10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Embarkation was smooth. Like others have said the ship was nicely appointed and decorated. Seemed clean and fairly well updated. Staterooms were adequate in size and offered ample storage space both for hanging and shelves/drawers. Our ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth. Like others have said the ship was nicely appointed and decorated. Seemed clean and fairly well updated. Staterooms were adequate in size and offered ample storage space both for hanging and shelves/drawers. Our room stewards (Heri & Jito) were excellent! Always cheerful and ready to provide any request we had. We didn't get ice on the first day but as soon as we made that request known we had ice in our room ice bucket twice daily from then on. The main dining room was nice and service there very good. We were a bit disappointed in the menu offerings at the first gala night but the second one at the next to last night of the cruise was excellent. The turf & surf was wonderful! Best, most tender steak I have ever had! Those were the positives. The negatives, unfortunately, were MANY. We did the open seating dining for dinner and made reservation on the first two nights only to find we still had to wait in the LONG lines so it seemed a reservation really was unnecessary and ignored. They need 2 lines for dealing with those having reservations and those who did not make them. The Lido Dining area was very poorly organized and run. Even when there were small numbers of people the waiting times were long and unnecessary. It was difficult when busy to tell where one line started and another began causing confusion and frustration to passengers. Items and areas were NOT well marked as the signs were WAY too small to read by the average middle aged to older person and were hidden behind people standing in line most of the time. If you wanted scrambled eggs with toppings you needed to stand in one line to get the eggs, then stand in a second line at either the omelet or eggs benedict station (which was not labeled) to get anything like mushrooms or cheese to top your eggs...ridiculous planning (or lack thereof!). AND the very loud pounding basketball noise on the starboard side during breakfast and lunch was extremely annoying and unpleasant while trying to enjoy a leisure breakfast or lunch. Once again, crazy planning for ship layout! Also on the pool Lido Dive In burger/taco bar there was often a lack of clean drink glasses and ice machine there was broken almost from the first day. When ice or clean glasses was requested we were generally told we needed to go inside and get them ourselves. NEVER have we had that kind of response from staff on any other cruise line we have travelled with. Usually staff is eager to please and serve but we did not feel this was the case on any of the Lido areas. Entertainment was also lacking in comparison to other cruise lines. The ship singers, dancers and musicians were good and both production shows were quite good. Otherwise entertainment was lacking. One comedian and one magician other than the ship staff entertainers was minimal and, frankly, below par. There was never live entertainment in the main dining room, as in a pianist or something during dinner which happens on many other ships, and the music loop in the dining room was the exact same loop night after night with the exact same songs repeated over and over again. Also, on ship days there was never live entertainment provided on the Lido deck as is often done on other cruise lines. Just seemed we got the very basic minimum they could get away with. All in all things could have been done much better. Probably wouldn't use HAL again unless the itinerary is something that's a must for us and isn't being offered by any other cruise line. Glad we went to see Alaska, but didn't leave anywhere near 100 percent pleased. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We took the 'Double Denali' cruise out of Vancouver. Boarding and orientation was very good. Bags arrived in a timely manner. Overall, the ship is in great shape with plenty of staff attending to multiple maintenance details at ... Read More
We took the 'Double Denali' cruise out of Vancouver. Boarding and orientation was very good. Bags arrived in a timely manner. Overall, the ship is in great shape with plenty of staff attending to multiple maintenance details at all times. Easy movement around ship with multiple elevators so 'no wait' was common. Good signage to assist with orientation and movement. The cabin was as advertised with good storage, comfy bed and furniture in good shape. (We had a verandah cabin). Cabin staff was superb and, once they knew what we needed and liked, they kept us very comfortable. The staff to client ratio was nearly 1:2 such that they were EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, they are not cross trained so when we asked a question the staff member usually didn't know the answer, referred us to somebody else (who often did not know the answer) or gave us bad information. Eventually, we just directly called the front desk if info was needed and that staff was knowledgeable and helpful. Dining: The 2 story dining room was excellent and reservations were important. The Lido restaurant (buffet style) was difficult at times. We eventually gave it the nickname of "Cattle call" as finding a seat could be difficult and the crowds were, well, like a cattle call. Food was good throughout the ship however. The only problems we encountered was the poor English speaking of the staff serving the food. One night it took 6 questions to determine what a cook was serving. Nobody in line around us understood her, but we eventually pieced it together. The floor serving staff was attentive, though a couple of them had bad non-verbal attitudes. That is, the faces made suggested I was bothering them by asking for some tea! A significant complaint was the dinning chairs in the Cattle room. With rare exception, every one was sunken in a concave manner. VERY uncomfortable and in need of immediate repair/replacement. Entertainment: We did not participate in much of the onboard entertainment, spending our time onshore visiting places. Ports: All the ports in AK were fun to visit and obviously fully oriented toward the tourists. It was easy to navigate when onshore. Excursions were mostly excellent, but depended on the skill and experience of the guide. Some leaders were well educated and verbally skilled. Others were more or less doing a job. All excursion staff were attentive to our safety and needs. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My wife and I are frequent travelers and have taken 15 cruises on a number of different cruise lines. This was a last minute booking. We flew into Anchorage a day prior to the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. The hotel offered a ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent travelers and have taken 15 cruises on a number of different cruise lines. This was a last minute booking. We flew into Anchorage a day prior to the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. The hotel offered a free shuttle from the airport, The receptionist said the shuttle would be 30 minutes but they would pay our cab fare to the hotel. We enjoyed our 2 free drinks at the Embassy and took the free shuttle to downtown Anchorage. The driver suggested several places to eat, all were extremely crowded and long waits for a table.The city of Anchorage was nothing special. In the morning the shuttle was again busy, the Embassy paid for a cab to take us to the "check in" for our shuttle to the cruise. The check in for the shuttle to Seward was at the convention center, it was well organized and convenient. We checked are bags and did not have to bother with them again until on board the ship. During the few hours we had until our bus left we explored the local outdoor market. The bus from Anchorage to Seward was excellent, the driver gave great information on our 2 1/2 hour ride. The views from the bus were also good. Embarkation was a breeze, there were no lines. We checked into our cabin and instantly noticed that the temperature in the cabin was hot. The thermostat was at the lowest setting and began to wonder if this was going to be a problem. We brought the two bottles of wine on board that Holland allows. Our cabin steward kept the bottles iced down for us the entire cruise. The cabin although a bit outdated was kept clean and the service was excellent. The first night we noticed a banging noise coming from the ceiling above our cabin, it continued night/day sounding like someone banging on a pipe then later in the cruise it sounded like drilling into the pipe. Later we determined that the kitchen was above our cabin, twice during the cruise we noticed water dripping from the ceiling in the hallway outside our cabin. The temperature in the cabin remained hot for the entire journey. The quality of food was good but we were disappointed at the limited selection each day in the dinning room. The first 3 days had French onion soup on the menu. Each day offered a choice of 4 appetizers, 2 soups, and 5 entrees. The same food could be found on the Lido deck buffet. Since we booked last minute our dinning time was optional, we never waited for a table and ate when we liked. On two occasions we found the service in the dinning room to be very slow and received the wrong food. The entertainment was average. We enjoyed the band in the "crows nest." The best value on the ship was the happy hour in the "Crow's nest" where your second drink was $2. The casino was small and offered very few slot machines. Glacier Bay was the highlight of the trip. The scenery was breathtaking. Park rangers boarded the ship and explained about the wildlife and glaciers. We spotted whales, bald eagles, seals and porpoises from the ship. Haines was a very small port, we walked around the town and took advantage of the free internet in the library. We found that most of the shore excursions cost more than we paid for the entire cruise. Juneau we took a bus from port to Mendenhall glacier for $35. The bus driver was a local resident who was very informative and pointed out much of the wildlife. At Mendenhall glacier we hiked about 45 minutes to "Nugget Falls" with a nice view of the glacier. Ketchikan we found that most of the tours were more than we spent on the cost of the cruise. We took the free shuttle to "Creek Street" the salmon were not swimming up stream yet but did see some seals in the creek. We found the vendors in Ketchikan to be much more aggressive and rude than the other Alaska ports. Disembarkation was smooth, We chose to take a cab to the airport for a flat fee of $35 instead of the Holland Shuttle that was $45 a person. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We choose this cruise because of departure port, itinerary, bonus of getting us up to Denali and general age demographics. We're late 50's/early 60's and really have no interest in the mega cruise ship experience and ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of departure port, itinerary, bonus of getting us up to Denali and general age demographics. We're late 50's/early 60's and really have no interest in the mega cruise ship experience and shudder at the thought of a few thousand people aboard. The Zaandam was the perfect size ship for us and felt like a pair of comfortable shoes or favorite pullover. Not all sparkly and new but loved and clean. She looked so tiny sandwiched in between the PCL ships in port. We hoped for smooth cruising as one of our companions was prone to sea sickness and fortunately had calm seas the entire trip. Since we had good weather we found ourselves spending a lot of time on the uncrowded Sea View pool deck enjoying the views. I imagine it's cold early and later on during Alaska cruise season but it felt pretty much like San Francisco in July to us. Go down the stairway right at the center of the back of the deck to the very private public deck on deck 7. Thank us later. :-) Ship - We passed through but never stayed in the Lido pool area as that seemed to be where all the families with kids congregated. It was fine, the ship had many different places to spend time according to your likes. Exploration area with library, individual and family games, computers. Other quiet spots to sit, relax, read and take in the view from inside. Crow's nest for that great forward looking view. We enjoyed the jazz trio at the Ocean Bar and wished they played a little later into the evening. We didn't take in any shows but did enjoy the Thermal Suite and had it to ourselves 2 out of 3 times for a couple hours a pop - score! You can split a couple's pass with someone other than your significant other. Great glassed forward looking view and we spotted Orcas while soaking in the hot tub cruising up the inside passage. Food - We ate all dinners in the main dining room under the open dining plan. First two nights service was very spotty as was one rushed breakfast but we found good service on third evening and made reservations for that table and waitstaff for the rest of the our evening meals. We found the menu options were quite good with appetizers, salads, soups, a fish, poultry, pasta, meat, vegetarian, gluten free, sugar free offerings for deserts every night. Portions were appropriately sized, not huge so no waste. Would rate the MDR meals a respectable 7 on a 10 scale. We've had better and worse. Some of the same items were available in the Lido if you wanted to brave the buffet. Do make sure you get to the Lido buffet at least 30 mins before they stop serving because they cut off about 10 mins earlier than expected. Almost missed 1st breakfast because we slept in. It was tense to say the least to get food when they were