We sailed on the Zaandam in 2008, and the ship is showing its age. cushions in the show lounge are worn and uncomfortable. We picked this cruise for its value and length, plus we only had to fly one way. We were never bored, and the 18 days did not feel too long. The staff were great, and the length of the cruise let us get to know them by name. This is not a party cruise, by the time we got to San Diego the crows nest music and dance bar was empty most nights. I'm not a buffet fan and was disappointed every time we ate there pre cooked food that's never hot enough. We would usually get salad from the buffet and then go to the grill by the pool, good bbq fare including salmon fillets. The dining room food was excellent, we chose open dining, and often the two of us at alone, our choice. Hal did a good job accommodating my wife who is gluten intolerant, even though we didn't give them notice.
Ports- Astoria was interesting, could walk the town easy enough, lots of volunteers to help you. San Diego was close to town also, lots to do if you chose. Cabo San Lucas was tender only, so time on shore was limited. Hualtulco had a beach right on the end of the pier, all the other piers were in industrial areas. The most disappointing port was Puerto Ciapas, a half hour shuttle (not free either) from town. The further south we got the more humid it was. Costa Rica and Columbia were great, lots of history We are disappointed to learn about Hal's change in alcohol policy in 2014, can only bring one bottle of wine on a embarkation only, members of my family cruised with Hal because previously we could bring on as much wine or champagne as we could carry in each port. At least they have multiple happy hours, one drink is $6, the 2nd is $1. The movie theater on board good, but the seats were worn. The entertainment in the show lounge was mostly great. The canal transit was well done, narrative given over the loudspeakers to give info .
We upgraded our cabin to 6102, great location on deck 6, showroom one floor below, and lido deck two decks up, at the front of the ship.. The cabin design is disfunctional with a narrow hall that doglegs left to the bed, and the front of the cabin is slanted like the windshield of a car. Easy to hit your head . The cabin was cramped and the closets are not full lenth. At first we wanted to move, but the location and the deck just outside our room was great when arriving in port and during the canal transit.