139 Holland America Zaandam Cruise Reviews

We booked this cruise whilst onboard Volendam in Alaska in Oct 2016, from start to finish this cruise Itinerary was great, Antarctica was amazing and the captain did a fantastic job in making sure we got to see everything that was worth ... Read More
We booked this cruise whilst onboard Volendam in Alaska in Oct 2016, from start to finish this cruise Itinerary was great, Antarctica was amazing and the captain did a fantastic job in making sure we got to see everything that was worth seeing ,he even backtracked one day so we could see areas he missed because of bad weather, Wallis our tour EXC was more than helpful and her knowledge of the area was brilliant she was always on deck explaining everything and her colleagues were also good, the lectures about the wildlife and geology were very informative,and the info about Argentina was especially interesting, there were a lot of people on deck when there was something to see which was pretty much all the time and although tedious at times with people trying to get the best photo it was tolerable, food was good we ate mostly in the buffet, always find it takes to long in the dining room and the food is only ever warm at best, service onboard mostly from Philippines all great very polite and nice and our cabin attendants Arthur and Doi were great lots of towel animals and kept our cabin very clean, Conrad, Police,and Jeanine in Crows Nest kept us well watered always very polite and friendly. Only let down on this cruise was the cleanliness or lack of it in the buffet, to start there was no staff at the entrance to the buffet with sanitisers also a lack of sanitisers, they put cups and glasses on the tables and just replaced what was missing when guests left we watched in horror as people with colds and flu coughed and handled everything on the table which was then left for the next unsuspecting guest, i even witnessed a few times glasses being used then not removed and the next guests using the same glass which the waiters filled, when the tables were wiped down they used the same rag that was used on other tables no rincing out and when they did it was in a bucket of dirty water, basically if you wipe down a table were people have been coughing and sneezing then move on to the next table all you do is transfer germs from one to the other,What happened to sanitiser spray!!!!! i did write a long detailed letter of their bad practice and handed it in to guest services but guess what nothing changed, we then witnessed the epidemic of flu and colds sweep through the ship everyone got it including my partner who was ill for 2 weeks it was a really nasty virus that came and went and came again, we always got our cups and glasses from the stack trays and would always get our own drinks it was safer but with bad sanitary practice you stood no chance, what a shame this was as it tainted what would have been the perfect cruise, shame on you HA for not doing everything you could to protect your guests, best of it is it would cost nothing to do, a no brainer to me !! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
After fourteen years of cruising with HAL and being a 4 Star Mariner, I stopped choosing them in 2014 after my sister and I together and separately had several rather disastrous experiences – ratty ships, bad food. This trip renewed my ... Read More
After fourteen years of cruising with HAL and being a 4 Star Mariner, I stopped choosing them in 2014 after my sister and I together and separately had several rather disastrous experiences – ratty ships, bad food. This trip renewed my interest in HAL. This ship was in excellent condition. Everything in the public areas and in my cabin had been refurbished, reupholstered, and freshly painted. No dings or dents and everything worked. My cabin was very big; I had three full closets and one half closet, nine large drawers for storage, many wall hooks, a real bathroom cabinet with door. The food in the main dining room was very good. They have simplified the menus. They did an excellent job of properly cooking fish. They separate fixed and at will diners on separate floors so there is calmness and continuity of service. The least appealing menus were on the ‘Gala’ nights. The Pinnacle had very good fish specials each night and the vegetables were great; the beef is not of the quality that it should be (or used to be). The Lido was nicely organized and the food was presented attractively. There were different stations for different kinds of food. The salad bar always had good choices. The sushi was quite good. The ice cream was wicked. For the most part, the shows were very good and they had a lot of variety. The production singers and dancers were excellent. They left a comment card every single night in case we wanted to say what was good or needed improvement or we had employees we wanted to compliment. The service everywhere was excellent. My room stewards were some of the best I have ever had. The two biggest weak points: 1)The transfer and embarkation process in Buenos Aires. It was five hours from the time my plane landed until I was in my cabin. Most of this time was spent waiting on enough passengers at the airport to fill up a big bus; several smaller would have made more sense due to the heavy traffic to the port. And there were two ships in port and we were not kept as separate as we should have been. 2)The lifeboat drill. HAL uses a different system than any other cruise line and it was confusing. The trip: In twenty-two days, we were in ten ports, including the embarkation and debarkation port: Buenos Aires (overnight); Montevido, Uruguay; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Ushuaia, Argentina; Punta Arenas, Puerto Chacabuco, Isla Chloe, Puerto Montt, Port San Antonio, Chile. Some were working ports so the logistics were different than if they had been cruise ship ports. There was not much tourist type shopping in the ports. And the areas outside some of the port gates were not always so nice. Complimentary shuttles were available in the working ports. For the most part, the tender docks were right in the towns. This is definitely a trip to do an organized shore excursion every day in order to see the places. The ship’s shore excursions I took were all good and I got to see some interesting things. In each cabin was a Port Guide. It had a map of each place, with things to see in town and out, places to eat and shop, and information about the place. And it was not just about the ‘ship approved’ places. Every cruise on every cruise line should have one of these. Having it at the beginning of the trip made planning easier. We spent four days cruising parts of Antarctica and were very close to shore. There were three destination lecturers onboard who specialized in South America and Antarctica, each with several areas of expertise such as geography, history, plants and animals. They also did narration on the deck during our days there. In addition, we had a group come from one of the U. S. scientific stations to spend the day onboard and talk about what they do and what it is like to live in Antarctica. They included scientists from various disciplines, but also the station manager, the cook, the waste guy, the marine mechanic. The scenery was spectacular – whales, penguins, seals, birds, icebergs, glaciers, craggy mountains covered in snow and ice. We lucked out on weather and seas everywhere we were. HAL has the best itinerary for this trip because of four full days in Antarctica. And because it goes through the Chilean fjords, which definitely rank up there with Norway and Alaska, and to the Falklands. Would I do this cruise again? Absolutely. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This cruise was everything we expected and more! Great ports of call, 4 days cruising in Antarctica waters where we saw bunches of penguins, sea lions, whales and a wide variety of birds. Onboard, they offered great lecturers on sea days ... Read More
