Sail Date: March 2013
This was our 3rd cruise and we are planning another! The Zaandam was the smallest ship so far that we have sailed and we were not disappointed at all. Yes she was showing her age on the outside, but the inside was always clean and free ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise and we are planning another! The Zaandam was the smallest ship so far that we have sailed and we were not disappointed at all. Yes she was showing her age on the outside, but the inside was always clean and free of odors. One thing I wish they would clean the windows while over night in port. Most of them were salt streaked and not sure when the last time they were cleaned. That's the only thing I can think of that I can say negative. We flew into San Diego 8 am the same morning we set sail. Found a taxi and headed to Albertsons for my Caffeine Free Coke. Once we were at the port we had a couple of hours to wait. Boarding was said to start at Noon, but we were on the ship by 11:45. Our room was ready for us, so we dropped off our carry on and headed to the Lido for lunch. After unpacking and touring the ship it was time for the Muster Drill. It was fairly quick then off to the bar for our sail away drink of the day. Sailing out of San Diego we had the prettiest sunset and great picture moments. The next 2 days were sea days. We did see a lot of whales the entire trip. First port of call was Puerto Vallarta and it was an over night docking. This was a first for us and enjoyed it as well. Of course we hit Walmart while in port...seems like most of the passengers did. Our Pirate ship excursion was cancelled due to lack of interest. But we were happy to go on Two If By Sea. This was a wonderful excursion! Snorkel, lunch, drinking, private beach and a wonderful sail down the coast of PV. Our underwater camera died early on this trip and we were happy to purchase the photo package from the excursion. We just got out CD in the mail yesterday and are pleased with the pictures. We opted not to hike to the water fall but now have pictures as if we were there. While on the beach, there are beggars and children trying to sell trinkets. We simply smiled and said no thank you and were left alone. We stayed on board the second day in port and enjoyed the aft pool until it was time to sail away. Cabo was our next day and I enjoyed that better but felt we had so little time to do everything. We enjoyed shopping and bartering and then had a delicious lunch at Taco Loco. It was in front of Cabo Wabo and little better of a price for us. We never felt unsafe at either port. We only stayed in the tourist areas and enjoyed both ports of call. Our last sea day was lazy pool day. Later in the day the seas were getting a little rough and by dinner time we were really rocking and rolling. The barf bags were put out on tables but we never saw any one get sick. We felt queasy while packing to go home but by the time we laid down we felt much better. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill for lunch once. We didn't find any thing special about it. Seemed like the MDR but smaller and more intimate. It wasn't bad at all. We now can say we have eaten there. We enjoyed the MDR on most nights and had Open Seating. This is my favorite because we meet new people every meal and have different servers as well. On the first night we all enjoyed Burgundy Cherry Ice cream. I loved it so much that our server made sure I had more the next few nights. We didn't even sit at his table those nights but I had the wonderful ice cream 2 more times! The Mariners brunch was also a first for us and really enjoyed that as well. We ate breakfast and snacked at the lido. There was always something good to eat. Breakfast didn't seem to change variety but we did get full. Room service for the Chocolate cake is a must!!!! Breakfast was good too. We ordered the omelets, fruit and coffee. The entertainment was just OK. It gave us something to do in the evenings. This sailing seemed to have an older crowd and the shows fit their genre. Not at all did we feel out of place. We did see a few kids on board and they were always polite and no running or pushing elevator buttons. Leaving the ship was easy but delayed due to non US citizens not being where they were supposed to be at the right time. Many calls were made for people over and over. We finally got off around 930 and headed to the airport via taxi. I love HAL and plan to sail again. The Zaandam was a nice ship. The crew was absolutely wonderful and always smiling! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2013
This is only my second cruise and it's been a while since my first. This would be my first, but definitely not my last as a solo cruiser. I was determined to have a good time and to have reasonable expectations while on board, and I ... Read More
