12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The good - Our room stewards, our waiter and wine steward and most of the folks in the Lido especially Jen and "the Sandman." The cleanest of all 4 ships we have sailed on with HAL -and the crew was the fussiest about it ... Read More
The good - Our room stewards, our waiter and wine steward and most of the folks in the Lido especially Jen and "the Sandman." The cleanest of all 4 ships we have sailed on with HAL -and the crew was the fussiest about it especially in the LIDO. The best - cruise director Bruce, the Captain, Luisa in Guest services. Jim and Charles were 2 of the best lecturers we have encountered cruising Average - food still not up to other cruise ships.Good , nourishing not great. Surcharges ?. The pinnacle is just not a pinnacle , excluding the Indian dinner. Poor - trying to get a drink on the aft deck and the smokers not staying in their area. Entertainment not great except for the violinist and the first piano player. But nothing is more annoying than the lack of attention to customer complaints about maintenance in the cabin.( see cabin review below) . Guest services is put in a very difficult position because of the continual lack of response by maintenance. The head of maintenance on every HAL ship should be subjected to the complaints . Worst - Wi Fi, they have some nerve charging for it. SAD -1) There is some kind of miscommunication between departments, too many excuses and too many variations of what is going on. 2) The female officers seem to all have a chip on their shoulders. Hope a great Captain can solve that one as the guests shy away from them and it is a continual topic of conversation. That said , we always felt safe and secure which is paramount and finally the show put on by the Humpback whales who seemed so happy to see us.. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
That was our second cruise with Holland America, out of tens of cruises with 10+ cruise companies over the last 20 years or so. First Holland America cruise was aboard the Maasdam, years ago, and it was a pleasant experience. We choosed ... Read More
That was our second cruise with Holland America, out of tens of cruises with 10+ cruise companies over the last 20 years or so. First Holland America cruise was aboard the Maasdam, years ago, and it was a pleasant experience. We choosed this second one based upon our prior experience and because we wanted a cruise back home, from US, along South America's Pacific coast - the 34-day San Diego to Rio cruise. Embarkation process was straightforward. Ok, as suite guests, we had a dedicated line, but the ordinary line was also empty by the time we arrived at San Diego Cruise Terminal. Stateroom condition, on the other hand, wasn't that good. The deck that runs along the windows was dirty and greasy. TV remote was greasy, as well, so that we had to point it to the steward and ask him for a thorough cleaning. Cereal remnants under the bed and chocolate behind the curtains were also not very nice findings. Dining was an experience that swung between heaven and hell. We had most of our meals at the Main Dining Room, with excellent service. We had most of our breakfast and lunch at the Lido Market, with the most terrible experience of all cruises. Apart from a very few attendants and their managers, Lido crew was the worse ever. Most of the times we could see managers doing attendants' chores, like cleaning tables and serving drinks. I guess this is not what managers are for. Entertainment and Activities are a little more of the same - the fabulous ship's dancers and singers, comedians, performers, lecturers, movies - one will always find something to enjoy. Port and Shore Excursions staff does a very good job. Some flaws here and there but, in the end, things worked fine. I still cannot understand why cruise companies insist in choosing ports like Puerto Chiapas or Huatulco (MX), with absolutely NO activity one could do on his own - options were to stay on board or to join a ship excursion. We expected far more than this. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This cruise offered me an opportunity to explore some locations that I would not be able to travel to on my own. I hear that this ship is going in to dry dock to have an update. It is a good thing because it coud use a little face ... Read More
This cruise offered me an opportunity to explore some locations that I would not be able to travel to on my own. I hear that this ship is going in to dry dock to have an update. It is a good thing because it coud use a little face lift. My cabin was fine but the heat did not work as well as other boats I have been in, the sink kept dripping but all in all they kept the cabin clean. Dining, well once you get the hang of it it is great. the staff are very accommodating. Just ask and often they will do anything to make it happen. How do they remember names so well? regarding the food - good portion control, very tasty usually. we had breakfast in the didning room. I would HIGHLY reccomment it regarding the service, I am jewsih and I really appreciated HAL had the egg bread adn the wine available. Kudos Entertainment and activities - needs work there were a few brilliant acts Bailamos from Canada, Tutti, wow!the magician, the argentinian singer. were fabulous . Also the band in the ocean bar was good. the crouwd was old that is why there was not htat much going on. the crows nest had some great live entertainers, but it was all one kind of music, not my kind of music. the entertainment just needed a little more and a little more polish. some entertainers were wonderful some were less than okay Everyone loved Richard adn abby. Richard was the martini specialist - even though I am not a drinker it was treat to have that esprit de corps. regarding the ports- It depends on your port experience. I know HAL in hypervigillant about safety but they scared many peope from going in to lima. Lima was a highlight. the HAL tours are too expensive. I took the HAL casa blanca wine tour - that was wonderful.The tourguide was terrific My shore excursions were all great. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Hadn't cruised since last fall and the So. American ports was something new and the e-mailed price was very good. Much of the HAL experience is excellent as always. Dining Room, Cabin Stewards and Bar staff do a great job. Am a ... Read More
