1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We had cruised to Alaska before but were unable to maximise our experience because of health issues towards the end of the experience. Having cruised HAL in 2017 after a break of about 10 years cruising with one of their main competitors ... Read More
We had cruised to Alaska before but were unable to maximise our experience because of health issues towards the end of the experience. Having cruised HAL in 2017 after a break of about 10 years cruising with one of their main competitors we were keen to return to Alaska and experience it with HAL. The 14 day itinerary sttod out as a must do option travelling further north than our previous cruise. Following Cruise Critic we were made aware of the upgraded bathrooms on many of the ocean view cabins so we upgraded. The new shower is really good and we were pleased with our decision. As we prefer set dining the first night on any cruise is a little worrying - how would we get on with our dinner companions. In all our cruises we have never had to ask to be moved and indeed again we got on really well with our new friends from Florida. On this sailing second sitting was relatively empty. This was great for us as we were able to build a great rapport with our wait staff, Oka, Arie and wine steward Florence. They were a great team and we really enjoyed our dinners throughout the cruise. Some of the ports of call we had visited 5 years ago but apart from in Juneau where we went whale watching again we were able to find different independent tours. Of course on this itinerary there were new ports and we enjoyed them all, that is Anchorage, Homer and Kodiak. Icy Strait Point was particularly interesting as a whole new cruise terminal complex had been built since we were last there. There is just a little concern that the Tinglit heritage could be devalued as more and more ships visit. Being an older ship Zaandam as yet hasn't got Billboard and BB KIng's. This meant that there was live music in the bars every evening for our pre dinner drink. This is much to our liking! All the musicians were very talented and Mike in the Mix/Piano Bar was very entertaining. We also very much enjoyed the Ocean Trio in the Ocean Bar. The evening shows in Mainstage were good and there was only one show we left as being Brits we couldn't cope with one of the American comedians accent and as his act was very intactive with the audience, nothing wrong with that, and we were on the balcony and of course he was interacting with those on the lower level we couldn't catch the conversation. The staff also need to think about closing the doors to the mainstage on Deck 5 so the music from Ocean Bar does not distract from the performers on stage. Tommy Proulx, the young saxophonist was particularly good, so much so that we bought his CD! Mention must also be made of Janette the EXC guide. As a native Alaskan her talks were most interesting and relevant with no pushing of the EXC excursions. So as independent travellers this was great for us. So we had a really great cruise. There were some minor irritations, like why do they charge so much for photographs, but nothing that spoilt our holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
we choose this cruse as an upgrade to the other lines available. paid more but got way less than expected. the rooms were much smaller than described the full size tub was anything but and the ADA equipment that I requested and was assured ... Read More
we choose this cruse as an upgrade to the other lines available. paid more but got way less than expected. the rooms were much smaller than described the full size tub was anything but and the ADA equipment that I requested and was assured would be available, wasn't. of course we were not informed of this till we were outside the 12 mile boundary of the USA. the air conditioning system never worked the entire trip and they continued to do dry dock repairs while at sea. the anytime dinning for the few times we tried it was always substandard while if you were willing to pay the upcharge the food was excellent. the all inclusive drink package had limits not divulged prior to purchase. during repairs of the interior pool the passengers were exposed to toxic paint of some type which my wife has final recovered from but with my COPD I have not and the Captain, to this date refuses to describe what the exposure was. the crew / service personnel were great, the views were great, and we did not have a tour that was not outstanding the biggest issue is that with the line flying a non US flag you as an individual have no recourse against them and they can deny all written comments sent while at sea and ignore you arrive back in the US Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We decided to try HAL as we are Carnival stockholders and usually cruise Princess -Platinum Capt Circle-We have been to Alaska once before and decided to try the smaller ship!! Great choice!! We loved it!! We embarked in Seattle and it ... Read More
