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Zaandam Cruise Review by CatB

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Zaandam
Zaandam
Member Name: CatB
Cruise Date: December 2012
Embarkation: San Diego
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Cabin Category: DA
Cabin Number: 2575
Booking Method: Internet Agency
See More About: Zaandam Cruise Reviews | Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews | Holland America Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 4.0
Entertainment 5.0
Spa & Fitness 3.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 4.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates 3.0
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Ship Facts: Zaandam Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Zaandam Deck Plans
Solo Cruiser/First Cruise
I was uncertain as to what to expect of a cruise, but given the cost as a solo traveller, I expected some luxury, fine dining and excellent service. I wasn't disappointed.

True, the new reservation system for the main dining room was confusing people,including the booking staff, but I was able to take it in stride. I had been advised at least twice to reserve my table in advance(I had opted for open seating at a table for two-no sharing), and as I have dietary allergies I was keen to have that clarified with the kitchen, too. Admittedly, there were a couple of glitches but recovery and compensation by the staff were immediate and gracious.

Of course, people were curious, and some openly sad, that I was travelling alone, but I explained that it was my choice and that I was thoroughly enjoying my own company. I did accept once or twice the kind offers to join others for dinner or dessert, but most often I declined the invitations. The wait staff were most attentive and kind. The Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants were well worth the extra cost.

The only complaint I have is about the spa. I had a wonderful massage on the second day at sea and no complaint about that experience. My manicure was another thing altogether...not recommended. The spa seemed disorganized and the nail salon was poorly equipped with questionable hygiene standards.


The horseback riding excursion in Pt Vallarta on Christmas Day was fabulous. The sailing and snorkelling excursion in Cabo was fun, but the water was too cold to stay in for long and it was clear that someone had been feeding the fish in order to have them congregate in the area we were told to snorkel. Small things in the larger context.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this cruise so much that I have booked another cruise with HAL for June and am taking my daughter and her husband along for the ride! Thus far, I am sold on HAL and reluctant to try another cruise line for fear they won't live up to my newly formed expectations. I'll post a review of the Mediterranean trip post-cruise.

Happy cruising.

Publication Date: 01/25/13
Read the Mexican Riviera ports review by CatB
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