34 Holland America Zaandam Cruise Reviews

My wife and I chose this last minute cruise since she had never seen Canada. We are frequent cruisers of the Caribbean and thought this might be a nice change. The ship is fairly small and the clientele for this cruise is definitely ... Read More
My wife and I chose this last minute cruise since she had never seen Canada. We are frequent cruisers of the Caribbean and thought this might be a nice change. The ship is fairly small and the clientele for this cruise is definitely older. The food was good on the cruise. The best part for us was all the food is actually served even on the buffet. Was nice to not have other guests touching serving spoons and kept things very fresh and appetizing. Had not seen this on most lines and was a nice feature. This cruise had ports every day so that kept daytime activities onboard minimal which was ok since we took cruise to see the sights. However in evening there was still little to do but eat, casino or drink. They did have ESPN on at one of bars to watch sports which was nice. Bars are actually minimal too so had to go out of way usually to find drinks. Very friendly staff but amenities from most ships are lacking here. So if onboard activities are your preference pick a different cruise. We chose to do our own activities in port so didn’t do the planned excursions. They also seemed very pricey for what they offered. There was a nice theater onboard with a couple nice movies that were shown. Also, the shows were decent though nothing special. The cabin was good size and had a tub. We had a window cabin and it was comfortable with lots of storage. Only one outlet on desk but will bring you a power strip. This is difficult though if you have lots of devices and also the desk is far from bed. The tv is also small and far from bed. They will give you dvds to watch but again hard to see in 13 inch screen that is the long way across the room. Overall happy with room though. The bad now. This is an older boat and it actually broke down in Quebec City so we couldn’t continue to our last port in Montreal. In talking to staff this wasn’t the first time it broke down either in the last year as they all knew the drill. This kept casino closed the last night and took away one of the few entertainment things on the ship. This also meant the decided to bus us to Quebec starting at 4 am for a 3 hour bus ride to the port. This was the only information given. When we got to bus it was an old yellow school bus! So no facilities in bus and no information prior to leaving the ship this would be the case. People had just eaten and now had to ride in a tight bus, no facilities and no air conditioning. They did stop about 2 hours into trip at rest area but by then people had resorted to using bottles etc. when we got to the port they had our luggage on a truck that was at port but not unloading. Instead they chose to spend an hour loading the next group on those buses to take them to Quebec City to board the boat. So we sat at the port an hour waiting for luggage with no Holland America rep present to explain where to go for luggage, timing, etc. For the inconvience e were given $50 ship credit on our account. Also, offered 15% off future cruise where details of discount were supposed to be on other side of letter but was blank. So really no offer at all there. I would have rated the cruise about a 3 had the end not happened or been handled better. However the lack of communication and really poor accommodation at the end made this a terrible cruise. Given age of boat and past problems I would tell anyone to avoid this ship at all costs. So sort of buyer beware situation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have cruised over 30 times, but this was our first on HA. I had wanted to try HA, but had heard several times that they were boring. I wish I had listened. Since HA has so many good itineraries, we decided to give it a try on this 10N ... Read More
We have cruised over 30 times, but this was our first on HA. I had wanted to try HA, but had heard several times that they were boring. I wish I had listened. Since HA has so many good itineraries, we decided to give it a try on this 10N to NE/Canada. We booked about 2 weeks ahead and got a good price. Embarkation in FLL was a breeze and the easiest we have ever experienced. We booked an interior guarantee and were not told our cabin number until we checked in at the pier(we always book guarantees and have always been told almost as soon as we book our cabin number). Our cabin was fine, bigger than most interiors. It was on level one, and it was a sideway cabin. These are not the best because it is difficult to get into the closet, but otherwise it was fine. The ship seems to be in good shape. It is the smallest ship we have ever sailed on. It was very quiet and we never had to wait for elevators and we never had problems finding seats in the theater. At the taste kitchen you had to go early or there were no seats, also at the computer classes there were never any seats. The entertainment, or lack of, was one thing we disliked. It was BORING!! A typical day looked like it was full of activities until you see it was just sales pitches for acupuncture, jewelry sales, etc. There really was nothing to do on sea days. There were usually two trivia's a day, sometimes 3. A few computer/photo workshops. But, nothing that involved any fun really. There was a morning trivia, which we attended (we attended every trivia because there was nothing else to do). They did not even give a cheap trinket(pen, cards, magnet) for the winners!! That was shocking. The assistant cruise director, Nick, worked hard to make it fun. Tino, the cruise director, not so much. The other entertainment on the ship was rest home type. A few live music groups, but it was very sedate and could easily put you to sleep. There was a piano player, Styker, who was very good and personable, his shows were filled everynight. He was the only thing to do in the evening after the shows. They had an orange party to celebrate King's day...it was to be the funniest party ever........it was the WORST party ever. Boring, boring boring. They should take lessons on how NCL does their white hot party. The main shows were good for the most part. The stage band only joined the cruise on the 7th day. One the first day, on the main stage was a movie! Also on the last day......what kind of entertainment is that? Casino, save your money!! I never saw anyone win. There was no sailaway party, no game shows(one toward the end, totally boring), no dance instructions, nothing. Literally nothing to do at all. We ended up watching TV!!! That is a first on the cruise. Even then, they had Jaws on!! Jaws, over 35 year old movie!! Come on! The other big problem was the buffet. There was very little variety. The worst was at dinner, there would be long lines and one side of the buffet would be closed (they had to use it for their specialty restaurant that had maybe 10 people in it and make the other 200 people wait in line). One night to get a main course the line was 40 people long with one server! I complained to the manager in the dining room, he said it couldn't be helped. If they are going to insist on serving people instead of passengers serving themselves, they need to get more people to serve. I waited 25 minutes to get a salad!! Another problem with the buffet was the hours. They closed at 2pm, right when people are returning to the ship from shore. Finally, after many complaints I am sure, they kept a few areas open later, maybe 2:30, but then the lines were very long. The dive in hamburger place was good, but it was 20-30 minute wait after ordering. The taco bar was good, but it always was messy and unappealing to want to eat the food and the food was never to temperature. I am surprised we didn't get sick eating there. Then the buffet closed at 8pm! 8pm, really? Right when the show let out. So, if for some reason you wanted to see the show at 7pm, but didn't eat before the show because of the very long lines, there were no other options. I could not believe this. I complained to the hotel director in the notes left in the atrium. I never heard a thing from him or his staff. Why have the notes if you aren't going to address the problem? HA must really not care about customer service at all. There was a fire on the ship the second night. The captain came on at 1am to tell us about it. I thought he did a good job keeping us informed. We were not able to sail to Montreal, our final destination due to high water in the River and the ship could not safely sail under it. It was announced on Thursday at 5pm when we were about to sail away that we would be transported to Montreal via bus. The following day was a sea day and since we did not have internet it was hard to adjust our travel plans. I can understand not being able to sail, but it seems like the staff at guest services gave out different information to every passenger. We even got 3 different answers to the same question. So, it was frustrating to us to not know for sure what was happening and more stressful to have to get up at 4am, and take a bus to Montreal from Quebec. The port fees from Montreal were not reimbursed, which was also a first for me when missing ports and ports being replaced we have always been reimbursed. Needless to say, first and last HA cruise for us. It was all true what everyone said about HA...........boring, no fun and no customer service. I wish I would have spent my cruise money else where and will do so in the the future. You missed out HA, we cruise a lot, are young and have the money and time to cruise. See ya! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Booked a Vista Suite on the Navigation Deck (#7046) and soon discovered after embankment that it sat directly beneath the Lido kitchen area. Needless to say the noise from above our cabin ceiling was unbearable and went well into the night ... Read More
