamond, the Princess ship went much closer to the glaciers. It may have had something to do with the tides. We were disappointed at the distance, but really enjoyed how the Zaandam opened the bow of the ship on Glacier Bay day. HAL sold plenty of hot drinks and wine that day. Self-debarkation was a snap. Just outside the terminal is a free city shuttle bus (old school bus) that we took to the Visitor's Center near Safeway. From there, we walked a few blocks to the Bear's Den B&B. Our room was actually a 2 bedroom apartment that didn't include breakfast, but it was perfect for two couples. Another couple met us there with a car, but it was only a 10 minute walk to the small boat harbor. The food at Rays in the small boat was especially good. While in Seward, we went to Exit Glacier and walked up to the glacier. We used NL coupons for the Major Marine dinner cruise, which was nice even though we didn't see much wildlife. We went on a float trip down the Kenai out of Cooper Landing with River Drifters (coupon) that was very pleasant. Our only negative experience was a beginners kayaking trip out of Miller's Landing near Seward. We got a newbie guide who obviously had no guide training at all. It did seem like groups with other guides fared better. A real highlight of our entire trip was the Northwestern Fjords 9 hour trip with Kenai Fjords Tours (coupon). It was absolutely incredible!!! We had an outstanding captain who knew when to narrate and when to be quiet and even turn the motors off. We saw a "National Geographic worthy" whale show and calving glaciers with only the sounds of nature. While in Seward, the 9 hour or even the 6 hour Kenai Fjords tour is a must! We meandered down to Homer and stayed a day in a lovely B&B called Cranes Rest. Our biggest regret of the whole trip is that we didn't have more time in Homer. Many people asked us which ship we liked better--the Princess Diamond or the Holland Zaandam. We'd say they are just different. The Zaandam is smaller, older, and more sedate. It's more of a "maritime" and less of a floating-resort experience. We joked about feeling like we were on the Titanic. Our Zaandam room was larger than Princess, but it was dated, had only one plug in, and the window overlooked the promenade so our curtains were usually closed. I wouldn't spend the extra on an OV cabin in this situation again. Zaandam service was nothing to complain about, but the Princess service was definitely sharper, more attentive, more cheerful, and more professional. Several times there were problems with the toilet system shipwide, but they did get it taken care of within a few hours. The MDR food was generally good. Formal nights were very nice, and most people in the MDR dressed up. However, we thought the buffet was the worst we've ever had on a ship. The buffet food was mediocre at best. Rather than giving you a platter, everything is served on separate little plates. You don't get trays, so you find yourself walking back and forth to put things down. Once you've finally got your food to your table, you have to go get your own coffee, tea, and sometimes even silverware. Between 8:30-11:00 pm there is no food available at all except room service. A plus for HAL is that there are many quiet places to sit and watch the sea. There are only two small pools, one covered, but we didn't see too many adults in either of them. The Crow's nest is a very nice space. If you like an afternoon drink, they have a happy hour where drinks are buy one get the second for $1. You could bring your own wine onboard as long as it was corked and consumed in your stateroom. (Rumor has it that this HAL policy is changing.) The theater is small, and the main level isn't sloped enough to provide good viewing. But the singers and dancers were very good, and we enjoyed all their shows. Something we missed on HAL was the presence of a naturalist onboard for Alaska. On Princess, the naturalist gave lectures and announced in the public areas when wildlife had been spotted so everyone could go take a look. On the Zaandam, your chances of seeing wildlife were pretty small since you'd have to be looking in the right place at the right time. There were pluses and minuses for each ship. Overall, we personally enjoyed the newer, more upbeat Diamond more. It was just more cheerful. I wouldn't seek out the Zaandam to cruise on again, but I wouldn't exclude it if there was an itinerary we really wanted.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Getting underway on a ship was a much more enjoying experience than the last time. Having spent 6 years in the Navy and 4 of those on a ship, I understand tight quarters, limited food and boredom. Exterior: Overall I think the exterior ... Read More
