52 Holland America Zaandam Cruise Reviews

This ship should be taken out of service for a maajor overhaul. Bathroom tiles were mildew stained. Vinyl on restaurant booths were torn Dining tables had cracks in Formica that collected dirt. Line cooks were nice unless you had a ... Read More
This ship should be taken out of service for a maajor overhaul. Bathroom tiles were mildew stained. Vinyl on restaurant booths were torn Dining tables had cracks in Formica that collected dirt. Line cooks were nice unless you had a request then they were snippy. Buffet often closed early or opened late. Food variety was good and it looked great but was bland. Bar service was spotty. One of the chefs and one of the muscians obviously hated their job as they were miserable. Also I didn't like the fact that they often turned the cruise into a floating market by putting up tables to sell wares. Also several of the "activities" and "services" that they offered was just a ploy to get you to buy things. The only reason I didn't give it a one star is because the desk agents and stewards were great and they responded quickly to a broken AC unit and toilet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
If you need any type equipment by your bed, make sure you bring an extension cord. It was ridiculous how long it took, how many people were involved and what the final result was. We also had air conditioning that didn't get fixed ... Read More
If you need any type equipment by your bed, make sure you bring an extension cord. It was ridiculous how long it took, how many people were involved and what the final result was. We also had air conditioning that didn't get fixed until the last day. We had a problem with the door separating balconies that wouldn't stay closed and was banging. This happened twice and again had the same problem as electrical plug in trying to get it fixed. At the cruise critic gathering a crew member never showed. The food was the worst we have ever had. Two nights the choices on the menu was so bad we had to eat upstairs at the buffet, which also wasn't very good. It does seem like since the opening of specialty restaurants on ships that the dining room has gone down hill. We weren't supposed to disembark until noon but from 10:00-11:30 there was no food. We had problems on the land part also. I will not cruise with HA again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was my first cruise to Alaska, my first Holland cruise, my sixth cruise overall. I traveled solo and due to the duration of my trip, I wanted to touch base with family. The Internet did not work - over and over, despite their ... Read More
This was my first cruise to Alaska, my first Holland cruise, my sixth cruise overall. I traveled solo and due to the duration of my trip, I wanted to touch base with family. The Internet did not work - over and over, despite their assurances that it was "fixed", it never worked. After many days, I was refunded my money. I asked where the $50 onboard credit was - and was told that I was not getting any, even though I was told that on the phone before the cruise. One evening, midway through my cruise, I was stuck in an elevator between floors 7 and 8 - and I was alone. When I picked up the phone, I was asked, "Where are you?" which I thought was an ignorant question. After 20 minutes, the doors were finally opened by a repair person in white coveralls - and he asked why I was crying. He said I was perfectly safe. In spite of being midway between floors, he said to me, "JUMP." No assistance, no stool, no hand - - nothing. I'm 70 years old with titanium knees, do I look like a jumper? I was out of sorts. A passenger came and helped me after I "jumped down". I was disturbed beyond words. The food was nothing special and if you don't like salmon and mussels, you're going to be hungry. I had my best times off the ship rather than on it - as Alaska is a wonderful place to visit. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I took this cruise with 3 other females of the same age (late 40's). The food was wonderful as was the service from staff, very friendly and incredibly helpful. The entertainment was in my opinion, very bad. I have been on 5 other ... Read More
I took this cruise with 3 other females of the same age (late 40's). The food was wonderful as was the service from staff, very friendly and incredibly helpful. The entertainment was in my opinion, very bad. I have been on 5 other cruises and went to the shows almost every night on those cruises and really enjoyed them. This cruise was very limited with their variety, talent and enthusiasm. We tried to watch 4 different shows and left two of them after 15 minutes, the other two were ok but still not very good. The rooms were very small and dated as was the whole ship. I would not bother cruising with Holland America again, I much prefer Celebrity and Princess lines and will stick to them. They cost more but it is worth it in my opinion. When your on a quiet ship and looking forward to the evening entertainment as the highlight of your day, this ship fails miserably. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We booked this cruise because South America was somewhere we had always wanted to travel to and having cruised with HAL previously we thought that we would get the same good service - unfortunately, this was not to be. Embarkation was a ... Read More
We booked this cruise because South America was somewhere we had always wanted to travel to and having cruised with HAL previously we thought that we would get the same good service - unfortunately, this was not to be. Embarkation was a little slow with a wait of around 1 hour at the Buenos Aires Cruise Terminal but when we had completed all the paperwork we quickly found our cabin and my wife was pleased to see that we had got a bath as well as a shower in our outside cabin. The destinations included, Montevideo, Port Stanley, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, Puerto Montt and Valparaiso - obviously, we were aware that weather conditions may have prevented us landing at Port Stanley but on this cruise we were lucky. Our first disappointment was to find that there was very little draught beer available and no Stella Artois, which happens to be my favourite drink, but after a few days it was suddenly available so I was quite pleased about that as it was very popular amongst the passengers, unfortunately it soon became unavailable again. Service in the Mix Bar which was the only one where draught beers were available was very poor with no staff being available on some occasions when the programme of activities indicated that it should be - several reasons were given such as no staff, it was undergoing maintenance and the programme was incorrect and it was a misprint to they are running the ship down prior to a refit. On one evening we were invited to a British Evening and so I thought that I would drink Gin and Tonics but was informed that there was no tonic on the ship as they had run out of that as well. Some friends from Australia that joined us on this cruise went to the shop to purchase some tooth paste and were told that there had been an unusually high demand and they had also run out of this. I asked to see the Beverage Manager and was informed that they had run out of Stella Artois because they were in South America and it was not easy to get and in any case it did not sell well and he had based his ordering on this fact. When I asked about the lack of tonic water he informed me that he and his girlfriend had taken the tender into one of the ports and purchased some from a local supermarket but unfortunately they did not have much of a stock. I was also informed that HAL did not stock that did not move and that he had a load of Diet Coke that was on board and out of date because no one purchased it. Shortly after the start of the cruise we were informed that GI (gastrointestinal) had been detected amongst passengers and so the self service Lido Restaurant was made into a service facility with staff serving food and drinks which then created long delays. In addition to this the Self Service Laundry was closed as was the book lending section of the library although strangely enough one section was left open. We were updated by the Captain on a daily basis of the need to wash hands and hand sanitizers appeared everywhere. Whilst eating at the Lido we sat at a table where the table top had separated from the body of the table and a very large gap had appeared where food and liquid had congealed under the top - it was impossible to clean because it was a very rigid plastic that could not be moved and looking at some of the other tables they were also badly damaged but still in use and clearly this was not a recent problem and so I asked to see the food manager. I showed him the pictures and asked him how this situation was allowed to happen when we were being told how important it was for us to observe safety and he replied "I noticed this problem this morning and told the staff to clean under the plastic" and I replied that this had not happened over night and that he should be ashamed of himself for not putting the tables out of use because they were a breeding ground for germs and infection to gather. Hi indicated that he would put them out of use immediately but this does raise the question that this was allowed to go on for so long under the supervision of the officers and crew what else goes on behind the scenes – and yes I even noticed the captain eating in this restaurant. Unfortunately, this was not the only safety related problem that occurred during the cruise and these included: 1. Fire escape door jammed. 