6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Seeing Alaska was on our bucket list and the Zaandam fit our schedule and budget. We loved everything: the ports, size of the ship, nice size of stateroom, good food, wonderful staff. They also offered $20 laundry service for anything fit ... Read More
Seeing Alaska was on our bucket list and the Zaandam fit our schedule and budget. We loved everything: the ports, size of the ship, nice size of stateroom, good food, wonderful staff. They also offered $20 laundry service for anything fit in one fairly good-sized bag. Self-service laundry was available too. We were surprised to see a priest on board. He informed us that Mass was offered every day and would be noted on the daily itinerary. He said all Holland America ships have a priest on-board. Jewish service was also offered on Friday. Other thoughts - delicious sugar-free desserts, smooth handling of people and passports in and out of Canada, easy transition of passengers and luggage to "land" portion of trip into Denali. We would definitely go again! Things I might like to see improved: More availability in reservation times for open dining Completion of "virtual tour presentation" on workings of ship Crab legs one evening were pretty subpar (I was looking forward to this!) All pretty minor stuff! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
I chose this cruise because it offered a visit to the Denali Wilderness Park. It also visited Skagway and Fairbanks, both places I had not visited. My first mistake was booking through a secondary seller. My usual travel agent was told ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it offered a visit to the Denali Wilderness Park. It also visited Skagway and Fairbanks, both places I had not visited. My first mistake was booking through a secondary seller. My usual travel agent was told by Holland America that they had not heard of the trip I was trying to book. So my friend and I booked through the secondary seller. The price was very low and as the trip progressed we discovered why. A complimentary cabin upgrade was offered. When we asked, no such upgrade was available. Gratuities were advertised as included. We were billed onboard for gratuities. Holland America's response to my inquiry about this was to politely say that it was my fault for taking such a cheap trip. The food on board ranged from acceptable to mediocre. Things that had been complimentary when I last travelled on Holland America were now charged for. Service was acceptable but orders in the dining room were frequently incorrect. There seemed to be an expectation that every service person you encountered was owed a tip. Shore excursions were aggressively marketed and overpriced. The hotel we overnighted in in Anchorage was badly in need of renovations. It was advertised as three star. I would call it closer to two stars. The breakfast buffet was terrible and outrageously priced. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were excited to be boarding the Holland America Zaandam for our recent Alaska cruise Our assigned stateroom was a category H partially obstructed view cabin close to the outdoors on the lower promenade deck… the next best thing ... Read More
We were excited to be boarding the Holland America Zaandam for our recent Alaska cruise Our assigned stateroom was a category H partially obstructed view cabin close to the outdoors on the lower promenade deck… the next best thing to having a veranda stateroom. However a few days prior to boarding we were upgraded to a full ocean view stateroom with portholes, And there is the catch. We found ourselves descending into the bowel of the ship. Traces of stale air lingered as we passed the coughs and sniffles of the unfortunates in the infirmary. Our fears were confirmed when we opened the door of our cabin to discover the smallest, darkest oddly shaped cabin we had yet seen on a Holland America ship. We could get a view out of the deeply set portholes only by crawling across the bed, and that only after requesting the other person in the cabin to step aside. The ceilings were lower than in other cabins. There was less storage space and no refrigerator. A sign posted in the cabin advised us not to be alarmed about the noise and vibration caused by the bow thrusters. This was supposedly an “upgrade” from our previously assigned cabin. “Wait”, we said to the staff, “don’t we deserve a little better treatment as 4 star mariners?” The answer was no… the ship was full. This was a decision from on high: Corporate Inventory Management. It would appear that passengers commonly complain about these and a few other similarly undesirable cabins. We were assured the cabins are an indeed an upgrade. Who are these people in “Corporate Inventory Management”? We speculate that: They are new employees that have never been passengers on a HAL ship, or They have a grudge against Holland America and are trying to devalue the Mariner frequent traveler program, or They don’t understand the word “upgrade”, or Their approach to inventory management is just rolling the dice, or Inventory management is just a mythical department covering up for a defective software program. Holland America is an excellent cruise company: good food, beautiful public areas, well organized tours, friendly ship staff, etc. But please understand that these porthole staterooms are not an upgrade from the H or HH cabins on the Lower Promenade deck. Those are really delightful due to their location and partial view of the water and can actually be enjoyed without climbing into a window ledge and sticking one's neck into a tubular opening. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My sister and I booked our cruse thru the cruse agent. We asked for a quiet cabin away from any ice machines, elevator, area with music etc. A quiet area. The first night we heard banging, and what sounded like something heavy rolling over ... Read More