Getting underway on a ship was a much more enjoying experience than the last time. Having spent 6 years in the Navy and 4 of those on a ship, I understand tight quarters, limited food and boredom. Exterior: Overall I think the exterior of the ship was in good condition based on her age. There were a few days that I could hear the rattle of needle guns and chipping hammers. Fresh paint and primer was in the air and ventilation while we were on shore. It's just a smell you don't forget, not that bad, but not good. So while most people would complain, it is a fact of life that maintenance and cleaning in a salt-water environment must be constant. Interior: There were a few areas in the lounges where I could see corrosion take it's toll on the base of window frames. The carpets are showing their age, but those were mainly around the area that we entered and exited the ship. I also noticed several area where stains were left from people spilling items. Stateroom: My wife and I had plenty of room in our stateroom for the excessive clothes we brought. I think I only used 1/2 of what I took. Our daughters had an adjoining room and although it looked like a clothing bomb exploded, they could have space to store their stuff. As one of both of my teens were in and out of our room, I would say that 3 people is crowded and 4 is crazy in a standard room. We had ample room to store our suitcases under the bed and keep them out of the way. I did run out of hangers and used some from our other room. Our cabin stewards were the best. They knew our names and habits as well as when to jump in and clean up. Since we brought soda with us, they managed to keep a large stocked ice bucket in our room. I didn't watch too much TV, as I could have done that at home, but the channels were limited and the volume was either too loud or too soft. Perhaps it was the acoustics or I am getting old. Dining: We had open seating as there were 14 people in our group. Breakfast was usually at the Lido and the prepared hot items were OK, I opted for eggs to order or omelets. They had a great selection of juices, fruits and cereal. I would usually eat about 6:30-7 after my morning walk. I was still stuck on CST until the end of my trip. Lunch again was at the Lido and only once in the MDR, mainly due to the hours of operation. The food wasn't bad, but more of an OK, and I want to eat. They had a large selection of items and I should disclose that I was trying to limit myself to low-fat items. Most of the items just seems to be missing flavor. I did eat a lot of fish for lunch and dinner and they were all great pieces cooked right. Dinner was unique as some times it was 4 or other times it was 14. We ate in the MDR almost every night. The food was delivered timely, but again the flavor aspect was missing. I will say that we had plenty to choose from and was never hungry when I left. The desserts were good (from what I was told) and I opted for the fruit plate that became the running joke of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Scenery on land tour amazing. Not as impressed with other services. Was fantastic making friends on land that carried onto ship. Embarkation: we arrived around 3:30 after Kenai Fjords boat tour. No wait and quickly arrived in our cabin. ... Read More
Scenery on land tour amazing. Not as impressed with other services. Was fantastic making friends on land that carried onto ship. Embarkation: we arrived around 3:30 after Kenai Fjords boat tour. No wait and quickly arrived in our cabin. We had reserved a cabin on main floor and upgraded to a balcony on 6th deck a couple of weeks before departure. Our cabin was great. Stewart Jo-Jo was great. Fresh fruit when requested, c and clean towels. Plenty of storage, enjoyed the robes. Also enjoyed the lap blankets on the balcony. We used our port balcony most days, especially when cruising Glacier Bay. My husband spotted orca whales one morning. Food: we ate most of our meals in the Rotterdam main dining room. The food and service were great. Our evening waitor, Toby, remembered our drink preferences. We tried the Lido once for lunch and again once for dinner. Lunch I didn't find much that appealed. For dinner, I requested the salmon and had to return in ten minutes. It was fresh, hot and good, but the rest of te table was on to dessert. We ordered room service for breakfast two times. It always arrived within the requested time, was hot and fresh. Entertainment: we went to two shows in the main theatre. Northern Lights was good, bit only 35 minutes. We also went to the crews' show which was entertaining. I caught some cooking demos which I enjoyed. I also did one craft (wished they had had more craft demos.) we enjoyed the piano bar with David most evenings, also liked music in Ocean Bar. Ports: we did nature hike in Haines. Only highlight was seeing a moose with her calf. We could have done the hike on park trail and gone slower so we could have looked around. In Juneau we did the native canoe to the face of Mendellhall Glacier. We had fun, but wished we had gone whale watching with friends. My husband went up the Mt. Roberts tramway. He wanted to hike once there, but trails were closed due to snow. In Ketchikan we went zip-lining. We didn't see any bears, but the scenery was pretty. It was a rainy day, but we didn't notice it in the treetops. It was definitely a fun experience. Disembarkation: we were late getting docked, but once it was started, everything went smoothly. We watched from our balcony until it was our turn. Only downer of cruise was "scenic cruising of inside passage." We had a day at sea, followed by sailing inside passage at night. Unable to see anything in the dark! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