Booked a Vista Suite on the Navigation Deck (#7046) and soon discovered after embankment that it sat directly beneath the Lido kitchen area. Needless to say the noise from above our cabin ceiling was unbearable and went well into the night and then began again at around 3:30 a.m. There was no remedy for the problem and guest services did not follow up after we complained. We were on a 15 day South American cruise and got very little undisturbed sleep throughout the voyage. This was the major problem we encountered on this particular cruise but there were also many minor to medium issues on the ship which is well past it's prime. We have cruised with Holland three times previous to this 4th cruise but it will most likely be our last. There should have been some sort of disclosure regarding this particular cabin and the related noise problems in the initial booking information. We did not eat in the dining room but had all meals in the Lido Cafe. The food was good and the Lido service people friendly and attentive. The new hand washing stations were barely used and the majority of the people entering the Lido walked right by them on their way to dine. We don't do the shows so cannot comment on the entertainment. The shore excursions left something to be desired and we missed two ports due to bad weather. The future cruise consultant had a slight attitude and acted like she could care less about questions we asked her. The customer service desk was also average and the people manning it were not consistent regarding DVD rentals. The shipboard talks regarding ports we would visit were full of bad information and twice one seating was about two separate ports combined which was confusing to say the least. Overall I would say that the cruise was not up to the normal standards that we have seen from Holland in the past. Our next two cruises will be with Viking which has a newer fleet of ships and offers features that Holland is now lacking. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
we choose this cruse as an upgrade to the other lines available. paid more but got way less than expected. the rooms were much smaller than described the full size tub was anything but and the ADA equipment that I requested and was assured ... Read More
we choose this cruse as an upgrade to the other lines available. paid more but got way less than expected. the rooms were much smaller than described the full size tub was anything but and the ADA equipment that I requested and was assured would be available, wasn't. of course we were not informed of this till we were outside the 12 mile boundary of the USA. the air conditioning system never worked the entire trip and they continued to do dry dock repairs while at sea. the anytime dinning for the few times we tried it was always substandard while if you were willing to pay the upcharge the food was excellent. the all inclusive drink package had limits not divulged prior to purchase. during repairs of the interior pool the passengers were exposed to toxic paint of some type which my wife has final recovered from but with my COPD I have not and the Captain, to this date refuses to describe what the exposure was. the crew / service personnel were great, the views were great, and we did not have a tour that was not outstanding the biggest issue is that with the line flying a non US flag you as an individual have no recourse against them and they can deny all written comments sent while at sea and ignore you arrive back in the US Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary mainly but also because of the size of the Zaandam. I had not liked the big ships I cruised on before and the Zaandam is a pleasant size indeed. We were three women in a Vista Suite on ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary mainly but also because of the size of the Zaandam. I had not liked the big ships I cruised on before and the Zaandam is a pleasant size indeed. We were three women in a Vista Suite on deck 6 but I forgot the number, like I forgot quite a few things of this cruise because I do not even want to remember them. The cabin was small and the suitcases could not be placed under the bed, so we travelled the complete cruise with two suitcases standing near the window to the balcony. I travelled before in three and we never had this problem because the suitcases – normal size – could easily fit in under the bed. We had breakfast delivered to the cabin most of the time and that was OK apart from the coffee. I tried the coffee bar for espresso, but that was terrible too. My sister did the kitchen tour and found out that all their coffee comes from one source: Melitta filtered. I guess that is acceptable for Americans, but I find it not nice and that is an understatement. Lunch would be in the Lido and was generally nice. We liked the Asian food, the ice-creams and the sweets, some of them prepared without sugar! And dinner we had in the Main Restaurant and we found the food always of good quality with enough choice daily and variations from day to day. Sometimes we had to queue for a table. We once sat together with others but then we were hardly able to hear them across the table, so we decided to not do that again. The service was very good; in the restaurant, and for the cabin too! We dined also at the Pinnacle, which was a real good time in a very pleasant setting! I booked for myself the Master Cellar dinner and the maître put me at a table with two persons from Buenos Aires and that for me was a remarkable experience: because of this lovely couple and because of the food and the wines. Don’t miss this one! The Italian restaurant on the lidodeck was a mistake to book, nowhere near what you would expect. This should really be upgraded, especially with a cook who knows what he’s doing. Service? I lost my credit card in Buenos Aires and blocked it in time. I told the front desk and suggested I pay with my debit card – Mastercard that I used all over the world – and they said no, it had to be a credit card, or cash. So they actually suggested I go to an ATM on land, get cash – would have been pesos! – and pay them cash. I would have needed a sizeable bag for that. They were absolutely serious when suggesting this “solution”! I suggest this company take the Holland out of their name because the Dutch pay with debit cards all the time; there is no percentage taken off by the bank and the money gets transferred right away. But no, here that was not possible. I had to ask my friend – invited by me, therefore embarrassing to me – to pay the bill and then later reimburse her. Ridiculous experience this was. Activities? I once attended a travel trivial and it was like a children’s game. Lasted 20 minutes in all, so once was enough for me. Entertainment: we attended a night with dancing and singing, I think the group was German, and found that very good. Then there was a local artist from Buenos Aires with bandoneon music and he was very good, I bought his CD and went to see his second show which was very well done too; he did it all solo with a beautiful video of Buenos Aires on the big screen behind him! We tried twice to see a movie, even 15 mins before it would start, only to find the cinema completely full, not one seat left. Pity. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth, gave no problems. Port & shore excursions was quite an issue on this ship. Their prices were sky-high and, in every port, you could see that most people had organized themselves with alternatives to the HAL excursions. But they punished you for that! We had booked an excursion to see penguins on the Falkland Islands, which was still expensive, especially when you pay for three persons. We arrived ashore after having waited an hour and a half for the tender! Those booked with HAL got precedence even when they arrived later than we did! over people like us who wanted just to go ashore and do their own thing. That was pure discrimination and indeed we were too late for our excursion! Fortunately, Patrick Watts on the Falklands saved our day by taking us to see penguins anyway. I fully recommend Patrick Watts; a knowledgeable and pleasant guide! It was the best day of our cruise. The ports I found terrible, in Buenos Aires and also Montevideo you expect a cruise terminal, but we constantly saw cargo ports. If I had wanted that, I could have booked a cargo cruise, but I didn’t, so why do they have to save money on decent ports? Especially the last one, San Antonio, was an unpleasant change from the announced Valparaiso. I had to change transfers and hotel and never saw Valparaiso. Again, the transfer I booked myself online as the HAL transfer was 3 times the price I paid! So, no, HAL, this was my first experience with you and the very last for sure. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary and what a wonderful itinerary it was helped by settled weather conditions for most of the passage. I had however reservations about the ship being a little dated and reserved ie the ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary and what a wonderful itinerary it was helped by settled weather conditions for most of the passage. I had however reservations about the ship being a little dated and reserved ie the entertainment onboard was quite possibly the poorest we had ever been unfortunate enough to be subjected to. There was also unacceptable delays in the main dining room which ultimately led us to dine in the lido. Embarkation was poor with elderly guests having to queue for long periods of time, although this can't be helped perhaps cool hand/face towels and iced water? I was also quite disappointed to witness 'engineering' staff in contaminated overalls using the lido as a passageway whilst guests were eating. And as for the price of the ships excursions, by far the most expensive I have witnessed on any of the many trips I have completed. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date August 2017
I'll start with the positive and end with the negatives... First, I've sailed on numerous cruises with a variety of cruise lines. I like the size and look of the Zaandam. The ship was clean and well-appointed. The ... Read More
I'll start with the positive and end with the negatives... First, I've sailed on numerous cruises with a variety of cruise lines. I like the size and look of the Zaandam. The ship was clean and well-appointed. The entertainment was excellent and the service of the crew was top-drawer. I have no complaints with the cabin other than it did not have a refrigerator. Now, lets get to the negatives. Without a refrigerator, you need water and ice. I was on the "Dolphin" deck or 1st Floor; meaning, I had to go up to the Lido Deck (8th Floor) to obtain water and ice. (Oh, don't tell me there was an ice bucket in the room; it was never filled.) The small size of the glasses offered (around 6-7 ounces) means you will be spending alot of time doing the rounds. (Sure, you can bring a BIG drink-holder; but this practice is frowned upon because it can pass germs from your Big Drink to others). Next, the food was sub-par. I give Carnival (even though it owns HAL) better marks for the food. Having cruised on Luxury ships (Radisson Diamond), I have a sophisticated palate. So, it was not that the choices were too complicated, it was simply that there was nothing to "fall" back on to if you were not interested in the small choices. HAL needs a COMMON meat and COMMON salad on every menu to fall back on if the choices are all UN-common. Add a common poultry, fish and pasta and your back in business. The specialty restaurants were both extremely good. The Lido restaurant was fair at best. Few daily changes and the menu was not good. I found myself eating peanut-butter for breakfast and spaghetti for lunch (at least 3 times). The way the buffet is run is "start down there"...but it breaks up and slows down due to the different sections which causes confusion and long waits. The worst problem the entire trip was the heat. I decided to travel to Alaska to get the hell away from the heat. Oh, Alaska was fine..temperature wise. It was the ship ! From the minute you board until you debark, get ready to spend alot of time trying to find ways to cool down. ALL of the common/public areas were awfully hot. The "Explorers" area was the worst. Yes, there were alot of older people on board...I presume the "Facilities Manager" thinks all older people love the heat. Well, they got plenty of it. When I first entered my room the air was on the lowest/coolest level. I told the cabin steward that the air was not working. He looked confused. And did nothing. What does this mean? It's simple. The ship had "flipped" the system. If you did not need heat, you got nothing else. The system, ship-wide, was not "geared" to allowing for air conditioning. You're only recourse; spend lots of time outside. Oh, and how about that other little thing...you know..the NoroVirus. Yes, I've been on ships when there was an outbreak. Never got it. This time, my wife did. And we did not bring it on. It was already there when we arrived I suspect. Regardless, we know that if we tell, we get isolated. Unfortunately, my wife's condition was such that she had too. And even though THEY gave us the virus; we had to pay over $250 to the doctor and medical center for medicine and an IV. Nice. Then, of course, she missed one port due to the illness even though she had recovered. If you are going to spend alot of money and time to get to Alaska; find another cruise ship with another company. HAL's reputation is overblown and false. Too few ports of call and too many days at sea. And hot. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise for a girls getaway because it was a short cruise and was fairly inexpensive. However, I would have gladly paid more if everything could have been improved. The food in the dining room was, on several occasions, cold. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a girls getaway because it was a short cruise and was fairly inexpensive. However, I would have gladly paid more if everything could have been improved. The food in the dining room was, on several occasions, cold. The service we received was normally very good except for the lobster night when we had a horrible server - Handri - he acted as if we were inconveniencing him. There was only one electrical outlet In our room and every time I plugged my hair dryer, the lights would flicker and go off... a bit of updating wouldn't hurt either when it comes to everything and maybe use a designer that isn't stuck in the 1950s. Also, I normally like it when the ship is at sea as there are usually many, many organized activities available - so many in fact that we have difficulty deciding what to do. That was certainly not the case on the Zaandam. Bingo and trivia about did it for activities. Bingo lasted 15 minutes and trivia maybe 30 minutes. There is a casino onboard as well as a spa however, we were expecting more organized activities. We love cruising due to the diversity on the ships as far as the age of the guests. There were people onboard of all ages however, everything - including the music that was represented as "today's hits" - was targeted toward the guests that were over 70 years old. Last time I checked, "today" means 2017 and not 1917. Dancing in the Crows Nest to today's hits was ridiculous. When we walked in, music from the 1950s was playing. After we pleaded A LOT with the DJ, he finally played something from this century and when he did, the empty dance floor was packed with dancers of all ages. Everyone was laughing and smiling. When he went back to a 1950s song, again, the dance floor was empty. I think there is a lesson to be learned in this. Just because the majority of your guests are over 70 doesn't mean they are dead. THEY WANT TO HAVE FUN JUST LIKE THOSE OF US IN OUR 50s and 60s....and 20s, 30s, and 40s. I know I mentioned the food briefly above but honestly, I overheard more complaints from other guests about the horrible food than I have ever heard about any restaurant let alone a cruise ship. It was as if McDonalds cooks were hired and they were told not to use any herbs and/or spices. Even us old people want to experience excellent tasting food and that certainly didn't happen. Did we get the leftovers from this ship's previous cruises or did someone misplace their cookbook? PUT SOME FLAVOR IN THE FOOD! I have never been disappointed by the food on a cruise until now nor have I ever lost weight on a cruise until now. Weight Watchers could be a future cruising partner as I'm sure the WW members will be thrilled by the weight loss potential as they certainly aren't going to crave anything onboard other than possibly the ice cream. Lastly, the way that we were told to disembark in Victoria was nothing short of an absolute fiasco. Seriously? We were treated like cattle squished into one small hallway which is a far cry from what I expected. The one bright, shinning light on this cruise - and the ONLY positive thing - was because of our room steward, Heri. He was wonderful and everything I expected from a cruise line. He was attentive, available and an all around wonderful representation of what a cabin steward should strive for. Heri was great and I will sincerely miss him. I can only hope that at some point he realizes his potential and moves up the food chain to a much better cruise line and/or ship because he honestly deserves it. Heri was the one gem that we found on this extremely disappointing cruise. There you have it. I hope that at some point someone at Holland America realizes that just because someone's physical age is over 70, doesn't mean they don't want and know how to have fun...they also know what a good meal is and that they didn't get one on the Zaandam. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise to sail through Antarctica. Having been on several HAL cruises we were not concerned with quality. We were convinced that the quality would be the same on this ship as it had been on our previous three cruises. It was ... Read More
