45 Santiago (Valparaiso) Holland America Zaandam Cruise Reviews

Wanted to passage the Panama Canal again - to see the new larger locks that were being built the last time we passed this way - Holland America was recommended to us - we were disappointed at the poor meals - not much choice and constantly ... Read More
Wanted to passage the Panama Canal again - to see the new larger locks that were being built the last time we passed this way - Holland America was recommended to us - we were disappointed at the poor meals - not much choice and constantly had rice (which we are not keen on) - the expensive poor trips - some of which did not actually visit all the places listed. As the cruise went on - things that had really grated seemed less important - unlike many other cruise ships there were plenty of places to just sit and read. Thoughtful touches like snacks and drinks available outside the ship when on deck watching the entry and exit to the locks on the Panama Canal - a bit disappointed that the majority of our fellow guests did not seem to grasp that on 'Gala Nights' - you are supposed to dress up - many men wearing Beach shirts and shorts - amazing - very few men seemed to own jackets and certainly not ties ! The resident dancers and singers very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My first ever cruise - wanted to visit as many South American countries as possible. 14 hour flight from London direct to Santiago (spent 3 days there beforehand which was amazing). Cabin on Dolphin deck very adequate, if slightly dated. ... Read More
My first ever cruise - wanted to visit as many South American countries as possible. 14 hour flight from London direct to Santiago (spent 3 days there beforehand which was amazing). Cabin on Dolphin deck very adequate, if slightly dated. Had 16 nights on board and visited some amazing places including ports in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Chilean fjords were spectacular and weather on the whole cruise was gorgeous - blue skies, sun and calm seas everywhere. Only rained once in Buenos Aires! We went to every port - my favourite was Stanley in the Falkland Islands. As weather was so good, we were able to go on the bow when we rounded "The Horn" which was as calm as a mill pond! Ship's facilities all good. Food was very good - only downsize was not too much veggie fare and you had to book your lunch/evening food in the main restaurant the night before or at breakfast. We didn't do this much as we didn't want to have to plan where we ate every day. We took water bottles which were a bit of a trial to fill several times a day. We were told to refill them at the "Lido" (buffet style restaurant) from the jugs, but lots of the waiters told us we had to use the glasses to avoid contamination. After a while we asked at various bars throughout the ship. Mostly accommodating but we did get hot water a few times! Zaandam could really benefit from a water fountain somewhere on board. When we were on board they were charging $5 (plus surcharge) for Evian water bottle so beware of these extra charges. Staff mostly all lovely and polite, especially our stewards and serving staff at main restaurant. Captain very informative and enjoyed the 12.00 daily updates. Entertainment was fun and we particularly liked the Zaandam dancers. There was so much going on that you would never be bored - we enjoyed just chilling in the various bars, whale watching (we saw some tails!) and indulging in the odd cocktail - expensive so we bought them in happy hour. All in all, Zaandam is a lovely ship - walking round the deck every day was just a joy in the amazing weather. Loved my first cruise and hope to save up for another one next year. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Background and Hotel information We chose this cruise for various reasons, primarily to see Antarctia, a location that both my wife and I have always yearned to see, secondly, to experience the Chilean Fiords (Fjords). We had previously ... Read More
Background and Hotel information We chose this cruise for various reasons, primarily to see Antarctia, a location that both my wife and I have always yearned to see, secondly, to experience the Chilean Fiords (Fjords). We had previously toured in Peru and cruised up the coast of Chile, however, we had not travelled to the south of Chile to see the Fiords and southern regions of Chile, parts of Argentina, Uruguay, Falkland Islands and beautiful and amazing Antarctia! The HAL cruise on Zaandam seemed to tick all the boxes for the itinerary, however, the ship itself and some of the staff were not up to the required standards. We stayed overnight near Sydney airport (new Travelodge hotel) prior to our flight to Santiago on the very next day. The hotel has a restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner, and a reasonably priced, and good variety of food in the room service menu. We were tired and chose room service meals and were pleasantly surprised with the price and quality of the meals. Breakfast was basic hot and cold buffet, however to an adequate quality standard. There is a Wilson’s car parking station conveniently behind the hotel, and a new parking station opening across the road in mid-March 2018 (ParknFly?); competition is good for better parking prices. We had an early morning flight with Air NZ to Auckland New Zealand(AKL), then connection to Buenos Aires (EZE), final connection to Santiago(SCL). We travelled Premium Economy to AKL (excellent); Economy on Air NZ to BA (EZE) (ho hum), and economy on Air NZ partner, Air Canada BA(EZE) to Santiago (just average only). Return flights (EZE) to (AKL) economy (food quite good), and (AKL) to Sydney(SYD) on an Airbus 330 and being chartered from Portuguese company, HiFly. It was an old Emirates aircraft and was not up to standard in any way, we had 4 Air NZ female ambassadors on board to perhaps ensure Air NZ standards were maintained, there was no real responsibilities for them on the flight, poor choice of charter really Air NZ. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, a short walk across pedestrian crossing from airport to the hotel, very handy indeed! We arrived perhaps around 9.30 pm at the hotel with some jetlag, hotel has a restaurant/bar and room service (expensive); it was late and we skipped dinner altogether. Next day we had arranged for a HAL transfer to San Antonio; we managed to catch an earlier coach to the ship than planned with assistance of the transfer contractor, great outcome for us! The transfer stopped at a large building in Casablanca for a rest stop and for coffee, snacks and wine tasting. It was a huge building packed full of local regional wines to taste and purchase as desired to take on the ship (I bottle per person is HAL limit). There was also a selection of local handicrafts and produce available to buy if desired. We purchased 2 bottles (1 each) to take onto the ship, good quality wine for a total of $19 US, we were over the moon, as were others with this wonderful discovery on the way to the ship! WE BOARDED THE SHIP IN SAN ANTONIO, not Vaparaiso! Embarkation was fairly swift and seamless, our room was ready and our bags arrived within two hours of embarkation, slick HAL. Ship information We sailed on sister ship Volendam in Alaska in May last year, I gave that ship a good review overall, this ship Zaandam, was a different kettle of fish, in more ways than one! Public areas appeared to be in reasonable condition however the ship is dated and is showing more than usual wear and tear. Main dining areas (restaurant) appeared to be in good condition and have old world charm, except for chandeliers that appear to resemble several entangled deer horns, not sure what the designer was thinking, however it wasn’t good! Public areas are clean, and the external condition of the ship, decks and pool areas were good. Teak decks and chairs are always refreshing and relate to the heritage of this line and others that still uphold this tradition. The ship appeared to have a problem with leaks in public areas on several decks where buckets were placed to catch water leaking from the roof, two roof leaks were about 6 to 10 metres from our cabin front door. The leaks were common the whole journey, and eventually the buckets were removed and the worn carpet floor remained wet throughout in two places described previously. Later in the review I will describe our below standard cabin and antics by the crew to manage the problems, that were at times, bizarre to say the least! Activities The activities were fairly limited apart from BBC Earth Series speakers talks in the theatre each day until after Antarctia (too hot in theatre to attend we watched on TV next day) quite good informative presentations; and tour information sessions (watched on TV again for same reason) there was little else to occupy us. Music didn’t start to 3.30 pm on most days. We hadn’t been this bored since our cruise on Azamara Journey from India to Singapore (yawn, yawn). We attended America’s test kitchen once it was very hot in that little room, the woman added a lot of salt and sugar to meals, why? We watched the TV show of the same name, and honestly cannot understand why they add so much unhealthy salt and sugar to their meals, we stopped watching after two episodes. We normally attend some of the trivia, however, it is on just before Happy Hour at 4 pm in the Crow’s Nest, it extends way beyond time and many attending Happy hour cannot be seated; we found this similarly on many HAL ships, hold Trivia elsewhere! Ship lacked atmosphere, if we weren’t going to Chilean Fiords (Fjords) and fantastic Antarctia, we would have been bored silly! Service HAL have a wonderful Captain in Christopher Norman. He really made our voyage a special one (apart from the problems with room, staff etc). He was very good at keeping us informed of the weather and anticipated changes in order to out run bad weather. He really was brilliant. His skill in handling the vessel was outstanding. Unfortunately, the standards he set for himself didn’t reflect throughout the ship! Please read on! Guest relations staff We asked for a form to reduce service charges later in the cruise for reasons stared below. One staff member refused to provide same, a second staff member came out and was very rude in reinforcing the other staff member's stance. The first staff member inferred that Zaandam had different rules to other ships in the fleet who had provided us with forms last cruise we were on another HAL ship. She said the forms were locked in the safe and couldn't be released until the last day, as it was sealed. We mentioned that HAL policies and procedures and rules were the same across all the fleet, and the forms are not legal documents until signed and should be available now. We explained we pay by cash as we go, and also pay gratuities/service charges personally to staff we know have excelled in their dealings with us. We normally do things this way on all lines, and have never had this type of refusal to carry out a fair and reasonable request. (We had a similar problem on Koningsdam, where it was resolved by the manager some days later after we spoke to her). We asked them to have the manager call us and we wanted to meet with her, they failed to pass on the message that we wished to speak to team leader/manager. On another occasion one of the same staff members was very rude and dismissive of our problem (charges for wine package), she was the Mariners' host, we were shocked when it was announced at the luncheon for Mariners. This young woman in our opinion did not meet the standards to be employed as a result of her continued unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour on all occasions we are aware of with us, and we spoke to several other people who had experienced similar behavioural problems with this person, she did not improve