2. Charging electrical mobility scooter in staircase (fire risk) 3. Cleaning decks after opening them for passengers (slips and falls) I have sent my concerns to the President of HAL and to the cruise company that booked the holiday but have not yet received a response and I have also asked what they are doing to prevent the transmission of infection via the Cruise Card which could prove to be a very good way of passing infection around the ship. On a more positive note the food was reasonable, although not outstanding, but the crew were really nice and friendly but some of the senior staff could learn a lesson from them - especially in relation to customer services. I did notice that whenever you spoke to the crew and asked how they were they always replied “Excellent” as though they had been programmed to say that rather than use their own description which I found a little false. This was also reinforced when I was making my complaint to the Beverage Manager and informed him that I had been informed that “no staff” had been given as a reason for no service and he replied “my staff would not say that” which indicated to me that this was one of the things they were not allowed to comment on and again this raises the question of what you can and cannot believe from the messages you are given. The entertainment was reasonable but again not outstanding and the excursions were the usual expensive trip provided by the cruise companies. There was one excursion where the guide did not give clear instructions, which resulted in some people missing part of the tour, and HAL offered a 50% refund following complaints. This cruise has certainly changed my view of Holland America Cruise Line and did not really come close to the quality of the first cruise that we had with HAL and I am left wondering if the ship was being run down prior to a refit or this is the standard that we should now expect? The response from HAL and the agent should be interesting and I await their reply with interest. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had been looking forward to cruising with HAL as we sailed around Alaska with them a few years ago and had a lovely time. What a difference, the standard of food was very disappointing in the formal restuarant, the service was slow and ... Read More
We had been looking forward to cruising with HAL as we sailed around Alaska with them a few years ago and had a lovely time. What a difference, the standard of food was very disappointing in the formal restuarant, the service was slow and food uninspiring. The food in the Lido diner was better but due to the sickness bug on board service was slow with long queues for most things. As there were over 200 British passengers on board we felt sure we would get a decent cup of tea, how wrong can you be. The only decent tea bags, PG Tips, were rationed and then finally ran out just like the draught beer, the large bottles of lager and the tonic water. Cannot believe that a cruise ship could run out of the most basic drinks. As we has the sick bug aboard lots of facilities were closed including the swimming pools,day time activities were almost non existant on sea days, we did notice the Casino was still open, perhaps germs don't spread in this area, or is it something to do with the money!! We had a balcony cabin which was quite nice but the balcony furniture comprised of one very small chair a tiny table and a flat sun bed, are you supposed to have a drink on the balcony laying on a sunbed! We did ask our cabin steward for another chair, which he arrange for us a couple of days into the cruise. The itinerary was great as was the weather, but the ship was not even 3 star. I did try to contact HAL by phone but according to the UK office the only guest relation department is in the U.S. .if HAL sell in the UK they should be able to deal with complaints. This was not the Cruise we signed up for or paid for, we shall not be sailing with HAL again unless they improve. I will keep an eye on future reviews. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was the “14-day South America Passage” during the first and second weeks of March, 2015, on the MS Zaandam. First, the up-side. Holland America Line (HAL) delivered on its itinerary. We embarked in Valparaiso, Chile. ... Read More
This was the “14-day South America Passage” during the first and second weeks of March, 2015, on the MS Zaandam. First, the up-side. Holland America Line (HAL) delivered on its itinerary. We embarked in Valparaiso, Chile. We disembarked two weeks later in Buenos Aires having sailed around the Horn. There were two ports along the way where we were supposed to stop, but didn’t. The Captain probably made the right decisions in the interest of safety. One was weather-related. The other due to a forest fire and a lot of smoke. The food was great, plentiful, and available just about every minute of the day. The cabin was clean and everything worked well. The boat is getting a little old, but it is well maintained. Our cabin steward was excellent. He was incredibly cooperative, conscientious, and attentive. Now, for the downside. HAL maximizes its revenue by selling use of limited boat space to vendors who make good use of a captive audience. There’s a wrist watch shop, a jewelry store, people bugging you all day long to buy photos of yourself, a place that sells clothing, and a smoky casino. Pardon me, but if I want to buy a watch, some earrings, or a sweatshirt, then I’ll do it on land before I leave for the trip. And I won’t pay an inflated price. We would like for HAL to use all that vendor space for something more productive - like a place to sit and look out the window at the fantastic scenery. The most amazing hustle of all is the Park West Gallery art “auction,” complete with the “auctioneer’s” confederates circling behind you, telling you when to raise your card. It was offensive. HAL seems to be a generation behind in the areas of on-board entertainment, restaurant décor, and mid-ship sculpture. The comedy and dance presentations could compete for the Lawrence Welk audience. The fancy restaurants looked like 19th century brothels, complete with servers sporting costumes and a level of fake formality calculated to encourage heavy drinking. A hideous, organ-shaped sculpture consumes the middle of the ship, unavoidable on decks three through five. HAL would make more friends if it traded the artificial opulence for brighter, more contemporary furnishings and service. In short HAL, as an independent company, was a first-class cruise line for the first nine decades of the last century. Carnival bought it in 1989, and has now completed the culture shift. Today HAL is a reflection of the lowest common denominator. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Started out Jan 11, 2014, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We went a couple of days early and saw a lot of Buenos Aires, but not where tourists usually go except the downtown area. Seemed like an okay place, minus all the graffiti that was on ... Read More
