2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I wanted to write this review because I saw a number of poor ratings for Holland America and since we had a good experience, I thought it would be fair to write a good one. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were on the Zaandam. ... Read More
I wanted to write this review because I saw a number of poor ratings for Holland America and since we had a good experience, I thought it would be fair to write a good one. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were on the Zaandam. This is a beautiful ship with a musical theme. We liked the baroque organ. We ran into two storms on the Pacific Ocean with 6.5 meter waves and the Captain changed our port of call from Ushuaia to Castro and also gave us the beautiful Brujo glacier. We were good with the decision since it was a bit of a rough ride that day. We had booked mostly private excursions since we like the smaller groups. Except for the tendering ports, all the ports of call on our cruise were well managed. We have travelled with at least 4 other cruise lines and we found the food selection to be good better than some of the others. We liked having less choices but better quality. Cabin crew were good. Enrichment activities were good. Entertainment were okay. Embarkation and Disembarkation were spot on. All in all, we liked Holland America and have already booked another cruise with them on the Westerdam. Hoping to be able to have the same level of service or better. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Chose this cruise as part of our Uncommon Journeys trip and easy sailing out of San Diego. Like the small ship of 1400. Liked the entertainment brought onboard. Liked upgrade. However, meals were hit or miss! Thai lunch was great; ... Read More
Chose this cruise as part of our Uncommon Journeys trip and easy sailing out of San Diego. Like the small ship of 1400. Liked the entertainment brought onboard. Liked upgrade. However, meals were hit or miss! Thai lunch was great; lobster tails on Gala night were excellent; however, last meal on last night was inedible....lamb chops! Gluten free bread was horrible white bread they put in microwave when I asked for it toasted. Finally, on our disembarkation day we were all told we could stay in our room until they called out number/color. Staff asked to come into rooms at 7:00 and 8:00 am before we were called and it was kinda rude. Service is going downhill and so is food....getting too much like Carnival. Both we and another couple who have cruised many, many days and are 3-star mariners, do not think we will ever go HA again! Very sad! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Spouse wanted to transit Panama Canal and this cruise was the right time, ports and price. However we found out Zaandam was coming out of dry dock for this cruise from Cruise Critic, not HAL. It was not ready. Our cabin reeked of ... Read More
Spouse wanted to transit Panama Canal and this cruise was the right time, ports and price. However we found out Zaandam was coming out of dry dock for this cruise from Cruise Critic, not HAL. It was not ready. Our cabin reeked of construction adhesive for the while 23 days as the bathroom had been completely remodelled (looked great, smelled horrible but love the new shower which replaced the tub). The ventilation was hanging and the floor was covered with lumps of adhesive. A fine coating of dust covered the flat surfaces in the room, especially in the closets. Our toilet had issues of flushing fine and then overfilling, once flowing into the bathroom and flooding into the cabin. This seemed to be an issue in port. We became paranoid and would count to 5 once the flush took place to insure the overflow situation did not happen again so we could call immediately, although our phone did not always work. The service in the main dining room was at best uneven. We spent many evenings at a table for 6 at anytime dining waiting for the main course to be served. It did not appear to have enough staff in the dining room. Waiters seemed to have 6-8 tables to work on by themselves with no staff to assist. Food was uneven. My lobster on the first gala night was undercooked but rather than wait another half hour for a new one and delay my dining partners, I said it wasn’t cooked. The Lido Market food was also just okay. The fresh items, such as salads and Asian food, were fresh and flavourful as were the cooked veggies, but the other offerings were hit and miss. Trying to figure out hiw to get served was frustrating as lines were often confusing and non existent, if the server liked you or knew you, they would serve you, otherwise you could get told to go back to the end of what appeared to be an arbitrary line. At least a few times I had to go back to the meat line when all I wanted were sides. With no signage, it was confusing. The cruise director, who was moving to a new ship after this cruise was rarely present at the events we attended other than the beginning of the nightly shows. It wasn’t like many activities were ongoing during the day aside from an evening trivia which was emceed by the assistant cruise director as were most of the sports events. Cruise director seemed to loosen up toward the end of the cruise. The activities such as America’s test kitchen or nightly shows were okay, but once we reached San Diego started repeating for the last 6 days of the cruise. We had expected better. The singers and dancers were good but we had expected to see them more often. The galley tour and backstage tours were nice additions as we the coffee talks with members of the crew. The port talks were informative to a point but outside the venue, the person seemed somewhat disinterested in talking. No pool games aside from ‘swimming in the Panama Canal’. Celebrating Kings day was a disorganised mess at tea when many more people than expected showed up. I evnturally left. Shore excursions were as always overpriced with more time spent on the bus than at the activity. The where when which told the daily activities often had errors as did the online Navigator version for use on a cell phone. This free service allowed texting with others on the ship as well as access to the bill and NY Times for free. A nice try, but inaccuracies meant I often missed the start of activities. I really liked Curacao, (where we booked an independent tuk-tuk tour), Hualtuco (with a beach right off the ship and great snorkelling nearby), and Manzanilla, (with a great fresh produce/meat market within walking distance) best. We skipped Nicaragua due to political unrest which was fine. We did SAN Diego, SAN Francisco and Vancouver on our own and had a great time. The docks in these cities were close to local transportation. The gym was great with what appeared to be new equipment, except for mats. Pilates, yoga and cycling classes at $12 each were available but not for my pocketbook. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I liked this itinerary and that's why I chose this cruise. The crew was excellent, as usual, but the HAL ships are falling behind the marketplace. Last year I took six cruise lines in 12 months to check out the state of the art in ... Read More
I liked this itinerary and that's why I chose this cruise. The crew was excellent, as usual, but the HAL ships are falling behind the marketplace. Last year I took six cruise lines in 12 months to check out the state of the art in the industry. Lines cruised were HAL, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Disney, and Carnival. I have also recently cruised on Celebrity. Holland America appeals to the older, Anglo, traveler, personally I would like more age and ethnic diversity. The Zaandam was very similar in this manner with the older Anglo folks. I took one excursion on the ship which departed nearly an hour and a half after the scheduled departure time, thus I lost time to wander in the port area. Entertainment was very mixed in quality on the Zaandam with only 2 being outstanding. The Wifi arrangement is an embarrassment as it's a system that lacks speed, efficiency, and an affordable price. HAL needs to look at Carnival as a model of having a wifi system that is in the 21st century with fast access to social media and even streaming. Quality has noticeably dropped on HAL (I'm a four star) over the years as the lecturers were weak and basically read their power point presentations to us. Where are the dynamic speakers? The dinner meal options were lacking and seem to be going to lesser cuts of meat and seafood. Breakfast meals were good and seem to be about the same as in the past. Being a four star, I probably would sail on the Zaandam again if the itinerary were of interest. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this ship because of the smaller size and weren’t disappointed. Superior service from all departments, everyone was so friendly. Great food! We took advantage of all the dining venues on offer and enjoyed the variety, we found ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the smaller size and weren’t disappointed. Superior service from all departments, everyone was so friendly. Great food! We took advantage of all the dining venues on offer and enjoyed the variety, we found the dining staff always ready and able to accommodate special requests. Room service was speedy and accurate. Love the lemonade in the buffet. Balcony cabin included some extras that were appreciated, like bathrobes, umbrella and binoculars. We used the safe and fridge, and would find it hard to be without them. The South American ports were all new to us, and we found the excursions to be as described, well organized and professionally run. The lemonade or hot chocolate at the gangway on return was a welcome sight. Shopping at the pier was always available with quality merchandise on offer. Disembarkation was organized better than what we have experienced before. We found very little to complain about. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
i needed a short dcruise to be able to go to a family wedding, this was the winner. i did the full 37 day cruise last year and didn't mind the 22 day shorter segment.i am a loyal mariner and find a lack of respect by HAL for these ... Read More
i needed a short dcruise to be able to go to a family wedding, this was the winner. i did the full 37 day cruise last year and didn't mind the 22 day shorter segment.i am a loyal mariner and find a lack of respect by HAL for these people. for the past few years there has never been a mariners cocktail party to meet the crew and captain.i can buy my own drink it's just the thought that they care about loyal mariners.over the years the food in the didning room has become less fine, still okay but too many inexpensive selections on the one page menu. in the past it was 2 pages.the ship is being redone after the winter season, some cabins and public area are showing their age but not terrible looking .the shore excursions were plentiful and expensive for what was received.the description is better than the reality on many of the tours. the entertainment was adequate but not great each night. the dancers and singers, had their first show after almost 9 days.the ship is a perfect size large but not that big as compared to many others.the cabins are adequate and have good clostes and storage space. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The Zaandam lived up to our four star mariner expectations clean, we'll run, great food, no sickness in 38 days, much better entertainment than in the past, the best staff in the world from captain to cabin boy. Good itinery of places ... Read More
The Zaandam lived up to our four star mariner expectations clean, we'll run, great food, no sickness in 38 days, much better entertainment than in the past, the best staff in the world from captain to cabin boy. Good itinery of places that are hard to get to except at great expense making this very good value for money. Sea day activities were lacking especially to those who are regular holland America guest as things such as BBC trivea and films And test kitchen are repeated on a two week schedule. Most ports had inexpensive tours offered on the dock we did one in nearly every port. They were very reasonable safe and proffessionally run. The natural beauty at the tip of South America was well worth the trip. To bird enthusiast this is heaven, so many diff kinds of sea birds it is like a nature cruise. For the first boat of the season the weather was ver good we even had great weather in Stanley the Falklands although to earlier to go to the king penguins as track still to wet for vehicles Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a ... Read More