This is only my second cruise and it's been a while since my first. This would be my first, but definitely not my last as a solo cruiser. I was determined to have a good time and to have reasonable expectations while on board, and I was overwhelmingly surprised and pleased. While her exterior was weathered and showing the harsh wear and tear of the time in the salt and its previous voyage to and from Hawaii, the interior was just the opposite. Based on a lot of reviews I had read my expectation were set quite low, but evidently they have been quite busy trying to keep the Zaandam up to the standards I expected and hoped for from HAL. Embarkation was organized, fast and painless. I had my bags checked, ship identification in hand and I was aboard by noon. I got lucky and had both of my suitcases by 1:00 and after a nice lunch at the Lido buffet I was busy unpacking and using the laundry facilities to press my slightly wrinkled dress shirts. My cabin steward, Bam, would prove to be outstanding in every way possible. 5 stars! My cabin was a little larger than I anticipated and would prove to be very, very comfortable. Full shower and bath with good water pressure and the condition of the tile and fixtures were almost new. There was a little wear and tear on the edge of the sofa and the edge of the desk and a scuff or two on the wall but nothing to be concerned with or even annoyed about. I was upgraded twice from a selected cabin below the MDR as I had read about noise from the kitchen areas further forward. I ended up under that area and there was some noticeable noise but nothing that would either keep from going to sleep or wake me up as one review on the sister ship Volendam would imply. My stateroom was 3373. I was told that the Zaandam is due for a month long dry-dock this coming October, so I bet she returns to service brand new! Overall the ship was in great condition and had staff cleaning and polishing continuously. Hygiene was top priority on ship and the buffet was served by staff only for the first 48 hours. Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers are everywhere and the crew would actually make sure that you had a dollop in your hands before entering the buffet or the MDR. It was quite reassuring they intended to keep us from getting sick on the cruise. As for the food I can't complain about much. If your expectations are reasonable you will be pleased. The Lido buffet was actually very good for buffet style food. The fruit was ripe and had great flavor, the hot entrees were of decent flavor and hot if you found a table and sat down quickly as one would expect. The sandwich station became my early favorite. There was a good selection to fit all kinds of appetites. Timing when you ate at the Lido Restaurant was a big key. If you're up there when they open everything is good and piping hot. On the first day or two there was some confusion as to where the lines started and stopped at the various stations but if you just looked for the signs it was fine. It did frustrate a quite a few people and if there was one glaring issue with this cruise it was people complaining. I would learn to quickly tune them out after realizing you can't please some people at any time. Lunch and dinner in the MDR was always good and there was plenty to choose from on every menu. I had the 8:00pm sitting and other than the first night running about 10 minutes late it was like clockwork every night after. The wine steward was a bit young and needed some education but I'm sure he's getting it! There wasn't anything I regretted ordering or that I found too bland or overpowering. It became a bit of a joke after the third night but for some reason one of the stewards who filled up the water glasses always skipped my glass. It was worth a good laugh. I blamed it on being the fifth wheel with two other couples. They were great dinner companions and made me feel right at home being a solo. Dinner in the Pinnacle was a real treat and rivaled some of the top restaurants I have visited in Seattle. It was worth the additional charge. The coffee and the help at the Explorations coffee stand was middle of the road, but I am biased being from Seattle, coffee snob central. As for the entertainment on the ship I can't comment on too much. Most of the shows didn't appeal to me but the Olympic gymnast Lance Ringnald was great and the music and comedy of Dennis Blair was an absolute hoot. May and the HALcats provided some great Motown music as well. Location guide Kainoa provided some great information and commentary while whale watching and information on Puerto Vallarta, Cabo and Mexico in general. With two extra days in San Diego following the cruise, I chose late disembarkation and had a room service breakfast delivered right on time, just as ordered and nice and hot. Less than 15 minutes off the boat I had my bags and was on my way. The age demographic on the ship was older than I was but I also expected that and it was not a problem at all. I was a little discouraged by the lack of nightlife on one or two nights, but the crow's nest was still a great place to put the finishing touches on each of the great days on board. Being solo on this cruise probably made this more apparent. I suppose the only complaint I would have other than the mood of some of the passengers was the dirty windows. You would think while they were gassing up they could asked to check the oil and have the windows cleaned? This was a great cruise with great excursions and no regrets. The doctor was right and the prescription cured me, but I think the medication is addictive. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
We booked an inside cabin and had the opportunity to upgrade, several weeks before the beginning of the cruise (for a fee). We chose to upgrade to an outside cabin on the Dolphin deck (1879). It was a wonderful cabin, large with a window ... Read More