Started out Jan 11, 2014, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We went a couple of days early and saw a lot of Buenos Aires, but not where tourists usually go except the downtown area. Seemed like an okay place, minus all the graffiti that was on everything. Next stop was Montevideo, Uruguay where we took a bus tour of the town. Nothing spectacular. Then the start of 10 days at sea – egads!!!! Two sea days were scheduled but the weather was so bad at the Falkland Islands that we could not stop there – bummer as this was our only chance to see penguins up close. We had two very stormy days with very rough seas. Luckily we don’t usually get seasick, but I will say I didn’t eat much during that time period and we had to hang on to the rail throughout the ship to get around. So we make it to Antarctica and it is amazing – so cold and rugged. It was summer there so the mountains were present with snow on them. There were icebergs in the ocean, and lots of whales, penguins, and sea lions in the water. We cruised back and forth along the peninsula for 3 days, but there was mostly fog, clouds, and low visibility. The weather was so bad that some of the people from the US Palmer Station that were supposed to come on board could not do so. On January 22nd we sailed around Cape Horn. On January 23rd we finally landed at Ushuaia, Argentina where we went on a boat trip in the Beagle Channel. It was great to be back on solid ground again. Ushuaia is the farthest southern most city. We did have a lovely sunny day to be there. After leaving Ushuaia we sailed up the Beagle Channel and saw the glaciers in Glacier Alley in Chili. The mountains were lovely and majestic and the glaciers were amazing – maybe not up to Glacier Bay in Alaska, but pretty amazing. The next day we stopped at Punta Arenas, Chili – nothing there really. More rough weather when going through the Strait of Magellan. There were a lot of sea sick people during this stretch of ocean in addition to the horrible weather around Antarctica. A couple more days at sea and then a stop at Puerto Chacabuco, Chili, where there was a strike by the fishing cannery and fishermen and so shore excursions were canceled. On to Puerto Montt, Chili, where neither of us got off the ship. We finally arrived at Valparaiso, Chili on January 30th where the cruise ended. It was an okay cruise but way too long due to all the non-stops. There were some good things about the cruise ship experience – there were a lot of talks and lectures about Antarctica and some about South America. Thank God there was bridge card games every sea day. We did watch a lot of movies on the DVD in our room (could be checked out at the front desk). Our highlight each day was Trivia, which says a lot. There were a lot of culinary activities if one was into that. The staff were excellent as usual, but had way too many responsibilities. Those were the good things. This was probably our last Holland America cruise. First they changed our cabin (upgrade) without asking and would not change it back – we moved from a cabin near the rear elevator to a cabin 3 cabins from the front of the ship with portholes (which we couldn’t see out of anyway). The food was mediocre. I don’t know why they wanted to slip duck pate in everything. And I did not have a decent bowl of soup the entire trip, and I love soup. And NO pizza. The entertainment was also mediocre, but for the most part not awful. The around the ship entertainment never seemed to be playing, or the one good musician (the piano player) was not scheduled until 9 pm each night. The disembarkation process was strained as there was no one at the port that directed people from the port building to where they should go. We had a HAL transfer to Santiago – no one checked us off on the buses so as the last folks off we had to wait for over half and hour waiting for people that were non-existent. Then the bus driver got lost in Santiago so our 2 hour trip took over 3½ hours. At least we spent the afternoon at a hotel instead of the airport. The staff have too much to do (much more than previously) – and it’s a shame because they are so busy now there is little time for the staff-passenger interchanges that were such a great thing about HAL.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Background information: We were a party of 3, with my retired parents and myself in two separate ocean view cabins. My parents, age 70 and 64, have cruised once before on a Norwegian ship, and selected this ship and schedule. I'm a ... Read More
Background information: We were a party of 3, with my retired parents and myself in two separate ocean view cabins. My parents, age 70 and 64, have cruised once before on a Norwegian ship, and selected this ship and schedule. I'm a very active 40-year-old. Ship information: The ship is immaculately clean on the inside, but they never washed the windows or the lido cover even on the sunny days while in port. It is not an extremely large ship and has a more traditional feel to it. My mother was disappointed because there was no deck that offered an unobstructed front view from the railing. On her previous cruise, she'd had that experience and loved it. The ship, despite having only 1400 passengers or so, was extremely crowded. Everywhere we went, we had to stand in line. The public parts of the ship are extremely noisy, because of the piped-in Muzak in the lido dining area, the acoustics in the Rotterdam, and the fact that with the exception of the classical duo, the musicians in the lounges played too loudly to allow people to sit quietly and converse. My parents both turned off their hearing aids after the first day due to the feedback and noise. Activities: There are lots of sedentary activities but little to nothing for active people. There are two small pools, but nothing big enough for swimming laps. The two hot tubs were unfortunately so deep that I had trouble keeping my nose and mouth above water (I stand 5'7"), and they are seldom used except when people are soaking their feet. There are no jogging or running options since jogging on the promenade or upper deck is forbidden. A gym exists, and I checked it out the first day, except the high pressure sales tactics just didn't stop. No, I don't want a body fat analysis or a private fitness consultation or an extra-fee yoga class: I have a trainer back home that I already pay to do that, so I just want to work out in peace. I especially do not want to buy "supplements" or "therapies" that are based on pseudoscience bunk. Those guys won't take no for an answer, and the idea of running on a treadmill while staring through filthy windows just didn't appeal to me, so we never went back. I wanted to book a lesson with their tennis pro (since I saw they had a court), but it turned out to be toy tennis and with some plastic racquets for the kids, and there was no tennis pro on staff. A miniature basketball court existed on the top deck, but I never saw anyone actually using it. There was one charity 5k walk on one of the sea days where, for an extra fee, you could get some miles in on the outdoor promenade. We signed up for that, and I had spots on my retina for three days afterwards due to a photographer who would simply not stop popping her flash bulb in my face after I asked her to stop. Sedentary activities: There was a dance class where people sat in an auditorium and watched an instructional video, and there were opportunities to sit and play cards or bingo, or gamble in the casino, or read, or watch a movie, a cooking demonstration, or a stage show. Most of the activities involved sitting and watching someone else do something. We tried a show, a cooking class, a dance class, several lectures, bingo, and my parents tried the casino, a movie, and card games. I checked out a fantastic Filipino stage show I'll describe later. Overall, there was a good variety of material but it was extremely sedentary. Had I been 80 years old, or in a wheelchair, doing this day after day might have appealed to me. Ordinarily I get two to three hours a day of hard exercise, but it simply wasn't available unless I was willing to put up with constant solicitation. Luckily I was seasick or unconscious from the motion sickness medicine for two of the sea days, so I wasn't constantly bored. I got a lot of knitting done. Sales activities: Many of the informative activities are thinly disguised sales pitches. No matter where you go, you're under constant pressure to buy-buy-buy. Besides the junk mail in the cabins, there are multiple public address announcements throughout the day hawking this "art" auction or that spa special. (The art, by the way, is the same kind of mass produced stuff you can get in a mall mini-gallery). Service: Our cabin stewards were outstanding. The wait staff in the Rotterdam dining room were exhausted, but my Tagalog is very limited and because of the language barrier they were not able to understand instructions like "dressing on the side", although they did correctly cook my parents' steaks well-done and medium-well. The food was well presented, and not all of it was excessively greasy or salty, but because of the service delays it was invariably cold. We had to stand in line to be seated, and it always took about two hours to eat dinner regardless of when we arrived or