Hadn't cruised since last fall and the So. American ports was something new and the e-mailed price was very good. Much of the HAL experience is excellent as always. Dining Room, Cabin Stewards and Bar staff do a great job. Am a 4 star mariner with HAL and have witnessed a continual reduction of standards. Evening dinning menu choices were just OK. Number of options have been reduced a good deal. Flavor was lacking on such items as crab, lamb & beef. Crab was described as "King Crab", but legs were less than 1/2" in diameter, dry and tasteless. Leg of lamb had no taste. Beef was at times good, not always. Have typically looked forward to the evening dinning experience. Not so much this time. Interesting. Adagio was more popular and greater attended than the quartet at the Ocean Bar. Things in the world have changed in many ways. But, if the dress code is established as "smart Casual" the standard should be maintained. "Ragged Casual" should not be tolerated. "Gala", previously "Formal", should at least require a jacket for the men and something more than capris for the ladies. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
i needed a short dcruise to be able to go to a family wedding, this was the winner. i did the full 37 day cruise last year and didn't mind the 22 day shorter segment.i am a loyal mariner and find a lack of respect by HAL for these ... Read More
i needed a short dcruise to be able to go to a family wedding, this was the winner. i did the full 37 day cruise last year and didn't mind the 22 day shorter segment.i am a loyal mariner and find a lack of respect by HAL for these people. for the past few years there has never been a mariners cocktail party to meet the crew and captain.i can buy my own drink it's just the thought that they care about loyal mariners.over the years the food in the didning room has become less fine, still okay but too many inexpensive selections on the one page menu. in the past it was 2 pages.the ship is being redone after the winter season, some cabins and public area are showing their age but not terrible looking .the shore excursions were plentiful and expensive for what was received.the description is better than the reality on many of the tours. the entertainment was adequate but not great each night. the dancers and singers, had their first show after almost 9 days.the ship is a perfect size large but not that big as compared to many others.the cabins are adequate and have good clostes and storage space. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this ship because of the smaller size and weren’t disappointed. Superior service from all departments, everyone was so friendly. Great food! We took advantage of all the dining venues on offer and enjoyed the variety, we found ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the smaller size and weren’t disappointed. Superior service from all departments, everyone was so friendly. Great food! We took advantage of all the dining venues on offer and enjoyed the variety, we found the dining staff always ready and able to accommodate special requests. Room service was speedy and accurate. Love the lemonade in the buffet. Balcony cabin included some extras that were appreciated, like bathrobes, umbrella and binoculars. We used the safe and fridge, and would find it hard to be without them. The South American ports were all new to us, and we found the excursions to be as described, well organized and professionally run. The lemonade or hot chocolate at the gangway on return was a welcome sight. Shopping at the pier was always available with quality merchandise on offer. Disembarkation was organized better than what we have experienced before. We found very little to complain about. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The Zaandam lived up to our four star mariner expectations clean, we'll run, great food, no sickness in 38 days, much better entertainment than in the past, the best staff in the world from captain to cabin boy. Good itinery of places ... Read More
The Zaandam lived up to our four star mariner expectations clean, we'll run, great food, no sickness in 38 days, much better entertainment than in the past, the best staff in the world from captain to cabin boy. Good itinery of places that are hard to get to except at great expense making this very good value for money. Sea day activities were lacking especially to those who are regular holland America guest as things such as BBC trivea and films And test kitchen are repeated on a two week schedule. Most ports had inexpensive tours offered on the dock we did one in nearly every port. They were very reasonable safe and proffessionally run. The natural beauty at the tip of South America was well worth the trip. To bird enthusiast this is heaven, so many diff kinds of sea birds it is like a nature cruise. For the first boat of the season the weather was ver good we even had great weather in Stanley the Falklands although to earlier to go to the king penguins as track still to wet for vehicles Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I liked this itinerary and that's why I chose this cruise. The crew was excellent, as usual, but the HAL ships are falling behind the marketplace. Last year I took six cruise lines in 12 months to check out the state of the art in ... Read More
