53 Holland America Zaandam Cruise Reviews

Had to be bussed 4 hours to the second port because the ship was under repair. Had to wait in the lobby for hours for a bus because they had no idea when we would go. We were compensated $75 for the trouble. Communication for ... Read More
Had to be bussed 4 hours to the second port because the ship was under repair. Had to wait in the lobby for hours for a bus because they had no idea when we would go. We were compensated $75 for the trouble. Communication for Immigration back into the country and tendering were also very poorly handled. The good news was the food was better than other lines I’ve been on and the ship was very clean. We paid extra for Club Orange which I thought was worth it. Our upgraded stateroom was clean but in need of updating. There was NO outlet in the bathroom and only one in the room. More closet space than expected. The staff in general were very pleasant. The highlight of the trip was when we got off of the cruise to spend time in Boston. We were with some friends or else this itinerary (Montreal to Boston) would have been too boring for us. Unless you really, really want to see these ports I don’t recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise because my family decided a last minute trip and this trip was the only itinerary would fit our schedule and we wanted to explore the East coast of Canada. I would rated the experience better if it was our trip ended so ... Read More
I chose this cruise because my family decided a last minute trip and this trip was the only itinerary would fit our schedule and we wanted to explore the East coast of Canada. I would rated the experience better if it was our trip ended so terribly on the last day of our cruise trip. The crew members were hardworking and friendly. The food was good overall. I think they ship needs a major update in many areas as it looks really outdated. On the first night of our trip, there was a fire alarm triggered at 2 a.m due to some leak of a smoke. We were super terrified. On the last day of our trip, the ship broke down at Quebec City and was not able to make it to Montreal. We were told that we would be transported from Quebec City to Montreal by bus. They started to transport passengers starting at 4 a.m.! As we didn't pre-arrange any transportation with the cruise line, they would only be willing to transport us to the cruise port. When we were in line to wait for the bus, we found out that we had to travel by old small Yellow school bus!!!! Our luggage were loaded in other trucks as no space in these tiny smelly Yellow bus! We waited for at least 45 minutes at the Montreal port to get our luggage! There was no one from Holland American to assist passengers. They were just shipping these passengers from Montreal to Quebec City so they can board on the broken ship! No one cares about the passengers. There were a huge line up at the taxi and I barely made it to the Montreal airport to board my 3 o'clock flight. There were other passengers have missed their flights/train due to this delay! No one from HAL would offer any help! The compensation was a joke. We were given a piece of paper that we can get discount for the future HAL cruise and referred the terms and conditions in the back but it was blank!!! This was a super terrible experience and HAL handled it poorly! Who wants to travel again with them!? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband and I had recently a 13 days cruise from San Antonio ,Chile ,crossing Chelian Patagonia,Falkland islands, Montevideo and finally ended in Buenos Aires. The ship was tired and needs to be refubrished, all furnishing equipment ... Read More
My husband and I had recently a 13 days cruise from San Antonio ,Chile ,crossing Chelian Patagonia,Falkland islands, Montevideo and finally ended in Buenos Aires. The ship was tired and needs to be refubrished, all furnishing equipment also. Food in the self service ,Lido deck was monotonous and with limited variety.The quality of food was medium. The same quality was in the Dine In restaurant since the chef and kitchen was the same. During all cruise long we had the sense that everything was under economic restrictions Eg. During our stay we had only one hand soap(!) and only one shower cap(!)The personnel in Lido deck was serving you the quantity of the main course probably for the same reason. Entertainment was very cheap and childish (!) All TV sets in the staterooms were very old fashioned and the programme was limited i.e Only 3 movies per day ,and 3 news stations. Of course there was a video player in the stateroom and you could borrow movies if the player was not out of order!! The Wi Fi was very expensive. We tried to purchase 1 day for 15 $ but with this amount you could be able to see only your facebook and therefore you have to upgrade the quality by adding 10 more US$ ie. totally 25 US$ per day. Last but not least were the alcoholic prices(more expensive) which differed from the price list that we have found in the internet. Finally we have to admit that the whole ship was very clean, also the state rooms,and the public toilets.Embarkation was easy and disembarkation also Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was my 20th cruise on HAL, third to Antarctica, and one on which I attained 4-star Mariner status, so I was looking forward to a wonderful celebration of all the quality and excellence which introduced me to HAL 20 years ago. ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise on HAL, third to Antarctica, and one on which I attained 4-star Mariner status, so I was looking forward to a wonderful celebration of all the quality and excellence which introduced me to HAL 20 years ago. Instead, I found a cruise whose guests included too high a proportion of those for whom etiquette was never a strong point, an indifferent cruise director and front staff, a captain conspicuous by his absence, and a ship whose dining room and Crow's Nest were an ice box (16 degrees Celsius). That the weather was foul for all but eight days did not help, and I feel truly sorry for the dining room and cabin stewards who now have to service four times as many guests, per staff member, as they did 20 years ago. How they manage to remain polite and cheerful under such strenuous conditions is beyond me. They deserve every dollar in gratuities that they receive, yet still many, especially those from countries in which tipping is not expected, remove tips from their onboard accounts. In addition, there were many customers who selfishly cut in lines in the Lido, when obtaining tender tickets, and boarding. At times it felt like we were with football hooligans, which management did nothing to control. I have been taking this specific cruise now every five years, just to research for myself the ice depths in Antarctica as the itinerary is always the same, and it is interesting to compare what I observe with my own eyes to what other groups claim with regard to whether or not there is evidence of global warming. On this occasion, within Antarctica, the weather was worse than ideal, however, the Captain chose not to go even visit the Lemaire Channel (he announced he had spoken to other ships who said it was icy), and blamed ice for his decision not to sail behind Couverville Island, even though a Silversea boat traversed the channel, and which a different Captain on Zaandam had done five years ago. As with most experienced cruisers, I rarely buy the HAL excursions because they are often two to three times the price of locally arranged tours, they see less, they have a mandatory shopping opportunity, and they cater to the slowest traveler. I have repeatedly suggested in my after-cruise questionnaire that HAL provide at least one full day, strenuous excursion for active customers, but to no avail. I arranged exceptional local tours in Castro, Puerto Chacabuco and Montevideo, and because I had been to BA and Santiago twice before, arranged my own walking tours there. At 3 mph, you can see almost everything of historical interest in both cities in a day. With this itinerary, you have to be aware that the weather is usually bad, and so scenic cruising, which is the most unbelievable when the sun shines, can turn a tour called Symphony of Lakes and Volcanoes into a symphony of wind and rain, with absolutely nothing to see. But with that in mind, the ship should be a welcoming refuge where you can heat up and dry off. As the self-service laundries have been removed, there is now no way to dry wet clothes. And because I had experienced an ice box on the Prinzendam to Norway in June, I brought a thermometer with me on this trip, and on occasion, the main dining room and Crows Nest were at an Arctic 16 degrees Celsius (61F). Initially the