We chose this cruise to sail through Antarctica. Having been on several HAL cruises we were not concerned with quality. We were convinced that the quality would be the same on this ship as it had been on our previous three cruises. It was definitely not! If you have food allergies BEWARE! The Lido deck is fraught with dangers for those with allergies. My adult daughters suffer from some fairly severe allergies and had a most difficult time finding anything to eat. Bread and butter became their best friend. Our cabin cleanliness was quite lacking as well. Several times our stateroom door was left open. So much fo safety on the ship. The only time we had hot food was in the specialty restaurants, which of course cost extra. There's something inherently wrong with that. Service is another big issue on this ship or should I say lack of service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
The inland passage of southern Chile fiords with glaciers and to visit relatives in Buenos Aires was our need. One glacier off the many we could see - because of the big ship we missed many others. Cabin 6141 very nice situated ... Read More
The inland passage of southern Chile fiords with glaciers and to visit relatives in Buenos Aires was our need. One glacier off the many we could see - because of the big ship we missed many others. Cabin 6141 very nice situated mid-schip, we locked forward to a relaxing cruise. We found the right cabin for restless honeymooner - sleep hard to get because of vibrating (could be felt even on the thick madrases) noise from an air duct under nice the cabin floor. 24 hours, 7 days a week, 12 month a year endless sound. The reception was unable to find a better cabin or suit for us. Even my body was affected and a visit at the medical ship nurse had to be done - very nice and helpful nurse! Mostly the reception was helpful, beside one attractive girl, dressed in blue uniform which send you to other destinations instead giving you the information and forgot to give full information. It was hard to get information about Chilean vins on board - it looked more that the special ship selection was pushed. Wenn we spook about this cabin 6141, we have been the lough of the cruise. It is a pity, most of the personal was kind and helpful, but that was the first and the last cruise with Holland America. By writing this I doubt that this critic will survive on the board, but my give some hints to the owner of HA-line!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
1.0 star rating 10/3/2016 The worst cruise line that I have traveled on-- comparing to Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. The food and the food service is inferior to the other cruise lines. The spa staff gave a terrible first ... Read More
1.0 star rating 10/3/2016 The worst cruise line that I have traveled on-- comparing to Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. The food and the food service is inferior to the other cruise lines. The spa staff gave a terrible first impression of the ship by lying about the steam area, exercise area, and lockers and showers only being available if you pay an expensive fee. The seated restaurant was so slow and the food so sparse and unappetizing that it was not worthwhile. The servers in the buffet lines were below serving expectations compared to other cruise lines. The buffet lines stay open for too little time, and the stations are abruptly closed whether you are served or not. Cold cut sandwiches are later brought out. Ship staff were allowed to break in line and were served much better food than the passengers. For the same general price for a cruise on Holland America, you can opt out for a better cruise line. I urge you to do so. The other cruise lines are much better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We went on a land and sea journey with Holland America during the first 2 weeks in September. We were hoping to see the Northern Lights as it was a new moon and fall. We had one opportunity but because we moved rooms they failed to call ... Read More
We went on a land and sea journey with Holland America during the first 2 weeks in September. We were hoping to see the Northern Lights as it was a new moon and fall. We had one opportunity but because we moved rooms they failed to call so all we saw were pics from some guys cell phone. Note, don't count on a wake up call. The trip went as follows: Fairbanks, Riverboat, Bus to Denali for 3 days, Rail to Anchorage, Rail to Seward then the 7 day cruise. We have cruised 5 times over the last 3 years with Holland. Most of our fellow travelers were on their first cruise. The Riverboat consisted of a trip of about 2 miles down the river with a take off and landing of an old float plan, stops along the way included a dog sled kennel from the side of the boat with commentator on shore talking about the operation and you in the middle of the river as the audience. The Alabaskan village stop you actually got off the boat to see the demos. The meal afterward was meatless stew with a decent salad. The land portion was very disappointing as the accommodations were awful in Denali at the Holland compound. They first put us in the Canyon Lodge across from the second floor elevators, laundry room, garbage shoot, and smoking room. Asked to be moved which resulted in a worst room at the Cottonwood. Two days no hot water because the unit kept tripping off and takes hours to recover once reset. Also, "were in Alaska for the view" but our windows looked out on parking lots. Ask Travel agent to request a river view if possible before leaving. We bought the land meal package for $700 which included the Music of Denali dinner show. They served you thin cut brisket that is tough as leather and a BBQ sauce that is indescribably awful and grilled salmon. The waiter/actor/chefs try really hard but come up way short of entertaining. The cruise lines have the entrance to the park pretty much to themselves with a few other places to go most notably Pizza and Subway. Otherwise the food made us sick with diarrhea and is very expensive if you don't have the meal package. The trip included a bus trip into Denali park for roughly 72 miles of which 30 or so are paved. Watch out if you have vertigo as the bus drives along steep hill sides. The bus was a Blue Bird prison bus that had few operational windows and leaked dust making us all sick. Once in Denali the wildlife is few and far between but we did see everything albeit at a distance. Mount Denali was shrouded in clouds but we did see the North and South peeks apparently an unusual event. We went on a Black Diamond ATV tour which is done in Healy not in the park. Expensive at $239 per person for 3 hours and no lunch. Expect to pay a lot for any extra tours. Rails to Anchorage and Seward have great views but freight trains have priority so it was a long trip, each car has a narrator which became a real pain after listening to them take about themselves and provide little information about surroundings for 8 hours. The domed cars were comfortable on the trip to Anchorage but totally uncomfortable and no dome to Seward. Scenic and beautiful sights along the path to both cities. The Hilton in Anchorage was sub standard with our room window looking at a wall. Holland has a select menu of about 10 crappy items from a 50 item interesting normal hotel offering. The Zaandam ship experience was not any better. Everyone was sick with colds and who knows what else. The roomer mill said 30% were having gastrointestinal issues with the others fighting colds. Yes, we started off healthy only to get sick with colds upon retuning home. We stayed in our room and out of public areas most of the trip. At least our room had a balcony and the ship turned to allow viewing from both sides. The in-room dinning was good and we could order anything served in the dinning room even if it wasn't on the menu. The late night seating was warmed up leftovers and not to Holland's standards we expected. We figured one night would have