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285 Holland America South America Cruise Reviews

Included 4 days of sailing in Antarctica . Highlights- 1- Food selection: The food selection on this cruise was one of the highlights for us. We usually like to have dinner in the Main Dining room, but the selections in the Lido ... Read More
Included 4 days of sailing in Antarctica . Highlights- 1- Food selection: The food selection on this cruise was one of the highlights for us. We usually like to have dinner in the Main Dining room, but the selections in the Lido usually included everything that was offered in the Main Dining room and more. 2- Holland America Happy Hour- Liked the happy hour sessions. The 2nd drink only cost $2. The pool deck had 2 for 1 beer during the day. 3- Buenos Areas- One of our highlights was visiting the oldest coffee shops in Argentina called Tortoni's. Another highlight was visiting Recoleta Cemetery. 4- Montevideo- In port on a Sunday. Walked through the old town. 5- Puerto Madryn- We rented a car and went to Punta Tumbo where we saw many Magellanic Penguins. 6- Faukland Islands- Went to Volunteer Point with Patrick Watts Tours. Highly recommend this tour. Saw thousands of King Penguins up close. Also saw Gento and Magellanic Penguins. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to the Antarctic. We flew down to Buenos Aires a day early so we could enjoy a little of the city before. Embarkation was fairly smooth - we arrived early and our luggage was taken right ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to the Antarctic. We flew down to Buenos Aires a day early so we could enjoy a little of the city before. Embarkation was fairly smooth - we arrived early and our luggage was taken right away and we checked in. By about 11:30 we were on the ship and went straight to our room. It was ready. We then went to the MDR to enjoy a lovely lunch - we met another couple at lunch and remained friends with them the rest of the cruise. After lunch we went back to our room and our luggage was there so we put all our things away and went out to explore the ship. We hadn't been on the Zaandam before and weren't quite sure what to expect. It ended up being one of our favorite ships - it was always spotlessly clean, with crew constantly cleaning railings, door handles, etc. We did not travel with children and given the time of the year there were very few children on this cruise. The children that were there were very well behaved and pleasant. Cabin - Our cabin was a Neptune Suite and one disappointment was the size of the bathroom - it only had one sink and a tub/shower. All other Neptune Suites we had been in in the other ships had double sinks and a separate tub and shower. This was our fault for not looking in to it more closely, but it was disappointing. The balcony on the Neptune Suite was much larger than other Neptune Suite balconies we have had - this was great when we went thru the Antarctic as we spent a lot of time on the balcony. It was very roomy with a round table w/4 chairs and 2 lounge chairs - and still a lot of room! Our room steward was very attentive, kept our room cleaned and freshened up all throughout the day. The 2 concierges in the Neptune Lounge were very attentive and took care of every detail - they were always ready and willing to help us out. Dining - Our other experience on a smaller HAL ship we had "ok" dining, so we weren't sure what to expect here. We ended up having the best wait staff we have ever had - our 2 servers were extremely attentive and knew all of our wants and needs before we got there. Even though we don't drink alcohol, the wine steward knew what we liked to drink and always had it there for us. Activities - there were always several things doing on throughout the day. We especially enjoyed all of the many lectures by our Expedition Team. These Antarctic scientists kept us up on everything we were doing, had done and were looking forward to doing. Entertainment - We went to several of the nightly musical venues. We always enjoy the Lincoln Center Stage/Adagio. We also enjoyed the various pianos at different locations and also the bad in the Ocean Bar. The nightly shows on the Main Stage were good and varied - groups, comedians, and individual performers. We didn't go every night - not because we didn't like them, but because we were tired from everything we did during the day and knowing we'd be getting up early the next day. Service - What can I say about the service - it was exceptional! - Everything was top notch and always done with smile! Ports and Excursions - We did this cruise because of the Antarctic - friends had done a similar cruise without the Antarctic and thought it was one of the most boring cruises they had ever been on. While the ports were mostly small, most of them had a wide variety of things to do - just find what you like and do it! We didn't do any excursions from the ship, but found our own excursions. This is where one problem came in. Being in a Neptune Suite we were supposed to have priority boarding on the tenders - the first time it worked well, but at the 2nd tender port we went where we were supposed to wait - and wait - and wait. We were told to please wait there - and we saw tenders leaving with guests on them. Finally, most of us left and went on a tender without our crew person taking us down. In talking with the Neptune Lounge Concierge, there was some confusion from the crew person with us, and all was well. Would we do this cruise again? - In a Heartbeat! The ship, the crew and staff and the itinerary were super!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was a bucket list cruise for my wife. All the ports and excursions surpassed both our expectations. The narration by Exploration Team as we sailed into and around Antarctica was superb. Zaandam is a typical HA ship, one of their ... Read More
This was a bucket list cruise for my wife. All the ports and excursions surpassed both our expectations. The narration by Exploration Team as we sailed into and around Antarctica was superb. Zaandam is a typical HA ship, one of their smaller ones with a nice cozy feel. We are 4 Star Mariners, with lots of cruising experience and always appreciate HA’s itineraries and attention to detail on their ships. The major problem with this cruise was with an unknown outbreak on the ship at about day 3. CabIn attendants in full body protective garb stripping and cleaning rooms. Ship doctor with clipboard not entering room, but staying in hallway to supervise. Hand sanitizer stations suddenly appearing on Lido deck manned wIth attendants telling people to use them. Many passengers that we spoke to observed same thing on their decks. Not sure if it was a norovirus outbreak, or something else. Disappointing that there was no communication from captain about the issue, which continued for most of the trip. Would have liked to seen some communication on what the situation was, as well as measures that passengers could/should have taken. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We had previously cancelled 2 cruises to South America, and I am glad that we did, because we found this one going to S America and Antarctica. We gained much information and ideas from those who had previously done this trip so I hope we ... Read More
We had previously cancelled 2 cruises to South America, and I am glad that we did, because we found this one going to S America and Antarctica. We gained much information and ideas from those who had previously done this trip so I hope we can also provide the same for others who are considering this cruise. I will TRY to be brief. PRE-CRUISE: We flew to Santiago for a 3 day visit prior to embarkation. We booked our air tickets through Holland America's Flight Ease and were very satisfied with the price compared to booking on our own. If we travel this far, then we are going to see as much as possible. There had been much rioting in Santiago and some people actually cancelled the cruise out of fear for their safety. We had no problems at all. We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton-Vitacura and HIGHLY RECOMMEND this hotel. It is in a very nice area and within 5 minute walk to much shopping and restaurants. We had the hotel arrange a private guide for a 4 hour tour of the city and also used UBER, on our own, to visit the Vina Cousino Macul for a wonderful winery tour. Easy to do on our own. We enjoyed our time in Santiago. EMBARKATION: We had made arrangements with others on our roll call to use Stamp's Tours for a tour of Valparaiso and a winery visit during our transfer to San Antonio for embarkation. Although there was a little nervousness on our part since we were at several different hotels, it all worked out well and we reached the ship about 3 hours before scheduled departure. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Stamp's Tours. THE SHIP: I said "scheduled departure" because once we arrived, we were told there had been a problem with the refueling, and we would not leave until the next afternoon. We would be missing the port of Castro, which was the only port we had nothing planned. So, no loss of a scheduled tour. We had an inside cabin, 3352. Great service and good storage. Really enjoyed the cabin-very quiet. The Zaandam is an "older" smaller ship, but for this cruise was perfect size for us. THE STAFF: Everyone we encountered was friendly and eager to please. The cruise director gave VERY good talks about our upcoming ports. There were 3 special speakers on the ship who gave daily talks about Antarctica while we were sailing to it, and then gave narrations from the bridge during the days we were there. Excellent presentations. The only short coming is the lounge entertainment, which is basically 1 quartet, 2 string players, and a sing-along piano bar. It does get tiresome for 22 nights, but this cruise is not about entertainment. We were so busy each day running from one activity to another that we were usually asleep by 11:00. The main stage entertainment was fine. I do wish the quartet could have done a little "rock". Most of the people our age (70s) grew up with it. It is not all dancing to waltzes. THE PORTS: This ship does Santiago to Buenos Aires and then the reverse of it. We questioned which way was best and decided to do the Santiago to BA. This is the best way because the "excitement" builds as you cruise fjords and glaciers until you reach Antarctica. From then on it is sea days and penguin stops. I think if you had the reverse itinerary, you would find the second part of the journey a let down. Puerto Montt: We had arranged a private group tour with Patagonia Austral (Petrohue Falls, Lakes, City, and buffet lunch) It was a good tour and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this company. Castro: Port was cancelled Puerto Chacabuco: We had booked a private tour with EnPatagonia Tours. This tour was somewhat boring, as we had already done similar tour in Puerto Montt, UNTIL we got to the lunch part-a BBQ in a farmhouse with music, wine, pisco sours, dancing, etc-One of the best days of the entire trip I VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND this tour. Punta Arenas: We did our own thing here. We got off and "negotiated" with a taxi driver-where we wanted to go and how long we would stay. Price was $25 USD. Reasonable to us and off we went to visit the replica sailing ships, then to the beautiful cemetery, and a drop off in town for lunch and drinks at the famous Shackleton Bar. We also did some shopping and took the free shuttle back to the ship. An enjoyable day. Ushuaia: We had heard of a wonderful guide named Ruben. We booked him months ahead of the cruise for a tour of the town and Tierra del Fuego park. We shared his taxi with another couple. This tour was a big disappointment to us. He was fine and we got what we paid for, but after our previous tours, this was a let down. And the drizzly day did not help. However, this may be the best port for simple souveniers. Antarctica: BEAUTIFUL. 4 days of amazing scenery, whale watching, bird watching, etc Falkland Islands: We did a ship tour-Bluff Cove. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this tour. Many people go to Volunteer Point, which is an amazing experience. We preferred a shorter transit time over more even ground. And we were with the penguins about the same amount of time as the Volunteer Point people. This tour also allowed us a good amount of time to explore the town and stop for lunch and drinks. One of our best days. Puerto Madryn: We had joined others to arrange a private tour to El Pedral, and were really looking forward to seeing more penguins, but it was too windy to dock, so we missed this port. .Very disappointing. I did not understand the big deal about seeing penguins, up close, until I saw them in the Falklands. Montevideo: We booked a private tour with ShoreExcursionsGroup. BIG mistake for us, as it was a large bus of maybe 40-50 people and we rode around hearing commentary for several hours with about 5 stops to take a picture. We do not like this kind of tour. Several of us left the tour before it finished and strolled the old town stopping at a nice pub for lunch. Found out, later, that some people had simply walked off the ship, stopped to pick up a free map and done a suggested walking our on their own. A better choice this would have been for us. Dis-Embarkation: The ship was to overnight in Buenos Aires. We left on the day of arrival. Stayed that night at the A Q Tailored Suites. Enjoyed a little of the city and then left the next morning to fly to Iguazu Falls. The hotel kept our big luggage until we returned and we took small bags with us. I highly recommend this hotel. Post Cruise: Some people told us that after this cruise, Iguazu would be the "icing on the cake". For us, that became true. We stayed at the Melia Iguazu inside the park. One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. We strolled the pathways around the falls and had time to enjoy the HUGE infinity pool. We stayed 2 nights and I wish we would have arranged for a third. A wonderful "end" to an amazing journey. IF you can, visit Iguazu and stay at the Melia. After 2 nights, we returned to BA and our hotel. We spent 2 more nights there enjoying BA, although it was about 94 degrees (F). We did a very enjoyable Free Walking Tour and on our last night, we went to the Argentine Experience, which had been recommended to us. We did not enjoy it as much as other people did. It just was not our type of thing. FINAL THOUGHTS: I am a planner. I review as much information and recommendations as I can, and then plan what I want to do. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. We booked this cruise almost 2 years before embarkation. Other people booked at the last minute. However, if you want to do certain tours, you had better book early. Many people were disappointed that they could not get a tour, although in most ports you can walk off the ship and find something to do. We were "lucky" to have good weather most of the time and only miss 2 ports. Some ships miss more than that. It is my understanding that due to changes in the laws, the big ships can only do this Antarctica visit for one more year. As expensive as it is, the prices will probably be triple when only the small ships can visit such a beautiful place. But there is always Iguazu. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The ports. The ports. The ports. The Price. The line (HAL). These are the things that attracted me to this voyage. This voyage of 11 weeks was my first cruise with a duration of over three weeks, and that alone turns the experience ... Read More
The ports. The ports. The ports. The Price. The line (HAL). These are the things that attracted me to this voyage. This voyage of 11 weeks was my first cruise with a duration of over three weeks, and that alone turns the experience completely around. You see the same people, passengers & crew, over and over again and you get to know them. That was mostly good. Ran into many knowledgeable, seasoned travelers. Several of the enrichment activities (basically lectures) were great. In the negative column, the disembarkation was very disorganized and took a long time, with them calling for people (to disembark) who then accumulated at the gangway area but then couldn't leave due to wheelchairs being brought on board. Given the passengers, there were a lot of wheelchairs. Almost all things sold be HAL were excessively expensive. The big excursions and internet costs were astronomical. Liquor prices are up $2 over the last time I cruised (which wasn't long ago). I won't even consider the "premium dining" anymore. (Do they not realize that we've already paid for fine dining for every meal?) Tips are higher by $2 per day above the last time I cruised, but the fantastic Volendam crew deserved it. My final assessment will be tempered by how HAL treats the passengers for the sudden cruise termination. I realize it was beyond everyone's control, but how it is handled is not beyond control. Especially galling was that we lost the port of French Guiana, the sole reason for my obtaining $550 of vaccinations. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I really wanted to go to Antarctica, I booked this entire cruise with the plan to do the excursion. It ended up getting canceled due to insurance problems and Holland America gave us (everyone on the excursion) future cruise credit. I ... Read More
I really wanted to go to Antarctica, I booked this entire cruise with the plan to do the excursion. It ended up getting canceled due to insurance problems and Holland America gave us (everyone on the excursion) future cruise credit. I think I'm going to let mine go to waste, I have no desire to ever go on another cruise and certainly not a Holland America one. Aside from that: my shower was super tiny and I say that as a 5'3 small woman, I have no idea how a bigger person would shower in there. The bathroom and room were some of the largest I've seen on a ship, so I'm not quite sure why the shower is so tiny. I do know these cabins are getting renovated April 2020. They serve almost the same food every day and after the first week, I just wanted off. The talks were pretty good but they seemed to be all or nothing, there were either a whole bunch all day or none for days. I went to the comedy and the one show was pretty good but the other one was not good at all. Of note, I went in the hot tub a handful of times and was mostly okay. My friend however developed a horrible infection and had to have surgery once we returned to the states to get his leg cleaned out. I'm glad we skipped Puerto Montt, I traded in my plane ticket and got a sooner plane ticket home. I just wish they had said sooner they were going to skip Puerto Montt and I could have canceled my excursion sooner. On that line, I noticed talking to people most of the Holland America shore excursions were the same prices as other ones and the other ones usually went to more places, saw more things, were smaller groups, etc. Essentially,, don't book excursions through the ship for most things. Also the casino and shops were tiny and usually empty. Everything onboard closes at midnight, so don't bank on drinking or going to a midnight buffet or midnight show if that's your thing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We (Married couple in our 30's, no kids) choose this cruise because of the itinerary, because of Antarctica. Because we really wanted to see penguins in the region where they belong. And this was the only affordable way to do it. ... Read More