Maitre d denied it, refusing to look at my thermometer, then when I requested an appointment with the chief engineer, was told that there was a problem with the heating. By half way through the cruise, the number of people with hacking coughs was significant. Tendering was disappointing. At Falklands, because I not on a HAL tour, I was unable to get off the ship until two hours after the first tender departed (tender tickets were required and 800 guests were on HAL tours). And with all aboard always being half an hour before Stated departure time, an eight hour docking can turn into only five hours being available on shore. I am convinced that HALs goal is to get to international waters ASAP so they can open the casino. Given that the ship can sail at 23kts, but most of the time, cruised at 13 - 15kts, it was totally unnecessary to leave any of the ports as early as we did, and on a 22 day cruise with only eight opportunities to disembark, this is a serious error of planning. Etiquette was lacking everywhere. People cutting in line for tender tickets, cutting in line in the Lido, and surprisingly, given that the ship departs at the same time for everyone, pushing and shoving to get up the gangway ahead of the next person. A number of us took matters into our own hands on occasion telling people to get back, but no one from HAL would do so. The worst was in the Main Stage, where it seems that certain groups believe it is OK to talk loudly while performers are on stage, destroying the ambience for polite guests. Despite being requested to do so as part of his nightly welcome to guests, Bruce (cruise director) refused to ask attendees to refrain from talking during the show. As a real disappointment, my son had his jacket stolen from the lounge. HAL markets this trip as an expedition and employs an expedition team, which on my previous two trips have been genuine experts in their fields willing to impart knowledge to guests no matter what their political leanings or level of understanding. They would also provide running commentary during the scenic cruising about WHAT we were seeing and HOW it got there. However, on this one, with the exception of Bryan, who was fantastic, all they could do was point out snow, icebergs, and many whales, AFTER guests on the bow had seen them first! The leader, Scott, spent much of his lecture time making anti-Trump jibes, and refusing to engage in an actual discussion about causes and solutions. The two best staff members on this cruise (besides the delightful cabin stewards and waiters), were the Assistant Cruise Director, Sandra, and the EXC Guide Kevin, an Argentinian who was knowledgeable and pleasant, and who provided a very in-depth and factual, unbiased view of the UK/Argentinian dispute over the Falklands. As usual, up-selling by staff continues to intrude. It really is annoying when one is wearing headphones in the Crow's Nest to be tapped on the shoulder by a staff member asking if I want to make a reservation in the Canalletto. And taking away the two self-service laundries is a real slap in the face when you are on a three week cruise with a need to pack for both warm and cold clothes. While HAL may think that converting a laundry to a cabin garners $2,000 more per week in room fees, you can never calculate with certainty how many guests stop cruising with HAL because this amenity is no longer provided. And given that the ship had 100 empty cabins, what good did it do to take away the laundry? After 20 years of cruising with HAL, unless they return to the elegant days - by setting expectations such as a REQUIRED dress code in the main dining room, and enforcing silence in the Main Stage - I will probably be trying something different. A real shame, because I achieved 4-star status on this cruise, and have had many happy memories. 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Sail Date December 2018
Our ninth cruise with HAL. It's likely going to be our last with the awful experience we're having on this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago. Currently enroute from Stanley, Falkland Islands and the problems just keep piling ... Read More
Our ninth cruise with HAL. It's likely going to be our last with the awful experience we're having on this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago. Currently enroute from Stanley, Falkland Islands and the problems just keep piling up. As we're in an upper-end cabin, we had the "Signature Experience" which included two nights in a Buenos Aires hotel, an "event", and appropriate transfers. At virtually the last minute we were moved from a 5-star hotel to a hotel only open two weeks in a less-than-desirable area of Recoleta (downtown). This hotel was filled with problems - apparently HAL saved a few bucks in the process however. When we arrived at the ship we had (for the first time on any cruise) our passports confiscated by HAL staff! We were given a printed card as a receipt for the passports - which had a signature line NO ONE would sign! We've asked repeatedly on board for HAL to explain this unusual situation, but no one in management will return our calls. This ship is 20 years old. And perhaps not much longer for HAL's inventory, as they are now ignoring maintenance items that would seem to be routine. Examples: *. Heat/cooling in our cabin is generally non-functional •. Overnight today our thermostat even quit working •. Sun curtains in the dining rooms (on the back windows) are "stuck" in a midway position (our waiter said they haven't worked in months) •. Hallway carpets are worn and dirty as are the deck areas around the Lido pools Internet service is unusable despite the high cost and claims that the service supports "video and audio streaming". This is a bald-faced lie - it rarely is even able to send email! Service on this ship is provided by Speedcast.com, who are well aware of the problems and blame HAL for "overselling" the system. We have been continually annoyed with the aggressive solicitations by crew members for dubious up-sells and "special events". They bothered us during dinner with these phony wine tastings, and then started calling our room just before dinner and offering the Pinnacle Grill or Cannalato Restaurant "experience" for $5 less than the published (upgrade) price! I've asked the office repeatedly to put us on the "Do Not Call" list without any positive results. HAL is engaged in other, airline-type "upgrades" to what used to be an all-inclusive experience. The breakfast room service menu has few choices now but several pricey "Upgrades" available. So does the dining room menu. We are offended by these changes. Dining room food has been its usual high-quality, with friendly and competent waiters. However service has been slow with long waits between the starters and main course common. We were also surprised to see primary-school-aged children on this cruise. HAL staff refuses to intervene with the parents of some of the more troublesome in the group. Much of the rest of the crew seems sullen and disinterested. This is especially true with the servers in the Lido deck food areas. Food service and quality there has been lackadaisical to say the least. However by far the biggest shamozzle was the issuance of "tender ticket" reservations. You'd think that HAL had never done this before. At 7:30am almost 100 people were already in a queue down the hallway for an 8am ticket call. These tickets are meant for people who have firm (non HAL) day trip bookings so they can go ashore as early as possible. But it has turned into a free-for-all, with non-English speaking passengers in particular not understanding the process and no one from HAL available to speak to them in Chinese. When the ticket issuance started, the Chinese passengers were being given individually 2, 4, up to 8 tickets on the earliest tender transfers despite these people neither NEEDING the early transfers nor everyone standing in line like the rest of us. The day of the tender to Stanley, these same passengers were giving the additional cards away to others without cards, or holding much later tender times. HAL staff ignored the complaints by the other passengers who were prepared to follow the system, such as it is. In Ushuaia, at the last minute we were forced to tender due to some problem with the pier. This meant an even bigger free-for-all trying to get tender tickets. This showed how ill-prepared the crew is for any unplanned change. With a short port call at Ushuaia scheduled (Noon to 7PM), this left large numbers of passengers with shortened or missed tours - extremely unfortunate as Ushuaia is an especially scenic location. The last passengers who wanted to go ashore got there over four hours later than planned, with only 3 hours left for touring. HAL would not extend the onboard time (even though we had daylight until after 10pm). When any cruise line actively markets to newer cruise markets like China and don't do anything to educate these new cruisers on the experience, it does a disservice to all the passengers. HAL management admitted that they had no Chinese-speakers on their staff. We had a large number of Chinese who were doing things that were out of the ordinary - for example filling up plastic bags with food from the Lido. Bad food handling practices in particular are often the cause of norovirus on these ships. HAL staff just shrugged when they saw these things occurring. Haven't these passengers been told they can use room service 24/7? We did enjoy the cooking demonstrations on most days, and many of the musicians on board seemed very talented. We aren't much for the late night shows so didn't attend them. We used the spa area for massages and the staff in these areas is always competent and friendly. As the cruise progresses pricing goes down - we always wait for the inevitable "sale" flyer. 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Sail Date December 2018