pulling everything closed. This was our most negative experience. Otherwise we ate lunch (almost at closing every time so no crowds) and late night tea and snack there. Nice selection but we mainly ate from the Asian Counter, hey, when in Rome! Food 6.5 on a 10 scale. We ordered room service for breakfast (eggs & omelettes) on port days and it was delivered promptly. Food 5.5 on 10 scale (pretty meh). Drinks - we don't really drink but the best value we saw had to be the pitchers of Alaska Brewery beer at the Alaska Bar on the Lido pool deck (around $17/pitcher + grat). Good coffee can be found at the Exploration Cafe for a small price. Excursions - We rented a car in each port and self toured away from the souvenir and jewelry shops. Glacier Bay cruising - amazing! Good weather blessed us with fabulous views. We were outside almost the entire time, wear layers and a waterproof/windproof outer top/bottom and you will be fine. Go up to the verandah deck above the bow. On board activities - We skipped most of them but it just happened that way. There were some that looked really good but we found ourselves looking at the amazing scenery most of the time when on the ship. Naturalist and rangers were good. Embarkation - Initial was delayed due to ship sanitizing from a NoroVirus outbreak on the previous cruise(!!). The crew continued wipe down efforts well into the cruise which we thanked every staff member we saw doing this most important task. Wash your hands often people! We didn't hear of any outbreaks during our 7 day journey. Otherwise getting on/off the ship while in port was quick and easy. Staff - hard working, give them the thanks they deserve for the long hours they put in week in and week out to make our vacations memorable. Laundry room - good luck with that one but happy to be able to have clean clothes before transferring to Denali Go very late or very early and stay with your load. You have been forewarned. ;-) Overall our cruise experience was very enjoyable and relaxing. A nice balance of at sea and in port days. We went in knowing this is not luxury cruise nor one designed to keep you entertained 24hrs a day. The ship was pretty quiet by 10PM and that's ok. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Holland America used to have a very good reputation but since Carnival bought the cruise line forget it. It is a typical Carnival owned cruise line, mediocre at best. We ate in the main dining room and never went back. We had dinner in ... Read More
Holland America used to have a very good reputation but since Carnival bought the cruise line forget it. It is a typical Carnival owned cruise line, mediocre at best. We ate in the main dining room and never went back. We had dinner in the Pinnacle Steakhouse and it was not a good steak. I get better steak consistently in my local Texas Roadhouse. The buffet was blah. I even had one of the cooks tell me I didn't know how to order my eggs correctly. In our cabin, we had a broken lounger on our veranda that I wouldn't sit in. I told the room steward and his response was "I know". What was really strange, and not very nice, the entire ship was non-smoking except they allowed smoking in roughly 1/3 of the casino so naturally you smelled smoke. The ship however was clean. This was at least my 10th cruise, not counting a river cruise, and would I sail on Holland America again; No way. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise as we had traveled with HAL on this trip before. The cruise was very enjoyable and relaxing, great scenery and lots of new friends made on the cruise, We did the extension to Dinali which was a great experience but ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had traveled with HAL on this trip before. The cruise was very enjoyable and relaxing, great scenery and lots of new friends made on the cruise, We did the extension to Dinali which was a great experience but service and cuisine did not live up to HAL standards. The off ship components could do with a revamp in both quality and care. teh Hotel in Anchorage looks and feels very tired and the breakfast was second rate at best. Our booked excursions included rafting and Tundra tour. Our rafting finished at 10pm and then we found we were on a 5am start for the Tundra tour next day. Given all were booked through HAL this could have been easily avoided. We also booked the Le Cirque dinner on Board. This was a fantastic dining experience. Our regular cabin stewards and Wine steward were first rate made the whole trip so much better. Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I'll start with the positive and end with the negatives... First, I've sailed on numerous cruises with a variety of cruise lines. I like the size and look of the Zaandam. The ship was clean and well-appointed. The ... Read More
I'll start with the positive and end with the negatives... First, I've sailed on numerous cruises with a variety of cruise lines. I like the size and look of the Zaandam. The ship was clean and well-appointed. The entertainment was excellent and the service of the crew was top-drawer. I have no complaints with the cabin other than it did not have a refrigerator. Now, lets get to the negatives. Without a refrigerator, you need water and ice. I was on the "Dolphin" deck or 1st Floor; meaning, I had to go up to the Lido Deck (8th Floor) to obtain water and ice. (Oh, don't tell me there was an ice bucket in the room; it was never filled.) The small size of the glasses offered (around 6-7 ounces) means you will be spending alot of time doing the rounds. (Sure, you can bring a BIG drink-holder; but this practice is frowned upon because it can pass germs from your Big Drink to others). Next, the food was sub-par. I give Carnival (even though it owns HAL) better marks for the food. Having cruised on Luxury ships (Radisson Diamond), I have a sophisticated palate. So, it was not that the choices were too complicated, it was simply that there was nothing to "fall" back on to if you were not interested in the small choices. HAL needs a COMMON meat and COMMON salad on every menu to fall back on if the choices are all UN-common. Add a common poultry, fish and pasta and your back in business. The specialty restaurants were both extremely good. The Lido restaurant was fair at best. Few daily changes and the menu was not good. I found myself eating peanut-butter for breakfast and spaghetti for lunch (at least 3 times). The way the buffet is run is "start down there"...but it breaks up and slows down due to the different sections which causes confusion and long waits. The worst problem the entire trip was the heat. I decided to travel to Alaska to get the hell away from the heat. Oh, Alaska was fine..temperature wise. It was the ship ! From the minute you board until you debark, get ready to spend alot of time trying to find ways to cool down. ALL of the common/public areas were awfully hot. The "Explorers" area was the worst. Yes, there were alot of older people on board...I presume the "Facilities Manager" thinks all older people love the heat. Well, they got plenty of it. When I first entered my room the air was on the lowest/coolest level. I told the cabin steward that the air was not working. He looked confused. And did nothing. What does this mean? It's simple. The ship had "flipped" the system. If you did not need heat, you got nothing else. The system, ship-wide, was not "geared" to allowing for air conditioning. You're only recourse; spend lots of time outside. Oh, and how about that other little thing...you know..the NoroVirus. Yes, I've been on ships when there was an outbreak. Never got it. This time, my wife did. And we did not bring it on. It was already there when we arrived I suspect. Regardless, we know that if we tell, we get isolated. Unfortunately, my wife's condition was such that she had too. And even though THEY gave us the virus; we had to pay over $250 to the doctor and medical center for medicine and an IV. Nice. Then, of course, she missed one port due to the illness even though she had recovered. If you are going to spend alot of money and time to get to Alaska; find another cruise ship with another company. HAL's reputation is overblown and false. Too few ports of call and too many days at sea. And hot. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had cruised twice before on Holland America and thought it was a great cruise line. Unfortunately things have changed over the past several years. We took the inside passage to Alaska, then three nights in Denali. We booked a suite and ... Read More
We had cruised twice before on Holland America and thought it was a great cruise line. Unfortunately things have changed over the past several years. We took the inside passage to Alaska, then three nights in Denali. We booked a suite and sailed with two other couples who also booked suites. Service and food have deteriorated considerably in comparison to our two previous cruises with this line. With the exception of the salmon, which was excellent, every seafood entree we had was mediocre or worse. The Alaskan Halibut -- which we loved at restaurants on shore -- was thin, brown, and almost inedible. The rainbow trout was oily, salty, and fishy. At "High Tea," we felt crowded and rushed. The head waiter told us, as he ushered us to a table, that space was limited -- though tea was held in the main dining room with many, many empty tables. We felt that we were herded in, pushed to hurry through our tea, and offered only limited selections of dainties. In most situations, service was slow and they seemed understaffed. ENRICHMENT: Most likely the naturalist on board knew a lot, and I heard that the presentation she made in the auditorium was excellent. It was not possible to understand any of the information she related to us on deck because the sound system was so very bad, EXCURSIONS: Excursions offered by Holland America were generally very good, and the prices were competitive. The one exception to this was the Denali Covered Wagon meal which was a waste of time and money. There was little scenery because of the narrow pathway and canvas cover on the wagon. We were crowded onto benches in the covered wagon, and the food, while plentiful, was not very good. BUS RIDE TO (OR FROM) DENALI: The bus ride to Denali was long and cramped. There was no place on the bus to put a drink or a snack. After making restroom stops twice at facilities without running water, we stopped for lunch at a Holland America concession for a "sandwich buffet." Hundreds of people were crowed around open tables of bread, sandwich meat, potato salad, etc. Mustard was in common squeeze dispensers -- quite smudged and dirty. Hundreds of people had no choice about where to eat or use the restroom, so they lined up for the restroom, or chose to got right to the food line without washing up. One of the men's rooms was un-usable because the toilet had overflowed, in a very disgusting way, but there was no sign warning people to stay out. Many people went through the open food line after having stopped at an out-house to relieve themselves, and without bothering to stand in line to wash their hands. With all of the warnings about norovirus, I was afraid to eat this lunch. Friends who were on the southbound cruise two weeks before us told us that 300 people were confined to their cabins for several days because of an outbreak of some type of virus. I wonder whether they picked it up at this lunch stop? DENALI: Denali was wonderful, but we stayed in Holland America's McKinley lodges and wasted lots of time waiting for shuttles to the main lodge. Sometimes the shuttle was full, so we almost missed some excursion departures. Walking was OK for some of us, but one of our party is disabled, so she often felt that she was an impediment for the rest of us -- It was not her fault but the fault of the cruise line for being understaffed and under-equipped. WESTMARK HOTEL: In Anchorage we stayed at the Westmark owned by Holland America. Our room smelled musty, but they could not move us because the hotel was full. I think this cruise line has stretched its resources to the maximum while minimizing service to its customers. All six of us were disappointed and regretted our choice to take a cruise. A land tour would have been more comfortable and would have given us more control of our time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We had this cruise planned for three years. Our travel agent suggested strongly that we use Holland for our air travel even though I could get it cheaper. We had trouble from the very start. They never purchased the tickets and when I ... Read More
We had this cruise planned for three years. Our travel agent suggested strongly that we use Holland for our air travel even though I could get it cheaper. We had trouble from the very start. They never purchased the tickets and when I tried to check or get a seat assignment their web site would just say that changes were being made. I called Holland about it but the representative was very short and said she would not talk to me because I used a travel agent to plan the trip. When they did finally purchase the tickets (two weeks before we were to leave they booked the other couple we were going with on a different flight. Are travel agent made several calls to Holland to get things straightened out. They ended up adding an extra stop on our return flight and added four hours to the trip. On the Boat we signed up for an excursion which they totally messed up. After purchasing the excursion they called the night before and told us the time had change from 11:30AM to 8:15AM. They put us on the wrong bus so we missed part of what we had signed up for and we were not allowed to join in on the last part of the excursion with the people we were put with. They would only refund 15 percent of the cost because it was the tour agents fault. I personally would look at a different cruise line if I were to do it again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We did the northern Vancouver to Seward cruise that included Glacier Bay and then a land tour to Denali. We went to Vancouver early and walked around some, took the train into town from our hotel by airport. Other family went on ... Read More