I liked this itinerary and that's why I chose this cruise. The crew was excellent, as usual, but the HAL ships are falling behind the marketplace. Last year I took six cruise lines in 12 months to check out the state of the art in the industry. Lines cruised were HAL, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Disney, and Carnival. I have also recently cruised on Celebrity. Holland America appeals to the older, Anglo, traveler, personally I would like more age and ethnic diversity. The Zaandam was very similar in this manner with the older Anglo folks. I took one excursion on the ship which departed nearly an hour and a half after the scheduled departure time, thus I lost time to wander in the port area. Entertainment was very mixed in quality on the Zaandam with only 2 being outstanding. The Wifi arrangement is an embarrassment as it's a system that lacks speed, efficiency, and an affordable price. HAL needs to look at Carnival as a model of having a wifi system that is in the 21st century with fast access to social media and even streaming. Quality has noticeably dropped on HAL (I'm a four star) over the years as the lecturers were weak and basically read their power point presentations to us. Where are the dynamic speakers? The dinner meal options were lacking and seem to be going to lesser cuts of meat and seafood. Breakfast meals were good and seem to be about the same as in the past. Being a four star, I probably would sail on the Zaandam again if the itinerary were of interest. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I had not sailed this portion of coast north of Valpraiso. This trip from San Diego to Valpraiso was changed or diverted from Valprqiso to San Antonio two weeks before us all being willing to npay for decent food by going to a sailing. ... Read More
I had not sailed this portion of coast north of Valpraiso. This trip from San Diego to Valpraiso was changed or diverted from Valprqiso to San Antonio two weeks before us all being willing to npay for decent food by going to a sailing. Many of us had prepaid car and hotel reservations in or near Valpraiso that were non refundable. We spent $150 USD getting backce t way.o our hotel and rental car and Holland America would make no arrangement unless you purchased a $86 excursion to the Santiago Airport. Not Sure why I should have paid as it wasn't my screw-up. The food was mediorcre as we have witnessed the last several years across thee cruise fleet. This was facilitated by going to up-charge restaurants so they could let the food quality decline. So we who use the up charge restaurants. These ports are mostly industrial ports,normally you could visit them only on a freighter cruise. Many excursions from these ports inviolve 2 hour or more bus rides each way. Not much here for any tourist. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise after narrowing down the date range and what we wanted to do. I was happy to sail with Holland America again. I had a great experience with them many years ago. We were looking for a cruise and land package and ... Read More
We chose this cruise after narrowing down the date range and what we wanted to do. I was happy to sail with Holland America again. I had a great experience with them many years ago. We were looking for a cruise and land package and Holland America had just what we wanted. We booked a vista suite and it was spacious and comfortable. We enjoyed the balcony quite a bit. The food was excellent, we ate in the main dining room, the Lido market, the Dive In and Pinnacle Grill. We never had a bad meal. The entertainers onboard were fun and engaging. We enjoyed all of our excursions; fishing, gold panning, whale watching, northern lights, dog mushing. The ports were very safe and charming. The staff onboard were all professional, knowledgeable and friendly. The spa was wonderful, I took advantage of one of their specials while my husband did our laundry. It was so convenient to have a self-serve laundry room on a 12 day vacation. All transfers were handled smoothly. I have never experienced such a speedy embarkation or debarkation from a cruise ship. The land portion of our trip included train rides, Denali and seeing the northern lights, which was a highlight of the trip. Sadly, we did not see any bears, caribou or moose, but we saw plenty of sea life and eagles. It was a great and memorable way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was a cruise my wife and I took from Vancouver to Seward. We took a five day Carnival cruise 3 weeks ago so I'll make some comparisons. In most ways, this cruise was superior to the Carnival cruise which was a five day ... Read More