This cruise was everything we expected and more! Great ports of call, 4 days cruising in Antarctica waters where we saw bunches of penguins, sea lions, whales and a wide variety of birds. Onboard, they offered great lecturers on sea days and even had a few interactive game shows which elated my DW. However, two areas where HAL did not meet our expectations were (1) the quality of their production shows and (2) making sure passengers sanitized their hands when going into a dining area and when reboarding the ship after a day in port. Quality of HAL production shows. The singers and dancers were fine, but the pace of the shows were that of watching a Lawrence Welk Show. That's fine if you like a slower pace, but we're in our mid 60's and grew up on rock and roll and were board stiff during most of their shows. However, they did hire some great entertainers which made up for the lack luster production shows produced by a New York-based production company from what we understand. Personal hygiene shortfalls. This 22 day cruise was during the height of the cold/flu season, but HAL didn't seem to realize this. They used to make folks going into a dining area sanitize their hands the first 48 hours of the cruise. Not any more. They used to have a crew member at the base of the gangway making sure passengers sanitize their hands before coming back on ship. Not any more. They used to have sanitizer dispensers outside the main theater entrances. Not on this cruise. As a result, this was the "sickest" HAL cruise we have ever been on as at least 1/3 of the passengers had bronchial type cold/flu symptoms the last 2+ weeks of the cruise. Going to the show in the evening was like listening to a chorus of coughing. Lesson learned. Wash your hands and use the hand sanitizers religiously and if at all possible avoid using the tongs up on the lido deck. Of course, no cruise is perfect and since we just got off a great 25 day Celebrity Eclipse cruise where all of the shows were great with many reaching the "wow" status and the ship's hygiene practices were top notch, it was just a big let down to see HAL's offerings so inferior. But, as I mentioned earlier, it wasn't all bad. The itinerary was GREAT, the guest lecturers were GREAT and the contracted evening entertainment for the most part was very entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Chose this cruise for the itinerary, not the line or the ship. After reading some negative reviews, we didn't have really high hopes, but the ship turned out to be pretty nice even with a few hiccups. We are a couple in our ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary, not the line or the ship. After reading some negative reviews, we didn't have really high hopes, but the ship turned out to be pretty nice even with a few hiccups. We are a couple in our 60's and have cruised 26 times before on most of the major lines, this was the third time with Holland America. We brought our 11 year old granddaughter with us, and while there were only about six kids total onboard, the youth director Lisa did a fine job of allieviating their boredom. The ports were fascinating, unlike anything we had ever seen, but on sea days we found very little to do. Most folks played bridge, napped in the solarium, or read. Very few activities. Overall, it was a trip of a lifetime! We had smooth seas, not at all like what we expected. A word to the wise: if you're sailing out of Rio, you must have a Brazilian visa, which we quite expensive (over $1000.00 for the three of us) and it took about 3 months and many phone calls to get. The visas showed up 4 days before we left home, and it was a big hassle. Glad we got to see Rio, but we will not ever be going back to Brazil! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The cruise offered a chance to circumnavigate South America with mostly interesting ports. Speedy embarkation, The ship has sophisticated/muted interiors and an outstanding display of art & musical memorabilia throughout the ship. ... Read More
The cruise offered a chance to circumnavigate South America with mostly interesting ports. Speedy embarkation, The ship has sophisticated/muted interiors and an outstanding display of art & musical memorabilia throughout the ship. Cabin 6180 looked fine, spacious with all amenities but when the ship was at sea a creaking/grating noise came from the junction of the veranda & the ceiling, the noise was pretty loud and nonstop. It was as if Sir Francis Drake's ghost has come to stay. After many complaints (most were ignored-front desk staff was useless except for Precious) wooden wedges were placed (helped) and then removed for safety reasons. Cabin was changed only at San Antonio (over 2 weeks). We dined mostly in the MDR, the food was hot, very good and the choices were ample. Service was amazing, we switched to a permanent table after a few days, Aang & Daniel our waiters remembered every request and Mr. Manik the assistant MDR manager was also very helpful. Ate a few times at the Pinnacle Grill and enjoyed the food and service. Activities were pretty limited and adjusted to the average age of the passengers. Entertainment was average. All staff was courteous and went out of their way to help. Most ports were interesting as a jump off point or in themselves, shore excursions were privately organized with shipmates met on CruiseCritic roll call (highly recommended)and only two were the ship's, they were well organized & the guides were very good. We enjoyed all aspects of the cruise apart from the cabin noise, A letter to HAL after we came back home did bring some consolation though it would have been better if the problem was resolved on board. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This cruise offered me an opportunity to explore some locations that I would not be able to travel to on my own. I hear that this ship is going in to dry dock to have an update. It is a good thing because it coud use a little face ... Read More
This cruise offered me an opportunity to explore some locations that I would not be able to travel to on my own. I hear that this ship is going in to dry dock to have an update. It is a good thing because it coud use a little face lift. My cabin was fine but the heat did not work as well as other boats I have been in, the sink kept dripping but all in all they kept the cabin clean. Dining, well once you get the hang of it it is great. the staff are very accommodating. Just ask and often they will do anything to make it happen. How do they remember names so well? regarding the food - good portion control, very tasty usually. we had breakfast in the didning room. I would HIGHLY reccomment it regarding the service, I am jewsih and I really appreciated HAL had the egg bread adn the wine available. Kudos Entertainment and activities - needs work there were a few brilliant acts Bailamos from Canada, Tutti, wow!the magician, the argentinian singer. were fabulous . Also the band in the ocean bar was good. the crouwd was old that is why there was not htat much going on. the crows nest had some great live entertainers, but it was all one kind of music, not my kind of music. the entertainment just needed a little more and a little more polish. some entertainers were wonderful some were less than okay Everyone loved Richard adn abby. Richard was the martini specialist - even though I am not a drinker it was treat to have that esprit de corps. regarding the ports- It depends on your port experience. I know HAL in hypervigillant about safety but they scared many peope from going in to lima. Lima was a highlight. the HAL tours are too expensive. I took the HAL casa blanca wine tour - that was wonderful.The tourguide was terrific My shore excursions were all great. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