throughout the cruise. We arranged to speak with the team leader, she knew only part of the facts that her team members had recorded, she was very understanding and provided some small incentive for us, we thanked her. We had continual problems with some of the front office staff, their attitude to people over 40 was poor to say the least. Some front office staff were quite good; however, they are all young women, we fail to understand why HAL would not have males and females of different ages in the front office particularly experienced people that know how to treat clients, who after all, pay good money to HAL in oh so many ways, that incidentally funds their wages! Our Cabin and service issues Toilet failing to flush (18 out of 22 days this was a major problem). Reported to housekeeping who escalated it to plumber who initially dismissed problem as non-existent; toilet did flush after between ten and forty minutes after pushing button several times, following this it did flush when there was no water build up in the walls, it gurgled most of time! Then thirty minutes later after it had been flushed multiple times it failed to flush again straight away, and flushed thirty minutes later. However, the next plumber witnessed the problem and replaced the flush button mechanism. However, this did not resolve the problem. Other plumbers/maintenance people also returned to examine problem. Toilet had just flushed after the 30-minute delay and the maintenance man in overalls became quite aggressive when it flushed, he totally ignored us rang his phone and spoke to his manager whilst there, then stormed out! The other older plumber came back and put chemicals in toilet; the toilet worked okay for a couple of days and then problem returned. We had to put up with this for the rest of the cruise, not good enough!! Our cabin and service problems part 2 Stains appeared on our wall, we reported to room stewards who informed supervisor and front desk staff. Front desk staff entered our room without our knowledge or permission and had steward remove substance dribble from wall. We were informed that it may be rust and that they wished to remove ceiling to inspect the cause for the problems. We did not wish this to happen due to possibility of asbestos or other toxic substances additionally also due to the dust build up that would have occurred since ship was built 18 years previously, and the potential for respiratory distress caused by such dust. Our cabin and service problems part 3 The mattresses in our room were very old, maybe the original mattresses they were bowed on both edges and extremely uncomfortable. When placed together as a Queen bed as they were bowed both of us rolled to the middle of the bed and with the bow and gap we sunk from uncomfortable to next to no sleep. We asked the room stewards to try and build up the centre of the bed with towels in the middle or and egg shell overlays, he was very helpful and appeared very embarrassed, great blokes both of them! However, it only made it worse as the bed separated with the towels in the middle to make up the huge gap between mattresses. End result we took the towels out and pushed the beds together several times during the night. Yay, broken sleep every single night, this was becoming a nightmare!! Room service – purchasing alcohol for the room problems We also requested room service to deliver a gin and tonic package. Order taken, then he called back and stated the gin advertised in the package no longer available, this is day 3 of the cruise, and only Gordons an inferior quality brand will be substituted, I explained that this gin is significantly cheaper than the original product and we requested a discount. He spoke to management called me back and said they wouldn't reduce the price. I said provide us with similar quality to original product at same price, management refused that as well. We purchased higher quality product and tonic water also extra, $17 US dearer. Then a week later they had no tonic water left on the ship in cans, so we were substituted with diet tonic water in small bottles at the same price, no discount again! Then they had no more stock of Gordon's Gin 8 days into the cruise, consequently we had to purchase higher quality gin and diet tonic water not part of any package! Room Service staff were made aware of problem regarding drinks and spoke to manager but there was no resolution and Manager did not contact us. After all cruise lines buy the alcohol it has been reported, at less than DUTY FREE PRICES and mark it up to above shore prices, it is not playing fair at all. The price of all alcohol on cruise ships is a major profit maker for all of them, the mark up is phenomenal! The main dining room staff for anytime dining were on the whole, quite okay. However, we found that the more experienced and mature staff were very good at their jobs. They were genuinely friendly, as were some of the young people, although some were not quite up to standard as yet. Service by the inexperienced was “hit and miss” however always with a smile. Supervisors varied in age and appeared to try and make thing work better in the dining room as the cruise matured. Lunch staff were efficient and friendly and we enjoyed each lunch spent in the main dining room. We had breakfast only three times in the main dining area; we were seated usually at tables with up to six persons, we requested this, as tables of eight or more spend a very long time in the restaurant being served. We prefer to spend no more than thirty minutes at breakfast on most occasions. Lido staff on the whole were okay, the cooks and food servers were good; some of the waiters and table attendants tended to be missing in action, to clear and set table, for the first three days. After a quick word to the supervisory staff it was no surprise after day three a German Officer appeared every day to sort things out. He assisted and supervised waiters and table staff in their duties. The problem suddenly dissolved whilst he was present at breakfast and lunch, when we attended Lido. Dive-In burger staff were good and made extremely tasty burgers, near best we have encountered in over 35 cruises to date. We did have some excellent burgers on Celebrity Century and Celebrity Galaxy, both were sold by Celebrity, pity, those tasty burgers seem to have disappeared on the newer Celebrity vessels. Wine and drink stewards in the main dining room and in the Lido were overall very friendly and knew their products. We had no idea who the officers for each department were as there was no listing provided or anything that we could see on the walls of the ship anywhere. They also appeared to be quite invisible most of the time, except for eating meals in the Lido. Port & shore excursions At Puerto Montt in Chile we really enjoyed the excursion to Petrohue Falls, Lake Cruise and Chilean country side. Excellent guide and scenery was very good, including walking a short distance to the falls, and a cruise on the lake with excellent viewing of volcanoes and surrounding forests, very beautiful. At Ushuaia Argentina we undertook the excursion “The train to the end of the world”, we travelled on a narrow-gauge steam train in quaint carriages holding a maximum of eight people. We opened the windows and smelt the smoke from the train that brought back many memories from the past when steam trains were common in most parts of the world. One short stop to walk up to the waterfall, very steep ascent, make sure you are fit, as you have little time to se them. Worth the money to take this excursion. Antarctia is the jewel in the crown, so to speak, the scenery magnificent, words cannot describe how stunning beautiful it is, the landscape full of wildlife, whales, seals, sea lions, penguins, the list goes on and on! If you have the chance, save your pennies up, and book it. We were in Antarctia just over 4 days, the weather was very good, we had some misty mornings that later developed into clear days to view such a beautiful and serene place. HAL will surely get their act together and send a better ship to this destination, and sort some of their staff out one would hope! Chilean Fiords (Fjords) were also very beautiful we thoroughly enjoyed our journey throughout, an added bonus to seeing Antarctia. In Buenos Aires on day 1 we undertook Panoramic Highlights of BA, it was very interesting, we only had one stop at the graveyard where Eva Peron is buried, however, we travelled to all major highlights in 3 hours. After we disembarked the vessel we waited for over an hour for our coach to arrive at the cruise terminal to undertake The Tigre Delta shore excursion to airport. It was not good value for money and was cut short by approximately one hour 20 minutes (apparently because the traffic wasn't bad we arrived there quicker?). Additionally, we did not appreciate a 30-minute stop at a cathedral (which we couldn't really attend due to Mass being said at the time) so that the tour guide could go and have a coffee in a coffee shop. No mention was made that there were toilet facilities in the coffee shop and there was nothing else in the vicinity other than the cathedral - complete waste of time stopping there so she could have a coffee fix. A 5-hour tour should take 5 hours not significantly less time (3hr 40min). Don't let the tour guide have a coffee break in a place where there is nothing to do or see. Include some of the city sights on the way to the Tigre Delta that the guide stated we would be seeing on the way which didn't happen. In all honesty a part refund should be given due to the time taken and poor quality of tour (bus component). Travel to embarkation port See background information above for remarks. Cabin See service information above for detailed remarks Dining Restaurant staff overall were good, breakfast menu comprehensive, best menu on any ship to date, food quality is good and meals are warm to hot. Opening times were either 7.30 to 9 am on port days and on sea days 8 am to 9.30 am, we thought restaurant hours should be open from 7 am to 9.30 am, in accordance with other lines, it limits attendance at the restaurant. Lunch was open on sea days only and was open from 12 midday to 1 pm, it should be open at least from 12 midday to 2 pm, we ate there on three occasions only with the times being so limited. Lunch menu was very limited; however food quality was good, we enjoyed the three meals we ate there very much. We attended the anytime dining restaurants for dinner on most nights at varying times, they accommodated us with our walk in on every occasion, great effort HAL restaurant staff! Food on most nights was presented well, quality was of a reasonable standard, serving mashed potato or cous cous with most meals we ate, was very puzzling, we like potatoes cooked in many ways, and we would like more vegetable on the plate or offered on the side HAL. We did have the choice of “Surf and Turf” on the last formal (chic) evening, similar to Princess, not available on Celebrity now. We ate in Pinnacle Grill for lunch one day, and dinner on another occasion. Lunch is only $10 US per person, 3 courses not as comprehensive as dinner, however, delicious, and the best Coffee Gelato we have every tasted ever on a ship, and on land for that matter! Dinner is an extra $35 US per person was also delicious, beautiful jumbo shrimp, soups, and melt in your mouth fillet mignon, excellent work HAL. Desserts we as they say “to die for” well we would prefer not to die so we can experience again one day! Lido for breakfast 7 to 10 am, was very busy as the restaurant was not open at the times that suited most people and breakfast at Lido was much quicker and egg or omelettes cooked by staff while you wait. Eggs were fried, poached, scrambled or made into eggs benedict. Smoked salmon available every day on separate plates, English bacon, a little bit salty, and warm not hot, streaky