The cruise was a last minute decision and we were excited about it. We had been to Alaska twice before but this took us to two places we had not explored. The food in the lido deck buffet wasn't very good. By the second week I was ... Read More
The cruise was a last minute decision and we were excited about it. We had been to Alaska twice before but this took us to two places we had not explored. The food in the lido deck buffet wasn't very good. By the second week I was tired of it, not enough variety and the desserts were for the most part dreadful. We liked the ice cream, fruit crumble and the bread pudding the best. The pie pastry was like shoe leather. The dining room food was much better and I really enjoyed being waited on and many of the meals were really delicious, perfectly cooked lobster! The Grill area by the pool had Mexican fare and pizza every day and was pretty good. We were last time to Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity and the food in their lido deck was amazing, but Celebrity it a higher priced cruise. This is the 5th Holland America ship we have been on and I'm not a fan of these smaller ships except that for an Alaskan cruise the sliding roof over the Lido pool is a real bonus in bad weather. Other ships lose the use of this area when it's cold or rainy. We prefer about 2400 passenger ships and that gives more space, more venues and more shopping on board. Not a huge difference, on Holland it's 4 times round the deck equals 1 mile whereas on the slightly bigger ships it's 3 times around. We felt that is was the friendliest ship we've been on. All the staff were amazing. This attitude has to come from the top down. The captain was a young man and the crew said he'd often wander around the ship and eat in the Lido deck and make himself visible to guests and staff. That was a good thing a happy atmosphere. We had so many invitations to luncheons and receptions with free drinks it was amazing. Must have had occasions where champagne or cocktails were supplied at least 7 times in two weeks! Yes the ship is older but most of Holland America Ships are but they are constantly being well maintained. We had an inside cabin midship on main deck. It is due for a refitting in Oct. 2013. We find the bow to have the most motion so try to avoid a cabin there. These smaller ships tend to have more motion, but our cruise was like glass! The ship shore excursions tend to be expensive and we don't usually go on them from the ship but others were raving about helicopter rides and whales watching experiences. Check ahead by going on line and see what excursions are available privately. Sometimes (most of the time) they are cheaper and better and the people giving them are really enthusiastic, not just using you as a 'meal ticket'. We had a wonderful excursion with Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, a 6 hr. boat trip and we saw Orcas, humpbacks, dolphins, seals, sea lions and glaciers. I also recommend Halibut Hole fish and chips in Ketchikan, at the end of Creek Street overlooking the water (we saw seals swimming by). After seeing Creek Steet, take the tram ($2.00 for all day) up to the Cape Fox Lodge and see the Native art work in the lodge and the totem poles outside. Take the path to your left and walk through the forest (trail, walkway and steps) back down to where you started. Didn't try Tracy's Crab shack in Juneau but sure wish we had, it's right next to the big parkade near the dock. I liked the amount of time that we were in the ports, no rushing. All and all it was a wonderful relaxing cruise great ports of call, magnificent scenery and who doesn't enjoy unpacking once and being waited on!   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
We had cruised on Zaandam in 2010 on a Circle Hawaii cruise.. we met a couple from the Roll call, and have cruised with them in 2012 and this cruise plus my brother and Sister in law, who also cruised last year with us. We boarded Amtrak ... Read More
We had cruised on Zaandam in 2010 on a Circle Hawaii cruise.. we met a couple from the Roll call, and have cruised with them in 2012 and this cruise plus my brother and Sister in law, who also cruised last year with us. We boarded Amtrak from Edmonds, WA to Vancouver, there were the 4 of us on the train, and would meet the other couple on board. (they were Canadians). We arrived at Amtrak on time, and took a taxi to the ship, the cost for 2 was around $10.00 (we needed 2 taxis for all the luggage).We arrived at the ship and check in was smooth and easy! We were able to go to our cabin immediately and drop off our carry on luggage, our cabin had a red ribbon on the door, I questioned the steward, and his reply was that it had been a "show" cabin. We then went to the Welcome back Mariner lunch. We met up with our Canadian friends and had a wonderful seat in the very back of the dining room, next to the windows. after lunch we went to our cabins and unpacked. We found the Zaandam to be in better shape than when we sailed in 2010, there had been a problem with a broken window on the lido, and one of the elevators never worked all the time we had been on board... those items had been fixed! Our cabin was fine, the bed was comfortable, the air conditioning was not cool enough for