crab legs but the chef said Holland was to cheap to buy them. The gala night also left a lot to be desired with a very limited menu. Please note the room only has one outlet so bring a multi plug adapter. The shore excursions we expensive and because this was the last ship of the year the staff wasn't much in the mood for anymore tourist. The towns have been overtaken by Caribbean stores selling at twice the price. Ask your travel agent a week before for an upgrade and also the day you arrive. Met first time cruisers whose agent got them a suite for $200 per person. We've sailed with Holland 6 times and never received anything more then what we paid for. Overall we had very high expectations because of all the good we heard from friends and neighbors. We have always wanted to see the Northern Lights. We found the towns in Alaska distressed and grim and people to match. Not a lot to do unless you are flying, cruising to see whales, or kayaking to see wildlife or glaciers all at premium prices if you can afford them. The fall colors added to the trip making it a varied landscape. Bucket list checked off, been there done it but very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The rating of this ship is generous according to reviews. Service was awful to non existing. Out of 14 nights in dining room my husband only had one night where his iced tea or water was refilled. Gone are the days where customers ... Read More
The rating of this ship is generous according to reviews. Service was awful to non existing. Out of 14 nights in dining room my husband only had one night where his iced tea or water was refilled. Gone are the days where customers mattered. Asked for condiments when I ordered dinner so I would have them. Never came with dinner either. Again, ignored and didn't give a damn for their customers. Worse cruise I have been on. As a seasoned cruiser we know the difference. Every thing is a cost center and they don't work too well. Pinnacle specialty dinning was no different. Nothing special there!!! Lamb chops were too fatty to consume and Steak was way over cooked after ordering Rare came well done with no pink at all. Got two horrible meals with no reimbursements and they didn't even care if we ever came back. Should have offered a try again to "win" us over and satisfy their customer but did not bother! Still charged the $29.00 up charge. Went away hungry and dissatisfied. Not good if you want to keep clients coming back. One review is one thing, but every evening was the same. Food not prepared as ordered and server never did call backs or cared if we were satisfied. Many meals were delivered and thrown in front of us. I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly would not serve rotten fruit in an appetizer. I would not serve what I would not eat!!!! Waiter never bothered to even look at what he was serving and had many meals messed up between different people at the same table. This was a Wow moment for us. And we won't ever do that one again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
First the good, The ship reflects the grandeur of the past glory days of cruising. Quality decor and comfortable surroundings gave us the initial good feeling that we would be enjoying the next 16 days sailing the pacific. Unfortunately, ... Read More
First the good, The ship reflects the grandeur of the past glory days of cruising. Quality decor and comfortable surroundings gave us the initial good feeling that we would be enjoying the next 16 days sailing the pacific. Unfortunately, that was about the only good thing about this cruise. We were welcomed to our cabin with a revolting smear on the rim of the toilet seat. After we mentioned it to our cabin steward he said "oh, you would like it extra clean? Needless to say, we used our Lysol wipes to disinfect our drawers, power switches, etc.. But, it's a cruise, how bad can it get... Well, it seemed that the entire ship was very short staffed. In fact, if something disastrous would have happened onboard, I would not have felt safe with the crew. The room steward had twice the number of rooms to clean compared to Princess ships. He seemed exhausted and sleepy all of the time. We felt sorry for him so we kept our room very clean just to give him a bit of a break. As far as the food was concerned, you likely would get far better quality from any N. American cheap fast food joint. Seriously! Despite the fact we dined in the main dining room everyday, the service and the food was atrocious. Now I know what magazine posed foods tastes like. Yea, it looked good, but I wouldn't feed it to a dog (mainly because a dog wouldn't eat this garbage). Crunchy, parboiled rice and risotto, tomato sauces right out of a no name jug, and meat that could substitute for shoe leather. And that was the good stuff. Now I understand why they gave you so little on your plate, because anymore would have made you sick. Our highlight was escaping the dining room two hours after being seated to go up to the Lydo buffet and have some ice cream. Unfortunately, that didn't last very long. We read the ingredients labels on the ice cream containers. It listed high fructose corn syrup and glucose as the sweeteners, artificial flavouring, and other items I could not pronounce. Even bulk foods ice cream uses real milk and sugar! Princess and NCL makes their own ice cream on board with real ingredients. H.A. has gone way too far. What a dump! The service in the dining room was pathetic. The waiters are responsible for twice the number of tables as on other ships. You could never get their attention. And we were always waiting nearly an hour between our appetizer and main course. It took us no less than two to two and a half hours to have a simple meal. As we waited in long lines for every meal in the dining room, we only met one person in the 16 days who said she liked the food. She also loved the hotdogs and lard fried French fries served poolside. Everyone else was revolted by the quality of the food. The thermal spa was also a major disappointment. One of the two showers had a plugged drain and the staff did nothing to rectify the problem in 14 days. You would think that for $450 you would get a working facility. We were wrong! In fact, the aromatic steam room should be infused with relaxing scents. It never worked throughout the cruise. We asked 5 different spa staff members to tell us if they smelled any aroma. They all said no except for the manager who sold us the package. Needless to say this will be our last Holland America cruise. Beware, as all of those old mariners we talked to onboard say that H.A. has dropped to new lows for quality cruising. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Truly bad experience. We cruised up to Alaska with holland America and had a horrible experience. The check in was smooth and efficient and the cabin steward was good but there the positive experiences end. The remainder of the crew seemed ... Read More
Truly bad experience. We cruised up to Alaska with holland America and had a horrible experience. The check in was smooth and efficient and the cabin steward was good but there the positive experiences end. The remainder of the crew seemed to have no clue about customer experience - every time you asked for anything, even asking for glasses by a water machine, they sent you somewhere else as if helping you was too much trouble. They all looked surly and miserable and didn't seem to want to be there. Unfortunately that isn't a nice environment to spend your holiday. The food as terrible too. The only hot thing was the plates which were invariably scorching. The food was always warm at best and tasteless. We found the cafe by the pool was the only place service freshly cooked food but that meant a diet of burgers, chicken, burgers, pizzas and Mexican tacos. Couldn't wait to get off the boat at ports to get some decent food. One of the worst bits was the cabin. The room itself was fine but the bathroom is in desperate need of renovation. The tiling has been repaired but badly. The smell from the toilet was terrible every time you lifted the lid. The only really positive was the port stops. Good schedule and they are one of the few boats who can get into glacier bay. I understand only 2 cruise boats are allowed in each day so not sure how they decided which ones but it was a truly stunning day We cruised back with Norweigian and had an amazing experience so you just need to be careful about which cruise line you pick. We met some people on princess who also were having a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Ship: The ship is dated and many items just do not work. Coffee machines (two broken for 3 day straight), steam rooms for which you pay an upgrade fee and do not work for two days of complaining and flickering stateroom lights. The ship ... Read More
