Our two week cruise aboard the ms Zaandam out of San Diego to Hawaii went very well, with one major exception. During the cruise, we decided to bid on a painting by Daryl Millard during a silent auction; the price listed on the painting was $600.00; we bid $450.00. The auction ended at 5:00 PM, and at 5:05 the art director called our cabin and told us that the painting was ours. We made arrangements to come down and sign the paperwork after dinner, and upon arriving, the director said "Are you here to buy the Millard painting for $450.00?" We said yes, and he said that $500.00 would "Seal the deal". We asked him what he meant, and he explained that he couldn't sell it for only $450.00, and that $500.00 was as low as he could go. I would expect that type of fraud in a 3rd world market stall, but not aboard one of the premier cruise lines. We later found out that one of the couples at our dinner table had a similar experience, and that they were very upset about it. We have since written to H.A.L's corporate offices, and await their response. As to the rest of the cruise, everything else went off without a hitch. This was our 14th cruise, and the first with Holland America. We primarily cruise with Celebrity & Princess, but were surprised to find that the service aboard HAL exceeded both those lines in most areas (if such a statement can be made after only one cruise). Embarkation was pretty smooth, with some delays caused by computer problems, but nothing to complain about. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was the best we have ever experienced. We had a standard verandah stateroom (#6190 - category B) and although it was a fairly standard size, the layout was excellent, with ample storage. The room was maintained very well, and included a flat screen TV with a DVD player, a small refrigerator and a small whirlpool bath tub. During the cruise we heard a few passengers complain about the upkeep of their cabins, and couldn't figure out what could possibly be wrong. During disembarkation as we were walking along deck two, we could see into some of the cabins and the walls had large rust streaks under the windows going to the floor along with other obvious problems. Overall, the food was excellent. The Lido buffet was pretty good, but they tend to repeat the same dishes a lot; you wouldn't notice it on a one week cruise, but after two weeks, it gets a little old. But hey, it's a buffet, and if you are expecting excellent food at a buffet, you are going to be disappointed. On the other hand, the service at the buffet was the best we have ever seen. They simply cannot do enough to make sure you are happy. Waiters are clearing your table of empty plates quickly; others are pushing carts around to refill coffee cups and water glasses. If you are drinking ice tea, they go get you another glass. I simply cannot describe how good they are; they truly go the extra distance to help you. Dinner in the main dining room met and in some cases exceeded our expectations. Service was excellent, but it usually is with other line also. We felt the food and its presentation were slightly above other lines, but others felt it was about the same. This ship also has two specialty restaurants: The Pinnacle Grill (which charges an extra $20 per person) and Canaletto (free, but you need to make a reservation). The steak house type restaurant, Pinnacle Grill, was good, but not worth the extra money. The Italian restaurant, Canaletto, was outstanding. That is a must if you are cruising on this ship, and in fact, we ate there twice. Don't miss it. Entertainment throughout the cruise was uneven, just like any other ship. The pool band was terrible, as was the piano bar, but the groups in the Explorers Lounge and the Ocean Bar were outstanding. Generally very good entertainment in the main theater, and the cruise director Eric did a nice job keeping things going without being obnoxious. The photo staff did a nice enough job, but $40 for an 8X10 is out of line with other ships. Also, some 5X7's would have been a nice option. One thing that was unique for us was the Culinary Arts Center, which holds cooking classes in a very comfortable environment during at-sea days. Unlike some of the superficial demonstrations done on other lines, these are very in-depth and they give you copies of the recipes at the end of the show. The host, Paula, is to be commended for her work in clarifying things and making it easy to understand. One thing to avoid is buying the ships internet program. They charge $100 for 250 minutes, which is great compared to other lines, but the connection is so slow that it is worthless. When you complain about it, they give the stock answer that ships internet is much slower than on land; yes it is, but not this slow. It is roughly half the speed of dial up, so buyer beware. In conclusion, we would recommend this line and ship, but stay away from the deceptive art department and the internet.

