55 Holland America Zaandam Cruise Reviews

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
I just got off the Zaandam yesterday. I am sure every cruise has satisfied and unsatisfied passengers aboard based on their expectations and experiences. I guess my expectations were too high for my group of 8 we just traveled with. ... Read More
I just got off the Zaandam yesterday. I am sure every cruise has satisfied and unsatisfied passengers aboard based on their expectations and experiences. I guess my expectations were too high for my group of 8 we just traveled with. After sending our parents on this same cruise last year on the Maasdam and hearing the rave reviews, we all felt compelled to cruise with HAL aboard the Zaandam. My wife and I, both in our 30s traveled with our two children ages 7 and 5 as well as our parents on this cruise. Our parents stayed upstairs in a suite while we opted for an ocean view on the Dolphin deck. Embarkation: Last year we had all heard the stories of the horrible embarkation process at Vancouver but we were pleasantly surprised to find the process swift and orderly. Other that the usual security lines we found no difficulties getting aboard before 1:00pm. Once aboard, we found a lunch buffet waiting as we prepared to depart for the inside passage. Stateroom: We did find our stateroom to be plentiful for our needs, we had a queen bed with a pullman upper as well as a sofa bed. There was enough room for all six bags of luggage we carted aboard and plenty of extra storage. The attendants, who we never saw, were very thorough and attentive to the room. The stateroom was always cleaned and well stocked. Cruise: Other that the above and the exception of the Club HAL staff, we had very little else to compliment HAL and the Zaandam on. The ports of call were a wonderful experience and we would all like to visit them again someday just not with HAL. As the cruise got under way and being new to the cruising lifestyle, we were excited to experience what so many of you have said about food and service as well as the "first class entertainment." Unfortunately for us this was not to be. After eating in the Lido deck and the Rotterdam or Main dining room the first several days, we came to this conclusion. There is the Lido buffet and then there is the sit down Lido buffet(The Main dining room) The food was very poor at best, bland and boring. Very few choices were available and you were served what was on the menu for that night and that was it. If we asked for something else we were told this choice was "not available" Lobster was only served one night of the cruise and after looking forward to this all week, imagine my displeasure when I found a small lobster tail on the plate(maybe 2-3oz)that tasted so bad and mushy that we sent it back. After having the Lido breakfast buffet(typical food choices, eggs, pancakes, french toast etc.) and finding the food almost tasteless, we decided to try the main dinning room for breakfast on one occasion. After sitting down and ordering pancakes, french toast and eggs for each individual, hoping to find a better quality of food, imagine my surprise when we found the same food from the Lido buffet had been placed on a plate and delivered to our table. This was no joke! I also could not believe they charged for soda on the cruise. At $1.75 a can I figured I would get a deal with the soda card offer they had. Purchase each card at $30 dollars and your good to go, right? Wrong, that is only for the dining rooms etc. If you want to open a can of coke in your stateroom, you're charged. My kids only ended up drinking one or two sodas a day so this was a loser for me. The coffee on board was terrible to be polite. The ship had three espresso machines on board; however none of them were working and they had no intention of repairs. Later in the cruise they managed to repair one machine but the girl working the Java bar did not know how to make any special coffees and seemed rather bothered by passengers requests. I would have given anything for a Starbucks in port. Thank you Skagway! There was no midnight buffet we had heard so much about, only a theamed snack served for 30 minutes between 11:30pm and midnight. No room service after 10:00pm and food is not available in the Lido at all hours either. I never heard the term "closed" so much as on this cruise. They were constantly cleaning up and closing portions of the passenger eating areas. Several times passengers were asked to get up and move to the other side of the ship so they could "close" for cleaning. I made one request during the cruise, at the ice cream bar, to have marshmallows put on my daughters ice cream and I was told he had already cleaned them up and they were "not available" To say the least, extremely disappointing. The Pinnacle Grill was the exception. On the fifth day of the cruise we decided to try it. For $20 we were given first class service and first class food. The best food on the boat. To bad they charge an additional fee for this after paying $1000 a day for our group of four just to be on the boat in the first place. The entertainment on the Zaandam during this cruise consisted of one performing group that performed a 50s musical on one night and some other dance on another. Other than that they hired a local singer from Skagway to come on board and entertain one night, a comedian one night and there other act failed to show so they played liars club with some of the crew members. Again, very disappointing. We ended up going to the movies to see films we had already seen just for some entertainment. Not much to do on the ship except gamble, play bingo for one hour a day or sit in a lounge and watch your bar tab rise. All this with the exception of Club HAL. Fantastic with our kids Jen, Conner, Candace and Steve were brilliant and our kids loved them. They wanted to stay in Club Hal all day and night. They really helped to make the cruise for our kids. Other than this we did find most of the crew members pleasant and helpful. There were also several crew members that clearly went out of their way to make our experience better. They were rewarded. Disembarkation: We opted before traveling to purchase the HAL travel plan. This I do not recommend. After receiving our travel documents from Worldwide Travel, I found our return flight was the worst possible one available. After leaving the ship at 0800am and boarding the bus we found ourselves in the Vancouver airport ready to travel home by 10:00am. Only problem, our departing flight was not scheduled to leave until just before 6:00pm with a connecting flight out of Seattle that had an additional three hour layover. I contacted Worldwide Travel prior to leaving on the cruise and they were very indifferent to my situation traveling with children etc and would do nothing to help me. Pretty poor service considering I booked almost a year in advance. Do yourself a favor and book your own flights. On our plane home we spoke with several other cruise passengers from the other lines, Princess etc. and there stories alone made us wish we had chosen another line. Oh well, live and learn. We will definitely cruise again just not with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
In my cabin we were 3 females, we started our cruise off by having my jewelry taken while we were at the mandatory lifesaving lessons. Fortunately, after confronting the steward my jewelry just happen to reappear by the end of the evening ... Read More
In my cabin we were 3 females, we started our cruise off by having my jewelry taken while we were at the mandatory lifesaving lessons. Fortunately, after confronting the steward my jewelry just happen to reappear by the end of the evening after i went to the desk and requested my luggage be returned as i was missing something VERY important. I was also very disappointed in how the children ages ten and under were allowed to monopolize the pool on the Lido deck the whole week with no supervision, screaming, running jumping in the pool. The food in the dining room was not up to the standards which I had heard about from previous passengers. Some nights the soup was even cold and the meal not edible which was the consensus of the other seven guests at our table. We constantly had to check our daily charges as we had to dispute charges that were not ours. Without an explanation we did not even come close to spending the amount of time on the islands as was scheduled for the cruise. Even the morning of disembarkment we had charges from the nite before not ours. That seemed to be the talk in the morning on the deck by everyone back at Pt. Canaveral. I personally feel that my experience on this ship would keep me flying to all my vacation destinations. I hope that this was an unusual week for the ship as so many passengers were extremely unhappy. Sincerely Catherine M. Lindquist Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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