This was a cruise my wife and I took from Vancouver to Seward. We took a five day Carnival cruise 3 weeks ago so I'll make some comparisons. In most ways, this cruise was superior to the Carnival cruise which was a five day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville on the Elation. The service, food, embarkation, and ports were all preferred over Carnival. However, this was a cruise clearly meant for an older crowd. We are in our 40's and felt that most others cruising with us were older. First impressions weren't great as the word ZAANDAM on the outside of the ship needed painting. However, we didn't note any other areas where the ship showed wear, so it really was in great shape. Food was consistently very good to outstanding. Every meal was well prepared and presented with top notch service. There were hardly ever any lines at any time in Lido or the main dining room. Lunch was where this ship shined over the Carnival. Here lunch was very good every day. Lunch was typically so-so on Carnival so there was a big difference here. Our inside cabin was much larger than Carnival with room for a couch where there was not room for one in the Carnival room. HAL also included a make-up mirror which my wife appreciated. Service was consistently good for the cabin, dining, and other areas where needed. Embarkation was very good with few lines and waiting. We were on board and eating before noon. We even enjoyed a swim on the warm Vancouver afternoon. We went on a land tour following the cruise and it was well run and organized every step of the way. This made the whole trip worthwhile although we really enjoyed the cruise portion as well. We did not do any cruise operated shore excursions so we can't speak to those. Wife went to one of the cooking demonstrations but didn't like it enough to attend any others. They were very crowded so you need to arrive early to get a seat. The live music was good but I prefer at least one choice that plays something more modern and hip. Live entertainment was good but nothing edgy here. The main downfall was the degree to which this cruise catered to the more seasoned folks. There were few "fun" activities and those that were presented weren't well done. For example, there is a night club area but it was not open every evening. The music played was almost exclusively 30 or more years old so it lacked the pizazz needed to make it truly enjoyable. I appreciated the live band that played a few nights, but they played songs mostly from the 1970's. Again, play some newer music. Even older folks can like newer tunes. All that said, we still thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would recommend it to anyone, especially those who aren't looking for fun but more a gracious cruising experience. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Did the 7 day north bound cruise from Vancouver to Seward. We had a Neptune Suite on Deck 7. Even though the Zaandam is a little tired internally, it is clean, comfortable and everything works as it should. Being in a Neptune Suite really ... Read More
Did the 7 day north bound cruise from Vancouver to Seward. We had a Neptune Suite on Deck 7. Even though the Zaandam is a little tired internally, it is clean, comfortable and everything works as it should. Being in a Neptune Suite really made the cruise for us as it was a large suite. We also had access to our own lounge, concierge and priority in the dining areas. There was quite a bit to do on the ship but we really didn't partake in many of the activities so can't comment. The ports were really only a stopover to appreciate the beauty of Alaska as there wasn't much else to see in any of them. Probably the highlight was the day cruising in Glacier Bay, in particular the onboard commentary by the park ranger. All in all, our first cruise with HAL and we'd be happy to join them again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Seeing Alaska was on our bucket list and the Zaandam fit our schedule and budget. We loved everything: the ports, size of the ship, nice size of stateroom, good food, wonderful staff. They also offered $20 laundry service for anything fit ... Read More
Seeing Alaska was on our bucket list and the Zaandam fit our schedule and budget. We loved everything: the ports, size of the ship, nice size of stateroom, good food, wonderful staff. They also offered $20 laundry service for anything fit in one fairly good-sized bag. Self-service laundry was available too. We were surprised to see a priest on board. He informed us that Mass was offered every day and would be noted on the daily itinerary. He said all Holland America ships have a priest on-board. Jewish service was also offered on Friday. Other thoughts - delicious sugar-free desserts, smooth handling of people and passports in and out of Canada, easy transition of passengers and luggage to "land" portion of trip into Denali. We would definitely go again! Things I might like to see improved: More availability in reservation times for open dining Completion of "virtual tour presentation" on workings of ship Crab legs one evening were pretty subpar (I was looking forward to this!) All pretty minor stuff! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were excited to be boarding the Holland America Zaandam for our recent Alaska cruise Our assigned stateroom was a category H partially obstructed view cabin close to the outdoors on the lower promenade deck… the next best thing to ... Read More