i needed a short dcruise to be able to go to a family wedding, this was the winner. i did the full 37 day cruise last year and didn't mind the 22 day shorter segment.i am a loyal mariner and find a lack of respect by HAL for these ... Read More
i needed a short dcruise to be able to go to a family wedding, this was the winner. i did the full 37 day cruise last year and didn't mind the 22 day shorter segment.i am a loyal mariner and find a lack of respect by HAL for these people. for the past few years there has never been a mariners cocktail party to meet the crew and captain.i can buy my own drink it's just the thought that they care about loyal mariners.over the years the food in the didning room has become less fine, still okay but too many inexpensive selections on the one page menu. in the past it was 2 pages.the ship is being redone after the winter season, some cabins and public area are showing their age but not terrible looking .the shore excursions were plentiful and expensive for what was received.the description is better than the reality on many of the tours. the entertainment was adequate but not great each night. the dancers and singers, had their first show after almost 9 days.the ship is a perfect size large but not that big as compared to many others.the cabins are adequate and have good clostes and storage space. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this ship because of the smaller size and weren’t disappointed. Superior service from all departments, everyone was so friendly. Great food! We took advantage of all the dining venues on offer and enjoyed the variety, we found ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the smaller size and weren’t disappointed. Superior service from all departments, everyone was so friendly. Great food! We took advantage of all the dining venues on offer and enjoyed the variety, we found the dining staff always ready and able to accommodate special requests. Room service was speedy and accurate. Love the lemonade in the buffet. Balcony cabin included some extras that were appreciated, like bathrobes, umbrella and binoculars. We used the safe and fridge, and would find it hard to be without them. The South American ports were all new to us, and we found the excursions to be as described, well organized and professionally run. The lemonade or hot chocolate at the gangway on return was a welcome sight. Shopping at the pier was always available with quality merchandise on offer. Disembarkation was organized better than what we have experienced before. We found very little to complain about. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The Zaandam lived up to our four star mariner expectations clean, we'll run, great food, no sickness in 38 days, much better entertainment than in the past, the best staff in the world from captain to cabin boy. Good itinery of places ... Read More
The Zaandam lived up to our four star mariner expectations clean, we'll run, great food, no sickness in 38 days, much better entertainment than in the past, the best staff in the world from captain to cabin boy. Good itinery of places that are hard to get to except at great expense making this very good value for money. Sea day activities were lacking especially to those who are regular holland America guest as things such as BBC trivea and films And test kitchen are repeated on a two week schedule. Most ports had inexpensive tours offered on the dock we did one in nearly every port. They were very reasonable safe and proffessionally run. The natural beauty at the tip of South America was well worth the trip. To bird enthusiast this is heaven, so many diff kinds of sea birds it is like a nature cruise. For the first boat of the season the weather was ver good we even had great weather in Stanley the Falklands although to earlier to go to the king penguins as track still to wet for vehicles Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was a cruise my wife and I took from Vancouver to Seward. We took a five day Carnival cruise 3 weeks ago so I'll make some comparisons. In most ways, this cruise was superior to the Carnival cruise which was a five day ... Read More
This was a cruise my wife and I took from Vancouver to Seward. We took a five day Carnival cruise 3 weeks ago so I'll make some comparisons. In most ways, this cruise was superior to the Carnival cruise which was a five day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville on the Elation. The service, food, embarkation, and ports were all preferred over Carnival. However, this was a cruise clearly meant for an older crowd. We are in our 40's and felt that most others cruising with us were older. First impressions weren't great as the word ZAANDAM on the outside of the ship needed painting. However, we didn't note any other areas where the ship showed wear, so it really was in great shape. Food was consistently very good to outstanding. Every meal was well prepared and presented with top notch service. There were hardly ever any lines at any time in Lido or the main dining room. Lunch was where this ship shined over the Carnival. Here lunch was very good every day. Lunch was typically so-so on Carnival so there was a big difference here. Our inside cabin was much larger than Carnival with room for a couch where there was not room for one in the Carnival room. HAL also included a make-up mirror which my wife appreciated. Service was consistently good for the cabin, dining, and other areas where needed. Embarkation was very good with few lines and waiting. We were on board and eating before noon. We even enjoyed a swim on the warm Vancouver afternoon. We went on a land tour following the cruise and it was well run and organized every step of the way. This made the whole trip worthwhile although we really enjoyed the cruise portion as well. We did not do any cruise operated shore excursions so we can't speak to those. Wife went to one of the cooking demonstrations but didn't like it enough to attend any others. They were very crowded so you need to arrive early to get a seat. The live music was good but I prefer at least one choice that plays something more modern and hip. Live entertainment was good but nothing edgy here. The main downfall was the degree to which this cruise catered to the more seasoned folks. There were few "fun" activities and those that were presented weren't well done. For example, there is a night club area but it was not open every evening. The music played was almost exclusively 30 or more years old so it lacked the pizazz needed to make it truly enjoyable. I appreciated the live band that played a few nights, but they played songs mostly from the 1970's. Again, play some newer music. Even older folks can like newer tunes. All that said, we still thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would recommend it to anyone, especially those who aren't looking for fun but more a gracious cruising experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Did the 7 day north bound cruise from Vancouver to Seward. We had a Neptune Suite on Deck 7. Even though the Zaandam is a little tired internally, it is clean, comfortable and everything works as it should. Being in a Neptune Suite really ... Read More
