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21 Holland America Hawaii Cruise Reviews

Our ninth cruise first with holland america,cruised mainly celebrity and one cunard. The ship was consistantly cold rattled and vibrated non stop for the whole 3 weeks. First time i have had seasickness. 1 port in hawaii was cancelled ... Read More
Our ninth cruise first with holland america,cruised mainly celebrity and one cunard. The ship was consistantly cold rattled and vibrated non stop for the whole 3 weeks. First time i have had seasickness. 1 port in hawaii was cancelled due to weather, but 2 were cancelled in ensenada and victoria for maintenance ,trouble with an azipod ,was that why the ship continually vibrated. Only attended one enrichment lecture ghis was poorly presented with lighting on stage and poor speaker. Entertainment was badly lacking walking into bars at night about 9pm was like the marie celeste , there was o nly bartenders around. Billboard piano players were awful bland boring excrutiati g to listen to. Bb king club was lively music better but this was the same act every night for 20 days if you didnt like blues /motown you were unlucky. Lincoln centre was enjoyable if they were playing music you like but they had to cater for all the ship and was set up like a concert except it was open to one of the corridors and people talki g walking past. Mainstage had a few good acts( outstanding was benjamin makisi) ,if you were stood/ sat at back there was a lot of noise from billboard pianists though i supposd you got two concerts at same time. There was not a lot of dressing up even on gala nights a lot of guests looked scruffy. . Food was good , in main di ing room and lido buffet,wine choice on signature package was barely drinkable. I would not sail on the eurodam again even if i was offered it free. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First time sailing with so many sea days. Little to nothing was planned as entertainment for days at sea. Fitness center was excellent. Hawaii was great, the excursions were awesome, whale watching and copter over the big island was ... Read More
First time sailing with so many sea days. Little to nothing was planned as entertainment for days at sea. Fitness center was excellent. Hawaii was great, the excursions were awesome, whale watching and copter over the big island was great. Food was good, but portions were small and seconds cost $10. Beef Wellington came and I got the tip of the filet, smaller than a meatball. For dessert ordered ice cream, dish came and appeared to have scooped with a melon baller. New York Pizza had no prices, paid $28 for cardboard and ketchup. No on ship singers and dancers, report was they were cut to save money. One evening the entertainment was a movie you could see on BBC America. Room steward for good, if not a little over eager. Came several times at 6:00 PM for nighttime turn down when I was dressing for dinner. For the money, traveling as a single, I expected more and got less. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We've been on HAL before and we never had any issues. We chose this cruise as we have always enjoyed sea days, we like Hawaii and it was very easy for us as we departed and returned via our home port. The positives: Professional ... Read More
We've been on HAL before and we never had any issues. We chose this cruise as we have always enjoyed sea days, we like Hawaii and it was very easy for us as we departed and returned via our home port. The positives: Professional and helpful crew, including check-in personnel. Attractive public spaces including the main dining room, the theatre and the bars. The negatives: Cabin. Our cabin was a spa suite. The online description indicated a larger space. It was larger but otherwise, terrible. The furniture was worn out and frayed. The carpet had several large stains. The bathroom was the smallest we’ve ever had on our past 20 cruises (with various cruise companies). A tiny bathroom with one sink in a ‘suite,’ seriously? There was a large empty wall with four holes that were covered with tape. (We were told by our attendant that the space used to have a TV; when the TV was removed the holes were not patched.) The WORST part of the suite was that the very small balcony had a metal wall; you could only see the sea when you were standing. If you sat in one of the two chairs you were staring at a metal wall! HAL should have warned us when we booked this suite. Dining. The quality of the food was hit and miss. Some very good and some, yuk. When one of the four of us didn’t like a dish we were not asked by a waiter if we would like something else. One time we asked for another entrée and we were politely told that there would be a $10 charge for an additional entree! The waiter was not trying to scam us; that was on the bottom of the menu in small print. NEVER heard of paying for a second entrée on any other ship. I want to point out that the servers were very nice but it seemed like they were overworked; we could hardly get any assistance once our food was served. As an example, when I ordered hot tea I got the cup and the tea bag but could not find anyone to bring me hot water—this happened two evenings. In the buffet they were featuring seafood one day; we went to get some shrimp and the attendant would only give each of us six shrimp. If we wanted more we’d have to get back in the one long line. The Retreat. We decided to rent a cabana for the 17 days so that we could have a nice outdoor place to get away from the crowds. It was lovely and the service by the staff in the Retreat was very good. However, the maintenance and smells from that were over and over. After the third day of workers sanding, scraping, varnishing, etc. in the Retreat area we complained to guest services. We were assured that the workers would not be in our area again. WRONG. Two days later a worker was applying some type of sealant (identified by a ship’s officer) in the cabana next to us. No warning! All of us had to leave. Then on the next to the last day the cleaning crew was working on the deck immediately above the Retreat area and we got sprayed a few times by their water hose. Retribution? Who knows? Entertainment. On every cruise we’ve been on (same size ships) there has been some type of production show. Not on the Eurodam. One light show with dancers was very good. Otherwise really poor. For example; one show was animal video clips, ones we had seen at home on National Geographic, set to music. What? Showing stuff we’ve seen for free at home on our TV. That’s entertainment? I will say that a couple of singular entertainers were good; otherwise very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Due to poor weather conditions the cruise missed 3 ports (Maui, Kona, Kuai) and left us onboard with no planned activities. No special rewards for our disappointment. The cabin was nice and the ship clean but due to the fact we were ... Read More
Due to poor weather conditions the cruise missed 3 ports (Maui, Kona, Kuai) and left us onboard with no planned activities. No special rewards for our disappointment. The cabin was nice and the ship clean but due to the fact we were stuck onboard there was a lot of sickness and coughing. We made port in Honolulu but were there for 2 days. The service and food were very good but the entertainment was ok and the shows were only 45 minutes in length. Our shore excursions had to be canceled due to the fact that we never made it into the 3 (in my opinion) more important ports. The cruise line offerer a small refund of $100.00 per person for our trouble and disappointment. I would also recommend travel insurance for cases like this. The medical staff was good but the charges were extreme. We would NEVER sail for that long on open water with no ports for that long. Disembarking was chaotic and a possible dangerous situation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Ship is beautiful and room lovely. BUT WE WILL NO LONGER SAIL ON HAL. As 4 star mariner we always chose to sail Holland because of ports, dancing in Ocean bar and Crows nest during happy hour and before and after the show Loved the ... Read More
Ship is beautiful and room lovely. BUT WE WILL NO LONGER SAIL ON HAL. As 4 star mariner we always chose to sail Holland because of ports, dancing in Ocean bar and Crows nest during happy hour and before and after the show Loved the wonderful shows and lots activities. There were dance lessons, keroke, games, lectures and more. BuT IT NOT NOW. Just finished an 18 day cruise. Lectures still great. Shows barely average and only 2 nights with the singers and dancers. We had 4 nights of old movies (on sea days). We can watch movies in our room or at home. No real activities except trivia. or you could learn to make a grilled cheese sandwich, or in digital learn to make a cup for fee. No live music on lidocaine or aft on sail away. Beautiful music in Lincoln center, but during dinner or late. Two night clubs with music for younger people (remember HAL dialers are generally 70 years and up . And music in clubs started at 8: 30. And it was Loud. Couldn't get mini bar filled even after calling several times a day. If you like jumbo prawns in main dining room, sorry not there. So the tips were up to $15 per person We will be looking for another cruise line. P.S. sent note toTAL and no response Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My wife and I have been HAL mariners for 9 years, taking an average of two cruises per year. For the last 3 years we have noticed a steep decline in overall service and are seriously considering cutting all ties with HAL. Our last ... Read More
My wife and I have been HAL mariners for 9 years, taking an average of two cruises per year. For the last 3 years we have noticed a steep decline in overall service and are seriously considering cutting all ties with HAL. Our last cruise to Hawaii on the Eurodam, was a final confirmation of declining service. The entertainment such as the country kitchen, had only a half dozen new shows for a sixteen day cruise and most of those days were at sea. This means repeating the same shows multiple times. The food in the Lido was boring and repetitive with few quality dishes being served, while the stations serving pasta and breakfast specialties were manned by improperly trained staff and resulted in long lines and waiting times. The majority of the staff continue to be friendly and helpful, but it is apparent that they are understaffed and overworked. I have never questioned the daily gratuities until now. I now believe that the gratuities are too high for the services rendered. I have contacted HAL after each cruise and shared my concerns but they do not respond in any way. They seem to be pinching pennies by reducing the quality of the service provided to their customers and hiring fewer staff. Their idea of improving your experience is to hire Oprah Winfrey and cut incentives such as payed gratuities. This is a corporate move because we have been on multiple ships and our experience was the same on each ship. I will no longer recommend HAL to anyone and have already canceled our cruise that we had booked for February 2019. Even our relationship with our booking agent at HAL, who we have dealt with since day one and consider a friend, has suffered. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This ship is a wreck! (bad pun) Seriously, the cabin air conditioning is basically not functioning. While in the port in San Diego (embarkation port), we could not get our assigned cabin cooled below 78 degrees. Knowing we were headed ... Read More
