This was our 4th cruise. We did have a great time on this sailing (December 11th through the 18th). We have sailed NCL (the Seaward before its elongation), then Royal Caribbean (Rhapsody of the Seas), and 4 years ago, the Dawn Princess. I would give this Zaandam sailing an 8 out of 10 (a 4 out of 5) and my wife an 8.5 or 9 out of 10 (she didn't experience a particular problem I did). I would agree with many of the previous statements in other reviews concerning this ship: food was excellent, cabin noise *between* cabins was very minimal, dining stewards "became family members" as one so accurately put it. But there were a few surprises that would cause us next time to choose Princess or RCI. Namely, cigarette smoke, which I'm sure is somewhat of a problem on every ship, and the inexplicable noise the crew makes working above and outside the cabin starting at 4 a.m. every morning.
But an 8 out of 10 is a good score none the less. We loved visiting Virgin Gorda and the Baths, and Half Moon Cay reflects accurately the raves mentioned on the boards here. It was a most gorgeous setting. In spite of very rough seas on our day at sea coming up from St. Thomas, and expecting not to be able to tender in to the island, as is mentioned in the catalogue, "Conditions permitting," which my wife suggests means that about 1/3 of the time the seas are too rough to transfer from ship to tender. But we were blessed, and enjoyed most of the approximate 6 hours allowed ashore. We just paid the $9 for a clamshell and enjoyed a spectacular morning with new friends made at the late seating in the Rotterdam. The clamshells were very available and you couldn't reserve one until you showed up and paid for it. But I suppose if you get ashore early you'll have no problem acquiring one. The shops on the island only take cash, which we didn't know until we wanted to buy something! If we had known, we would have taken cash with us, but we hadn't heard, not attending any of the excursion meetings in the lounges. It probably should have been mentioned in the daily paper.
We sought no further excursions than the trip to Virgin Gorda upon landing in Tortola, as we wanted to economize. And we had seen St. Thomas a few times already.