Did the 7 day north bound cruise from Vancouver to Seward. We had a Neptune Suite on Deck 7. Even though the Zaandam is a little tired internally, it is clean, comfortable and everything works as it should. Being in a Neptune Suite really made the cruise for us as it was a large suite. We also had access to our own lounge, concierge and priority in the dining areas. There was quite a bit to do on the ship but we really didn't partake in many of the activities so can't comment. The ports were really only a stopover to appreciate the beauty of Alaska as there wasn't much else to see in any of them. Probably the highlight was the day cruising in Glacier Bay, in particular the onboard commentary by the park ranger. All in all, our first cruise with HAL and we'd be happy to join them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We choose this cruise because of departure port, itinerary, bonus of getting us up to Denali and general age demographics. We're late 50's/early 60's and really have no interest in the mega cruise ship experience and ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of departure port, itinerary, bonus of getting us up to Denali and general age demographics. We're late 50's/early 60's and really have no interest in the mega cruise ship experience and shudder at the thought of a few thousand people aboard. The Zaandam was the perfect size ship for us and felt like a pair of comfortable shoes or favorite pullover. Not all sparkly and new but loved and clean. She looked so tiny sandwiched in between the PCL ships in port. We hoped for smooth cruising as one of our companions was prone to sea sickness and fortunately had calm seas the entire trip. Since we had good weather we found ourselves spending a lot of time on the uncrowded Sea View pool deck enjoying the views. I imagine it's cold early and later on during Alaska cruise season but it felt pretty much like San Francisco in July to us. Go down the stairway right at the center of the back of the deck to the very private public deck on deck 7. Thank us later. :-) Ship - We passed through but never stayed in the Lido pool area as that seemed to be where all the families with kids congregated. It was fine, the ship had many different places to spend time according to your likes. Exploration area with library, individual and family games, computers. Other quiet spots to sit, relax, read and take in the view from inside. Crow's nest for that great forward looking view. We enjoyed the jazz trio at the Ocean Bar and wished they played a little later into the evening. We didn't take in any shows but did enjoy the Thermal Suite and had it to ourselves 2 out of 3 times for a couple hours a pop - score! You can split a couple's pass with someone other than your significant other. Great glassed forward looking view and we spotted Orcas while soaking in the hot tub cruising up the inside passage. Food - We ate all dinners in the main dining room under the open dining plan. First two nights service was very spotty as was one rushed breakfast but we found good service on third evening and made reservations for that table and waitstaff for the rest of the our evening meals. We found the menu options were quite good with appetizers, salads, soups, a fish, poultry, pasta, meat, vegetarian, gluten free, sugar free offerings for deserts every night. Portions were appropriately sized, not huge so no waste. Would rate the MDR meals a respectable 7 on a 10 scale. We've had better and worse. Some of the same items were available in the Lido if you wanted to brave the buffet. Do make sure you get to the Lido buffet at least 30 mins before they stop serving because they cut off about 10 mins earlier than expected. Almost missed 1st breakfast because we slept in. It was tense to say the least to get food when they were pulling everything closed. This was our most negative experience. Otherwise we ate lunch (almost at closing every time so no crowds) and late night tea and snack there. Nice selection but we mainly ate from the Asian Counter, hey, when in Rome! Food 6.5 on a 10 scale. We ordered room service for breakfast (eggs & omelettes) on port days and it was delivered promptly. Food 5.5 on 10 scale (pretty meh). Drinks - we don't really drink but the best value we saw had to be the pitchers of Alaska Brewery beer at the Alaska Bar on the Lido pool deck (around $17/pitcher + grat). Good coffee can be found at the Exploration Cafe for a small price. Excursions - We rented a car in each port and self toured away from the souvenir and jewelry shops. Glacier Bay cruising - amazing! Good weather blessed us with fabulous views. We were outside almost the entire time, wear layers and a waterproof/windproof outer top/bottom and you will be fine. Go up to the verandah deck above the bow. On board activities - We skipped most of them but it just happened that way. There were some that looked really good but we found ourselves looking at the amazing scenery most of the time when on the ship. Naturalist and rangers were good. Embarkation - Initial was delayed due to ship sanitizing from a NoroVirus outbreak on the previous cruise(!!). The crew continued wipe down efforts well into the cruise which we thanked every staff member we saw doing this most important task. Wash your hands often people! We didn't hear of any outbreaks during our 7 day journey. Otherwise getting on/off the ship while in port was quick and easy. Staff - hard working, give them the thanks they deserve for the long hours they put in week in and week out to make our vacations memorable. Laundry room - good luck with that one but happy to be able to have clean clothes before transferring to Denali Go very late or very early and stay with your load. You have been forewarned. ;-) Overall our cruise experience was very enjoyable and relaxing. A nice balance of at sea and in port days. We went in knowing this is not luxury cruise nor one designed to keep you entertained 24hrs a day. The ship was pretty quiet by 10PM and that's ok. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise as we had traveled with HAL on this trip before. The cruise was very enjoyable and relaxing, great scenery and lots of new friends made on the cruise, We did the extension to Dinali which was a great experience but ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had traveled with HAL on this trip before. The cruise was very enjoyable and relaxing, great scenery and lots of new friends made on the cruise, We did the extension to Dinali which was a great experience but service and cuisine did not live up to HAL standards. The off ship components could do with a revamp in both quality and care. teh Hotel in Anchorage looks and feels very tired and the breakfast was second rate at best. Our booked excursions included rafting and Tundra tour. Our rafting finished at 10pm and then we found we were on a 5am start for the Tundra tour next day. Given all were booked through HAL this could have been easily avoided. We also booked the Le Cirque dinner on Board. This was a fantastic dining experience. Our regular cabin stewards and Wine steward were first rate made the whole trip so much better. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller bedroom. It was pretty cramped but we were not there a lot. The embarkation in Valparaiso was quick and the transfer arranged with HAL from Valparaiso was great, some stops and a good guide. Favorite ports were Coquimbo and Jose de San Martin . Excellent tours that we organized with Ecotours and South American Secrets. The Isla Ballista tour was fantastic! The ship decor is very dated with lots of Venetian style stuff although the signed musical instruments were cool. The small shop was very limited and there is the same old jewellery that gets flogged on every cruise ship. I like the size of the ship and I thought the food was good. Maybe could have spiced up some of the dishes but overall, excellent service in the dining room and the Lido and we always found the food tasty and lots of choices. Trivia seemed to be the activity most popular but by the time we wanted to join in, there was no group to partner with.The musical team of singers and dancers are excellent. We were treated to guest singers as well and a Card Illusionist i guess you would call him that gave a stunning show of aptitude. We attended all of the lectures by the guest Naturalist and appreciated his knowledge. The Captain was interesting with his anecdotes every day. The ship was kept very clean and a big thanks to all of the cleaners and service folks. One unusual thing is there was a cardiac arrest on this ship. Because of the time it took for personnel to arrive it made me wonder why there are not Defibrillators on every floor. I never saw one at all. But maybe that is the case on all of the ships. One staff can then rush to the area and defibrillate if needed quicker than waiting for the whole crew and equipment to trundle along the deck. Just a thought. Disembarkation was smooth and efficient, we left at 0930 so most of the crowd had left. I would recommend this itinerary and this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Just to be away from the cold time in Ontario to return home not until spring arrives. We had not been to Peru, and Equador yet which were very nice . We really liked the size of the ship which has a great crew . The archeological ... Read More
Just to be away from the cold time in Ontario to return home not until spring arrives. We had not been to Peru, and Equador yet which were very nice . We really liked the size of the ship which has a great crew . The archeological sites in Peru and Equador were very nice and we loved the South American people . The nature of these countries were also very different from what we had expected it was much dryer and in some places just like a desert . We loved our experiences in Lima a, Trujillo , and the Islas Ballestas were simply amazing . Be careful in big cities like Santiago there seem to be more pick pocket incidents and petty thievery as my wifes purse was slashes and wallet taken even though she was pretty careful . At least there was not a big loss just the inconvenience of replacing cards . Our hotel front office was extremely helpful in contacting credit card companies . Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's ... Read More
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's strength is still their staff who were as always very friendly and professional, made up of, you guessed it, Phillipinos and Indonesian crew. The ship officers were not quite as friendly or visible. We were happy to discover that Holland America made arrangements to have a Pastor on Board to have an Easter service which quite a number of passengers took part in. Nathan & Cindy of Dallas, Texas also conducted bible studies on board. Most cruise lines do not look after spiritual needs of the passengers or crew. It was wonderful to see the fresh flowers all over the ship as is Holland's theme. The food and entertainment was very good. We enjoyed our Holland cruise once again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose mainly due to ports of call. Usually we go Celebrity. Comparing Celebrity: younger average age (I read that Hal was trying to get their average age lower), more entertainment (Celebrity has a great Martini bar that is very ... Read More
We chose mainly due to ports of call. Usually we go Celebrity. Comparing Celebrity: younger average age (I read that Hal was trying to get their average age lower), more entertainment (Celebrity has a great Martini bar that is very active before and after dinner and has entertainment on pool deck, in lobby). In nightclub, HAL was very quiet--it only came live when our younger average age group attended but we had to educate the DJ. Live band in nightclub only 2 nights out of 18. Food and service was excellent. Spa was great. Some ports of call was a bit disappointing but educational. Final Disembarkation in San Diego was very disorganized on board with long lineups stretching down the ship hallways. Fitness club was great--no waiting for most equipment (likely the benefit of older average age). Public rooms on Celebrity always had attendants keeping everything clean vs Hal. Celebrity always had greeters with hand sanitizers at eating hall entry ways encouraging people to sanitize hands. However on HAL, food was more secures as everything was served (i.e. not selfserved) Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I wanted to go to South America and wanted to see Penquins. The cruise was extraordinary. Even though we missed one port due to weather I still got to see the penquins in Falkland Islands.It was awesome. I visited 4 countries and really ... Read More
I wanted to go to South America and wanted to see Penquins. The cruise was extraordinary. Even though we missed one port due to weather I still got to see the penquins in Falkland Islands.It was awesome. I visited 4 countries and really got to experience the culture and life in each country. I had booked private tours and it made the tours very personal. It was also half the cost of the ship tours. The weather this time of year is unpredictable. We had rainy weather from Valparasio to Ushuaia. If you want to see penguins I recommend you book tours to see them in more than one port. The temperature is around 47F. Tours for tips are offered in both cities. We finished in Buenos Aires. I recommend if you have a late flight take the transfer from the ship and the tour they offer.(only tour booked through the ship) WE were very pleased with Holland America. Disappointed in the WiFi. It was very slow. Used most of my minutes trying to up load pictures. I quit trying. Disappointed I could never get hot toast for breakfast, even in the dining room. In general the food was good but not superior. Great service and very friendly staff. Entertainment in the theater was superior. I would recommend this cruise to anyone that wants to see the penquins and experience the culture in four countries. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
After having sailed the Mediterranean last year we wanted to explore a part of the world that would be oh so unique. With HAL doing away with the South Pacific cruises of the last 3 years we decided to book this one. Having booked our ... Read More
After having sailed the Mediterranean last year we wanted to explore a part of the world that would be oh so unique. With HAL doing away with the South Pacific cruises of the last 3 years we decided to book this one. Having booked our flight from Vancouver to Buenos Aires through HAL's Flight Ease everything went smooth even the very tight connection in DFW. Sleepy eyed the next morning we arrived on time and made our way to the Baggage claim, where we were met with HAL greeters. Being disabled I was placed in a wheelchair and made it to the exit point of the terminal. Our guide unfortunately left my wife and I behind on the way to bus. When we found out where the bus was it was long gone. I was not impressed. Found another HAL guide outside the terminal to help out and had to wait 30 - 40 mins for the next one. Once on board the bus it didn't take long to get to cruise terminal, but is where the fun began. We were among the first persons here except for the previous bus and were told to sit towards the rear of the terminal away from the in route to ship processing. We were not given a process number but told to wait until we were notified to line up for pre process. Other groups after us we noticed were given number cards and seated adjacent to the processing gate. My wife went over and queried what was going on. She was told by staff that it was for 4 and 5 star priority guests but upon asking one of the people seated there this was their first cruise as well as others my wife again asked what was going on and told the rep that what she her was not correct. After that she went away came back with another rep with processing numbers and started handing them out to our group but after the later arriving guests already had the lower numbers. once we got started it went pretty well. A staff member found me a wheelchair and assisted us through the process, up the elevator and onto the ship. Luckily our cabin was on the Dolphin Deck which was where the embark ramp was. Into our room and then off to the front desk by 1240 pm and then the Dining Room which didn't open until 1 pm. Was seated and recognized dining staff from previous cruises what a reunion. Had a great lunch and some catch up conversation. It didn't take long to find that the food quality has declined with our first dinner in the dining room (Deck 4 open seating). Our initial dining staff didn't seem very motivated to go back to the galley and make things better. The next evening we moved to another table with different waiter and assistant. Oh did we hit the jack pot. Sony and Yoga were absolutely incredible. They made every dining experience after that beyond reproach. Our wine steward was very good as we like our wine and made some great recommendations for wine selections within the wine packages of South America and the HAL wine list . Nelson, our Maitre' D and Syariff the Dining Room Manager treated us so well. Most breakfasts and lunches when applicable were taken in the Lido Market. I met two wonderful Omellet chefs Rona and Micheal(JR), made to order delicious. Varied fresh fruit was mostly available and if you didn't see it don't be afraid to ask. Great salad and sushi bars. Enjoyed the food quality and taste at the Dive In, great burgers and fries with curry ketchup. All the staff were so gracious and helpful. Our cabin seemed so small maybe it was my memory but our room sure seemed small. Didn't like the in cabin safe where you had to use only on shipboard card or credit card etc to operate the safe. Sure made it inconvenient at times. Why not have them same as other ships within a push button code set. Beds seem be have seen better days time for a replace as well as the sofa. TVs are antiquated, terrible resolution and immovable. It would be nice also that every time we are in port that they give the windows a scrub so you can see half ass clearly out of them. Ship's Captain, Chris Turner was excellent thank you for the Cape Horn and El Brujo Glacier experience. His senior staff were very good. All of our cruise directors Mark, Mario and Jordan were very personable and professional. Other persons of note were the Local Location Specialist, Ryan Baird was exceptional. What a wonderful asset to have on board. Also the wonderful lecturers we had on board Dr Stephen Sloan on World Affairs and how these affected the areas we were travelling through and Dr Christofferson on Marine biology of varied Marine species relative to areas we were visiting. Evening stage shows were OK but didn't "wow" us. We miss the HAL Cats, instead we get "The Band" but unfortunately they don't play that often and for a short period of time. Not too lively. As always the Ship's Shore excursions as usual over promise, over charge and under deliver. We did take two with the ship because we couldn't find english speaking guides on private tours. As a rule we check out our own with online help when we can get Wifi on shore for a private tour. If you can find another couple to join you all the better. Four in a group is the most economical. Overall the food could be better, the room as well, but the Staff was incredible especially our dining staff they are in a class of their own. Our cabin staff of Widodo and Bashari thanks guys for all you do, and who could forget the wonderful Front Office staff headed by Rencel Recto, Guest Relations Officer. Captain Turner you were great, hope to sail with you again, before you retire. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was a "Bucket List" cruise for me and an "I'm along for the ride" cruise for my DW. We are 3 Star Cruisers with HAL. We had spectacular views and also appalling views of poverty. Embarkation: The ship is a ... Read More
This was a "Bucket List" cruise for me and an "I'm along for the ride" cruise for my DW. We are 3 Star Cruisers with HAL. We had spectacular views and also appalling views of poverty. Embarkation: The ship is a good ways from the airport so you get a feeling for Buenos Aires right off the bat as you travel through. It was good to be moving and sight seeing as the flight from Houston was at night and 10 hours. Customs was wacky but not excessively long. Our rooms were ready by the time we arrived. The Lido even had places to sit and relax. Not at all crowded. The ship is showing her age, but holding up nicely. No kids hogging the elevators, on only 2 occasions were there any lines to contend with and we were greeted with smiles from all the crew. Captain PJ is top notch and even was on the gangway as we disembarked. Didn't care much for the dirty South American ports. Only 2 had good Wi-Fi [Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Montt]. Enjoyed excursions in Puerto Madryn and the Falklands. Antarctica was beyond words grand! And we had the unheard of pleasure of 3 days of sunshine there. Plenty of wind, plenty of cold, and too many views of grandeur to keep track of. Bring all your coldest weather gear for you'll need it. On the way to Cape Horn we had heavy seas which the ship handled just fine. As we approached the Horn, the rainy weather cleared to give us a beautiful view. The dining was on par with all the other HAL ships which is pretty darn good. Maybe the Lido was a step above. The entertainment was hit and miss. I would say it was mostly good and the ship's singers and dancers worked their hearts out. The front desk folks were excellent and were our servers. Disembarkation was bad. There was one line down the gangway which was blocked and stopped for each passenger that needed assistance, and there were many. To get away from the ship to the terminal, you took a shuttle bus. Again a slow process. The ship docks in Valparaiso +/-90 minutes from the airport in Santiago. Our flight was at 10:40PM so we took advantage of this and booked an all day excursion that dropped us there about 6PM. The airport is a huge barn with no seating, little signage, and the gates don't open until 3 hours before your flight. No reason to arrive early. The flight from Santiago was +/-9 hours. Then customs at 5AM in Houston followed and was awful. Just Awful. Get to do it again in September. Yuk! The good was Antarctica! The bad was the disembarkation! The ugly were the South American ports. We have booked another cruise on the Zaandam so I guess you can say we loved her. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
It was our first cruise and it lasted 3 weeks. We took this cruise mainly to see Antarctica and it was the highlight of our trip. The glaciers, the icebergs, the whales, the penguins, the seals, the dolphins, etc. The port of calls in ... Read More
It was our first cruise and it lasted 3 weeks. We took this cruise mainly to see Antarctica and it was the highlight of our trip. The glaciers, the icebergs, the whales, the penguins, the seals, the dolphins, etc. The port of calls in South America were mainly small towns or cities and not that interesting. The excursions in the national parks were nice. As for the cruise itself, in general it was very nice. The service was excellent, the food was good, the entertainment was very good also. We had 3 scientists who had worked in Antarctica and they gave lectures which were very interesting. Then we got 10 people working at the US research station that came on board for a Q & A session. The only bad point was when it was time to leave the ship to go to the ports of call, the procedure could be improve because it was very slow and unorganized. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise to see penguins. We have 3 penguin loving boys and we like to take a big trip at Christmas rather than give them toys they don't need. We had 2 adjoining Ocean View rooms on Deck 2. Our rooms were decent sized ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see penguins. We have 3 penguin loving boys and we like to take a big trip at Christmas rather than give them toys they don't need. We had 2 adjoining Ocean View rooms on Deck 2. Our rooms were decent sized for what they were. My only complaint about the room was the bathroom. It was dated. Everything else about the room was fine and our room steward was fantastic. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone looking to see penguins and experience Antarctica. I'm still going through our photos but I can't even choose my top 1000 pictures because we have so many great shots. We only booked a couple excursion through HAL. We did mostly private excursions. We booked private guides for the stops in Chile (except Punta Arenas). We saw many of the same sits as the HAL tours but I feel like we really got a better flavor for the region and culture by have our own personal guide and driver and frankly, it with 5 of us it was cheaper than than the HAL excursions. In Punta Arenas we booked the Magellanic penguin tour through HAL. That tour was fantastic. It was amazing to be up close and personal with so many penguins. I'm glad we booked the slow boat tour vs. the speed boat tour as the speed boat was cancelled due to high winds and there was no space for those folks on the slow boat so they missed out the penguins. Next stop was Ushuaia. What an interesting town! We had booked the Wildlife Boat tour through HAL but it was cancelled because of high winds. We explored the port and had the most amazing "submarinos" (hot chocolate) at a local chocolate shop. Our journey around Cape Horn and Drake's Passage was smooth and we got to Antarctica early. What an amazing experience. The sights were breath taking. Even when we weren't out of deck looking, we would sit in the Lido Pool area and watch out both sides. The Falklands were amazing. I absolutely loved our time there. We did a private tour with Patrick Watts to Volunteer Point. We got some amazing pictures of penguins but oh my that bog ride was so much fun and quite the adventure. Because we were 5 we had two drivers. All of us thought we had the best driver. We learned a lot about the island and the war from our drivers and even just daily life. I would highly recommend the Volunteer Point excursion. Next stop was Puerto Madryn. I probably could have skipped this port. We did the Penisula Valdes tour through HAL. After having private guides in Chile this one was a bit of a let down. Yes we saw a lot of seals, but it wasn't very close (on cliff overlooking the beach). It was a lot of time on bus and not a lot of time actually on foot exploring. Next stop was Montevideo. I wasn't all that impressed with this stop. It could have been because at this point I was just getting tired. We had been on board for 18 days. We didn't book at tour in Montevideo thinking we could just walk around. Well we stopped in Montevideo on a Sunday and there wasn't much open. We couldn't find a bank ATM to get local currency and the stores that were open for the most part didn't accept credit cards. We ended up heading back to the boat and enjoying the afternoon swimming in the pool lido which had opened roof. One nice thing about Montevideo was HAL did a great bar-b-que as we were leaving port at the Lido Pool. I wish they done more regional meals like this during the cruise. It was fantastic. When we arrived in BA I was excited because I was ready to go home, but first we had 2 days in BA. We did our own excursions. The first day we did a 1/2 day bike tour through Biking BA. It was fantastic. Our guides were great and also it was an intimate way to see the city. Much better than in a tour bus but also able to see more than if we were on foot. After our bike tour we came back to the boat for our "siesta". For dinner that night we booked the "Argentine Experience". We took a cab from the boat. that was an experience. A storm popped up. It was incredibly fast and severe with tree limbs falling and localized flooding, but our cab driver got us there. The actual Argentine experience was great. It was full of laughs and good foods. My kids loved learning how to make Empanadas and how to use their hands like an Argentine. Our 2d day in BA was also Disembarkation day. The disembarkation was incredibly smooth. We were purple 2 and were off the boat by 9:15. We booked a van and guide through VIP tours for the 2d day as we needed a place for our luggage and a way to get to the airport. Our guide was great. He showed us all the different parts of BA that we didn't see on bike and was really informative. When preparing for BA, I didn't quite get what was the big deal about the Recoleta cemetery, but we went there and it is definitely not to be missed. The kids club program was fantastic and my kids really enjoyed going and making friends with the other kids on the boat. It was great that there were other kids in the same age bracket as mine onboard (8-11) This is definitely a bucket list trip and I can't recommend it enough. I loved the Zaandam's size. It felt just right for the trip. Last year we did the caribbean on a princess ship and it just felt like a floating hotel the Zaandam even though it is a little dated was perfect. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone but pick your excursions well as I do think that made a difference for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Winter in in the northern hemisphere is summer in the southern hemisphere, best season to cruise towards the south end of America. In the desire to explore the glacier landscape we decided on this cruise that allowed us to also visit many ... Read More