bacon (not for us) pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit, cereals, fresh rolls, bread, etc. Seating was difficult to find, however, we found seating on most days in the Canaletto restaurant (not open as Italian restaurant lunch and breakfast). We ate lunch in Lido 11.30 am to 2 pm on most days due to restricted opening times on sea days of main dining room, and dining room not open when in port. Unless we arrived early for lunch, we eat after 1 pm on most days, the food was mainly dry and unappetising, big exception was the Asian food, which was cooked fresh on a regular basis and very tasty, and contained chilli and curry, and garlic, on many occasions. Sandwiches appeared to be fresh, and on the one occasion we ate one, tasted quite nice. Pizza in Lido had very limited selection, 3 pizza types, same every day. Lido food at lunch and dinner was very dry and unappetising, exceptions were Asian food at lunch, very nice, and pasta at night, also very tasty. Hamburgers when open (closed at 6 pm) were very nice indeed, chips were not great. Pizza in Lido had very limited Dive-In burger staff were good and made extremely tasty burgers, near best we have encountered in over 35 cruises to date. We did have some excellent burgers on Celebrity Century and Celebrity Galaxy, both were sold by Celebrity, pity, those tasty burgers seem to have disappeared on the newer Celebrity vessels. Entertainment We attended a few ship entertainers’ productions and they were good. We attended some of the guest entertainment shows, some were good, others just average. The entertainment around the ship usually didn’t commence to 3.30 pm each day, however, we did listen to the various groups, they were good, the piano player/singer was not our cup of tea! Disembarkation Managed to exit the terminal, then we lined up for over an hour squashed altogether to wait for various coaches to arrive to take people on tours, then to the airport, or straight to the airport. WE waited for over an hour, the transport people had no idea about when coaches were arriving, what bay the coach would arrive in, and didn’t seem to care really. Worst disembarkation ever, we have cruised in many places around the world, and this disembarkation port is the worst ever, I know I am repeating myself, however, I need to, it was an absolute nightmare! Summary Visiting Chilean Fiords and in particular Antarctia was breathtaking, we loved the sights and the serene beauty of it all, the most incredible atmosphere, we loved it? However, there were some significant downsides to our accommodation, some venues on the ship, and some crew members who left a lot to be desired! Overall there were some fantastic staff and they were rewarded as going above the norm! The fact that HAL and some other cruise lines charge additional charges for not paying their staff enough money in the first place, and except us to pick up the tab, is a thorn in their side. Add a few dollars to the fare in the beginning, not the end. It is a burden on passengers that are on the ship to enjoy their holidays, not empty all the pockets to pay wages and further boost profits on the way out! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I always wanted to see the Antarctic and Holland & America was the only cruiseliner that touches the top of this amazing continent, mind you they only operate 3 cruises a year so book it quick!! We started off in Santiago and ... Read More
I always wanted to see the Antarctic and Holland & America was the only cruiseliner that touches the top of this amazing continent, mind you they only operate 3 cruises a year so book it quick!! We started off in Santiago and travelled down to Cape Horn and then took 2 days to reach the top of the Antarctic. Must admit I wasent particular impressed with the ports of call on the west coast of South America but it was worth it to see the magnificent views we had sailing around the "End of the World", icebergs with seals on as well as penguins, whales playing, glaciers, beautifully formed icebergs wow!! Also we had 3 guides on board who commentated throughout the days we were sailing around the Antarctic and were very informative. Up the east coast of S.A we called into the Falkland Islands and luckily found a local who took myself and husband to see the penguins, o boy that was another amazing moment, he was very interesting and did tours only when the ships came in. The other ports of call were good and also it was nice to have a bit of sun, we ended up in Buenos Aires. The Zandaam is a lovely ship which takes approx 1400 people but must say it did not seem like it, the food was good and staff very nice. We had a basic outside cabin on deck 1 (right at the bottom) however it was great and the size of the cabin was excellent really quite big compared to a lot of other ships I have been on. Now planning a trip to the "Top of the World" Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The service was very good and the food was great! Some of the ports were not very nice but it was interesting to see other parts of the world. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff was friendly and well ... Read More
The service was very good and the food was great! Some of the ports were not very nice but it was interesting to see other parts of the world. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff was friendly and well trained.There were great lecturers and also a chaplain for religious services. Shore excursions were well organized and there was a variety of them to choose from. We would definitely go on this cruise again. Really liked the port and sea days being spaced out so well. Would like to have had more time in San Diego, Cabo san Lucas and Victoria, BC. The stops at these ports were not long enough. The weather was great except for the days between San Diego and Victoria. We traveled on the longer cruise of 22 days from Valparaiso (Santiago) to Victoria. Overall the trip was an exceptional balance of city and nature, ports and sea days. :) Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller bedroom. It was pretty cramped but we were not there a lot. The embarkation in Valparaiso was quick and the transfer arranged with HAL from Valparaiso was great, some stops and a good guide. Favorite ports were Coquimbo and Jose de San Martin . Excellent tours that we organized with Ecotours and South American Secrets. The Isla Ballista tour was fantastic! The ship decor is very dated with lots of Venetian style stuff although the signed musical instruments were cool. The small shop was very limited and there is the same old jewellery that gets flogged on every cruise ship. I like the size of the ship and I thought the food was good. Maybe could have spiced up some of the dishes but overall, excellent service in the dining room and the Lido and we always found the food tasty and lots of choices. Trivia seemed to be the activity most popular but by the time we wanted to join in, there was no group to partner with.The musical team of singers and dancers are excellent. We were treated to guest singers as well and a Card Illusionist i guess you would call him that gave a stunning show of aptitude. We attended all of the lectures by the guest Naturalist and appreciated his knowledge. The Captain was interesting with his anecdotes every day. The ship was kept very clean and a big thanks to all of the cleaners and service folks. One unusual thing is there was a cardiac arrest on this ship. Because of the time it took for personnel to arrive it made me wonder why there are not Defibrillators on every floor. I never saw one at all. But maybe that is the case on all of the ships. One staff can then rush to the area and defibrillate if needed quicker than waiting for the whole crew and equipment to trundle along the deck. Just a thought. Disembarkation was smooth and efficient, we left at 0930 so most of the crowd had left. I would recommend this itinerary and this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Just to be away from the cold time in Ontario to return home not until spring arrives. We had not been to Peru, and Equador yet which were very nice . We really liked the size of the ship which has a great crew . The archeological ... Read More
Just to be away from the cold time in Ontario to return home not until spring arrives. We had not been to Peru, and Equador yet which were very nice . We really liked the size of the ship which has a great crew . The archeological sites in Peru and Equador were very nice and we loved the South American people . The nature of these countries were also very different from what we had expected it was much dryer and in some places just like a desert . We loved our experiences in Lima a, Trujillo , and the Islas Ballestas were simply amazing . Be careful in big cities like Santiago there seem to be more pick pocket incidents and petty thievery as my wifes purse was slashes and wallet taken even though she was pretty careful . At least there was not a big loss just the inconvenience of replacing cards . Our hotel front office was extremely helpful in contacting credit card companies . Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's ... Read More
We wanted to explore South America and did. We explored ports we never even heard of in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. The ports were small but very interesting and exciting. Holland America Line's strength is still their staff who were as always very friendly and professional, made up of, you guessed it, Phillipinos and Indonesian crew. The ship officers were not quite as friendly or visible. We were happy to discover that Holland America made arrangements to have a Pastor on Board to have an Easter service which quite a number of passengers took part in. Nathan & Cindy of Dallas, Texas also conducted bible studies on board. Most cruise lines do not look after spiritual needs of the passengers or crew. It was wonderful to see the fresh flowers all over the ship as is Holland's theme. The food and entertainment was very good. We enjoyed our Holland cruise once again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose mainly due to ports of call. Usually we go Celebrity. Comparing Celebrity: younger average age (I read that Hal was trying to get their average age lower), more entertainment (Celebrity has a great Martini bar that is very ... Read More
We chose mainly due to ports of call. Usually we go Celebrity. Comparing Celebrity: younger average age (I read that Hal was trying to get their average age lower), more entertainment (Celebrity has a great Martini bar that is very active before and after dinner and has entertainment on pool deck, in lobby). In nightclub, HAL was very quiet--it only came live when our younger average age group attended but we had to educate the DJ. Live band in nightclub only 2 nights out of 18. Food and service was excellent. Spa was great. Some ports of call was a bit disappointing but educational. Final Disembarkation in San Diego was very disorganized on board with long lineups stretching down the ship hallways. Fitness club was great--no waiting for most equipment (likely the benefit of older average age). Public rooms on Celebrity always had attendants keeping everything clean vs Hal. Celebrity always had greeters with hand sanitizers at eating hall entry ways encouraging people to sanitize hands. However on HAL, food was more secures as everything was served (i.e. not selfserved) Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We prefer cruises that highlight nature. Even though the weather did not cooperate at times, the glaciers, mountains, penguins and natural beauty were outstanding. We chose to board the ship immediately upon arrival in Santiago Chile. Most ... Read More