We booked an inside cabin and had the opportunity to upgrade, several weeks before the beginning of the cruise (for a fee). We chose to upgrade to an outside cabin on the Dolphin deck (1879). It was a wonderful cabin, large with a window and bathtub. It was noisy as they were loading the ship, as a cargo door was just below the cabin. After sailing, we didn't hear a peep in our cabin, except for the last night when the crew was positioning luggage or other cargo right below us. This was the smallest ship we have sailed on, so we were a bit hesitant; however, in the end, the ship didn't fee small. In fact, the ship was among our favorites. Our summary of the cruise is as follows: Pros: -Nice ship, with big cabins -Crow's Nest is a great space, and we loved 70's, 80's and Michael Jackson nights -Pool area at the back of the ship is wonderful, although we like that it was adults only on the Oosterdam -Loved the overnight in Puerto Vallarta. We didn't have to rush to get back to the ship. Cabo is also great and we could walk to the beach. -Generally good food, with excellent food at Pinnacle Grill, for $20 a head -Scheduled LGBT event, but not hosted -Nice big and well-equipped gym although staff could have been better at ensuring a better sense of decorum from other passengers (shirtless and barefoot people working out) -HAL cats were great; loved the Adagio Duo -Photographers weren't in your face -Made extra efforts to accommodate Passover for Jewish passengers Cons: -Service a bit spotty at times. The host seating people for dinner always looked confused and never acknowledge your presence (line was a mad house). The restaurant seemed a bit under staffed. -Tea was nice, but it took 20 minutes every day to clear the line, as they were seating one by one. There never seemed to be enough food, and once again, it was under staffed. -No place to jog on the ship, except the treadmills -Invisible cruise director and no staff -Didn't use the spa services as they don't have male masseurs All and all, a lovely week. We would definitely sail on the Zaandam again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
This was our first cruise on Holland America. We've cruised three times before on other lines. Overall, this was a good experience, not the best cruise we've taken but not the worst either. One port of call was Puerto ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holland America. We've cruised three times before on other lines. Overall, this was a good experience, not the best cruise we've taken but not the worst either. One port of call was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The ship stayed overnight and this allowed us to experience some of the nightlife. This was the first cruise we took that did this. We had the time to find places to visit that was a bit off the beaten path and eat dinner in a local's restaurant rather than the usual tourist traps. The other was Cabo San Lucas, which was fine, even though it felt like visiting a mall. We found the ms Zaandam to be a nice ship. There are plenty of areas to sit and relax as well as many activities in which to participate. We took advantage of the "Techspert" several times, attending classes on the use of Microsoft Windows to edit photographs and to use a digital camera. The things we learned is evident in the much improved quality of our photos. Other classes on towel folding, flower-making, etc. were just as informative and enjoyable. Mike, the singer-guitar player in the Piano Bar was by far the most talented person we have had the pleasure to enjoy on a cruise ship, even when signing his original songs. The shows, on the other hand, were typical cruise ship fare. There was an excellent juggler but the musical shows could be easily skipped. Our cabin, 1808 on the Dolphin deck was quite a bit smaller than the online description would led one to believe. There is no sofa, only a chair and small table. We had the room configured for one bed and due to the odd, non-rectangular shape of the cabin, make moving near the bed difficult. I would recommend a twin-bed configuration. There is a DVD player in the room and the ship offers a large library of movies to check out. Our cabin steward, Dedi, could not have been nicer. He was always present but never in the way. He filled our fruit basket daily, provided an ever-increasing number of chocolates (reached 12 pieces on the last night) and an adorable towel animal every night. Food service was very spotty. The Lido Restaurant (not a buffet, more cafeteria style service) was decent, although the food seemed to not have much variety. One could eat the same meal any day of the voyage. Food quality was better in the Rotterdam dining room, but like all cruise ships, the food is more like what one receives at a wedding rather than a fine restaurant. The service was spotty (missing bread plates, missing forks, courses served out of order, etc.) Being a Californian, these really aren't issues for me but many guest seemed to be upset. Room service, on the other hand, was absolutely terrible. The first time we tried room service, the food never arrived. By the time we gave up, all other food service had ended so we didn't have any dinner the first night. The second time we tried, we were told the wait would be 1 to 1 1/2 hours. After 2 hours we called back and were told there was no order for us. The food arrived about 1/2 hour later but the order was incomplete and very cold. We tried a third time by ordering breakfast using the card we hung on the door handle the night before. The food arrived at the requested time but was