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Zaandam Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
527 reviews
5 Awards

Met and Exceeded All Expectations!

Review for Zaandam to Antarctica
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Sail Date: Dec 2016
Cabin: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Traveled with children
ms Zaandam from Port
Wildlife en route
Promenade Deck
Southern Ocean
Icebergs all around
Many whale sightings like this
Many seals relaxing
Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctic Peninsula
Ship's Bell, Bow used for New Year celebration
Palmer Station crew come on board for two repeated lectures and Q&A
We passed numerous research stations like this
Chair with a view
Ice bergs come closer to the ship than one might expect
Holland America is one of the few lines that still insists on Teak decks.
Ship is from 2000 but is aging very well
Naturalists have a board at the back of the ship to count whale sightings e
"Iceberg, dead ahead"
Ice bergs frequently pass our cabin window
Each little dot is a penguin
Of course penguins are birds

The ms Zaandam is a wonderful ship for this route. It is comfortable with all the elements of what we had hoped for from Holland America, with outstanding food and service, elegant architecture, a true wrap around teak promenade deck, a double height dining experience, and a well-stocked Lido.

The itinerary is second to none in the world I am sure. Holland America has had a relationship with the US Antarctic Program for 13 years and brings on board an experienced expedition team. The captain is not afraid of ice bergs and takes the ship carefully but boldly into what seem impassable channels, and even bring on board a full Antarctic team from Palmer Station (weather permitting).

The antarctic experience is quite unlike any other area of the planet, and is unspoiled due to a highly co-operative global treaty. While there are options on smaller vessels to make zodiac landings, we surprisingly didnt really miss this at all in part due to the dramatic scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Island and Shetlands. We saw more penguins, whales, seals etc. than we could ever dream of, and we didnt have to disinfect, get kitted up, and wait for small landing parties, but could use many of the uncrowded areas of the ship to be up close and personal to a large berg. The bow thrusters move the bergs away from the ship in a very efficient manner for safety, and HAL takes the treaty to the letter in disallowing any form of food or beverage consumption outside whilst in Antarctic waters, and switches the entire ship over to more expensive diesel for this part of the trip to reduce carbon footprint.

Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom

Cabin C

We booked two adjoining cabins for our family and were delighted with the layout and space by doing so. The cabins were extremely well noise-insulated otherwise, but with the ability to open the internal door gave us more room on this long cruise.

We deliberately chose cabins that were between two other passenger cabin decks (Main deck) and that were low down near mid-ships to minimize the effect of the roaring 40s and Drake Passage (which was thankfully calm). Highly recommend this area of the ship and we never heard people on the promenade deck above these cabins.

The bathroom is a little dated and the TV could be replaced again (even though it was the Signature of Excellence updates), but generally the ship is charming and not showing its age.

Its not a 2017 ship nor is it a mega-ship, but it feels like an old ocean liner and is comfortable.

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