First a bit about us. My wife and I are 48 & 50 years old, and have been married for four years. We have taken nine cruises together (HAL, Princess, Norwegian, Carnival, and MSC). Our Honeymoon was on the HAL Westerdam (inaugural Atlantic crossing 11/04). Embarkation We arrived at the port at 11:30am and were on the ship by Noon. We were asked to go to the Lido deck and await the call to our room, since none of the rooms were ready yet, we expected this since we boarded so early. The food at the buffet was ok. At 1:45pm the announcement came that all rooms were ready. Many of the passengers were over 65. This was expected being a fifteen day HAL cruise. This was not a problem at all. Stateroom We went to our deck three inside stateroom and found it to be very clean and set up the way we requested. Our room steward (Jamie) showed up about 10 minutes later with all our luggage. I asked him if he could get us an egg create mattress topper. Ten minutes later he showed up with it. Jamie was great throughout the entire cruise. Our room was not cleaned till after 2pm daily. But it was always very clean. We did have a problem with the air conditioning throughout the entire cruise. The room would not get below 73 degrees. We notified the front desk every day for the first 7 days; they sent people to check it out every day. They also followed up with us every night. They never could do anything to fix it so they gave us a fan to use after the second day (it helped). They also offered to move us to another room, but only offered smaller rooms in less desirable locations. So we stayed in our original room. The cruise line offered us a $100 credit due to the A/C problem. We negotiated it up to $200. The front office staff was very accommodating. Our stateroom was very quiet throughout the entire cruise. Food The food throughout the cruise (Lido Buffet, and Dining room) varied from great to just ok. All of it was very bland (probably due to the older passenger's dietary needs). I'm a chef and found the food selection and presentation fine. We ate breakfast at the Lido buffet every day (the only way to get a hot cooked to order omelet). We also ate lunch at the Lido buffet. I enjoyed the Sushi. The sandwich bar was ok after you realized that you needed to tell them to put more meat on the bread. The ice cream was some of the best we've ever had; they changed the flavors almost hourly. Dinner in the dining room was nice and as I said the quality of the food varied every night from great to acceptable. The wait staff was average. Entertainment The cruise director Lizabeth was the worst we've ever had. She was not at all entertaining. She would ignore you while she was walking around the ship. She just wasn't a warm person. The Dancers were great. The Singers were rejects from American Idol. The guest entertainers (a juggler, Comedians, Singer, and a Ventriloquist) were all good. On board activities were all geared toward the 60 and over crowd (Bridge, Bingo, Water color painting, towel folding, Golf). The trivia events were twice a day, Breakfast trivia 9am, and Team trivia some time between 1:30 - 3pm. All the trivia events were hosted by Lizabeth the terrible. Spa We bought the Thermal suite retreat for the full cruise. A small room overlooking the ocean with a private hot tub, 2 saunas, 2 aroma showers and 5 thermal beds. This room was our sanctuary everyday before dinner. VERY relaxing. It cost $240 per couple for unlimited use for entire cruise. It was well worth it!!! 4 Sea days after leaving San Diego The first two days it was very cold and windy outside. The weather started to warm up on the third day, but it was still windy due to the Pacific trade winds. Ports Hilo, Hawaii was great. We rented a car and drove to the volcano (highly recommended). We took a 2 mile guided hike, and loved every minute of it. We stopped at Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut plantation on the way back to the ship. We spent way too much there but picked up Christmas gifts for everyone. We also stopped at Wal Mart (located in the same shopping center as Hilo Hattie's). You can get a free shuttle to Hilo Hattie's from the pier, then walk across the parking lot and buy your Hawaiian shirts in Wal Mart for between $7-$30. Also buy your Macadamia Nuts and Hawaiian souvenirs in Wal Mart They have a large section full of everything that you didn't know you wanted (you will save lots of money). Honolulu, Oahu (two days) What a zoo!!! Reminded me of New York City (I grew up there) over crowded, way too much traffic all day. We rented a car for two days, but returned it after one. It was just too stressful trying to drive around the city. The second day we walked around the downtown area, and enjoyed all the sights. Lahaina, Maui We spent the day walking up and down Front Street, and sat under the 135 year old massive Banyan tree. This day was very relaxing. Don't eat at "Cheese Burger In paradise" the food was horrible, with the exception of the coconut shrimp. Kona, Hawaii This was the only port we booked a shore excursion. We went on the "Kahun Ranch with ATV Adventure" tour. It took an hour bus ride to get to the ranch, followed by a 2.5 hour ATV ride. What a blast!!! We each had our own ATV, then an hour back to port. The Bus driver / tour guide was great. Back in the port there was a street festival going on, we walked around and picked up a few more gifts. 5 Sea days the return trip These sea days were also windy, and the last two were cold. We were supposed to stop in Ensenada, Mexico on the last night, but due to the extreme fog the Captain decided to bypass this port. Better safe then sorry. Mexico been there done that, gave the tee shirt to Goodwill!! Debarkation I think it was the easiest we've ever had. We chose to get off after 10am. From the time we were called till the time we were in the taxi on the way to the airport was only 20 minutes. That is including finding our luggage. Overall we had a great time. We met another couple onboard and did everything with them. I know we will be life long friends and are already planning our next cruise together, next November. The ship was in need of many repairs, but nothing that was unsafe. The engineers were constantly working all over the ship. The ship was clean. The crew was not the friendliest we've ever experienced. But I'm not a complainer, I just wanted to let everyone know what to expect. If you can't have a great time on a cruise, just stay at work.

