We were very disappointed with this cruise, having been on other Holland America cruises before, we definitely expected better. Some of the food quality was so poor it shouldn't have been served and some of the meals arrived cold. Dining room service was also erratic, sometimes terrible (particularly the wine stewards), sometimes very good. Food in the Pinnacle restaurant was excellent, our first meal in the Canaletto was cold. We went a 2nd time and it was fine, but by then we were getting special treatment everywhere because the staff knew we had complained. We weren't looking for special treatment, we just wanted decent food served hot.
The ship also seemed to be very unorganized, the daily activities program had to be replaced several times during the cruise due to mistakes in it. The front desk did not seem to know what was going on and gave out incorrect information on several different items, advising us incorrectly which nights were Gala nights in the dining room, making mistakes with our reservations in the Pinnacle restaurant, giving out incorrect exchange rates for pesos, advising incorrectly which ports were tender vs docking,etc. It just seemed like the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing.
To top it off, the ship missed 4 ports of call and substituted 3 poorer replacements. The first port cancelled was Coquimbo, Chile which they said was due to the earthquake it had had this spring. Surely it didn't take until we had left San Diego in October to figure that one out. The next port cancelled was Punta Arenas, Chile as the port was closed due to high winds (fair enough), but then the Captain tells us because of the winds they also cancelled Ushuaia, Argentina and Stanley, Falkland Islands. Well I can tell you most of the passengers were pretty upset when the following day we sailed past the port of Ushuaia and it was clear to all of us that it wasn't that rough and then after we rounded the Horn and got up to the same latitude as the Falkland Islands it wasn't rough at all. The icing on that cake was when independent tour operators who were cancelled because the ship wasn't stopping there, advised that they couldn't understand why the ship wasn't stopping when it wasn't rough and that other cruise ships were in port that day.
The next time we cruise it will never be on the Zaandam and we will be checking out the ratings for the other cruise lines carefully as I don't think you could talk either one of us onto another Holland America cruise at this time. When you have looked forward to a particular trip for a long time and then spent good money to do it, it is just totally deflating and unsatisfactory when it is poorly executed.
Cabin stewards were one of the best parts of the cruise. Room was always kept in great shape by them.