my DH, I went up to the office and requested a fan, which they didn't really give me an answer to, I think they said they would see what could be done, they send someone in to check the air, and it was around 73 degrees in the cabin. We sailed the inside passage, leaving Vancouver around 5pm, the inside passage was nice and calm, however I think maybe most of it was sailed during the night. Our first port was Ketchikan, it was a nice day, no rain, my brother and I went to the "Funicul" that goes up from Creek street to a large hotel at the top of the hill. the cost was $2.00 for all day, we looked through the hotel, and the grounds, there were some totem poles in a group, and quite a few other things to look at in the hotel, a small museum upstairs, no charge, a lovely view of the ship, and a latte stand, if you like lattes! Our next port was Juneau, it was still very warm in our room, and no relief, so DH thought we should take the city bus out to Walmart, the cost...$2.00 there were vans that would take you to Walmart, but they wanted $10.00 pp!!  we bought a fan for our room, and caught the bus bus back to the ship. Most cruisers would go to Mendenhal Glacier, but we have been there many times! When boarding the ship, the security said they would have to confiscate our fan!! I protested, and they instructed me to go to the office with the fan. the office said they would have to send an electrician to our cabin to inspect the fan, and to bring us one of their extention cords! so I waited in my cabin for the inspection..... I left the fan, and went out of the cabin, when I returned the office had sent a stand up fan to our room!! we put ours in our closet and used the HAL fan. We ordered room service every morning for coffee and a roll, or muffin, a few times my husband went up to the Lido for an omelet, which he said got a little better as the cruise progressed.. I ate breakfast 4 times in the lido, and usually had lunch at the grill on the lido, we ate all of our meals in the MDR, the service was good, usually it took 1 1/2 hr to eat... we were lucky and got the same table and time all 14 days!! we were assigned open seating, there was not a choice when we booked, which was almost a full year before! I got to the tea once, there were a couple of Mariner lunches, which we attended and a nice lunch for those of us that were sailing on the B2B, which numbered 101 of us. We also had a nice cocktail party, where champagne, wine and hors de ouvers were served! We ate in the Pinnacle grill on night, I personally was not impressed by the PG or the service, I had a filet mignon, which was huge!!! my husband and my friend's husband ordered the tbone, which was also very large. my friend ordered the lobster, she said it was delicious, but it was very tiny!! My dessert in the PG was crème brulee, but didn't measure up to the one I had in the MDR one night. We all noticed that the baked potatoes seemed to not be done.... even in the PG, they were not done. This is the first cruise that had the white chair covers on the chairs for formal night, I had read about them, but never had them on any of our other cruises! The service on the ship was wonderful, and always cheerfully given. the food left a little to be desired, but we certainly didn't starve!! I was hoping for one of those chocolate extravaganzas, but there was none. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Our tour began as a land cruise. Our surprise was the weather ((mid-70's) and the lack of snow! Destinations all had interesting excursions. Hotels were just ok. The highlights were our tour guide, Jason Balera, and the driver-guide, ... Read More
Our tour began as a land cruise. Our surprise was the weather ((mid-70's) and the lack of snow! Destinations all had interesting excursions. Hotels were just ok. The highlights were our tour guide, Jason Balera, and the driver-guide, Lance! There were several very long "coach" rides (9-12 hours) and they saved us from total boredom! We witnessed something that most people do not see when they go to Alaska. We saw Mt. McKinley (Denali) cloud free all three days we were there! Astonishing. The disappointment of this trip was actually the cruise portion. We were on the Zaandam. Our luggage was delivered in a timely manner, so no complaints. We had a verandah room on Deck 6. It was very cramped. My husband and I (both small people) could not pass one another. Closet could not be opened when anyone else was there, or if the bathroom door needed to be opened. Very poor layout! There was plenty of space for storage. The room was very worn, and the veranda showed a lot of rust. Windows in our cabin, and throughout the ship were filthy. As far as the service went, we were very disappointed. Very few smiles, or greetings from staff when meeting in passageways. Room stewards had to be called to clean our room, even though we had been gone all day! Daily cleaning was very minimal. The main dining room offered good menu choices but food was often overcooked, or cold when it arrived. Our big complaint about this ship is that they nickle and dime you for everything. Very little was included. They try to even upsell you for water with your meal. The food in the Lido restaurant was very unsatisfactory. We ordered breakfast for two from room service and got a danish the size of an Oreo cookie, and croissants the size of a apple slice! Coffee was bland at best. The highlight of this ship was the lounge entertainment, and the Pinnacle Restaurant! Very enjoyable. Our disembarkation went okay until we were off the ship, and it became a madhouse of too many lines and not enough direction. We have cruised several times and this was the least satisfying of all, as pertains to the ship. We will not travel with Holland America again! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