We prefer cruises that highlight nature. Even though the weather did not cooperate at times, the glaciers, mountains, penguins and natural beauty were outstanding. We chose to board the ship immediately upon arrival in Santiago Chile. Most on board had to travel long distances and boarding immediately was a mistake because you travel to the other side of the world. A do over would be to spend time in Santiago. However, there was no problem meeting HAL representatives and getting through immigration. We never saw Santiago. The trip to Valparaiso was longer than thought, an hour and a half. We did a guarantee cabin which turned out to be on the lowest deck (no problem), mid-ship, #1881 (great until our final stop in Buenos Aires). The first couple of nights at sea were a bit rocky but the ship handled it well and that was pretty much the worst of the bad ocean. Cape Horn was rocky but we were too excited to really notice it. We did Puerto Montt by public bus. It cost us a buck fifty to get to Puerto Varas. Of course, the overcast weather prevented us from seeing the snow capped volcano. A small cafe gave us excellent WIFI in Puerto Varas. Taking the public bus was easier when a nice couple from GB joined us (strength in numbers). There were many private hawkers trying to sign us up for private tours. In general, the nightly entertainment was pretty good, the food was high quality and consistent. We mostly ate in the dining room which is also helpful to discourage you from piling in the food. The lounge entertainment got a bit old after 2-weeks. The service was really excellent. The cruisers were mostly from Canada, Australia and the British isles with a German contingent to boot. We Americans were not a majority at all. The next stop was Puerto Chacabuco where we took a HAL tour to Coyhaique. This was a long bus trip that gave us a taste of Chilean life, natural beauty was interesting, Coyhaique was a hit and miss shopping option but what saved the excursion was an end of day stop at a pleasant farm like set up with snacks and wine and sour drink of Chile. Next was sailing through the fjords, which was amazing. This part of the world is not populated but is quite unique and starkly beautiful. Ship wrecks were seen along the way. We could not get into our next stop at Punta Arenas which was one of the penguin viewing options. The winds were said to be too high to dock but we circled in the bay (not all that rough) for a while until the captain (PJ) had to give up. Once we left Punta Arenas we traveled through the fjords and the glaciers. Wow and Wow, gorgeous. Many photo opportunities. We had excellent weather for our next stop in Ushuaia in Argentina. We signed up for a bus trip to Tierra Del Fuego national park. This is a lovely park bordering Argentina and Chile. Scenery was lovely but it did take up our time so we did not get to do much at this stop. All the guides we had were very good with English if not cute with some of their words. Then we headed for Cape Horn arriving at 7:30 am with choppy seas. This is one of those memories you cannot forget. We went back and forth with the Captain acknowledging the passing from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific ocean with a ship horn sound off. Then we headed for the Falkland Islands with decent seas. The weather was chilly once we headed to Punta Arenas and in the Falklands, 50s then 40s Fahrenheit. We booked a tour with Patrick Watts in the Falklands and he was very good to meet us at the pier with our laid back Land Rover driver Hamish. We hooked up with another couple. We went quite a distance to see penguins out in the open at Bertha's beach and then to Gypsy Cove to see another kind of penguin. Comparing pictures afterwards, the HAL expensive tour option seemed to have better pictures. However, we got a good tour and excellent local flavor. We wound up at the Victory Pub where I was harassed (in jest) by Cathy the barmaid. Sailing from the Falklands to Montevideo was lovely. The temperature slowly rised and the sea was like glass. We decided to walk in Montevideo. We enjoyed a specialty coffee at a local cafe to catch up on WIFI. Internet on the ship is terrible and costly. We walked a distance from the ship, it was Sunday and much was closed. We got to a square and went to the Montevideo Leather Factory. It was a nice shop worth exploring. Outside we met Eduardo a cab driver. He offered us a tour for 20 bucks. How could we resist. He had spent time in America as a cook in New Jersey and once cooked for Frank Sinatra. It was refreshing to get a local's perspective of things. He did a nice job for us.When he dropped us back to the business area the city had awoken for Sunday and was quite busy. Then there was Buenos Aires. Bad start when we learned our cabin was situated right next to the passenger on/off ramp for Buenos Aires for two days. Oh My ! What a big city, what a big attitude ! In all, everyone we met in South America was gracious and kind but Argentina is a more feisty place. The shop keepers we dealt with were both honest and less than honest. Most money exchanges were fair, however, I preferred to do exchanges on the HAL ship. We took the HAL waterways excursion and it showed us a different part of Buenos Aires. It was a pretty good tour to saunter on the waterways and see how a community lives on the water. The last day we took the HAL tango show and transfer. The tour was ok, pointing to things out the windows, the stops were excellent. The Eva Peron burial site is unique and the Italian shopping area was good shopping but be wary of prices. The tango show at a city tango dance restaurant and bar was excellent. They treated us well and the show (from an uneducated perspective) was authentic and very good. The trip to the airport was uneventful, the process to check in was slow and tiring. The worst part of this trip was yet to come. The long trip home, consider an upgrade ! We took this trip at the end of season, summer for them. However, this made Santiago and Montevideo and Buenos Aires very bearable heat wise. Hats off to the Captain, PJ, to our cruise director, Jorge and to the local/nature expert Ryan. We are in our mid sixties and the people on the ship fit our profile. We have taken a few other cruises but this one was an adventure for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
When we sailed away from Antarctica in January 2010, aboard a Princess ship, it was with sadness that we would not be returning. However, while searching for a Canaries cruise in 2015, we came across a South America cruise, which sparked ... Read More
When we sailed away from Antarctica in January 2010, aboard a Princess ship, it was with sadness that we would not be returning. However, while searching for a Canaries cruise in 2015, we came across a South America cruise, which sparked the idea of visiting Antarctica once more. HAL provided the perfect itinerary for 2018, but just before we booked, offers too good to miss saw us join the 2017 sailing instead. This was our first cruise with HAL and we were very pleasantly impressed with the whole cruise. The only criticism would be the rather confusing and chaotic Life Boat drill, which involves a three-stage warning and then assembly at your designated life boat on deck, rather then the more comfortable gathering in a theatre or similar space. Luckily the weather was kind! After that, everything ran smoothly on board. We had chosen a port-side Vista "suite" on deck 6 at the stern, because this allowed easy access to the sheltered stern decks for better viewing of the scenery and which also provided a quick way up to deck 8 for the open deck and the Lido area. Port also was the best side for the views on this cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. The outer door leading to this rear deck was extremely difficult to open, worryingly as it was an emergency exit. We did ask for it to be made easier, but nothing was done. We had selected Freedom dining but we always, with one exception, ate in the casual dining room in the Lido because of the relaxed atmosphere and the excellent views. I liked the Market style service, which was served rather than self-service and therefore more hygienic, plus the fact that much of the food was cooked to order. At the end of the cruise was a BBQ night in the Lido area, which was too busy for us and we did visit the Rotterdam dining room on that occasion, which was peaceful and which also offered large windows so no spectacle would be missed! On board were experts on Antarctica, including a Naturalist, who was out on deck 3 early on the mornings of sea days. We joined her and many passengers on several occasions and a list of birds and animals sighted was written up regularly. There were lectures from the experts and from Wallis, the lively Location Guide. We prefer to watch these on TV in the evenings because there is too much to see outside to be seated in the theatre in daylight. Unfortunately, the lectures were not given a scheduled slot and it was pot-luck to catch one you wanted to see. Lectures on ports gone by were also repeated unnecessarily. During scenic cruising, the experts gave a commentary over the outside speakers and the room TVs. These could not be heard in the Lido dining room, which was a disadvantage. We missed a pod of Orcas early on in the cruise because the announcement could not be heard during breakfast - annoyingly, we had only just left deck 3 when they were seen. More annoyingly, announcements on tender operations in the many tendered ports were made very loudly in the accommodation corridors, so sleeping in was not an option even if you did not need to be up early! Embarkation was very smooth, other than no signing to the luggage drop-off. The terminal at Valparaiso is large and modern, with some shopping opportunities, including a wine stall with free tasting. We bought the two bottles we were allowed to take on board. Later, we saw bottles of wine being spotted by the scanners at ports; they are either stored until disembarkation or a corkage fee is payable. We chose not to join any tours, partly because we had visited some ports before and partly because we prefer to walk in the towns instead. Previously we had sailed from Buenos Aires as far as the Chilean Glaciers and then back to Buenos Aires, so most of the Chilean side was new to us. We were not particularly interested in the ports for this cruise - the scenic cruising is everything. The first port was Puerto Montt. The terminal offered free Wifi which worked! (We did have 200 free minutes of Wifi on board, but eeked it out with internet access on shore where possible.) We walked to the craft market first and then back towards the town, where there are stray dogs lazing around everywhere, but made the mistake of giving in to fatigue to soon, so we missed the town, which would have been the better option for us. Casto was the next stop and we visited the town first, stopping at the Cathedral before walking down towards the stilted houses which are about a mile out of town. We missed the access to the raised footpath and followed a well-trodden path on the other side of the road. Walking a few steps behind my OH, with my head down to watch my steps, I noticed a shadow behind me and looked round to find a dog close at my heels. We looked at each other for a moment before it bit my lower leg through my jeans; my shout of protest brought assistance and it ran back to the shack set back from the road it was "guarding". The injury was not severe but started bleeding. We continued shakily towards the village where a tour bus from the ship gave us a lift back to the port. (To cut a long story short, Chile is a low-risk Rabies area; the ship's nurse cleaned and dressed the injury that day and on the next, I had an anti-Rabies vaccination but the remaining four did not fit in with port days and I am now continuing the course at home.) Disappointingly, the Wifi did not work easily enough to bother with in Castro. We had not intended to