Let me start by saying we have sailed with just about every cruise line so we are relatively experienced and know what we enjoy on a cruise. We are in our early 60's and enjoy an active cruise. We departed from Vancouver after a wonderful stay at the Hampton Inn; the rooms are beautiful and the breakfast more than sufficient. They provided a shuttle to the pier but we were extremely crowded since the shuttle was late and had to squeeze in 2 time slots. We arrived at the ship around noon and everything went very smoothly. No complaints. The ship is on the small side with only 1400 passengers which I thought would be an advantage. After sailing on the Grand Princess, I guess we were spoiled by all the shows, shops etc. We had a very good lunch in the Lido then were allowed in our rooms. The room is very nice with a bathtub no less. I was pleased we didn't have a tight shower. We had an outside room but we were disappointed because the bed was in front of the window and the window isn't exactly huge. We had 2 hair dryers; an old one in the bathroom and one in the drawer. I was very frustrated because I couldn't find a receptacle in the bathroom and it was the 4th day before someone told me in was built into the old hairdryer. The bed and pillows were wonderful. They even left a card at the end of the cruise telling you how you could order the mattress. The steward never made an appearance all week although I think it was him in the hallway because he called us by our name. Service was hit and miss. If I didn't leave a note, it didn't happen. Service got better towards the end of the week. He even started leaving towel animals which I have to admit, I get a charge out of. The ship did have a laundromat but only had one ironing board and iron. It had several washers and dryers. The washers were very small and charged $2.00 including soap. I don't recall the charge for "fill a bag" but I thought is was rather high and the bag small so I did my own. We had assigned dining which we prefer because we love to get to know our waiters. It can be so much fun because we love to tease and joke and they always seem to enjoy it as well though it usually takes a couple of days for them to warm up. Anyway, the dining room was very nice and surrounded by windows. If you were lucky, you were able to watch the view while dining, especially since it didn't get dark til long after dinner was over. The food some nights was excellent and others so so but we found the chef is willing to make special orders with advanced notice. Every night the head waiter would show us the menu for the next day. We didn't take advantage of this but we did request cheese and fruit before dinner every night which we received. They served Alaskan king crab legs one night and another small lobster tails. Salmon was always available as was steak and chicken. The menu had the usual choices but we noticed they weren't too quick about bringing another entree; portions were adequate. We did not eat in the Pinnacle but our friends did and said it was phenomenal. It was almost funny but when we started to check out the ship, we kept looking for the stores. There is a jewelry store and every stop in Alaska has TONS of jewelry stores. It has a souvenir shop and a liquor store with a handful of toiletries. My suggestion is - don't forget anything at home! Even at the stops you might have a problem. I couldn't find advantix film even at the camera shops in port. I just want to add they do have a catholic priest on board with mass every day. When departing, you can stay in your stateroom and even receive room service. Now the real reason I wanted to write this review was, for one, I was constantly under the impression this was more "upper class". Don't you believe it! I know Alaska cruises are more casual but this bordered on ridiculous. Most of the time people looked like they were making a quick run to the store for milk. I'm talking about dinner in the dining room too. Forget the "smart" casual. Jeans were the order of the day. On formal nights most people dressed very nice but some didn't dress at all and don't pack that tuxedo, for sure. For entertainment, there was a show almost every night. They were very good as cruise ships go. BUT, if you are hoping to be entertained any other time of the day - forget it! Unless, of course, you consider bingo and trivia to be entertainment. There were lectures on the ports and Alaska and plenty of lectures coming from the spa, a couple cooking classes, and movies which were poorly timed for early diners. The age group on this ship was everything from families with small children and up. I really felt sorry for anyone (myself included) under the age of 80. There is a nice library and if reading and napping and early to bed are your thing, you have found the right ship. They had plenty of music in the evenings but the people weren't there and if they were they were gone very early. The casino is small but you won't have a problem finding a spot. I don't know if it was the small ship or Holland America's reputation but we will definitely not sail her again. It is back to Celebrity or Princess or Costa for us.

BORING!

