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Zaandam Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
533 reviews
5 Awards
Zaandam Dining
Zaandam Cabins
Zaandam Activity/Entertainment
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Editor Rating
Very Good
Erica Silverstein
Cruise Critic Contributor

Zaandam is a classy ship that proves you don't need gadgets and gimmicks to have a good time. It's an older ship, sure, and lacking in balconies, but that also means you'll find spacious inside and outside cabins with tons of storage and bathrooms with tubs, a full wraparound promenade complete with teak deck chairs and cozy blankets, and not so much nickel and diming.

With just 1,432 passengers, the ship rarely feels crowded, and passengers can enjoy a truly relaxing vacation at sea. It's easy to get everywhere, with only 10 decks. Lounges are plentiful, whether for an afternoon game of cards or post-dinner drink. Holland America Line generally appeals to a mature crowd, especially with Zaandam's longer cruises, but short cruises will bring in families, who take advantage of the top-deck kids club, the all-weather pool with retractable roof and variety of board games and puzzles in the Explorations Cafe.

The Pinnacle Grill is always one of our favorite specialty restaurants at sea, and the main dining room is a pleasure at breakfast and fine (but not amazing) at dinner. We were impressed with the variety and quality of offerings at the pool grill and the buffet, even if we wished the latter were open longer hours. Room service is mostly complimentary -- a nice touch.

If you're looking for nonstop activities or fast-paced nightlife, Zaandam is not the ship for you. You'll find more party bridge than late-night partying. Entertainment is not necessarily a strong point, but that may change in 2020 when the line's Music Walk venues are added to the ship. Activities lean toward computer classes, afternoon tea and cooking demos; shuffleboard and table tennis are other popular pastimes. Daily trivia sessions, including evening music trivia, bring in the crowds.

Service was unremarkable, but crew were always friendly and would greet us in the hallways. Turn-down chocolates and towel animals remain a nightly ritual to look forward to.

Zaandam is a perfect choice for those who prefer low-key entertainment in spacious surroundings, port-focused itineraries and reasonable, but not overwhelming, dining options. It's classy and classic, and a lovely home for seeing the world.


Easy-to-navigate ship with a spacious feel and grown-up vibe.


Few balconies, little variety in cabin categories, mediocre evening entertainment.

Bottom Line

Perfect-sized ship for port-intensive itineraries.


Passengers : 1,432
Crew : 604
Passenger to Crew : 2.37:1
Launched : 2000
Shore Excursions : 893

Fellow Passengers

Holland America traditionally attracts one of cruising's more senior demographics, with most passengers retired or semiretired. You will find some families with children (mainly multigenerational), especially on shorter cruises during school breaks. Most passengers hail from North America, but you'll always find a variety of international cruisers.

Holland America Zaandam Dress Code

Daytime: Casual, to fit the destination and season.

Evening: Most nights are smart-casual, with men wearing slacks or jeans, and women in skirts, slacks or capris, or perhaps a casual dress. On gala nights and in the Pinnacle Grill, a dressier look is requested: collared shirts and slacks for men, and elegant dresses, skirts or slacks for women. Those wishing to avoid dressing up can eat at the Lido Market; note that Canaletto Restaurant, though located adjacent to the Lido, adheres to the evening dress code.

Not permitted: Distressed jeans, shorts, men's tank tops and swimwear are not permitted in the main dining room or specialty restaurants.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Holland America.

Zaandam Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • One main dining room, buffet, poolside grill and room service

  • All theater shows

  • Most daily activities

  • Use of the gym, but not most classes

  • Huge DVD library for in-cabin use

  • Shoeshine service

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Gratuities ($14.50 per person, per day or $16 per person, per day for those staying in suites)

  • Automatic beverage and spa tips (15 percent for both)

  • Specialty restaurants Pinnacle Grill, Sel de Mer and Canaletto

  • All drinks beyond water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and select juices in the buffet

  • Spa treatments

  • Shore excursions

  • Wi-Fi

  • Photos and artwork, boutique purchases

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More about Holland America Zaandam

Where does Holland America Zaandam sail from?

Holland America Zaandam departs from Montreal, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Cape Town, Amsterdam, Sydney, San Diego, Buenos Aires, and Vancouver

Where does Holland America Zaandam sail to?

Holland America Zaandam cruises to Montreal, Quebec City, Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), Sydney (Nova Scotia), Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston, Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Newport, Portland (Maine), Saint John (New Brunswick), Grand Cayman (Georgetown), Puerto Limon, Fuerte Amador (Balboa), Tahiti (Papeete), Moorea, Bora Bora, Rarotonga, Auckland, Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington, Sydney (Australia), Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Agadir, Casablanca, Tangier, Malaga, Seville, Lisbon, La Coruna, Le Havre, Brugge (Bruges), Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stavanger, Eidfjord, Bergen, Portree (Isle of Skye), Dublin, Cobh (Cork), Ponta Delgada, Half Moon Cay, Amber Cove (Puerto Plata), San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Kitts (Port Zante), St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, St. Maarten, Grand Turk, Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Perth (Fremantle), Durban, Port Elizabeth, Aruba, Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Corinto, Puerto Quetzal (Antigua), Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, Cartagena (Colombia), Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Mazatlan, Corner Brook, Isafjord, Akureyri, Reykjavik, Santos (Sao Paulo), St. John's (Newfoundland), Baie-Comeau, Norfolk, Charleston, Lima, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), Stanley, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Punta del Este, Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, Santarem, Manaus, Scarborough, Dominica, Tortola, St. John (U.S.V.I.), Port of Spain (Trinidad), Curacao, Ocho Rios, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco, Ensenada, Victoria, Vancouver, Astoria, Oregon, Seattle, Manzanillo, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Antigua, Nassau, and Freeport

How much does it cost to go on Holland America Zaandam?

Cruises on Holland America Zaandam start from $379 per person.

Is Holland America Zaandam a good ship to cruise on?

Holland America Zaandam won 5 awards over the years.
Holland America Zaandam Cruiser Reviews

Overall, less happy than other HAL ships.

Mostly we really enjoyed the ships we were on, but the last ship (Zaandam) was not as enjoyable as the others. They all had excellent food and steward service.Read More
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6-10 Cruises

Age 70s

Shakedown Cruise

The Zaandam has returned to service after a year+ absence short staffed and provisioned.Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 60s

After two years, still not quite ready

I'm not sure if these niggles are from lack of staffing or if HAL is positioning the Zaandam to leave the fleet.Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Perfect Size

While smaller than the smallest of Norwegian ships, the Zaandam carries only 1,432 passengers compared to our favourite ship, the Gem which carries 2,394 passengers.Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 50s

Holland America Line Fleet
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