The good - Our room stewards, our waiter and wine steward and most of the folks in the Lido especially Jen and "the Sandman." The cleanest of all 4 ships we have sailed on with HAL -and the crew was the fussiest about it ... Read More
The good - Our room stewards, our waiter and wine steward and most of the folks in the Lido especially Jen and "the Sandman." The cleanest of all 4 ships we have sailed on with HAL -and the crew was the fussiest about it especially in the LIDO. The best - cruise director Bruce, the Captain, Luisa in Guest services. Jim and Charles were 2 of the best lecturers we have encountered cruising Average - food still not up to other cruise ships.Good , nourishing not great. Surcharges ?. The pinnacle is just not a pinnacle , excluding the Indian dinner. Poor - trying to get a drink on the aft deck and the smokers not staying in their area. Entertainment not great except for the violinist and the first piano player. But nothing is more annoying than the lack of attention to customer complaints about maintenance in the cabin.( see cabin review below) . Guest services is put in a very difficult position because of the continual lack of response by maintenance. The head of maintenance on every HAL ship should be subjected to the complaints . Worst - Wi Fi, they have some nerve charging for it. SAD -1) There is some kind of miscommunication between departments, too many excuses and too many variations of what is going on. 2) The female officers seem to all have a chip on their shoulders. Hope a great Captain can solve that one as the guests shy away from them and it is a continual topic of conversation. That said , we always felt safe and secure which is paramount and finally the show put on by the Humpback whales who seemed so happy to see us.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I have taken been cruising since 1975 and have been on many different lines, but this was my first time on Holland America and was really looking forward to taking a "step up". The itinerary was wonderful and we really enjoyed ... Read More
I have taken been cruising since 1975 and have been on many different lines, but this was my first time on Holland America and was really looking forward to taking a "step up". The itinerary was wonderful and we really enjoyed the cruise from that aspect but the service was sub standard in my opinion. Our stateroom had a leftover champagne bottle and a few other items in the cabinets upon boarding and there was a layer of dust on the ledge behind the bed. Many of the chairs in the common areas were worn out with sprung seat cushions. This was a beautiful scenic cruise except the ship windows were dirty and were never cleaned during the two week cruise. I had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and upon opening my menu had food fall from the menu into my lap. I have many other complaints but I think this gives you a good idea of why I gave this cruise a 2 star rating. There was generally a line at the customer service desk and the staff there actually got a tiny bit on the nasty side when trying to fend off the complaints - to be fair there were so many that they were probably very tired of handling them. On the plus side, I thought the food was very good and as I said before the itinerary was outstanding. I was also pleased with the entertainers that were brought onboard, the ship's singers and dancers were fine, typical cruise performers. Embarkation and Debarkation were quick, easy, no waiting around and I really liked how they handled it. The comfort level of inside temperature of the ship varied quite a bit. I was pleasantly surprised to find the dining room a very comfortable temperature and did not need a sweater for my short sleeved outfits. However, in the explorer cafe I had several layers on and still found it chilly. It seems that the outside temperature had a much greater influence on the inside temperature than on other ships I have been on. I was disappointed that it seemed like all the other entertainment revolved around food and drink - mostly drink - and of course all at additional expense. It was interesting to note that travel companions of ours who did attend many of these events got to know the cruise director quite well, he was always at the alcoholic events, but I am not sure I could even identify him since we rarely saw him. I did think it rather odd when we were sitting with our travel companions one day in an area very close to where the Sip & Savor event was to take place. He came over to offer to bring the Sip & Savor fare to them but never offered to bring it to us, indeed he did not even speak to us. I had already booked a second cruise with Holland America in January of 2019, I am sincerely hoping that it will be a different experience, but if not, they will never have my cruise business again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was my first cruise ever and I've wanted to go to Alaska for 17 years. I chose this cruise because it went to destinations other cruise lines did not cover. I had friends that told me I would love cruising. I saved for over a ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever and I've wanted to go to Alaska for 17 years. I chose this cruise because it went to destinations other cruise lines did not cover. I had friends that told me I would love cruising. I saved for over a year to take this trip and the entire thing ended up being over 15K (excursions, expenditures, etc.). I was guaranteed a BB stateroom (navigation deck) and received a suite on the deck 6 instead that was supposedly an upgrade. Not. Directly over entertainment and noisy. The ship had norovirus and that made things rather unpleasant for both crew and passengers, since you had to disinfect yourself 4 times to walk across the deck and several group activities were cancelled. The cruise continued; I did not contract the virus. But it didn't make things much fun. I found the crew, who were primarily from the Phillipines, polite, but not friendly. A polite smile and genuine warmth are two different things. Some had language difficulties. Overall, I didn't feel like anyone on the ship particularly cared if I lived or died; I was just a room number. After 3 days, I had to ask to have my sheets changed. Considering the charges for the room and service, I should not have had to ask and there was nothing there to indicate they would not be changed daily. Ick. The "flowers" supposedly in your room are "flower" - a single carnation that did not make an appearance at all the last 3 or 4 days. As this was my first cruise experience, I had high expectations in regards to food and had to ratchet them way down. There is a lot of food, and it is presented in a lovely way, but it is not especially fresh or tasty. The bread was stale every single day. My own cooking is better and I was very disappointed. Particularly hideous were the sandwiches, the pasta, the fried chicken, and the crab legs served at the Pinnacle Grill. "Hash browns" actually made me laugh; they looked like kid's hash browns - little triangles out of a plastic bag. Particularly good were salads (as long as you don't expect them ice cold and crisp), soups, made-to-order eggs, and selected desserts. The way another traveller put it was that it was just "restaurant food" and that sums it up. Not a high-end restaurant. Eating at the restaurant venue (not the buffet) involved standing in line and generally they seat you with strangers. It takes a long time to get through the meals. I didn't find the Gala Nights worth dressing up for. Also, someone needs to tell the crew that no flowers