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a couple of negative reviews of the short repositioning cruise just prior to ours - the one from San Diego to Vancouver. We heard rumours about up coming changes to the Zaandam during its next refit - such as the elimination of a library and changes to the Crow's Nest that we are concerned about, but change is constant in our current world, and we will wait to see if these rumours are true and, most importantly, if we feel they are positive ones or not. Handrie, or dining room steward, was excellent in his attention to our needs during our entire cruise, and our several visits to the Pinnacle Grill reconfirmed what we had experienced on our three Hawaii previous cruises on the Zaandam - the steaks are outstanding. We have never experienced better in our business travels around the world. Great to experience the same captain, Christopher Turner, as last year! Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise for a girls getaway because it was a short cruise and was fairly inexpensive. However, I would have gladly paid more if everything could have been improved. The food in the dining room was, on several occasions, cold. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a girls getaway because it was a short cruise and was fairly inexpensive. However, I would have gladly paid more if everything could have been improved. The food in the dining room was, on several occasions, cold. The service we received was normally very good except for the lobster night when we had a horrible server - Handri - he acted as if we were inconveniencing him. There was only one electrical outlet In our room and every time I plugged my hair dryer, the lights would flicker and go off... a bit of updating wouldn't hurt either when it comes to everything and maybe use a designer that isn't stuck in the 1950s. Also, I normally like it when the ship is at sea as there are usually many, many organized activities available - so many in fact that we have difficulty deciding what to do. That was certainly not the case on the Zaandam. Bingo and trivia about did it for activities. Bingo lasted 15 minutes and trivia maybe 30 minutes. There is a casino onboard as well as a spa however, we were expecting more organized activities. We love cruising due to the diversity on the ships as far as the age of the guests. There were people onboard of all ages however, everything - including the music that was represented as "today's hits" - was targeted toward the guests that were over 70 years old. Last time I checked, "today" means 2017 and not 1917. Dancing in the Crows Nest to today's hits was ridiculous. When we walked in, music from the 1950s was playing. After we pleaded A LOT with the DJ, he finally played something from this century and when he did, the empty dance floor was packed with dancers of all ages. Everyone was laughing and smiling. When he went back to a 1950s song, again, the dance floor was empty. I think there is a lesson to be learned in this. Just because the majority of your guests are over 70 doesn't mean they are dead. THEY WANT TO HAVE FUN JUST LIKE THOSE OF US IN OUR 50s and 60s....and 20s, 30s, and 40s. I know I mentioned the food briefly above but honestly, I overheard more complaints from other guests about the horrible food than I have ever heard about any restaurant let alone a cruise ship. It was as if McDonalds cooks were hired and they were told not to use any herbs and/or spices. Even us old people want to experience excellent tasting food and that certainly didn't happen. Did we get the leftovers from this ship's previous cruises or did someone misplace their cookbook? PUT SOME FLAVOR IN THE FOOD! I have never been disappointed by the food on a cruise until now nor have I ever lost weight on a cruise until now. Weight Watchers could be a future cruising partner as I'm sure the WW members will be thrilled by the weight loss potential as they certainly aren't going to crave anything onboard other than possibly the ice cream. Lastly, the way that we were told to disembark in Victoria was nothing short of an absolute fiasco. Seriously? We were treated like cattle squished into one small hallway which is a far cry from what I expected. The one bright, shinning light on this cruise - and the ONLY positive thing - was because of our room steward, Heri. He was wonderful and everything I expected from a cruise line. He was attentive, available and an all around wonderful representation of what a cabin steward should strive for. Heri was great and I will sincerely miss him. I can only hope that at some point he realizes his potential and moves up the food chain to a much better cruise line and/or ship because he honestly deserves it. Heri was the one gem that we found on this extremely disappointing cruise. There you have it. I hope that at some point someone at Holland America realizes that just because someone's physical age is over 70, doesn't mean they don't want and know how to have fun...they also know what a good meal is and that they didn't get one on the Zaandam. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This is my 3rd Holland America cruise, the first two were also short - but both were great with good food and impeccable service. First I will say that my room steward was STILL amazing; Heri ! Room 3410. Without him this would have ... Read More
This is my 3rd Holland America cruise, the first two were also short - but both were great with good food and impeccable service. First I will say that my room steward was STILL amazing; Heri ! Room 3410. Without him this would have been a total loss. I went with 3 girlfriends a a short fun vacation. Well, all fun that was had - was created by us. It started with cranky front desk people with extremely forced smiles when we first arrived, who also gave us wrong information about buying a drink package. I insisted to my group that we eat in the Rotterdam dining room each dinner to the dismay of my group... and later I had to end up apologizing for my insistence because it was so bad. We ended up calling the rotting ham diner. Nothing was AMAZING. LOTS was bad. Not even one great dessert that I can talk about. Steaks were OK. nothing I couldn't get at Mr. Steak or Dennys. I didnt have the lobster which everyone else did and they all thought it was good. When the lobster was served no butter came with it. Sauces were in VERY stingy supply at EVERY MEAL. We had to ask our waiter Handri (who was not obliging to us in any way- but he was the only waiter who gave us attitude.. the rest were nice. Painfully slow but nice) for the butter- which he had about 3 feet from our table in a large silver dish. He had not even offered us any. So Weird and rude. so then he came and put the button on top of the lobster. NOPE you don't get any to dip!! LOL! The appetizers were so very strange. Absolutely everything had no flavor what so ever. Now I realize that 3/4 of those passengers were over 70 but my gosh! could I have SOMETHING WITH FLAVOR!!! the one and only meal we had that I didn't have to use 1/2 the salt shaker on was the Hamburgers and tacos at the Dive in - which of course closed early every day so you better be quick if you want to eat there. The desserts were all BAD. the flourless chocolate cake was tasty - but it had said it would be a molten chocolate cake - so we were disappointed. Our shock was on the next to last night when we went by the Lido cafeteria after dinner only to see EVERY SINGLE BITE OF OUR DINNER ON THE CAFE LINE!! Why did I go into the dining room and wait at least 1 hour for my food when I could go to the Lido and get everything the exact same there without the attitude in the dining room. That was when we got really mad. The comedian was sad. Maybe with another group it would have been successful but with our audience it was really bad. He was way too young and unmarried and no kids and couldn't relate to the crowd at all. so... Basically he just kind of put us all down . I put that on Holland America. They should match the comedian up with the crowd, FAIL. OK..... the boat was really rocking during his performance and we all got sick.. I will say this is the first time I have ever encountered some snotty drink servers. Mostly in the pool area. BY the last night everything was leftovers in the cafeteria. We took so many choices and found most of it non-edible. Old, hard, stale, cold and of course...flavorless. I spent a lot of time at the spa and loved Liza who did my facials and Joji who I also worked with. I bought some product and didnt buy some others. I never felt pressured by them and they were delightful to deal with. thanks! not nearly enough things going on. oh yeah.. and I played bingo for $35 for 1 game of blackout and the prize was a Holland America Cruise for 2, Guess what I WON!! oh yeah.., then another lady yelled bingo after me and we had a run off of 4 corners and I lost.... Holland America Giveth.. and Holland America taketh away...... That stunk. I was given a $50 credit. wow. That was a low point. Especially the next day at bingo when there were 4 pots from $250 up to $475. each. I really thought a better consolation prize was warranted. Sadly I wont ever sail Holland America again- way too many negatives. Hi-lights - The bathroom products are nice. good shampoo and conditioner and body wash. a tub in the room - that was nice. comfy beds. Great room attendant. Lots of empty areas on the ship for us to go and make our own fun and play games. Loved watching and dancing with the performers in the crows nest. After convincing the DJ to play something other than Donna Summer we had fun up there.(But really what DJ does not have Flo Rida Low ? and Sir Mix a lot???) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's ... Read More
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's strength is still their staff who were as always very friendly and professional, made up of, you guessed it, Phillipinos and Indonesian crew. The ship officers were not quite as friendly or visible. We were happy to discover that Holland America made arrangements to have a Pastor on Board to have an Easter service which quite a number of passengers took part in. Nathan & Cindy of Dallas, Texas also conducted bible studies on board. Most cruise lines do not look after spiritual needs of the passengers or crew. It was wonderful to see the fresh flowers all over the ship as is Holland's theme. The food and entertainment was very good. We enjoyed our Holland cruise once again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
The service was very good and the food was great! Some of the ports were not very nice but it was interesting to see other parts of the world. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff was friendly and well ... Read More
The service was very good and the food was great! Some of the ports were not very nice but it was interesting to see other parts of the world. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff was friendly and well trained.There were great lecturers and also a chaplain for religious services. Shore excursions were well organized and there was a variety of them to choose from. We would definitely go on this cruise again. Really liked the port and sea days being spaced out so well. Would like to have had more time in San Diego, Cabo san Lucas and Victoria, BC. The stops at these ports were not long enough. The weather was great except for the days between San Diego and Victoria. We traveled on the longer cruise of 22 days from Valparaiso (Santiago) to Victoria. Overall the trip was an exceptional balance of city and nature, ports and sea days. :) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
After returning from a Panama Canal on the Maasdam, sorting thru upcoming cruises the 32 day explore South America Passage and Inca Discovery was of great interest. Fortunately for future travelers, the Zaandam is going in to dry dock to ... Read More