We decided to try HAL as we are Carnival stockholders and usually cruise Princess -Platinum Capt Circle-We have been to Alaska once before and decided to try the smaller ship!! Great choice!! We loved it!! We embarked in Seattle and it was so fast and easy!! The staff were so friendly and helpful and America’s Test Kitchen Chef Annette welcomed us as we walked by the Test Kitchen and invited us in and showed us the great spot for her classes!! EXC Hist Jeanette was delightful as well!!We had and outside cabin and it was quite spacious and even had a couch and bathtub!! Much better than Princess!! Excellent food choices-We loved the buffet..Fresh food & lots of choices and passengers didn’t serve themselves !! Very clean and no norovirus! Entertainment was good and we enjoyed the many ports!!Cons:TVs are a bit dated an tv lineup could us a lift. Numerous people 3-4 had “service”dogs.. They need more guidelines as these dogs were clearly pets and not trained for service! The Aussie was disruptive and frequently barked !! Not fair to someone who really needs his service animal!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
This was the longest cruise I have been on. Tha Zaandam is a smaller ship but everything seemed to be well maintained. The itinerary was great saw some smaller ports most people never see. The crew were all friendly and helpful. Scenery ... Read More
This was the longest cruise I have been on. Tha Zaandam is a smaller ship but everything seemed to be well maintained. The itinerary was great saw some smaller ports most people never see. The crew were all friendly and helpful. Scenery was awesome and saw lots of wildlife. Weather was really good for Alaska much sunshine. Went to Americas Test Kitchen demos and they were all informative and well organized. Only thing is I wished I had booked a balcony cabin, but Zaandam has very limited number of balconies and they are quite expensive.Food on board was generally quite good, but I really don't recommend the Italian restaurant on board not really worth the upcharge. MDR had very good food and service was really good, a life saver for me was that they had many 2 tops in the dining room which made my daughter very happy, She does not like eating with strangers. Buffet food was amazingly good. Overall I would recommend this cruise visits the itinerary it awesome, Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have been on the Zaandam for the 14 day Alaska Explorer. I really like the size of the ship with 1400 passengers. The food was good overall. Not really a fan of cafeteria style service in the buffet but it does keep contamination at a ... Read More
We have been on the Zaandam for the 14 day Alaska Explorer. I really like the size of the ship with 1400 passengers. The food was good overall. Not really a fan of cafeteria style service in the buffet but it does keep contamination at a minimum. Breakfast had a nice selection of fruits, omelette station, Belgian waffles, and eggs cooked to order. Really everything imaginable was available. I wish the omelets could have been made with fresh eggs instead of pasteurized eggs but again they are going for food safety. The Taco Bar in the Solarium was open from 11:30-5 and had a good selection of Mexican food. The most popular place for fast food was the Dive shop in the Solarium serving excellent hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken along with French fries. Dinner in the main dining room had a good selection of appetizers and main courses. Halibut was on the menu several times. Overall the food was very good with the exception of the desserts which were a little mediocre. We were disappointed at the lack of green vegetables at lunch and dinner. We find that to be true on most cruises. The tables were well spaced so it did not feel crowded and the large windows were great for viewing the beautiful scenery. The layout of the ship is excellent. A Favorite space was the Exploration Cafe on Deck 5 which was a library/lounge with lots of chairs and even recliners/tables with puzzles and games. Especially loved the big windows which let in lots of light. It was the most well stocked library I have seen on any ship. The promenade deck on Level 3 was perfect for walking since it went completely around the ship. Both pools were heated to a comfortable temperature. The Solarium on Deck 8 had plenty of tables and chairs for lounging. They opened the roof frequently to let in fresh air, although sometimes it was too breezy. One thing to be aware of is cabin selection. We had an Oceanview cabin on Deck 3. Cabins 3360-3394 are directly under the kitchen so we were awakened at 4:30am with the sound of pans banging and carts be rolled across the metal floor. Another thing to be aware of with any Oceanview cabins on Deck 3 is that the Windows look directly onto the promenade walking deck. The glass is coated so no one can see in but we felt we needed to close the curtains for privacy. In the future I will certainly pay more attention to the ship layout and location of cabins. I would definitely enjoy cruising on the Zaandam again and I enjoyed it more than cruising on a different Holland ship on my last Alaskan cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose Holland America as we have cruised with them several times before and were very impressed. Things have apparently taken a turn for the worse lately. We were surprised to find there were no refrigerators in the cabins; there were ... Read More