are infinitely better than dead flowers. We had the "special" restaurant package and there were dead flowers on every table. The shipboard activites were described as "geriatric" by one passenger, but I thought that was disrespectful to geriatric persons everywhere. There simply weren't many shipboard activities, they tended to be repetitive, and they weren't especially interesting. I find that "over 18" and "under 115" normally respond pretty much the same way to activities that are interesting. And I think Holland needs to get on the stick; baby boomers and younger aren't really your typical "geriatric" set. The productions were, well, I can't really describe them. I will just have to say that I was laughing out loud at the shipboard versions of Madonna, the Rolling Stones, and Sir Elton. The entertainers could sing, and they could dance, but they couldn't rock 'n roll. Rock 'n roll has a soul and is a bit more...gritty. I'm almost tired of typing, but I want anyone considering this cruise to also be aware of the port excursions. I did not know you had to beware of the on-board shopping coordinator; the ship is in cahoots with certain port stores that give a kickback. The jewelry stores are manned by Indian personnel who are just there for the season, and once you walk in the door, you can't get out. If you are in the market for high-end jewelry, be prepared to spend a LOT of time being pressured. Be prepared to bargain. You might have zapped in there just to get the free charm your shipboard coordinator told you about, but expect that only after at least an hour and if you are really determined to have it. And expect your shipboard coordinator to join in to help the jewelers. Hideous experience; like being in Vegas where they'll give you free show tickets to listen to their condo spiel. Awful. Look for local stores not subsidized by the ships and that are open all year. In terms of paid excursions, it's very hit-or-miss. We took a "russian tea" excursion that was the worst thing ever - like a few church ladies got together and planned a little function. Not russian tea, terrible snacks, in an episcopalian church lobby, entertainment by balalaika players whilst you sat at folding tables being served from a crockpot, wondering when it would be over. I liked Icy Strait Point which has native americans running and supporting everything, and I loved Homer. Homer had an excursion on a catamaran to see a rookery; we saw everything. whales, sea otters, crested puffins, bald eagles, everything. And the Homer spit is, in my opinion, the best place to poke around and shop. I wish we had more time there. The port of Victoria BC was cancelled as the ship couldn't get in to dock. It was windy that day and evidently it was enough to make it difficult. Elsewhere, I learned to pan for gold; it was like something set up for kids, as the pans were the size of a snack dish. But the salmon bake was very nice; beautiful setting, entertainment, good food. The musher's camp was good. In hindsight, I'd opt for physical activities or being out on the water for every excursion. I signed up for different activities in every port, thinking about variety. I think there were too many activities and talks that appeared to be something planned for an 8-year-old; what I disliked most about both shipboard and non-shipboard activities was that they were almost dumbed down to the point of being insulting or condescending. Also, be aware that the sommeliers on board aren't. Sommeliers, that is. I paid 60 bucks for a bottle of Very Bad Wine. I knew it might not be what I totally loved when there was no year specified in the wine list, but at that price, whatever is ordered should minimally be well-balanced and drinkable. Holland has a hub in Washington, for God's sake. They have access to outstanding wines from Washington, Oregon, and California. They should hire some people with a decent palate and stock good wines. If it's their margin they're worried about, you can buy good wine with a decent balance at 12-15 bucks. Just sayin'... So that was my sole, first, and likely last cruising experience. The most expensive vacation I've ever had and one of my least favorite experiences. Next time, I fly in to (wherever), rent a car, take a ferry or seaplane, and sign up for any tours I'd like to take on-line or when I'm actually at that location. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our cruise was chosen for Itinerary which included Panama canal and reputation of HA for good food. However unknown to us the ship was due to go into dry dock at end of cruise. Presumably to cut time in dock and costs the crew were ... Read More
Our cruise was chosen for Itinerary which included Panama canal and reputation of HA for good food. However unknown to us the ship was due to go into dry dock at end of cruise. Presumably to cut time in dock and costs the crew were constantly carrying out noisy chipping / grinding of rusting paintwork, cutting / welding with debris falling down onto public areas. On one at sea day when I asked if they could possibly postpone this endless tapping until the next port call when most passengers would be on shore, i was offered ear plugs! Trailing power leads were in corridors and across doorways to decks, lifeboat launching equipment being serviced, lifeboat cradles hanging below head height on promenade deck. Health and Safety was very slack. The food in the main dining room was inconsistent, sometimes quite good more often just OK. One excellent steak, one almost without any flavour at all, portion sizes varied from tiny to too much on two adjacent plates, some plates with all the vegetables listed on the menu, some with only one, aspargus could be only just heated or overcooked to a limp mush. The Lido buffet must prepare too far in advance as much of the food is drying out. The top surface of smoked salmon often was crusted where it had sat for so long, A steak was utterly drained of any meat juices, grapefruit halves had a dull dry top surface from dehydration. If Celebrity, Princess, Cunard etc can all offer bigger, better, fresher buffets what is HA doing wrong on this boat? We have had enough cruises to know what one should expect and this was our first HA experience - and definitely our last. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We were on this cruise for the 14 day portion. After sailing many times with Celebrity, we did our first trip with Hal two years ago and enjoyed it. We decided to do this trip with Hal based on our previous experience on the Volendam. ... Read More
We were on this cruise for the 14 day portion. After sailing many times with Celebrity, we did our first trip with Hal two years ago and enjoyed it. We decided to do this trip with Hal based on our previous experience on the Volendam. Our cabin turned out to be under the galley and we were kept awake at night with constant noise. When we complained at 1:00am and then again at 4:00am the front desk offered ear plugs and a free dinner at the restaurant. The noise was like a construction zone above us and the front desk staff admitted that they had complaints in the past about the cabins where we were located, but that there was nothing they could do. After a few nights of this and after telling the front desk that we were going to take our bedding and sleep by the front desk, we were moved to another cabin. This cabin was quiet, but the toilet wouldn’t work and maintenance was dealing with it on a daily basis. The cabin tv had to be repaired and our safe replaced. The cruise director seemed bored with his job and added nothing to the cruise. No activities on the liddo deck whatsoever even on lovely sunny days. The ship lacked any vitality and I don’t know if I will sail with Hal again. Hal should disclose that cabins in the area we stayed have noise issues. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I wanted to go to South America and booked with my cousin who ended up not going as her husband became ill.I had to go on my own.Firstly they need to advise their staff not to make derogatory comments about passengers.I heard something ... Read More