also incomplete, and there was only one set of silverware and no cream for the coffee. Overall, food is the most problematic issue on this cruise. Finding the silver lining, I actually lost 1 pound. Our voyage included Easter and this probably accounted for the large number of children on board. We were told that there were 1,590 guest on board which is about 150 more than the stated capacity of the ship. Many children running around, playing on the elevators, etc. detracted from the experience. We never had the chance to use any of the pools due to the number of children. There didn't seem to be much parenting going on and the cruise line, understandably, didn't step in unless complaints were made. Although Holland America is considered to be a premium cruise, we did not find that to be true. By far they were better than our trip with Royal Caribbean, but below that we found with Princess or Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
I try to sail on a HAL ship once every 2 years. I normally go to the Mexican Riviera in the winter to use their excellent thermal suite and work out equipment. I consider it my spa week to relax. This was my first time on the Zaandam. ... Read More
I try to sail on a HAL ship once every 2 years. I normally go to the Mexican Riviera in the winter to use their excellent thermal suite and work out equipment. I consider it my spa week to relax. This was my first time on the Zaandam. I liked the layout of the ship; smaller than most but not crowded even though it was Easter break week. We ( my son and I ) were upgraded to a partial blocked outside cabin, 3383. This was not an upgrade. The cabin was large but from the moment we entered I knew we would have a problem. The diesel fuel smell in the cabin was overwhelming and the A/C was hardly working. We immediately called downstairs; they said the smell would go away when we started sailing and sent someone up to look at the A/C. The repair man came up and said that the cabin was hot and that they would adjust it downstairs. We went off to sign up for the thermal suite package and I did not think about it again. When we came back to the cabin after dinner the smell was still bad and the A/C was still not working well. Our cabin steward apologized and got us a fan. He did what he could but he looked like this was not the first time this cabin had a problem. I tried to sleep with the fan blowing the fumes in my face. At 1 am I gave up; I had a terrible headache from the fumes and felt sick to my stomach. I went to the front office and asked if there was anywhere I could sleep. The lady said ; sorry we are completely booked. She was sorry I was sick from the cabin fumes but there was no room in the inn. I offered to sleep in the infirmary, I just needed some sleep and some clean air. No the infirmary was closed. So I told her I would sleep in the library. I went up and slept on the library couch for 2 hours, woke up without the headache and went back to my smelly cabin. The smell did get better the next day, the A/C never did and after 2 days of asking for help we gave up and kept the fan going. The toilet in the cabin worked most of the time; only had to have it fixed 2x. Avoid this cabin. The rest of the trip was fun. Went on the whale watching trip and saw a couple of whales ( the end of March is really too late in the season). We enjoyed the thermal suite and worked out everyday on the new equipment. We spent some time in the casino , contributing to the casino's retirement fund. The casino manager was great. The comedian , Dan Grueter was wonderful and we were sad that he only did one show. The singers and dancers were good and did their best with the small stage and the simple sets. We enjoyed the cooking demo, the computer classes and the DJ in the Crow's nest. We ate in the lido restaurant for all of our meals. We have done this before on 2 other cruises with HAL and normally we found the food there to be as good as the dining room . But not this time, HAL's food quality is slipping. Overall, we had a nice time. But for me the quality of service was seriously lacking. When you are paying so much for a room on a ship ; you should be able to sleep in your room and not the library couch. I was too tired and had too bad a headache to care. I wish someone on the HAL staff could have cared a little more. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2013
I should preface this review by saying that even a bad cruise isn't totally bad. On the other hand, I haven't done a Carnival Cruise in a while (ha). 4 out of my last 5 cruises have been on Holland America but this Zaandam ... Read More