Ship: The ship is dated and many items just do not work. Coffee machines (two broken for 3 day straight), steam rooms for which you pay an upgrade fee and do not work for two days of complaining and flickering stateroom lights. The ship served a Mexican buffet lunch out on the Lido deck one day...the next day, the same food, now looking a bit onry , was re-served. They even ran out of milk on Day 6 and served chocolate milk at the buffet with the cereal. In a very small fitness center, one elliptical and one treadmill were broken the entire 7 days. Nobody around to fix things it seemed...and people were always standing around waiting to use the machines... Service: But the ship's shortcomings were nothing compared to the staff 1. Room stewards being clueless as to when you are in or out-- and barging in to aggressively clean (or check the box) 2. A random breakfast we did not order left on the bed and not removed even after three phone calls to do so (ended up just putting it out in the hall) 3. The restaurant waiter asked what we wanted for dessert--then told us the souffle would be 30 minutes--why were we not told that at the beginning of the meal? 4. Multiple times the wrong food brought to our table in the restaurant 5. Tofu Korma with no tofu!...the explanation: "ooops....typo" 6. Even though the entire second level of the restaurant had empty tables, a refusal to seat us for dinner at 630PM because of concern about the 800PM reservations...we were told to "go to the buffet" 7. An upgrade restaurant that would not seat us on one of its several open tables because they could not guarantee we would get good service! 8. Incompetence in accounting....my son's "tips" were not put on the bill. We received a frantic phone call at 730AM the last day asking us to pay the bill which we did. But someone forgot to tell the gorilla bouncers who screen you as passengers leave the ship at the end of the cruise. My son was "detained" for 10 minutes because the computer told the bouncer he was a slacker. Then I heard the bouncer yell into his phone "this is the third passenger I have had to detain whose bill was already paid!" 9. Spa staff comes 20 minutes late to a treatment, short changes me on the time and then tells me afterwards I need to see her two more times to get "rid of tension" 10. The cruise director was AWOL at times except when it was time to push the port shops that provide HAL with a kickback...part of the guaranteed shopping experience. 11. Apple juice that looked like water with food coloring--"the machine is broken" we were told 12. Scoffing when simple requests were made like "Can he have cheese on his pasta?" 13. "nothing we can do" about broken fitness center machines. We have sailed Carnival twice and had been told that HAL is "so much better", but in fact, Carnival runs a much better ship. As does Celebrity.... The PV and Cabo ports were fun and generally the Mexican Riviera is a good choice for a week's cruise. But HAL is not. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
If you like a budget vacation that fits a budget vacation in every way this is for you! I have been on a few cruises with Carnival and the last one was in 2009. Now maybe Carnival has deteriorated to the level of this cruise so comparing ... Read More
If you like a budget vacation that fits a budget vacation in every way this is for you! I have been on a few cruises with Carnival and the last one was in 2009. Now maybe Carnival has deteriorated to the level of this cruise so comparing the 2 may not be fair but compared to the 2009 carnival cruise this was pathetic! Quantity over quality best describes the food! If you like a lot of food and taste isn't important than you will be happy! Everything about this cruise was cutting corners to save money! The food, the entertainment every thing was done in a Wal-mart manner. Very disappointing! There were very few games which is surprising because they don't cost HAL anything and it keeps the people from eating more food! We were ready to get off when it was over and had a plan to take our own luggage and get out first when one of us was called to the front desk which had a 30 minute wait. We couldn't get off the ship until we cleared up the problem which was so ridiculous! we had an $11.00 credit due us! That 30 minute delay put us into the busiest part of the disembarkation process! carrying our own luggage this was a major pain! Dining room experience was pitiful, While the waiters were fine it was the front dining staff that was very arrogant, we had trouble getting any flexibility in our seating because we had to accept open seating...don't do this if at all possible! My advice over all...look into Carnival.... Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Stayed at Langham Place in Hong Kong prior to cruise for two days, really nice hotel great service and handy to shops etc. First sight of Zaandam and we thought what have we done as its more than showing its age, first part of check in ... Read More
Stayed at Langham Place in Hong Kong prior to cruise for two days, really nice hotel great service and handy to shops etc. First sight of Zaandam and we thought what have we done as its more than showing its age, first part of check in was a breeze but then deteriorated into a free for all to get on board when boarding was announced.No organization just people every where. Once on ship we went to stateroom, four star ship had cracked sink in bathroom, torn valance that stayed on bed the whole cruise even after being pointed out to members of staff, the whole stateroom was tatty, and to top it all off the air conditioner didn't work either really hot, or really cold. Food is subjective and we choose to eat in Lido and the food was always either lukewarm or cold, even after pointing this out to chef no improvement, plus quality has dropped dramatically since we last sailed with Holland. Ports of call Shanghai we missed altogether because of fog,Beijing we did a two day private tour which was great, but there was a debacle over passports with the ship letting people off knowing they needed there passports for hotels,but no information given out. Korea was fine, but once again confusion as they said shuttles would be available when we got ashore none. Overall we paid a premium price for a four star cruise that should be rated two at most,will be complaining to Holland America. Oh nearly forgot they don't change smoke detectors batteries till they go off, so we had screeching noise one night rang reception no answer, so went to front desk who sent some one up to remove battery, this was going on all over the ship. We will never sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Ship - Internally and externally TIRED. Food - repetitive after first 14 days. Second 14 days food portions in Rotterdam greatly reduced and service also went downhill. Cabin - tired and desperate for re-fit. Bedding needs replacing ... Read More
Ship - Internally and externally TIRED. Food - repetitive after first 14 days. Second 14 days food portions in Rotterdam greatly reduced and service also went downhill. Cabin - tired and desperate for re-fit. Bedding needs replacing asap. Many had air con/heating problems. Main complaints: Ship Freezing for the first 14 days - 13 degrees C. in restaurant - had to wear jackets whenever we went about ship. Management seemed totally incapable in dealing with immigration issues at certain ports, it appeared as though this was a first time experience for them. We never got to Shanghai - sat at sea for a day and a half in 'fog' then told we were going to Shanghai but when we got up next morning realised we were going north!! Beijing - were sent ashore with only passport copies - HAL refused to give us our passports despite being told we were staying in Beijing. Ended up being refused to check in at hotel as we did not have our passports. Tried to resolve this by various telephone calls but ship staff totally unhelpful. Ended up waiting in freezing cold -5 degrees C for first train and taxi back to ship where we received half hearted apology. Never went back as it took us 24 hours to get over the trauma. Guest relations manager would not meet to discuss problems. This totally ruined our holiday as we only booked the first 14 day cruise so that we could visit Beijing and Shanghai. Ship Captain - he made very few announcements - only ship's position and weather every day - never saw him around ship. Cabin and restaurants staff - excellent, shame management did not take some training from them!!! Shore excursions - far too expensive. Entertainment - Third rate - apart from occasional visiting artist. Had much better on other cruise lines. Overall Opinion. Our holiday was totally ruined by the Beijing passport debacle. Not at all impressed by HAL. We were told before we booked that they were the best (5*) I would suggest 2* was a better description. Never again will we go HAL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I was looking forward to my trip from Sydney to the South Pacific islands and then up to Singapore via Indonesia. The cruise ran over Christmas and New Year but we hardly noticed those events, so little effort having been made by the ... Read More
