My first ever cruise - wanted to visit as many South American countries as possible. 14 hour flight from London direct to Santiago (spent 3 days there beforehand which was amazing). Cabin on Dolphin deck very adequate, if slightly dated. Had 16 nights on board and visited some amazing places including ports in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Chilean fjords were spectacular and weather on the whole cruise was gorgeous - blue skies, sun and calm seas everywhere. Only rained once in Buenos Aires! We went to every port - my favourite was Stanley in the Falkland Islands. As weather was so good, we were able to go on the bow when we rounded "The Horn" which was as calm as a mill pond! Ship's facilities all good. Food was very good - only downsize was not too much veggie fare and you had to book your lunch/evening food in the main restaurant the night before or at breakfast. We didn't do this much as we didn't want to have to plan where we ate every day. We took water bottles which were a bit of a trial to fill several times a day. We were told to refill them at the "Lido" (buffet style restaurant) from the jugs, but lots of the waiters told us we had to use the glasses to avoid contamination. After a while we asked at various bars throughout the ship. Mostly accommodating but we did get hot water a few times! Zaandam could really benefit from a water fountain somewhere on board. When we were on board they were charging $5 (plus surcharge) for Evian water bottle so beware of these extra charges. Staff mostly all lovely and polite, especially our stewards and serving staff at main restaurant. Captain very informative and enjoyed the 12.00 daily updates. Entertainment was fun and we particularly liked the Zaandam dancers. There was so much going on that you would never be bored - we enjoyed just chilling in the various bars, whale watching (we saw some tails!) and indulging in the odd cocktail - expensive so we bought them in happy hour. All in all, Zaandam is a lovely ship - walking round the deck every day was just a joy in the amazing weather. Loved my first cruise and hope to save up for another one next year.

Amazing chilean fjords

Zaandam Cruise Review by jasonbat

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2018
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
My first ever cruise - wanted to visit as many South American countries as possible. 14 hour flight from London direct to Santiago (spent 3 days there beforehand which was amazing). Cabin on Dolphin deck very adequate, if slightly dated. Had 16 nights on board and visited some amazing places including ports in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Chilean fjords were spectacular and weather on the whole cruise was gorgeous - blue skies, sun and calm seas everywhere. Only rained once in Buenos Aires! We went to every port - my favourite was Stanley in the Falkland Islands. As weather was so good, we were able to go on the bow when we rounded "The Horn" which was as calm as a mill pond!

Ship's facilities all good. Food was very good - only downsize was not too much veggie fare and you had to book your lunch/evening food in the main restaurant the night before or at breakfast. We didn't do this much as we didn't want to have to plan where we ate every day. We took water bottles which were a bit of a trial to fill several times a day. We were told to refill them at the "Lido" (buffet style restaurant) from the jugs, but lots of the waiters told us we had to use the glasses to avoid contamination. After a while we asked at various bars throughout the ship. Mostly accommodating but we did get hot water a few times! Zaandam could really benefit from a water fountain somewhere on board. When we were on board they were charging $5 (plus surcharge) for Evian water bottle so beware of these extra charges.

Staff mostly all lovely and polite, especially our stewards and serving staff at main restaurant. Captain very informative and enjoyed the 12.00 daily updates. Entertainment was fun and we particularly liked the Zaandam dancers. There was so much going on that you would never be bored - we enjoyed just chilling in the various bars, whale watching (we saw some tails!) and indulging in the odd cocktail - expensive so we bought them in happy hour.

All in all, Zaandam is a lovely ship - walking round the deck every day was just a joy in the amazing weather. Loved my first cruise and hope to save up for another one next year.
jasonbat’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin E 1828
On Dolphin deck on floor 1. Very quiet cabin, apart from a couple of days where they needed to use the landing boats in ports that we couldn't dock in. The boat was right underneath us and it did sound like the floor was falling in! Didn't mind though as we were getting up to go ashore anyway. On the last day when we arrived at Rio, the gangway came out from underneath us well. Would book this cabin again though as generally very quiet and cleaned by the lovely Deni and Sura (our stewards). Some parts a little bit shabby (carpets etc). Windows never cleaned the whole voyage as I think we were always on the sea side in all the ports. Plenty of room and loads of storage. Chocolate every night, information for the next day and a different 'towel animal' to make us smile.
Lower Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Buenos Aires
    Only booked this on the morning as we had a "warning" letter the night before about thieves targeting cruis ship passengers so got a bit worried about wandering on our own. Went on an afternoon coach trip which whizzed us round the city. Only day it rained but we managed to see all the major sites and take photos through the windows! Once again, coach guide was very good and told us loads of things about BA/Argentina. Sad to hear about their economy worries and increased inflation they were experiencing every day (October 2018). Did go to Recoleta but couldn't get off the coach so all we saw was the wall! OK for what it was and ideal as it was raining all day so we didn't get wet! Nice if they allowed a tiny bit of time for photo opportunities though!
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  • Montevideo
    Hot and sunny when we went in October. Wandered around the "old city" where the ship docked. Very interesting old colonial buildings but a lot of them were very run down and didn't appear to be in use. Felt very safe and lots of directions to help us get around. People all very friendly. Walked to the "new city" but very hot and busy so we walked back again! As usual, we were very lucky with the weather and just wandered about and sat in the few places of shade we found. Strangely, lots of dogs wandering about.
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  • Petrohue Falls
    Falls were amazing. Had adequate time there. Bought a lovely watch. Quite a long coach drive but Ingrid was informative and enjoyed the scenery. City of roses quite disappointing and not much there but found a supermarket to buy some diet cokes to take back on board!
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  • Punta Arenas
    Free shuttle coaches from ship to town which was quite a way away, although we did spot a pedestrian path whcih seemed to go all the way. Nice little town and museum (although the main one was closed on the day we emabarked). Nice town square with lots going on and amazing weather (although cold in October). We walked to the viewpoint on top of the highest hill around where you could see good views of the sea and Zaandam.
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  • Punta del Este
    Went to an olive producing farm (Lotte 8). Took about an hour to get there by coach but saw loads of scenic Uruguay which surprisingly looked a lot like Devon/UK. Interesting and informative host and good talk about olive producing. Provided wine/bread/olive oil tasting and we walked round the olive trees on our own after asking the owner if we could! Punta del Este seemed like a nice place (we didn't have time to see it on this tour) but while we waited to board the tender boat, we saw lots of sealions who had come for a free feed at the local fish shop. They were amazing and huge! I don't think HAL are going there anymore which is a shame but glad I went when I could. Usual good weather, although was a bit British-like at the olive farm (drizzly and cold!!)
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  • Stanley
    My favourite port. Delighted to have good weather and land (apparently only 50% of passengers manage to due to poor weather conditions). Lovely, organised place and everything in walking distance. Very nice museum which was free for Zaandam passengers on the day. Good selection of shops (mostly touristy things) but did have a Co-op with British things to buy and we bought a picnic. Went everywhere including the Memorial wood which was quiet and moving. Were told they only accepted FI pounds but this wasn't correct and they took all typed of money and our UK debit cards.
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  • Train to the End of the World
    Did not really enjoy Ushuaia itself. Quite dirty and run down. Lots of tourist shops which were quite interesting. Went on the train in the national park. Very interesting to hear about the original convict population and all the trees they cut down which haven't regrown! We did think this was an expensive trip for what was basically a train ride and a coach trip round Ushuaia and all the "end of the world" sites. Easy to get to though as we just walked off the ship. Beware of the roads - no traffic lights or crossing points.
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