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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I liked this itinerary and that's why I chose this cruise. The crew was excellent, as usual, but the HAL ships are falling behind the marketplace. Last year I took six cruise lines in 12 months to check out the state of the art in the ... Read More
I liked this itinerary and that's why I chose this cruise. The crew was excellent, as usual, but the HAL ships are falling behind the marketplace. Last year I took six cruise lines in 12 months to check out the state of the art in the industry. Lines cruised were HAL, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Disney, and Carnival. I have also recently cruised on Celebrity. Holland America appeals to the older, Anglo, traveler, personally I would like more age and ethnic diversity. The Zaandam was very similar in this manner with the older Anglo folks. I took one excursion on the ship which departed nearly an hour and a half after the scheduled departure time, thus I lost time to wander in the port area. Entertainment was very mixed in quality on the Zaandam with only 2 being outstanding. The Wifi arrangement is an embarrassment as it's a system that lacks speed, efficiency, and an affordable price. HAL needs to look at Carnival as a model of having a wifi system that is in the 21st century with fast access to social media and even streaming. Quality has noticeably dropped on HAL (I'm a four star) over the years as the lecturers were weak and basically read their power point presentations to us. Where are the dynamic speakers? The dinner meal options were lacking and seem to be going to lesser cuts of meat and seafood. Breakfast meals were good and seem to be about the same as in the past. Being a four star, I probably would sail on the Zaandam again if the itinerary were of interest. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I had not sailed this portion of coast north of Valpraiso. This trip from San Diego to Valpraiso was changed or diverted from Valprqiso to San Antonio two weeks before us all being willing to npay for decent food by going to a sailing. ... Read More
I had not sailed this portion of coast north of Valpraiso. This trip from San Diego to Valpraiso was changed or diverted from Valprqiso to San Antonio two weeks before us all being willing to npay for decent food by going to a sailing. Many of us had prepaid car and hotel reservations in or near Valpraiso that were non refundable. We spent $150 USD getting backce t way.o our hotel and rental car and Holland America would make no arrangement unless you purchased a $86 excursion to the Santiago Airport. Not Sure why I should have paid as it wasn't my screw-up. The food was mediorcre as we have witnessed the last several years across thee cruise fleet. This was facilitated by going to up-charge restaurants so they could let the food quality decline. So we who use the up charge restaurants. These ports are mostly industrial ports,normally you could visit them only on a freighter cruise. Many excursions from these ports inviolve 2 hour or more bus rides each way. Not much here for any tourist. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
The service was very good and the food was great! Some of the ports were not very nice but it was interesting to see other parts of the world. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff was friendly and well ... Read More
The service was very good and the food was great! Some of the ports were not very nice but it was interesting to see other parts of the world. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff was friendly and well trained.There were great lecturers and also a chaplain for religious services. Shore excursions were well organized and there was a variety of them to choose from. We would definitely go on this cruise again. Really liked the port and sea days being spaced out so well. Would like to have had more time in San Diego, Cabo san Lucas and Victoria, BC. The stops at these ports were not long enough. The weather was great except for the days between San Diego and Victoria. We traveled on the longer cruise of 22 days from Valparaiso (Santiago) to Victoria. Overall the trip was an exceptional balance of city and nature, ports and sea days. :) Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller bedroom. It was pretty cramped but we were not there a lot. The embarkation in Valparaiso was quick and the transfer arranged with HAL from Valparaiso was great, some stops and a good guide. Favorite ports were Coquimbo and Jose de San Martin . Excellent tours that we organized with Ecotours and South American Secrets. The Isla Ballista tour was fantastic! The ship decor is very dated with lots of Venetian style stuff although the signed musical instruments were cool. The small shop was very limited and there is the same old jewellery that gets flogged on every cruise ship. I like the size of the ship and I thought the food was good. Maybe could have spiced up some of the dishes but overall, excellent service in the dining room and the Lido and we always found the food tasty and lots of choices. Trivia seemed to be the activity most popular but by the time we wanted to join in, there was no group to partner with.The musical team of singers and dancers are excellent. We were treated to guest singers as well and a Card Illusionist i guess you would call him that gave a stunning show of aptitude. We attended all of the lectures by the guest Naturalist and appreciated his knowledge. The Captain was interesting with his anecdotes every day. The ship was kept very clean and a big thanks to all of the cleaners and service folks. One unusual thing is there was a cardiac arrest on this ship. Because of the time it took for personnel to arrive it made me wonder why there are not Defibrillators on every floor. I never saw one at all. But maybe that is the case on all of the ships. One staff can then rush to the area and defibrillate if needed quicker than waiting for the whole crew and equipment to trundle along the deck. Just a thought. Disembarkation was smooth and efficient, we left at 0930 so most of the crowd had left. I would recommend this itinerary and this ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