whether we agreed to share a table. This was a problem for families with small children, who cried, shrieked, and chattered in outdoor voices throughout the delay. For whatever reason, the wait staff periodically gathered to sing and clap for someone's birthday celebration as though they were at a Denny's. There also didn't appear to be enough service staff to handle peak demand. Service in the lido area was lackluster, and nobody seemed to be able to perform more than one task at a time. The staff were quite tired, possibly from the 15-hour days and the 7-day weeks. Shore excursions: We went on a Skagway train ride that was phenomenal. We recommend it unconditionally. The Bering crab fishing trip was fun too, and we got to see the eagle sanctuary. That's the sort of trip you really have to get into: get up close, play with the animals, and photograph the birds if you want to get full value. Cabin: The cabins were bigger than I expected and the bathrooms were very generous. There were a lot of flyers and advertisements. Hopefully they were recycled, because I got more paper on board than I do at home. Dining: Despite sitting on my tush for nearly a week, I didn't gain an ounce. It's because the food was so consistently mediocre. The Rotterdam food is cold by the time it gets to the table, so I compensated by ordering things that are intended to be cold or room temperature, such as watermelon gazpacho soup, which I liked very much. The cupcakes are quite disappointing but some of the afternoon tea treats are tasty. Overall I disliked the desserts except for the mousses, most of which were delicious. At the lido buffet, the salad bar is respectable, the fruit selection is satisfying, and there was smoked salmon every morning, plus the eggs Benedict variations are outstanding. The rest is hit and miss (mostly miss). Most of the offerings are what I call "fat people food": extremely greasy, salty, and sugary with lots of refined starch in the form of potatoes, pasta, and bread. I indulged in bread, which is mostly American-style cake bread with lots of calories but little substance, but which is exactly as it's supposed to be. I also tended to go for Asian food on top of noodles. Standing in line over and over in order to get food at the Lido buffet is extremely tiresome. We'd be far less crowded if it were only possible to use a tray to hold the umpteen plates they hand out one at a time. I never did get to the front of the sandwich line because it took the server two to three minutes to make each sandwich, and due to fatigue he was not capable of starting a second sandwich while the first one was being grilled. We never tried either of the specialty restaurants because we were so disappointed with the mediocrity of the regular food that we didn't want to pay extra for more mediocrity. The alcohol service was generally good, but we're not big drinkers. I'm a night owl. At the time I generally dine (9:30 PM) nothing is open. After midnight, the ship is mercifully quiet and it's an excellent time to walk about, but there's nothing whatsoever available to eat. So I spent a fair bit of time on the ship being hungry. Children's clubs: The children on the ship seemed to be satisfied with Club HAL, but there was no provision at all for their special needs at mealtimes or in the evenings. There were toddlers being stood on the buffet tables by their parents, or allowed to wander around the lido and get lost, so someone was always screaming or crying. The toddlers and pre-teens in the Rotterdam were extremely bored and restless due to the 2-hour meals. Entertainment: The Filipino crew show was heartfelt and wonderful: people were doing songs and dances from home. If it had been earlier in the evening, I think more people would have been able to enjoy it. They outperformed the professional singers and dancers in the regular stage show. The classical string duo was outstanding, and there's a talented solo guitarist and a jazz group who are also extremely good. The "Northern Lights" stage show left a lot to be desired. The voices were good, but the choreography was amateurish and the content verged on the offensive. My Canadian mother was quite put off by the way they made fun of the Mounties, and was it really necessary to select a gay anthem for every second song, but not actually sing the specific lyrics that made "Don't Stop Me", and Monty Python's Lumberjack Song useful? As a person who's not exactly straight myself (but disinclined to make a stage production of it), I'd rather have seen either mainstream content, or go ahead and own the fact you're singing a gay anthem. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge went out of style when the Village People did. I won't go so far as to say I was offended, but overall the compromise was in pretty poor taste. Spa: The bamboo massage was advertised as being deeper than a deep tissue massage, but failed to live up to the hype. I have very oily skin and a tendency to get body acne, but instead of a light oil or lotion, the masseuse enough heavy, pore-clogging oil to qualify me for a Turkish wrestling match. The grease was extremely uncomfortable, and I had to immediately go back to my cabin to shower twice in order to remove it all. She also got some in my hair, which had to be washed out, and sure enough I am now dealing with another body acne outbreak. After the extremely mediocre massage, which focused on the back and the front and back surfaces of the arms and legs but which provided nothing for the sides of the legs or the arms, the masseuse tried to sell me some of the products she'd been using on me. That's right: after a very expensive massage, they were still trying to up-sell and push more products I don't need, don't want, can't use, and can't wait to wash off. I left the spa more tense than I was when I came in. Summary: My parents are not willing to cruise on Holland America again, but since they've had a good cruising experience in the past they may be willing to do a cruise again on a different line. I think this kind of cruise experience might be OK for me if I'm ever crippled or paralyzed, but until then I want to actually do something on my vacation instead of sitting on a chair. Overall, this was not a relaxing or fun trip due to the never-ending hours of sitting around or standing in line. It was about like being on the cleared side of a major airport, except there was engine noise and mild seasickness. I was ready for the vacation to be over on the third day, and was more stressed at the end than I was before it. Overall, it didn't seem worth it especially after the plane fare. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Check in was smooth and efficient. The remainder of the crew seemed to have no clue about customer experience. As far as the service went, I was very disappointed. Very few smiles, or greetings from staff when meeting in passageways. Room ... Read More
Check in was smooth and efficient. The remainder of the crew seemed to have no clue about customer experience. As far as the service went, I was very disappointed. Very few smiles, or greetings from staff when meeting in passageways. Room stewards had to be called to clean our room, when we first arrived. Daily cleaning was very minimal. One of the worst bits was the cabin. The room was very worn, and the window in our cabin and throughout the ship were filthy. The food was always warm at best and tasteless. The food in the Lido restaurant was very unsatisfactory. We ordered breakfast for two from room service and got a danish the size of an Oreo cookie, and croissants the size of a apple slice! Coffee was bland at best. We found the cafe by the pool was the only place service freshly cooked food. The only really positive was the port stops. Glacier Bay, specifically the John Hopkins Glacier, was a fantastic site to see. The early September sailing date allowed the captain to sail very close to the glacier since the harbor seal cub rearing season had expired. The cruise ended in Seward. Took the train up to Anchorage which offered great scenery, spent the night there and took the next day train to Denali. We spent the night and most of the day in Denali and then went on to Fairbanks and flew home from there. The ground portion of the trip was spectacular. We took the ground tour (Tundra Wilderness tour) and saw Grizzly Bears, Moose, Caribou, and Mountain Sheep, as well as eagles and maybe a wolf but couldn't positively identify that one. Fortunately, the places visited were so spectacular but it is highly unlikely that I will ever travel on a Holland America ship again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We live close to Vancouver, so a cruise to Alaska is one of our favorites. Even though this was the fifth cruise to Alaska for us, we never tire of the spectacular scenery. This cruise was actually two separate cruises back to back, a 7 ... Read More