After returning from a Panama Canal on the Maasdam, sorting thru upcoming cruises the 32 day explore South America Passage and Inca Discovery was of great interest. Fortunately for future travelers, the Zaandam is going in to dry dock to be rehab in 2018. In the Lido dining the chair cushions show great ware as they are sunken in. There was very little variety of foods from day to day. No specialty nights with native food from the country we were in. Randomly closed parts of each food line thus had to go from side to side to complete a meal. Food became 'same-O-same-O'. Internet very expensive, very slow, basically non functional. On some other cruise ships, internet is free. Waste many of your minutes waiting for it to connect. Entertainment has really gone down hill. No entertainment on the pool deck. Very little variety in the lounge - mostly singing and dancing. Some of the ShipFlicks permanently missing or so scratched they would not play. Returning to America and Clearing Immigration i.e. final disembarkation was an experience of disorganize chaos. This could have been handled much better. It put a big black mark on what to that date had been an excellent relaxing time. Bathrooms definitely need some attention. On the bright side, the Captain's 12 noon briefings were very interesting as were his Q/A meetings with the passengers. The staff was very attentive, nice group of young people. For the fitness bugs, the center is treat. A variety of equipment. The morning stretch class was a huge hit. I attribute this in part to the personality of the instructor. About the deserts. Too good, need I say more! The system for dismissing guests and matching them with their selected excursions was very efficient. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
After having sailed the Mediterranean last year we wanted to explore a part of the world that would be oh so unique. With HAL doing away with the South Pacific cruises of the last 3 years we decided to book this one. Having booked our ... Read More
After having sailed the Mediterranean last year we wanted to explore a part of the world that would be oh so unique. With HAL doing away with the South Pacific cruises of the last 3 years we decided to book this one. Having booked our flight from Vancouver to Buenos Aires through HAL's Flight Ease everything went smooth even the very tight connection in DFW. Sleepy eyed the next morning we arrived on time and made our way to the Baggage claim, where we were met with HAL greeters. Being disabled I was placed in a wheelchair and made it to the exit point of the terminal. Our guide unfortunately left my wife and I behind on the way to bus. When we found out where the bus was it was long gone. I was not impressed. Found another HAL guide outside the terminal to help out and had to wait 30 - 40 mins for the next one. Once on board the bus it didn't take long to get to cruise terminal, but is where the fun began. We were among the first persons here except for the previous bus and were told to sit towards the rear of the terminal away from the in route to ship processing. We were not given a process number but told to wait until we were notified to line up for pre process. Other groups after us we noticed were given number cards and seated adjacent to the processing gate. My wife went over and queried what was going on. She was told by staff that it was for 4 and 5 star priority guests but upon asking one of the people seated there this was their first cruise as well as others my wife again asked what was going on and told the rep that what she her was not correct. After that she went away came back with another rep with processing numbers and started handing them out to our group but after the later arriving guests already had the lower numbers. once we got started it went pretty well. A staff member found me a wheelchair and assisted us through the process, up the elevator and onto the ship. Luckily our cabin was on the Dolphin Deck which was where the embark ramp was. Into our room and then off to the front desk by 1240 pm and then the Dining Room which didn't open until 1 pm. Was seated and recognized dining staff from previous cruises what a reunion. Had a great lunch and some catch up conversation. It didn't take long to find that the food quality has declined with our first dinner in the dining room (Deck 4 open seating). Our initial dining staff didn't seem very motivated to go back to the galley and make things better. The next evening we moved to another table with different waiter and assistant. Oh did we hit the jack pot. Sony and Yoga were absolutely incredible. They made every dining experience after that beyond reproach. Our wine steward was very good as we like our wine and made some great recommendations for wine selections within the wine packages of South America and the HAL wine list . Nelson, our Maitre' D and Syariff the Dining Room Manager treated us so well. Most breakfasts and lunches when applicable were taken in the Lido Market. I met two wonderful Omellet chefs Rona and Micheal(JR), made to order delicious. Varied fresh fruit was mostly available and if you didn't see it don't be afraid to ask. Great salad and sushi bars. Enjoyed the food quality and taste at the Dive In, great burgers and fries with curry ketchup. All the staff were so gracious and helpful. Our cabin seemed so small maybe it was my memory but our room sure seemed small. Didn't like the in cabin safe where you had to use only on shipboard card or credit card etc to operate the safe. Sure made it inconvenient at times. Why not have them same as other ships within a push button code set. Beds seem be have seen better days time for a replace as well as the sofa. TVs are antiquated, terrible resolution and immovable. It would be nice also that every time we are in port that they give the windows a scrub so you can see half ass clearly out of them. Ship's Captain, Chris Turner was excellent thank you for the Cape Horn and El Brujo Glacier experience. His senior staff were very good. All of our cruise directors Mark, Mario