We (Married couple in our 30's, no kids) choose this cruise because of the itinerary, because of Antarctica. Because we really wanted to see penguins in the region where they belong. And this was the only affordable way to do it. It was our first cruise ever. We know now that cruising is not our favorite way to travel, and I'm sure we will wait at least another 30-40 years before we ever book a cruise again, but the nature, the surroundings; Patagonia, Falkland islands, Antarctica, that made it worth it! We took the public bus from our hostel to the cruise port. Public transportation is very easy in Buenos Aires, just get a Sube card (at a subway station), and you can use the bus, subway and trains. One card can be used by more then one person. We used public transportation a lot there. It's cheap and easy. Embarkation went well. We were early but were allowed to go on the ship at that time. No long lines, no problems. The ship was okay. It's not new and you can see what parts of the ship are recently upgraded, and what parts not. In our cabin, the bathroom and tv were in need of replacement. But it was clean. Spacious enough. Friendly staff. We ate only in the lido buffet, which was fine, but not really good or special. Most food is very fat (much oil is used) and unhealthy. I am actually a vegan, but that was very, very hard during this cruise. The entertainment was not really meant for our age. Soms things were fun, but most entertainment was for older people. There were some events for the holidays, like Santa's arrival and the lighting of the Christmas tree. The new years party was the most boring and strange party we ever went to in our lives. Not really a party at all. For holiday festivities I would not recommend this cruise. We did like the band the Runaround kids. We stayed in Buenos Aires a few days before the cruise. There is enough to do and see there. We took our time to visit the different parts of the city and took a train to the tigre delta, before we went on the cruise. The first port was Montevideo. We walked on our own trough Montevideo, a city we liked more then Buenos Aires. In the next ports we did a few shore excursions trough HAL, they were all good. Groups were not too big. We did see a lot of nature and animals, which for us was the reason we booked the tour. Peninsula Valdes & San Lorenzo, to see the Magellanic penguins. We also booked the Rockhopper penguins at the Falklands and a wildlife cruise trough the beagle channel at Ushuaia. The ports in Chile were not that interesting, but it was nice to get off the ship and walk around the towns. In Punta Arenas the free bus to the city center is a long wait, they are not arranged by HAL but by the city itself. Only 2 buses for the ship. We walked around in the city center and went to the cemetery there. In Puerto Chacabucco we walked around to see the dogs in town, there are a lot of dogs there. Not much else to do tough. We did skip Puerto Montt on this cruise, because of bad weather. We arrived in San Antonio a day earlier because of that. We went to the fish market there to see the sea lions, but it's very smelly and there are a lot of sea gulls (that sh*t on you). We did self embarkation, we took our own bags of the ship. That was very fast and easy. After the cruise we took a public (pullman) bus to Santiago, to continue our travels trough Chile over land. The bus had an extra stop at the cruise terminal, so it was easy to find. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Chose this cruise on a whim, as we saw an advertisement from a consolidator, contacted our agent to see what she could do, and then jumped. It gave me bragging rights, whatever that means, to say I was on all seven continents before I ... Read More
Chose this cruise on a whim, as we saw an advertisement from a consolidator, contacted our agent to see what she could do, and then jumped. It gave me bragging rights, whatever that means, to say I was on all seven continents before I turned 70. (Okay, I didn't 'touch' Antarctica, but it touched me, so close enough.) We also had kids who had other plans for Christmas so we were free to travel. We flew into Buenos Aires a couple days early and explored. I suggest this because of the long flight from the US, particularly the Pacific Northwest. We stayed in the city so were able to walk to the Recoleta area, a ten minute cab ride to the ship. The cemetery where Eva Peron was buried was a highlight, as was the Teatro Colon'. Great walking city, with some taxi work. Enjoyed Buenos Aires, knew nothing about the rest of the itinerary except Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, but was willing to learn. And learn we did. This cruise is an education, with loads of lectures from specialists. The ports are touch and go because of the weather, as is the route in the Antarctica, so for totally uptight, obsessed with "what I was told" folks might want to rethink this. Montevideo, Uruguay is a large, poor city that gives an interesting counterpoint to Buenos Aires. Puerto Madryn had an amazing boardwalk, so it was a great Sunday stroll, watching the locals play on a beautiful beach. Stanley, in the Falklands, was a reminder that wars are occasionally fought for stupid reasons. This bleak, but beautiful bunch of small islands, was a great visit and our first penguin experience. From there it was six days at sea, one to Antarctica, four in Antarctica, one back to South America. The weather cooperated, which isn't necessarily normal, so we were able to be outside, watching ice flows, animals, wind, water, and all the rest. We had to adjust our route constantly so our experience will not necessarily the same for others. We dreaded Drake Passage, but it wasn't bad. The other ports, Ushuaia, Puenta Arenas, Chacabuco, and Castro were small, unique, and really needed one to take an excursion. We missed Puerto Montt because of weather, arriving at Santiago early. HAL did a great job of adjusting and taking precautions, so it was all good. The dining room was exceptional. We enjoyed the entertainment, both around the ship and on the main stage. Scheduling that must be a nightmare as opinions vary so much. We spent most of our time in the Mix bar listening to Dan, the piano man. The Lido was fine, not a real buffet fan, but the Asian food and the salad bar were exceptional. Omelettes to order are not to be missed. We were comped a meal at the Canaletto, one of the upscale restaurants, and we were not that impressed. It was fine, but not if we were paying. In fact, we turned down another comp meal there as we preferred the Main Dining Room, mostly because of our wonderful server, Eka and his crew. Actually the crew is the highlight. Our dining room group was amazing as were our four cabin stewards (yes, four-to be explained). Our one negative would be our room, actually an issue with the room and the initial way in which the problem was handled. We ended up moving half way through the cruise, which worked out, but we felt it would not have been necessary if words moved to action, rather than just being words. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My wife loves cruises; this was our 4th cruise this year (Oceania, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Holland America). We enjoyed this cruise the most— largely because of the destinations. The lake regions of Chile and Argentina are ... Read More
My wife loves cruises; this was our 4th cruise this year (Oceania, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Holland America). We enjoyed this cruise the most— largely because of the destinations. The lake regions of Chile and Argentina are spectacular and going around the Horn was a treat. Buenos Aires and Montevideo are beautiful, interesting cities. We enjoyed seeing the penguins on the Falkland Islands. We arranged our own tours, which saved us a lot of money and gave us more flexibility. At each stop, I negotiated with taxi drivers to take us where we wanted to go. Well worth the effort. The food and service were excellent. We bought the drink package, which was cheaper than other companies. We ate at each of the specialty restaurants, but they weren’t any better than the main dining room. The baked goods were superb. I loved the breakfast buffet. The room was the only negative. I thought we were getting a mini suite but got an ordinary balcony room. The rooms were small and dated— one electrical outlet, a poor quality small TV, and a DVD player. Most people on this cruise were old and use CPAP machines. It was impossible to run the CPAP, phone charger, and DVD player. Every one of the DVDs we checked out were scratched and worn. The Internet was expensive and almost worthless. Other ships are much better. The casino borders on crooked. I like to play video poker. Their machines have the worst odds possible (6-5 machine)and automatically switch to the highest bet possible. I complained, but the casino manager was arrogant and condescending. The service, ports, food, and bar service was terrific. They more than made up for the dated room, lousy internet, and dreadful casino. I recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
One star for Lincoln Center Stage and One more for our waiters and cabin steward, I'm behind generous. We chose this 30 day itinerary, round trip Fort Lauderdale, because we were anxious to sail on the Amazon River in Brazil and ... Read More