Just to be away from the cold time in Ontario to return home not until spring arrives. We had not been to Peru, and Equador yet which were very nice . We really liked the size of the ship which has a great crew . The archeological ... Read More
Just to be away from the cold time in Ontario to return home not until spring arrives. We had not been to Peru, and Equador yet which were very nice . We really liked the size of the ship which has a great crew . The archeological sites in Peru and Equador were very nice and we loved the South American people . The nature of these countries were also very different from what we had expected it was much dryer and in some places just like a desert . We loved our experiences in Lima a, Trujillo , and the Islas Ballestas were simply amazing . Be careful in big cities like Santiago there seem to be more pick pocket incidents and petty thievery as my wifes purse was slashes and wallet taken even though she was pretty careful . At least there was not a big loss just the inconvenience of replacing cards . Our hotel front office was extremely helpful in contacting credit card companies . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's strength is ... Read More
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's strength is still their staff who were as always very friendly and professional, made up of, you guessed it, Phillipinos and Indonesian crew. The ship officers were not quite as friendly or visible. We were happy to discover that Holland America made arrangements to have a Pastor on Board to have an Easter service which quite a number of passengers took part in. Nathan & Cindy of Dallas, Texas also conducted bible studies on board. Most cruise lines do not look after spiritual needs of the passengers or crew. It was wonderful to see the fresh flowers all over the ship as is Holland's theme. The food and entertainment was very good. We enjoyed our Holland cruise once again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose mainly due to ports of call. Usually we go Celebrity. Comparing Celebrity: younger average age (I read that Hal was trying to get their average age lower), more entertainment (Celebrity has a great Martini bar that is very ... Read More
We chose mainly due to ports of call. Usually we go Celebrity. Comparing Celebrity: younger average age (I read that Hal was trying to get their average age lower), more entertainment (Celebrity has a great Martini bar that is very active before and after dinner and has entertainment on pool deck, in lobby). In nightclub, HAL was very quiet--it only came live when our younger average age group attended but we had to educate the DJ. Live band in nightclub only 2 nights out of 18. Food and service was excellent. Spa was great. Some ports of call was a bit disappointing but educational. Final Disembarkation in San Diego was very disorganized on board with long lineups stretching down the ship hallways. Fitness club was great--no waiting for most equipment (likely the benefit of older average age). Public rooms on Celebrity always had attendants keeping everything clean vs Hal. Celebrity always had greeters with hand sanitizers at eating hall entry ways encouraging people to sanitize hands. However on HAL, food was more secures as everything was served (i.e. not selfserved) Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise based solely on the itinerary, R/T San Diego and to go to Machu Picchu which had been a bucket list item for many years. Aside, from Lima, the ports were very unusual -- not in a good way. The west coast of Central and ... Read More
We chose this cruise based solely on the itinerary, R/T San Diego and to go to Machu Picchu which had been a bucket list item for many years. Aside, from Lima, the ports were very unusual -- not in a good way. The west coast of Central and S. America was not a trade route so, towns were usually a couple of hours inland with not much to see. Once you've seen one Aztec or Mayan ruin, you've pretty much seen them all. I guess if you haven't ever seen really large ruins in other parts of the world they would be interesting. Our ports were, for the most part, cargo/container piers. Our cabin had water problems for 3 of our 4 weeks. Issues were smelly water backing up in the tub and sink and a broken pipe under the floor between the bathroom and closets. There was no connection between the two issues. The staff was extremely nice and apologetic but, could not make up for an old ship. Unfortunately, the ship was sold out so we could not move to a different cabin. One Neptune cabin had no AC for the entire month long cruise. Imagine spending that kind of money and to suffer with heat? Dining room menus didn't appeal to us and we only ate there once. We dined quite a few times in the Pinnacle and mostly in the Lido. Both were excellent. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I wanted to go to South America and wanted to see Penquins. The cruise was extraordinary. Even though we missed one port due to weather I still got to see the penquins in Falkland Islands.It was awesome. I visited 4 countries and really ... Read More
I wanted to go to South America and wanted to see Penquins. The cruise was extraordinary. Even though we missed one port due to weather I still got to see the penquins in Falkland Islands.It was awesome. I visited 4 countries and really got to experience the culture and life in each country. I had booked private tours and it made the tours very personal. It was also half the cost of the ship tours. The weather this time of year is unpredictable. We had rainy weather from Valparasio to Ushuaia. If you want to see penguins I recommend you book tours to see them in more than one port. The temperature is around 47F. Tours for tips are offered in both cities. We finished in Buenos Aires. I recommend if you have a late flight take the transfer from the ship and the tour they offer.(only tour booked through the ship) WE were very pleased with Holland America. Disappointed in the WiFi. It was very slow. Used most of my minutes trying to up load pictures. I quit trying. Disappointed I could never get hot toast for breakfast, even in the dining room. In general the food was good but not superior. Great service and very friendly staff. Entertainment in the theater was superior. I would recommend this cruise to anyone that wants to see the penquins and experience the culture in four countries. Read Less
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