I should preface this review by saying that even a bad cruise isn't totally bad. On the other hand, I haven't done a Carnival Cruise in a while (ha). 4 out of my last 5 cruises have been on Holland America but this Zaandam cruise was (by far) the worst. My first cabin was 1882 on the Dolphin deck. On the first night of the cruise the seas became a bit rough and we began to hear this loud crashing noise as the ship rolled to starboard. Then 3 or 4 seconds later there would be another crash as the ship rolled back to port. Since the crashing noises always came in pairs, I have a hunch it was a heavy door opening and closing on the ship someplace. The guy in the cabin next to mine (1878) was going nuts by the second night. Others in that area of the ship were bothered by it too. The ship's crew would not tell us exactly what the problem was. They made plenty of suggestions but none of them made any sense. I am sure they knew exactly what the noise was because after many complaints, they finally gave us a different room. The next room (2542) was not noisy but the toilets would not flush properly. I gave up complaining about that but I felt sorry for our room steward who ended up "manually" cleaning our toilet many times. We also found both of our rooms to be incredibly uncomfortable to sit in. It was almost impossible to sit in bed and watch TV without leaning back against the light switches and turning the lights on and off. The couches were also very uncomfortable to sit in. I think both of our rooms had couches that converted into sleeping beds and were not really designed for the comfort of anyone who wanted to just sit on them. Most of the food on the Lido deck was good but we found it difficult to get something as simple as ketchup. More often than not, the ketchup dispensers were empty or broken. The Asian food was good on the Lido, but trying to find a bottle of soy sauce was almost impossible. There was a ton of simple things like that could easily have been fixed but weren't. I also thought the Lido breakfast menu was a bit boring after 10 days of exactly the same menu. Most of the other cruise ships I have been on have had more variety. One thing that was almost laughable was the portions of popcorn they served in the ship's movie theater. This was the first time in 25+ years of cruising that I actually attended a movie on a cruise ship. The day I was there we had at least 150 people for which the cruise staff brought in about 24 bags of popcorn. But the funniest part was the fact each bag held no more than 2 dozen kernels of popcorn. Obviously none of the crew had ever attended an American movie theater before. Last year we took a two cruises on the Holland America Eurodam. My wife loved the free Tai-Chi classes that were held twice a day on the aft deck. Sadly, this cruise had no such classes. Obviously more cutbacks. This cruise seemed to be less organized than other cruises too. This may be my last Holland America cruise and DEFINITELY my last cruise on the Zaandam. With some of the horror stories we have been reading about in the news, I am beginning to wonder about the cruise industry in general. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
We signed up for this cruise because we can drive conveniently to San Diego, and we like the HAL cruise line. It was mostly very pleasant. A few plumbing issues around the ship, but when we reported it from our cabin, a maintenance person ... Read More
We signed up for this cruise because we can drive conveniently to San Diego, and we like the HAL cruise line. It was mostly very pleasant. A few plumbing issues around the ship, but when we reported it from our cabin, a maintenance person came within the hour & had it fixed. We thought the food in the Main Dining Room was great - we are not fussy about food - and we ate most all the breakfasts and lunches there also. The buffet was OK, we just prefer not to have to walk around with plates. The public spaces were great - the lounges, library, shops, casino & bars on Deck 5 have been configured to flow with each other. We thought that was great rather than the little cubicles on most ships. The library is especially nice, right next to the coffee bar. Lots & lots of comfortable chairs arranged nicely. Drinks reasonably priced, and a "Happy Hour" buy-one-get-one-for $1 daily in some of the bars. We were disappointed that HAL doesn't have draft beer in any of the bars, but we managed. Our stateroom was spacious, bathroom with tub, 5 closets, great towels & robes. We stayed in port at Puerto Vallarta overnight. Cabo San Lucas only 6 hours. We went on shore in PV to take a taxi to a restaurant we first went to in 1982, then again in 1987. Still great service & food, some nostalgia for us. Didn't tender into Cabo, have been there several times. The service, both in the cabins & dining room, has diminished somewhat in the past couple of years, fewer stewards and waiters for more passengers?? We had Open Dining time, and seems like it is more difficult for the waiters to serve people when the passengers at each table change daily. We will try to not have this option on our next cruises. I went to one of the cooking demonstrations, and wish that I had attended more of them. Enjoyed it very much. The entertainment was pretty good. Enjoyed the singers & dancers, one comedian was really entertaining, and the Olympic gymnast was very good. The music onboard was variable. We didn't like the singer with the HalCats, or the trio in the Ocean Bar. But this is totally our opinion. We did enjoy the Adagio Strings Quartet very much. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
After many years of travelling to exciting destinations to celebrate special occasions, we were challenged to come up with a really special trip to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary. We have sailed on Holland America many times, so ... Read More