One star for Lincoln Center Stage and One more for our waiters and cabin steward, I'm behind generous. We chose this 30 day itinerary, round trip Fort Lauderdale, because we were anxious to sail on the Amazon River in Brazil and see the towns and villages that were scheduled. As always I'll try to indicate the good points and not so good experiences so you can make your own decisions as to what might matter to you. The good points were very few: > Lincoln Center Stage was a home run and became the one on board offering that we enjoyed whenever they played. Flawless. > The evening meal in the MDR was very good with both food and service meeting our expectations. We enjoyed late seating and were very lucky with our wait staff. We enjoy wine with meals, bought two different wine packages that were OK but quite expensive for what you got. Sadly, that wraps up the positives, If you book, choose your cabin carefully. We took a cabin on deck three (promenade). The mornings were very noisy with crew moving deck chairs. I didn't love the lack of privacy on that deck. My fault in not thinking through my decision. They were not successful in many ways: > If you enjoy dancing you need to bear in mind that there is only one very small dance floor on the entire ship, in the Ocean Bar. The trio will be playing mostly foxtrots and waltzes with most music having been written in the 30's through 50's. There is no longer a dance floor in the Crow's New as the floor has been carpeted over and the bandstand removed. > Staying on the topic of music, besides the LCS which was great and the down tempo, pretty boring after 3 days trio, they offer dueling pianos (not our thing). Most importantly they have no "band" at all. The small orchestra that plays on occasion on the Main Stage never entertains anywhere. No band. No live music on the pool deck, ever. Such a waste of space, the Crow's Nest was a ghost town in the evening. Imagine a ship with nowhere to throw a party and no band to play. The "Orange" event in the Ocean Bar was music off a laptop and was far too small to accommodate the ship. > The rumor has always been that HAL caters to an older crowd. I find that to be somewhat exaggerated, they simply act older as the entertainment and daily schedules are so boring. > The buffet was very mediocre with food that was consistantly served at the wrong temperature. The poolside grill produced very ordinary burgers and dogs most often after a wait of 20-30 minutes. Ridiculous. The specialty coffee shop doesn't offer anything to eat (unlike the International Cafe on Princess) and we never, literally never, over 30 days saw them make coffee for anyone that didn't work on the ship. > The evening entertainment was terrible. 2 or 3 three good headliners over the entire cruise. No singers and dancers, no production shows and no energy whatsoever. > The Cruise and Travel Director had one job too many as he was the absolute lowest energy CD we've seen, and we've seen many. The daily activities were a joke. The enrichment programs were very hit and miss with the main speaker as his very strong accent made his, probably interesting lectures, meaningless to us because we simply couldn't understand him. That was a shame. A few things to note that may or may not be specific to this cruise. > The tender operation was the worst we've seen. We gave up twice and stayed on the ship instead of waiting for hours in the cold theater. > The ship ran aground on the river, settling on a sand bar where we sat for eight hours until we got free. As a result we got to that days port after dark, left the next morning at eight (so we missed the port completely) and then, because we stayed overnight we missed the next (once in a lifetime) port as well. The captain took no responsibility for the mishap, blaming the pilots. Very unprofessional in my view. > The excursions were managed terribly. On one occasion, after spending 2.5 hours on a bus and in a city that we were just supposed to drive by (maybe 20 minutes) on route to our overnight in an Eco Lodge, I complained. A HAL employee on the excursion told me if I wanted to get off the bus we could leave, get to the ship on our own (in a very third world, unsafe environment) and as far as the $1300 we paid, I could discuss that when I got back.. We chose to continue but the point is that we did not feel well taken care off, we didn't get we bought and our safety seemed irrelevant. > Aside from our steward and waiters the crew was grim, literally grim. I suspect they felt as I did that not much more could go wrong. There's probably more to say but I'll leave it here with the following summary. Dancers beware, if you like uptempo music beware, if you relish a good evening in the theater beware, if you're booking a trip with tender stops beware, if you enjoy some energy throughout the ship beware, if you like a live band that plays rock and roll, disco, latin music beware. Imagine a cruise where they didn't have the capacity to sing the corny songs like YMCA or Last Dance. If you like going to your cabin after dinner to watch a movie, this is the ship for you. Just my humble opinion. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Cruise selected based on the itinerary. We had 2 issues that we escalated to guest services and were made to feel they did not care at all. Our cabin was hot and after technician checked and temperature was 22.9 Celcius,. i was told by ... Read More
Cruise selected based on the itinerary. We had 2 issues that we escalated to guest services and were made to feel they did not care at all. Our cabin was hot and after technician checked and temperature was 22.9 Celcius,. i was told by Guest Services, they could do nothing andthere were no other cabins to move. it was a blatant lie, I know this because due to flooding of several cabins later in the cruise people were relocated. After 4 nights of no sleep due to the heat I went back to Guest Services requesting a fan. We were provided with a fan, put it on and went to bed, at 12:45 that night the fan shorted and filled the cabin with smoke. Luckily I'm a light sleeper and woke up. The fire alarm nor sprinkler alerted us. I called Guest Services to report this and they showed no concern. We reported this in writing to the Hotel Director and recieved no acknowledgement of our issue. Our second issue relates to what is published in the Quench Beverage Package and what is actually available on board. basically there is a misrepresentation of the product. This issue was supposedly escalated to the HAL Coorpration. It took over 10 days and many follow ups by us with Guest Services and F&B department and we failed to get the package purchased and advertised online. Guest Services continually blocked any escalation of these 2 issues. Based on this experience, lack of activities and enthusiasm from cruise director and his offsider running activities, lots of food but either often cold, if eating in the dining room, or dry and overcooked in the Lido. We will never cruise with HAL again. In discussion with many other passengers, we are not alone with our opinion. We have done over 20 cruises, this was our 3rd cruise in 8 weeks, 1 with Royal Carribbean and the other with Princess, both cruise companies offered outstanding customer service, activities, food and fun. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Having read fellow travellers reviews, I wanted to provide our opinion following our South America trip recently. Ship The Zaandam ship is on the small side by today’s standards (1400 passengers) but that does mean you do get to ... Read More
Having read fellow travellers reviews, I wanted to provide our opinion following our South America trip recently. Ship The Zaandam ship is on the small side by today’s standards (1400 passengers) but that does mean you do get to know the staff and fellow cruisers. The ship was well maintained, clean and comfortable. We opted for an outside cabin, mid ships, on the main deck due to the sailing around Cape Horn. We had good weather on the day itself but were glad of our cabin position as the sea still had considerable sized waves and motion. Even with good weather there was still quite a lot of movement so I would recommend thinking about your cabin position for this route. The cabin was comfortable with plenty of storage space even for 16 nights. The bathroom in our cabin had been updated and include a walk in shower which is much better than the small baths that used to be in the bathrooms. One very small niggle in the cabin is that the light switches are in the middle of the headboard and so every time you lean back to relax and read on the bed you end up turning the lights on/off. In our experience HAL are not “party ships” and so there are no real themed parties and most nights see guests in bed by 10.30pm. This suited us as we were able to wake early for some lovely scenery and sunrises. We would have liked more information on our surroundings, wildlife and history. As the ship is small the cruise director doubled as the travel director and he did provide some commentary on the scenic cruising but it would have been good to have had an expert lecturer on board. Dining We ate breakfast in the dining room on sea days ( it opens a bit too late on port days for us as we like to be out and about early) The menu does not vary year to year, but the quality is still excellent and the staff are more than happy to make a few tweaks if you want to mix and match some options. For lunch we used the salad bar and Asian bar in the Lido which were both superb. There were mandarin segments, nuts, seeds, dried cherries etc...on the salad bar which you don’t often see on other cruise lines. The Asian bar had a varied choice each day. Even if you are not generally a fan, I would suggest you try it. The ice cream was also consistently excellent as was the fresh fruit counter. Dinner for us