I wanted to go to South America and booked with my cousin who ended up not going as her husband became ill.I had to go on my own.Firstly they need to advise their staff not to make derogatory comments about passengers.I heard something about me and I understood.I did tell her that she needs to be careful of what she says.I also found that it was all about how much money they could get out of us.IE learn how to mix martini cocktails but we would have been charged.Entertainment and activities were a joke .Activities were hardly existent and then they wanted you to pay for most of them..The excursions were not too bad.I had booked a few but one particular one I couldn’t go because the chemo drug I was on was giving me side effects that morning.She had no intention of giving me my money back.I had to go on a different one that afternoon and I had no interest in it at all.We were leaving the next day so I couldn’t go on a different one.She was trying to get me to see the doctor and was really not interested in me saying that I knew it was side effects.The ship was nice though and so were the staff.The ship was clean and the food was excellent.I am not happy about people even on formal nights dressed in shorts.Sorry it shouldn’t be allowed.They can go to the buffet bar if they do not want to dress. I have done many cruises with different lines and would I go on HA again.Definitely not. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
HAL used to have great service and class. This was a 34 day cruise from San Diego, Calif. to Rio de Janeiro. On the first half from San Diego there were no activities except for trivia and unhosted cards.But there were a lot of ... Read More
HAL used to have great service and class. This was a 34 day cruise from San Diego, Calif. to Rio de Janeiro. On the first half from San Diego there were no activities except for trivia and unhosted cards.But there were a lot of opportunities to spend your money at bingo and on all the sales going on. It was like a floating Walmart. At the pool, it was difficult to get a glass of water or iced tea but plenty of waiters walking around to sell drinks.We went on the first half of this cruise last year on the same ship and noticed a huge difference in the service. They cut back on cabin stewards and on waiters - both in the dining room and Lido. One night in the DR, it was 25 minutes before our order was taken and over 2 hours to finally get to dessert which I was too angry to eat. Some of the entertainment was very good. The Zaandam dancers were very good the first time, good the 2nd time but really boring by about thee 5th time. American Test Kitchen was good but over the 34 days, they had repeated the same recipes several times. On several of the gala nights (which they cut down on) we got one lobster ravioli instead of lobster tail. There was no sail away party in San Diego or Neptune party when we crossed the equator like last year. The restrooms near the lounge were out of order a number of times. The best service on the ship was the front office people. They were always willing to answer questions and help. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
That was our second cruise with Holland America, out of tens of cruises with 10+ cruise companies over the last 20 years or so. First Holland America cruise was aboard the Maasdam, years ago, and it was a pleasant experience. We choosed ... Read More
That was our second cruise with Holland America, out of tens of cruises with 10+ cruise companies over the last 20 years or so. First Holland America cruise was aboard the Maasdam, years ago, and it was a pleasant experience. We choosed this second one based upon our prior experience and because we wanted a cruise back home, from US, along South America's Pacific coast - the 34-day San Diego to Rio cruise. Embarkation process was straightforward. Ok, as suite guests, we had a dedicated line, but the ordinary line was also empty by the time we arrived at San Diego Cruise Terminal. Stateroom condition, on the other hand, wasn't that good. The deck that runs along the windows was dirty and greasy. TV remote was greasy, as well, so that we had to point it to the steward and ask him for a thorough cleaning. Cereal remnants under the bed and chocolate behind the curtains were also not very nice findings. Dining was an experience that swung between heaven and hell. We had most of our meals at the Main Dining Room, with excellent service. We had most of our breakfast and lunch at the Lido Market, with the most terrible experience of all cruises. Apart from a very few attendants and their managers, Lido crew was the worse ever. Most of the times we could see managers doing attendants' chores, like cleaning tables and serving drinks. I guess this is not what managers are for. Entertainment and Activities are a little more of the same - the fabulous ship's dancers and singers, comedians, performers, lecturers, movies - one will always find something to enjoy. Port and Shore Excursions staff does a very good job. Some flaws here and there but, in the end, things worked fine. I still cannot understand why cruise companies insist in choosing ports like Puerto Chiapas or Huatulco (MX), with absolutely NO activity one could do on his own - options were to stay on board or to join a ship excursion. We expected far more than this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I had not sailed this portion of coast north of Valpraiso. This trip from San Diego to Valpraiso was changed or diverted from Valprqiso to San Antonio two weeks before us all being willing to npay for decent food by going to a sailing. ... Read More
I had not sailed this portion of coast north of Valpraiso. This trip from San Diego to Valpraiso was changed or diverted from Valprqiso to San Antonio two weeks before us all being willing to npay for decent food by going to a sailing. Many of us had prepaid car and hotel reservations in or near Valpraiso that were non refundable. We spent $150 USD getting backce t way.o our hotel and rental car and Holland America would make no arrangement unless you purchased a $86 excursion to the Santiago Airport. Not Sure why I should have paid as it wasn't my screw-up. The food was mediorcre as we have witnessed the last several years across thee cruise fleet. This was facilitated by going to up-charge restaurants so they could let the food quality decline. So we who use the up charge restaurants. These ports are mostly industrial ports,normally you could visit them only on a freighter cruise. Many excursions from these ports inviolve 2 hour or more bus rides each way. Not much here for any tourist. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date July 2017
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a ... Read More
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a couple of negative reviews of the short repositioning cruise just prior to ours - the one from San Diego to Vancouver. We heard rumours about up coming changes to the Zaandam during its next refit - such as the elimination of a library and changes to the Crow's Nest that we are concerned about, but change is constant in our current world, and we will wait to see if these rumours are true and, most importantly, if we feel they are positive ones or not. Handrie, or dining room steward, was excellent in his attention to our needs during our entire cruise, and our several visits to the Pinnacle Grill reconfirmed what we had experienced on our three Hawaii previous cruises on the Zaandam - the steaks are outstanding. We have never experienced better in our business travels around the world. Great to experience the same captain, Christopher Turner, as last year! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This is my 3rd Holland America cruise, the first two were also short - but both were great with good food and impeccable service. First I will say that my room steward was STILL amazing; Heri ! Room 3410. Without him this would have ... Read More
This is my 3rd Holland America cruise, the first two were also short - but both were great with good food and impeccable service. First I will say that my room steward was STILL amazing; Heri ! Room 3410. Without him this would have been a total loss. I went with 3 girlfriends a a short fun vacation. Well, all fun that was had - was created by us. It started with cranky front desk people with extremely forced smiles when we first arrived, who also gave us wrong information about buying a drink package. I insisted to my group that we eat in the Rotterdam dining room each dinner to the dismay of my group... and later I had to end up apologizing for my insistence because it was so bad. We ended up calling the rotting ham diner. Nothing was AMAZING. LOTS was bad. Not even one great dessert that I can talk about. Steaks were OK. nothing I couldn't get at Mr. Steak or Dennys. I didnt have the lobster which everyone else did and they all thought it was good. When the lobster was served no butter came with it. Sauces were in VERY stingy supply at EVERY MEAL. We had to ask our waiter Handri (who was not obliging to us in any way- but he was the only waiter who gave us attitude.. the rest were nice. Painfully slow but nice) for the butter- which he had about 3 feet from our table in a large silver dish. He had not even offered us any. So Weird and rude. so then he came and put the button on top of the lobster. NOPE you don't get any to dip!! LOL! The appetizers were so very strange. Absolutely everything had no flavor what so ever. Now I realize that 3/4 of those passengers were over 70 but my gosh! could I have SOMETHING WITH FLAVOR!!! the one and only meal we had that I didn't have to use 1/2 the salt shaker on was the Hamburgers and tacos at the Dive in - which of course closed early every day so you better be quick if you want to eat there. The desserts were all BAD. the flourless chocolate cake was tasty - but it had said it would be a molten chocolate cake - so we were disappointed. Our shock was on the next to last night when we went by the Lido cafeteria after dinner only to see EVERY SINGLE BITE OF OUR DINNER ON THE CAFE LINE!! Why did I go into the dining room and wait at least 1 hour for my food when I could go to the Lido and get everything the exact same there without the attitude in the dining room. That was when we got really mad. The comedian was sad. Maybe with another group it would have been successful but with our audience it was really bad. He was way too young and unmarried and no kids and couldn't relate to the crowd at all. so... Basically he just kind of put us all down . I put that on Holland America. They should match the comedian up with the crowd, FAIL. OK..... the boat was really rocking during his performance and we all got sick.. I will say this is the first time I have ever encountered some snotty drink servers. Mostly in the pool area. BY the last night everything was leftovers in the cafeteria. We took so many choices and found most of it non-edible. Old, hard, stale, cold and of course...flavorless. I spent a lot of time at the spa and loved Liza who did my facials and Joji who I also worked with. I bought some product and didnt buy some others. I never felt pressured by them and they were delightful to deal with. thanks! not nearly enough things going on. oh yeah.. and I played bingo for $35 for 1 game of blackout and the prize was a Holland America Cruise for 2, Guess what I WON!! oh yeah.., then another lady yelled bingo after me and we had a run off of 4 corners and I lost.... Holland America Giveth.. and Holland America taketh away...... That stunk. I was given a $50 credit. wow. That was a low point. Especially the next day at bingo when there were 4 pots from $250 up to $475. each. I really thought a better consolation prize was warranted. Sadly I wont ever sail Holland America again- way too many negatives. Hi-lights - The bathroom products are nice. good shampoo and conditioner and body wash. a tub in the room - that was nice. comfy beds. Great room attendant. Lots of empty areas on the ship for us to go and make our own fun and play games. Loved watching and dancing with the performers in the crows nest. After convincing the DJ to play something other than Donna Summer we had fun up there.(But really what DJ does not have Flo Rida Low ? and Sir Mix a lot???) Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Choose this cruise as they were going where i wanted to see !! Getting on the ship in Buenos Aires was a nightmare as all computers crashed. Once on board we did'nt sale until the following evening ,just as well the heavens ... Read More
Choose this cruise as they were going where i wanted to see !! Getting on the ship in Buenos Aires was a nightmare as all computers crashed. Once on board we did'nt sale until the following evening ,just as well the heavens opened that night ,floods in quite a few area in the ship .. After sailing i realised looking at the daily programme there was not a lot to during the sea days (6) ,entertainment was poor after you had seen the dancers and singers.and it did not get better for the 14 days That all said the food was very good in the dining room and lido,I prefered the lido as you picked exactly what you want ( suprised that hand sanitizer was not available by the cruise staff) there were machines as you went in but most people went straight passed !! NOT GOOD !!! Cabin was 2519 nicknamed "the coffin",of course an inside!! The staff in the main were very good,but did notice the dinning room staff got slower as the cruise went on. Getting off was ok until we had to hang about for 2 hours while they looked for a case of one of my group (found it on the ship WOW !!) Overall i have been on much better cruise lines (NCL and CELEBRITY) so my cruise money won't go to HAl again, Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This has taken much too long to complete because of the lack of response from Holland America subsequent to the cruise. But it is too important not to complete it, so that potential customers know what they are getting into with Holland ... Read More
This has taken much too long to complete because of the lack of response from Holland America subsequent to the cruise. But it is too important not to complete it, so that potential customers know what they are getting into with Holland America. First let me say that the overall Antarctica/South America experience was unique and fulfilling. The scenery and educational experience in Antarctica were spectacular. The South America ports of call were less than fulfilling. Shopping did not cater to tourists, and merchants were only open at limited times. The shore excursions – I did white water rafting, a winery tour, a gaucho farm, and a park with a waterfall and a whisky sour and dance celebration afterwards – were all excellent! Onboard entertainment catered to the elderly, but that is what 99% of the people onboard were. Unfortunately, the Holland America experience was extremely disappointing. I have sailed with Holland America on 3 prior occasions and had always been favorably impressed. This sailing was surprisingly different from what I had always remembered. The ship was Ms. Zaandam. I believe there are newer, more luxurious ships, and perhaps they concentrate more on a luxurious experience. However, I can only speak to the Zaandam in this review, which exhibited extremely poor customer treatment before, during and after the cruise, from booking to onboard and onward to the President’s Office post-cruise. My first encounter in booking this cruise was with a cruise consultant in the Seattle, Washington office, who did not return phone calls or emails. After a month of trying, I went to a non-affiliated cruise company from whom I received quality customer service and was able to book the cruise. The stateroom was less than impressive. The room stewards were very pleasant and helpful, unlike the majority of the rest of the crew. Very surprisingly, the food on the Lido Deck was bland and sometimes awful. This was the cafeteria type food onboard. In addition, the servers were somber and sometimes rude. The food improved in the Rotterdam Dining Room. However, the customer service was terrible. My recollections of customer service on prior Holland America Cruises was that of consistently friendly and caring personnel. It was not so on this cruise. The servers in the dining room were miserable. And the service was painfully slow, even for alcohol. If you wanted good food with excellent customer service you had to go to the Canneletto Restaurant or the Pinnacle, and of course, these were not free. The onboard movie offerings and live presentations regarding Antarctica were excellent. They offered Microsoft classes, which were worthwhile. The jewelry was a big push onboard, sometimes with pushy salespersons. There were absolutely no Antarctica items for sale onboard, and since there is no port of call in Antarctica, such items were hard to come by. We found this odd for an Antarctica Cruise. There was an offering for a $15 Beer Tasting onboard. Guests were probably expecting exotic beers, but were given small cups including Miller Light, Molson, Becks, and Grolsch. This is one of many examples of cutting corners and having customers pay extra for nothing that is evident throughout the ship. I am not proud to say that I am a smoker, so only a limited number of people may be interested to know what I am about to say. But it is not about the smoking that this is so crucially important, so please try and understand the point. The smoking policy prior to sailing was that smoking was permitted outside on the Lido Deck in the Sea View Bar, in the Casino (only if you were gambling) and on Stateroom Verandahs. This cruise embarked on January 10, 2017. On January 10, 2017 Holland America changed its policy and no longer allowed smoking on the Verandahs without informing people of the change prior to the cruise. For those who paid a premium for a stateroom with a Verandah so that they could smoke, this was very shocking and upsetting. The new smoking policy allowed for smoking outside of the Crows Nest Bar. There was a group of us that all smoked