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Zaandam Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
528 reviews
5 Awards

Buenos Aires to Santiago and HAL is Off the Rails

Review for Zaandam to South America
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6-10 Cruises • Age 50s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Dec 2018
Cabin: Verandah Suite

Our ninth cruise with HAL. It's likely going to be our last with the awful experience we're having on this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago. Currently enroute from Stanley, Falkland Islands and the problems just keep piling up.

As we're in an upper-end cabin, we had the "Signature Experience" which included two nights in a Buenos Aires hotel, an "event", and appropriate transfers. At virtually the last minute we were moved from a 5-star hotel to a hotel only open two weeks in a less-than-desirable area of Recoleta (downtown). This hotel was filled with problems - apparently HAL saved a few bucks in the process however.

When we arrived at the ship we had (for the first time on any cruise) our passports confiscated by HAL staff! We were given a printed card as a receipt for the passports - which had a signature line NO ONE would sign! We've asked repeatedly on board for HAL to explain this unusual situation, but no one in management will return our calls.

Cabin Review

Verandah Suite

Cabins of the same category are much smaller than on other Holland America ships. Cabins have an odd smell. Bedding is comfortable although they had to be prodded to change our linens. Cabin attendants are first-rate, quickly learning the things that are important to us (ice twice daily, turndown while we're at dinner, etc).

Arrival in San Antonio (one of two ports for Santiago) was fine. Short shuttle-bus ride to the actual terminal where about 40 crew members were camped using the wifi. Porting in Valparaiso would be better for the cruisers (many of who had day trips there prior to their late-evening flights), but we understand that's a political issue unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

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