My sister and I booked our cruse thru the cruse agent. We asked for a quiet cabin away from any ice machines, elevator, area with music etc. A quiet area. The first night we heard banging, and what sounded like something heavy rolling over concrete. We were under the 24 hour a day active ships galley. After being told there were no other cabins available, we asked for one of the ships land tours instead. They would not but sent us chocolates and a sorry card. We were stuck on a ship where could not get any sleep. Sleep deprivation is used to break down prisoners not people on vacation. Long miserable story short we got on the ship August 5th 2017 and off on the 13th. On the 13th we got off the ship and took the ships transport to Anchorage for our after cruse vacation. That very afternoon my sisters went to bed in the hotel with a fever. When the fever spiced to 103.8 I took her to Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. She has a horrifying case of bacterial Pneumonia. She is still in the hospital today August 25th. PS, I also have Bronchitis and was put on Antibiotics. No ship should have a galley over cabins. Put it over the shops or anyplace where people are supposed to be able to sleep. The ship is ask horrible. To them a movie about Alaska and people talking about Alaska is considered shipboard entertainment. The food in the dining room and the coffee came out cold. The nice buttery croissants came out refrigerator cold. We met people with kids who told us that the kids went to planned events and nobody was there. When they complained they were told they were not there to entertain their children .WHAT????? Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Embarkation was smooth. Like others have said the ship was nicely appointed and decorated. Seemed clean and fairly well updated. Staterooms were adequate in size and offered ample storage space both for hanging and shelves/drawers. Our ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth. Like others have said the ship was nicely appointed and decorated. Seemed clean and fairly well updated. Staterooms were adequate in size and offered ample storage space both for hanging and shelves/drawers. Our room stewards (Heri & Jito) were excellent! Always cheerful and ready to provide any request we had. We didn't get ice on the first day but as soon as we made that request known we had ice in our room ice bucket twice daily from then on. The main dining room was nice and service there very good. We were a bit disappointed in the menu offerings at the first gala night but the second one at the next to last night of the cruise was excellent. The turf & surf was wonderful! Best, most tender steak I have ever had! Those were the positives. The negatives, unfortunately, were MANY. We did the open seating dining for dinner and made reservation on the first two nights only to find we still had to wait in the LONG lines so it seemed a reservation really was unnecessary and ignored. They need 2 lines for dealing with those having reservations and those who did not make them. The Lido Dining area was very poorly organized and run. Even when there were small numbers of people the waiting times were long and unnecessary. It was difficult when busy to tell where one line started and another began causing confusion and frustration to passengers. Items and areas were NOT well marked as the signs were WAY too small to read by the average middle aged to older person and were hidden behind people standing in line most of the time. If you wanted scrambled eggs with toppings you needed to stand in one line to get the eggs, then stand in a second line at either the omelet or eggs benedict station (which was not labeled) to get anything like mushrooms or cheese to top your eggs...ridiculous planning (or lack thereof!). AND the very loud pounding basketball noise on the starboard side during breakfast and lunch was extremely annoying and unpleasant while trying to enjoy a leisure breakfast or lunch. Once again, crazy planning for ship layout! Also on the pool Lido Dive In burger/taco bar there was often a lack of clean drink glasses and ice machine there was broken almost from the first day. When ice or clean glasses was requested we were generally told we needed to go inside and get them ourselves. NEVER have we had that kind of response from staff on any other cruise line we have travelled with. Usually staff is eager to please and serve but we did not feel this was the case on any of the Lido areas. Entertainment was also lacking in comparison to other cruise lines. The ship singers, dancers and musicians were good and both production shows were quite good. Otherwise entertainment was lacking. One comedian and one magician other than the ship staff entertainers was minimal and, frankly, below par. There was never live entertainment in the main dining room, as in a pianist or something during dinner which happens on many other ships, and the music loop in the dining room was the exact same loop night after night with the exact same songs repeated over and over again. Also, on ship days there was never live entertainment provided on the Lido deck as is often done on other cruise lines. Just seemed we got the very basic minimum they could get away with. All in all things could have been done much better. Probably wouldn't use HAL again unless the itinerary is something that's a must for us and isn't being offered by any other cruise line. Glad we went to see Alaska, but didn't leave anywhere near 100 percent pleased. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We took the 'Double Denali' cruise out of Vancouver. Boarding and orientation was very good. Bags arrived in a timely manner. Overall, the ship is in great shape with plenty of staff attending to multiple maintenance details at all ... Read More
We took the 'Double Denali' cruise out of Vancouver. Boarding and orientation was very good. Bags arrived in a timely manner. Overall, the ship is in great shape with plenty of staff attending to multiple maintenance details at all times. Easy movement around ship with multiple elevators so 'no wait' was common. Good signage to assist with orientation and movement. The cabin was as advertised with good storage, comfy bed and furniture in good shape. (We had a verandah cabin). Cabin staff was superb and, once they knew what we needed and liked, they kept us very comfortable. The staff to client ratio was nearly 1:2 such that they were EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, they are not cross trained so when we asked a question the staff member usually didn't know the answer, referred us to somebody else (who often did not know the answer) or gave us bad information. Eventually, we just directly called the front desk if info was needed and that staff was knowledgeable and helpful. Dining: The 2 story dining room was excellent and reservations were important. The Lido restaurant (buffet style) was difficult at times. We eventually gave it the nickname of "Cattle call" as finding a seat could be difficult and the crowds were, well, like a cattle call. Food was good throughout the ship however. The only problems we encountered was the poor English speaking of the staff serving the food. One night it took 6 questions to determine what a cook was serving. Nobody in line around us understood her, but we eventually pieced it together. The floor serving staff was attentive, though a couple of them had bad non-verbal attitudes. That is, the faces made suggested I was bothering them by asking for some tea! A significant complaint was the dinning chairs in the Cattle room. With rare exception, every one was sunken in a concave manner. VERY uncomfortable and in need of immediate repair/replacement. Entertainment: We did not participate in much of the onboard entertainment, spending our time onshore visiting places. Ports: All the ports in AK were fun to visit and obviously fully oriented toward the tourists. It was easy to navigate when onshore. Excursions were mostly excellent, but depended on the skill and experience of the guide. Some leaders were well educated and verbally skilled. Others were more or less doing a job. All excursion staff were attentive to our safety and needs. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My wife and I are frequent travelers and have taken 15 cruises on a number of different cruise lines. This was a last minute booking. We flew into Anchorage a day prior to the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. The hotel offered a ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent travelers and have taken 15 cruises on a number of different cruise lines. This was a last minute booking. We flew into Anchorage a day prior to the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. The hotel offered a free shuttle from the airport, The receptionist said the shuttle would be 30 minutes but they would pay our cab fare to the hotel. We enjoyed our 2 free drinks at the Embassy and took the free shuttle to downtown Anchorage. The driver suggested several places to eat, all were extremely crowded and long waits for a table.The city of Anchorage was nothing special. In the morning the shuttle was again busy, the Embassy paid for a cab to take us to the "check in" for our shuttle to the cruise. The check in for the shuttle to Seward was at the convention center, it was well organized and convenient. We checked are bags and did not have to bother with them again until on board the ship. During the few hours we had until our bus left we explored the local outdoor market. The bus from Anchorage to Seward was excellent, the driver gave great information on our 2 1/2 hour ride. The views from the bus were also good. Embarkation was a breeze, there were no lines. We checked into our cabin and instantly noticed that the temperature in the cabin was hot. The thermostat was at the lowest setting and began to wonder if this was going to be a problem. We brought the two bottles of wine on board that Holland allows. Our cabin steward kept the bottles iced down for us the entire cruise. The cabin although a bit outdated was kept clean and the service was excellent. The first night we noticed a banging noise coming from the ceiling above our cabin, it continued night/day sounding like someone banging on a pipe then later in the cruise it sounded like drilling into the pipe. Later we determined that the kitchen was above our cabin, twice during the cruise we noticed water dripping from the ceiling in the hallway outside our cabin. The temperature in the cabin remained hot for the entire journey. The quality of food was good but we were disappointed at the limited selection each day in the dinning room. The first 3 days had French onion soup on the menu. Each day offered a choice of 4 appetizers, 2 soups, and 5 entrees. The same food could be found on the Lido deck buffet. Since we booked last minute our dinning time was optional, we never waited for a table and ate when we liked. On two occasions we found the service in the dinning room to be very slow and received the wrong food. The entertainment was average. We enjoyed the band in the "crows nest." The best value on the ship was the happy hour in the "Crow's nest" where your second drink was $2. The casino was small and offered very few slot machines. Glacier Bay was the highlight of the trip. The scenery was breathtaking. Park rangers boarded the ship and explained about the wildlife and glaciers. We spotted whales, bald eagles, seals and porpoises from the ship. Haines was a very small port, we walked around the town and took advantage of the free internet in the library. We found that most of the shore excursions cost more than we paid for the entire cruise. Juneau we took a bus from port to Mendenhall glacier for $35. The bus driver was a local resident who was very informative and pointed out much of the wildlife. At Mendenhall glacier we hiked about 45 minutes to "Nugget Falls" with a nice view of the glacier. Ketchikan we found that most of the tours were more than we spent on the cost of the cruise. We took the free shuttle to "Creek Street" the salmon were not swimming up stream yet but did see some seals in the creek. We found the vendors in Ketchikan to be much more aggressive and rude than the other Alaska ports. Disembarkation was smooth, We chose to take a cab to the airport for a flat fee of $35 instead of the Holland Shuttle that was $45 a person. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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 shudder at the ... 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Holland America used to have a very good reputation but since Carnival bought the cruise line forget it. It is a typical Carnival owned cruise line, mediocre at best. We ate in the main dining room and never went back. We had dinner in ... Read More
Holland America used to have a very good reputation but since Carnival bought the cruise line forget it. It is a typical Carnival owned cruise line, mediocre at best. We ate in the main dining room and never went back. We had dinner in the Pinnacle Steakhouse and it was not a good steak. I get better steak consistently in my local Texas Roadhouse. The buffet was blah. I even had one of the cooks tell me I didn't know how to order my eggs correctly. In our cabin, we had a broken lounger on our veranda that I wouldn't sit in. I told the room steward and his response was "I know". What was really strange, and not very nice, the entire ship was non-smoking except they allowed smoking in roughly 1/3 of the casino so naturally you smelled smoke. The ship however was clean. This was at least my 10th cruise, not counting a river cruise, and would I sail on Holland America again; No way. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.7
Service 3.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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