Not the HAL we remembered :-(

Zaandam Cruise Review by Zippy5150

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2008
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Large Interior Stateroom
First a bit about us. My wife and I are 48 & 50 years old, and have been married for four years. We have taken nine cruises together (HAL, Princess, Norwegian, Carnival, and MSC). Our Honeymoon was on the HAL Westerdam (inaugural Atlantic crossing 11/04).
Embarkation We arrived at the port at 11:30am and were on the ship by Noon. We were asked to go to the Lido deck and await the call to our room, since none of the rooms were ready yet, we expected this since we boarded so early. The food at the buffet was ok. At 1:45pm the announcement came that all rooms were ready. Many of the passengers were over 65. This was expected being a fifteen day HAL cruise. This was not a problem at all.
Stateroom We went to our deck three inside stateroom and found it to be very clean and set up the way we requested. Our room steward (Jamie) showed up about 10 minutes later with all our luggage. I asked him if he could get us an egg create mattress topper. Ten minutes later he showed up with it. Jamie was great throughout the entire cruise. Our room was not cleaned till after 2pm daily. But it was always very clean. We did have a problem with the air conditioning throughout the entire cruise. The room would not get below 73 degrees. We notified the front desk every day for the first 7 days; they sent people to check it out every day. They also followed up with us every night. They never could do anything to fix it so they gave us a fan to use after the second day (it helped). They also offered to move us to another room, but only offered smaller rooms in less desirable locations. So we stayed in our original room. The cruise line offered us a $100 credit due to the A/C problem. We negotiated it up to $200. The front office staff was very accommodating. Our stateroom was very quiet throughout the entire cruise.
Food The food throughout the cruise (Lido Buffet, and Dining room) varied from great to just ok. All of it was very bland (probably due to the older passenger's dietary needs). I'm a chef and found the food selection and presentation fine. We ate breakfast at the Lido buffet every day (the only way to get a hot cooked to order omelet). We also ate lunch at the Lido buffet. I enjoyed the Sushi. The sandwich bar was ok after you realized that you needed to tell them to put more meat on the bread. The ice cream was some of the best we've ever had; they changed the flavors almost hourly. Dinner in the dining room was nice and as I said the quality of the food varied every night from great to acceptable. The wait staff was average.
Entertainment The cruise director Lizabeth was the worst we've ever had. She was not at all entertaining. She would ignore you while she was walking around the ship. She just wasn't a warm person. The Dancers were great. The Singers were rejects from American Idol. The guest entertainers (a juggler, Comedians, Singer, and a Ventriloquist) were all good. On board activities were all geared toward the 60 and over crowd (Bridge, Bingo, Water color painting, towel folding, Golf). The trivia events were twice a day, Breakfast trivia 9am, and Team trivia some time between 1:30 - 3pm. All the trivia events were hosted by Lizabeth the terrible.
Spa We bought the Thermal suite retreat for the full cruise. A small room overlooking the ocean with a private hot tub, 2 saunas, 2 aroma showers and 5 thermal beds. This room was our sanctuary everyday before dinner. VERY relaxing. It cost $240 per couple for unlimited use for entire cruise. It was well worth it!!!
4 Sea days after leaving San Diego The first two days it was very cold and windy outside. The weather started to warm up on the third day, but it was still windy due to the Pacific trade winds.
Ports Hilo, Hawaii was great. We rented a car and drove to the volcano (highly recommended). We took a 2 mile guided hike, and loved every minute of it. We stopped at Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut plantation on the way back to the ship. We spent way too much there but picked up Christmas gifts for everyone. We also stopped at Wal Mart (located in the same shopping center as Hilo Hattie's). You can get a free shuttle to Hilo Hattie's from the pier, then walk across the parking lot and buy your Hawaiian shirts in Wal Mart for between $7-$30. Also buy your Macadamia Nuts and Hawaiian souvenirs in Wal Mart They have a large section full of everything that you didn't know you wanted (you will save lots of money).
Honolulu, Oahu (two days) What a zoo!!! Reminded me of New York City (I grew up there) over crowded, way too much traffic all day. We rented a car for two days, but returned it after one. It was just too stressful trying to drive around the city. The second day we walked around the downtown area, and enjoyed all the sights.
Lahaina, Maui We spent the day walking up and down Front Street, and sat under the 135 year old massive Banyan tree. This day was very relaxing. Don't eat at "Cheese Burger In paradise" the food was horrible, with the exception of the coconut shrimp.
Kona, Hawaii This was the only port we booked a shore excursion. We went on the "Kahun Ranch with ATV Adventure" tour. It took an hour bus ride to get to the ranch, followed by a 2.5 hour ATV ride. What a blast!!! We each had our own ATV, then an hour back to port. The Bus driver / tour guide was great. Back in the port there was a street festival going on, we walked around and picked up a few more gifts.
5 Sea days the return trip These sea days were also windy, and the last two were cold. We were supposed to stop in Ensenada, Mexico on the last night, but due to the extreme fog the Captain decided to bypass this port. Better safe then sorry. Mexico been there done that, gave the tee shirt to Goodwill!!
Debarkation I think it was the easiest we've ever had. We chose to get off after 10am. From the time we were called till the time we were in the taxi on the way to the airport was only 20 minutes. That is including finding our luggage.
Overall we had a great time. We met another couple onboard and did everything with them. I know we will be life long friends and are already planning our next cruise together, next November. The ship was in need of many repairs, but nothing that was unsafe. The engineers were constantly working all over the ship. The ship was clean. The crew was not the friendliest we've ever experienced. But I'm not a complainer, I just wanted to let everyone know what to expect. If you can't have a great time on a cruise, just stay at work.
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Cabin Review

Large Interior Stateroom
Cabin I 3355
Stateroom 3355 inside midship starboard side. Very quiet, very cozy. Lots of storage space, great bed. A/C never got below 73 degrees
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