Dishonest Art Department

Zaandam Cruise Review by Kirk028153

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2010
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
Our two week cruise aboard the ms Zaandam out of San Diego to Hawaii went very well, with one major exception. During the cruise, we decided to bid on a painting by Daryl Millard during a silent auction; the price listed on the painting was $600.00; we bid $450.00. The auction ended at 5:00 PM, and at 5:05 the art director called our cabin and told us that the painting was ours. We made arrangements to come down and sign the paperwork after dinner, and upon arriving, the director said "Are you here to buy the Millard painting for $450.00?" We said yes, and he said that $500.00 would "Seal the deal". We asked him what he meant, and he explained that he couldn't sell it for only $450.00, and that $500.00 was as low as he could go.



I would expect that type of fraud in a 3rd world market stall, but not aboard one of the premier cruise lines. We later found out that one of the couples at our dinner table had a similar experience, and that they were very upset about it. We have since written to H.A.L's corporate offices, and await their response.



As to the rest of the cruise, everything else went off without a hitch. This was our 14th cruise, and the first with Holland America. We primarily cruise with Celebrity & Princess, but were surprised to find that the service aboard HAL exceeded both those lines in most areas (if such a statement can be made after only one cruise). Embarkation was pretty smooth, with some delays caused by computer problems, but nothing to complain about. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was the best we have ever experienced.



We had a standard verandah stateroom (#6190 - category B) and although it was a fairly standard size, the layout was excellent, with ample storage. The room was maintained very well, and included a flat screen TV with a DVD player, a small refrigerator and a small whirlpool bath tub. During the cruise we heard a few passengers complain about the upkeep of their cabins, and couldn't figure out what could possibly be wrong. During disembarkation as we were walking along deck two, we could see into some of the cabins and the walls had large rust streaks under the windows going to the floor along with other obvious problems.



Overall, the food was excellent. The Lido buffet was pretty good, but they tend to repeat the same dishes a lot; you wouldn't notice it on a one week cruise, but after two weeks, it gets a little old. But hey, it's a buffet, and if you are expecting excellent food at a buffet, you are going to be disappointed. On the other hand, the service at the buffet was the best we have ever seen. They simply cannot do enough to make sure you are happy. Waiters are clearing your table of empty plates quickly; others are pushing carts around to refill coffee cups and water glasses. If you are drinking ice tea, they go get you another glass. I simply cannot describe how good they are; they truly go the extra distance to help you.



Dinner in the main dining room met and in some cases exceeded our expectations. Service was excellent, but it usually is with other line also. We felt the food and its presentation were slightly above other lines, but others felt it was about the same. This ship also has two specialty restaurants: The Pinnacle Grill (which charges an extra $20 per person) and Canaletto (free, but you need to make a reservation). The steak house type restaurant, Pinnacle Grill, was good, but not worth the extra money. The Italian restaurant, Canaletto, was outstanding. That is a must if you are cruising on this ship, and in fact, we ate there twice. Don't miss it.



Entertainment throughout the cruise was uneven, just like any other ship. The pool band was terrible, as was the piano bar, but the groups in the Explorers Lounge and the Ocean Bar were outstanding. Generally very good entertainment in the main theater, and the cruise director Eric did a nice job keeping things going without being obnoxious.



The photo staff did a nice enough job, but $40 for an 8X10 is out of line with other ships. Also, some 5X7's would have been a nice option.



One thing that was unique for us was the Culinary Arts Center, which holds cooking classes in a very comfortable environment during at-sea days. Unlike some of the superficial demonstrations done on other lines, these are very in-depth and they give you copies of the recipes at the end of the show. The host, Paula, is to be commended for her work in clarifying things and making it easy to understand.



One thing to avoid is buying the ships internet program. They charge $100 for 250 minutes, which is great compared to other lines, but the connection is so slow that it is worthless. When you complain about it, they give the stock answer that ships internet is much slower than on land; yes it is, but not this slow. It is roughly half the speed of dial up, so buyer beware.



In conclusion, we would recommend this line and ship, but stay away from the deceptive art department and the internet.
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Verandah
Cabin B 6190
Nice layout with a lot of storage
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins