We enjoyed the Zaandam very much - it was the perfect size- about 1400 passengers I think. One of the real pluses of the 14 days was that every at-sea day (9 of them if you count getting to Ensenada in the evening the last night) our guide Kainoa gave two talks - 1/2 hour in the am and about 45 minutes at 2 pm - on Hawaii, which is his native state. He talked about everything from geology, to history, to the hula. We went to them all - he was also available all the time on the ship for questions. The entertainment staff was perhaps the best overall we have had in 12 cruises - especially the dance staff. The food was very good - our vote for best escargot and best lobster on our 12 cruises - maybe a bit too many sauces, but I learned to order simple cuts of meat, etc. I did not like the lamb chops, but loved the baked brie. Casual dining was not overly-crowded and the food was very good. Cannot comment on the special buffets as we avoid them, only eating 3 meals, breakfast and lunch in the Lido, dinner in the dining room and sometimes cookies or sundaes at snack time. Best meal of the cruise was in the Canneletto Dining area- it is no-extra-charge, but you should make a reservation. The chicken marsala was so good we went back for more another night. And tiramisu dessert was extra-special. All service on the ship was very good and with a friendly smile. We travel to relax and enjoyed the promenade deck chairs as often as we could - also enjoyed getting exercise on the wrap-around promenade deck. We really had no problems aboard except for a water problem in the cabin which was addressed and fixed the same day and a light bulb that was replaced immediately. One problem on the ship seems to be the TV remote control which did not work very well and several have mentioned on other reviews. We hardly ever watch the TV in our cabins, so it was not a big deal. It was a great two weeks - this was our first HAL cruise.

San Diego to Hawaii

Zaandam Cruise Review by airgunnerusn

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2010
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Standard Interior Stateroom
We enjoyed the Zaandam very much - it was the perfect size- about 1400 passengers I think. One of the real pluses of the 14 days was that every at-sea day (9 of them if you count getting to Ensenada in the evening the last night) our guide Kainoa gave two talks - 1/2 hour in the am and about 45 minutes at 2 pm - on Hawaii, which is his native state. He talked about everything from geology, to history, to the hula. We went to them all - he was also available all the time on the ship for questions. The entertainment staff was perhaps the best overall we have had in 12 cruises - especially the dance staff.

The food was very good - our vote for best escargot and best lobster on our 12 cruises - maybe a bit too many sauces, but I learned to order simple cuts of meat, etc. I did not like the lamb chops, but loved the baked brie. Casual dining was not overly-crowded and the food was very good. Cannot comment on the special buffets as we avoid them, only eating 3 meals, breakfast and lunch in the Lido, dinner in the dining room and sometimes cookies or sundaes at snack time.

Best meal of the cruise was in the Canneletto Dining area- it is no-extra-charge, but you should make a reservation. The chicken marsala was so good we went back for more another night. And tiramisu dessert was extra-special.

All service on the ship was very good and with a friendly smile. We travel to relax and enjoyed the promenade deck chairs as often as we could - also enjoyed getting exercise on the wrap-around promenade deck. We really had no problems aboard except for a water problem in the cabin which was addressed and fixed the same day and a light bulb that was replaced immediately. One problem on the ship seems to be the TV remote control which did not work very well and several have mentioned on other reviews. We hardly ever watch the TV in our cabins, so it was not a big deal.

It was a great two weeks - this was our first HAL cruise.
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Cabin Review

Standard Interior Stateroom
Cabin N 1802
We were far forward in the bow - near the Medical area. Being at the end of the hall was SO Quiet - loved it. Inside cabin makes it nice and dark to sleep. It seems out of the way on a map of the ship - but actually with the elevators and stairs close by, it was easy to get around the ship. Lots of storage - maybe the most we have had on our 12 cruises - we had one completely empty closet.
Dolphin Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Hilo
    We love Hilo - especially the Liluokalani Gardens which is within walking distance of the ship. After 4 days at sea it was nice to stretch our legs. We were able to geocache there, saw our first mongoose and some local birds to identify. Since we had already done most of the sightseeing highlights on the Big Island, this was a pleasant and relaxing way to spend the morning.
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  • Honolulu
    Having been to Honolulu before, we decided to walk to the Iolani Palace on Sat. We had never been inside before. Got there at 11, the next tour started at 11:15 - so perfect. Tour was wonderful. Palace architecture is very interesting and they are making progress on finding many of the original furnishings that were looted and/or sold off when the monarchy was abolished. Great history - wonderful tour guide.
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  • Kauai
    Got up early to watch the ship enter the port - a real zig-zag, with two hairpin turns executed perfectly. Nice to watch. Then took a HAL tour that included a bus that stopped at Opaekaa Falls for photos (and roosters) - then down to the river for a boatride on the Wailua River with Hawaiian musicians and dancer - to Fern Grotto with its beautiful foliage and flowers. Then a stop on the rugged coast for photos and back to the ship. Enjoyed the tour very much. Then we walked into town for exercise, watched the surfers in the bay as we made calls home.
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  • Maui
    Tendered into our Maui port on a gorgeous day after a short delay due to large swells - walked thru town, saw the huge Banyan Tree, walked to Hilo Hattie's (I took the shuttle back, hubbie walked.) Had to make at least ONE stop at Hattie's on the trip. Did some geocaching right near the tender pier. (its hard to load people on a tender that is bobbing up and down as much as 7 feet at a time) Also enjoyed the music and dancing of the gracious ladies and senior citizens of Lahaina as we got off the tender. Oh yes, and a delicious pina colada shaved ice up on the main street of town.
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