and Jordan were very personable and professional. Other persons of note were the Local Location Specialist, Ryan Baird was exceptional. What a wonderful asset to have on board. Also the wonderful lecturers we had on board Dr Stephen Sloan on World Affairs and how these affected the areas we were travelling through and Dr Christofferson on Marine biology of varied Marine species relative to areas we were visiting. Evening stage shows were OK but didn't "wow" us. We miss the HAL Cats, instead we get "The Band" but unfortunately they don't play that often and for a short period of time. Not too lively. As always the Ship's Shore excursions as usual over promise, over charge and under deliver. We did take two with the ship because we couldn't find english speaking guides on private tours. As a rule we check out our own with online help when we can get Wifi on shore for a private tour. If you can find another couple to join you all the better. Four in a group is the most economical. Overall the food could be better, the room as well, but the Staff was incredible especially our dining staff they are in a class of their own. Our cabin staff of Widodo and Bashari thanks guys for all you do, and who could forget the wonderful Front Office staff headed by Rencel Recto, Guest Relations Officer. Captain Turner you were great, hope to sail with you again, before you retire. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
I had wanted to do the South America cruise but was not willing to fly all that distance and back. I loved the length of the cruise and the experience of traversing the entire pacific coast form San Diego south and around Cape Horn. ... Read More
I had wanted to do the South America cruise but was not willing to fly all that distance and back. I loved the length of the cruise and the experience of traversing the entire pacific coast form San Diego south and around Cape Horn. There are always things you can find to complain about if you want. I generally prefer to focus on what is good and then I am happier. There would have been little to complain about on this cruise. The Mexico ports were hot and steamy at this time of year but that was solved by planning swimming and snorkeling outings. Lima was better seen with a hotel room as it was an overnight and was sort of a pain to get into. The Indian Markets were well worth the trip. Much better than anything else similar I saw on the rest of the trip. Embarkation had glitches because of computer problems so there were lines. Activities are not extensive but I don't go on a cruise for those. Most people find plenty to do. I did the HAL beagle channel boat tour and it was wonderful. The Catamaran had loads of nice space with tables inside and lots of deck space outside for taking pictures. Food was of good quality. I have always found HAL food to be of good quality and varied. I got off the ship the night before disembarkation because the flights all go at 9pm and I didn't want to have to kill a day in Buenos Aires and then fly all night. They made it easy to do. About 100 passengers did this. You just need to let them know once you are onboard. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This cruise was given to us from our Son as a Christmas gift. We loved every minute of the cruise and after many, many cruises had nothing but praise for the entire staff. We stayed in Buenos Aires at the Mine Boutique hotel before the ... Read More
This cruise was given to us from our Son as a Christmas gift. We loved every minute of the cruise and after many, many cruises had nothing but praise for the entire staff. We stayed in Buenos Aires at the Mine Boutique hotel before the trip for 3 days and were treated like Royalty there also. Once onboard, the easier ever entry to a ship ever, we were amazed at the luxury of our Vista Suite. Our room stewards were always available to us and most polite. We used room service every morning and the server was excellent. So many activities to choose from onboard. I love to gamble and loved meeting at the casino with new found friends. My husband loved all the lectures and I also loved the cooking shows. We are Catholic and were able to go to Mass almost every day. We did take several shore excursions and the only one we were displeased with was the tour in Costa Rica. We did the Machu Picchu climb and loved every minute of that experience. Cusco was one of the cleanest cities out side of Monte Carlo we have even experienced. The Pinnacle Grill was really nice for dinner alone or with another couple. We were always greeted by name and welcomed back. The dining room gave us the same service. I'd say a "boy named Sue" was over and above in his politeness and in finding us a great table with other great guests. One of the highlights of the cruise for us was the music. We especially enjoyed the versatility of Darlene Carnahan in the Crows Nest and the fun atmosphere of Roy at the Martini Bar. Two of our favorite people on this ship. We never had difficulty in finding a place to sit by the pool. We were on this ship for 58 days all the way to Vancouver, then Hawaii and back to Vancouver, starting in Argentina. I'd go again in a heartbeat!! We are about to leave on Feb 23rd for the cruise on the Volendam out of Hong Kong for 30 days and then back to Hong Kong for 3 days before we board the Cunard Queen Mary 2 for 6 weeks. This is also a gift from our Son. Our Son is the primary owner of the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix Arizona and we are also owners, we pride ourselves on our service and I am particularly fussy about good no I should say excellent service. Only one negative remark. I think supervisors of waitstaff should not be critical of the workers they supervise in front of the passengers. A bad reflection on Holland Americas treatment of employees. I heard one cruiser say they would not return to Holland American because of the way they saw supervisors treating those that were under them in front of guests of the ship. I have to agree with that but then those supervisors need to be trained in their behavior. We love Holland American and will continue to cruise. We like the smaller more intimate ships and how it is easy to get to know people on these ships. Also I must commend you on having a great library at sea. I would love to see a separate room for those who just want to play games where the bridge players cannot boldly chase others out when they have the room for their exclusive use. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My friend & I have cruised on Holland America around 155 days. We found the Zaandam to be updated since our previous voyage on the ship. The rooms, services, meals and activities were all we expected. We enjoyed the Culinary ... Read More