The ship appeared "old and tired" when we boarded, and our large verandah level stateroom smelled stale and musty on entering and had to be re-cleaned, with an ozone machine being used to eliminate some odors. The bathroom was ... Read More
The ship appeared "old and tired" when we boarded, and our large verandah level stateroom smelled stale and musty on entering and had to be re-cleaned, with an ozone machine being used to eliminate some odors. The bathroom was right out of the 70's, complete with peach/pink tiles and a wall mounted hair dryer usually found only in museums. A drain in the bathroom floor had to be opened and cleaned to eliminate sewer gases. The desk/dressing area was badly chipped and poorly repaired long past the point where it should have been replaced. The food in the main (Lido Deck) dining room was marginal. On the first night, some of the food was virtually inedible, with pork chops about 1/4" thick or less and cooked to the consistency of shoe sole material taking the lead. There was also very little variety of the "C average" food throughout the week. The fitness room was quite well equipped, although water was provided (other than for sale) only via a drinking fountain with paper cups, and they ran out of paper cups toward the end of the cruise. The wait staff, cabin stewards and others at that level of service were polite but less friendly and accommodating than we have experienced with other cruise lines. Fortunately, the places visited were so spectacular that it made the shipboard accommodations relatively unimportant, but it is highly unlikely that we will ever travel on a Holland America ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
This was our 4th time on this class of ship and each time I fall in love all over again. The ship is small enough that you can navigate well, elevators go to most floors (forward ones go higher) and basically three floors is where ... Read More
This was our 4th time on this class of ship and each time I fall in love all over again. The ship is small enough that you can navigate well, elevators go to most floors (forward ones go higher) and basically three floors is where everything is located. My review will be formatted a bit different but I wanted to touch on some things that do not seem to be addressed in other reviews. Collector's Voyage: There are perks to this such as invites to lunches and cocktail parties and even a Pinnacle dinner. Two seven day segments were combined to make this a collector’s cruise so we were able to enjoy these extra perks. The first day we were given a list of the entertainment and movies so we could plan accordingly. My opinion of ships condition: VERY GOOD! The ship’s hull was being repainted on our voyage although it did not appear it needed it. The lower promenade was constantly being worked on with grinding, repainting and such. They will occasionally block the area so you cannot walk by, but that would be for just a short period. Please note if your cabin is on the lower promenade you may be subject to some noise during the day due to ongoing maintenance. The carpeting on the stairs and around the elevators appeared to be new. Our Cabin: We opted for a main deck quad cabin aft. Even with four of us (two teens) there was plenty of space to unpack all our stuff and there is more than one closet (we each had one). HAL hangers take up a lot of room in the closet, so you may want to bring some plastic or wire hangers from home. Not a ton of drawer space but the closets are dual purpose with shelves for folded clothes and can be lowered to create more hanging space. There is only one electrical outlet in the room so you may want to bring an extender, with one we were able to charge two things at a time. I found collapsible boxes at Walgreens and they were great for storing phones, cords, cameras and such. We were even able to put one in the window sill since it is deep. The beds have deep storage underneath and we were able to store three large suitcases and a large duffle bag. Cabin Steward: You will get in a “groove” with your stewards so they know the best time to clean the room in the morning and for turn down service at night. The kids slept later, so our room was not cleaned until 12-1, when we left the room we would always put the “Service Please” card in the door when we left the room. We kept the room very tidy with nothing laying around that had to be cleaned around or picked up, these folks work hard enough and the least we can do is pick up after ourselves (which we do at home anyway). Cabin layout: If you are in a quad with four, have the main bed separated for the duration of your cruise. The