I was looking forward to my trip from Sydney to the South Pacific islands and then up to Singapore via Indonesia. The cruise ran over Christmas and New Year but we hardly noticed those events, so little effort having been made by the company to make those days extra special. Christmas was really flat - the only change to the dining was that a fancy piece of ribbon was placed across each table and the menus for lunch and dinner was just like the usual menus. They did make a little more effort at new year and there were various events at different venues on board to see the new year in but no special entertainers were booked. We just had the usual Zandaam singers and dancers (who were dire and who seemed to think volume was everything). My cabin was the first disappointment. On boarding at Sydney at 2 pm the cabin was still occupied and had not been cleaned. The departing passenger was being moved out of the room as I went to occupy my cabin to unpack. However, I had to wait for the steward to clean it and when I returned the cabin was very unpleasant, it stank! I asked for it to be cleaned again and even then, it stank! It took at least a week with the air conditioning running and lots of water running through the shower to finally clear the air. In the meantime I had been to the front desk and they told me I had been upgraded and, in any case, the ship was full so there was no other cabin available. In addition to the stink in the cabin I discovered it was designed for a wheelchair user and did not have all the facilities I would have had in the guaranteed MM grade and this was supposedly an upgrade to category L. It was shabby as well as dirty and there was no where to sit to read or watch TV except on the bed. The bathrobes were rags - I asked the steward if they were clean and he said they had just come from the laundry but got me another one - it was still a tatty old rag. How I wanted to be "downgraded" to the better cabin that I had been expecting! The tours were a bit of a rip off but something we have come to expect with cruise lines. The most disappointing of all was at Komodo Island where we booked for a tour of "approximately 2 1/2 hours" and what we got was approximately 1 hour. Yes, we did see dragons but very little of the island and we were not permitted to go off under our own steam without a pre-booked ranger. The entertainment was poor all the way through, particularly as it was the so-called festive season. We had comedians who weren't funny; one unfortunate chap who came on board 2 days after the previous one left was telling the same cruise related jokes that we had heard 2 days before. He was becoming rather peevish when he barely raised a titter from the audience; not surprising really. In the first two weeks of the cruise there were lots of Australian school students on board and a certain amount of bad behaviour around the pools. The bar staff in each case were supposed to supervise things but were doing nothing. When I complained at the front desk they were as unhelpful as previously when I went to them about my cabin. In general they were unhelpful and really didn't want to know about problems. I paid a lot more than many other travellers because I was travelling alone but in spite of this I think I and fellow lone travellers are treated as 2nd class passengers. Because of the chaos around my cabin when I boarded and the fact that the daily programme was not delivered to my cabin I missed out on various events such as being able to join other single travellers for lunch on the first day. It was only when I went to the front desk to acquire a copy later that I discovered what was on the programme. The seating arrangements in the dining room didn't make it any easier to meet other people travelling alone. The port lectures were unbelievably amateurish. The talks were run by a man who claimed to have been educated at universities on several continents and also claimed to be well travelled. Well, he appeared to be reading from notes cobbled together (from the internet?) and were poorly presented alongside the photographs he got "from a friend" and which were of too low resolution to be shown on a large screen, consequently they were rather blurry. The leaflet we were given prior to each port produced by HAL was much more informative. So much for enrichment. The foregoing are just the main "highlights" from the cruise and there were a lot more points that I raised in my letter to HAL. Overall the cruise was a tremendous disappointment and I won't be travelling with Holland America again. Holland America, particularly with the Zaandam, seems to be living on their past reputation but standards seem to have slipped drastically. The reason I booked on this cruise was because of the reputation they previously had and seemed to have a lot of positive reviews on this site and others. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Arrived at Seward for "priority " boarding ,travelled 16 hours: After 20 minutes were told room had been given to someone else: Eventually we were whisked on board after an hour and told to go to front office; Without telling ... Read More
Arrived at Seward for "priority " boarding ,travelled 16 hours: After 20 minutes were told room had been given to someone else: Eventually we were whisked on board after an hour and told to go to front office; Without telling us, our onboard cards were switched from designated dining room seating to scramble for all. i asked 3 timess to speak to a manager, no one came to discuss with us. 3 days later we had opportunity to be greeted by the captain who shrugged us off in his broken English, but someone was dispatched to see us several hours later. Our dining experiences as a whole were poor, food re heated, cold meals, wrong meals, dirty table cloths, food encrusted dirty fork at the italian restaurant. we were not the only ones who experienced the bad food service, one lunch time the entire table returned there meal, which was burgers served as hard as hockey pucks The Captain was rude and uncaring to not only ourselves, but others who were not travelling with us. Obviously there is a common denominator: Zaandam and Holland America My advise is give another cruise line your money Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Alaska is absolutely beautiful. Everyone should at some point go there and see its beauty in person. Just don't do it on Holland America. I traveled to Alaska on ms Zaandam on 7/10/11 - 7/17/11. I stayed in balcony cabin 7077 ... Read More
Alaska is absolutely beautiful. Everyone should at some point go there and see its beauty in person. Just don't do it on Holland America. I traveled to Alaska on ms Zaandam on 7/10/11 - 7/17/11. I stayed in balcony cabin 7077 (verandah suite). I upgraded from my inside cabin ($2503) to the verandah suite ($5890) because I figured that a balcony would be nice to admire and experience Alaska's beauty from. I unfortunately had a room with a foul smell, and did not get to spend much time in it, except to sleep (which was difficult because of the smell). The cruise staff could not identify the source of the smell. They all agreed there was a smell, but, couldn't find the source, so said they couldn't do anything about it. I sprayed air freshener I bought in Ketchican, AK, but that did nothing. The cruise claimed they had no other rooms to put me in. Not even an inside cabin. They made us suffer for the whole week. For my inconvenience they offered to credit me $200. I felt stupid for upgrading for more than double the price and never being able to use the balcony cabin. We had originally picked Holland America since they offered an Indian Vegetarian Menu. They emailed me the menu for my selection 4 months before and asked me to fax back the selections at least 90 days before the cruise. They also asked me to call 2 weeks before to confirm that they have it. This is so they can order the food on my selection menu beforehand. I did all that. WOW I thought. A cruise line that has specific menu for Indian Veg. Sounds too good to be true. And it was. They did not even know of any such menu or requests when we went to dinner the first night. We were a party of 12. All vegetarians and all Indian. Look, I'm a big boy and have learned to live with disappointment, but don't lie to me and deceive me into selecting your cruise line based on false promises. All cruises offer vegetarian food. Holland America lies to get people to come on their cruise and never follows through. The staff is not helpful at all with any of your problems. They make it impossible to talk to someone in charge. They basically made me feel like I was wrong in wanting anything (like a non-smelly room or vegetarian food I was promised). All I can say is, don't waste your money on Holland America. There are many cruise companies that offer Alaska cruises. Choose one of them. Reward the good and let the bad fail. I hate companies that bait and switch like this. DO NOT GO ON HOLLAND AMERICA. But, definately go see Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