We live close to Vancouver, so a cruise to Alaska is one of our favorites. Even though this was the fifth cruise to Alaska for us, we never tire of the spectacular scenery. This cruise was actually two separate cruises back to back, a 7 day northbound and a 7 day southbound. We had been on this identical cruise two years earlier and ended up with an onboard credit which we wanted to use. The Zaandam is an older, smaller ship, but we prefer that to a mega-monster. It has been well maintained, with new carpeting throughout, and constant cleaning and upkeep happening during the cruise. We especially all the big windows--it was never hard to find a comfy chair in front of a window to do some reading. There were some rustspots evident in places, but we all show our age at some point! Embarkation was relatively quick, and we were on board by noon. We were surprised to be allowed to go to our cabin right away-no waiting until 1pm, and schlepping our luggage around with us til then. The first week we had chosen an oceanview cabin at the very back of Deck 2. We were disappointed that instead of a window, we ended up with two little portholes. At least we could look out and check the weather, but not much more! The cabin was quiet, with one major exception. There is a lovely little deck at the aft end of deck 2, and the doors to this slam very loudly. We were constantly jarred by this door slamming-a little thoughtfulness on the part of those passengers using the door would have been nice. Also, during docking and sailaway it was quite noisy, because the area with the mooring ropes was directly below. So if you have booked cabin 2706, considered yourself warned! The second week we moved to an inside cabin-also on deck 2, and it was quiet. We chose to eat all our meals in the Lido. We choose not to spend money on the specialty restaurants, and gave up eating in the mdr several cruises back. We simply do not enjoy spending 2-3 hours over our dinner, and the mdr is also amazingly noisy. We could always find a quiet window table in the Lido where we could enjoy our dinner. The menu was also the same as in the mdr, for the most part. During breakfast and lunch, it was often a challenge to find a table, and there were not enough wait staff to keep the tables cleared. We were happy with the variety of food offered in the lido, and I was delighted to find that lactose free milk was available right beside the regular milk at breakfast. Other cruise lines-- please take note! DH liked his steak dinner, and I was happy with the variety of salads offered. Unfortunately, because I am lactose intolerant, almost all the desserts were off limits. Gluten or sugar free does not mean milk free. This is also another reason that we don't eat in the specialty restaurants-there is virtually nothing on the menu that is lactose free. We found the crew and staff to be unfailingly polite and helpful. It became obvious very quickly in the lack of activities (esp. on sea days) that HAL is cutting back on staff. I am referring here to activities that do not have a fee attached to them. Any 'activity' that the spa advertises invariably is a commercial for one of their overpriced services or products. Bingo doesn't count either! There were virtually no sports activities, except for a total of three (very well attended) table tennis tournaments, plus the odd baggo or golf putting game, for the entire 14 days. Anything else, like golf putting, or baggo rated a one time appearance each week. My DH loves to participate in anything active, and there was very little of that offered. I love to read, but that's not all I want to do. The activities staff was comprised of one guy, who also hosted the trivia (which happened daily, and which we loved), plus he was also the nightclub host. The prizes offered for any activity were an insult to adults. Really, a ship-shaped lapel pin?! HAL could learn from Celebrity-on our last cruise in March, there were ongoing table tennis and golf tournaments, as well as trivia,bocce, shuffleboard, and a variety of other daily activities. For the first ever on the 25 cruises we've taken, we were honestly bored. The onboard library is one of the best we've seen on a cruise ship, although we would have preferred the full time librarian to be replaced with another activities staff member. We liked that there are laundromats on the stateroom decks-it meant packing that much less! However, do not wait until the last day to do your laundry, unless you want to spend most of the day in the laundromat guarding your place in line for the dryer! Good thing I'd brought my own detergent-the dispenser was out of order. We choose to tip the stateroom attendants personally. However, much to our anger and dismay, we discovered that the crew has to turn in to the tip pool any tips given to them personally. The front desk informed me that the crewmember will only get back about half of what we give them!! HAL is in reality robbing their own staff by doing this. While we did enjoy the cruise, we won't be back on HAL. Too few real activities, and their tipping policy, made that decision for us.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Our tour began as a land cruise. Our surprise was the weather ((mid-70's) and the lack of snow! Destinations all had interesting excursions. Hotels were just ok. The highlights were our tour guide, Jason Balera, and the driver-guide, ... Read More
Our tour began as a land cruise. Our surprise was the weather ((mid-70's) and the lack of snow! Destinations all had interesting excursions. Hotels were just ok. The highlights were our tour guide, Jason Balera, and the driver-guide, Lance! There were several very long "coach" rides (9-12 hours) and they saved us from total boredom! We witnessed something that most people do not see when they go to Alaska. We saw Mt. McKinley (Denali) cloud free all three days we were there! Astonishing. The disappointment of this trip was actually the cruise portion. We were on the Zaandam. Our luggage was delivered in a timely manner, so no complaints. We had a verandah room on Deck 6. It was very cramped. My husband and I (both small people) could not pass one another. Closet could not be opened when anyone else was there, or if the bathroom door needed to be opened. Very poor layout! There was plenty of space for storage. The room was very worn, and the veranda showed a lot of rust. Windows in our cabin, and throughout the ship were filthy. As far as the service went, we were very disappointed. Very few smiles, or greetings from staff when meeting in passageways. Room stewards had to be called to clean our room, even though we had been gone all day! Daily cleaning was very minimal. The main dining room offered good menu choices but food was often overcooked, or cold when it arrived. Our big complaint about this ship is that they nickle and dime you for everything. Very little was included. They try to even upsell you for water with your meal. The food in the Lido restaurant was very unsatisfactory. We ordered breakfast for two from room service and got a danish the size of an Oreo cookie, and croissants the size of a apple slice! Coffee was bland at best. The highlight of this ship was the lounge entertainment, and the Pinnacle Restaurant! Very enjoyable. Our disembarkation went okay until we were off the ship, and it became a madhouse of too many lines and not enough direction. We have cruised several times and this was the least satisfying of all, as pertains to the ship. We will not travel with Holland America again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I was exhausted from my trip due to the lack of sleep from the extremely warm room and bad beds. My body suffered in pain. The beds threw my body out of alignment. Both beds were worn out with a deep depression in the center and lopsided ... Read More
