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

Longer Sail in the New Century

Zaandam Cruise Review by seabird I

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2009
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom

My wife and I chose this cruise as a chance to take a longer cruise part of which was travel through open ocean. We boarded what might be considered a separate cruise from Vancouver. The cruise consisted of 4 days Vancouver-San Diego, then followed by 15 day cruise San Diego-Hawaii-San Diego. Our ship M.V.Zaandam was comfortable and provided various features of a cruise experience. We took an outside cabin since it met our needs, and was small enough for my wife to find her way around easily as she is blind. Service by our cabin stewards was excellent. The ship is well laid out. Only the fourth deck, we found somewhat confusing because one cannot walk from one end to the other. Entertainment on the ship was varied in content and quality. A piano concerto by Chio was outstanding and would command a high ticket price ashore. Another presentation by Hanna Starska, a violinist who played her instrument in innovative ways was also very good. Show presentations by the Zaandam Singers (cruise troupe) was less impressive with presentation ranging from somewhat good to quite ordinary. We abstained from the stand-up comedians. There was also considerable supplementary entertainment including Neptunes (jazz combo) in the Ocean Bar and the Adagio Strings (string quartet)in Explorers Cafe which were quite good. The spa provides a wide range of treatments and activities, but travellers of lesser means need to keep their eyes on the bill which can quickly run away. To us the best features of the cruise were food and service. We tried three restaurants/food services leaving the extra-fare Pinnacle for those of greater means who need to discharge surplus resoutces. The Rotterdam Restaurant (main dining room) has impeccable service and excellent food but in somewhat limited quantities. While it is theoretically possible to order extra food there, it is not expected and somewhat unwieldy. The Rotterdam Restaurant is the place for meals with excellent presentation (particularly special nights) but for somewhat limited appetites. The Terrace Grille provides daytime food service in the Lido swimming pool area. The food is simple, delicious, and abundant. Perhaps differing from many cruise patrons, we preferred the Lido Restaurant. We found thid buffet restaurant to be almost a food fantasyland. All manner of food is available for every meal of the 4 meals per day. Various dishes including almost unimaginable dishes e.g. "baked potato soup" are available in whatever quantity one wants. Many times we ate until we could barely move but there were still dishes we would have liked to try. The restaurants/food sevices also highlighted the outstandi Even though this is a self-service buffet, workers could not do enough for passengers. One only needed to mention a food item and the worker went to bring it to you even before you requested it. Some workers could remember your regular dishes e.g. for breakfast, without one even needing you to request them. How they can provide this quality of service when one considers that they are dealing with 1000 new people every 2 weeks is beyond us. Despite their very long work day, no worker could provide better service. There are only two points where we would mildly caution. Other passengers seem to be somewhat reserved. As many passengers are older they seem a bit less willing to engage in free conversation with strangers. The other point is that workers seem to be kept at an unnecessary distance below the employer. Despite the fact, that their work makes the cruise possible, they seem to be regarded more like functionaries rather than partners in the cruise. On our previous cruise wirh Norwegian line, the workers seem to be given greater respect by the employer. Overall this cruise fills a need for some travellers of providing a longer cruise for people who like an ocean journey somewhat less port intensive. Few cruise line provide such cruises today. On this basis we would recommend this cruise.

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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin F 1822

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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seabird I
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