leave the ship at the next port of Chacabuco because there is nothing to see apart from guard dogs unless you take a tour! However, a taxi took us and an interpreter to the hospital for the vaccination, which was fine; the promised extra doses for administration on the ship did not happen. The taxi ride was quite scenic but again there was no Wifi working in the port - unless you were prepared to sit and sit just in case. All the scenic cruising was wonderful and worth getting up early for on some occasions! The ship moved very slowly through the calm waters and the atmosphere was wonderful. Needless to say, many photos were taken throughout the cruise, including spectacular sunsets on many occasions. The bow deck was opened on some occasions, but we mainly used the stern or deck 9, although the front area of that deck was enclosed by glass. Punta Arenas did offer working Wifi! We walked to the Cathedral, the rather strange cemetery and a high viewing point, following a walking tour route independently. That evening and the next day were taken up by wonderful scenic cruising. Glacier Alley is NOT to be missed! (Princess Cruises went by in the evening and some passengers thought dinner was more important!) Again, the ship cruised by very slowly with hardly a ripple on the calm water. In the afternoon of that day, we visited Ushuaia, docking this time rather than tendering. Anyone with mobility issues would struggle with the many tendered ports on this cruise. I don't think free Wifi I was available in this port. We walked round the small town, enjoying the mountain scenery behind it. Cape Horn and the Drake Passage followed the next day. Although the seas were completely calm (as in our first visit) we did not circumnavigate the Cape as previously, which seemed a missed opportunity. Good weather meant we reached Antarctic waters earlier than scheduled and we had an extra afternoon there as well as the scheduled three days. Throughout, the skies were overcast but fog-free and the experience of Antarctica is one to treasure. It was a different experience from our first time there too, with different conditions and different areas visited. An approaching storm had us racing away from Antarctica eventually but the Captain made time to sail past Elephant Island at a distance before we continued on towards Stanley. The next day, at sea, was foggy with the fog horn sounding - by evening the sun broke through. It is not uncommon for ships to be unable to drop anchor at Stanley because of adverse weather, but once again we were lucky. Wifi is good but costs £5 for 50 minutes because it is so expensive to have on the Island. We walked down to the Church and the War Memorial before buying the required fluffy penguins and sea lions for our Grandchildren, taking advantage of sterling prices! We returned to the ship for lunch and experienced a much rougher sea as waves crashed over the top of the tender and found their way inside, dramatically through a poor seal in an opening window and uncomfortably into the hood of a poor passenger seated underneath a hatch! Puerto Madryn is a little bit of Wales in South America and was settled by intrepid travellers in 1865, who made their first homes in sandstone caves on the shore. We walked along the sea front, but did not go as far as the original settlement, though the walk is possible. Free Wifi is to be found in the Shopping Mall next to the Tourist Office and was slow but functional. Montevideo on a Sunday morning was very hot and humid and rather quiet. Armed police stand on street corners and are helpful for directions. We found Independence Square and also visited the Cathedral. On the way back to the ship, which was in dock, we found a wonderful, air-conditioned Tourist Office with excellent free Wifi and we enjoyed a happy catch-up time there, returning after lunch for more! Finally we reached Buenos Aires for an overnight stop. We have been on tours there before and we consider the city unsafe for independent visitors, so we went no further than the terminal for very slow Wifi. In the evening, we enjoyed watching three other cruise ships sail away. Among the many shipping containers, one had appeared to be hiding while it was docked! Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation. We were allowed to use our room until departure at 9.30 am and our cases did not need to be put out until midnight the night before. We were at the airport earlier than necessary and could not check in our cases for a couple of hours, but the time passed quickly enough with the free Wifi! If you can, go on this cruise. It is an un-missable experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This trip was on our bucket list. We wanted to see Patagonia, Chile, and of course, Antarctica. It was a wonderful experience and we would not trade it for the world. We would highly recommend this cruise to anyone who would like to visit ... Read More
This trip was on our bucket list. We wanted to see Patagonia, Chile, and of course, Antarctica. It was a wonderful experience and we would not trade it for the world. We would highly recommend this cruise to anyone who would like to visit that part of the world. We boarded the ship in Valparaiso. Valparaiso is a working harbor and we had to take a bus from the terminal to the ship. Boarding was easy. We got to our stateroom and were wowed. We had been offered an upgrade to a Neptune Suite and since this was a 21-day cruise, we jumped at the offer. The suite was so much larger than our previously booked ocean-view room. We really got used to the special attention given to us by the staff. We enjoyed every port and booked all our excursions through HAL even though they are more expensive. We have been on several cruises where passengers were left behind because their privately-arranged tour did not get them back to the ship at time. When you are sailing between isolated ports, it would be very difficult and expensive to travel between the ports if an embarkation was missed. If you want to see penguins, this is the cruise for you!! Book your Penguin Tours before getting on board the ship. We met several people who missed out because the tours to the various penguin reserves were fully booked before the ship left Valparaiso. The touring of the Antarctic Peninsula was unbelievable. Our captain guided us through unbelievable channels where we were sailing close to glaciers and ice bergs. Onboard the ship were naturalists and Antarctic experts who not only gave lectures on the area, but also gave a commentary as we sailed through the waters of Antarctica. We saw several different types of seals, penguins, and whales. It was amazing. Some of the best advice we got was to put down the camera and just take it all in. If you want to see this part of the world, without the enormous expense of a National Geographic Cruise, we would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
My wife and I flew from Sydney to Santiago. Our flights aboard Latam were excellent. We have travelled with them during our past two visits to South America. This is a good airline with a fixed menu per destination for economy ... Read More
My wife and I flew from Sydney to Santiago. Our flights aboard Latam were excellent. We have travelled with them during our past two visits to South America. This is a good airline with a fixed menu per destination for economy passengers. The food was tasty and satisfactory and the service was excellent. They served very good Chilean wines and Whisky ( indispensable for me to cope with turbulence!!)  generously, when requested. Maria and I had the quietest and turbulent free flights ever on the way to Auckland, to Santiago and then from Buenos Aires to Santiago over the Andes (even though the Captain warned us of a bumpy ride as we approached the mountain ranges) and back via Auckland to Sydney. So Whisky was an excuse and I admit, I am not comfortable flying). The only discomfort was the rather heavy landing at Kingsford Smith. The space between rows was good but when the passenger seated in front decided to recline, getting out was rather tricky and difficult. That is, however, the problem with economy seating aboard all airlines.The Flight Attendants were very nice courteous and spoke English. I always spoke to them in my broken Spanish which was much appreciated. We availed ourselves of public transport from Arturo Benetez Merino Airport to Pajaritos (a twenty minute drive from the Airport and then another TUR bus to Valparaiso (two and a half hour drive). It was so easy. The TUR bus is on the opposite side of Salida 6 on exiting the Airport. The trip from the airport to Valparaiso by taxi was $130. We spent about $15 for the entire journey. The bus was very comfortable with semi cama seats. We took a taxi from the Valparaiso Bus Station to the Hotel. We asked the same driver to meet us at the Hotel on the following day at 11 o'clock, which he did very punctually. The taxi was metered. The Ibis Hotel is in the Port Area. It was very sparse and if minimalism was ever a descriptive term, the Ibis was it. They provided one plastic cup per room, two small towels and two tiny bars of soap but the room was about 90% clean. That was important for us. Ibis Valparaiso was a far cry from Ibis Seoul and Bangkok. Nearby is a Supermarket where we bought a few food items and on the following day we had breakfast at the Melbourne Café, one block from the Hotel at the Plaza Sotomayor.We enjoyed our second visit to Valparaiso, concentrating mainly on the Piazza Sotomayor, the Port and the environs. We did not feel threatened at any moment and our whole experience was safe despite warnings from the Hotel, which we appreciated, to the contrary. We were unable to have a meal at Restoran Capri nearby as it was closed that Monday afternoon. It consistently receives good comments on tripadvisor We were driven to the Ship Terminal, just a short ride from the Hotel. The embarkation was smooth and very soon we found ourselves aboard the Zaandam. We had a beautiful lunch, offered to HAL Mariner members. The first day at sea was rough. The Chilean fjords were very beautiful and glaciers, as in Alaska and Antarctica, breathtaking. We had read many comments about the Zaandam. Sure it is a 17 year old ship but, to our eyes, it did not have any of the faults mentioned by some previous passengers. The ship was very well maintained and full of glitter but not kitsch,  spick and span without any rust. The carpets were tasteful and I did not notice any wear and tear (and believe me, I am a good sleuth especially when influenced by the Beverage Package which I took advantage of and thoroughly enjoyed on a daily basis). I searched for faults unsuccessfully. We lived in fantasyland for 21 days. The crew was excellent and the service was impeccable. Our Cabin-Small, functional clean and well presented. We did hear the noise of the stabilisers and whenever the anchor was dropped but they were not oppressive and did not prevent us from sleeping peacefully. We never felt cooped. The only negative was the infirmary two doors away from our Cabin but on the opposite side of the corridor. Most of the passengers succumbed to a viral infection (including myself), more than normal, we were told by the ship's medical practitioner. The infection did not prevent me from enjoying the cruise.The area near our Cabin was congested with patients coughing and sneezing most of the time. On another cruise, if it had not been to the cold regions of Antarctica, we would have definitely missed the balcony of a Stateroom. The food in the Lido was the same every day and perhaps monotonous. It was a good spread but lacked variety on a daily basis. The bacon was too crisp as it was prepared for American palates. As for the rest, we were not disappointed with the food but the service made the difference. It was just excellent and offered with courtesy and with a smile. The Rotterdam Dining Room-We used the fourth floor as we took advantage of Open Seating which is an excellent arrangement. We sat with Australians which is always a great pleasure as we are a friendly lot. We met many Americans. They were all anti Trump and on one occasion, I blurted my surprise to them about Trump's win when all the Americans we met had voted against Trump! Almost all the Americans we met were nice and capable of holding an interesting conversation which involved everyone at table bar one instance when two American couples talked of their military service experiences and deliberately excluded the other guests seated with them. We also sat with Germans and Dutch. They were always very gracious and our conversations with them were always pleasant. There were a few Italians and Spanish speaking people and a very small contingent of Indians and Chinese. The daily dinner menu was ample and varied. The dessert menu, however, was repetitious and  certain items like the Souffle just to mention one, uninteresting. The Crème Brule kept on appearing daily. The ice cream menu, much to my regret, lacked my favourite Rum and Raisin and Pistacchio. "tant pis pour moi"!  