This ship is a wreck! (bad pun) Seriously, the cabin air conditioning is basically not functioning. While in the port in San Diego (embarkation port), we could not get our assigned cabin cooled below 78 degrees. Knowing we were headed for the equator and much hotter climates, we complained that it was not acceptable. In fairness, they did move us to a cooler cabin, but when we got to the South Pacific areas, even this cabin would not cool below 74 degrees, even with the drapes closed and most of the lights out. Most cabins received fans to help blow hot air around. The carpets, drapes, and loveseat were all dirty and gross. The loveseat was broken down in the middle. The bathtub and sink all had dirty cracks in them. Food was generally bad, with a few really good meals. America's Test Kitchen presentations were great, but they only had presentations for half the length of the cruise. I will not take a Holland America cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our 4th HAL cruise and about our 40th cruise overall. We have been fortunate to have done of the worlds best cruises itineraries all over the world. We started cruising in our 40s and have done as many as two a year. For reference ... Read More
This was our 4th HAL cruise and about our 40th cruise overall. We have been fortunate to have done of the worlds best cruises itineraries all over the world. We started cruising in our 40s and have done as many as two a year. For reference most of our cruises have been on Celebrity, but our more recent cruises on Azamara (4), Celebrity (2), Oceania (1) HAL (2) and Crystal (1).. This last cruise was the 18 day San Diego - Hawaii departing in January 2018. Overall this cruise was a major disappointment and joined the unenviable list of the other (1) cruise when i could not wait to exit the gangway and go home. Only our 3 week trip on the QEII (2006) was worse taken the year before it was decommissioned and Cunard's maintenance had stopped completely and the crew was ready to split. Overall headlines of my review - HAL manages to the dollar not to customer satisfaction. Every aspect of the cruise had been subject to clear value engineering to provide the minimum possible - While most visible areas (save one) were well maintained, cabin decks showed serious neglect and were shabby and under-maintained. - Staff were courteous but had minimal training and management - Chef clearly had no interest in how food tasted Ship The ship info claimed that it had been refit in 2016. Its clear that that is meant to mean "some areas". Main areas looked fairly fresh and some very fresh, but it was also easy to find ripped carpets on stairs, major dings, scrapes and significant and visible defacement in elevators. My sleeping deck was dingy, had marred up walls and stained carpets. Major odors were present and attendants continually spayed deodorizer. The ship was full and apparently with the additions of more cabins always felt crowded. The most obvious and in your face issue was the condition of the exterior deck chairs. Decrepit, stained, torn and broken..... any Hotel Manager or Ship Captain who saw this should have been ashamed. Ratty, torn, broken dirty. No self respecting Holiday Inn would have put these out. So dirty we had to cover them with towels. Disgusting. Cabin Our cabin 1007 was on the Main deck. The room was satisfactory. Bedding was of good quality and we slept well, room was quiet. Entertainment system featured many very good moves (free) and was well past expectation (a blessing on this cruise). Walls were dirty in some places and appeared to need heavy scrubbing. Water in sink would often run only hot (scalding) from the COLD water side? Metal baseboard trip near bed was missing and sharp edge cut my wife's foot. Dining Lido and main dining room food was 75% tasteless and ranged from horrible to good (on occasion). Lido lunch was repetitive and tasteless. Pizza was below the level of frozen from the Safeway. Highlights were fresh made omelettes were great and Dive in burgers were very good. Dining room served me a piece of prime (?) rib that was perhaps the worst piece of meat I had ever encountered. It was not cut-able and looked like something that should have become hamburger. Any food service professional should have deemed this best for the trash can. Highlight was dinner at the extra cost Italian restaurant where the food was very good to terrific. It is well worth the modest fee of $15 (discounted for loyalty classes). Really good and competitive with more expensive cruise lines. We did not try Pinnacle as the $35 surcharge was too high for my expectations of value. Mixed drinks were measured to the drop and I judged them as a poor value. Beers at about $7 ++ are over priced. We found that their supply of keg beer was never delivered at the onset of the cruise (hard to believe) so advertised draft been was unavailable. Likewise 20% of the wine choices in the mid-level wine package were unavailable even at the onset. Entertaiment Main stage was fine, but had many seats with impaired visibility (posts). Only some seats had a table if you buy a drink or bring one. Dance shows were very good quality and I applaud HAL for not doing yet another "salute to Broadway". Very enjoyable. Other entertainment was bad to good. Comedian doing simplistic and worn fat cruise ship jokes and grade school puns got me heading out the door. Another asking "have you ever seen someone make a dog out of balloon" left me also running for the door. Variety pianist was talented and entertaining as was the Sax player. Enrichment speaker was presenting a standard presentation and was not an expert. She simply learned a presentation. Highlights were the Lincoln Center stings which put on superb classical and popular concerts curated for HAL. This was terrific quality. however the room was uncomfortable and always crowded. Passengers sometimes came in an hour early and slept in the chairs to hold seats. Chairs were uncomfortable at best. It seemed at odds with all the minimal things HAL put forward on this ship to see something of such over the top quality. Kudos to HAL for getting something very, very right. Cruise Director was amateur level and added no value. Service HAL's people displayed good attitudes and were always friendly. Find a good waiter in the DR and you will get good service for a cruise at this price point, but quality varies greatly. Maitre D's were very good, learned our names and tried to get us to the waiter we preferred. Generally though service staff for meals had minimal skills and training. Dishes often not collected, had to beg for coffee and many times we would see them chatting with their peers and not working. On more than one occasion I was given morning OJ that had clearly set out for a very long time and was room temperature. What are they thinking? Ports and Shore excursions Hawaiian ports were routine. Major problems occurred at Lahaina on Maui where the re boarding of the ship via tender took nearly 1 1/2 hours. We heard via rumor that it was due to the local Harbor Master but the ship never explained nor did they take the opportunity to set any expectation before we boarded the tenders to go ashore that the re-boading was going to be problematic due to local procedures. HAL is not a premium or luxury line and had no expectations that it was. But the obvious cost cutting, deferred maintenance and fair service were below their advertised value proposition. This will be my last cruise on Holland America. You can get more for the money from Celebrity and probably several others. This is the last HAL for me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We wanted a cruise that left on our anniversary, bonus that it left from our home city & returned to same. Plus who can turn down a trip to Hawaii. The service was great, our room stewards were awesome. However, the food was ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that left on our anniversary, bonus that it left from our home city & returned to same. Plus who can turn down a trip to Hawaii. The service was great, our room stewards were awesome. However, the food was atrocious. 90% of the time, I left most of my meal on the plate. The meat was always over-cooked & dried out. (Except for the Tamarind, the steak there was cooked to perfection.) They seriously need some new cooks, new menus. And the in-room dining menu needs far more options. My biggest peeve with them was that we paid for our cruise by the due date, and then the price dropped by nearly $3000. No offer of a refund from HAL. They did give us about 1/3 in ship board credits and we ended up with a larger suite only because I pestered them about it. I'm wondering how many other guests over paid and didn't know that they had. All in all, I've cruised twice with HAL and was less then impressed both times. It's back to Celebrity Cruises for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date April 2017
My wife and I have been cruising for 20 years, and this was our first sailing with Holland America. We have sailed with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, and Oceania, enjoying 266 days at sea. After sailing on the Maasdam ... Read More
My wife and I have been cruising for 20 years, and this was our first sailing with Holland America. We have sailed with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, and Oceania, enjoying 266 days at sea. After sailing on the Maasdam for a 33 day south pacific cruise we Won't use Holland America again. The major concern of mine was the lack of service, lack of maintenance, and little concern for our safety. No matter what the positive reviews in the past say, the ship is not a luxury ship. Deferred maintenance and a crew cut down to the absolute minimum, has helped the Maasdam age beyond its years. The most important part of this review is about safety. I have never seen such a lack of concern for safety on any other ship. The muster station drill was held outside on deck six under our life boat. This drill was held dock side along side the port. With the noise of equipment working below, the safety team tried to communicate the safety drill with bull horns under each life boat. I could not hear half of the instructions because of competing noise. Life jackets were left in the cabins, and we were told that in case of an emergency, we would go to our cabins, and there we would be told how to use them?? How in the world is that going to work in an emergency? At least I have had proper instructions on other ships about the life vest. I'm sure other first time guests had no clue how to properly user it. The safety issues continued during our first tendering port in Lahaina, HI. where it took FOUR hours for us to make it ashore. One of the four Maasdam tenders (lifeboat) was not operational and was stowed back aboard. This left three tenders to bring people to shore. The condition of the remaining life boats were not up to the standards I have seen on other ships. The life boats smoked with large plums of blue smoke, had plastic windows that you could not see through, damaged hand grab rails you could not use to enter the boat ,peeling paint on the outside. The under staffed life boat team could not keep up. The Captain finally hired private boats from shore to help with the Maasdam's failing life boats. He also added help from the undertrained buffet staff to help with the tender operation. This continued for the many remaining tendering ports . Not a good thing if you needed the life boats at sea. It gets better, the Maasdam lost power 1000 miles south of Hawaii and was drifting motionless for about an hour, using the side thrusters to steer the ship. At that time I kept thinking, how is that going to work with the life boat problem! The last straw for me was on the last week returning to San Diego, when the inner door to my muster station on deck 6 forward was TIED closed with a large rope for a repair of the outer door. The outer door to my life boat was totally removed, and the inner door held closed with rope and heavy sand bags so no one could use it! How in