Sail Date: December 2012
Good points: -Zaandam much better than the Oosterdam in decor, service and company response to problems. Had a bad leak in my suite ceiling that took days to correct, but received a very generous shipboard credit and a cookbook plus ... Read More
Good points: -Zaandam much better than the Oosterdam in decor, service and company response to problems. Had a bad leak in my suite ceiling that took days to correct, but received a very generous shipboard credit and a cookbook plus apology note as compensation. Compared to the Oosterdam, where I had worse problems with cabin and an injury caused by HAL and I got no compensation or apology. -Shore excursions were excellent -Food was pretty good, Pinnacle Grill filet was outstanding, La Cirque fantastic -Entertainment at times was excellent -Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth -Hotel the night before, booked through my travel agent, Sheraton Marina in San Diego very good (not necessarily affiliated with HAL.) -Although I had a very bad spa experience with a too-young and experienced staff person, the spa manager quickly refunded the hefty sum I had paid in advance. -LOVE the Thermal Suite on HAL, though this one was WAY small. Pool was the size of a hot tub. BUT there was rarely anyone in the room, and what a way to relax! -Explorations Cafe really spacious, comfortable, and service was good there. -HAL continues to have the best guest to tonnage ratio, with lots of space and non-crowded atmosphere. However, at times this could be a negative for a solo traveler! Not so good points: -Service was not up to par for the price and supposed reputation of HAL Dining room staff seemed worn out or overworked, repeated requests needed for simple items like iced tea, etc. Chaotic, unacceptable situation with dining room seating. Some sort of "reservations needed" policy we were never notified about- "on your own" dining turned out to receive annoyance from restaurant manager, no table or a very long wait, and never could figure out what kind of system or lack of they were using. Many people annoyed, very long lines. 75% of the time, service overall could not in any way be described as "luxury," "gracious," or "outstanding." -Even though the restaurant food was good, the room service food was HORRIBLE. Unacceptable, poorly presented, served with resentment, and hardly edible. -Cabin steward(s) just okay. Just doing their job, and since you pay $11.50 per day for tips overall, felt underwhelmed so didn't tip them more. Was slightly put off by Cruise Director's heavy pitch on the last day for tips to the staff, when indeed, no staff member stood out for doing anything other than their job. -Unavoidable but still annoying culture/ language gap makes trying to complain or explain needs met with blank looks, non-responsiveness, or incorrect/ poor resolution, if any. Tendency to insinuate blame on the guest and a constant theme of NOT showing the kind of gracious, over the top service HAL advertises. A big gap here! -Very unclear when formal nights were- advance notice was the typical 2, but turns out there were 3, with hardly any advance and not clear notice. How are you supposed to pack or plan for that? Lack of enforcement of dress code for formal nights. -For the price I paid for my verandah suite, it was a rip-off. Very small, the bathroom was tiny, and the "jetted" tub was a disgrace. Not big enough for an adult, and all the jets didn't work. -The Zaandam is looking a little shabby, and for the price of my cruise, would expect stain-free carpet and not to see taped-together wood in a couple places. -This is the nature of HAL, so is more a mis-match for me as a youthful solo traveler, but a total lack of fun atmosphere. No club to dance, people my age acting much older, grumpy (how can you be unhappy when you get to go on a cruise???) and not everyone was unfriendly, but almost everyone seemed confused why someone would cruise alone. -NO gathering for solo travelers as I had seen on the Oosterdam schedule!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
The Zaandam is starting to show her age at 12 years old but, she is well maintained. There were some problems like some of the areas smelled slightly of sewerage (Lido Deck Men's Restroom), and an overflowing urinal in a Men's ... Read More
The Zaandam is starting to show her age at 12 years old but, she is well maintained. There were some problems like some of the areas smelled slightly of sewerage (Lido Deck Men's Restroom), and an overflowing urinal in a Men's room by the Pinnacle Grill...Which was immediately taken care of by the Engineering Staff...Come-on, we've all had a toilet backup, and we've never had 1,500 guest in our house all at one time either! Our room was very clean and taken care of by our Steward Dedi. He was bending over backwards to take care of our needs. The one thing that stands out with the M/V Zaandam is the crew: They were beyond helpful. And the entertainment was first rate. The Food Staff was excellent. From custom made sandwiches by Bernard to chit-chat with Benny in the Dining Room and everyone in-between. The Entertainment was superb! An outstanding Elton John impersonator named "Joel Mason" really rocked it out (Even with Laryngitis) . You can preview Joel on You Tube if you don't believe me! Charlie on Guitar (Charlie Jourdan) in the "Piano Bar" gets our highest praise: Extraordinary song writer, fantastic singing and a great conversationalist between songs. You can preview him too on You Tube! The Zaandam Dancers and Singers were new to their job but gave a marvelous performance each time we viewed them. Chris Pendleton: Comedienne, Female, One each, was incredibly funny and kept it clean and fresh. Even the ships Chaplin was in the front row and laughing! She too can be viewed on You Tube...Or at funnyfiddle.com. A collection of people told us that: "Holland America is a bunch of old people!" Well, to us "Old" is a state of mind and in our mind there weren't too many old people on board....All we can say is: Holland America to St Petersburg Russia in August, 2013...My Battle Cry! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
This was our fifth sailing with Holland America line and, until this cruise, we always found the ships to be above par with excellent service and food. Granted it has been two years since our last Holland America sailing...but the decline ... Read More
This was our fifth sailing with Holland America line and, until this cruise, we always found the ships to be above par with excellent service and food. Granted it has been two years since our last Holland America sailing...but the decline was extremely evident. We boarded the ship and were allowed to immediately go to our stateroom. The non smoking room reeked so of cigarette smoke we could barely call the front desk without coughing. We were informed that a "deep cleaning" would be performed and left the room. Two hours later, the room was in the same condition and we again called the front desk - within 10 minutes an ozone generator was at the door and we again had to leave our room for two hours. When we returned, the room smelled of ozone but the smoke smell was gone...BTW, the window of our room did not open so we could not dispel the ozone smell. The front desk did send us a small plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a note for the inconvenience...and this was the only time we received a towel sculpture the entire trip. As we unpacked, we noted the overall cleanliness of the room...or lack of it. Dust was accumulated on most flat surfaces and the cleaning crew had left several long black hairs in the tub. We would later find one of our blankets was stained with some white bodily discharge - enough said about that. Our room steward was a pleasant person who was managing 27 rooms - they used to manage 12. It was a wonder that our room was serviced every day with that amount of work. We tipped generously every day and always received a smile and a thank you. The overall condition of this ship was quite poor. As other reviewers have noted, the carpet and some of the furnishing are old and have not been well maintained. We noted a significant problem with the plumbing as several public restrooms were "Out of Service" for most of the trip. One night, only one of the three ladies rooms near the main restaurant was available and by the third day, out cabin was unavailable for several hours as a plumbing issue in the room below ours was serviced. The food and service in the main dining room was sporadic. The first night service was a little slow but the food was delightful. Night two it took about 30 minutes to order and about 30 minutes between each of the three courses. Most of the food was cool to cold by the time it reached us. This continued throughout the trip - delightful to terrible service...wonderful to inedible food. One night we went down to the Lido Deck buffet after dinner as most of the food in the main restaurant was sent back after one taste. We are not "foodies" but when a brisket is not cut cross grain - it becomes extremely tough and simply cannot be chewed...and baked alaskan with raw meringue is not acceptable. Enough said...Holland America will not be seeing us for a while. We will wait until conditions have improved and will, in the meantime, move on to another cruise line. 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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