We were excited to be boarding the Holland America Zaandam for our recent Alaska cruise Our assigned stateroom was a category H partially obstructed view cabin close to the outdoors on the lower promenade deck… the next best thing to having a veranda stateroom. However a few days prior to boarding we were upgraded to a full ocean view stateroom with portholes, And there is the catch. We found ourselves descending into the bowel of the ship. Traces of stale air lingered as we passed the coughs and sniffles of the unfortunates in the infirmary. Our fears were confirmed when we opened the door of our cabin to discover the smallest, darkest oddly shaped cabin we had yet seen on a Holland America ship. We could get a view out of the deeply set portholes only by crawling across the bed, and that only after requesting the other person in the cabin to step aside. The ceilings were lower than in other cabins. There was less storage space and no refrigerator. A sign posted in the cabin advised us not to be alarmed about the noise and vibration caused by the bow thrusters. This was supposedly an “upgrade” from our previously assigned cabin. “Wait”, we said to the staff, “don’t we deserve a little better treatment as 4 star mariners?” The answer was no… the ship was full. This was a decision from on high: Corporate Inventory Management. It would appear that passengers commonly complain about these and a few other similarly undesirable cabins. We were assured the cabins are an indeed an upgrade. Who are these people in “Corporate Inventory Management”? We speculate that: They are new employees that have never been passengers on a HAL ship, or They have a grudge against Holland America and are trying to devalue the Mariner frequent traveler program, or They don’t understand the word “upgrade”, or Their approach to inventory management is just rolling the dice, or Inventory management is just a mythical department covering up for a defective software program. Holland America is an excellent cruise company: good food, beautiful public areas, well organized tours, friendly ship staff, etc. But please understand that these porthole staterooms are not an upgrade from the H or HH cabins on the Lower Promenade deck. Those are really delightful due to their location and partial view of the water and can actually be enjoyed without climbing into a window ledge and sticking one's neck into a tubular opening. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My sister and I booked our cruse thru the cruse agent. We asked for a quiet cabin away from any ice machines, elevator, area with music etc. A quiet area. The first night we heard banging, and what sounded like something heavy rolling over ... Read More
My sister and I booked our cruse thru the cruse agent. We asked for a quiet cabin away from any ice machines, elevator, area with music etc. A quiet area. The first night we heard banging, and what sounded like something heavy rolling over concrete. We were under the 24 hour a day active ships galley. After being told there were no other cabins available, we asked for one of the ships land tours instead. They would not but sent us chocolates and a sorry card. We were stuck on a ship where could not get any sleep. Sleep deprivation is used to break down prisoners not people on vacation. Long miserable story short we got on the ship August 5th 2017 and off on the 13th. On the 13th we got off the ship and took the ships transport to Anchorage for our after cruse vacation. That very afternoon my sisters went to bed in the hotel with a fever. When the fever spiced to 103.8 I took her to Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. She has a horrifying case of bacterial Pneumonia. She is still in the hospital today August 25th. PS, I also have Bronchitis and was put on Antibiotics. No ship should have a galley over cabins. Put it over the shops or anyplace where people are supposed to be able to sleep. The ship is ask horrible. To them a movie about Alaska and people talking about Alaska is considered shipboard entertainment. The food in the dining room and the coffee came out cold. The nice buttery croissants came out refrigerator cold. We met people with kids who told us that the kids went to planned events and nobody was there. When they complained they were told they were not there to entertain their children .WHAT????? Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Embarkation was smooth. Like others have said the ship was nicely appointed and decorated. Seemed clean and fairly well updated. Staterooms were adequate in size and offered ample storage space both for hanging and shelves/drawers. Our ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth. Like others have said the ship was nicely appointed and decorated. Seemed clean and fairly well updated. Staterooms were adequate in size and offered ample storage space both for hanging and shelves/drawers. Our room stewards (Heri & Jito) were excellent! Always cheerful and ready to provide any request we had. We didn't get ice on the first day but as soon as we made that request known we had ice in our room ice bucket twice daily from then on. The main dining room was nice and service there very good. We were a bit disappointed in the menu offerings at the first gala night but the second one at the next to last night of the cruise was excellent. The turf & surf was wonderful! Best, most tender steak I have ever had! Those were the positives. The negatives, unfortunately, were MANY. We did the open seating dining for dinner and made reservation on the first two nights only to find we still had to wait in the LONG lines so it seemed a reservation really was unnecessary and ignored. They need 2 lines for dealing with those having reservations and those who did not make them. The Lido Dining area was very poorly organized and run. Even when there were small numbers of people the waiting times were long and unnecessary. It was difficult when busy to tell where one line started and another began causing confusion and frustration to passengers. Items and areas were NOT well marked as the signs were WAY too small to read by the average middle aged to older person and were hidden behind people standing in line most of the time. If you wanted scrambled eggs with toppings you needed to stand in one line to get the eggs, then stand in a second line at either the omelet or eggs benedict station (which was not labeled) to get anything like mushrooms or cheese to