hell was I to get to my muster station in an emergency! There should have been someone stationed at that door in case it needed to be opened: short staff again. I have NEVER seen an emergency exit door tied closed. SHOCKING. I guess saving money is more important to Holland America Line than safety. The crew on the Maasdam were the saving grace of this cruise. Always quick to smile and help, but again woefully under staffed. Six waiters in the entire buffet working like mad trying to wait tables , serve coffee, and clean dirty dishes off tables. An impossible task that left dirty dishes piled up on tables and overflowing dirty dish bus stations. Daily I was trying to find a clean table. HAL is taking advantage of its help , and not in a good way.It was worse around the rear pool and the Lido terrace with only ONE person to clean up dirty dishes , clean the area around the pool side deck chairs including removing and replacing the used towels. The wood floor at the poolside terrace was stained with food/grease below the outside tables. The bases of those tables were filthy, covered with old food/dirt. That area of the buffet had not been cleaned in a long time. Again dirty dishes piled three levels high at the table busing station. The lack of care was every where. Water leaking on the food from the ceiling of the buffet, wet carpets around the ship constantly being dried out with numerous electric fans. People were constantly complaining about the AC not working in their cabins, the smell of diesel fumes so bad in some cabins on deck 4 and 5, the door was left open with a fan running to clear the smell. People were leaving the ship early in Bora Bora, because of nonworking AC , and the high temperatures in their cabins. I wish there were more honest reviews of this ship on this board. It is obvious some people are loyal to HAL no matter how bad it gets. Save your hard earned money for a cruise line that cares about your safety , not about saving money at yours; and the crews expense. Imagine opening the lid to the toilet in your room seeing the Holland America logo floating on the water close the lid...Push the button! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
On March 4, 2017, my wife and I disembarked from an 18 Day round trip cruise from San Diego, CA. to Hawaii aboard the Holland America cruise ship ms Westerdam. First let me tell you what we liked about our journey, because I also ... Read More
On March 4, 2017, my wife and I disembarked from an 18 Day round trip cruise from San Diego, CA. to Hawaii aboard the Holland America cruise ship ms Westerdam. First let me tell you what we liked about our journey, because I also want to let you know what we DID NOT like, and why we were very disappointed in this overall cruise experience. The 2 young men, Rozi and Nana, that took care of our cabin were outstanding and treated us with respect and made us feel like VIPs. The Cruise Director Simon and his Assistant Taylor were also outstanding. They genuinely enjoyed their position, and worked very hard at entertaining the passengers. The nightly shows were very entertaining, especially Viviana Guzman and Rob Watson. Our dining room waiter, Riris, was very professional, and accommodating to all of our wants and needs. We booked our cruise through CostCo Travel. We had originally booked a Balcony Stateroom, Stateroom Room # 5076. During the time we first made our reservations on March 18, 2016, until January 11, 2017 my wife’s medical conditions deteriorated to the point where she now required a Mobility Scooter. We contacted CostCo Travel to inquire about getting a handicap room large enough to accommodate the Mobility Scooter . Unfortunately, NO handicap rooms were available. We had CostoCo Travel further inquire if there was someplace other than in our room to park the scooter since there was not sufficient room in our cabin to park it. At this point we were told NO, and the only option was for a larger stateroom. When I inquired about the upgrade, I was told it would cost an additional $ 3760.00. At first I declined, thinking I would just have to dismantle the scooter to store it in the room every night. The scooter comes apart into 5 pieces. I really didn’t think the additional cost was a good value for the little extra space provided, however my wife convinced me to upgrade to the Signature suite. So Now we are aboard the ship in a $10,767.66 Signature Suite # 8058 with a scooter. On our way to our cabin after the Vista Lounge show, and what do we see. Two scooters parked in the forward elevator area. We were told that there were NO areas where we could park a scooter outside of our cabin, yet here are 2 scooters, and we paid an additional $3,760.66 for a larger room for us to park our scooter inside the cabin. I was very disappointed with the service in the Lido Market. I was hoping to get some assistance with getting food for my handicapped wife. Why aren’t trays available for people to use to pick up their food in one trip instead of having to make several trips through the lines to get ones food? Not once did I receive assistance carrying several plates for me and my wife to the table. The Lido Waiters seemed more interested in filling glasses with tea and lemonade than assisting folks. I believe there was an exceptional number of a folk with handicaps on board this cruise. We chose this cruise because we live in San Diego, therefore No Airports, and NO Airplane travel required. We didn't realize it was a Senior Cruise until we got on board and got a look at the other guests. Not a problem, we are 75 years old. If I had to guess the average age of the guests on board this cruise, I would say it was 77. Breakfast: For 18 days, there was “LUMPY” and “WATERY” oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits. I’m not a cook, but it quit apparent what was going on. Whoever was making these items was doing it backward. You do NOT pour the hot water into the pot of dry oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits, but you stir the oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits into the pot of HOT water to prevent Lumps. Because the dry ingredients did NOT absorb the liquid properly, the mixture was watery. We don’t eat eggs every day for breakfast at home, so we applied the same rule to the cruise. The days I ordered an omelet, I received what looked more like a scrambled eggs. When the cook went to flip the omelet it just fell apart. I don’t know what they mixed into the omelet batter, but it was obvious there was something in there besides just eggs. The egg batter looked clabbered, and also tasted strange. Lunch: We are soup for lunch people so we were looking forward to a nice tasty bowl of soup during the cruise. I don’t know if the cook thought he was making GOURMET soups, but his concoctions were terrible. You don’t mess with Chicken Noodle Soup, it does NOT NEED anything added to it, just serve tasty chicken noodle soup. The same goes for chicken with wild rice. Beef barley if done right doesn’t need anything else added. The worst was the “Navy Bean Soup” Why would anyone puree all the beans and call it soup. On the other side Broccoli soup taste much better as Broccoli-Cheese soup. Pureed broccoli in a cream base is BLAH! Diner: If you are going to serve fish, you need to have a cook that knows how to cook fish. Over cooked fish is unacceptable. The salmon, mahi mahi and other fish that were served were over cooked and dried out. The Mexican Food served on the Friday we docked in Mexico was SO BAD, I couldn’t believe it was being served. You would have been better off going to CostCo and purchased their ready made burritos and enchiladas heated them up and served them. I have to question the ability of the cooks you hire. I have lived in San Diego for over 50 years, so Mexican Food is something we have frequently. The Chicken Marsala I ordered that was on the menu in the main dining was very disappointing. Chicken Marsala is already a tasty gourmet dish, and should not have anything added to it. The dried cranberries that were in the dish I was served diluted the flavor of the Marsala sautéed mushrooms. If the cooks do not know how to cook, they need to at least try following a recipe. Due to the taste and quality of the food served on this cruise, it created problems for my diabetic wife. She had a difficult time finding things to satisfy her TASTE and maintain her blood sugar levels. I sincerely hope someone looks into these matters and does something to correct them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My wife and I (a senior couple) chose a back-to-back on the Westerdam in January to Mexico and Hawaii to try to get away from the cold, wind, and rain of a Victoria January. We had sailed once before with the line, on the old ... Read More
My wife and I (a senior couple) chose a back-to-back on the Westerdam in January to Mexico and Hawaii to try to get away from the cold, wind, and rain of a Victoria January. We had sailed once before with the line, on the old "Noordam" in 2003. That trip had been a disaster - the ship was long after its "Best Before" date (and was retired within a year). We had been promised an early dinner seating, but were given 8:30 pm with no option to change on board. The ship was very dusty (we both have dust allergies). I got some sunstroke in St Lucia and the ship's doctor quarantined us both for three days in our 'stateroom', after which she especially was quite sick. Between that trip in 2003 and our latest trip in January on the Westerdam, we have taken around 70 cruises, all on other cruise lines. However, we decided to give Holland America another chance. Sure enough, the Westerdam was also past its "best before" date. Part of our window sill had rotted. Some doors did not close (I even found two toilet cubicles with doors that didn't lock. It turns out the ship will have a refit in March, too late to do us any good. The service was uneven, sometimes very good, sometimes poor. The ship was the second worst we have been on at dealing with my soy and corn allergies, and as a result we left the ship after the two cruises with my right arm completely broken out with eczema. The ship refused to recognize that we were returning passengers, not that we necessarily would have attended their "Mariner" functions, but we should have been invited. The shuffle board was a disgrace - it was impossible to get the rock more than half way to the house! Twice the salmon dish ordered by my wife arrived with the center completely raw. We found that the coffee shop, which offered both ordinary lattes and soy lattes, did not clean the machine properly between the two types. We also found enormous lines to disembark the ship. There were positives - to our surprise, the ship offered a digital workshop, which included excellent lectures on Windows 10. And, when the captain found that, due to high swells, it was not safe to go to all five of the scheduled ports, he scheduled a night time pass within a mile of the place where Kilauea volcano flows into the ocean - a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
From January 7-31, a friend and I spent 24 days aboard Holland America’s Westerdam on a Collectors Cruise to Mexico and Hawaii, followed, three land-days later, by a 15-day cruise through the Panama Canal aboard the Island Princess ... Read More