After many years of travelling to exciting destinations to celebrate special occasions, we were challenged to come up with a really special trip to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary. We have sailed on Holland America many times, so our first thought was to explore possible itineraries on one of their ships. It didn't take us long to settle on a 14 day cruise to Hawaii from San Diego. Finding a Delta flight with a low fare and having a companion fare coupon made getting to San Diego from Florida affordable and sealed the deal. We stayed in at a Hilton hotel in the Gaslight district. This beautiful hotel is very conveniently located, there are many dining options nearby, and it's a short walk to the downtown marina. San Diego is a great destination in itself, with many things to do, so we decided to go two days early and enjoy San Diego before sailing away to Hawaii. We walked to the marina and toured the Midway which is docked there, and then had lunch at Anthony's where we had eaten on a previous visit. Embarkation was, as expected, very smooth and hassle-free. When we boarded the Zaandam around 11:30 we were delighted to find that our cabin was ready. After enjoying lunch in the main dining room (a perk for HAL mariners) we returned to our cabin and found our luggage had already been delivered. The cabin was roomy, clean, and had plenty of closet and storage space, so unpacking and getting settled was easy and went quickly. Then we were free to relax on our veranda and watch the sail away. Sailing to and from Hawaii we were at sea 4-5 days in high winds and rough seas. The Zaandam handled the rough conditions well and we only experienced slight to moderate rocking and rolling of the ship. Also must give much credit to the captain who did a great job of sailing around the worst of the weather and keeping the passengers as comfortable as possible. During our time at sea, we enjoyed daily presentations by Kaino, a native Hawaiian on board. Seeing Hawaii through his eyes, we learned about the history of the islands and its people, their culture and traditions. Other venues on the ship offered everything from learning to Hula to cooking Hawaiian dishes. In Hawaii we visited four of the islands: Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. Shore excursions were arranged through HAL, and we were not disappointed. All of the islands are beautiful and each has it's own "personality" and special things to offer. From waterfalls, to museums, to whale watching, to beautiful scenery, to eating at a famous shrimp truck on the north shore of Oahu, we enjoyed it all. For meals on the Zaandam, there are many options depending on the individual's personal preference. We ate in the main dining room, the Lido, the upscale Caneletto, and the very upscale Pinnacle restaurant. Also enjoyed room service on several occasions. All in all, I would rate the food as above average. Service was a little slow in the main dining room, but the wait staff was friendly, helpful, and always went out of their way to make sure we were pleased. This was a great cruise and I hope to do it again someday. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
SO much to tell after two weeks! I'll try not to be ridiculously verbose... We sailed out of San Diego. This is a great port to cruise in and out of. The airport and the cruise terminal are so close together, and many hotels ... Read More
SO much to tell after two weeks! I'll try not to be ridiculously verbose... We sailed out of San Diego. This is a great port to cruise in and out of. The airport and the cruise terminal are so close together, and many hotels between the two have free shuttles. We stayed at both the Hampton Inn (Downtown) and the Holiday Inn on the Bay. Both were great, with the only exception being the noise from the train crossing in our room at the Hampton Inn. Embarkation was smooth as can be and very quick, as was debarkation. No issues there at all. We had booked a veranda guarantee, and were given an AA cabin - 7085. The cabin was really nice :) Loved our veranda, location was perfect. The cabin is under the lido aft pool, but we only ever heard noise on the veranda - the occasional shifting of deck chairs. The room itself was silent! It is a connecting cabin, and that cabin was occupied, but we never heard anything from that room. We did hear the toilet flush in the other cabin near us if everything was really quiet, but not loud enough to notice or to keep a person awake. The ship itself- what a relief! We had read so many bad reviews lately.... Very clean, the carpeting looked new, all the soft goods in our cabin were new, the public areas were sparkling clean and looked in perfect shape. No smells, no maintenance issues, nothing worn out or dirty. The food - it was good. No complaints at all. I don't have a lot to compare it to, but I will say I thought the food selection and variety on RCI Freedom of the Seas was better - but not by much. We ate in the Lido and MDR and had room service - never ate in the Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto. Canaletto got rave reviews from those we spoke to who ate there. Entertainment - so-so, but we knew that going in. The Zaandam singers and dancers were... uh... well - don't worry too much if you miss a show. The lounge acts were quite good, the individual acts in the main show lounge were pretty good - with Chipper Lowell and Mark Newell being FANTASTIC. The culinary demos were pretty cool :) We played pub trivia almost every night with four others who were wonderful companions! Had a lot of fun with that :) Ports - all were good, and detailed below. Tendering in Lahaina was a piece of cake and very efficient - just make sure to get your tender tickets from the main show lounge as early as you can in the