top your eggs...ridiculous planning (or lack thereof!). AND the very loud pounding basketball noise on the starboard side during breakfast and lunch was extremely annoying and unpleasant while trying to enjoy a leisure breakfast or lunch. Once again, crazy planning for ship layout! Also on the pool Lido Dive In burger/taco bar there was often a lack of clean drink glasses and ice machine there was broken almost from the first day. When ice or clean glasses was requested we were generally told we needed to go inside and get them ourselves. NEVER have we had that kind of response from staff on any other cruise line we have travelled with. Usually staff is eager to please and serve but we did not feel this was the case on any of the Lido areas. Entertainment was also lacking in comparison to other cruise lines. The ship singers, dancers and musicians were good and both production shows were quite good. Otherwise entertainment was lacking. One comedian and one magician other than the ship staff entertainers was minimal and, frankly, below par. There was never live entertainment in the main dining room, as in a pianist or something during dinner which happens on many other ships, and the music loop in the dining room was the exact same loop night after night with the exact same songs repeated over and over again. Also, on ship days there was never live entertainment provided on the Lido deck as is often done on other cruise lines. Just seemed we got the very basic minimum they could get away with. All in all things could have been done much better. Probably wouldn't use HAL again unless the itinerary is something that's a must for us and isn't being offered by any other cruise line. Glad we went to see Alaska, but didn't leave anywhere near 100 percent pleased. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We took the 'Double Denali' cruise out of Vancouver. Boarding and orientation was very good. Bags arrived in a timely manner. Overall, the ship is in great shape with plenty of staff attending to multiple maintenance details at ... Read More
We took the 'Double Denali' cruise out of Vancouver. Boarding and orientation was very good. Bags arrived in a timely manner. Overall, the ship is in great shape with plenty of staff attending to multiple maintenance details at all times. Easy movement around ship with multiple elevators so 'no wait' was common. Good signage to assist with orientation and movement. The cabin was as advertised with good storage, comfy bed and furniture in good shape. (We had a verandah cabin). Cabin staff was superb and, once they knew what we needed and liked, they kept us very comfortable. The staff to client ratio was nearly 1:2 such that they were EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, they are not cross trained so when we asked a question the staff member usually didn't know the answer, referred us to somebody else (who often did not know the answer) or gave us bad information. Eventually, we just directly called the front desk if info was needed and that staff was knowledgeable and helpful. Dining: The 2 story dining room was excellent and reservations were important. The Lido restaurant (buffet style) was difficult at times. We eventually gave it the nickname of "Cattle call" as finding a seat could be difficult and the crowds were, well, like a cattle call. Food was good throughout the ship however. The only problems we encountered was the poor English speaking of the staff serving the food. One night it took 6 questions to determine what a cook was serving. Nobody in line around us understood her, but we eventually pieced it together. The floor serving staff was attentive, though a couple of them had bad non-verbal attitudes. That is, the faces made suggested I was bothering them by asking for some tea! A significant complaint was the dinning chairs in the Cattle room. With rare exception, every one was sunken in a concave manner. VERY uncomfortable and in need of immediate repair/replacement. Entertainment: We did not participate in much of the onboard entertainment, spending our time onshore visiting places. Ports: All the ports in AK were fun to visit and obviously fully oriented toward the tourists. It was easy to navigate when onshore. Excursions were mostly excellent, but depended on the skill and experience of the guide. Some leaders were well educated and verbally skilled. Others were more or less doing a job. All excursion staff were attentive to our safety and needs. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We choose this cruise because of departure port, itinerary, bonus of getting us up to Denali and general age demographics. We're late 50's/early 60's and really have no interest in the mega cruise ship experience and ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of departure port, itinerary, bonus of getting us up to Denali and general age demographics. We're late 50's/early 60's and really have no interest in the mega cruise ship experience and shudder at the thought of a few thousand people aboard. The Zaandam was the perfect size ship for us and felt like a pair of comfortable shoes or favorite pullover. Not all sparkly and new but loved and clean. She looked so tiny sandwiched in between the PCL ships in port. We hoped for smooth cruising as one of our companions was prone to sea sickness and fortunately had calm seas the entire trip. Since we had good weather we found ourselves spending a lot of time on the uncrowded Sea View pool deck enjoying the views. I imagine it's cold early and later on during Alaska cruise season but it felt pretty much like San Francisco in July to us. Go down the stairway right at the center