This was our first cruise on Holland America. We've cruised three times before on other lines. Overall, this was a good experience, not the best cruise we've taken but not the worst either.
One port of call was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The ship stayed overnight and this allowed us to experience some of the nightlife. This was the first cruise we took that did this. We had the time to find places to visit that was a bit off the beaten path and eat dinner in a local's restaurant rather than the usual tourist traps. The other was Cabo San Lucas, which was fine, even though it felt like visiting a mall.
We found the ms Zaandam to be a nice ship. There are plenty of areas to sit and relax as well as many activities in which to participate. We took advantage of the "Techspert" several times, attending classes on the use of Microsoft Windows to edit photographs and to use a digital camera. The things we learned is evident in the much improved quality of our photos. Other classes on towel folding, flower-making, etc. were just as informative and enjoyable. Mike, the singer-guitar player in the Piano Bar was by far the most talented person we have had the pleasure to enjoy on a cruise ship, even when signing his original songs. The shows, on the other hand, were typical cruise ship fare. There was an excellent juggler but the musical shows could be easily skipped.
Cabin is much smaller than the Holland America website suggests. There is no sofa, only a single chair. The walls are a bit offset, resulting in a non-rectangular cabin. When the beds are together, this results in about 6 inches of clearance along one side of the bed. The port holes are OK, but a full-size interior cabin would be preferable. There is some noise when the anchor is dropped but that's to be expected. What was surprising was the loud "thump" of the water hitting the hull during a night of moderately rough seas. It was enough to wake me up on several occasions. The bathroom, however, is a good size. There is a full-sized bathtub. We have never had that on a cruise ship before.
We really enjoyed Puerto Vallarta. The city is very international, English is widely spoken, and there is so much to do. The food is incredible, especially away from the Malecon (tourist-y boardwalk area). The people are friendly and the city feels very safe.
Not having much time to experience "Cabo", my impression is that it is a nice diversion, but not for anyone seeking to experience Mexico. The natural beauty of the desert, beach, and sea is amazing. The shops and restaurants surrounding the pier area (the only area we had to explore) might as well be in any mall in the US. Maybe there is a real Mexican side to the city, but we didn't have enough time to find it.