This was actually my very first cruise experience! Before we set sail, I read some of the posted reviews, so I wanted to share my thoughts as well. We sailed on HAL's Zaandam ship to the Eastern Caribbean in December of 2004. This trip was actually a gift from family members so we did not necessarily pick this cruise line, but we were very thankful to go! Let me first say that we are a young couple in our late 20's. I mention this because it is important for perspective buyers to know that the age demographic of this cruise was somewhere between 65-75. We knew this before leaving, but we were still a bit surprised. While the ship does offer activities for children, it seems to lack attention to anyone in the 18-40 age group. Thankfully we focused in the port visits. You could tell that the ship's staff is trying to improve on this point. It will be interesting to see how effective HAL will be on attracting a younger audience in the future. That said -- we decided to focus on relaxation and fine dining. On these points, the Zaandam shines. The staff, which is primarily Indonesian, was wonderful! Very attentive. Our needs were constantly met, the room was comfortable and very clean. Every night our beds were turned down and a chocolate was found on each pillow as an additional treat. The food seemed to constantly exceed expectations... the buffet offered wonderful options and the dining room was exceptional. With casual, informal and formal nights, we experienced a variety of options. Our dining stewards became members of the family.... they recognized our preferences and continually offered them every night. A good example is that my mother-in-law asked for an iced tea on the first night... the next evening, her iced tea was waiting for her! The wonderful attention to detail helped make us feel special. The entertainment was pretty good... a bit cheesy, but good. Everyone is a critic, but we just decided to enjoy what was offered and realize that every night offered a new option. An on-ship movie theatre was a nice alternative! The ports of call were a welcome sight... we decided to avoid the ship's shore excursions and do a bit of our own exploring. We enjoyed the islands very much. Overall, this cruise experience was great for a first timer. We will probably look for a cruise line with a slightly younger appeal next time... but if you are looking for a relaxing trip with exceptional service, try the Zaandam!

Zaandam - Eastern Caribbean

Zaandam Cruise Review by mickey1

Trip Details
This was actually my very first cruise experience! Before we set sail, I read some of the posted reviews, so I wanted to share my thoughts as well.
We sailed on HAL's Zaandam ship to the Eastern Caribbean in December of 2004. This trip was actually a gift from family members so we did not necessarily pick this cruise line, but we were very thankful to go!
Let me first say that we are a young couple in our late 20's. I mention this because it is important for perspective buyers to know that the age demographic of this cruise was somewhere between 65-75. We knew this before leaving, but we were still a bit surprised. While the ship does offer activities for children, it seems to lack attention to anyone in the 18-40 age group. Thankfully we focused in the port visits. You could tell that the ship's staff is trying to improve on this point. It will be interesting to see how effective HAL will be on attracting a younger audience in the future.
That said -- we decided to focus on relaxation and fine dining. On these points, the Zaandam shines. The staff, which is primarily Indonesian, was wonderful! Very attentive. Our needs were constantly met, the room was comfortable and very clean. Every night our beds were turned down and a chocolate was found on each pillow as an additional treat. The food seemed to constantly exceed expectations... the buffet offered wonderful options and the dining room was exceptional. With casual, informal and formal nights, we experienced a variety of options. Our dining stewards became members of the family.... they recognized our preferences and continually offered them every night. A good example is that my mother-in-law asked for an iced tea on the first night... the next evening, her iced tea was waiting for her! The wonderful attention to detail helped make us feel special.
The entertainment was pretty good... a bit cheesy, but good. Everyone is a critic, but we just decided to enjoy what was offered and realize that every night offered a new option. An on-ship movie theatre was a nice alternative!
The ports of call were a welcome sight... we decided to avoid the ship's shore excursions and do a bit of our own exploring. We enjoyed the islands very much.
Overall, this cruise experience was great for a first timer. We will probably look for a cruise line with a slightly younger appeal next time... but if you are looking for a relaxing trip with exceptional service, try the Zaandam!
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