My friend & I have cruised on Holland America around 155 days. We found the Zaandam to be updated since our previous voyage on the ship. The rooms, services, meals and activities were all we expected. We enjoyed the Culinary classes and demonstrations. Especially the hands-on cooking class for $29.95. One of the chefs, Sander, taught us how to make 3 different dishes. Afterwords we went to the Pinnacle for lunch where they served the same menu we had just learned. Lively conversation between classmates as we shared our foodie & cruising adventures. The lunch included your choice of a very nice chardonnay or red wine, which I heard was also good. This cooking class is not advertised, you need to go to the front desk and ask for the "hands-on" cooking class. We did on own tour in Trujillo, Peru of the Moon Temple, Museum, city center, ChanChan, and the reed boats. It was absolutely excellent & much cheaper than HAL ship tours. Air conditioned bus, fluent english speaking guide & we were returned to the ship with time left to shop at the pier. We found out about it on our CC roll call, TRUJILLODELPERU.COM TOURS. We took the ship tour called "Antigua on your own" and hired a local guide for 3 of us at $10/pp. Jerson was working on his english but was still easy to understand. We saw a few of the sites & visited a pharmacy, coffee shop, and had time for some shopping. Jerson helped us with the price negotiations. The only problem with this tour was that there was not enough time in Antigua. The trip took about about 1 1/2 hours each was. I wish the ship had stayed longer in this port. In Callao, we took 2 tours. "Walking around Plaza des Armes" was excellent at $59.95, but did not provide any time on our own for shopping or people watching. The other tour "Shopping in Miraflores" was actually a shuttle at $29.95. The drive took over an hour each way and only allowed 2 hours for shopping in the bazaar area. There was not enough time to visit Lacamar, the shopping center on the cliff, or walk along a beautiful pathways along the tops of the cliffs. I would only recommend it because the port area in Callao is very dangerous for tourists. We were supposed to stop in Coquimbo, Chile, but the port was closed because of the September earthquake and tsunami. HAL rerouted us to a Peruvian port called General San Martin, near a town called Paracas (South of Pisco). HAL provided a free 20 minute shuttle between the ship and Paracas. A lovely little seaside town situated in the middle of a desert. A new friend and I hired a tour for $35 in Paracas of the State Park by quads (4 wheel motorcycles). There was some joking by the locals because of my gray hair and I was much older then their normal clients. We wore helmets and had a great time riding over dunes, enjoying the vastness of this wilderness and visiting the Red beach (playa rioja). Our dinner mates, Mary & Mike and Bur & Jane were delightful. We had late fixed seating and we were often the last to leave the dining room...much to the chagrin of a great waiters. Lastly, we ended our cruise by staying in Valparaiso for 2 nights at Puerta Escondida Hostal. A lovely B&B ran by Andrew & Violetta. The showed us on the maps what to visit, and provided a train card & instructions for the train system to get to Vina del Mar. We hired a local tour company called MyWayChile.com for the 100 mile transfer from our hotel in Valpo to the Santiago Airport. It included stops at 2 wineries for tours and tastings and lunch at a typical Chilean roadside cafe. Pablo, from MyWayChile, arrived at the hotel on time, spoke fluent english and provided a delightful trip. We arrived at the airport 10 minutes earlier than planned and paid about $120pp. Pablo took what was left of our Chilean pesos and we paid the rest by credit card with a receipt. I highly recommend him for any tours around Valparaiso & Santiago, Wine tours, and airport transfers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2009
Out of 7 cruises this was the absolute best. I am not sure why but partly  it was due to the friendliness of the passengers as well as the crew. We stayed in San Diego for a couple of days. Went to the zoo on the hottest day of the year ... Read More
Out of 7 cruises this was the absolute best. I am not sure why but partly  it was due to the friendliness of the passengers as well as the crew. We stayed in San Diego for a couple of days. Went to the zoo on the hottest day of the year but still had fun. Did a dinner cruise in the evening. The hotel shuttle took us everywhere including out to a restaurant and  then picked us up when we were finished. This cruise we had a cabin in D with a window. Most of the people we met were all in the same area.We are fans of anytime dining but Holland America offers both to passengers. Our cabin was clean and comfortable and our stewards took very good care of us. We asked for a fan the first day and that helps keep the air circulating. We met many interesting people from different countries and enjoyed their company. Formed a group of six called Oliver Twist and played mega trivia every day. Lots of good competition and lively games. Our son had written to Holland America saying it was Bills 70th birthday, he had worked on a P and O line as a young man and would be honored to sit at the captains table. This actually happened and was a great evening. Bill is from Scotland and purchased a full kilt outfit to wear for the formal nights. Whenever he wore the kilt people would smile at us. Hawaii was better this time than the