We chose Holland America as we have cruised with them several times before and were very impressed. Things have apparently taken a turn for the worse lately. We were surprised to find there were no refrigerators in the cabins; there were no bathrobes or slippers. We had the open dining option but when we twice turned up at the dining room we were told to come back at 8pm as they were full. The Lido food was good quality but the same every single night. Ours was a 14 night cruise to Alaska departing Seattle on 16th July 2018 and many of the ports visited were fantastic. Some however I fail to see why they even slowed down let alone stopped. Icy Straight Point, nothing there. Homer, nothing there. In the Northern ports school buses were used as excursion coaches. I can see why other cruise lines do not visit these Northern ports. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Having sailed with HAL many times in the past, it was a no-brainer to pick the 14-day cruise on the ms Zaandam. This was my 4th cruise to Alaska, yet the itinerary included no less than 4 ports/sites that I had not seen before (Homer, Icy ... Read More
Having sailed with HAL many times in the past, it was a no-brainer to pick the 14-day cruise on the ms Zaandam. This was my 4th cruise to Alaska, yet the itinerary included no less than 4 ports/sites that I had not seen before (Homer, Icy Strait-Hoonah, Kodiak and Anchorage). As expected, the food and beverage service was above average. HAL's history of Filipino and Indonesian service staff is time-honored and well-known. But I did notice a few things that were not characteristic of prior HAL cruises. The cabin steward service was maddeningly inconsistent. The ventilation in our ocean-view stateroom was substandard - it always seemed warm and stuffy, even with the thermostat at the lowest possible setting. The bedding and bath linens were old, rough and threadbare. However, the bath had been recently upgraded with a nice sink and shower. The mattress was a slight upgrade over a military surplus cot, and I arose every morning with a a backache. I was surprised to find only ONE electrical outlet to be used for cell phone chargers, CPAP machine, Kindle chargers, etc. We had to ask for a power strip/extension cord which we had to drape over the door handle for the adjoining stateroom, which was cumbersome and hazardous. One thing has not changed on HAL is the pricey beverage structure. $7.00 for a domestic beer and $50.00 for a bottle of wine was enough to discourage my customary couple of beers in the afternoon and a bottle of wine for dinner. I was not happy with the structure of the Lido. A buffet should be self-serve, yet you had to stand in line for any hot food selections. On the other hand, I found the quality of the food in the Lido equal to that of the Dining Room, and since I was limiting my alcoholic beverage consumption due to high prices, I visited the Lido for all afternoon and evening meals except twice during the 14-day trip. Overall, a fine cruise with several notable disappointments. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Wanted a 2 week cruise to get out of the heat and this one had stops at places we haven't been to before. Like the smaller ship and getting an elevator was easy with no waiting. The crew and food were very good. The library was ... Read More
Wanted a 2 week cruise to get out of the heat and this one had stops at places we haven't been to before. Like the smaller ship and getting an elevator was easy with no waiting. The crew and food were very good. The library was excellent, stocked with books and games. We had an outside cabin with a newly renovated bathroom which was great. We are not fond of HAL's room setup and prefer Princess design better. HAL hallway into the room was cramped with the closet setup. Did not like having to stand up to turn the change on the tv. The bed was under the window and in Alaska you still get a lot of daylight coming in under the drapes.HAL is doing room steward care differently. There are no carts in the hallway and somehow your room would get taken care of. Saw very little of our room steward and miss talking to them during the day. You had to call guest services if you needed something and they would contact your steward. The portage glacier excursion was excellent in Anchorage. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We cruised with friends that asked us to join them. The service was excellent and the shore stops were great. The singers and dancers were wonderful but the rest of the entertainment was second rate. We reserved a suite. At least we ... Read More