As a seasoned cruiser, never again on Holland America.Huge banging all through the night. We were told at the end of the cruise the whole front hull was buckling and banging. Room service was always late and wrong, toast came bread not ... Read More
As a seasoned cruiser, never again on Holland America.Huge banging all through the night. We were told at the end of the cruise the whole front hull was buckling and banging. Room service was always late and wrong, toast came bread not toasted.Formal dinning rm food bland and tasteless. Entertainment not entertaining, seen better acts at high school.New entertainment director was constantly asking the audience if we liked her dress and was it appropriate, every day.Food was so bad that we ate at the hamburger stand almost every day. Music was focusing on the "over 75 year old" audience.40s music. Do they not know that people 55-65 like music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s?The age group they are focus toward is in the nursing home, time to catch up and change that 320 year old format.We asked people if they were pleased, the ones that said yes had never cruised any other company, ignorance is bliss. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We were in Cabin 7004, Neptune Suite. To begin with the cabin was tired and worn, dirty furniture on the veranda, only one electrical outlet in the entire cabin (they confiscated our brand new compliant outlet strip at check in, gave us an ... Read More
We were in Cabin 7004, Neptune Suite. To begin with the cabin was tired and worn, dirty furniture on the veranda, only one electrical outlet in the entire cabin (they confiscated our brand new compliant outlet strip at check in, gave us an old battered one) the laminate on the vanity was peeling off, the floor in the bathroom was buckled and the tiles were missing grout. Old and outdated room with old box and hose hairdryer. The tub had a large crack in it patched with a different color material (the did serve notice that this would be corrected on one of the Hawaii port days). While the cabin steward and MDR staff were excellent, the Pinnacle Grill was absolutely awful We waited 30 minutes for our 8pm reservation when the restaurant was almost empty, this was day 3. Tables were not cleaned or bussed, we sat around tables with dirty linen, glasses, napkins and plates not removed, during the entire meal. Waitstaff was clueless and disorganized. They came after 10 minutes of just sitting there to take our order when we hadn't even gotten menus or ordered drinks yet. We had to continually ask 2 and 3 times for things, service was poor. On the LeCirque night (second one, toward the end of the cruise) the manager came over and asked how everything was and I pointed out once again all of the unbussed, uncleared tables, he went into a long apology telling us about how he was new, and used to being on a bigger ship, had a new staff, had staff out sick etc. OK well maybe that was the situation in the first several days, but this was 2 weeks later, one would think you would get it right by then. We also had to wait to be seated that night. As suite guests we had our breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, again, very disappointing, terrible service, orders wrong, had to ask multiple times for things and though we would arrive 30 minutes prior to the closing, they rushed to take our order telling us the kitchen was closing. The cruise was very disorganized. In the past on HAL, when we arrived, all of the invitations for cocktail parties, lunches, travel agent gifts etc. were all in our cabin. We arrived to find only one Pinnacle Dinner and One Canaletto Dinner (both booked for embarkation day that evening) these were the comps from the Explore 4 package. Since we had 10 sea days we wanted to book things like spa, cooking classes etc. and wanted to know when the advertised things such as suite cocktail party with ships officers would be held so as not to double book. The concierge had no record of these and said they don't do those anymore. I pointed out how this was advertised as a perk for suite guests. We asked about gifts from our travel agent and he had no record of these, in fact they tried to pass off the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto dinners from the Explore 4 package as gifts from the travel agent. I emailed my agent and it took them 4 days to get it sorted out. The complimentary beverage package was a disaster. Now there is not a separate card but goes on your ships ID card. All throughout the cruise we were constantly in the office dealing with charges for drinks that were supposed to be included in the package. The final bill was still not correct and was so confusing and convoluted that is was pages and pages and we still would up paying for drinks that were supposed to be included in the package. Apparently the suite cocktail party was overlooked and a hastily thrown together suite lunch where the captain and the hotel manager made a brief appearance was substituted. It was in the Pinnacle Grill and the manager again came over to tell us his woes and how he only had 2 days notice to put this together. The cooking classes were supposedly overbooked, but 8 of the guests were double booked and the names were spelled wrong and confirmation notices did not arrive, mass confusion again. We did happen to meet with the hotel manager and he totally agreed that our experiences were out of line. A guest should never be given any excuses. As far as dining, while the food was good, in the MDR portions were sparse. Vegetables now are a garnish. A small portion of protein (less that 3-4 oz.) was accompanied by one piece of asparagus or one broccoli floret or a small slice of carrot and one small little round potato or piece of potato or a thimble full of rice. Portions were all small and disappointing. Room service was very slow, orders were often incorrect and the supposed offer of evening hors'doeuvres was almost nonexistent. There were lots of repeats in the menus and many similar dishes. We took our lunch most of the time in the MDR because the chaos of the Lido and the overcrowding and dodging wheelchairs, canes, walkers and the like, along with people who were not eating but occupying tables playing cards etc. On the plus side, concierge service was good and the Neptune lounge has a good selection of items. The Dive in and most bar service was good. Although we learned from being on the Amsterdam last year to tip the bar staff, otherwise you wait and are ignored. The worst issue was toward the end of the cruise on Saturday, there was an emergency announcement. (This new system of several alerts is most confusing) Apparently there was smoke detected in the forward bow thruster room. The situation was well handled and we were kept informed, the captain was on the scene almost immediately. They dispensed fire teams and evacuated the staff decks forward. Everyone remained calm. They were puzzled because there was no active fire, but smoke was present. As it turned out, there was ongoing maintenance on a fuel tank and a cover was left off which let out terrible fumes, detected as smoke. For several days the entire front of the ship was filled with noxious odor. We became sickened and missed out on many activities because of spending time in our cabin, feeling ill. Apparently caused by carelessness. While most of the crew were attentive, it seemed like they were just going through the motions and checking off the box. Things like the Indonesian Tea, the Dutch High Tea and similar events were not at all what we were used to. They were held but except for some decorations and a title, not really anything different than any other tea. Disappointing selection of food and we ere rushed through, refills on tea or food were difficult to come by. The staff seemed overwhelmed by the numbers of people attending. The formal nights are now replaced by "gala" nights. The dress was most appalling, apparently people just ignore the dress codes and almost no one dresses anymore, another disappointment. Only 3 gala nights with 10 sea days on a 17 night cruise was disappointing. The dress codes were not enforced anywhere not in the MDR or the Pinnacle Grill. I have traveled and cruised extensively, (Cunard diamond member) my cruise companion summed it up best: "Last year on the 14 day Alaska cruise on the Amsterdam, it was a wonderful experience, so much so that it made me want to go again. Had this been my first cruise, I would not have booked a second." We booked a Canada/New England cruise for next year but will definitely cancel and try another line. HAL has disappointed us and lowered their standards to the point of paying $20,000 for a cruise, we can do better, much better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
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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