From January 7-31, a friend and I spent 24 days aboard Holland America’s Westerdam on a Collectors Cruise to Mexico and Hawaii, followed, three land-days later, by a 15-day cruise through the Panama Canal aboard the Island Princess (February 3-18). Below are my thoughts about the two cruise lines. It was apparent on all three cruises that, with the exception of some very weak and generally irrelevant lecturers (topics included the death of Marilyn Monroe and rich LA kids who killed their parents!!), both ships have virtually eliminated all their contracted passenger-activity providers (bridge directors, ballroom dance instructors, etc., even -- on the Princess -- religious personnel). The difference between the two ships was that on Island Princess, Cruise Director Simone Smith and her highly visible and tireless staff (Greg, Hannah, DJ, in particular) made every effort to pick up the slack and provide activities for every fitness level. They offered Zumba, line dancing, ballroom dancing, martini-making demonstrations, sail-away parties, seemingly impromptu demonstrations, contests, and dancing in the Atrium, as well as many other passenger-participation activities. On the Westerdam, on the other hand, the cruise director and her staff were not a highly visible presence on the ship. Physical activities for passengers were virtually non-existent. There was only one free exercise (abs) class a day -- at 7 am. In fact, there were very few activities that didn't either cost money (yoga, speed cycling, bingo) or were geared toward making money (the casino, art and jewelry sales). There were no sail-away parties to speak of. (Really? They can't start a 17-day cruise to Hawaii by handing out a few leis and offering a discounted tropical drink? There was neither live music nor a photographer nor a single member of the cruise director's staff on deck for the sail-away, although there were a few munchies.) In my opinion, the Westerdam staff consistently failed to engage the mentally and physically active 60-70 somethings (and younger) aboard the ship, most of whom probably preferred to balance the excessive eating and drinking on board with some actual physical activity. This was particularly inexcusable on the cruise to Hawaii, which included 10 cool and cloudy sea days that were not conducive to lying by the pool or swimming. Island Princess formal entertainment was also terrific. The in-house shows were Broadway worthy, the in-house musicians were first rate, and the contracted musicians, magicians, comedians, etc. were excellent. Each of the contracted performers also performed one night in one of the lounges in addition to his/her performance in the main theater. This gave passengers who'd missed the first show a second chance to see the performer and also increased the nightly entertainment options. I'm not sure why every ship doesn't do that. Clearly, Island Princess has an exceptional entertainment director and staff as well! Some other comparisons between the Westerdam and Island Princess: The Westerdam had better tasting food in the dining room. Island Princess had a greater variety of dinner selections in the buffet. I loved the salad and taco bars and the burger shop on the Westerdam. The specialty restaurants on the Westerdam were much better than those on the Island Princess. Overall, the Westerdam won in the food categories, although both ships could benefit from offering true low-cal options. The Westerdam room stewards knew our schedule our second day on board and took care of our rooms without us ever seeing them. Also we got the traditional towel animals along with our chocolates every night. Island Princess room stewards were very nice, but required us to put the Please Refresh Room card in the door when we left the cabin, morning and evening. They never did figure out our schedule. And no towel animals were left with our chocolates : ( Neither was a big deal, just worth noting the different attitude toward customer care.) The dining staff on the Westerdam was better. Island Princess clearly required their dining staff to push purchases of specialty drinks and wine tastings, which often seemed intrusive. Also one evening on Island Princess, we were refused a new bottle of wine from our wine package because we had left our punch card in our cabin. (Did they think we were going to jump ship?) The Westerdam wine steward kept track of our wine packages in the dining room and didn't require us to carry a punch card. (Again a minor but telling difference in attitude toward passenger comfort.) The gym on the Westerdam was much bigger and more attractive that the one on Island Princess (which is a good thing since the Westerdam provides few other options to stay fit on this 24-day eating and drinking binge). Island Princess also has blocked off the back of its Promenade Deck to offer more balcony cabins, which means the only way to actually "promenade" around the deck is to cut through the back of the ship. I don't know about the Westerdam's Promenade Deck. I used the treadmill in the gym on that ship. Island Princess has a large movie screen over the outdoor pool, showing movies and concerts during the day, and fairly recent popular movies (with free popcorn!) around 9 pm every night. The Westerdam does not have a movie screen on deck – although it is due for an upgrade this spring. Not sure what that will entail. So, the Westerdam actually beat out the Island Princess in several categories that may matter to you. (Although the differences in those categories were minimal.) But the bottom line for me is that I was bored to tears during the many sea days on the Westerdam and do not intend to ever again choose to cruise on HAL, which I believe is in danger of losing an entire generation of future passengers by catering exclusively to their current very elderly and sedentary passenger base. I had a great time on Island Princess because of the very hard work of the cruise director and her staff and the entertainment director and his staff. I'd be happy to sail on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
When we arrived in San Diego there was no line so we thought it would be easy getting on-board. How wrong we were - 40 minutes! It seems our cabin was booked to two different parties. After we were assured it was all straightened out ... Read More
When we arrived in San Diego there was no line so we thought it would be easy getting on-board. How wrong we were - 40 minutes! It seems our cabin was booked to two different parties. After we were assured it was all straightened out and we boarded, our first stop was at the Front Desk to tell them of our problems and ask for a different cabin. The staff wasn't exactly rude, but sure wasn't warm and welcoming. They told us that cabins are changed around all the time including the last few hours before a cruise - but they had no place for us to move to. We go to our stateroom and then outside for the sailaway. Mixed feelings now about even wanting to be on this cruise. When we returned to "our" stateroom there were three pieces of luggage, not ours, in it. Again a trip to the Front Desk where we were told that 'those people' shouldn't have put that cabin number on their luggage tags. My husband explained that they probably wouldn't have done it if they hadn't been told to! Long story short, the luggage was finally collected and we were told by the Front Desk that 'those people' were sorry they had messed up the cabin numbers. Never an apology from the Front Desk staff until a couple of days later when they offered us a cheap bottle of red wine. When I tried to use my room key and drink card the first time I was told they weren't activated and I needed to go to the Front Desk to have that done. Again, not treated very nicely - I was told it was my fault for carrying my cell phone near my cards. My cell phone had been locked up in our safe from the beginning. They didn't care about that - could have just said 'not a problem - can take care of that for you very easily' and reactivated the cards. It was just easier to blame me. On the next to last day of the cruise while sitting on the back deck near the pool, we were hit w/oil drops from the smokestacks. It was a mess: clothes, hair, towels - everything. Again my husband made a trip to the Front Desk to complain about a pair of shorts and a shirt that were a mess. They did offer to clean those clothes for him at no cost. But no apology - and it was just a mistake, easy to apologize for. The wait staff was not good about filling up water glasses, replenishing rolls and butter, just being there in the dining room. There were puddles on our balcony the first two days until finally someone must have tried to brush them off or mop them up. We are three star mariners so have done our fair share of cruising w/Holland America but probably won't be sailing w/them again for awhile. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Just finished a 16 day cruise, Vancouver to Hawaii. I would place the ship in the "banana boat" category. Rusty hull, window ledges. Evidence of electrolysis on the inside of the aluminum windows. Vibration coming from the ... Read More
Just finished a 16 day cruise, Vancouver to Hawaii. I would place the ship in the "banana boat" category. Rusty hull, window ledges. Evidence of electrolysis on the inside of the aluminum windows. Vibration coming from the bulkheads, (walls) loud enough to keep you awake at night. The faster the speed the more the vibration. The air conditioning was full blast in most of the public areas so if you wanted to enjoy reading in the library you had to wear a sweater, even in Hawaii. To relax with a drink outside your room you would wander around the ship until you found a slightly warmer area. I would be ashamed to be an engineering officer on board this ship. Seats are usually designed to be comfortable for set periods of time. Fast food places come in at 20 minutes. Most of the ships seats fit the fast food criteria. I would go to a show in the theater and by 20 minutes be suffering with a sore butt. We were on the 1st deck and just down the hall several cabins had serious water problems. For the first few days we would be woken up at 1:30 AM by the noise of a wet vacuum cleaning up the water. It was a repeating problem. Another reason why I would be ashamed to be an engineering officer aboard this ship. We had the open seating for our meals and before they sat us they would ask for our room number. When I asked why they did this they said that if they had to get in touch with us in the event of an emergency, they would know where we where. Yeh, right. Then why didn't they check for my room number when I went to the pool or the bar? All this did was delay the seating and frustrate the guests. I've been on other ships and we weren't bothered with this. It's not like someone was trying to sneak into the dining room. I never did get warm or hot eggs in the dining room. The good things? Great hard working staff, easy check in, good entertainment but only 45 minutes in the theater. The jazz trio was fantastic. Overall a substandard cruise with a high standard price. Will be moving on to other cruise lines the next time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Just returned from a 16 day round trip Vancouver -- Hawaiian Islands on the Zaandam, September 23 to October 9, 2012. The cruisers -- my 82 year old father (walks short distances but we have a travel, folding wheelchair), my husband, ... Read More