Ice Cream was also served at fixed times on a daily basis at the Lido. The wine, on the Beverage Package, permitted us to enjoy the excellent Chilean wines per glass. The after Theatre spread or midnight snack in the Lido was not as lavish as on the Dawn Princess but on the whole the Zaandam was far superior to the Dawn Princess which, regrettably, was a rust bucket. The Ports of call were mostly uninteresting except for Ushuia, the Falkland Islands and Montevideo but Maria and I always made it a point to disembark and enjoy the new experience. We were able to buy souvenirs, mostly  decorations for our Christmas Tree. We visited all the Ports of Call and missed none for inclement weather. That is how lucky we were. The postcards we sent from the Falkland Islands have already reached their destination. We were happily surprised. Apparently relations with Argentina have improved but Argentina is still claiming the Malvinas. We never entered the political debate but in our hearts we know that at least the British were not genocidal the way the Argentines were in 1982 during their demoniacal military dictatorship. We were told by a Falkland Islander that had Argentina waited patiently, they would have received the islands because most of the children in the Islands were sent to Argentina for their higher education. Today Britain supplies the islands with all their needs except for meat. Britan also provide higher education and health Services, if there is need, in Britain. All expenses are met by the Falkland Island authorities.   The Drake Strait was a Drake Lake for us to Antarctica and on the return journey, the Captain outran a very bad storm which yet managed to bite at our heel. We, unfortunately, were unable to sight Elephant Island because we were making a speedy retreat. We gained an extra half day thanks to the Drake Lake and thus enjoyed three and a half days of tranquil sailing through a Continent of exhilarating wonder, beauty, sacredness, pristineness, conducive to  contemplation and rapture. Australia administers 42% of Antarctica. We hope that Australia will strive to protect it and leave it the way it is for posterity. We wished to leave Antarctica  in its innocence and never felt the need to have to place our imprints upon it the way some people actually wish to set foot in some part of Antarctica. There was not need for that.Occasionally the ship came very close to mountains which we felt we could almost touch. We were mesmerized by snow capped mountains, majestic domes and spires of nature and myriads of glaciers. We witnessed chunks of ice crumble to a deafening cannonade and collapse into the waters. These caused large ripples which reached the ship. We saw dark patches in the snow, rookeries, where the male penguins held the egg tightly between their feet thus allowing it to hatch during the long, bleak wintry months.  I wore two  top and bottom thermals, trousers, a  shirt, a sweater, an Alaskan Jacket, thermal socks, boots and yet experienced the infernal cold, pardon the oxymoron. We saw towering ice bergs floating past us and were awe struck by their grandeur. We saw whales, seals and of course lots and lots of penguins. Maria and I were thoroughly prepared for our trip to Antarctica. We watched many videos on Utube. We read a lot including Douglas Mawson's "The Home of the Blizzard". However, we also attended the lectures aboard which were very informative. The ship provided a running commentary during the three and a half day cruise through Antarctica. The entertainment aboard the Zaandam was good and thoroughly enjoyable. It is with great pleasure that I wish to inform you that I leaned to dance the Tango! Even Maria was surprised. I wrote to the Hotel Director informing him of our late flights on arrival at Buenos Aires and requested that we be allowed to stay aboard until 1 pm. We were generously allowed to do so. We took a free shuttle to the Cruise Terminal in BA and then took an airport shuttle from the Cruise Terminal to the International Airport at a fraction of the price we would have paid for a taxi. Just 150 Argentine Pesos pp. This experience of ours can only be described in superlative terms. . Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
From Santiago Chile to Cape Horn, then across to Antarctica for a cruise of the coastal waters for 4 days, then the Falkland Islands, Madryn Argentina, Montevideo Uruguay and then finally Buenos Aires Argentina. Was in Antarctica for New ... Read More
From Santiago Chile to Cape Horn, then across to Antarctica for a cruise of the coastal waters for 4 days, then the Falkland Islands, Madryn Argentina, Montevideo Uruguay and then finally Buenos Aires Argentina. Was in Antarctica for New Years. Have to say this was the most spectacular cruise we've ever been on. It was perfect in every way. The most friendly crew we'd ever experienced. They were having as much fun as we were, which made the whole thing just that much more fun. Nice room, great food and excellent excursions. The views from the ship were just breathtaking. So many good photos, some of them almost surreal. We signed up for the departure day waterways tour with transfer to the airport at the end, and departure went unbelievably smooth. The last day was almost a full day of adventure, and it was easily as good as any other excursion day. The night before departure, we had dinner at "a closed door restaurant" in Buenos Aires, and THAT was really special too. The perfect last meal for a perfect cruise. Like our title says ... this trip was ... S P E C T A C U L A R. really. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Having done the same cruise last January and finding it excellent and Antarctica amazing we decided to treat ourselves again but in the reverse direction. This was the Zaandam's first Antarctic cruise of the season so we three ... Read More
Having done the same cruise last January and finding it excellent and Antarctica amazing we decided to treat ourselves again but in the reverse direction. This was the Zaandam's first Antarctic cruise of the season so we three weeks later then previous and not sure what would be different. At embarkation in Valparaiso we saw Scott D. one of the Antarctic specialist from last cruise and he said that this time we could expect less whales and more penguins and maybe less icebergs. He was right on all counts. Embarkation went smoothly and we were on board and having lunch in the Lido by 1pm. At the end disembarkation was just as smooth and on time. The ship felt a bit like coming home as we new where everything was and what and when things operated. Last year we had a verandah cabin which while it gave us a bit more space we hardly used the verandah at all and with all things on a boat there is a 50/50 chance that what you want to see will be on the other side of the ship. This year we went for a ocean view room on the lower promenade which was near perfect for sightseeing as the other side of the deck was only a few steps through the ship and not up or down a few floors. Apart from being slightly smaller the room facilities are basically the same. Only draw back was the 10pm tying up of the deck chairs and the 5am washing down of the deck outside our window. For dining we opted most days for the Lido and only dined in the main restaurant twice plus treat ourselves twice to the Canaletto. There was always a great variety of food and desserts available and one new thing was the salad station. As for entertainment we on ly went to the two very funny comedian shows but reports from fellow passengers said that the other shows where excellent. There are enough daily activities on board to fill out the few sea days that we had. Trivia every night with Alexis was popular. Wallis gave very informative and funny port talks and the Antarctic specialist team were the same team as previous and excellent. Jorge the cruise director plus the Daily Navigator flyer kept guests informed on what was happening each day. All the crew are friendly cheerful and the ship impresses as one big happy family. Captain PJ was our skipper again and kept us informed on navigational and nautical to use his own words and we got to go to all the itinerary places in the Antarctic Peninsular as planned. We were also blessed with near perfect sea condition throughout the entire cruise and sunshine and blue skies for the 4 days we were in the Peninsular. We undertook three excursions and found two of them excellent one less so but more on that later. The ship reached all the ports on schedule with exception of Punta Arenas where the port was closed for a brief time due to high winds. In fact due to the very favourable conditions crossing Drakes Passage we actually had an extra half day in the Antarctic. Which gave us more time to enjoy the experience that is the Antarctic. Penguins, seals, whales, sea lions, glaciers icebergs and just the serenity and majesty and scale of the place. Having done this trip twice in less then a year, would we do it again? Yes!. The only caveats being the long flights from Australia and this one being so near perfect it would be hard to better. If you get the chance GO! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise to see penguins. We have 3 penguin loving boys and we like to take a big trip at Christmas rather than give them toys they don't need. We had 2 adjoining Ocean View rooms on Deck 2. Our rooms were decent sized ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see penguins. We have 3 penguin loving boys and we like to take a big trip at Christmas rather than give them toys they don't need. We had 2 adjoining Ocean View rooms on Deck 2. Our rooms were decent sized for what they were. My only complaint about the room was the bathroom. It was dated. Everything else about the room was fine and our room steward was fantastic. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone looking to see penguins and experience Antarctica. I'm still going through our photos but I can't even choose my top 1000 pictures because we have so many great shots. We only booked a couple excursion through HAL. We did mostly private excursions. We booked private guides for the stops in Chile (except Punta Arenas). We saw many of the same sits as the HAL tours but I feel like we really got a better flavor for the region and culture by have our own personal guide and driver and frankly, it with 5 of us it was cheaper than than the HAL excursions. In Punta Arenas we booked the Magellanic penguin tour through HAL. That tour was fantastic. It was amazing to be up close and personal with so many penguins. I'm glad we booked the slow boat tour vs. the speed boat tour as the speed boat was cancelled due to high winds and there was no space for those folks on the slow boat so they missed out the penguins. Next stop was Ushuaia. What an interesting town! We had booked the Wildlife Boat tour through HAL but it was cancelled because of high winds. We explored the port and had the most amazing "submarinos" (hot chocolate) at a local chocolate shop. Our journey around Cape Horn and Drake's Passage was smooth and we got to Antarctica early. What an amazing experience. The sights were breath taking. Even when we weren't out of deck looking, we would sit in the Lido Pool area and watch out both sides. The Falklands were amazing. I absolutely loved our time there. We did a private tour with Patrick Watts to Volunteer Point. We got some amazing pictures of penguins but oh my that bog ride was so much fun and quite the adventure. Because we were 5 we had two drivers. All of us thought we had the best driver. We learned a lot about the island and the war from our drivers and even just daily life. I would highly recommend the Volunteer Point excursion. Next stop was Puerto Madryn. I probably could have skipped this port. We did the Penisula Valdes tour through HAL. After having private guides in Chile this one was a bit of a let down. Yes we saw a lot of seals, but it wasn't very close (on cliff overlooking the beach). It was a lot of time on bus and not a lot of time actually on foot exploring. Next stop was Montevideo. I wasn't all that impressed with this stop. It could have been because at this point I was just getting tired. We had been on board for 18 days. We didn't book at tour in Montevideo thinking we could just walk around. Well we stopped in Montevideo on a Sunday and there wasn't much open. We couldn't find a bank ATM to get local currency and the stores that were open for the most part didn't accept credit cards. We ended up heading back to the boat and enjoying the afternoon swimming in the pool lido which had opened roof. One nice thing about Montevideo was HAL did a great bar-b-que as we were leaving port at the Lido Pool. I wish they done more regional meals like this during the cruise. It was fantastic. When we arrived in BA I was excited because I was ready to go home, but first we had 2 days in BA. We did our own excursions. The first day we did a 1/2 day bike tour through Biking BA. It was fantastic. Our guides were great and also it was an intimate way to see the city. Much better than in a tour bus but also able to see more than if we were on foot. After our bike tour we came back to the boat for our "siesta". For dinner that night we booked the "Argentine Experience". We took a cab from the boat. that was an experience. A storm popped up. It was incredibly fast and severe with tree limbs falling and localized flooding, but our cab driver got us there. The actual Argentine experience was great. It was full of laughs and good foods. My kids loved learning how to make Empanadas and how to use their hands like an Argentine. Our 2d day in BA was also Disembarkation day. The disembarkation was incredibly smooth. We were purple 2 and were off the boat by 9:15. We booked a van and guide through VIP tours for the 2d day as we needed a place for our luggage and a way to get to the airport. Our guide was great. He showed us all the different parts of BA that we didn't see on bike and was really informative. When preparing for BA, I didn't quite get what was the big deal about the Recoleta cemetery, but we went there and it is definitely not to be missed. The kids club program was fantastic and my kids really enjoyed going and making friends with the other kids on the boat. It was great that there were other kids in the same age bracket as mine onboard (8-11) This is definitely a bucket list trip and I can't recommend it enough. I loved the Zaandam's size. It felt just right for the trip. Last year we did the caribbean on a princess ship and it just felt like a floating hotel the Zaandam even though it is a little dated was perfect. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone but pick your excursions well as I do think that made a difference for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The ms Zaandam is a wonderful ship for this route. It is comfortable with all the elements of what we had hoped for from Holland America, with outstanding food and service, elegant architecture, a true wrap around teak promenade deck, a ... Read More
The ms Zaandam is a wonderful ship for this route. It is comfortable with all the elements of what we had hoped for from Holland America, with outstanding food and service, elegant architecture, a true wrap around teak promenade deck, a double height dining experience, and a well-stocked Lido. The itinerary is second to none in the world I am sure. Holland America has had a relationship with the US Antarctic Program for 13 years and brings on board an experienced expedition team. The captain is not afraid of ice bergs and takes the ship carefully but boldly into what seem impassable channels, and even bring on board a full Antarctic team from Palmer Station (weather permitting). The antarctic experience is quite unlike any other area of the planet, and is unspoiled due to a highly co-operative global treaty. While there are options on smaller vessels to make zodiac landings, we surprisingly didnt really miss this at all in part due to the dramatic scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Island and Shetlands. We saw more penguins, whales, seals etc. than we could ever dream of, and we didnt have to disinfect, get kitted up, and wait for small landing parties, but could use many of the uncrowded areas of the ship to be up close and personal to a large berg. The bow thrusters move the bergs away from the ship in a very efficient manner for safety, and HAL takes the treaty to the letter in disallowing any form of food or beverage consumption outside whilst in Antarctic waters, and switches the entire ship over to more expensive diesel for this part of the trip to reduce carbon footprint. We weren't sure what it would be like not to get off, or just seeing the Peninsula, but if you have any hesitation and this is on your bucket list, just do it. No one on board was disappointed, everyone was breathless at some point, and some had returned for the exact same itinerary and ship. The kids Club HAL was well organized and executed. Our other two preferred brands are Princess and Cunard, and HAL met or exceed expectations in many regards. The coffee on board is not great, even at the premium cafe, the shore excursions still a bit overpriced for what they are, and the non-expedition entertainment was below average compared to other cruise lines, but overall we would highly recommend the Zaandam for the South America and Antarctic itineraries, and we can attest that HAL is maintaining its standard of excellence in dining and service. For Alaska you have more choices so this may not be the best ship for that region. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The ship for being fairly small had excellent food, lamb, lobster and two fantastic surprise meals by the pool that were awesome! German food and BBQ of every type meat and desserts too. The high teas were good too in the Diningroom. The ... Read More
The ship for being fairly small had excellent food, lamb, lobster and two fantastic surprise meals by the pool that were awesome! German food and BBQ of every type meat and desserts too. The high teas were good too in the Diningroom. The Captain was a great guy! Kept us informed about everything, offered free champagne for not being able to tender one port, and made up for it by getting us in hours ahead at next port. He afforded everyone a lot of time at Cape Horn and the Glacier and turned the ship so everyone got an equally good view! You need to book a window seat in the diningroom if you ever want to sit there! ( open seating) It's your best chance to spot a whale! ( I saw 3) The downside was: 1) the dusty plants on the tables at the buffet were never cleaned so gross 2) the glass on the ship was very dirty so no photos from inside out 3) the spa closed the 2nd last day with no notice to those of us that bought memberships The upside was we really enjoyed the spa and view but it was not well attended by staff replacing towels on beds or wiping them down between users, same with resting room of loungers, linens weren't changed between guests 4) I'm a shopper and found the shopping minimal and boring on board, they need to change their products more 5) how about a smoke free Casino people! We enjoyed the extra workshops on board and the heated pool, never a wait to get in or hot tubs either. Our cabin was quite warm even with the heat off so next time I'll pack a fan, and the bathroom smelled mouldy even though we never showered there so Air refresher is a must. There was plenty of drawers even under the bed and lots of closet space, we had interior room and it was plenty roomy! Room service was great too. Overall we really enjoyed this ship and the friendly staff! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The inland passage of southern Chile fiords with glaciers and to visit relatives in Buenos Aires was our need. One glacier off the many we could see - because of the big ship we missed many others. Cabin 6141 very nice situated ... Read More
The inland passage of southern Chile fiords with glaciers and to visit relatives in Buenos Aires was our need. One glacier off the many we could see - because of the big ship we missed many others. Cabin 6141 very nice situated mid-schip, we locked forward to a relaxing cruise. We found the right cabin for restless honeymooner - sleep hard to get because of vibrating (could be felt even on the thick madrases) noise from an air duct under nice the cabin floor. 24 hours, 7 days a week, 12 month a year endless sound. The reception was unable to find a better cabin or suit for us. Even my body was affected and a visit at the medical ship nurse had to be done - very nice and helpful nurse! Mostly the reception was helpful, beside one attractive girl, dressed in blue uniform which send you to other destinations instead giving you the information and forgot to give full information. It was hard to get information about Chilean vins on board - it looked more that the special ship selection was pushed. Wenn we spook about this cabin 6141, we have been the lough of the cruise. It is a pity, most of the personal was kind and helpful, but that was the first and the last cruise with Holland America. By writing this I doubt that this critic will survive on the board, but my give some hints to the owner of HA-line!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This is a fantastic destination for people that like nature and nice scenery. The ship was perfect. The staff was nice and competent. The only thing that was not great was the restaurants. This was our second cruise on Holland America ... Read More
This is a fantastic destination for people that like nature and nice scenery. The ship was perfect. The staff was nice and competent. The only thing that was not great was the restaurants. This was our second cruise on Holland America Line. Maybe they rise the expectation about there food to high but I didn't find the gastronomy that fantastic. At the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch: long lines and not a lot of variety. Besides de salad bar they did not offer a lot of vegetables. Steamed carrots or brocoli, over cooked green beans or asparagus, that's about it! I was glad there was the asian counter that provided a little diversity. Pasta bar was interesting but It took so much time to get served! Same thing for the crepes ans waffles at breakfast. We sat down at the nice tables near the windows at interior pool. Service was virtually inexistant. We had to clear the table ourselves nobody was ever there to get the empty plates! I think that the overall buffet experience was a lot better on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We flew overnight from Miami to Santiago, arriving 8:30 a.m. We had an interesting 3-hour Turis (Pauline and driver Juan) led tour of Santiago. A very thorough introduction to the historical and cultural highlights of Santiago. Five bus ... Read More