We did the northern Vancouver to Seward cruise that included Glacier Bay and then a land tour to Denali. We went to Vancouver early and walked around some, took the train into town from our hotel by airport. Other family went on hop-on, hop-off trolley and enjoyed that. The ship was beautiful but could use some updates in bathroom in cabin and a second power outlet. The lido deck buffet food was good and plentiful. The dining room food was better. The burgers and fries at poolside were pretty good. Lines could be long at times. Casino was small but nice and winning was better than the other cruise I took. They had some card tournaments,but I did not do those. They had a good piano bar entertainer, Andy. Cabin service and room service were awesome. Drinks were delicious, we got the drink pkg. I think we missed out some by not going to the Crow's Nest more often. They had live music up there, I think we would've enjoyed that too. We did love Alaska and it's beauty. We stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. All with their own beauty. We traveled with adult kids and had fun zip-lining, salmon fishing, trains, trams, flying misty fjords, glacier viewing, hiking and kayaking. The land tour was stunning. Bus from Seward to Denali was long but ok. We stayed in cabins at McKinley Chalet Resort which is a beautiful property. Across street from shopping, excursions available on property or across street. We hiked around property some and did a bus tour 60 miles into Denali. Saw plenty of caribou, Dallas sheep and some moose, and one bear. Got a great video of momma and baby moose walking down the road. Otherwise just stunning views. Traveled back to Anchorage by McKinley Explorer train. This is an awesome way to travel! Dining car on bottom and observation dome with our seats on top, with a bar. The hotel in Anchorage was an older building and needed renovations, particularly, elevators and lobby. The rooms were fine, with balcony and nice view. All in all it was a great trip and I highly recommend it. Holland America owns and gets you everywhere Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had already done the inside passage but knew we wanted to do the Alaska land portion as well. We really lucked out with the weather - we may have felt differently about our experience if the weather had been bad. As it was we had some ... Read More
We had already done the inside passage but knew we wanted to do the Alaska land portion as well. We really lucked out with the weather - we may have felt differently about our experience if the weather had been bad. As it was we had some beautiful sunshine on the land portion and only one really rainy day in port at Ketchikan. The organization of the land portion of the cruise was very well done and the experience was great. Onboard the Zaandam was good too. Have to admit we like HAL - not everyone's favourite but suits us well. The cooking and computer workshops are worthwhile attending. Food very good as was the entertainment. We chose a window cabin this time as the balcony a bit more than we could afford. Weren't really keen on being on deck one but it was absolutely fine - accept for a bit of an odour in the hallway which I hope they deal with. Found the movement of the ship on this deck especially aft very limited. Felt more motion on the upper decks on previous trips. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Selected this cruise because it was part of our Vacation points options and it was in the time frame when we wanted to travel to Alaska. Ship is medium size, about 1250 passengers. Common areas are very nice. Cabins are OK but a ... Read More
Selected this cruise because it was part of our Vacation points options and it was in the time frame when we wanted to travel to Alaska. Ship is medium size, about 1250 passengers. Common areas are very nice. Cabins are OK but a regular stateroom with a large window felt cramped. Plenty of room for our luggage and clothes. A balcony is nice to have but we seldom used it on a previous cruise. I think it would have been nicer to have the option weather permitting. Dining room food and service was excellent. Lido was OK but service needs some help. In-room dining service was good. Technology is lacking. The ship internet service can only be used to see some menus & agendas. One cannot order excursions or shop. You have to wait in line at front desk or travel consultant area when they are opened. Onboard internet service is $55/hour. I did not receive my onboard credit and am still trying to get it resolved. We heard mixed reviews on entertainment. Most people loved the comedian. Ports visited were great. Quaint towns with lots of shops. Never realized Alaska ports were into the jewelry businesses. Heavily emphasized on the ship too. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a ... Read More
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a couple of negative reviews of the short repositioning cruise just prior to ours - the one from San Diego to Vancouver. We heard rumours about up coming changes to the Zaandam during its next refit - such as the elimination of a library and changes to the Crow's Nest that we are concerned about, but change is constant in our current world, and we will wait to see if these rumours are true and, most importantly, if we feel they are positive ones or not. Handrie, or dining room steward, was excellent in his attention to our needs during our entire cruise, and our several visits to the Pinnacle Grill reconfirmed what we had experienced on our three Hawaii previous cruises on the Zaandam - the steaks are outstanding. We have never experienced better in our business travels around the world. Great to experience the same captain, Christopher Turner, as last year! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My wife and I did a similar cruise on the Zaandam from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago and wanted to try it from a different port, and to see what changes may have occurred to the ship and/or ports of call. The ship seems brighter ... Read More