We cruised with friends that asked us to join them. The service was excellent and the shore stops were great. The singers and dancers were wonderful but the rest of the entertainment was second rate. We reserved a suite. At least we thought that was what we were supposed to get. First, it was no larger then a standard balcony cabin. All the suites were on the 6th deck which was right under the bars and buffet. They started setting up at 5:00 AM and didn’t finish until midnight. Every time someone moved a chair or table we heard it loudly in our cabins. We can’t understand why the most expensive cabins are the noisiest. This was supposed to be an upgrade. The food was hit and miss which surprised me because we have taken Holland America before and had great food. The soups were not good and some of the meats were very chewy. Other meals were outstanding. We boarded in Seattle and cruised as far north as Kodiak. The weather was wonderful with only one afternoon with rain. The water was as smooth as glass. We met some wonderful people and all in all it was a very enjoyable cruise. Embarkation was slow, but ok and disembarkation was wonderful. If you use their transfers, they have a deal with the airlines where they transfer your luggage right to the airline and you don’t touch them until you get home. And they don’t weigh the luggage. No restrictions. We had no children with us, but there were children on board and seemed to be enjoy themselves. We did not spend time in Seattle since we have been there several times. This was our second trip to Alaska, so we probably would not go again, but the scenery is so beautiful, it’s hard to not want to go back. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I have taken been cruising since 1975 and have been on many different lines, but this was my first time on Holland America and was really looking forward to taking a "step up". The itinerary was wonderful and we really enjoyed ... Read More
I have taken been cruising since 1975 and have been on many different lines, but this was my first time on Holland America and was really looking forward to taking a "step up". The itinerary was wonderful and we really enjoyed the cruise from that aspect but the service was sub standard in my opinion. Our stateroom had a leftover champagne bottle and a few other items in the cabinets upon boarding and there was a layer of dust on the ledge behind the bed. Many of the chairs in the common areas were worn out with sprung seat cushions. This was a beautiful scenic cruise except the ship windows were dirty and were never cleaned during the two week cruise. I had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and upon opening my menu had food fall from the menu into my lap. I have many other complaints but I think this gives you a good idea of why I gave this cruise a 2 star rating. There was generally a line at the customer service desk and the staff there actually got a tiny bit on the nasty side when trying to fend off the complaints - to be fair there were so many that they were probably very tired of handling them. On the plus side, I thought the food was very good and as I said before the itinerary was outstanding. I was also pleased with the entertainers that were brought onboard, the ship's singers and dancers were fine, typical cruise performers. Embarkation and Debarkation were quick, easy, no waiting around and I really liked how they handled it. The comfort level of inside temperature of the ship varied quite a bit. I was pleasantly surprised to find the dining room a very comfortable temperature and did not need a sweater for my short sleeved outfits. However, in the explorer cafe I had several layers on and still found it chilly. It seems that the outside temperature had a much greater influence on the inside temperature than on other ships I have been on. I was disappointed that it seemed like all the other entertainment revolved around food and drink - mostly drink - and of course all at additional expense. It was interesting to note that travel companions of ours who did attend many of these events got to know the cruise director quite well, he was always at the alcoholic events, but I am not sure I could even identify him since we rarely saw him. I did think it rather odd when we were sitting with our travel companions one day in an area very close to where the Sip & Savor event was to take place. He came over to offer to bring the Sip & Savor fare to them but never offered to bring it to us, indeed he did not even speak to us. I had already booked a second cruise with Holland America in January of 2019, I am sincerely hoping that it will be a different experience, but if not, they will never have my cruise business again. 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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