fourth bed lowers from the ceiling and will be directly above one of the lower beds. If you keep the beds together, it will be difficult for the person on that side to get out of bed easily without bumping your head. Also having the beds separated, you can easily get to the window to view wildlife outside. TV: Lots of stations, scroll with the remote and you can find the station guide. The day after the movie in shown in the theater it will play on the TV. There is also a DVD player in the room. Select from the booklet and go to the front desk to check out(have some alternatives, just in case). Bathroom: Okay the ship is older and they do their best to keep it in top condition but the tile is pink (as someone else pointed out) and may be a bit outdated. If having a totally updated cabin/bathroom you will need to do your research and most likely sail a newer vessel. They do their best to keep the caulk looking good, but with so much moisture in the bathroom it may not be perfect. There is one corner medicine cabinet that two could easily share and there is a shelf below the sink. We also used more collapsible drawers to contain the toiletries. There is a body wash, shampoo and conditioner dispenser in the shower. The hair dryer in the bathroom is useless, so don't even try! I think these must have been standard in the design at the time. You will find a dryer in the top drawer of the desk. It is a 1600 watt dryer with a 220 plug. This was convenient since there is one 220 outlet and do not have to unplug the charging phone to use the dryer! We did note a sewer smell on occasion in the bathroom, I just plugged the drain in the bathtub and sink and that took care of it. Laundry: Great value for 4 at $49.00 for each leg of the voyage. Laundry by the bag is $20.00 and would have been fine for just two of us. There are coin operated laundries on the ship at $2.00 per load but the time I peeked in, it was a party! I've noticed the same on other HAL and Princess ships, there are always a lot of people wanting to use the machines. We choose not to try and compete for the machines and just pay. Bring a stain pre-treater if you are going to be in a wet climate or have kids! The mud stains DD's boyfriends sweatshirt did not come out in the laundry. The whites were not great (dingy) and we rewashed all the whites when we got home. Dining: We had open dining the first segment and fixed the second. Something happened on HAL's side as we should have had fixed the entire time, but we made it work. We were able to make reservations for each night at the same table (not the first night… crazy!!!) all in all it worked out. They switched us to fixed seating for the second leg which we did not know about ahead of time but received a card in our mail slot. We found the dining room food to be very good, no complaints from any of us. If someone does not like something just order another dish. You will never go hungry on a cruise ship. Lido-With the exception of the first 48 hours you are able to self- serve certain sections of the Lido. All the main dishes are served to you just tell the staff what you would like and they will hand a plate to you. Terrace Grill- You can get burgers, hotdogs and fries at the window. Full Mexican spread is in hot trays as well as pizza. Pinnacle Grill- We ate there once which was very enjoyable and a nice change from the dining room, both in food quality and service. The portions are large, so bring your appetite! Canaletto: We also ate here once, food was okay. We had reservations and they did not have a table for us. A group of the HAL dancers/singers were dining in there at the time and they all got up at once and left and voila, there was our table. They must have a problem with no-shows here and allowed the HAL staff to dine earlier and would be allowed to stay longer for dessert (they were done with dinner) if the next group did not show up. I felt bad for them they were asked to leave. Explorations Café- A pay for coffee bar but you can also get soft drinks there. I did notice that they will deliver to your room between certain hours. Snacks displayed in case free of charge. Room Service: We only used room service twice for Bar Service; we did bring dollar bills to tip. Library: Plenty of hardback books to check out but also has a lending library for paperbacks. You do not have to check out the paperbacks with the librarian. Entertainment: We normally do not go the the production shows since they seem to be "cheesy" but we did enjoy the HAL singers and dancers production of Rockin Roadhouse and Northern Lights. Quite a bit of thought and creativity has been put into the sets and costumes and made for a better show. We lucked out with Joel Mason's tribute to Elton John on the second leg, we've seen him twice before and enjoyed his show very much. I wish he had been able to perform his Eagles tribute, maybe next time...The comedian and magician were good as well. Stores: Small stores but has a little bit of everything and the normal “sidewalk sales”. Shore Excursions: We pre-booked online prior to embarking. Scroll through HAL’s shore excursions (through your booking #) to see what is available for your sailing. I personally would not want to wait to hear what the shore