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Zaandam Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
558 Reviews

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

Zaandam Cruise Review by TexasDavid7

17 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2017
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom

This was a "Bucket List" cruise for me and an "I'm along for the ride" cruise for my DW. We are 3 Star Cruisers with HAL. We had spectacular views and also appalling views of poverty.

Embarkation: The ship is a good ways from the airport so you get a feeling for Buenos Aires right off the bat as you travel through. It was good to be moving and sight seeing as the flight from Houston was at night and 10 hours. Customs was wacky but not excessively long. Our rooms were ready by the time we arrived. The Lido even had places to sit and relax. Not at all crowded.

The ship is showing her age, but holding up nicely. No kids hogging the elevators, on only 2 occasions were there any lines to contend with and we were greeted with smiles from all the crew. Captain PJ is top notch and even was on the gangway as we disembarked.

Didn't care much for the dirty South American ports. Only 2 had good Wi-Fi [Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Montt]. Enjoyed excursions in Puerto Madryn and the Falklands. Antarctica was beyond words grand! And we had the unheard of pleasure of 3 days of sunshine there. Plenty of wind, plenty of cold, and too many views of grandeur to keep track of. Bring all your coldest weather gear for you'll need it.

On the way to Cape Horn we had heavy seas which the ship handled just fine. As we approached the Horn, the rainy weather cleared to give us a beautiful view.

The dining was on par with all the other HAL ships which is pretty darn good. Maybe the Lido was a step above.

The entertainment was hit and miss. I would say it was mostly good and the ship's singers and dancers worked their hearts out. The front desk folks were excellent and were our servers.

Disembarkation was bad. There was one line down the gangway which was blocked and stopped for each passenger that needed assistance, and there were many. To get away from the ship to the terminal, you took a shuttle bus. Again a slow process. The ship docks in Valparaiso +/-90 minutes from the airport in Santiago. Our flight was at 10:40PM so we took advantage of this and booked an all day excursion that dropped us there about 6PM. The airport is a huge barn with no seating, little signage, and the gates don't open until 3 hours before your flight. No reason to arrive early. The flight from Santiago was +/-9 hours. Then customs at 5AM in Houston followed and was awful. Just Awful. Get to do it again in September. Yuk!

The good was Antarctica! The bad was the disembarkation! The ugly were the South American ports.

We have booked another cruise on the Zaandam so I guess you can say we loved her.

TexasDavid7's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin D 1907

Our room was 1907, Oceanview on the Dolphin deck and somewhat to the middle of the ship. A great place to be in rough weather. Yes, we did have engine sounds but only when maneuvering. It was a good cabin and would love to have it again. The only problem was the shower seldom held a steady temperature. Not uncommon on cruise ships. Cold to hot, back again, repeat!

We have had balcony rooms several times and they had about the same amount of room as we had this time, only this cabin was arranged to use the space better.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Tigre Delta

Saw lots of the city and then took a boat tour of homes on the islands around the delta. Nice enough. Not great.

View All 24 Tigre Delta Reviews

Went for a walk on a painted path to a plaza for shopping and a visit to a church. Didn't venture further.

A wonderful venture with folks who are down to earth. We saw the penguins up really close. I recommend this tour.

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Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego)

Walked around a bit. Didn't shop much. Lots of wind out on the pier but not bad in town. I like the town.

Puerto Montt

Lots of shopping and had good Wi-Fi. Dirty and overall like a Mexican Border Town. Didn't care for it.

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6 Reviews Written
36 Helpful Votes
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