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.

Tenth cruise, first w/HAL...overall only so-so.

Zaandam Cruise Review by CABandSLB

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed view)
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.
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Cabin Review

Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed view)
Cabin HH 3417
Cabin was nice, lots of storage space and well designed. Even though it was listed as fully obstructed, we did have a fairly good view from the window...probably about 75% open. Being on the lower promenade deck was a bit uncomfortable as we had peope walking by our window at all times of the day and felt as thought we couldn't really comfortably have our curtains open at any time, but wasn't too bad during the day when we didn't need interior lights on.
Lower Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins