8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Our cruise was chosen for Itinerary which included Panama canal and reputation of HA for good food. However unknown to us the ship was due to go into dry dock at end of cruise. Presumably to cut time in dock and costs the crew were ... Read More
Our cruise was chosen for Itinerary which included Panama canal and reputation of HA for good food. However unknown to us the ship was due to go into dry dock at end of cruise. Presumably to cut time in dock and costs the crew were constantly carrying out noisy chipping / grinding of rusting paintwork, cutting / welding with debris falling down onto public areas. On one at sea day when I asked if they could possibly postpone this endless tapping until the next port call when most passengers would be on shore, i was offered ear plugs! Trailing power leads were in corridors and across doorways to decks, lifeboat launching equipment being serviced, lifeboat cradles hanging below head height on promenade deck. Health and Safety was very slack. The food in the main dining room was inconsistent, sometimes quite good more often just OK. One excellent steak, one almost without any flavour at all, portion sizes varied from tiny to too much on two adjacent plates, some plates with all the vegetables listed on the menu, some with only one, aspargus could be only just heated or overcooked to a limp mush. The Lido buffet must prepare too far in advance as much of the food is drying out. The top surface of smoked salmon often was crusted where it had sat for so long, A steak was utterly drained of any meat juices, grapefruit halves had a dull dry top surface from dehydration. If Celebrity, Princess, Cunard etc can all offer bigger, better, fresher buffets what is HA doing wrong on this boat? We have had enough cruises to know what one should expect and this was our first HA experience - and definitely our last. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
I try to sail on a HAL ship once every 2 years. I normally go to the Mexican Riviera in the winter to use their excellent thermal suite and work out equipment. I consider it my spa week to relax. This was my first time on the Zaandam. ... Read More
I try to sail on a HAL ship once every 2 years. I normally go to the Mexican Riviera in the winter to use their excellent thermal suite and work out equipment. I consider it my spa week to relax. This was my first time on the Zaandam. I liked the layout of the ship; smaller than most but not crowded even though it was Easter break week. We ( my son and I ) were upgraded to a partial blocked outside cabin, 3383. This was not an upgrade. The cabin was large but from the moment we entered I knew we would have a problem. The diesel fuel smell in the cabin was overwhelming and the A/C was hardly working. We immediately called downstairs; they said the smell would go away when we started sailing and sent someone up to look at the A/C. The repair man came up and said that the cabin was hot and that they would adjust it downstairs. We went off to sign up for the thermal suite package and I did not think about it again. When we came back to the cabin after dinner the smell was still bad and the A/C was still not working well. Our cabin steward apologized and got us a fan. He did what he could but he looked like this was not the first time this cabin had a problem. I tried to sleep with the fan blowing the fumes in my face. At 1 am I gave up; I had a terrible headache from the fumes and felt sick to my stomach. I went to the front office and asked if there was anywhere I could sleep. The lady said ; sorry we are completely booked. She was sorry I was sick from the cabin fumes but there was no room in the inn. I offered to sleep in the infirmary, I just needed some sleep and some clean air. No the infirmary was closed. So I told her I would sleep in the library. I went up and slept on the library couch for 2 hours, woke up without the headache and went back to my smelly cabin. The smell did get better the next day, the A/C never did and after 2 days of asking for help we gave up and kept the fan going. The toilet in the cabin worked most of the time; only had to have it fixed 2x. Avoid this cabin. The rest of the trip was fun. Went on the whale watching trip and saw a couple of whales ( the end of March is really too late in the season). We enjoyed the thermal suite and worked out everyday on the new equipment. We spent some time in the casino , contributing to the casino's retirement fund. The casino manager was great. The comedian , Dan Grueter was wonderful and we were sad that he only did one show. The singers and dancers were good and did their best with the small stage and the simple sets. We enjoyed the cooking demo, the computer classes and the DJ in the Crow's nest. We ate in the lido restaurant for all of our meals. We have done this before on 2 other cruises with HAL and normally we found the food there to be as good as the dining room . But not this time, HAL's food quality is slipping. Overall, we had a nice time. But for me the quality of service was seriously lacking. When you are paying so much for a room on a ship ; you should be able to sleep in your room and not the library couch. I was too tired and had too bad a headache to care. I wish someone on the HAL staff could have cared a little more. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
We booked an inside cabin and had the opportunity to upgrade, several weeks before the beginning of the cruise (for a fee). We chose to upgrade to an outside cabin on the Dolphin deck (1879). It was a wonderful cabin, large with a window ... Read More
We booked an inside cabin and had the opportunity to upgrade, several weeks before the beginning of the cruise (for a fee). We chose to upgrade to an outside cabin on the Dolphin deck (1879). It was a wonderful cabin, large with a window and bathtub. It was noisy as they were loading the ship, as a cargo door was just below the cabin. After sailing, we didn't hear a peep in our cabin, except for the last night when the crew was positioning luggage or other cargo right below us. This was the smallest ship we have sailed on, so we were a bit hesitant; however, in the end, the ship didn't fee small. In fact, the ship was among our favorites. Our summary of the cruise is as follows: Pros: -Nice ship, with big cabins -Crow's Nest is a great space, and we loved 70's, 80's and Michael Jackson nights -Pool area at the back of the ship is wonderful, although we like that it was adults only on the Oosterdam -Loved the overnight in Puerto Vallarta. We didn't have to rush to get back to the ship. Cabo is also great and we could walk to the beach. -Generally good food, with excellent food at Pinnacle Grill, for $20 a head -Scheduled LGBT event, but not hosted -Nice big and well-equipped gym although staff could have been better at ensuring a better sense of decorum from other passengers (shirtless and barefoot people working out) -HAL cats were great; loved the Adagio Duo -Photographers weren't in your face -Made extra efforts to accommodate Passover for Jewish passengers Cons: -Service a bit spotty at times. The host seating people for dinner always looked confused and never acknowledge your presence (line was a mad house). The restaurant seemed a bit under staffed. -Tea was nice, but it took 20 minutes every day to clear the line, as they were seating one by one. There never seemed to be enough food, and once again, it was under staffed. -No place to jog on the ship, except the treadmills -Invisible cruise director and no staff -Didn't use the spa services as they don't have male masseurs All and all, a lovely week. We would definitely sail on the Zaandam again. 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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