Even as a solo cruiser paying nearly double the advertised rate I came away realizing that not only did I have a great time but I received much more than I paid for. The Zaandam is an exceptional experience and after reading the scores of negative reviews I fail to understand the reviewers' conception of reality.
EMBARKATION: I was informed ahead of time from Holland America and my travel agent of a possible delay in boarding due to extensive construction around the pier and the fact that two ships were at the pier simultaneously. Although I arrived ahead of suggested times I found things to be very well organized and the process of boarding was seamless. Pier staff were friendly, helpful and happy to answer questions about the process.
CABIN: I booked juat a guaranteed room and was very pleased to receive 2645 just slightly aft of center on deck 2. It was spacious and its sideways placement along the corridor made it seem larger than it was. It was configured as a queen and had incredibly comfortable mattresses in a spotless setting. I will book a similar room again without hesitation.
Quiet, spacious and 'homey'. I liked the sideways position.
Well kept and efficient local staff.
Over abundance of hawkers.