Just returned from a 16 day round trip Vancouver -- Hawaiian Islands on the Zaandam, September 23 to October 9, 2012. The cruisers -- my 82 year old father (walks short distances but we have a travel, folding wheelchair), my husband, and myself. Check in: this is the first time I've cruised out of Vancouver and gone down to Parking 2. HAL's Statendam and the Golden Princess were also in port. We arrived around 11:30am. It took a few minutes in a car line up before we got out. While we waited in the car we saw a huge line up of people in the parkade lining the sidewalk just to get in the building. A porter showed up and whisked off all our luggage and we got in the line which 30 minutes later got us through security. Then on to US customs. There were so many handicapped passengers we would have probably been better off getting in the fully mobile line up but we have to go where the staff send us and they have different lines for mobile people and handicapped. Usually it's a benefit traveling with a person in a wheelchair but not this time. I've never seen so many walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters on any other cruise! When we finally get to the check in there is a problem with the computers. Really slow. All the staff working the desk are very frustrated. Our check in lady was really grouchy, probably brought on by the stress of the slowpoke computers but whatever, thanks for the snarly attitude. We changed the credit card we were using and I made it very clear that all 3 of us were using this one card for all of our onboard charges. We finally get onboard at 1:15pm. Going back to the check in process, the next day my husband gets a letter saying he has not let HAL know how he will be paying for his onboard account and to contact the front desk. So thanks for screwing up grouchy check in lady! Now we are inconvenienced by having to go stand in a line at the front desk to do the credit card thing one more time because they won't do it over the phone. Toilets: no problem with the toilet in our bathroom nor any of the public ones on the ship. I heard no complaints from other passengers about toilets not working. Air conditioning: worked. In fact it worked overtime. It was very cold in some areas including our cabin even though we had the setting on midway between heat and air conditioning. Sewer smell: very strong only on Deck 4 outside the Pinnacle restaurant. Now that's gotta be a joy eating in there! After the shows a large group of passengers would make their way down this hallway to the midship elevators and everyone commented on the stench. Woowee!!! Peeyew!!! There are restrooms nearby but I don't think the overpowering stink was coming from there. My husband said there was most likely a hole or leak in an outtake pipe of the ship's waste storage system causing the stink. Something like that is very hard to find or repair. The last 2 days the staff was using an air freshener outside the Pinnacle trying to mask the sewer stink. Swimming pools -- usually open 7am to 7pm no matter how late the Explorer says they're open. The crew were netting them just after 7 each night and turning off the lights in the Lido pool area. Hot tubs supposedly open to 10pm if you can find them in the dark! Bedtime: 9pm bedtime on the Zaandam. The place becomes a ghost town after that. Must be discouraging for the entertainers on the late shift who are playing to an almost empty room. Passenger accommodations and comfort: We were in a triple cabin, deluxe veranda B category, on Deck 6, Veranda deck, #6203, near the aft elevators. Good location. We chose our cabin, did not book a guarantee. Twin beds for my father and husband. I bunked on the couch that coverts to a single bed made up by the stewards each night. The first couple of days they left it as a bed but I asked them to turn it into a couch by day. Room was good enough. I know a lot of people complain about dingy, and color schemes, etc but I'm not all about that. This is ocean life. Salt air and moisture, they choose colors and furniture that will stand up. The only thing I'll say is that there was a long gouge in the desk and a previous cruiser gouged their cigarette multiple times into the couch and the chair. Passengers in cabins on Deck 1 and 2 were suffering from flooded cabins. One woman told us their bed/bedding was flooded, along with everything else in the cabin. They asked for a new cabin but were told the ship was sold out. 3 days before sailing HAL contacted us and asked if we wanted to pay extra to upgrade to a superior suite or a penthouse but we turned it down and other passengers I spoke with also got similar offers. So that tells me unless they sold out at the last minute there probably were available cabins but Zaandam unwilling to upgrade a passenger on Deck 1 up to Deck 7. Instead they put two cots into the housekeeping room for these passengers and offered them a $500 future cruise credit. The woman was livid. What makes HAL think they'd ever cruise with them again after this? A woman on our trivia team told us one of her dinner tablemates had water flowing down her wall the entire cruise. There were about 20 cabins flooding on these 2 decks and affected passengers were offered $300 future cruise credit. All the Zaandam staff could do was mop up these cabins as best they could but I got the feeling from the flooded out passengers that there was no sense of urgency. The flooding issues were not fixed and that would be tough to do without ripping out walls and ceilings and they'd need a dry dock to do that. Ironically the Zaandam was supposed to be in dry dock right now but it was cancelled and instead they're sailing to Mexico and back to Vancouver instead. One of our friends was on Deck 1 and their cabin was not wet but the cabins that were leaking the water came out under the doors and onto the hallway so they had to walk over wet carpets and said the staff were out there occasionally with mops and shop vacs trying to keep up with the water. Deck 5 main dining room last Friday had the elevator area closed off. There was a ladder set up and several ceiling panels on the floor so pipes had sprung a leak there too. The hotel manager/director Edwin Brunwink happened to be standing there looking up at it when we walked past. My husband asked him what happened and he said "Routine scheduled maintenance." My husband asks "You scheduled a flood?" Brunwink glared at him and turned and walked away without a word. I mean why lie? Most people through life experience have probably had a leaky roof or a toilet or bathtub overflow. The ceiling below gets a water stain and the drywall puffs out. Why lie to the passengers? Later on we saw a staff member up the ladder working on the leaky pipe. He was a lot friendlier and smiling. I don't know if they fixed it but the ceiling was replaced later that day. Deck 3 -- this is the Lower Promenade Deck even though it's the deck that is usually called Promenade deck on most other cruise ships with the outside walk around. There are passenger cabins here. The outside view cabins look out on the walkaround. And vice versa. People who are going walkaround can look in on theses cabins. HAL might try to fool you into thinking these are mirrored windows and people can't see in but I could see in just fine if the curtains were open. And I wasn't pressing my nose up to the window. I was just going walkabout and I could see in. Day or night I saw people inside these cabins. Though at night time in addition to the curtains being open the lights also had to be on for me to see in. Sorry future Zaandam cruisers. If someone at HAL told you that people walking around on the deck can't see in, they lied. If you book an outside cabin on Deck 3 on the Zaandam and you want privacy -- keep your curtains closed! Meal service and accessibility: the absolute worst I have ever encountered on any cruise line. The first problem is getting to and from the MDR on Deck 4 which is only accessible by stairs or elevator. We are anytime dining. Works better for us. My father never knows when he might be hungry but usually we go down around 5:30 to 5:45. First night we ate in the MDR and we had a good server and all was more or less fine. The food would have been better if it was served hot. Very noticeable is the lack of assistants. Cut backs, sick staff, or not all servers get an assistant I don't know. Second night we went down around 5:30 and they were already giving out pagers. We had about 15/20 minute wait and then were seated at a table for 12 with several other passengers which was fine, we're happy with any sized table. But no way did 12 people eat and leave in the last half hour. It just took the staff a long time to set up due to lack of MDR staff. The next night was formal night so we ate in the Lido. The following night we went to the MDR around 5:45 and were given a pager. We were the 16th person to get a pager. Finally got paged at 7:10pm for a table and sat with others again which was fine. A table is a table. There are a lot of angry passengers. What happened is for anytime dining the Zaandam staff are taking reservations? I mean what??? This is anytime dining. Go down when you're ready to eat and instead throughout the day the Zaandam is taking reservations and screwing up the whole anytime dining concept. What is the point of having anytime dining? When our pager went off and we came back to the MDR one person we talked to had pager #32. When we got our food it was cold. That was actually pretty much normal for the MDR any meal we took there, cold food. Total passenger mutiny in the MDR that night and the manager started bringing complimentary champagne around to the passengers around 8:30 as an apology for the bad service. We tried the MDR a couple of other times on the cruise and they tried to pass me a pager and I said forget it we'll eat the Lido instead. Our last night at sea we tried the MDR one more time. Got there around 6pm and was handed a pager. Fortunately my father wasn't hungry yet and that's why we planned it figuring by the time we got seated he might be. They tell you to go up to Deck 5 and wait in the lounge which we did all 3 times we got a pager. Got paged nearly 30 minutes later. I ran down the stairs to let them know we're coming just that my husband and father were waiting for an elevator. The maitre'd tells me they paged me 15 minutes earlier and I didn't show up so they gave my table away. So for the first time ever on a cruise I argue with the sucker telling him no the pager just went off a couple of minutes ago. Those pagers make a fair amount of racket. They vibrate, lights flash, and a loud voice tells you to return to the dining room your table is ready. I had the pager sitting on the table in front of us. 3 of us watching a pager are not going to miss it. No way it went off 15 minutes earlier like he insisted. Like I said its very obvious when the pager goes off so I'm arguing with the guy that they may have paged me 15 minutes ago but the pager went off just now. So he assures me we'll get the very next table which we got about 2 minutes after my father and husband arrived on the elevator. Meanwhile these two jokers behind the ma'tre d station decide to test my pager and call it. Nothing happens. Hah! Told you! Apparently this particular pager has a delayed reaction. Which I guess I should be fortunate was only 15 minutes delay otherwise I could have been sitting up there for a couple of hours! We get seated and the server ignores us. No water in our goblets, no bread on the table. Though the people who got seated at the table next to us 10 minutes after us got their bread and water right away. After we'd been sitting there 25 minutes the server brings us water and bread and returns 5 minutes later to take our order. Meanwhile the people seated 10 minutes after us already have their appetizers. We should have just bailed and gone up to the Lido. As it was we didn't stick around for dessert and got up to the Lido just before they closed and got our dessert there. What I've learned about the Zaandam's dining room service is if you are physically handicapped to the point you need to use an elevator and if you like to eat in the MDR -- the Zaandam is a BAD choice. If you like to get good dining room service - the Zaandam is a BAD choice. If you like to get your food hot and eat it while it's hot in a dining room - the Zaandam is a BAD choice. We chatted with a man who has over 200 days with HAL and has sailed on the Zaandam several times. He was very disappointed with the deterioration of the meal service. Likewise hundreds of other frustrated Zaandam passengers on our cruise were also fed up with this crappy meal service in the MDR. The Lido buffet area. Decent