first time because of the tours we booked. We saw much more and my absolute favorite was the hollywood tour in Narwilliwilli. It is overpriced but for a movie buff great. Next year we plan to do the same trip but Vancouver to Vancouver. I just want to say to Jim our cruise critic leader that he did an excellent job in the singing contest and to me should have won.I guess I cannot say enough positives about everyone involved. Michael the cruise director was great directing the activities as was Laura the party planner from Ottawa. We found the ship in good shape. The entertainment did not draw us to the shows but the Adagio quartet in the lounge was great.Disembarkation was so smooth we were off the ship and at the airport before we knew it. It is almost a week later and we still feel the glow of the trip. Thanks Captain de Boer and all of your staff Bill and Sandy Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2009
ZAANDAM San Diego, Hawaii, Vancouver Cabin category D Staff: Captain: Sybe de Boer Cruise Director: Michael Headla Arrived at the ship terminal at 12:15 am, even as there was lots of people, embarkation was a breeze. Went to the Lido ... Read More
ZAANDAM San Diego, Hawaii, Vancouver Cabin category D Staff: Captain: Sybe de Boer Cruise Director: Michael Headla Arrived at the ship terminal at 12:15 am, even as there was lots of people, embarkation was a breeze. Went to the Lido restaurant for lunch, it was very crowdy, we had to wait for a table, that was ok, we were on vacation. ROOM: Ready by 1.30 pm. We were delighted with our mid-ship ocean view room, plenty of room, storage space and washroom space. . First day spent roaming around the ship so we could get our bearings, which we got fairly quickly except for the 4th floor, which is not a walk-through floor. Our baggage arrived around 3.00. Then, time for the emergency drill, which is quite comprehensive on HAL and lasted close to 30 minutes. One Lady in the back row almost fainted as it was very warm and we were well 'squeezed'. Diner was very casual that night, there was only one show to introduce the Zaandam singers and dancers. On our first formal evening, the Captain welcomed us in the theatre, introduced some of his senior staff and explained what they were responsible for. I also enjoyed the Captain's introduction to his Zaandam employee of the month which, this time, was a staff member from the engineering room. A nice way to show your appreciation for a job well done. One activity we really enjoyed was Michael (cruise director) 9.00-am coffee chat with either staff or entertainers on board. The guest would answer candidly any questions we had and would even stay behind to talk one on one with anyone who had further questions and did not want to ask out loud. We particularly enjoyed the senior staff availability and willingness to talk to the passengers and answer their questions. We could also see them thoughout the ship, performing their duties or simply having lunch on the Lido deck. Every crew and senior staff we spoke to, were happy to be on this ship. Every day we were at sea the captain made announcements around 1.00 pm to inform us where we were situated, how many miles we had done, how many miles left to our first port, as well as some navigational and weather related information. FOOD: Food was very important to me; not the quantity but the quality. I would usually have breakfast on the Lido deck, fruits cottage cheese would be my usual, hubby would have hot or cold as he pleased, he enjoyed the freshly made omelettes. Lunch would often be a salad, which we had either on the Lido deck or in the dining room, which then was open seating with excellent service. Try the cold strawberry soup, to dye for. We found diner to be well varied and tasty. Meat was always cooked perfectly. We enjoyed beef Wellington, rack of lamb, veal medallion, quails, chicken, fresh fish and of course lobster. High priced items were used sparingly, I would have like more mushrooms in my mushroom risotto or more strawberries on my pavlova (which was hard). Green vegetables were cooked in over salted water (IMO). Soups were always great. I am not a dessert person, so sometimes found them too sweet for my taste. We went to the Pinnacle Grill for the sommelier's wine pairing diner, it was very well done and delicious. ENTERTAINMENT: Zaandam singers and dancers (sorry the lead singer got injured, had to revert to backup singers), a comedian/violist (great), a singer/comedian (Great), ventriculist (great), singer (great), Banjo player (not my cup of tea but others enjoyed him), another comedian (also great, I like to laugh), Magician (not so great), BBQ and music on the Lido deck, (very well done). Movies were also available daily in the culinary art centre. We were fortunate to have a group of square dancing passengers who practice every sea day to the enjoyment of many other passengers. ACTIVITIES: Activities under the direction of Michael (CD). They were varied and numerous. Digital workshop, photo workshop, movie workshop and how to create your web page with Patricia (which was absolutely great, she made things very easy to understand) culinary demonstration and trivia with Laura, Games: Golf and Ping Pong challenges. Bingo, Bridge, Trivia, Karaoke, Dance classes. SPA/GYM. The Gym was well equipped which a number of popular machines, treadmills and weights. They offered fitness classes and yoga classes for a fee. Spa seminars were a sales pitch for very expensive SPA treatments, which they offered only after you signed a release form. MEDICAL: The medical staff was fairly busy on this cruise, at least 5 passengers needed to be evacuated and other passengers needed minor medical assistance. The medical staff along with support staff provided very professional and caring assistance. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, the sea was exceptionally calm, the staff was always smiling, courteous and willing to engage in chit-chats. We took advantage of a future cruise offering, This is adictive.     Read Less
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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