My wife and I did a similar cruise on the Zaandam from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago and wanted to try it from a different port, and to see what changes may have occurred to the ship and/or ports of call. The ship seems brighter and refreshed, except for the TVs in the cabins which are from the 70s, or so they appear based on the very poor picture quality. Speaking of which I can't understand why we were void of major TV news channels on the last three days back to Seattle except for two ESPN stations, and the only TV weather updates were for South American countries through the BBC channel. HAL, it's 2017 and we have the technology so PLEASE USE IT!! Try for some better customer service here. Our primary negative perception about the cruise and the ship is about how cool/cold the ship's public areas were kept requiring us and many other passengers to habitually walk around wearing our coats, hoodies, etc. We would sit in, for example, to listen to Adagio only to have cold air conditioning blowing on our heads, as well as elsewhere about the ship. Uncalled for. The lack of a librarian/IT supervisor was another failure in customer service, and the staff at the front desk was no substitute, nor should they be. The excessive cost coupled with the poor quality of WiFi service is a slap in the face for any passengers trying to make use of that service and should be improved. One thing that seemed to have changed for the better was the overall quality of the entertainment throughout the cruise, at least in comparison to our last four cruises with HAL since 2014 on other ships. But the over amplification of the band and singers constantly corrupted what could have been a better musical experience and often took away from the quality of the singers voices who always seemed to be trying to be heard over the band; those gals and guys deserve better treatment and respect from any musical group that accompanies them. The cabin stewards were good, and the 5th floor dining staff excellent. The Lido's dining chairs need reupholstering, now. Almost every chair's cushioning has been flattened down to the frame. Our overall experience was such that, contrary to our usual practice, we didn't sign up on board for a specific future cruise; we did leave a future cruise deposit that will be good for the next several years on a cruise of our choosing. If there is one. Our next several cruises will be with Cunard and we'll just keep reading CC's blogs and look forward to hearing about improvements. I'm not going to say anything about the tours offered under the precept of, if you can't say anything nice...... But if HAL perceives all touring passengers to need a shopping stop, please do away with them on cultural tours and just organize plain old shopping tours for those who want to shop and visit markets, etc. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
we chose this cruise because we just wanted a short getaway and one that did not involve a long distance plane ride. We ate dinner every night in the dining room and sat at different tables with different people every day which was OK. It ... Read More
we chose this cruise because we just wanted a short getaway and one that did not involve a long distance plane ride. We ate dinner every night in the dining room and sat at different tables with different people every day which was OK. It is cool to get to meet people for different places. We ate breakfast most days in the dining room and sat with other people. We had food at the Dive Inn a couple time and it was good. We ate lunch mostly at the lido. There were not as many activities that we were interested in on this cruise as there were on other cruises we have been on. The night life was not very good on this ship as the last cruise we were on. There was lots of trivia if you are someone who likes trivia. The shows at night were pretty good. Didnt really like the comedian to much. We only did one port on our cruise which was Victoria. Been there before but enjoyed our horse drawn carriage ride and our dinner in town. It was a long walk into town from the ship. We were glad it was not a rainy day. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This is my 3rd Holland America cruise, the first two were also short - but both were great with good food and impeccable service. First I will say that my room steward was STILL amazing; Heri ! Room 3410. Without him this would have ... Read More
This is my 3rd Holland America cruise, the first two were also short - but both were great with good food and impeccable service. First I will say that my room steward was STILL amazing; Heri ! Room 3410. Without him this would have been a total loss. I went with 3 girlfriends a a short fun vacation. Well, all fun that was had - was created by us. It started with cranky front desk people with extremely forced smiles when we first arrived, who also gave us wrong information about buying a drink package. I insisted to my group that we eat in the Rotterdam dining room each dinner to the dismay of my group... and later I had to end up apologizing for my insistence because it was so bad. We ended up calling the rotting ham diner. Nothing was AMAZING. LOTS was bad. Not even one great dessert that I can talk about. Steaks were OK. nothing I couldn't get at Mr. Steak or Dennys. I didnt have the lobster which everyone else did and they all thought it was good. When the lobster was served no butter came with it. Sauces were in VERY stingy supply at EVERY MEAL. We had to ask our waiter Handri (who was not obliging to us in any way- but he was the only waiter who gave us attitude.. the rest were nice. Painfully slow but nice) for the butter- which he had about 3 feet from our table in a large silver dish. He had not even offered us any. So Weird and rude. so then he came and put the button on top of the lobster. NOPE you don't get any to dip!! LOL! The appetizers were so very strange. Absolutely everything had no flavor what so ever. Now I realize that 3/4 of those passengers were over 70 but my gosh! could I have SOMETHING WITH FLAVOR!!! the one and only meal we had that I didn't have to use 1/2 the salt shaker on was the Hamburgers and tacos at the Dive in - which of course closed early every day so you better be quick if you want to eat there. The desserts were all BAD. the flourless chocolate cake was tasty - but it had said it would be a molten chocolate cake - so we were disappointed. Our shock was on the next to last night when we went by the Lido cafeteria after dinner only to see EVERY SINGLE BITE OF OUR DINNER ON THE CAFE LINE!! Why did I go into the dining room and wait at least 1 hour for my food when I could go to the Lido and get everything the exact same there without the attitude in the dining room. That was when we got really mad. The comedian was sad. Maybe with another group it would have been successful but with our audience it was really bad. He was way too young and unmarried and no kids and couldn't relate to the crowd at all. so... Basically he just kind of put us all down . I put that on Holland America. They should match the comedian up with the crowd, FAIL. OK..... the boat was really rocking during his performance and we all got sick.. I will say this is the first time I have ever encountered some snotty drink