together outside on the Lido Deck. On several occasions, an abrupt and discourteous crewmember told us that we must leave immediately so that they could clean the deck. Although smoking was supposed to be permitted outside of the Crow’s Nest, no such smoking was allowed. Therefore, there was no place to go to smoke at that point. I visited the Front Desk about all of this on two occasions, and neither of the persons that I spoke with, one of whom was a supervisor, properly addressed the issues. The Front Desk customer service was courteous but completely ineffective. They failed to address the inconsistently handled smoking issue, as well as the discourteous crew who demanded we leave the Sea View Bar immediately. When I returned home, I wrote to the President’s Office at Holland America to address the aforementioned issues. I have corresponded with the office on two occasions. Having received no satisfactory response, other than a coupon for a discount on a future cruise, I write this less than flattering review. Something is radically wrong at Holland America. It is evident from the experience with the cruise consultant who did not answer calls or emails, to the rude onboard crew, to the ineffective Front Desk, to the President’s Office who does not address any of the issues, that there are severe morale issues that result in poor customer service and relations. The food reflects a severe deterioration of what Holland America has offered on prior cruises. I am not alone in these opinions, as several of the people I met on the ship have also written to Holland America with similar outcomes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We selected a one-way cruise from Vancouver to Seward (AK) before a business meeting in Anchorage, and to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Chose this cruise line because they had the route we needed at the time it was needed. But we will ... Read More
We selected a one-way cruise from Vancouver to Seward (AK) before a business meeting in Anchorage, and to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Chose this cruise line because they had the route we needed at the time it was needed. But we will not sail a second time on this ship or cruise line. Most of the staff are Filipino, who have the gift of hospitality. Especially noteworthy was Michelle who worked at the Exploration's Cafe and Riben, our cabin attendant. Food was average in all eating areas except for the Pinnacle Grill and the Rotterdam Dining Room. While embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, we had issues with our cabin (Veranda Vista Suite). While the cabin needs to be updated, that wasn't the big issue. We asked for a chemical free room because of allergies and had it for the first 3 days. But when sheets were changed, they weren't chemical free. That was a rough night of intermittent sleep. Next day we alerted them to the issue, and they said they would change sheets to chemical free. Unfortunately all they did was put another set of non-chemical free sheets. We had to strip the bed that night and sleep on the mattress or in bathrobes. Internet brought back memories of the dial-up modem days even though it was wireless (Very slow). This was irritating because you had to pay for the Internet. Nothing like watching your minutes/$$$ evaporate while that symbol just keeps spinning away. Frustrating. The "C" in Holland America Cruise Lines stands for CASH. At every opportunity it was buy this, that and another. The biggest negative for us was that we were pressured into purchasing a "Beverage package plan" of 15 drinks a day per person (Alcohol and/or non-alcohol) by the waitress. Afterwards, we wondered if she got a commission? Anyway, just hours later we realized it was a mistake because I don't even drink alcohol and can't drink 15 drinks a day! When we told them we didn't want the beverage package, we discovered it was "Non-refundable." Yes, in small print at the bottom of the flyer it stated such. Hundreds of dollars wasted. One of the biggest disappointments was the balcony outside our room because of a smoker on one side. We couldn't enjoy sitting or standing outside, so this upgrade was a waste of money. HACL needs to have non-smoking floors/decks. This is enough, I could go on with a couple of more critiques, but I think you get the picture. All in all a disappointing cruise experience, and will not go again with this cruise line. We cannot recommend cruising on Holland America or this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I went on the 20 day Alaska Land and Sea Holland America trip. The Holland America hotels in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, were a disgrace to the name of HAL. Soiled sheets, soiled carpets, wallpaper that ... Read More
I went on the 20 day Alaska Land and Sea Holland America trip. The Holland America hotels in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, were a disgrace to the name of HAL. Soiled sheets, soiled carpets, wallpaper that was torn and tattered. The meal plan was very expensive and had little variety of venues. The restaurants at the various cities were very limited and VERY expensive. The train was great! Service was above average and the scenery was breath-taking! The ship was accommodating, yet, the restaurant service was beyond frustrating. Our table sat for 40 minutes before the wine steward came to our table to take our order. He was over near the servers table talking to a co-worker. The food in the dining room was below average. Small portions, tough meat and inappropriate temperatures on the various foods. The servers were concentrating on themselves and "messing around" with one another rather than the guests. The ship's excursions were OK. Overall, the hotels are a BIG disappointment as well as the dining room meals and service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We were very disappointed with this cruise, having been on other Holland America cruises before, we definitely expected better. Some of the food quality was so poor it shouldn't have been served and some of the meals arrived cold. ... Read More
We were very disappointed with this cruise, having been on other Holland America cruises before, we definitely expected better. Some of the food quality was so poor it shouldn't have been served and some of the meals arrived cold. Dining room service was also erratic, sometimes terrible (particularly the wine stewards), sometimes very good. Food in the Pinnacle restaurant was excellent, our first meal in the Canaletto was cold. We went a 2nd time and it was fine, but by then we were getting special treatment everywhere because the staff knew we had complained. We weren't looking for special treatment, we just wanted decent food served hot. The ship also seemed to be very unorganized, the daily activities program had to be replaced several times during the cruise due to mistakes in it. The front desk did not seem to know what was going on and gave out incorrect information on several different items, advising us incorrectly which nights were Gala nights in the dining room, making mistakes with our reservations in the Pinnacle restaurant, giving out incorrect exchange rates for pesos, advising incorrectly which ports were tender vs docking,etc. It just seemed like the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing. To top it off, the ship missed 4 ports of call and substituted 3 poorer replacements. The first port cancelled was Coquimbo, Chile which they said was due to the earthquake it had had this spring. Surely it didn't take until we had left San Diego in October to figure that one out. The next port cancelled was Punta Arenas, Chile as the port was closed due to high winds (fair enough), but then the Captain tells us because of the winds they also cancelled Ushuaia, Argentina and Stanley, Falkland Islands. Well I can tell you most of the passengers were pretty upset when the following day we sailed past the port of Ushuaia and it was clear to all of us that it wasn't that rough and then after we rounded the Horn and got up to the same latitude as the Falkland Islands it wasn't rough at all. The icing on that cake was when independent tour operators who were cancelled because the ship wasn't stopping there, advised that they couldn't understand why the ship wasn't stopping when it wasn't rough and that other cruise ships were in port that day. The next time we cruise it will never be on the Zaandam and we will be checking out the ratings for the other cruise lines carefully as I don't think you could talk either one of us onto another Holland America cruise at this time. When you have looked forward to a particular trip for a long time and then spent good money to do it, it is just totally deflating and unsatisfactory when it is poorly executed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We are not cruisers so we do not expect much. We are happy if our luggage arrives. That was not the case here. Our trip started with a land portion going to Denali and for that HAL requires to physically split the luggage to use a part of ... Read More