I was exhausted from my trip due to the lack of sleep from the extremely warm room and bad beds. My body suffered in pain. The beds threw my body out of alignment. Both beds were worn out with a deep depression in the center and lopsided in our stateroom. HAL did not offer a solution to my problem. I have never been to any establishment with such worn out beds and not offering a solution. Walls were stained and I used pillows to separate the me from the walls. The room was very warm with poor ventilation. The AC was not working. The food was ok. I did not care for the majority of their desserts. Even their vanilla ice cream did not even taste right to me. Overall service in dining was good. However, the service in the Rotterdam were slow at times. I would avoid the shopping lectures on board. It was a waste of my time. You are better off sightseeing. The shopping they recommended were all tourist traps, esp. the jewelry stores using high pressured sales tactics. I did not find any bargains as Dani claimed from the trunk sales, but overpriced jewelries. When I was in Effy, Dani, the shopping ambassador for the ship came in and for the longest time tried to pressure me into buying a flower like 14kt gold pendant with tiny rubies.They wanted about $5000 with their discount and I went to their website and it is being listed for $2895: http://www.effyjewelry.com/women/jardin-bloom-ruby-and-diamond-pendant-2-49-tcw.html. Stay away from these vultures. This will be my first and last cruise with Holland America. Their response after the cruise was they update their ships every 2 years and offered me a 2 category upgrade with in my stateroom type. This will be my first and last cruise with them!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
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
Well, we've given it a second try, these HAL cruises booked through Olivia. This is most likely (never say never, eh?) our last cruise with both HAL and Olivia. We purchased this cruise via a charity auction. The cruise had been ... Read More
Well, we've given it a second try, these HAL cruises booked through Olivia. This is most likely (never say never, eh?) our last cruise with both HAL and Olivia. We purchased this cruise via a charity auction. The cruise had been donated by Olivia on behalf of HRC and we ended up being the winning bidders. The good points: Vancouver is the single nicest port we've ever sailed from! What a beautiful city, and fabulous Canada Place port. If you ever have the opportunity to sail from here, do so! The weather was incredible. It really could not have been better in any port, or in Vancouver. Sun, and a touch of rain (at night) with moderate temperatures for the time of year. Lovely on all counts. The HAL staff are amazing!! They are ALWAYS cheerful and smiling and so very willing to help. This cruise line has done some incredible training of staff, and it shows. On the extremely rare instance when a staff member is having an off day or moment it shows, but it's very rare. They are the highlight of this cruise and earn every single cent they are paid. The cleanliness of this ship was remarkable. Although the ship itself is showing wear and some shabbiness there were no unpleasant odors or obvious unclean areas. The not so great points: The food. It was passable for the most part, inedible once or twice, and the Pinnacle ended up not being worth the extra dollars. The filet mignon we ordered was cooked correctly for mine, but my wife's was burnt crunch on one side. The lobster bisque was odd. Just odd, no other real way to explain it. After a few tastes we gave up. The side dishes of mushrooms were soggy and generally not worth eating; the creamed spinach was boring with little cream flavor; the asparagus was ok. All food was either tepid or downright cold. Not much pleasant about stone cold egg yolk in a poached egg for the morning meal. We ended up dining off ship whenever possible. Olivia itself. Not sure what happened for this cruise but it was a completely different vibe from our previous Olivia Cruise. Where the focus once was on "Ladies of OLIVIA" with announcements for all activities, and encouragement to attend the activities, reminders, building up of excitement for the commitment ceremony (for those who chose to attend) etc. there was none of that this time. The focus seemed to be clearly on the solos (which is all well and good, but some of us have been in committed relationships for years and like to have "special" things too) and we often felt like we were intruding on a private party. What's with the male staffers of Olivia being on board? Everyone has a right to a job, but if men are now to be included in the Olivia group, please let us know ahead of time, thanks. The really not so good: The stateroom was terrible. Yes, terrible. Not "just not ok, " not "could have been better, " downright terrible. If this had been a hotel, we would have checked out. We did think about flying out of a port, but chose to endure. The stateroom was assigned to us, and we had no opportunity to change it. The noise from the engines kept us awake the entire first night. The vibrations from the engines and the thrusters shook the stateroom so badly, personal possessions rattled, and cause us to feel that we were on a perpetual vibration machine. All jokes aside, NOT conducive to sleeping, relaxing or even hearing one another speak (from time to time). We can honestly say that if you are assigned this stateroom, cancel the cruise. Seriously. Olivia staff and HAL staff both stated there was nothing to do about it as there were no other staterooms to be moved to. Well, that happens from time to time, but it doesn't make the experience any better. The stateroom was also very shabby with uneven flooring (dips in the floor) white and black mildew and mold in the bathroom. The bathroom was stone cold all the time, which necessitated our propping the door open trying to get some heat in there. The stateroom itself was quite chilly too. The condition of this stateroom is one of the primary reasons we'll think very long and hard about booking with Olivia or with HAL again. The really good: The Bearing Sea Excursion in Ketchikan is worth every cent! Do it!! In Juneau be sure to have crab at Tracy's Crab Shack. Delicious!! Also in Juneau seek out Wild Oven. It's a TINY bakery run by two young women who surely know how to employ their 60 year old sour dough starter!! Really nice bread and huge cookies! In Skagway be sure to visit Broadway Bites and have a cheese and sausage "biscuit" along with a lemon cake (cupcake size) for dessert. They had some very nice mulled cider when we were there too. So, after all is said and done, no regrets. We refuse to live our lives with regret, but we now consider ourselves a bit wiser with regard to choosing where to spend our very hard earned vacation dollars. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
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
Our trip began in Hong Kong after a long flight from Kansas City. We added the extra night at Holland America's hotel of choice which was a great hotel but we were there for a very short time due to travel time that it hardly seemed ... Read More
Our trip began in Hong Kong after a long flight from Kansas City. We added the extra night at Holland America's hotel of choice which was a great hotel but we were there for a very short time due to travel time that it hardly seemed worthwhile. We were at the hotel by midnight and left to go to the ship at noon the next day. Comment about the Zaandam: We think that Holland America and the ship personnel would agree that the ship needs some work to restore and update the ship. A lot of rust, faded carpet in common areas, plumbing issues, safe malfunction, dated decorations, etc. We think that it is scheduled for dry dock in several months... good deal! We loved the size and format of the ship due to it being easy to get around with only 1500 passengers it was not crowded in any of the common areas. The deluxe veranda suite had a awesome veranda. The concierge at the Neptune Lounge could not keep my traveling partner and spouse separate from us so he was constantly referring to me as him and mixing our arrangements. It got more than a little annoying after a awhile. Room Service didn't seem to talk to the concierge very well so our orders for appetizers were mixed up several times. Comments about the Holland America 14 day Asia Explorer itinerary: We enjoyed the itinerary going to Halong Bay in Vietnam, then Sanya, Hanien island China, Nha Trang, Vietnam, My Phu, Vietnam, Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Laem Chabang,(Bangkok), Thailand, Koh Samoi, Thailand, Singapore, Singapore. All of the ports were very interesting with much to see and do. A bit crowded from a Midwesterner's viewpoint but very negotiable. We went on Holland America tours in all of the ports except Saigon, Bangkok, and Singapore. The boat ride and cave in Halong Bay was exceptional. The key sights in Sanya tour was drawm out too long... the tour could have ended after 4 hours instead of the scheduled 7 hours. Nha Trang city tour was great a nice mix of temples, beach, and city tour. Not much to see in Sihanoukville, Cambodia if you are not interested in coconuts, suggest making this a beach day. The elephant village was touristy but very much fun and we wouldn't miss the elephant ride... also a very nice lunch. In the other ports of Saigon, Bangkok, and Singapore we utilized a private guide with a van and driver. This went very well and allowed us to see the sights that we wanted to see at our own pace. The driver usually was able to pick us up at the sight with very little waiting and queuing so familiar to a bus tour. The guide were knowledgeable and spoke good English. The vans were great except for the one in Singapore which was totally unacceptable, due to size and lack of visibility. These tours were arranged by ReadyClickandGo.com. This is a Great Britain company which contracts the guides and vehicle with local companies. This worked OK but I would recommend also talking to the local company representatives to manage the details. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We joined Zaandam in Hong Kong. Departure was delayed by 2 hours because a few Russians on board could not understand English & therefore did not go to immigration clearance. After 2 hours of broadcasts looking for those guest the ... Read More