was in the dining room, late seating. The food and service were great and the cellar master really helped us make some great choices from even the cheapest wine package. We thought the dining room evening food was some of the best we’ve ever experienced and a chef was round most nights to check we we happy, asking for what dishes we’d enjoyed and what we might like to see again. We had a table for 2 and my only real moan of the trip was that our table was near the entrance .There were a large group of guests with a travel company on our sailing who always arrived late (some nights up to 45 minutes) and they were chaperoned in by their tour guides as they arrived. This meant the waiters were trying to work as these guests arriving which created a bottleneck right next to our table and it was impossible to relax. We had a word with the Maitre D and on night 4 we were moved to another table. Once moved we really enjoyed our evenings in there. We were asked most Breakfast, lunch and dinner times if we wanted to try the Specialty Dining. One lunch time we were asked 3 times by three different waiters. The cruise director also started some of his announcements with an advert for it and it did get rather tiresome. I am sure it is lovely but we were more than happy with the dining room food and could not see the benefit of paying to eat elsewhere. It is also the most expensive speciailty dining we have seen, especially when the pound is weak against the dollar. Tours Apart from an independent tour in Rio we used the Shore Excursions for the whole cruise. I prefer to know they are then responsible for getting us back to the ship/next port etc.. We were specifically warned about a recent spike in tourism petty crime and to dress down, no jewellery etc...We found being in a group felt much safer and allowed my husband to take his large camera as opposed to being concerned about having it stolen and leaving it behind. In Rio, There were police cars at the entrance to our hotel so we were pleased we had an independent tour organised there. We’d booked the whole holiday with Holland America and the Sheraton was the only hotel we were offered. It has a lovely beach but also has a large slum area quite near so we were encouraged not to venture out on our own, especially at night. We had flown in one day earlier and booked a day trip with Viator which took in all the main highlights with a BBQ lunch. Once onboard, In Santos we just used the free shuttle into the town to a mall ( we didn’t fancy any of the trips there) you could then taxi around from there if you wanted to. I found it the most low key of all the stops. A tour may of helped that day as the Port is very industrial and you cannot really walk into the town. In Buenos Airies the highlights tour was terrific. We visited the cemetery where Eva Perone is buried and it is a quite beautiful cemetery which was very unexpected. In Montevideo we did the highlights tour which again was great, And from Montevideo onwards we felt much safer. If you are interested in penguins or real off-roading, I would recommend the trip to Volunteer point in the Falklands. It’s a long day. 30 minute tender, 1 hour on good road, 1.5 hours “off road” but the penguin colony is such a privilege to see. It’s the largest outside of Antarctic and watching the King Penguins enjoying the sea and beach was amazing. You can get quite close to them ( 6 meters is allowed) but they will then approach you as they are very curious. We saw Kings, Gentoos and Mangellec with lots of birds too. it was one of the highlights of the whole trip for us. In Ushuaia we visited the National Park, good wether prevailed and the scenery was lovely. Later that day we cruised Glacier Alley with the cruise ship and the scenery is spectacular. It outdid Norway, Alaska and New Zealand for us. The weather makes such a difference on this tour, we were lucky but the staff told us that the previous sailing had poor visibility in Ushuaia and a tough sailing around the Horn, which is not unusual and sick bags are provided in the cabins. In Punto Arenas we did a chairlift ride and a trek which was a pleasant morning and again sunshine helped. In Puerto Montt we visited the cascades, Orsono Volcano (but no view due to cloud cover) and Puerto Varas. The volcano did become partly visible late afternoon which we could see from the ship. It’s 90 mins to the cascades and Puerto Varas is a small town. It got us off the ship but I’m not sure I’d choose this tour if I had my time over. All towns in Chile are experiencing evening riots and so lots of shop windows are boarded over which gives a rather depressing look to the towns at the moment. Staff The waiters got to know us, remembered our names and our nightly drinks/fruit juice preference orders at breakfast which was impressive. The crew show was funny too. The ships photographers seem intent on getting a picture with other cruisers in the background/gangways etc...I suggested that a spot with a nicer backdrop might help encourage a few more guests to have a picture but he told me their job was hard enough getting people to stop for a picture. Usual high pressure sales culture in the Spa. I always avoid these now but had to get a nail repaired during the trip. Some eye cream was put on without me asking as a “complimentary treatment” which of course leads to them telling you how much difference it makes ( it didn’t) and despite me saying “no“ to a foot spray, I was given one and charged for it so I had to get the bill amended before I left. I’ve provided feedback many times, but this sales technique must work as it’s never changed. Shows All the shows were enjoyable that we saw ( we missed out a couple) My experience is that HAL don’t spend the same amount on their shows as other cruise companies but the quality of food is better so it depends what your own preference is. There was a classical group, a jazz type quartet and a pianist. Due to our dining times, we just watched the late show each evening. Gym Reasonable amount of equipment but the free classes were heaving. I only did one and found it too cramped so I decided to walk on deck instead. Overall for us a great cruise. Undoubtedly the weather played a massive part in our enjoyment. We enjoyed the Zandaam and would definitely cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to get a first impression of South America and go round Cape Horn. It was also one of the few cruises that took in Rio de Janeiro too. What was good 1. The captain was very good and, to my ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to get a first impression of South America and go round Cape Horn. It was also one of the few cruises that took in Rio de Janeiro too. What was good 1. The captain was very good and, to my mind, made the right decision to leave out Puerto Montt becuase of the bad weather and so try and get ahead of even worse weather. 2. Kevin, the entertainment director from Buenos Aires was also very good. What was bad 1. The ship's target audience is obviously the 80+. Entertainment for younger people was virutally non-existent. We were totally bored on the many sea days. Too many of the things on offer were about health issues. We had the feeling we were in a sanatorium rather than on a holiday cruise. 2. The food was not good. I love fish and, apart from salmon and the fish offered on the Asian stand that was always in some kind of sauce, all the fish was in batter or breadcrumbs and overcooked. One day they had fresh tuna in the dining room so I ordered it rare. It came totally cooked to hell and not a sign of a pink colour. Awful. In general I would say that the quality of the meat and fish was good but it was cooked badly. What a shame! The desserts also had too much sugar in them. 3. The staff in the jewellery shops were too pushy for Europeans. I love jewellery and regularly buy pieces on holiday. This time I was looking for something for our daughter's birthday. On the first evening I looked at some of the window display cases but every time I stopped to look, I was pounced on by a salesman who wanted to get something out and work out the price and make me an offer. This happened 5 times in succession and so I left. They didn't understand the phrase "I'm just looking". Three days later I tried again and the experience was the same so I left it. HAL you lost a sale because I actually loved your jewellery. 4. The tender tickets for the Falkland Islands were only available to queue for on the day we arrived there from 8 a.m. onwards despite the fact that the day before was a sea day and everybody could easily have queued then. This meant that some people not on HAL excursions got off the ship late and had not enough time on the Falklands. The whole process could have been organised better. 5. The prices of the drinks were too high as were the prices for the excursions. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is by far the worst cruise line I have ever sailed with. It was like travelling on a free holiday where you have to go to a few lectures about time share apartments and be sold the whole story about buying into it, except that this ... Read More
