We chose this cruise for the destinations, we are not cruise experts and have only been on a few cruises prior to this one (in Central America, Australia, Egypt and the Med). The cruise was advertised as a 5 star ship visiting Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and The Falklands whilst incorporating Glacier Alley, The Beagle Channel and circumnavigating Cape Horn. The destinations were remote but great for people who love nature, mountains and penguins! This is a great way to visit these remote destinations that would otherwise be very difficult to travel to independently. We booked a Vista Suite which is an outside cabin with a separate seating area, bath and balcony. The stateroom was comfortable, but we did not use the balcony as the weather was not great for sitting outside. The housekeeping and room service were very good. This cruise incorporates a range of destinations with lots of different weather conditions - we had rain, sprinkles of snow, high winds, thunderstorms and sunshine, so be aware you will need a range of different clothes for this trip! The staff on the ship were friendly, attentive to passengers needs and deserve praising. Most of the restaurant, cabin and bar staff originate from The Philippines and Indonesia and they are excellent! We booked a table for two at the 8pm sitting in the main dining room which worked out well for us. The food in The Rotterdam dining room was of a good standard and consisted of three courses selected from a varied menu. We also ate at The Caneletto Italian restaurant one evening for a $10 upgrade and at The Pinnacle Restaurant on the 'Sommelier' evening for $99 dollars each which is pricey but really very good and well worth treating yourself too! The ship also has a self service dining room called The Lido which offered a variety of food, but as we preferred to be served our meals we did not frequent this restaurant. On shore days we ordered breakfast in our cabin - it always arrived on time, was hot and well presented. On sea days we ate breakfast in The Rotterdam dining room and were served breakfast from an extensive menu that included eggs benedict (my husbands favourite) and pancakes with maple syrup (my favourite) - so we were both happy! The entertainment and shops on the ship are limited - but that did not bother us as that was not an important part of the cruise for us. There was live singing in the piano bar which we enjoyed, classical music in The Explorers Lounge which was good and a range of live shows each evening in the main theatre which were not to our taste - but other cruisers appeared to enjoy these shows. Shows included the resident singers & dancers, a comical magician (which we thought was poor), a harpist and a clarinet player which were okay and a virtiosa piano player. We would have liked a comedian - but none were scheduled during our cruise! Other entertainment on the ship included trivia quizzes which we attended and liked, tango classes, cooking demonstrations and art auctions (none if which we attended). The ship also had a casino on board and a photographic studio. There were two pools - one outside which was not used due to the weather and one inside where passengers relaxed during the daytime. There was also a cinema showing fairly recent films a few times each day. We did book a range of shore excursions on board after attending presentations by the excursion team, these were expensive and in retrospect I would have booked some of these independently with local taxi drivers. The best tour we attended were the Rockhopper penguin tour on The Falklands which would be difficult to book independently if at all! We independently toured Montevideo and Ushuaia which were both very easy to explore on foot. I would recommend future passengers on this cruise did more research than we did and tried to book some excursions themselves locally. The embarkation in Chile and the disembarkation in Argentina were very well organised and trouble free. This is a quiet cruise for people interested in the destinations and did attract an older demographic. To summarise the ship was very clean, well presented and maintained. This is a midsize ship and does not offer the range of facilities larger ships offer, but the trade off is the ship visits remote destinations whilst offering quality accommodation.  