Zaandam Cruise Review by mtab

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2008
  • Destination: Alaska
Let me start by saying we have sailed with just about every cruise line so we are relatively experienced and know what we enjoy on a cruise. We are in our early 60's and enjoy an active cruise. We departed from Vancouver after a wonderful stay at the Hampton Inn; the rooms are beautiful and the breakfast more than sufficient. They provided a shuttle to the pier but we were extremely crowded since the shuttle was late and had to squeeze in 2 time slots. We arrived at the ship around noon and everything went very smoothly. No complaints. The ship is on the small side with only 1400 passengers which I thought would be an advantage. After sailing on the Grand Princess, I guess we were spoiled by all the shows, shops etc. We had a very good lunch in the Lido then were allowed in our rooms. The room is very nice with a bathtub no less. I was pleased we didn't have a tight shower. We had an outside room but we were disappointed because the bed was in front of the window and the window isn't exactly huge. We had 2 hair dryers; an old one in the bathroom and one in the drawer. I was very frustrated because I couldn't find a receptacle in the bathroom and it was the 4th day before someone told me in was built into the old hairdryer. The bed and pillows were wonderful. They even left a card at the end of the cruise telling you how you could order the mattress. The steward never made an appearance all week although I think it was him in the hallway because he called us by our name. Service was hit and miss. If I didn't leave a note, it didn't happen. Service got better towards the end of the week. He even started leaving towel animals which I have to admit, I get a charge out of. The ship did have a laundromat but only had one ironing board and iron. It had several washers and dryers. The washers were very small and charged $2.00 including soap. I don't recall the charge for "fill a bag" but I thought is was rather high and the bag small so I did my own. We had assigned dining which we prefer because we love to get to know our waiters. It can be so much fun because we love to tease and joke and they always seem to enjoy it as well though it usually takes a couple of days for them to warm up. Anyway, the dining room was very nice and surrounded by windows. If you were lucky, you were able to watch the view while dining, especially since it didn't get dark til long after dinner was over. The food some nights was excellent and others so so but we found the chef is willing to make special orders with advanced notice. Every night the head waiter would show us the menu for the next day. We didn't take advantage of this but we did request cheese and fruit before dinner every night which we received. They served Alaskan king crab legs one night and another small lobster tails. Salmon was always available as was steak and chicken. The menu had the usual choices but we noticed they weren't too quick about bringing another entree; portions were adequate. We did not eat in the Pinnacle but our friends did and said it was phenomenal. It was almost funny but when we started to check out the ship, we kept looking for the stores. There is a jewelry store and every stop in Alaska has TONS of jewelry stores. It has a souvenir shop and a liquor store with a handful of toiletries. My suggestion is - don't forget anything at home! Even at the stops you might have a problem. I couldn't find advantix film even at the camera shops in port. I just want to add they do have a catholic priest on board with mass every day. When departing, you can stay in your stateroom and even receive room service. Now the real reason I wanted to write this review was, for one, I was constantly under the impression this was more "upper class". Don't you believe it! I know Alaska cruises are more casual but this bordered on ridiculous. Most of the time people looked like they were making a quick run to the store for milk. I'm talking about dinner in the dining room too. Forget the "smart" casual. Jeans were the order of the day. On formal nights most people dressed very nice but some didn't dress at all and don't pack that tuxedo, for sure. For entertainment, there was a show almost every night. They were very good as cruise ships go. BUT, if you are hoping to be entertained any other time of the day - forget it! Unless, of course, you consider bingo and trivia to be entertainment. There were lectures on the ports and Alaska and plenty of lectures coming from the spa, a couple cooking classes, and movies which were poorly timed for early diners. The age group on this ship was everything from families with small children and up. I really felt sorry for anyone (myself included) under the age of 80. There is a nice library and if reading and napping and early to bed are your thing, you have found the right ship. They had plenty of music in the evenings but the people weren't there and if they were they were gone very early. The casino is small but you won't have a problem finding a spot. I don't know if it was the small ship or Holland America's reputation but we will definitely not sail her again. It is back to Celebrity or Princess or Costa for us.
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