morning. Dress code fyi: After reading many posts on this board, I thought that the dress code would be more formal than it was on smart casual nights. Very few people wore ties or sport coats and most women were wearing capris or regular skirts and pants with nice tops. Formal nights - men were far more dressed up than most of the women, which I thought was odd! About 33% of men were in tuxes, 33% in dark suits, and 33% in sport coat/tie combos (along with those who chose not to go to dinner and were just in normal clothes). Women - only a handful of long gowns, mostly black pants/skirts with sparkly tops and some cocktail dresses. As for jeans, they were allowed in the MDR on smart casual nights. Shorts were turned away the two nights we saw someone try (smart casual). We had a wonderful time, and could have stayed on forever :) I will say that we are very low-maintenance as far as being entertained, and were very happy reading books on our veranda. We would never take a kid or a teenager on this cruise! Also - if you need a, exciting night life or a busy casino, this is not the cruise for you :) Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
My husband and I have cruised 8 times, three on Holland America. This was our first time on the Zaadam, a smaller ship than we are used to. First of all, I want to share a great tip that I got off of Pinterest. Take a power strip with ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised 8 times, three on Holland America. This was our first time on the Zaadam, a smaller ship than we are used to. First of all, I want to share a great tip that I got off of Pinterest. Take a power strip with you on your cruise, as most state rooms only have one outlet. With the onslaught of cell phone, ipads, ipods, etc., the extra power outlets are a great way to get everything powered at one time. You can even use this in the airport. We had several people ask to use ours while waiting in the airport and we were happy to oblige. Thank me later. Back to the ship. We are boring cruisers. We go solely for Rest and Relaxation. We usually don't go on shore excursions but opt for independent art gallery shopping and local fare while in port. Sometimes we just stay on the boat and relax near the pool. One reason we choose Holland America is that they allow you to bring your own wine on board. We made a quick stop at a Walgreens in San Diego and stocked up with bottles of wine. These can be carried right on to the ship and consumed in your state room for no fee. If you wish to have this wine at dinner, there is a corkage fee. But we usually just waited until after dinner and enjoyed the wine in the room. We used the gym every morning at 6 am. The gym is well equipped and the treadmills face outward so you can enjoy the sunrise while logging in miles. Yoga, tai chi, water aerobics, etc. are all offered on the ship, as well as other classes for fitness bugs like us. The food on this ship is adequate buffet quality. Again, we did not choose this cruise line because of it's stellar dining experience. We wanted to relax, be on our own schedule and have some sustenance to keep us going. However, Holland America still confuses us with their dinner dining policy. We usually just called a day ahead and made reservations for a table for two at dinner. Walk ins still are welcomed though, which I don't quite understand but hey, it's a vacation right? Who cares? We were seated every night next to the prep. table which was not in the least a fine dining experience. Although wait staff were courteous and nice, the service from the kitchen seemed slow and disjointed. Food was adequate and desserts unimaginative. We found out that we could get basically the same food on the dining menu up stairs at the buffet and were tempted to do so a couple of times. There was a sewage smell in our cabin for about 1/2 of our trip. The smell emanated from the little hallway near the closets and surprisingly, not the bathroom. The staff came in to try to clean the smell and it did abate for a time, but came back within a few hours. Our toilets also went out one day due to blockage on our floor. Not good. But was fixed in about 6 hours. This ship seems rather dated and the staterooms show signs of wear and tear. But beds are comfy, there is an actual bathtub in bathroom and shower pressure is good.The staff is friendly, accommodating and hard working. Entertainment is limited and most venues are more intimate than in larger ships. Puerto Vallarta and Cabo were on the itinerary and we enjoyed walking around and seeing the local flavor. I understand that Mazatlan was taken off the itinerary list because of gang wars and violence in that city. Puerto and Cabo seem to be immune to that for the time being. Traveler's beware and be alert in any Mexican country these days. Lots of drug cartels and hating on travelers, so buyer beware. All in all, we had a nice vacation. Probably won't ask for this ship again and will probably stick with Holland America as we are racking up frequent cruiser points. It would be nice to have a bottle of champagne or another show of gratitude for frequent cruisers, other than the luncheon and coasters given each year. Just an observation. We got what we wanted out of this vacation. Sun, solitude, rest and relaxation. We even got to see the whales! Added bonus! 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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