of the back of the deck to the very private public deck on deck 7. Thank us later. :-) Ship - We passed through but never stayed in the Lido pool area as that seemed to be where all the families with kids congregated. It was fine, the ship had many different places to spend time according to your likes. Exploration area with library, individual and family games, computers. Other quiet spots to sit, relax, read and take in the view from inside. Crow's nest for that great forward looking view. We enjoyed the jazz trio at the Ocean Bar and wished they played a little later into the evening. We didn't take in any shows but did enjoy the Thermal Suite and had it to ourselves 2 out of 3 times for a couple hours a pop - score! You can split a couple's pass with someone other than your significant other. Great glassed forward looking view and we spotted Orcas while soaking in the hot tub cruising up the inside passage. Food - We ate all dinners in the main dining room under the open dining plan. First two nights service was very spotty as was one rushed breakfast but we found good service on third evening and made reservations for that table and waitstaff for the rest of the our evening meals. We found the menu options were quite good with appetizers, salads, soups, a fish, poultry, pasta, meat, vegetarian, gluten free, sugar free offerings for deserts every night. Portions were appropriately sized, not huge so no waste. Would rate the MDR meals a respectable 7 on a 10 scale. We've had better and worse. Some of the same items were available in the Lido if you wanted to brave the buffet. Do make sure you get to the Lido buffet at least 30 mins before they stop serving because they cut off about 10 mins earlier than expected. Almost missed 1st breakfast because we slept in. It was tense to say the least to get food when they were pulling everything closed. This was our most negative experience. Otherwise we ate lunch (almost at closing every time so no crowds) and late night tea and snack there. Nice selection but we mainly ate from the Asian Counter, hey, when in Rome! Food 6.5 on a 10 scale. We ordered room service for breakfast (eggs & omelettes) on port days and it was delivered promptly. Food 5.5 on 10 scale (pretty meh). Drinks - we don't really drink but the best value we saw had to be the pitchers of Alaska Brewery beer at the Alaska Bar on the Lido pool deck (around $17/pitcher + grat). Good coffee can be found at the Exploration Cafe for a small price. Excursions - We rented a car in each port and self toured away from the souvenir and jewelry shops. Glacier Bay cruising - amazing! Good weather blessed us with fabulous views. We were outside almost the entire time, wear layers and a waterproof/windproof outer top/bottom and you will be fine. Go up to the verandah deck above the bow. On board activities - We skipped most of them but it just happened that way. There were some that looked really good but we found ourselves looking at the amazing scenery most of the time when on the ship. Naturalist and rangers were good. Embarkation - Initial was delayed due to ship sanitizing from a NoroVirus outbreak on the previous cruise(!!). The crew continued wipe down efforts well into the cruise which we thanked every staff member we saw doing this most important task. Wash your hands often people! We didn't hear of any outbreaks during our 7 day journey. Otherwise getting on/off the ship while in port was quick and easy. Staff - hard working, give them the thanks they deserve for the long hours they put in week in and week out to make our vacations memorable. Laundry room - good luck with that one but happy to be able to have clean clothes before transferring to Denali Go very late or very early and stay with your load. You have been forewarned. ;-) Overall our cruise experience was very enjoyable and relaxing. A nice balance of at sea and in port days. We went in knowing this is not luxury cruise nor one designed to keep you entertained 24hrs a day. The ship was pretty quiet by 10PM and that's ok. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had cruised twice before on Holland America and thought it was a great cruise line. Unfortunately things have changed over the past several years. We took the inside passage to Alaska, then three nights in Denali. We booked a suite and ... Read More
We had cruised twice before on Holland America and thought it was a great cruise line. Unfortunately things have changed over the past several years. We took the inside passage to Alaska, then three nights in Denali. We booked a suite and sailed with two other couples who also booked suites. Service and food have deteriorated considerably in comparison to our two previous cruises with this line. With the exception of the salmon, which was excellent, every seafood entree we had was mediocre or worse. The Alaskan Halibut -- which we loved at restaurants on shore -- was thin, brown, and almost inedible. The rainbow trout was oily, salty, and fishy. At "High Tea," we felt crowded and rushed. The head waiter told us, as he ushered us to a table, that space was limited -- though tea was held in the main dining room with many, many empty tables. We felt that we were herded in, pushed to hurry through our tea, and offered only limited selections of dainties. In most situations, service was slow and they seemed understaffed. ENRICHMENT: Most likely the naturalist on board knew a lot, and I heard that the presentation she made in the auditorium was excellent. It was not possible to understand any of the information she related to us on deck because the sound system was so very bad, EXCURSIONS: Excursions offered by Holland America