This is by far the worst cruise line I have ever sailed with. It was like travelling on a free holiday where you have to go to a few lectures about time share apartments and be sold the whole story about buying into it, except that this holiday wasn't free and you couldn't get away from it. I wasn't alone in my thinking either as there were so many agreived passengers on board that it was ridiculous. Managers would come around the tables in the evening trying to persuade you to go to the specialist restaurants on board - extra cost. Food at the standard restaurant was mediocre - same things over and over. This was I assume to make you want to cave in and go to the Specialist restaurants. If you've ever been on a Cunard cruise you will realise that it doesn't have to be like this to get decent food on board included. Waiters always offered you bottled water - pay more. After dinner 'would you like a cappuccino'- pay more. (Standard coffee was free). This takes us on to the other annoying thing. There was almost nothing to do on board. The quality of entertainment was poor. The first performer summed it up, advertised as America's best unknown comedian and talks during the day were almost 100% biased towards selling something - come and learn about dancing diamonds - oh now we have a 60% sale on. How irritating! During the trip I wanted 3 shirts laundered - oh yes sir we have a package for laundry. Let's see, unlimited laundry on 16 day cruise that's over $100. But I only wanted 3 shirts done.... A lady wanted a lipstick -, sorry mam we only sell them in packs of 3 - $100 'Next destination' talks were only held once on the main stage area which was small and held around a third of the passengers who, naturally all wanted to go. Films shown in the theatre were only held once in a small theatre. We decided to go to learn the Tango - held on a tiny dance floor of one of the bars. About 30 wanted to go but it was so ridiculous that we gave up. I could go on and on. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Having been on the Zaandam in January 2018 and been very impressed with the ship and its amenities, I chose this cruise for the chance to be on her again and to transit the Panama Canal again with stops in South America. ... Read More
Having been on the Zaandam in January 2018 and been very impressed with the ship and its amenities, I chose this cruise for the chance to be on her again and to transit the Panama Canal again with stops in South America. Embarkation/debarkation: As always, HAL did these impeccably for a mass market cruise line. Both were a breeze and I was onboard for a nice lunch in the MDR in minutes. The guarantee that one's cabin will be ready when boarding is a nice touch. The ship: The Zaandam is a nice sized ship and is easy to get around. The public rooms and walkways have been left as they were intended when the ship was built. It has a real, wide, walk-around promenade deck: a large library space even though few books; wide internal hallways; excellent, easy to read signage. It was well maintained. The cabin: I had a standard verandah cabin in the aft part of the ship, It was a very good size with many more closets and drawers than I could use. The beds were comfortable and I had the best pillows I have ever had on a cruise ship in my 44 years of cruising. The furniture and bathroom had been refurbished and the floor coverings were new. The verandah furniture was new and very nice, with a foot stool. The dining: The food in the MDR has definitely taken a downturn since my prior cruise. The appetizers, soups, vegetables, and desserts were good. They managed to overcook all the fish. The only good fish we had was fresh tuna brought on in Ecuador and prepared seared on the outside and rare on the inside, the correct way to cook it. I skipped the meat. We were in some of the best South American fishing grounds and some of the best wine countries in the world; they should have been bringing on local foods and wines in every port. The entertainment and activities: The shows done by the production cast of singers and dancers were all very good. Some of the contract performers were also good. In general, nothing was too loud; I hate sitting through performances with my fingers in my ears and only had to do it once on this cruise. There was always live music in multiple venues in the evening. The only underused space was the Crow's Nest, where there should have been a ballroom dance ensemble all evening. There were two enrichment lecturers who were excellent. One was a flora and fauna specialist and also did a very good talk on the Galapagos. The other was a specialist in South America, particularly the music and dance. HAL has chosen to combine the cruise director position with the EXC or port lecturer position. In general, this is a mistake since the cruise directors aren't knowledgeable enough to do it. However, we lucked out -- our cruise director had been an EXC manager. He did very good presentations on the ports. The service: I had excellent room stewards. They were efficient, personable and attentive; and they fulfilled every request I had. The first two nights in the MDR, there was a general service issue; it was corrected by the third night. I had early fixed seating and had excellent waiters and wine steward. The service at breakfast and lunch in the MDR was always limited and slow. I only used the Lido buffet a couple of times and found it to be well laid out and well supplied with a variety of foods. The ice cream was exceptional everywhere. As always, I attribute the food service issues to staff cutbacks. As always, the Guest Relations representatives were less than helpful. They have few problem solving skills and no authority to fix anything. Up until the last night, I actually thought I was going to experience a first for all my HAL cruises -- no error on my onboard statement. Alas, it was not to be. When the error was pointed out to the GR rep, she agreed that it should be removed from my final bill before I left the ship; but, of course, it was not. I had to take it up with the corporate office and still don't have my refund. If a request is made in the initial booking for a twin bed cabin configuration, why is this not transmitted to the cabin steward? If the embarkation day's program is supposed to be distributed at check-in, why isn't it? With this many sea days, a passenger book exchange must be provided and properly promoted and labelled. The Canal: I had done the full transit from Ft. Lauderdale to Santiago once before on Celebrity and chose this cruise because it was a similar itinerary. The Canal is endlessly fascinating. Unfortunately the Canal guide provided to the ship was not very informative; we certainly learned nothing about the ships we were seeing, their cargoes, the new canal, the flora and fauna around us. In addition to the provided Canal guide, Celebrity had an enrichment lecturer who did talks about the canal before we got there and did an extensive and informative narrative while we were in the canal. I was expecting the same from HAL and was disappointed. The ports and shore excursions: The first port was Aruba; there are many better ones in the Caribbean that could have been chosen. In South America, all the ports are working ports and require special transportation; it was provided at no charge which was quite nice. I thought all the ports were worth a visit -- Fuerte Amador, Panama; Manta, Ecuador; Trujillo, Lima, and Pisco, Peru. We had to skip Coquimbo, Chile, due to civil unrest. I would highly recommend that the cruise line find another termination port than Santiago. The airline flights from this port are not until late in the evening; the air lines do not open their check-in desks until about three hours before flights; there is no comfortable place to wait in the airport with one's luggage; HAL does not provide a day room in a hotel or at the airport for those who are waiting. This requires an expensive all day shore excursion to be purchased. HAL has really upped its game on shore excursions. In many ports, food and wine focused excursions were offered. I took them all and they were excellent. I read the HAL online shore excursion descriptions, make my decisions based on them, and purchase them before leaving home. For the most part, the excursions as executed were exactly as described. This does not always happen with cruise lines and I expect a refund when it does not. Miscellaneous comments: Approaching Chile, there was a great deal of concern about ongoing civil unrest. I felt that HAL and the captain handled this well and I felt safe with their decisions. The captain kept us well-informed. Indeed, there was a contingency plan in place in case we needed to remain on the ship and disembark in Argentina. If there was ever a time I was glad that I had purchased my air and transfer arrangements from HAL. I felt comfortable in the thought that they would take care of me in this event. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Why? The Itenary A not so common one, long and much to see. Done out of Europe, by a German travel office: Berge und Meer Yes we know it's an old ship wich had the atmosphere of faded grandeur But the compagny ... Read More
Why? The Itenary A not so common one, long and much to see. Done out of Europe, by a German travel office: Berge und Meer Yes we know it's an old ship wich had the atmosphere of faded grandeur But the compagny plays it all very poche, a bit pathetic... This was our 23rd cruise, and the first with HAL. There was a cabin on the promenade deck confirmed by the HAL 5 months in advance. However, 5 days before this was moved to a so-called upgrade, I was not happy with that. after complaining seems nobody could change it any more. cabin 6100 was a terrible loft, I could not get up straight from bed, the desk was unusable and the layout unlogical, curtains had to be closed with Velcro tape. In the afternoon was no sleep possible, 2x 1.5 hours were practiced with the music, so noise, in the evening, 2x1.5 hours the performance, again noise till 22.00 hour and sometimes from 00.00 hour to 2.00 hour practice with the staff presentation for a few hours. After difficult reaching the hotel director, (permanently protected by guest service employees), I got the cabin that was originally promised after a week by grace. Incidentally, with that rediculous small bathtub it is difficult to shower, you cannot take a shower over you, but shower against you. Later I got out of the bath and fell because I had the handle in my hand, it was not stuck in the wall, the next day it was screwed in another place in the wall. Evening meals were good, but monotonous, and not always in accordance with what was on the menu (but that happens with more ships; drinks were extremele expensive. Breakfast and lunch in Lido and restaurants were exellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My experience was not good. They don’t maintain there ships, issues with hot water and air. Needed a vacation from my vacation. I could sleep through the night on any night due to it being hot. Meat was undercooked, my husband likes ... Read More
