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Zaandam Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
524 reviews
5 Awards


Review for Zaandam to Canada & New England
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10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Apr 2019
Cabin: Verandah Suite


I usually cruise on luxury lines like Seabourn (SB), either solo or with DH, but a cruise I had booked got cancelled short notice. I was in cruise withdrawal and determined to use the time off I had arranged to cruise. Four years ago I had surprisingly enjoyed a HAL cruise to Alaska in a Neptune suite on a large group themed cruise, so thought I would try HAL again, this time as a solo in a vista ( basic balcony) cabin, and with no group to bias my experience. The HAL website price for a vista cabin ( private balcony and bathroom with a jacuzzi bathtub, which I greatly value) seemed fine per diem, especially for a solo, $2200 for one week, ( though non- nclusive), compared with 2-3x that for a luxury line solo offering ( “inclusive” of beverages, i.e., fancy coffees, basic wines and cocktails).

I embarked in Boston after enjoying two cold and wet days there seeing sites and eating great food

Cabin Review

Verandah Suite

Cabin AA

I was happy with the vista “suite”, ( no suite lounge privileges, however, just a room with areas) except for the archaic and TV and broken DVD system.

Only 225 square feet , but with a balcony, all nicely arranged, big bed ( a bit hard, so I got a topper), soft linens, long sofa, lots of storage (easy room for a second person), fridge with a fee minibar, safe, and a cozy solo jacuzzi tub (shower above it), one sink, lots of closet space. Only one electrical outlet. All the fluffy towels I wanted were provided as were six pillows on a bed designed for two. A Bible was in a drawer. You can get your shoes shined. Cruise information was well laid out though some of it had seen many fingers. Average cabin attendants, who learned. It was quiet, aft, no odd noises. A good value.

Port Reviews


Great restaurants, easy to walk, historic Freedom Trail, many things to do. Pleasant port area. Allow 2-3 nights minimum if you have never been here. Easy embarkation.

Bar Harbor

This was a great walking around DIY town, though we did need to tender to it. Along the shore from port is a 45 minute bayside walk. I had “lazy lobster” ( shelled, drawn butter) at the unlikely fun Route 66 restaurant, with comfortable booths, 50’s memorabilia, and home made fries, not frozen. The ladies’ room was humorously demarcated with a frilly pink prom dress, mens with Castrol. There are fun shops, historic buildings, and most importantly, both ship and private excursion options to Acadia National Park ( I suggest doing it independently as I had done in the past, so as to savor) and other scenic areas.

Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Not much to do near port in this blue collar town trying to become a chic international cruise port. There is a giant fiddle at the terminal. Irish Triangle nearby had good lobster, and an Irish coffee with cream :). I had pre-researched this town and took a cab two miles with a colorful local to a hidden nature area, Baille Ard, ( good instructions on Internet on how to get there) walked along a stream, snacked on a scenically located bench, then walked back to town. This is a great place to have a calm picnic and get some exercise, 3 km loop, or mix it up. It was junk pickup day, with some interesting Canadain junk set out in front of modest unfenced homes, like a lobster trap, a bidet, and pieces of an old canoe.

Excursions out of town into nature were available through HAL, that is where most people went.


Like Quebec City, this port is easy to do on your own, walking, it is safe, or combine with a private tour. The food options are enormous. The Basilica is a must see, there are interesting shops, museums, and parks. Natives speak both French and English.

Allow 2-3 nights minimum if you want a good sense of this city.

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