food and at least passengers had a higher rate of success of getting hot food here instead of in the main dining room. Continental breakfast starts at 6am, with a full breakfast starting around 6:30 or 7, really depended on the day if it was a sea or port day. Lunch same story, maybe 11:30 to 2 but sandwiches and desserts available all afternoon. Dinner 5pm to 8pm. Dinner at the Lido was decent enough and this is the place to be on the Zaandam if you actually like to eat hot food because they keep it under warmers. There was one female cook/server who hated her job and hated the passengers. Because I'm not sure of censoring of bad words on Cruise Critic, I'll call her Witchy, but substitute that w with a b if you want to know what we really called her! One little old lady made the mistake of telling Witchy she put too much food on her plate. Witchy made a huge point of sighing loudly, scraping all the food off the plate and into the garbage, and glaring at the little old lady making sure she got her point across how inconvenient the old biddy was making her life. My husband asked her to put a little gravy on the meat for my father's plate. Instead she dumped gravy on everything on the plate. One time my husband and I were both standing in line getting a plate of food for him and my father. He asked for small portions for only the plate for my father who has a small appetite. Then for his plate he said load it up so Witchy made a point of putting tiny portions on his plate too and when he asked for more she glared at him and flung the food across the plate making the food presentation match her attitude -- lousy. There is a pasta bar just before the main entree area with one fellow operating it. Fortunately Witchy never got assigned pasta detail! Or maybe it would have been better if she had because the fellow serving pasta ignored the passengers. Mostly he kept his back turned to them and kept busy doing something across from the pasta station though he kept looking over and knew people were waiting for the pasta. I usually gave up trying to get him to serve up some pasta and moved on to eat something else. Hello Witchy! And what do they do with all that leftover pasta the fellow refuses to serve in the Lido that night? My guess is they serve it in the Canaletto the next night! $10. Signs in all the elevators. Dinner is served in the Lido between 5pm and 8pm. One side is closed down. The Canaletto is on that side of the Lido and takes up around 1/3 of the seating area, perhaps a little less but let's call it a third. The rest of this side is reserved for officers and staff during the 3 hours. Hunh??? I'm not saying the crew don't deserve to eat but they seem to have no problem fitting in with the passengers during lunch and breakfast so what's the issue with fitting in with the lowly passengers at dinnertime too? If they had to have their own private time in the Lido can't they choose a less busy time. So 5 tables or less were usually in use by staff leaving a lot of empty tables on that one side of the Lido. Meanwhile on the passenger side of the Lido all the tables are full of passengers who've given up on the crap service and food in the MDR so its hard to find somewhere to eat. Several times we went to one of the pool decks with our food. So one night my husband went upstairs to check things out around 6pm and came back down to tell me that one man was arguing with the staff member in charge of keeping the lowly passengers out of the staff side of the Lido during dinnertime. He was complaining there was nowhere to sit on the passenger side and no staff were eating on the side reserved for them and there were lots of empty tables and he should open them up for everyone. Then more passengers got involved in the argument. 20 minutes later we came up to the Lido to eat and the crew member must have gotten worried about a mutiny and removed the sign stating crew only and allowed the passengers to come in and use the tables. What's the big deal why they separate staff and passengers? Beverage services: My father used the bar service a few times in the Mondrian Lounge prior to a show. Staff were friendly and efficient and very good at remembering what he liked to drink. There was one woman who I think was a senior bar staff because she was the one on stage serving the officers on the night of the champagne toast. I saw her before shows in the lounge and I nicknamed her The Scowler because she never smiled and just glared around the room. One time I was in the Lido pool and the roof was open and it was windy and there was a bit of swell to the ocean. The bar staff had a display table with various drinks on it including bottles of beer. A bottle of beer rolled off the table and smashed onto the deck. Could smell that from where I was in the pool. The Scowler appears from nowhere putting on this dramatic performance like the busted beer bottle mess was the greatest tragedy the world has ever seen. You'd think the cost of the beer was coming out of her paycheck or something the way she was carrying on! You'd think the main priority would be to clean up the mess -- or call in whoever's responsibility that belongs to and make sure there is no broken glass in the area because this is an area where its very likely barefoot passengers are walking around. Instead she spends much time lamenting the death of this beer before clean up begins. Bizarre. Elevators: Remember my father and the wheelchair? At our aft elevators only 3 out of 4 were working. One was always dark. Out of the other 3 it seemed like 2 of them rarely budged. This became a nightmare at chow time when walkers, scooters, and wheelchairs are all trying to get to the food. The problem is Deck 4 MDR can only be accessed by stairs or elevator. The galley is on the other side of the stairs so there is no hallway that accesses the forward areas of Deck 4. You got to go up or down a floor and walk that floor's hallway until you reach the midship stairs or elevators. One time when we came out of the MDR there were 20 wheelchairs/scooters/walkers waiting for an elevator. I went up the stairs and hotfooted it to the lounge to hold seats for my father and husband who was pushing the wheelchair. It took them 15 minutes to get there. I have no idea how long that one elevator was out of service -- sometime during the Alaska runs. If it broke down on the last run and they needed a part or an elevator technician to get it going again, I know of two companies in Vancouver who service elevators and there's probably more. I'm also going out on a limb and saying there are probably companies in Honolulu that service elevators and the Zaandam couldn't get that sucker going? Who knows how long it's been down? So one elevator never working and for whatever reason out of the other 3 elevators only one would be working. You'd see it going up and down and the other two elevators would be stuck on the same floor the whole time. Listen up Zaandam. Not everyone can use the stairs! Get the elevators running! Entertainment: Zaandam singers and dancers -- I've got good news and I've got bad news. Out of all the HAL ships I've been on the Zaandam singers and dancers are the best I've ever seen. Energy, talent, great routines. Incredible! Loved them! The bad news? This was their farewell voyage. Their contracts are up, they've gone on to whatever it is cruise ship workers do at the end of their contract. Our travel guide/port lecturer Kainoa was wonderful. Loved his talks! Very passionate about Hawaii as a destination partly because that's his heritage. He's great. Can't say enough nice things about him. Other entertainers included: comedian/magician Rich Purpura pianist Juan Pablo Subirana ventriloquist Patrick Murray and Matilda -- the passengers loved him but this was the Edgar Bergen/Charlie Maccarthy crowd. He was great. Comedian/juggler Billy Prudhomme The Stander Dance Duo (skip this one!) The Drums of Polynesia Show -- came on board on Honolulu. Wonderful hula show. Comedian Mack Dryden The Company Men (quartet singers) more appealing to a younger crowd. And of course the Filipino and Indonesian crew shows on different nights at 11pm, not well attended because it was past the bedtimes of 99% of the passengers. Barbi and the Halcats performed throughout the ship -- sailaways, pool party, and Crow's Nest. In the main show theater, Mondrian Lounge, the first show is at 8pm. To get a semi-good seat you must arrive by 7:30. By 7:40 the lounge will be packed. No seats left. Come back for the 10pm show. Oops, no, can't do that. 9pm bedtime! We came to the 10pm shows a few times. Us and 30 others. Kind of tough on comedian Billy Prudhomme who thanked all the people who showed up for his performance disguised as couches and chairs. At one point he's yelling "wake up, wake up" and I turn around and an old man sitting by himself a few rows behind me is sleeping. And Billy tells him "I don't come to your cabin and juggle." One time my husband and I came up to the Crow's Nest at 8:50pm and caught Barbi and the Halcats last couple of songs. We were their only audience. We came up a couple of times after 11pm to listen to them. Its pretty sad when a 5 piece band outnumbers the audience but can't keep people up past their bedtime can you! Ports of call: I prebooked cars in all the Hawaiian Islands. Cost including GPS ran between $45 and $55 depending on island plus between $10 and $30 for gas. Not bad for entertaining 3 people. Hilo -- it was a free day at Volcano National Park so we drove up there and around the rim and stopped at the lookouts for photos. Then we drove back to Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm and bought some goodies. We drove back to Hilo and checked out Rainbow Falls and went to Big Island Candies and Cookies. Tons of free samples in that place and bought some more goodies here too. My father wasn't hungry when we got back to the ship. Gee I wonder why! We found a parking spot half a block from the farmer's market. I bought an incredible bouquet of orchids for $5 that I kept in my cabin for the cruise. That would have cost me $50+ back home. We also bought various jams and honeys from the vendors. Lahaina -- this is a tender port. Another reason the Zaandam is an extremely bad choice for disabled passengers is you have to walk down a flight of steps (and back up upon return) to get to the tender launch. There are no lifts for handicapped passengers. Walk the stairs or stay on board. We knew about this in advance and yes my father can walk up/down stairs. Slowly. The staff will assist with a steadying hand and carrying wheelchairs or scooters on and off the tender. We've all been to Maui numerous times so we just did a scenic drive and had lunch in Kihei and took the car back to the rental place to catch the 3pm shuttle back to the dock. Last shuttle is at 4pm. Miss it and take a taxi. Anyway we get back on the tender and the floor is really wet so I figured surf was up and water was sloshing in because the doors are open with just a rope keeping people in. When we got off the captain was standing there greeting passengers. A little odd. First time ever I've seen a captain do that. My father wanted to nap so we dropped him off at the cabin and went back to the tender about 15 minutes later. The captain is no longer there at the security station. Oddly enough an engineer also gets on our tender and is giving the pilot some tips. He drove to the dock very slowly and carefully. Only one other couple is on the tender going back to Lahaina. They told us they were on a tender back to the ship about half an hour earlier and the waves were high and the fellow piloting the tender decided to run it fast and full tilt into the oncoming waves. Yee haw!!! Unfortunately he forgot to close a hatch and a woman sitting in the front got drenched. Twice! And a crew member was injured. So that would account for why the captain was down greeting tender passengers. Must have happened a boat or two before us. Something serious enough like that would bring him down to check that all involved were OK. And probably to relieve the tender driver of his duties! Then he stayed there awhile keeping an eye on how the tenders were being operated. Kauai -- we drove out to the Waimea Canyon -- the grand canyon of the Pacific. Gorgeous. Afterwards we stopped at the Kauai Coffee Plantation where they have free samples of about 16 or 20 different types of coffees. Different roasts and flavors. I don't drink coffee but my father loves the stuff. Then on to Red Dirt Shirt Factory because we saw it on Dirty Jobs a couple of years ago. I'm distracted because right across the street I see the Kauai Chocolate Company. I help my husband pick out a couple of nice polo shirts then I run across the street and buy dark chocolate macadamia nut fudge and 3 other chocolates, some local creation that was very good with caramel, cookies, macadamias, and covered in chocolate. We went for lunch at Puka Dogs. I'd heard about these Hawaiian hot dogs and we decided to give them a try. They're OK. Can say we've done it. Then we visited the nearby spouting horn blowhole. Honolulu -- again been here so this time did a circle tour of the island. Stopped at the Dole Pineapple Plantation where I annoyed my husband by buying my father a bag of coconut pineapple popcorn that he munched on for the whole drive. We stopped at a shrimp truck on the north shore and I tried coconut shrimp. It was very good. Nice drive. Lots of photo opportunities. Last stop the big Hilo Hattie not too far from the cruise ship where we bought our last souvenirs. We overnighted in Honolulu. The next day my husband and I caught a bus down to the International Marketplace -- its gone downhill since I was last there -- and walked on Waikiki Beach. 5 days at sea coming and going. The weather was good. No rain though overcast on our last sea day. First night at sea after we exited the Juan de Fuca and got into the Pacific was very rough. I woke up around 3 or 4 in the morning -- take your pick, the time turned back an hour that night -- and wandered out on the balcony to see how high the waves were. Probably about 10 feet. Enough to keep me awake. A lot of passengers were seasick that night and the next day. The front desk staff said they'd passed out LOTS of motion sickness pills. Fortunately none of us were sick. All staff we dealt with were professional, courteous, and smiled. But there is something very, very wrong on this ship especially with the food and beverage service staff. When they're not dealing with passengers they get into small groups and talk in their own language and they're very angry. Must be huge management or supervisor problems in these departments -- not sure if they're separate departments or come under same management. But after Brunwink stomped off after we caught him in a lie, if he has that same attitude with his staff maybe he's the problem or maybe its lower down, I don't know. I've seen employees unhappy with their workplace and the Zaandam screams it. Staff moral sucks on this ship. Final words about the Zaandam. For a small cruise ship it is very badly managed. The Zaandam has created a lot of problems that they seem incapable or unwilling to fix. The main dining room is a fiasco and joke. A place to be avoided if you like eating your meals hot or if you are physically unable to walk up and down stairs. Loved the destination -- who couldn't love the beautiful Hawaiian Islands - but the overall cruise experience on the Zaandam is the worst I've ever had. I will never sail on the Zaandam. In fact I might not ever come back to Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
As a first time cruiser, we booked months in advance and were very excited. We were cruising with four other experienced cruisers. The first impression upon boarding the ship was that everyone seemed to move very slow. It soon became ... Read More
As a first time cruiser, we booked months in advance and were very excited. We were cruising with four other experienced cruisers. The first impression upon boarding the ship was that everyone seemed to move very slow. It soon became evident at the supper meal when all the wheelchairs and walkers showed up. It wasn't long before my wife commented that it felt like we were in an old-folks home. A couple of days later a senior officer commented that 70 percent of the passengers were over the age of 80!! We are retired in our late 60's and were have many friends that are over the age of 80, but when it comes to an expensive cruise for 16 days, I think that Holland America should have let us know in advance the passenger demographics of the cruise. The food in the buffet was excellent whereas the dining room was so packed with the oldies that it took one hour to two hours to get fed. As for the entertainment we had 3 good shows out of 16. The other activities were very laid back as you would be needed for people 80+. We had been upgraded to a veranda stateroom and it was great as was the service of the crew...but who wants a 16 day holiday in a old folks home. Eventually we all will end up there, but lets not rush it. Another thing that we found annoying is that everything cost extra. We had read reviews on CruiseCritic and were aware of the costs of the no-host bar, but there was no sign in the stateroom when we arrived so we didn't know that the bottled water cost $4.00/bottle. The sign went up the second day and then we understood why everyone was filling up their containers in the buffet. We may have taken an excursion or two, but we chose to get away from the other passengers as it was too depressing being around them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We have many cruises under our belt and this one to date was by far the poorest of them all....read on :) Wintertime cruising may have had a lot to do with the sea and weather conditions but certainly not the appearance of the ms ... Read More
We have many cruises under our belt and this one to date was by far the poorest of them all....read on :) Wintertime cruising may have had a lot to do with the sea and weather conditions but certainly not the appearance of the ms Oosterdam. First off, let me start by saying this Cruise was more forgettable than regrettable. After all it was a holiday cruise and we were sailing to Hawaii with friends and family. But that's it!! We sailed on the well used ms Oosterdam from San Diego, Ca. on Dec 10 for 14 days via Hawaii/Ensenada, Mexico and back to San Diego on the 24th of Dec. Passenger total around (my guess) 1700 vs 1916 max Passenger ratio to staff was about 12:1 or maybe even 13:1. Seemed a little thin. AVERAGE age for THIS cruise: 70+ PROS: > Staff was most likely the friendliest and most polite crew we have ever experienced on any cruise! Hats off to Abdul and Atkar for keeping our cabin ship shape and for the friendly smile of Carina each morning in the Lido Buffet Restaurant. > "Buffet" style food was absolutely the BEST, by far a better dining experience than assigned/scheduled seating, with no comparison! We did NOT experience one bad or even marginally poor meal. > Ports of call were outstanding! Lahaina being the exception, (mentioned in the body of this review) CONS: Some of our cabin furniture was ready for the recycle bin, with deep scratches and gouges in the table, the "imitation" leather chair had tears and the bedding just wasn't new and fresh. Even the pictures on the walls resembled something out of a 60's Sammy Davis movie. > The atrium appeared old and outdated. >Exploration Lounge and quiet area was pretty tired as well. It is adorned with leather seating everywhere, most of which in need of repair or replacement. > The carpet, throughout the vessel, was spent! Stained and faded by severe foot traffic helping show its age! < VISTA RESTAURANT (assigned or scheduled seating) WAS A JOKE! HORRIBLE SERVICE, UNTIMELY FOOD DELIVERY AND SUB PAR MEALS! < On board recreation.......again, don't count on it. Deck 10, the sports deck, was so cold and windy EVERY day that only the brave would venture a morning walk. Don't wear a hat, you'll never see it again. Basketball, shuffleboard, and other outdoor activities on this deck simply won't happen while at sea. < Itinerary says 4 days at sea to and from Hawaii. This isn't true. Those are calendar dates, and in reality you're at sea for almost 5 days or 110 hours. THAT'S A LONG TIME in rough seas! < My wife being a health Spa fanatic would NOT get in any of the "community" hot tubs. (yes, that swirling hot tub scum was evident in both midship and aft tubs, nasty!) She used the midship pool on the first day and didn't use it again! < Seriously HACL!!! You can't afford to at least maintain the Ping Pong tables! The table tennis nets needed to be super glued or nail gunned in place in order to use them. The paddles were purchased when the ship was christened! Throw them away and get new ones. (We brought our own, which turned out to be a GREAT plan) My take: Our group of 5 had reviewed this very site for positive and negative reviews of this particular vessel and cruise. We decided that there wasn't really any bad signs that would inhibit us from taking this cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was a SNAP, I mean literally a piece of cake! We arrived at the dock parking lot in our POV and off loaded our luggage where we were met with efficient baggage handlers. From that moment until we were in our cabin was not more than 30 minutes. No lines, little fuss with security and very few people. This was nice. We made a timely pushback from the dock as scheduled at 5pm under a gorgeous rising full moon over the San Diego sky line. Day 1 at sea: Water Water Water, rough seas and more water. Not much to go on as you read this but the sea was so rough that sitting down attractions were the only way to pass the time. Cribbage anyone? First night entertainment was slightly better than that roadside puppet show you'd see at the county carnival. We opted for the Vista "As You Wish" seating and made our way to dinner around 6pm. We were seated promptly, but that was only the good part of this experience. We had 2 waiters, both of whom seemed to be in training or somewhat lost with there job descriptions. It took, literally, 30 minutes each time for 4 different courses of food to be delivered to our table of 5. That's soup, salad, entree, and desert, followed by a cup of coffee. We spent almost 2.5 hours in the Vista Restaurant waiting for service and food. On top of that, our entrees were room temperature and certainly NOT palatable. First night slow start, maybe, we gave that to them and moved on. Day 2 at sea: Water, Wind, and still more water, except the wind had increased. Pretty boring day it turned out to be, but that was our choice as we really didn't want to be cabin bound all day. Cribbage anyone? Formal night wasn't going to happen after our first Vista dining experience. We ate at the Lido Restaurant, and as it turned out was excellent!!! Day 3 at sea: Review Day 2, except we tried the Vista Restaurant for a second attempt. This experience was actually efficient and notable turn-around from day 1. Exceptions being we had different table and waiter assignments. Go figure? Day 4 at sea: Water is really getting boring and the sea was continuing to toss us around. Still nothing to do but wander the girth of the ship and explore. We were bobbing around in 10-12 foot swells with 30 knot cross wind. Our cabin sliding door was actually whistling loudly by the vacuum being created from the strong wind on the port side of the ship. We could barely open it. Day 5 Hilo!! Can you say rain.........one of the rainiest places on earth, but this POC (Port of Call) was awesome. Highly