South America Cruise Incorporating Remote Destinations

Zaandam Cruise Review by lomasteam

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2014
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
We chose this cruise for the destinations, we are not cruise experts and have only been on a few cruises prior to this one (in Central America, Australia, Egypt and the Med). The cruise was advertised as a 5 star ship visiting Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and The Falklands whilst incorporating Glacier Alley, The Beagle Channel and circumnavigating Cape Horn. The destinations were remote but great for people who love nature, mountains and penguins! This is a great way to visit these remote destinations that would otherwise be very difficult to travel to independently. We booked a Vista Suite which is an outside cabin with a separate seating area, bath and balcony. The stateroom was comfortable, but we did not use the balcony as the weather was not great for sitting outside. The housekeeping and room service were very good.
This cruise incorporates a range of destinations with lots of different weather conditions - we had rain, sprinkles of snow, high winds, thunderstorms and sunshine, so be aware you will need a range of different clothes for this trip!
The staff on the ship were friendly, attentive to passengers needs and deserve praising. Most of the restaurant, cabin and bar staff originate from The Philippines and Indonesia and they are excellent! We booked a table for two at the 8pm sitting in the main dining room which worked out well for us. The food in The Rotterdam dining room was of a good standard and consisted of three courses selected from a varied menu. We also ate at The Caneletto Italian restaurant one evening for a $10 upgrade and at The Pinnacle Restaurant on the 'Sommelier' evening for $99 dollars each which is pricey but really very good and well worth treating yourself too! The ship also has a self service dining room called The Lido which offered a variety of food, but as we preferred to be served our meals we did not frequent this restaurant.
On shore days we ordered breakfast in our cabin - it always arrived on time, was hot and well presented. On sea days we ate breakfast in The Rotterdam dining room and were served breakfast from an extensive menu that included eggs benedict (my husbands favourite) and pancakes with maple syrup (my favourite) - so we were both happy!
The entertainment and shops on the ship are limited - but that did not bother us as that was not an important part of the cruise for us. There was live singing in the piano bar which we enjoyed, classical music in The Explorers Lounge which was good and a range of live shows each evening in the main theatre which were not to our taste - but other cruisers appeared to enjoy these shows. Shows included the resident singers & dancers, a comical magician (which we thought was poor), a harpist and a clarinet player which were okay and a virtiosa piano player. We would have liked a comedian - but none were scheduled during our cruise! Other entertainment on the ship included trivia quizzes which we attended and liked, tango classes, cooking demonstrations and art auctions (none if which we attended). The ship also had a casino on board and a photographic studio.
There were two pools - one outside which was not used due to the weather and one inside where passengers relaxed during the daytime. There was also a cinema showing fairly recent films a few times each day.
We did book a range of shore excursions on board after attending presentations by the excursion team, these were expensive and in retrospect I would have booked some of these independently with local taxi drivers. The best tour we attended were the Rockhopper penguin tour on The Falklands which would be difficult to book independently if at all! We independently toured Montevideo and Ushuaia which were both very easy to explore on foot. I would recommend future passengers on this cruise did more research than we did and tried to book some excursions themselves locally.
The embarkation in Chile and the disembarkation in Argentina were very well organised and trouble free.
This is a quiet cruise for people interested in the destinations and did attract an older demographic. To summarise the ship was very clean, well presented and maintained. This is a midsize ship and does not offer the range of facilities larger ships offer, but the trade off is the ship visits remote destinations whilst offering quality accommodation.
 
lomasteam’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Holland America Zaandam price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Verandah
Cabin A 7045
Comfortable room with separate sitting area, balcony and bath.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Montevideo
    We collected a city map from the tourist information and took an independent walking tour of the city visiting the main squares, government buildings, cathedral and shopping streets. Montevideo was easy to navigate and had lots of nice handicraft stores, cafes and restaurants. We enjoyed exploring the city in foot and would highly recommend fellow visitors did too. A 'hop on hop off' tour bus is also available in Montevideo for those who prefer a bus tour. Free wifi is available in most cafes and restaurants in the city.
    View All 248 Montevideo Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Montevideo Cruise Port Review
  • Petrohue Falls
    Visited the falls, Osorno volcano and the stunning Patagonian countryside. Also stopped off at an historical inn owned by a family of German descendents for a very pleasant lunch. Well worth visiting these sights for the beautiful mountains and scenery in this area. In retrospect we could have organised visiting these sites independently using one of the taxis located at the port, but the commentary offered by the tour guide was excellent and gave us a real insight into the people and way of life in this region of Chile.
    View All 30 Petrohue Falls Reviews
  • Penguin Reserve
    Visited Otway Sound penguin reserve and saw hundreds of Magellan penguins both on the beach and in the vegetation around the beach area. The commentary offered by the guide was interesting, but in retrospect you could save money by hiring a taxi outside the port to visit the area independently. After the tour we walked around the town which was small and safe with a handicraft market in the main square and some pleasant cafes.
    View All 26 Penguin Reserve Reviews
  • Santiago (Valparaiso)
    Took a three hour walking tour of the city conducted by a local. Visited all the main sites and got a good insight into life, society, politics and the history of Chile.
    View All 106 Santiago (Valparaiso) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Santiago (Valparaiso) Cruise Port Review
  • Rockhopper Penguin Colony
    This was the best trip we took! We were transported over farmland to a remote cove in a land rover driven by a local resident who was happy to talk about life in the Falkland Islands and answer our questions. When we got to the cove we saw hundreds of these charming penguins up close which was fantastic. After the tour we walked around Stanley visiting the war memorial, shops and a pub. Stanley is tiny, easy to explore and was charming - it helped that on the day we visited the sun was shining!
    View All 8 Rockhopper Penguin Colony Reviews
  • Ushuaia
    We walked around the town and visited the 'End of the World' prison and Ushuaia museum independently and were only a ten minute walk from the port. The tourist information centre outside the port distributed free town maps and there were plenty of taxis outside the port. The museum was interesting and gave explanations of exhibits in both Spanish and English. The museum also incorporated a small gift shop and cafe. The town is basically one main street with a range of shops and cafes all of which accepted Argentinian pesos or American dollars at a competitive rate. Free wifi was available at most cafes. We also visited the local handicraft market near the port which was small but interesting.
    View All 228 Ushuaia Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Ushuaia Cruise Port Review