• TRAVEL NOTICE: Learn more about COVID-19
  • Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • Cruise Tips
  • News
  • Deals

Zaandam Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
524 reviews
5 Awards
Zaandam Dining
Zaandam Cabins
Zaandam Activity/Entertainment
See all photos
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 : 622

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

Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts

Be the first to know when Zaandam prices drop so you can book with confidence.

By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Find a Zaandam Cruise from $649

More about Holland America Zaandam

Where does Holland America Zaandam sail from?

Holland America Zaandam departs from Montreal, Boston, Rotterdam, Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, San Diego, Cape Town, Dubai, Singapore, Amsterdam, Honolulu, Tokyo, and Sydney

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, Reykjavik, Alesund, Bergen, Rotterdam, Dublin, Akureyri, Isafjord, St. John's (Newfoundland), Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Aruba, Corinto, Puerto Quetzal (Antigua), Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Cartagena (Colombia), Madeira (Funchal), Lanzarote, Agadir, Casablanca, Tunis (La Goulette), Sharm-el-Sheikh, Aqaba (Petra), Safaga, Zanzibar, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, San Juan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Salalah, Jerusalem (Ashdod), Haifa (Tel Aviv), Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, Athens (Piraeus), Naples, Malaga, Ponta Delgada, Singapore, Colombo, Mumbai (Bombay), Amber Cove (Puerto Plata), St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Grenada, Port of Spain (Trinidad), Curacao, Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman (Georgetown), Puerto Limon, Fuerte Amador (Balboa), Tahiti (Papeete), Moorea, Bora Bora, Rarotonga, Auckland, Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington, Sydney (Australia), Tenerife, Tangier, Seville, Lisbon, La Coruna, Le Havre, Brugge (Bruges), Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stavanger, Eidfjord, Portree (Isle of Skye), Cobh (Cork), St. Thomas, St. Kitts (Port Zante), Barbados, Martinique, Grand Turk, Scarborough, Manaus, Santarem, Quepos, Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, Saipan, Tokyo (Yokohama), Kobe, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Da Nang, Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Perth (Fremantle), Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Mazatlan, Antigua, Nassau, and Bimini

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

Cruises on Holland America Zaandam start from $649 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


We would like to say a huge thank-you to you all and to the crew of Zaandam for everything you did, and especially to Captain Smit.... Read More
User Avatar
holiday hopes

6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

Great itinerary and good ship

This was a first voyage on Zaandam, and even though it is a BIT smaller than what we've sailed on, I was pleased overall.... Read More
User Avatar

6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

Top Notch small ship! Great Itinerary!!!

We hadn't been on the Zaandam before and weren't quite sure what to expect.... Read More
User Avatar
Herbs Mom

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Trip Chosen for Panama Canal Transit

The ship: The Zaandam is a nice sized ship and is easy to get around. The public rooms and walkways have been left as they were intended when the ship was built.... Read More
User Avatar

10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Holland America Line Fleet
Show more
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.