recommend the helicopter tour of the volcano and keep your camera with you at all times. There's plenty to see and do. Day 6 Honolulu.......Not so much fun...college students were out of classes for the holiday break and the traffic in Honolulu is beyond belief. It was literally the worst we have EVER experienced. And I used to live in Southern Cal. We did the Arizona Memorial, which pretty much took up all of our time. Took us exactly 1 hour to drive 6 miles to get lunch. Still the sites were pleasant, but we will never do Honolulu again. Day 7 Nawiliwili....Kauai, this was the best island by far, rent a car or scooter and enjoy it all. You won't be disappointed. This was also the evening we tried the Vista Restaurant once again, citing a good experience from 3 or 4 days earlier. OH man!! what a mistake this was. We got seated at the same table as our first visit and had the same deplorable waiters. Again we sat for an unnecessarily long time. We even questioned if we could sit at the adjacent vacant table by the window but got denied. About 15 minutes later that table did occupy. All our orders were placed, almost exactly like the first day. And like the first day I ordered a generic green salad, nothing extra, with dressing. The waiter could NOT comprehend what it was I wanted, even after many clarifying definitions. I asked him to disregard my request and move on. Magically a salad showed up??!! I'm thinking someone had to translate my order for him. Remember that table that was by the window that occupied 15 minutes after us? They received their main entree before we did, and they also ordered the same number of courses from the dame waiters. The maitre 'd explained that there was a screw up in the kitchen and that our order was on its way. Oh yeah, our entree showed up! They showed up cold, we couldn't believe it!!!! We each ate a small portion of our meal and got up and walked out. Actually the looks on the waiters faces made my day. The VISTA Restaurant is HORRIBLE! Certainly not worthy of having the distinction of serving world class entrees. Day 8 Lahaina, Maui.....Well here we go............We were tendered off the vessel while anchored in Lahaina bay. Even though we had rental cars waiting for us there, we caught a glimpse of some advertising for scooter rentals conveniently parked at the dock.....and took the bait. Actually it is a great way to see the island. I made a phone call via the 800 number listed on the ad and was given instructions where to wait. 25m later a van arrived and drove us "across town", (10miles??) to the rental location. This is where you really get a taste of the local economy and businesses. Shortly after we arrived we discovered that the scooters advertised were indeed NOT the scooters we were intending to rent, and even though the engine size was the same, the overall size of the scooter was more fitted for use as a circus ride rather than a SAFE escort around the island. We immediately questioned the availability of the larger version and was told they were not in stock and that what we see is what we get! I'm 6'1" and my buddy is 6'5" and there was no way we could safely manage our way around the island on the smaller versions, which is probably why they were left in stock. We subsequently denied the rental agreements and politely asked to be returned to our pick up location, to which we received a CURT and DISRESPECTFUL reply of "you're on your own!" Remember this, if you get anything out of this review, that ALOHA MOTORSPORTS shouldn't be your first choice when it comes to renting transportation on the islands of MAUI or KAUAI. There attitude towards tourism and their customers has definitely set the bar for the LOWEST of industry standards. Avoid them at any cost! Regardless of this unfortunate error in judgement, we still recorded a wonderful day on the island. Day 9 at Sea: We left the bay of Lahaina on time and set sail for Ensenada Mexico for 125 hours of rocking and rolling. We experienced, at one point, 66kts of wind head-on through the bow of the ship. That lasted through the night and wasn't very pleasant. The following morning yielded an overcast sky and windy conditions which lasted for the remainder of the 4+ days at sea. Our entertainment was limited to eating and watching the ocean, because going below deck was typically unpleasant. Day 13 we arrived at the port Ensenada, Mexico. International Maritime Law, (if I heard this right) says that before a vessel can return to the US after leaving a US port, they must first stop at a foreign POC before returning to the US. Ensenada is merely a token POC, barely enough time to get off the ship and have a Margarita. A serious waste of time. Disembarkation, like embarkation, was a snap as well. Took about 1 hour to gather our gear and wait for our ride. IN REVIEW: We didn't do any returning shows, because our first viewing was somewhat of a let down, so we elected to avoid any future efforts. Lido "dining" was superb! The focus of a quality cruise like this one should have been is the dining experiences. The VISTA RESTAURANT fails miserably in that endeavor. There is ample room for a great degree of remedial training for the VISTA waiters. (at least the 2 we had experiences with, they failed miserably) Having to get gussied up and looking pretty for a 2+ hour wait for sub standard food really wasn't worth the aggravation. If Holland will change the wiper blades, wax the hood, and put on a new set of tires, this boat wouldn't look like it's ready for the scrap heap. It is truly worn and tired looking. This cruise was clearly geared for the elderly, again the 70+ generation, Rascals and 3 wheeled scooters everywhere! I don't recommend taking ANY kids on this trip, they will have absolutely NOTHING to do while at sea. The pools are heated, but I we just couldn't help but wonder how funky they really were??? POC were incredible, with exception of the scum personnel at Aloha Motorsports, we'd go back. We still managed a wonderful day dispute the deplorable treatment hours earlier. Would I take this Holland trip again?, absolutely NOT, would I cruise Holland again?, probably not. Can I recommend Holland Cruise Line all things considered? I don't think so. Scaled from 1-10 this cruise is about 4.5 Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
First thing, the ship : it has been remodeled, ok, but why put planks to lay on in a tre inch pool? Specially when passengers - most of them - are so old they cannot climb in and out of such pool. The tv sets are so old there is no ... Read More
First thing, the ship : it has been remodeled, ok, but why put planks to lay on in a tre inch pool? Specially when passengers - most of them - are so old they cannot climb in and out of such pool. The tv sets are so old there is no colour left : everything is black and red, the remote batteries need to be checked and changed. Air conditioning : it works full blast or not at all, we preferred the not at all mode. Plumbing : on longer cruises it always happens around half trip, on this cruise it happened at the end so it may be considered as positive. Bathtubs: normal sized but passengers on this cruise were normally very overweight and over age, how can you shower in these conditions? Is this the reason the hot tubs were always full (and I avoided them)? Activities : boring lectures, bridge lessons, computer lessons that should have been held in the (small) theater and not in a 15 seat room. Crafts? making things my three year old niece does or getting together with other passengers and exchange opinions doing your own craft (like in retirement homes). Itinerary : some stops were badly managed. Fanning Island we were encouraged not to get off the ship because it was "dirty": not at all, it has a nice small beach and clean (I did not analyze it) water. Papeete : since we stayed the night, could have included a dance show in the excursions. All together, the itinerary looked like we were in low season and most of the islands were deserted or closed down. Only Honolulu and Lahaina were very good and lively. The food : I am italian, I am a gourmet and excellent cook. The maitre (Sodramin) on the ship should take some cooking lessons. Quite a lot. Will not cruise on this ship again, will not cruise HAL again since "excellence" is very far away from what we experienced. embarkation - disembarkation : I suggest making different paths for those getting in and those getting out, one small lane was used by both having to barge your way in or out. Tenders : sore spot, mostly because passengers could barely walk or were very overweight. Should have made special tendering service for those who had walking problems helping them on and off instead of leaving the problem to those who were already in the tender. Entertainment: really? was there entertainment on board? Never had the chance to get in the theater, the "wailcats" singing on deck had no idea of what the volume button is. The only pleasant moments were those with the guitar man, wherever he was singing. Little added pleasures : stinks of various kind around the ship and a continuous wail (while sailing) in cabins on main deck. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We traveled on The Zaandam in April of this year. The trip was delayed due to an injury my Partner suffered last Fall. Because I was not sure of how much time he might have needed in cabin I upgraded to a deluxe veranda suite. Upon ... Read More
We traveled on The Zaandam in April of this year. The trip was delayed due to an injury my Partner suffered last Fall. Because I was not sure of how much time he might have needed in cabin I upgraded to a deluxe veranda suite. Upon entering The Zaandam you are met with one of the warmest crew you could encounter. That warmth continues throughout the cruise. Staff members went out of their way to remember your name; bring you coffee; help in any way. The Zaandam is nearing it's 10th year, and is scheduled for dry dock in January 2010. This cannot come soon enough. Upon entering the suite we saw just how much The Zaandam is dated. The wallpaper was stained, as well as the carpets. The bathroom is average by any standards. The furniture on the veranda needed to be replaced a while ago. The deluxe veranda suite was not what we had imagined. The dating of The Zaandam shows throughout the ship. The Lido Restaurant carpeting is so worn in places the wear is down to the backing of the carpet. Many of us Navy "vets" commented during the cruise that for no reason on occasion The Zaandam would shake and shudder throughout the ship for several seconds. We never could figure that one out. Although aging (in some cases not gracefully) The Zaandam is tended to by a most dedicated staff, always polishing; cleaning; tidying up around the ship. The Zaandam is well cared for by it's crew. The food on The Zaandam is excellent. Dining service in The Rotterdam Restaurant is attentive and friendly in every way. Many choices to be had, and special requests are never a problem. Entertainment on The Zaandam is definitely geared toward a much older crowd. Some of the shows were good; however, many were, in our opinion, just fair. There is a terrific singer in The Ocean Lounge. The best kept secret on The Zaandam has to be The Crows Nest at the top front of the ship. We went there many times before dinner and found it to be nearly empty, so we would have a drink and watch the ocean. One of the greatest places on the ship for sure. Overall, a very nice cruise. I must be very honest in my opinion, however. It seems that Holland America Line is "cruising" on it's reputation. In general, the value for the money spent for this cruise was not there. We hope that The Zaandam comes from her dry dock refreshed and renewed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
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