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

OK cruise with terrible ending

Zaandam Cruise Review by Brentb13

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2019
  • Destination: Canada & New England
  • Cabin Type: Large Interior Stateroom

My wife and I chose this last minute cruise since she had never seen Canada. We are frequent cruisers of the Caribbean and thought this might be a nice change. The ship is fairly small and the clientele for this cruise is definitely older.

The food was good on the cruise. The best part for us was all the food is actually served even on the buffet. Was nice to not have other guests touching serving spoons and kept things very fresh and appetizing. Had not seen this on most lines and was a nice feature.

This cruise had ports every day so that kept daytime activities onboard minimal which was ok since we took cruise to see the sights. However in evening there was still little to do but eat, casino or drink. They did have ESPN on at one of bars to watch sports which was nice. Bars are actually minimal too so had to go out of way usually to find drinks. Very friendly staff but amenities from most ships are lacking here. So if onboard activities are your preference pick a different cruise. We chose to do our own activities in port so didn’t do the planned excursions. They also seemed very pricey for what they offered. There was a nice theater onboard with a couple nice movies that were shown. Also, the shows were decent though nothing special.

The cabin was good size and had a tub. We had a window cabin and it was comfortable with lots of storage. Only one outlet on desk but will bring you a power strip. This is difficult though if you have lots of devices and also the desk is far from bed. The tv is also small and far from bed. They will give you dvds to watch but again hard to see in 13 inch screen that is the long way across the room. Overall happy with room though.

The bad now. This is an older boat and it actually broke down in Quebec City so we couldn’t continue to our last port in Montreal. In talking to staff this wasn’t the first time it broke down either in the last year as they all knew the drill. This kept casino closed the last night and took away one of the few entertainment things on the ship. This also meant the decided to bus us to Quebec starting at 4 am for a 3 hour bus ride to the port. This was the only information given.

When we got to bus it was an old yellow school bus! So no facilities in bus and no information prior to leaving the ship this would be the case. People had just eaten and now had to ride in a tight bus, no facilities and no air conditioning. They did stop about 2 hours into trip at rest area but by then people had resorted to using bottles etc. when we got to the port they had our luggage on a truck that was at port but not unloading. Instead they chose to spend an hour loading the next group on those buses to take them to Quebec City to board the boat. So we sat at the port an hour waiting for luggage with no Holland America rep present to explain where to go for luggage, timing, etc.

For the inconvience e were given $50 ship credit on our account. Also, offered 15% off future cruise where details of discount were supposed to be on other side of letter but was blank. So really no offer at all there.

I would have rated the cruise about a 3 had the end not happened or been handled better. However the lack of communication and really poor accommodation at the end made this a terrible cruise. Given age of boat and past problems I would tell anyone to avoid this ship at all costs. So sort of buyer beware situation.

Brentb13's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Large Interior Stateroom
Cabin K 2669

Nice large window in cabin and bathtub. Very small tv and only one outlet. Great storage in room.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


We stayed overnight in Boston. Amazing city and very walkable. Highly enjoyed it.

Bar Harbor

Great little port town. So many great artisan shops and the views are amazing. Great place for pictures.


We just did artisan shops and took pictures. Walked to a gorgeous cathedral and enjoyed lighthouse and scenery. Great pictures and the most polite people.

Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Cold and rainy and almost nothing in port. Easily our least favorite port.

Quebec City

Highlight of trip! Quebec City is amazing. Views, architecture, shopping! This town has it all and we could have easily spent a week here. If you haven’t been there you are missing out!


We spent 4 days here after cruise too. Great French City. Lots of construction though so not as pretty as Quebec City. Traffic is terrible but great parks and amazing architecture. Polite people and just a great city. Would be 5 rating if not for tons of construction.

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