We joined Zaandam in Hong Kong. Departure was delayed by 2 hours because a few Russians on board could not understand English & therefore did not go to immigration clearance. After 2 hours of broadcasts looking for those guest the officials decided to translate the message in Russian & only then we finally set sail. They knew which room numbers were missing, surely they could have made the broadcasts in Russian earlier. In our stateroom on arrival was a notice warning of a vomiting bug on the ship. The sewerage smell mainly on deck 3 was disgusting. This went on for about 7 days. Complaining from numerous passengers got us no where. My husband ended up with a sinus infection & consulted the Doctor onboard, $95.00 USD later & then another $70.00 USD for 14 antibiotic tables ie $5.00 USD per tablet. Absolute daylight robbery. He ordered room service for dinner one night he was particularly sick & it took over 1 hour to arrive cold. No refrigerators in rooms either. Rubber matting to avoid slipping around the pool was way to short. Numerous falls. One lady even broke her ankle. On the whole the food was very plain & mostly cold as was the coffee. Coffee was really only available at the Lido which is 5 levels up or you could purchase it on one of the lower decks. Air-conditioning was either freezing or hot. Stage shows obviously designed for people over 70. Guest artist were good though. Wait staff & room attendants were great. But we will never sail with Holland America Again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My wife and I both active seniors were extremely disappointed with the ship and many aspects of the cruise. In our opinion Holland America is no longer a "Premium" line and should cease advertising itself as one! The cruise was ... Read More
My wife and I both active seniors were extremely disappointed with the ship and many aspects of the cruise. In our opinion Holland America is no longer a "Premium" line and should cease advertising itself as one! The cruise was my seventh on HAL and will likely be my last on this line! The ship is in very poor condition, generally dirty, carpets threadbare and badly stained in places. Our stateroom suffered at various time during the voyage from, no heat, no water, no hot water, no toilet, unserviceable DVD player and at times a very bad sewage smell. Bed linen was was worn and at times stained. The whole ship badly needs a refit which apparently is scheduled for October of this year. Our cabin stewards were excellent and made every effort to please and to ensure our comfort. The Indonesian crew members continue to be HAL's best asset. The deck chairs and chez lounges were very dirty and during the whole time aboard the Zaandam I did not anyone cleaning them. The chairs were carefully stacked and secured each night but never cleaned!The food on the ship was at best mediocre. It appears that the food budget continues to be reduced for we sailed last year on the Rotterdam with the same Executive Chef and enjoyed excellent food. Food in the Dining Room was often received cold and the service sometimes good and sometimes poor. I understand that the staff levels had been reduced which might explain the sometimes poor service. The menu was repeated on the second segment of the voyage and became repetitive. The choice of fruit and vegetables was limited, green beans were served night after night! Food handling in the Lido Restaurant should be improved. I saw a number of times under cooked and bloody beef being cut on the same board as chicken and pork and with the same knife. Entertainment was generally of a poor standard in our opinion. I was disappointed to find that there were no educational lectures provided on this cruise, no doubt another cost cutting measure. Too bad really, for we were sailing in an area rich in history and culture. The offered enrichment of "How to decorate your HAL tote bag" and similar was hardly a substitute. The Shore Excursion Department left a lot to be desired. There seemed to be a total lack of organisation and information on the ports visited was lacking in useful detail. The tours we took we found to be overly expensive for what was offered. There was one exception however,the Orchid Sheraton Hotel in Bangkokprovided the best meal of whole cruise! The very limited 'Happy Hour", in one bar, for one hour, at between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm now charges one dollar for the second drink, nothing appears to be sacred at HAL! Towards to end of the cruise the Captain wrote a letter to each passenger advising that an extra charge of $11.31 would be added to the bill to offset "revisions in government fees and taxes". Front Office staff appeared either unable or unwilling to explain which government increased their charges or how the charge was calculated. Overall, an interesting itinerary but a disappointing cruise experience. I think the Zaandam should be avoided, at least until the refit is completed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We were on the 28 day cruise - Singapore - Hong Kong via Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Korea. This cruise was advertised as a Collectors cruise. To our disappointment this was a back - back cruise. With that concept we were ... Read More
We were on the 28 day cruise - Singapore - Hong Kong via Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Korea. This cruise was advertised as a Collectors cruise. To our disappointment this was a back - back cruise. With that concept we were subjected to the same food selections in the dinning room, and repeat entertainment (the ships singers & dancers) on the second segment of the cruise. Having experienced this syndrome before we would not have picked this cruise. We were duped by the phrase "Collectors" a grand substitute for back to back. Embarkation and immigration Not good, in fact down right bad in Singapore. Total chaos, took us almost 2 hours to embark. China ( Beijing) was a disaster. Took us 3 hours to be cleared and a delay of 5 and a half hours to leave. No explanation was ever offered. Had us concerned. HAL appears to be struggling to get ASIA right. The ship and cabin The ship and the cabin was extremely cold. We literally froze for the 3 days in Beijing, extra blankets, placing towels against the door, socks to bed etc, made little difference. The cabin was clean but dated. The fabrics faded and the toilet was smelling (In spite of the cabin steward's efforts). This ship is well past its prime according to other Holland America cruisers. The lighting was poor, a hardship as we were constantly filling immigration related forms. Service Superb. Many staff we encountered only briefly, addressed us by name and were always ready to go the extra mile to help. In fact they made up for the many inconsistencies and irritants on this cruise. We must note HAL have cut back on numbers which means their willing staff have more to do with less, explains the delays in the dinning room and the room stewards, rushing like crazy. The entertainment Mediocre, sufficient maybe for this port intensive cruise. Some of the headliners were pathetic, basing their acts more on action and antics as opposed to content and quality. Annie Francis and Vincenzo Gentiles were outstanding. The Adagio strings were exceptional, the piano bar entertainment was very good. Our pet peeve and disappointment was the music in the Ocean Bar. This is the one place dedicated to and advertised as the place for 'Ballroom Dancing'. The floor was good, the music was beyond bad. It was a jazz club (not a good one either), with a rude and sometimes down right snaky leader ( Mark Dunn). He would not play music you could dance to. When requested he invited the requesting guests to take themselves to the rock band (was referring to the HAL cats in the Crows Nest?). We brought this music fiasco to the attention of management days into the cruise, no improvement. We stopped patronizing the Ocean bar. The various workshops were well presented. The Digital Photography workshops very good. Kristen was remarkable in her knowledge and presentation skills. The Library dated. We missed the guest speakers to talk about the history of the places we visited. Travel Guide, Spencer Brown was excellent and unbiased and dealt mostly with what to see, do, avoid and how to get about. Mariners recognition - a PR disaster. What was HAL thinking when they selected a few and ignored the rest to invite for the captain's reception, some were awarded medals for 100 days, others ignored, some had over 200 Days. There are lots of things that must be improved if HAL expects to stay competitive and to keep its loyal customers. We were disappointed, tried hard not to let them spoil our trip to an unforgettable part of the world. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We have enjoyed cruising with Cunard and Princess and we were looking forward to the Zaandam for the China/Korea cruise out of Hong Kong. The ship and the cabin was extremely cold. Forget the high quality bedding it is just hype. We ... Read More
We have enjoyed cruising with Cunard and Princess and we were looking forward to the Zaandam for the China/Korea cruise out of Hong Kong. The ship and the cabin was extremely cold. Forget the high quality bedding it is just hype. We borrowed blankets from the pool deck. The cabin is very dated and the toilet was smelling. This ship is well past its prime according to other Holland America cruisers. Having stated that the ships crew were friendly and the food was fine. Comparable to Princess and Cunard. The Pinnacle restaurant is extra cost but worth it once per cruise. In addition the various workshops for sea days were well presented. The Culinary Arts was well received and the Digital Photography workshops were well presented. Others enjoyed other programs The Library is very dated and the magazines offered are rejects from your local dentists office. The shows were very mixed is both quality and in style. Some of the small music groups in the bars were excellent. One of the disappointing features was the person who presented the shore orientation programs. It went like this " My old Computer is acting up, Here are some vague facts" "There is nothing at this port at Jeju "South Korea" In fact most staff and cruisers found it quite delightful and it was easy to walk in into town. There were both weather and immigration issues on this cruise and the captain gave consistently poor information. We were granted "mariners status" although we have not cruised with this line before. The reason I mention it is that we were invited to the Captains lunch. This was a major PR disaster. A few words then run away!!! He had been getting criticism for his poor communication before. If Holland America is asking people to attend this thing then surely the captain and first officer should circulate and talk to the guests. Finally, I will be looking at other cruise lines and please don't use this ship for Alaska you will freeze! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our fifth sailing with Holland America line and, until this cruise, we always found the ships to be above par with excellent service and food. Granted it has been two years since our last Holland America sailing...but the decline ... Read More
This was our fifth sailing with Holland America line and, until this cruise, we always found the ships to be above par with excellent service and food. Granted it has been two years since our last Holland America sailing...but the decline was extremely evident. We boarded the ship and were allowed to immediately go to our stateroom. The non smoking room reeked so of cigarette smoke we could barely call the front desk without coughing. We were informed that a "deep cleaning" would be performed and left the room. Two hours later, the room was in the same condition and we again called the front desk - within 10 minutes an ozone generator was at the door and we again had to leave our room for two hours. When we returned, the room smelled of ozone but the smoke smell was gone...BTW, the window of our room did not open so we could not dispel the ozone smell. The front desk did send us a small plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a note for the inconvenience...and this was the only time we received a towel sculpture the entire trip. As we unpacked, we noted the overall cleanliness of the room...or lack of it. Dust was accumulated on most flat surfaces and the cleaning crew had left several long black hairs in the tub. We would later find one of our blankets was stained with some white bodily discharge - enough said about that. Our room steward was a pleasant person who was managing 27 rooms - they used to manage 12. It was a wonder that our room was serviced every day with that amount of work. We tipped generously every day and always received a smile and a thank you. The overall condition of this ship was quite poor. As other reviewers have noted, the carpet and some of the furnishing are old and have not been well maintained. We noted a significant problem with the plumbing as several public restrooms were "Out of Service" for most of the trip. One night, only one of the three ladies rooms near the main restaurant was available and by the third day, out cabin was unavailable for several hours as a plumbing issue in the room below ours was serviced. The food and service in the main dining room was sporadic. The first night service was a little slow but the food was delightful. Night two it took about 30 minutes to order and about 30 minutes between each of the three courses. Most of the food was cool to cold by the time it reached us. This continued throughout the trip - delightful to terrible service...wonderful to inedible food. One night we went down to the Lido Deck buffet after dinner as most of the food in the main restaurant was sent back after one taste. We are not "foodies" but when a brisket is not cut cross grain - it becomes extremely tough and simply cannot be chewed...and baked alaskan with raw meringue is not acceptable. Enough said...Holland America will not be seeing us for a while. We will wait until conditions have improved and will, in the meantime, move on to another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We sailed on Westerdam in October of 2010 in Europe. Everything was fantastic. We expected the same on the Zaandam. Big mistake. We had no climate control for 9 days of our sailing. Our room was as cold as 60 degrees and as hot as 74 ... Read More
We sailed on Westerdam in October of 2010 in Europe. Everything was fantastic. We expected the same on the Zaandam. Big mistake. We had no climate control for 9 days of our sailing. Our room was as cold as 60 degrees and as hot as 74 degrees. We purchased a spa package. The spa was filthy. Standing water in the shower, and a loose drain cover. All was reported to Spa manager as well as customer relations. It took several days before it was fixed. There were dirty glasses on the food and beverage counter, and nothing wiped down. There was a flood, a power outage, and the deck was so dry you could not play shuffleboard. The tennis net was rarely up. The furniture in the crow's nest was so old it gave me a backache. There was yellow and black caution tape all over the ship due to repairs needed. Food sat in the taco bar for hours, and utensils and containers never cleaned. Our stateroom walls were dirty. Our cabin was left open by room steward. This was also reported. The food was not up to par as far as quality. Berries were few, and papaya available twice only. There were no raspberries available. The BBQ at sail away was cancelled due to rain, and never rescheduled.Glasses and plates were chipped. The bedding was at best motel 6. Debarkation was a nightmare. Passengers finally able to get off the ship at 10:00. Angry passengers in hallways. Overall I would rate this ship a 2 Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
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
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 3.5 3.7
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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