We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to the Antarctic. We flew down to Buenos Aires a day early so we could enjoy a little of the city before. Embarkation was fairly smooth - we arrived early and our luggage was taken right away and we checked in. By about 11:30 we were on the ship and went straight to our room. It was ready. We then went to the MDR to enjoy a lovely lunch - we met another couple at lunch and remained friends with them the rest of the cruise. After lunch we went back to our room and our luggage was there so we put all our things away and went out to explore the ship. We hadn't been on the Zaandam before and weren't quite sure what to expect. It ended up being one of our favorite ships - it was always spotlessly clean, with crew constantly cleaning railings, door handles, etc. We did not travel with children and given the time of the year there were very few children on this cruise. The children that were there were very well behaved and pleasant. Cabin - Our cabin was a Neptune Suite and one disappointment was the size of the bathroom - it only had one sink and a tub/shower. All other Neptune Suites we had been in in the other ships had double sinks and a separate tub and shower. This was our fault for not looking in to it more closely, but it was disappointing. The balcony on the Neptune Suite was much larger than other Neptune Suite balconies we have had - this was great when we went thru the Antarctic as we spent a lot of time on the balcony. It was very roomy with a round table w/4 chairs and 2 lounge chairs - and still a lot of room! Our room steward was very attentive, kept our room cleaned and freshened up all throughout the day. The 2 concierges in the Neptune Lounge were very attentive and took care of every detail - they were always ready and willing to help us out. Dining - Our other experience on a smaller HAL ship we had "ok" dining, so we weren't sure what to expect here. We ended up having the best wait staff we have ever had - our 2 servers were extremely attentive and knew all of our wants and needs before we got there. Even though we don't drink alcohol, the wine steward knew what we liked to drink and always had it there for us. Activities - there were always several things doing on throughout the day. We especially enjoyed all of the many lectures by our Expedition Team. These Antarctic scientists kept us up on everything we were doing, had done and were looking forward to doing. Entertainment - We went to several of the nightly musical venues. We always enjoy the Lincoln Center Stage/Adagio. We also enjoyed the various pianos at different locations and also the bad in the Ocean Bar. The nightly shows on the Main Stage were good and varied - groups, comedians, and individual performers. We didn't go every night - not because we didn't like them, but because we were tired from everything we did during the day and knowing we'd be getting up early the next day. Service - What can I say about the service - it was exceptional! - Everything was top notch and always done with smile! Ports and Excursions - We did this cruise because of the Antarctic - friends had done a similar cruise without the Antarctic and thought it was one of the most boring cruises they had ever been on. While the ports were mostly small, most of them had a wide variety of things to do - just find what you like and do it! We didn't do any excursions from the ship, but found our own excursions. This is where one problem came in. Being in a Neptune Suite we were supposed to have priority boarding on the tenders - the first time it worked well, but at the 2nd tender port we went where we were supposed to wait - and wait - and wait. We were told to please wait there - and we saw tenders leaving with guests on them. Finally, most of us left and went on a tender without our crew person taking us down. In talking with the Neptune Lounge Concierge, there was some confusion from the crew person with us, and all was well. Would we do this cruise again? - In a Heartbeat! The ship, the crew and staff and the itinerary were super!!!!!

Top Notch small ship! Great Itinerary!!!

Zaandam Cruise Review by Herbs Mom

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Suite with Verandah
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to the Antarctic. We flew down to Buenos Aires a day early so we could enjoy a little of the city before.

Embarkation was fairly smooth - we arrived early and our luggage was taken right away and we checked in. By about 11:30 we were on the ship and went straight to our room. It was ready. We then went to the MDR to enjoy a lovely lunch - we met another couple at lunch and remained friends with them the rest of the cruise. After lunch we went back to our room and our luggage was there so we put all our things away and went out to explore the ship.

We hadn't been on the Zaandam before and weren't quite sure what to expect. It ended up being one of our favorite ships - it was always spotlessly clean, with crew constantly cleaning railings, door handles, etc.

We did not travel with children and given the time of the year there were very few children on this cruise. The children that were there were very well behaved and pleasant.

Cabin - Our cabin was a Neptune Suite and one disappointment was the size of the bathroom - it only had one sink and a tub/shower. All other Neptune Suites we had been in in the other ships had double sinks and a separate tub and shower. This was our fault for not looking in to it more closely, but it was disappointing. The balcony on the Neptune Suite was much larger than other Neptune Suite balconies we have had - this was great when we went thru the Antarctic as we spent a lot of time on the balcony. It was very roomy with a round table w/4 chairs and 2 lounge chairs - and still a lot of room!

Our room steward was very attentive, kept our room cleaned and freshened up all throughout the day. The 2 concierges in the Neptune Lounge were very attentive and took care of every detail - they were always ready and willing to help us out.

Dining - Our other experience on a smaller HAL ship we had "ok" dining, so we weren't sure what to expect here. We ended up having the best wait staff we have ever had - our 2 servers were extremely attentive and knew all of our wants and needs before we got there. Even though we don't drink alcohol, the wine steward knew what we liked to drink and always had it there for us.

Activities - there were always several things doing on throughout the day. We especially enjoyed all of the many lectures by our Expedition Team. These Antarctic scientists kept us up on everything we were doing, had done and were looking forward to doing.

Entertainment - We went to several of the nightly musical venues. We always enjoy the Lincoln Center Stage/Adagio. We also enjoyed the various pianos at different locations and also the bad in the Ocean Bar. The nightly shows on the Main Stage were good and varied - groups, comedians, and individual performers. We didn't go every night - not because we didn't like them, but because we were tired from everything we did during the day and knowing we'd be getting up early the next day.

Service - What can I say about the service - it was exceptional! - Everything was top notch and always done with smile!

Ports and Excursions - We did this cruise because of the Antarctic - friends had done a similar cruise without the Antarctic and thought it was one of the most boring cruises they had ever been on. While the ports were mostly small, most of them had a wide variety of things to do - just find what you like and do it! We didn't do any excursions from the ship, but found our own excursions. This is where one problem came in. Being in a Neptune Suite we were supposed to have priority boarding on the tenders - the first time it worked well, but at the 2nd tender port we went where we were supposed to wait - and wait - and wait. We were told to please wait there - and we saw tenders leaving with guests on them. Finally, most of us left and went on a tender without our crew person taking us down. In talking with the Neptune Lounge Concierge, there was some confusion from the crew person with us, and all was well.

Would we do this cruise again? - In a Heartbeat! The ship, the crew and staff and the itinerary were super!!!!!
Herbs Mom’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Neptune Suite with Verandah
Cabin SB
Our cabin was a Neptune Suite and one disappointment was the size of the bathroom - it only had one sink and a tub/shower. All other Neptune Suites we had been in in the other ships had double sinks and a separate tub and shower. This was our fault for not looking in to it more closely, but it was disappointing. The balcony on the Neptune Suite was much larger than other Neptune Suite balconies we have had - this was great when we went thru the Antarctic as we spent a lot of time on the balcony. It was very roomy with a round table w/4 chairs and 2 lounge chairs - and still a lot of room!
Our room steward was very attentive, kept our room cleaned and freshened up all throughout the day. The 2 concierges in the Neptune Lounge were very attentive and took care of every detail - they were always ready and willing to help us out.
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