My experience was not good. They don’t maintain there ships, issues with hot water and air. Needed a vacation from my vacation. I could sleep through the night on any night due to it being hot. Meat was undercooked, my husband likes rare but even he said it raw. Served luck warm and sent back several times. Sell excursions under false pretenses as they said Mira Flores locks were busy and we would most likely see a ship go through. Tour guide said no ships go through 9-3 and all cruise lines know this. Internet very slow and down a couple of days after I payed a lot for it. Guest relations just kept making excuses “it’s hot outside that’s why air does feel good. Paid for a massage and didn’t enjoy it cause it was so hot from no air!!!! Will never go on this ship again. Same activities everyday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I think I should start with what I did like. The new (i had not seen these before) hand wash system in place and the covers over the dining selection in the Lido dining room. Its a pity that guests do not adhere to using these and it is ... Read More
I think I should start with what I did like. The new (i had not seen these before) hand wash system in place and the covers over the dining selection in the Lido dining room. Its a pity that guests do not adhere to using these and it is not monitored by staff. Only one sanitiser as you come out of the lift and again not many use this either before going to the food counters. I think the comedian on board hit the nail on the head when he said that these things are done to stop guests getting infected and ill. I saw guests drinking the juice from the breakfast selection and leave the now dirty glass on the counter in front. Another leaning on the glass covers on the section making the rolls up, Guests filling water bottles direct by placing bottle inside the dispenser instead of filling a glass and pouring into bottle. Bowls of apricots and nuts etc removed completely from the cabinet when there are spoons to use in each bowl. Guest could not work the tongs on the cold meats and sliced cheese counter so proceeded to hand pick her slices with her hands. The Café a guest took of his hat and placed it on the counter while waiting for his coffee. I think I will leave that there but every day at least once I witnessed something that made me question where are the staff as I challenged on 2 occasions only for the guests to flare up and get angry with me. I did get a stateroom change as 1962 was very noisy and I couldn't get decent sleep. Started usually around 4am to am due to engines and propellers side thrusts when docking. Not recommended. Too many trips down to guest services regarding laundry, I had paid for unlimited laundry package but still had this put this on my bill 3 times and I had to go to guest services to get it removed. Drinks put on my bill in the dining room that I did not have (although) this was removed before I saw it on my bill. Easter came and went with no recognition apart from hot cross bus offered in the bread roll selection in main dining room and 2 mini choc eggs left on the bed instead of squares. No entertainment in the theatre on Easter Saturday and very limited bars. I asked Michael the travel agent on board why no show etc and was told it was because we had 2 late departures and this very often happens? So we went out ashore in the evening but because it was Easter everything closed between 4pm and 8pm so we went back to the ship.We had 20 nights on boad and the Zaanda singers and dancers were only on 4 times? We are booked on the Westerdam in October (this was booked before we had cruised with Holland America) so I asked Michael for some information while we were on board as he said he had just joined Zaandam after 6 months on Westerdam. He told me couldn't help me as I did not have my booking reference with me. I am sure had I been going to book he would have been more helpful. Drinks are quite expensive. Ran out of IPA (bottled craft beer) 7. but not available.7.25 and 7.5 volume too strong for the average drinker. Hand pump for boddingtons . Rekordling cider ran out in Crowes nest. One day of rain and water was leaking through the ceilings into the Lido dining and through a light fitting outside the toilets and Crowes Nest bar. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Choose this cruise for the itinery and appeared good value. Cabin fine we choose interior and are happy lots of storage. The itinery was good and we saw lots the highlight was transitting the Panama canal AWESOME. Yes there were senior ... Read More
Choose this cruise for the itinery and appeared good value. Cabin fine we choose interior and are happy lots of storage. The itinery was good and we saw lots the highlight was transitting the Panama canal AWESOME. Yes there were senior passengers on board but we were treated as aged and any entertainment past 9.30 pm was considered to be a disturbance to those asleep in bed according to the entertainment Director Tino We asked for 50s 60s night party told NO we asked to change music on lido deck which was on a loop and told NO asked to have an announcement when crossing the Equator and told NO after going through Panama canal no cheers no horns no nothing. Even Easter Sunday passed without any acknowledgement. Easter Monday late bought round some trays of chocolate. All passengers I spoke to English some USA and Australians said they were bored had never read so many books on holiday or been in bed so early. The Captain sails the ship the engineer keeps the ship going the chef feeds the passengers. The Entertainment director and assistant should keep the passengers happy and entertained well it didn't happen 4 shows from cast in 21 days hardley ever saw the entertainment Director no people skills bad jokes telling us to take clothes from people's cases left in corridor night before departure !!!!!. Very inexperienced person did not know the passengers feelings never asked how things were? Deputy Erica needs to change her job not happy does not speak or acknowledge passengers is not part of the team that makes the ship work. Some people had been like us on many cruises 5 plus and could not believe the lack of entertainment on offer. No sail away parties and the disco should be closed and used for something else. Very sad to be writing this as had high hopes for this cruise the itinery saved the day. And finally the main entertainment areas were freezing main stage theatre wajang theatre, Dining room, people got colds coughs and All the throat sweets were sold out. We would sit in the main stage theatre with body warmers on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We recently travelled on the zaadam for three weeks although we enjoyed the cruise It was spoilt by the lack of entertainment at night, not much going on in the day either, no sail away parties, no fun around the pools, the ship was like ... Read More
We recently travelled on the zaadam for three weeks although we enjoyed the cruise It was spoilt by the lack of entertainment at night, not much going on in the day either, no sail away parties, no fun around the pools, the ship was like an old folks home! We are entering our 70's but that does not mean that we want to be in bed by 10pm. The ship was like the Marie Celeste after dinner. There were 4 shows with the ships singers and dancers in 20 nights, the only time we saw them after this was eating, other ship we have sailed on we have seen the dancers taking part in the daytime activities, what a job they have 4 shows in 20 nights. Our evening entertainment one evening was the blue planet which has been on TVs at home it was a pleasant hour as the ships band accompanied the action on the screen. We tried the disco on several occasions only to find Erica propping up the bar with her iPad there was no acknowledgement that we were there which seemed a little rude as there were of six other people, she made no mention of what she was going to play just touched the iPad screen. The one evening we stayed in the disco until 12 midnight with four other people only to find the bar staff closed the bar switched off the lights and said goodnight! The ship was very cold in the public areas, deck 4 & 5 and particularly the theatre were guest were wearing body warmers, cardigans, shawls and jumpers, when I complained to an Officer I was told that it would get warmer closer to the equator, it didn't. Surely in would be in Holland Americas interest to have guest staying in the bars and discos longer rather than most people being in bed by 10pm . Will we travel with them again very doubtful it would have to be an exceptional itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a tailor made holiday to Brazil and ended with the cruise from Bueno Aries to Santiago. The facilities were fine. Food in buffet was excellant but in restaurant I was underwhelmed. Tendering was a shambles. Missed my private ... Read More