excursion department offers, it’s the same as what’s online. Book air excursions early! Smoking: We are not smokers and there were very few smokers on each sailing. After walking through the Casino I stopped at the Casino Bar (where a no smoking sign is displayed) and asked if the Casino was non- smoking. The bartender told me there is a small section in the Casino for smoking but I never saw an ashtray or anyone smoking for that matter. I know one side of the aft pool area is smoking and signs are displayed. Nickel & Diming: I never felt pushed or even asked more than once (water) to buy anything. I knew about the water being sold in the dining room (pretty container) but the dining room water is good. Hot chocolate in the Lido is free of charge but not when you get it in the pretty cup on the Lower Promenade deck in Glacier Bay. We bought the water in the room and then refilled the bottles from the bathroom sink. THE WATER IS GOOD! Embarkation/Debarkation: We arrived at Canada Place at 11:00am walked right to check in (no wait) and were seated for a short-time but we were on the ship by 12:30pm. No complaints here. When we left the ship, our color was called right on time and we were off the ship, luggage in hand and waiting for our HAL sponsored transfer within 30 minutes. There were two ships in that morning (as well when we left) but all of it is organized chaos. There is plenty of staff for direction if you get confused. Once again we are happy cruisers and cannot wait until our next HAL voyage!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
I was exhausted from my trip due to the lack of sleep from the extremely warm room and bad beds. My body suffered in pain. The beds threw my body out of alignment. Both beds were worn out with a deep depression in the center and lopsided ... Read More
I was exhausted from my trip due to the lack of sleep from the extremely warm room and bad beds. My body suffered in pain. The beds threw my body out of alignment. Both beds were worn out with a deep depression in the center and lopsided in our stateroom. HAL did not offer a solution to my problem. I have never been to any establishment with such worn out beds and not offering a solution. Walls were stained and I used pillows to separate the me from the walls. The room was very warm with poor ventilation. The AC was not working. The food was ok. I did not care for the majority of their desserts. Even their vanilla ice cream did not even taste right to me. Overall service in dining was good. However, the service in the Rotterdam were slow at times. I would avoid the shopping lectures on board. It was a waste of my time. You are better off sightseeing. The shopping they recommended were all tourist traps, esp. the jewelry stores using high pressured sales tactics. I did not find any bargains as Dani claimed from the trunk sales, but overpriced jewelries. When I was in Effy, Dani, the shopping ambassador for the ship came in and for the longest time tried to pressure me into buying a flower like 14kt gold pendant with tiny rubies.They wanted about $5000 with their discount and I went to their website and it is being listed for $2895: http://www.effyjewelry.com/women/jardin-bloom-ruby-and-diamond-pendant-2-49-tcw.html. Stay away from these vultures. This will be my first and last cruise with Holland America. Their response after the cruise was they update their ships every 2 years and offered me a 2 category upgrade with in my stateroom type. This will be my first and last cruise with them!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
The inside passage was terrific we even were lucky to have sun in all the ports.the ship never seemed crowded and other than disembarkation all went smoothly. Leaving the ship was delayed by passengers who required Canadian visas not ... Read More
The inside passage was terrific we even were lucky to have sun in all the ports.the ship never seemed crowded and other than disembarkation all went smoothly. Leaving the ship was delayed by passengers who required Canadian visas not reporting to the requested authorities , this was despite multiple requests, so the local authorities delayed all of us. We boarded the ship quickly with great assistance of a gent called Ian. Our room was ready and luggage arrived shortly. The room attendants were as good as it gets. Good new shows were offered and we liked the magician and the Northern Lights the best. The Rotterdam offered good choices and our wait staff were excellent at dinner. The Skagway trolley tour with guide Nikki was one amazing, the trolley tour in ketichikan a disappointment, little history was shared and it was overpriced and very short, the guide spent more time asking us to give him a good review and telling dumb jokes than sharing this great place. The unlimited laundry is a favorite as it allows me to pack less. Storage in our Veranda suite was extensive. WiFi service was outrageous and we choose not to use it. The"best" price was $250.00 for 1000 minutes and .75 cents per minute with out a plan. Many complained service was spotty. We enjoy the smaller ships and the traditional great service of HAL 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

Find a Zaandam Cruise

Email me when prices drop