My wife and I both active seniors were extremely disappointed with the ship and many aspects of the cruise. In our opinion Holland America is no longer a "Premium" line and should cease advertising itself as one!
The cruise was my seventh on HAL and will likely be my last on this line!
The ship is in very poor condition, generally dirty, carpets threadbare and badly stained in places. Our stateroom suffered at various time during the voyage from, no heat, no water, no hot water, no toilet, unserviceable DVD player and at times a very bad sewage smell. Bed linen was was worn and at times stained. The whole ship badly needs a refit which apparently is scheduled for October of this year.
Our cabin stewards were excellent and made every effort to please and to ensure our comfort. The Indonesian crew members continue to be HAL's best asset.
The deck chairs and chez lounges were very dirty and during the whole time aboard the Zaandam I did not anyone cleaning them. The chairs were carefully stacked and secured each night but never cleaned!
The food on the ship was at best mediocre. It appears that the food budget continues to be reduced for we sailed last year on the Rotterdam with the same Executive Chef and enjoyed excellent food. Food in the Dining Room was often received cold and the service sometimes good and sometimes poor. I understand that the staff levels had been reduced which might explain the sometimes poor service. The menu was repeated on the second segment of the voyage and became repetitive. The choice of fruit and vegetables was limited, green beans were served night after night!
Food handling in the Lido Restaurant should be improved. I saw a number of times under cooked and bloody beef being cut on the same board as chicken and pork and with the same knife.
Entertainment was generally of a poor standard in our opinion. I was disappointed to find that there were no educational lectures provided on this cruise, no doubt another cost cutting measure. Too bad really, for we were sailing in an area rich in history and culture. The offered enrichment of "How to decorate your HAL tote bag" and similar was hardly a substitute.
The Shore Excursion Department left a lot to be desired. There seemed to be a total lack of organisation and information on the ports visited was lacking in useful detail. The tours we took we found to be overly expensive for what was offered. There was one exception however,the Orchid Sheraton Hotel in Bangkok
provided the best meal of whole cruise!
The very limited 'Happy Hour", in one bar, for one hour, at between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm now charges one dollar for the second drink, nothing appears to be sacred at HAL!
Towards to end of the cruise the Captain wrote a letter to each passenger advising that an extra charge of $11.31 would be added to the bill to offset "revisions in government fees and taxes". Front Office staff appeared either unable or unwilling to explain which government increased their charges or how the charge was calculated.
Overall, an interesting itinerary but a disappointing cruise experience.
I think the Zaandam should be avoided, at least until the refit is completed.