We are not cruisers so we do not expect much. We are happy if our luggage arrives. That was not the case here. Our trip started with a land portion going to Denali and for that HAL requires to physically split the luggage to use a part of it in Denali and then the next suitcase on the ship. They call it "Meet-me-on-ship" or similar.. We parted with our suitcases in Anchorage and three nights later we boarded the ship in Sewall. The suitcases were not there. The cruise found then in Anchorage, Westmark Hotel, forgotten. It took three additional days to get them in Haines. They were express-shipped via Alaska Air, and one suitcase was damaged beyond repair. Cruise line offered a financial compensation to get a replacement in Juneau, but we refused; we wanted a suitcase. WE did not come to buy a suitcase in Juneau, we came to enjoy the cruise. After two negotiating sessions with the representative we did get replacement yet we were annoyed by unwillingness of the cruise line to solve their problem, and put responsibility on us. And, we found, talking to some people that we were not alone about a similar issue. The ship is registered in The Netherlands and flies the Dutch flag, Yet, they fully take advantage of American naivete. In this, it is tipping. I do not mind to tip, but I do resent that tipping is compulsory. It is not necessary in The Netherlands either.The tips should be rewards, not necessity. In our case the tips were automatically added to the ship account and we found that out on the day we clear the ship account. If HAL wants to add the tips, why not to say that at the time the cruise is paid for? I do not like a bushman's attitude and this cruise line is good at it. Beware. The "compulsory" tip came to about 20% of cruise cost.. This ship is old. The maintenance crew moved constantly doing paint repairs and the promenade smelled of oily substance. We had an open seating for the dinner. We used it once, on the first day. We were crammed to the table with 8 other passengers. The food was not well prepared, the vegetable was wilted, the soup was cold. One could not communicate with the waiters as they spoke poor English, and the cruise line did not provide a basic dictionary of the waiter's mother tongue. ( Consider it a joke, but one of the presenter's about First Alaskans provided a brief dictionary. Dealing with the staff was much more important to us..) Alaska is a beautiful place to visit, but, unfortunately the most of us will be stuck with a cruise line which really does not care. For us.. been there, done that, here goes HAL.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I booked the 7-day cruise in suite class along with land 6 months in advance and looked forward to our first cruise. Our journey began in Fairbanks where after arriving off our flight we were greeted by Holland American staff who pointed ... Read More
I booked the 7-day cruise in suite class along with land 6 months in advance and looked forward to our first cruise. Our journey began in Fairbanks where after arriving off our flight we were greeted by Holland American staff who pointed us in the direction of the luggage team and our bus to the hotel. The staff (from beginning to end of our 14 day trip) did a wonderful job with moving people and baggage. I was surprised in Fairbanks, Denali, and in Anchorage that our accommodations (part of Holland America's Westmark Properties) were subpar at best; a step above a Super 8 motel. The hotels in both Fairbanks and Anchorage were dirty, loud, and just quick stop over for 1000s of cruisers - and it shows in the staffs’ customer service attitude (or lack there off) and in the facilities themselves. I would have expected to have a similar level of service and accommodation based on the level that was paid for on the ship - i.e. Suite Class would afford a few additional luxuries (for example a bathroom with soap and shampoo that were in individual bottles rather than a few soap pumps hanging on the wall in the shower!). Two highlights prior to boarding the cruise were (1) the Kenai Forge National Park and (2) the train ride from Denali to Anchorage. In Kenai Forge, we booked a 6-hour boat tour of the park and glacier through Kenai Forge Tours - well worth the time and money as we saw whales, otters, birds, eagles, orca, and some of the best close up scenery of the glaciers. Wonderful Cruise and Crew. We truly enjoyed the rail journey from Denali to Anchorage - booked as part of the Holland America Cruise. Other then having to wait for 40+ others to have lunch on the train (finally getting to my wife and I close to 2pm) the journey was wonderful. We boarded our cruise in Seward following our afternoon cruising the Fjord. The process was quick, simple, and easy - from start to finish it took less that 5 mins for my wife and I (we did do all of the necessary pre-boarding online). Once on board we found our stateroom, met up with our luggage, and began to get our sea legs. Our stateroom was good sized, only it lacked today’s required hotel features (i.e. more than one working plug in the room). In today’s environment of electronics, charging phones, iPads, camera, and camcorder batteries you would think that the rooms would offer more than one plug. Our bathroom was good sized and included a dressing room with ample closet space. The bathroom itself was dated and needed a complete make over. Just as in our rooms on land, the bathroom did not offer any shampoo or bath soap besides the plastic canisters hanging from within the shower, akin to a Super 8 motel. Certianly not what is expected from a cruise line that prides itself on A Signature of Excellence. I was disappointed in the dining options on the ship - only two specialty restaurants, the main dining room, the buffet, and poolside snack bar. On one night of the cruise one of the restaurants was transformed (Holland America’s word, not mine) into NYC Le Cirque and for an additional $49 per person. The plates changed, some of the decorations were changed, and a different menu. Certainly not worth the $100 up-charge. The staff in each of the restaurants was attentive - but when asking about specific menu items or options were ill informed or just didn’t understand what we were asking. The buffet did not met expectations whatsoever – from tired décor’ to a lack of diversity in options. I was surprised that I could not find a cocktail waitress during our dinner at the buffet. Our only option was to get our drink at the bar, drop it off at a table and fight the buffet line… only in my evening, when I returned to my table my drink was gone, my seat was taken by someone else and I was left standing with my plate in my hand, no table, and no drink! The main dining room offers two options – set seating time and open seating. We opted for open seating and ended up having dinner only twice in the main dining room (night one and night 6). The food was good, plenty of options, and best of all the opportunity to sit next to a window and watch for wildlife. The entertainment on the ship was average at best...comedian, ships dancers, and a Dancing with the Stars Competition. In the main show room we found it impossible to find a cocktail waitress any of the nights. A highlight of the week in the show room was some of the presentations while we were cruising though Glacier National Park. We took advantage of the embarkation special in the spa and purchased the Thermal Spa package… allowing for unlimited usage of the hot top, sauna, steam room, and locker room throughout the voyage. It was WONDERFUL the first few days as we sat in the hot tub while cruise to Glacier Bay… but after that, the word got out and folks began to come to the thermal spa with beers in hand – hard to believe that the ship would allow this. We did mention this to the staff – but no action was taken in front of us. Booking in the suite class we were able to take advantage of the Neptune Lounge. After boarding we were able to get a free glass of champagn, meet some of our fellow passengers, and check on dining reservations. The team in the lounge were very helpful in getting dining reservations and making last minute shore excursion bookings. I would be hard pressed to rebook on Holland American, until they upgrade their boats. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
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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