servers. Mostly in the pool area. BY the last night everything was leftovers in the cafeteria. We took so many choices and found most of it non-edible. Old, hard, stale, cold and of course...flavorless. I spent a lot of time at the spa and loved Liza who did my facials and Joji who I also worked with. I bought some product and didnt buy some others. I never felt pressured by them and they were delightful to deal with. thanks! not nearly enough things going on. oh yeah.. and I played bingo for $35 for 1 game of blackout and the prize was a Holland America Cruise for 2, Guess what I WON!! oh yeah.., then another lady yelled bingo after me and we had a run off of 4 corners and I lost.... Holland America Giveth.. and Holland America taketh away...... That stunk. I was given a $50 credit. wow. That was a low point. Especially the next day at bingo when there were 4 pots from $250 up to $475. each. I really thought a better consolation prize was warranted. Sadly I wont ever sail Holland America again- way too many negatives. Hi-lights - The bathroom products are nice. good shampoo and conditioner and body wash. a tub in the room - that was nice. comfy beds. Great room attendant. Lots of empty areas on the ship for us to go and make our own fun and play games. Loved watching and dancing with the performers in the crows nest. After convincing the DJ to play something other than Donna Summer we had fun up there.(But really what DJ does not have Flo Rida Low ? and Sir Mix a lot???) Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise for a girls getaway because it was a short cruise and was fairly inexpensive. However, I would have gladly paid more if everything could have been improved. The food in the dining room was, on several occasions, cold. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a girls getaway because it was a short cruise and was fairly inexpensive. However, I would have gladly paid more if everything could have been improved. The food in the dining room was, on several occasions, cold. The service we received was normally very good except for the lobster night when we had a horrible server - Handri - he acted as if we were inconveniencing him. There was only one electrical outlet In our room and every time I plugged my hair dryer, the lights would flicker and go off... a bit of updating wouldn't hurt either when it comes to everything and maybe use a designer that isn't stuck in the 1950s. Also, I normally like it when the ship is at sea as there are usually many, many organized activities available - so many in fact that we have difficulty deciding what to do. That was certainly not the case on the Zaandam. Bingo and trivia about did it for activities. Bingo lasted 15 minutes and trivia maybe 30 minutes. There is a casino onboard as well as a spa however, we were expecting more organized activities. We love cruising due to the diversity on the ships as far as the age of the guests. There were people onboard of all ages however, everything - including the music that was represented as "today's hits" - was targeted toward the guests that were over 70 years old. Last time I checked, "today" means 2017 and not 1917. Dancing in the Crows Nest to today's hits was ridiculous. When we walked in, music from the 1950s was playing. After we pleaded A LOT with the DJ, he finally played something from this century and when he did, the empty dance floor was packed with dancers of all ages. Everyone was laughing and smiling. When he went back to a 1950s song, again, the dance floor was empty. I think there is a lesson to be learned in this. Just because the majority of your guests are over 70 doesn't mean they are dead. THEY WANT TO HAVE FUN JUST LIKE THOSE OF US IN OUR 50s and 60s....and 20s, 30s, and 40s. I know I mentioned the food briefly above but honestly, I overheard more complaints from other guests about the horrible food than I have ever heard about any restaurant let alone a cruise ship. It was as if McDonalds cooks were hired and they were told not to use any herbs and/or spices. Even us old people want to experience excellent tasting food and that certainly didn't happen. Did we get the leftovers from this ship's previous cruises or did someone misplace their cookbook? PUT SOME FLAVOR IN THE FOOD! I have never been disappointed by the food on a cruise until now nor have I ever lost weight on a cruise until now. Weight Watchers could be a future cruising partner as I'm sure the WW members will be thrilled by the weight loss potential as they certainly aren't going to crave anything onboard other than possibly the ice cream. Lastly, the way that we were told to disembark in Victoria was nothing short of an absolute fiasco. Seriously? We were treated like cattle squished into one small hallway which is a far cry from what I expected. The one bright, shinning light on this cruise - and the ONLY positive thing - was because of our room steward, Heri. He was wonderful and everything I expected from a cruise line. He was attentive, available and an all around wonderful representation of what a cabin steward should strive for. Heri was great and I will sincerely miss him. I can only hope that at some point he realizes his potential and moves up the food chain to a much better cruise line and/or ship because he honestly deserves it. Heri was the one gem that we found on this extremely disappointing cruise. There you have it. I hope that at some point someone at Holland America realizes that just because someone's physical age is over 70, doesn't mean they don't want and know how to have fun...they also know what a good meal is and that they didn't get one on the Zaandam. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
The service was very good and the food was great! Some of the ports were not very nice but it was interesting to see other parts of the world. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff was friendly and well ... Read More