Winter in in the northern hemisphere is summer in the southern hemisphere, best season to cruise towards the south end of America. In the desire to explore the glacier landscape we decided on this cruise that allowed us to also visit many ports in Argentina (Patagonia) and Chile (Tierra del fuego). Holland America filled our expectation of 5 star accommodations and service. The cabin was comfortable and clean. Dining was excellent with a wide variety of selections. Entertainment was different and I was glad it included south American artists showcasing Latin music, singers and dances. I always appreciate the classical music presentation at the adagio, but also enjoyed the unique bandoneon concerts by Guido. Buenos Aires, was a tough afternoon with the protest that blocked the city traffic. Montevideo is a nice port town, friendly people and best place to buy non expensive leather goods(soft sheep leather) and souvenirs. In front of the port there is a large market with approximately 20 fire pit grills serving good quality meat and sausages. Worth while a visit. The Falkland Islands were a surprise, with a British style village and beautiful cove from were to observe penguins on the seashore with a non expensive shuttle drive (not a cruise excursion) offered on the port. The sea on our way there was a 2 day cruising, a bit more shaky but tolerable, and an opportunity to relax and rest. Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, and Puerto Montt, each had their own characteristics, all very nice small towns. Cruising through the channels was relaxing with beautiful scenery. The weather changed very rapidly in all these ports but in general we had lost of sunshine and nice temperatures. Required layers for the changing temperatures. Upon arrival to Valparaiso we were met by Jorge Salgado who has his own tour company and he picked 4 of us in the Valparaiso port and gave us a tour of Valparaiso and Viñas del mar and then took us on a ride to Santiago leaving us in our hotel at 4:30 pm and taking the other passengers on a tour of Santiago and then on to the airport. Jorge is a very honest and respectful tour guide which made our transportation to Santiago and our tour of Valparaiso a great experience. We continued to use his services while enjoying our short stay in Santiago all at an affordable price. He gave us insights to the best places in the city. His phone is 993110796 and his email chileantrips@hotmail.com. Prior to our cruise we also visited El Calafate and the Glacier Park of Perito Moreno, and it was the best decision because we were able to enjoy this magnificent glacier close up. The town is also a very pleasant experience. In El Calafate we stayed at a very comfortable and simple hotel were the staff were very friendly and helpful, Schilling Hostel Patagonico, and walking distance from the center of the town with abundant good resturants and shops. In Santiago we stayed at the Apart Hotel Providence, and had a similar experience with a clean small apartment with a kitchen and friendly staff. Very accessible to transportation in a very nice neighborhood. Overall it was a very nice trip, relaxing and with time to rest. There were many days cruising, so if you don't like cruising this trip is not for you. We were very fortunate for the weather at sea was calmer than usual. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The ship for being fairly small had excellent food, lamb, lobster and two fantastic surprise meals by the pool that were awesome! German food and BBQ of every type meat and desserts too. The high teas were good too in the Diningroom. The ... Read More
The ship for being fairly small had excellent food, lamb, lobster and two fantastic surprise meals by the pool that were awesome! German food and BBQ of every type meat and desserts too. The high teas were good too in the Diningroom. The Captain was a great guy! Kept us informed about everything, offered free champagne for not being able to tender one port, and made up for it by getting us in hours ahead at next port. He afforded everyone a lot of time at Cape Horn and the Glacier and turned the ship so everyone got an equally good view! You need to book a window seat in the diningroom if you ever want to sit there! ( open seating) It's your best chance to spot a whale! ( I saw 3) The downside was: 1) the dusty plants on the tables at the buffet were never cleaned so gross 2) the glass on the ship was very dirty so no photos from inside out 3) the spa closed the 2nd last day with no notice to those of us that bought memberships The upside was we really enjoyed the spa and view but it was not well attended by staff replacing towels on beds or wiping them down between users, same with resting room of loungers, linens weren't changed between guests 4) I'm a shopper and found the shopping minimal and boring on board, they need to change their products more 5) how about a smoke free Casino people! We enjoyed the extra workshops on board and the heated pool, never a wait to get in or hot tubs either. Our cabin was quite warm even with the heat off so next time I'll pack a fan, and the bathroom smelled mouldy even though we never showered there so Air refresher is a must. There was plenty of drawers even under the bed and lots of closet space, we had interior room and it was plenty roomy! Room service was great too. Overall we really enjoyed this ship and the friendly staff! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This is a fantastic destination for people that like nature and nice scenery. The ship was perfect. The staff was nice and competent. The only thing that was not great was the restaurants. This was our second cruise on Holland America ... Read More
This is a fantastic destination for people that like nature and nice scenery. The ship was perfect. The staff was nice and competent. The only thing that was not great was the restaurants. This was our second cruise on Holland America Line. Maybe they rise the expectation about there food to high but I didn't find the gastronomy that fantastic. At the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch: long lines and not a lot of variety. Besides de salad bar they did not offer a lot of vegetables. Steamed carrots or brocoli, over cooked green beans or asparagus, that's about it! I was glad there was the asian counter that provided a little diversity. Pasta bar was interesting but It took so much time to get served! Same thing for the crepes ans waffles at breakfast. We sat down at the nice tables near the windows at interior pool. Service was virtually inexistant. We had to clear the table ourselves nobody was ever there to get the empty plates! I think that the overall buffet experience was a lot better on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
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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