We flew overnight from Miami to Santiago, arriving 8:30 a.m. We had an interesting 3-hour Turis (Pauline and driver Juan) led tour of Santiago. A very thorough introduction to the historical and cultural highlights of Santiago. Five bus loads of Zaandam passengers stayed at the Sheraton Santiago Hotel which made the transfer Sunday morning to the port city of Valparaiso very convenient. Sunday morning’s 1.5 hr. bus ride with one potty break transfer from Sheraton to Valparaiso terminal. Lilianna was our bus #4 guide who narrated the entire trip. Very informative. As you walk through terminal shops be sure to sample the Veremonte Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from the Villa de Casablanca vineyards, Chile. HAL registration very smooth, taking barely 25 minutes in queue and processing. Sea Days provided good opportunities to look back to reflect on activities done, classes or upcoming port expectations. Our Location Guide Ryan was inspirational and a really positive influence as we looked forward to seeing and hearing his presentations. EVENING ENTERTAINMENT: The Zaandam entertainers and the HALCat band were consistently good. Classique starred the Singers and Dancers was wonderful. Wife even commented she would have paid a fee to see; it was that good of a cruise ship show. Monday SHOWTIME WAS Jaz Danion who entertained us with world class juggling and feats of strength and balance. Tuesday SHOWTIME featured International renowned Harpist Shirley Dominguez performing "When the Harp goes Latin." Backed by the HALcats and superb theatrical smoke and lighting, we few who attended Shirley's passionate performance were really entertained. Truth be told, we went expecting to listen to her first song. We happily stayed her entire 45 minute show. Wednesday’s SHOTIME performer was British operatic Tenor Lee Brantley. We opted for March Madness. Our loss! On Friday we were entertained by both Shirley and Lee…fast paced and powerful. A very good show. Monday’s SHOWTIME was highlighted by Salvatore Hasard, singer and multi-instrumentalist performing "Life is Music." Moving effortlessly from his "Bride," his pearl white electric guitar, performing several songs with Harmonica, Piano, from which he performed several 'solo-duets,' Saxophone, and Drums from which he performed a tribute to his favorite multi-instrumentalists...Stevie Wonder. His between-song stories and solid playing and vocals made this a fun show. Tuesday’s SHOWTIME entertainer was Comedian Andrew Kennedy. Reality (family) Comedy. From his 83 year old Mister McGoo, proper Brit father to his 5'0" Columbian Latina mother, lily white Andrew looks at life (never judging a book by its cover) through the multi-cultural eyes of a bilingual boy who was born to the interpreter to his father and mother. Showtime entertainment Thursday featured PAMPAS DEVILS GAUCHOS: a traditional South American gaucho show including the Argentinean Tango, Bolas, and Argentinean tap dancing as well as a little comedy featuring show man, Juan Pablo Vino. Showtime entertainment Friday featured the HAL singers and dancers who performed a really professional program entitled simply, "DANCE." We closed each evening with Piano Man Van, a very versatile club piano man / show man. PORTS OF CALL: Tender ports—Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, and Stanley…tender operations went very smoothly. In Puerto Montt we had an easy transfer from ship to comfortable bus. I enjoyed the ride as our guide was easy to understand and very informative. First stop, after a short drive, the rushing cascades of Petrohue Falls. We spent 45 mins. there with plenty time to shop a bit at a handicraft market. Our tour took us next up the steep and winding roads to the near peak of Osorno Volcano. Unforttnately, cloud cover blocked our view of the volcano all day. Stopping for lunch at a German Restaurant was a highlight. The food was delicious, lovely atmosphere and beautiful flowers in the gardens. Lastly, we spent an hour shopping in Puerto Varas. The 7 1/2 hour excursion made for a wonderful day. In Puerto Chacabuco we took the HAL led Northern Patagonia and Coyhaique City tour, an enjoyable day exactly as the brochure describes. Not mentioned was the ‘snack’ we had halfway through the trip…awesome. In Punta Arenas we scheduled the Off the Beaten Path: Magdalena (Island) Penguin Reserve (as a Plan B in case Stanley didn’t permit entry.) There were still 20,000 to 25,000 pairs of Magelanic Penguins in residence. We had the ultimate in good fortune. The previous day’s tour was cancelled as was our afternoon’s trip. We had smooth sailing (2-4’ seas) for the 2.5 hour ferry ride to the island. Returning though seas built to 8-11’ seas and building. What a magnificent encounter with these burrowing creatures. Our dockage at Ushuaia was delayed by 1.5 hours due to high crosswinds and very choppy seas. We had an interesting excursion. Our 6:30 departure was adjusted to 7:30 so we were able to do our entire Drive to Tierra del Fuego National Park excursion during which we stopped at a lake across which was an Argentine mountain range which was lovely. We then backtracked to a visitors center / restaurant for a bite to eat / photo op. Another view of the same lake and similar mountain views. In this lake we saw five ducks bobbing in the growing swells. Then we made a stop at crazy Carlos, keeper of the End of the World Post Office in a shack on a wooden pier. Despite getting near 6:30 on Sunday afternoon, he was still open, quite happy to sell post cards, hawking some that bore images of himself in a number of different poses and designs taken over his 30 year tenure. The absolute pinnacle of our South American journey was the Patrick Watts led Bertha’s Beach / Gypsy Cove excursion which we had booked and hawked to our Cruise Critic Roll Call Family. We wound up with 26 on this excursion. We arrived Prince William Bay / Sound a little ahead of schedule. The trip to Stanley was smooth as silk. In fact, the largest swells occurred when we encountered the wake of oncoming tenders retuning to the Zaandam from Stanley. Excellent boarding of tender, really calm bay to and from Stanley pier. Patrick and his team were right where we expected him to be.. With driver Sara we were in a 7-9 SUV caravan. Tremendous colony of Gentoo penguins. A comical juvenile kept Gypsy Cove , a mine strew beach, a remnant of the Falklands war. Despite there only being 7 Magellanic penguins this late in the season, the elevated walkway around the cove provided beautiful views of the Zaandam and Stanley city in the distance. In Montevideo we ventured out into town on the suggestion of our location guide Ryan. Armed with a “Circuitous Turistico Walking Tour” map, rain suits and umbrellas, we walked the 15 blocks effortlessly to independence Square. On the way we scoped out the stores we wanted to walk through on the return to the ship. Despite the morning rains, and the persistent threat throughout the afternoon, we got to see and do everything we had set out to do. Due to our 9:50 flight home on Sunday, we had two full days in Buenos Aires. Saturday we did the HAL led Gaucho Life on the Pampas: great fun—gaucho horse ballet, trick riding, nice walk around estancia, terrific meal of b-b-q steak, chicken, sausage after which guitarists played / sang, and Tango dancers performed. Local wines were very good and, like at every other port, flowed like (excuse me) wine. And oh, those all you can eat empanadas. Sun. Mar. 20 BUENOS AIRES disembarkation was smooth as silk. Highlights & Tango Show w/airport transfer for those with flights later than 8pm. Buenos Aires tour was very interesting, esp. Recoleta cemetery (Eva Peron (Duarte) story. The Pink Palace from which she addressed her people, Pope Francis's municipal cathedral, the famous La Boca neighborhood, Camalita Street, the soccer stadium. The highlight was the luncheon Tango Show at Cafe de los Angelitos before heading to the Airport. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My wife and I had a wonderful cruise on board Zaandam. The ship, despite being 16 years old, is still in very top condition. The cabin washroom is equipped well and looks quite modern. All common areas are well maintained. This is our 12th ... Read More
My wife and I had a wonderful cruise on board Zaandam. The ship, despite being 16 years old, is still in very top condition. The cabin washroom is equipped well and looks quite modern. All common areas are well maintained. This is our 12th cruise and second with HAL. The previous HAL cruise was on Westerdam. Service is no doubt ahead of the other cruise lines that are of similar pricing structures. Cruise director arranged very good shows and none disappointed us. The Gala night that replaced Formal benefited many passengers, although a few tuxedos could be seen in the dining area as well as in the theatre. I played tennis with a front desk staff while off duty. That is service beyond call of duty. Food was great, especially the lobster night at one of the gala attire evenings. Tender boat arrangements of three ports were very well managed. We had enjoyed the great weather every time we went ashore. I felt so lucky that we were being toured around at Falkland Islands to see Penguins by an independent agent Patrick Watt on Tuesday, March 15th. Patrick organized about 8-10 4X4 and we travelled to Bertha’s Beach as well as other places. Bertha’s Beach is the home of a large colony of Gentoo penguins who have the freedom of a beautiful long white sand beach. We also saw two King penguins, a bonus. In addition, we also saw many Magellanic penguins. Great experience for us. Patrick is the third generation in Falklands and he knows the place, history extremely well. His expertise and actual experience of the Falkland War gave us more in-depth understanding of the historical event. On that gorgeous day of March 15th, both my wife and I really enjoyed every moment of the excursion. If you are thinking of seeing penguins in your South America cruise, you owe it to yourself not to contact Patrick Watt - pwatts@horizon.co.fk. He responded to email very promptly, and in great details. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Excellent service. All activities inside the ship where excellent also the food. I went with my family and we joined friends from the cruise to do a tour. We did part of the tour with the cruiseship line in the South of Patagonia by a ... Read More
Excellent service. All activities inside the ship where excellent also the food. I went with my family and we joined friends from the cruise to do a tour. We did part of the tour with the cruiseship line in the South of Patagonia by a company Tango Tour around Beagle Channel. And we did a lovely stop in Buenos Aires with a local lady that helps entrepreneurs so we experience the huge city of Buenos Aires in a very professional way and more out of the commercial issues. Private Groups done by LIZ Andrea. Our nights were fantastic ans they also have shows at night. They also explained all history before our getting off each port in order to know what we will going to watch and to learn. That was very intersting! Good report: Tango Tour-Patagonia Liz Andrea-Buenos Aires (liz2arg@yahoo.com or www.lizflor2.blogspot.com Certificated of excellence in Trip Advisor for many years!) Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 3.5 3.7
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

Find a Zaandam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click