The service was very good and the food was great! Some of the ports were not very nice but it was interesting to see other parts of the world. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff was friendly and well trained.There were great lecturers and also a chaplain for religious services. Shore excursions were well organized and there was a variety of them to choose from. We would definitely go on this cruise again. Really liked the port and sea days being spaced out so well. Would like to have had more time in San Diego, Cabo san Lucas and Victoria, BC. The stops at these ports were not long enough. The weather was great except for the days between San Diego and Victoria. We traveled on the longer cruise of 22 days from Valparaiso (Santiago) to Victoria. Overall the trip was an exceptional balance of city and nature, ports and sea days. :) Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller bedroom. It was pretty cramped but we were not there a lot. The embarkation in Valparaiso was quick and the transfer arranged with HAL from Valparaiso was great, some stops and a good guide. Favorite ports were Coquimbo and Jose de San Martin . Excellent tours that we organized with Ecotours and South American Secrets. The Isla Ballista tour was fantastic! The ship decor is very dated with lots of Venetian style stuff although the signed musical instruments were cool. The small shop was very limited and there is the same old jewellery that gets flogged on every cruise ship. I like the size of the ship and I thought the food was good. Maybe could have spiced up some of the dishes but overall, excellent service in the dining room and the Lido and we always found the food tasty and lots of choices. Trivia seemed to be the activity most popular but by the time we wanted to join in, there was no group to partner with.The musical team of singers and dancers are excellent. We were treated to guest singers as well and a Card Illusionist i guess you would call him that gave a stunning show of aptitude. We attended all of the lectures by the guest Naturalist and appreciated his knowledge. The Captain was interesting with his anecdotes every day. The ship was kept very clean and a big thanks to all of the cleaners and service folks. One unusual thing is there was a cardiac arrest on this ship. Because of the time it took for personnel to arrive it made me wonder why there are not Defibrillators on every floor. I never saw one at all. But maybe that is the case on all of the ships. One staff can then rush to the area and defibrillate if needed quicker than waiting for the whole crew and equipment to trundle along the deck. Just a thought. Disembarkation was smooth and efficient, we left at 0930 so most of the crowd had left. I would recommend this itinerary and this ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
Just to be away from the cold time in Ontario to return home not until spring arrives. We had not been to Peru, and Equador yet which were very nice . We really liked the size of the ship which has a great crew . The archeological ... Read More
Just to be away from the cold time in Ontario to return home not until spring arrives. We had not been to Peru, and Equador yet which were very nice . We really liked the size of the ship which has a great crew . The archeological sites in Peru and Equador were very nice and we loved the South American people . The nature of these countries were also very different from what we had expected it was much dryer and in some places just like a desert . We loved our experiences in Lima a, Trujillo , and the Islas Ballestas were simply amazing . Be careful in big cities like Santiago there seem to be more pick pocket incidents and petty thievery as my wifes purse was slashes and wallet taken even though she was pretty careful . At least there was not a big loss just the inconvenience of replacing cards . Our hotel front office was extremely helpful in contacting credit card companies . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's ... Read More
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's strength is still their staff who were as always very friendly and professional, made up of, you guessed it, Phillipinos and Indonesian crew. The ship officers were not quite as friendly or visible. We were happy to discover that Holland America made arrangements to have a Pastor on Board to have an Easter service which quite a number of passengers took part in. Nathan & Cindy of Dallas, Texas also conducted bible studies on board. Most cruise lines do not look after spiritual needs of the passengers or crew. It was wonderful to see the fresh flowers all over the ship as is Holland's theme. The food and entertainment was very good. We enjoyed our Holland cruise once again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose mainly due to ports of call. Usually we go Celebrity. Comparing Celebrity: younger average age (I read that Hal was trying to get their average age lower), more entertainment (Celebrity has a great Martini bar that is very ... Read More
We chose mainly due to ports of call. Usually we go Celebrity. Comparing Celebrity: younger average age (I read that Hal was trying to get their average age lower), more entertainment (Celebrity has a great Martini bar that is very active before and after dinner and has entertainment on pool deck, in lobby). In nightclub, HAL was very quiet--it only came live when our younger average age group attended but we had to educate the DJ. Live band in nightclub only 2 nights out of 18. Food and service was excellent. Spa was great. Some ports of call was a bit disappointing but educational. Final Disembarkation in San Diego was very disorganized on board with long lineups stretching down the ship hallways. Fitness club was great--no waiting for most equipment (likely the benefit of older average age). Public rooms on Celebrity always had attendants keeping everything clean vs Hal. Celebrity always had greeters with hand sanitizers at eating hall entry ways encouraging people to sanitize hands. However on HAL, food was more secures as everything was served (i.e. not selfserved) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I wanted to go to South America and wanted to see Penquins. The cruise was extraordinary. Even though we missed one port due to weather I still got to see the penquins in Falkland Islands.It was awesome. I visited 4 countries and really ... Read More
I wanted to go to South America and wanted to see Penquins. The cruise was extraordinary. Even though we missed one port due to weather I still got to see the penquins in Falkland Islands.It was awesome. I visited 4 countries and really got to experience the culture and life in each country. I had booked private tours and it made the tours very personal. It was also half the cost of the ship tours. The weather this time of year is unpredictable. We had rainy weather from Valparasio to Ushuaia. If you want to see penguins I recommend you book tours to see them in more than one port. The temperature is around 47F. Tours for tips are offered in both cities. We finished in Buenos Aires. I recommend if you have a late flight take the transfer from the ship and the tour they offer.(only tour booked through the ship) WE were very pleased with Holland America. Disappointed in the WiFi. It was very slow. Used most of my minutes trying to up load pictures. I quit trying. Disappointed I could never get hot toast for breakfast, even in the dining room. In general the food was good but not superior. Great service and very friendly staff. Entertainment in the theater was superior. I would recommend this cruise to anyone that wants to see the penquins and experience the culture in four countries. Read Less
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.7
Service 3.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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