This was a tailor made holiday to Brazil and ended with the cruise from Bueno Aries to Santiago. The facilities were fine. Food in buffet was excellant but in restaurant I was underwhelmed. Tendering was a shambles. Missed my private pre booked trip because the steward would not allow me off the ship although I explained I needed to leave to meet my tour. Even when I booked a ship tour I had to ask permission to leave to make tour. Also price of tours are now so expensive . Not good value. Entertainment on main stage was O.K. Some shows were excellant ,others were not suitable for the main entertainment. Staff were friendly but there was not many on dockside to help when going ashore for trips. This was my second cruise with Holland America , I chose them because last cruise I was very happy with them. This time I felt the standard had fallen slightly, However I would cruise with them again if cruise itinerary was what I required Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The ship was badly affected by what can only be described as the Holland America cost cutting strategy. This was evident everywhere on the ship and throughout the 34 day cruise. The main restaurant should be the main attraction of any ... Read More
The ship was badly affected by what can only be described as the Holland America cost cutting strategy. This was evident everywhere on the ship and throughout the 34 day cruise. The main restaurant should be the main attraction of any cruise ship, this was our 22nd cruise on various cruise lines and ships and our worst possible main restaurant experience by far. The plates were very nice, but night after night no variation in the menus, "no taste", too often "rice" or mashed potato", mass catering vegetables, nearly always cold, very small portions. Service was always good, but what value is good service when dinner each evening and also gala evenings, was such a disappointment. We therefore moved to the Lido Buffet on deck 8, which was always much better and very often the same selection of food available as in the main restaurant. It was no surprise the main restaurant was often half empty. One niggle at the Lido Buffet, breakfast, lunch and dinner was the frequency of "crew and staff" sitting 1 or 2 persons for a table of 4 or 6, when passengers could not find tables which were free. Reduced service staff at the Lido also caused tables not to be cleared and cleaned, leaving passengers "waiting" for a clean table, Bar service was almost non-existent due to not enough Bar staff, again a result of cost cutting. Bars are normally a profit center so why not enough service staff? Bar and restaurant Service" was generally excellent and so very friendly, the service staff could not do enough for you. But in some areas and at certain time there were not enough service staff, again a clear indication of cost cutting. Entertainment - The main theater dancers and singers were an exceptionally good and very talented team, the theater band was also of the highest quantity. But outside the theater entertainment was also non-existent. The quality of music around the ship was poor, HAL get what they pay for, but why should cruise passengers who pay high prices have the quality of their vacation reduced because of cost cutting in the entertainment area. After about 21:00 hours each evening it seemed like HAL wanted passengers in bed so as to save money on entertainment. The Crow's Nest was almost empty every night, there was no dance band. The "singer" each evening in the Ocean Bar lounge was like a "sleeping tablet". Music at the Lido and Sear View bars was the same day after day. Excursions - Far too expensive and did not fully provide value for money. In future we will book in advance our own private tours, for a cost 60 - 70% lower. It was also very noticeable the HAL staff organizing the tour departures out of the theater and off the ship, were not in any way identified with the Holland America brand. We liked the Zaandam very much as a medium size, passenger friendly, easy to find your way around, very comfortable cruise ship, but we were very disappointed and disturbed by the effects of cost cutting, an awful main restaurant where only "the plates were nice", poor entertainment, over-priced excursions, and our biggest niggle, 15% service charges continually being added to our main cruise invoice. We objected very strongly to the Holland America policy of "15% service charges" being added to Beverage Packages purchased in the Internet. This was in effect an additional 15% "administration charge", because we were also expected to pay 14.50 USD per person per day, which is also stated to be a "service charge", so yes, passengers are being asked to pay double service charges. We went to the reception and insisted that our service charges be reduced to the absolute minimum. Partly because we wanted the 15% internet administration charges refunded and partly because cost cutting has created a quality of service which does not meet our cruise expectations, especially for the price we pay. This does also affect any future purchase decision when we book a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Tried to put new adventure into the cruise life but the main reason was to sail Cspe Horn and see Ushuaua. And..... weather canceled so we went to some backwater ports of little interstate not history. Sad. Do not let yourselves get ... Read More
Tried to put new adventure into the cruise life but the main reason was to sail Cspe Horn and see Ushuaua. And..... weather canceled so we went to some backwater ports of little interstate not history. Sad. Do not let yourselves get booked into cabin 1964. A loud, smelly place really unfit for habitation. Ship was nice for relaxing, cards, stage shows. Happy hours were really necessary to keep the spirits up. Food was amply provided and the variety made for good sets. Guest services was helpful when our room issue was unbearable. Made many acquaintances on the cruise which helped us deal with missing the 2 key planned highlights. Room 1833 was available and a much better quality than that other nightmare. Lots of people caught the a/c hack and remained for the whole cruise. This critique is more or less to ensure that I save someone from the misery called 1964 Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I wanted to write this review because I saw a number of poor ratings for Holland America and since we had a good experience, I thought it would be fair to write a good one. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were on the Zaandam. ... Read More
I wanted to write this review because I saw a number of poor ratings for Holland America and since we had a good experience, I thought it would be fair to write a good one. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were on the Zaandam. This is a beautiful ship with a musical theme. We liked the baroque organ. We ran into two storms on the Pacific Ocean with 6.5 meter waves and the Captain changed our port of call from Ushuaia to Castro and also gave us the beautiful Brujo glacier. We were good with the decision since it was a bit of a rough ride that day. We had booked mostly private excursions since we like the smaller groups. Except for the tendering ports, all the ports of call on our cruise were well managed. We have travelled with at least 4 other cruise lines and we found the food selection to be good better than some of the others. We liked having less choices but better quality. Cabin crew were good. Enrichment activities were good. Entertainment were okay. Embarkation and Disembarkation were spot on. All in all, we liked Holland America and have already booked another cruise with them on the Westerdam. Hoping to be able to have the same level of service or better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My husband and I had recently a 13 days cruise from San Antonio ,Chile ,crossing Chelian Patagonia,Falkland islands, Montevideo and finally ended in Buenos Aires. The ship was tired and needs to be refubrished, all furnishing equipment ... Read More
My husband and I had recently a 13 days cruise from San Antonio ,Chile ,crossing Chelian Patagonia,Falkland islands, Montevideo and finally ended in Buenos Aires. The ship was tired and needs to be refubrished, all furnishing equipment also. Food in the self service ,Lido deck was monotonous and with limited variety.The quality of food was medium. The same quality was in the Dine In restaurant since the chef and kitchen was the same. During all cruise long we had the sense that everything was under economic restrictions Eg. During our stay we had only one hand soap(!) and only one shower cap(!)The personnel in Lido deck was serving you the quantity of the main course probably for the same reason. Entertainment was very cheap and childish (!) All TV sets in the staterooms were very old fashioned and the programme was limited i.e Only 3 movies per day ,and 3 news stations. Of course there was a video player in the stateroom and you could borrow movies if the player was not out of order!! The Wi Fi was very expensive. We tried to purchase 1 day for 15 $ but with this amount you could be able to see only your facebook and therefore you have to upgrade the quality by adding 10 more US$ ie. totally 25 US$ per day. Last but not least were the alcoholic prices(more expensive) which differed from the price list that we have found in the internet. Finally we have to admit that the whole ship was very clean, also the state rooms,and the public toilets.Embarkation was easy and disembarkation also Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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