were generally very good, and the prices were competitive. The one exception to this was the Denali Covered Wagon meal which was a waste of time and money. There was little scenery because of the narrow pathway and canvas cover on the wagon. We were crowded onto benches in the covered wagon, and the food, while plentiful, was not very good. BUS RIDE TO (OR FROM) DENALI: The bus ride to Denali was long and cramped. There was no place on the bus to put a drink or a snack. After making restroom stops twice at facilities without running water, we stopped for lunch at a Holland America concession for a "sandwich buffet." Hundreds of people were crowed around open tables of bread, sandwich meat, potato salad, etc. Mustard was in common squeeze dispensers -- quite smudged and dirty. Hundreds of people had no choice about where to eat or use the restroom, so they lined up for the restroom, or chose to got right to the food line without washing up. One of the men's rooms was un-usable because the toilet had overflowed, in a very disgusting way, but there was no sign warning people to stay out. Many people went through the open food line after having stopped at an out-house to relieve themselves, and without bothering to stand in line to wash their hands. With all of the warnings about norovirus, I was afraid to eat this lunch. Friends who were on the southbound cruise two weeks before us told us that 300 people were confined to their cabins for several days because of an outbreak of some type of virus. I wonder whether they picked it up at this lunch stop? DENALI: Denali was wonderful, but we stayed in Holland America's McKinley lodges and wasted lots of time waiting for shuttles to the main lodge. Sometimes the shuttle was full, so we almost missed some excursion departures. Walking was OK for some of us, but one of our party is disabled, so she often felt that she was an impediment for the rest of us -- It was not her fault but the fault of the cruise line for being understaffed and under-equipped. WESTMARK HOTEL: In Anchorage we stayed at the Westmark owned by Holland America. Our room smelled musty, but they could not move us because the hotel was full. I think this cruise line has stretched its resources to the maximum while minimizing service to its customers. All six of us were disappointed and regretted our choice to take a cruise. A land tour would have been more comfortable and would have given us more control of our time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We had this cruise planned for three years. Our travel agent suggested strongly that we use Holland for our air travel even though I could get it cheaper. We had trouble from the very start. They never purchased the tickets and when I ... Read More
We had this cruise planned for three years. Our travel agent suggested strongly that we use Holland for our air travel even though I could get it cheaper. We had trouble from the very start. They never purchased the tickets and when I tried to check or get a seat assignment their web site would just say that changes were being made. I called Holland about it but the representative was very short and said she would not talk to me because I used a travel agent to plan the trip. When they did finally purchase the tickets (two weeks before we were to leave they booked the other couple we were going with on a different flight. Are travel agent made several calls to Holland to get things straightened out. They ended up adding an extra stop on our return flight and added four hours to the trip. On the Boat we signed up for an excursion which they totally messed up. After purchasing the excursion they called the night before and told us the time had change from 11:30AM to 8:15AM. They put us on the wrong bus so we missed part of what we had signed up for and we were not allowed to join in on the last part of the excursion with the people we were put with. They would only refund 15 percent of the cost because it was the tour agents fault. I personally would look at a different cruise line if I were to do it again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We did the northern Vancouver to Seward cruise that included Glacier Bay and then a land tour to Denali. We went to Vancouver early and walked around some, took the train into town from our hotel by airport. Other family went on ... Read More
We did the northern Vancouver to Seward cruise that included Glacier Bay and then a land tour to Denali. We went to Vancouver early and walked around some, took the train into town from our hotel by airport. Other family went on hop-on, hop-off trolley and enjoyed that. The ship was beautiful but could use some updates in bathroom in cabin and a second power outlet. The lido deck buffet food was good and plentiful. The dining room food was better. The burgers and fries at poolside were pretty good. Lines could be long at times. Casino was small but nice and winning was better than the other cruise I took. They had some card tournaments,but I did not do those. They had a good piano bar entertainer, Andy. Cabin service and room service were awesome. Drinks were delicious, we got the drink pkg. I think we missed out some by not going to the Crow's Nest more often. They had live music up there, I think we would've enjoyed that too. We did love Alaska and it's beauty. We stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. All with their own beauty. We traveled with adult kids and had fun zip-lining, salmon fishing, trains, trams, flying misty fjords, glacier viewing, hiking and kayaking. The land tour was stunning. Bus from Seward to Denali was long but ok. We stayed in cabins at McKinley Chalet Resort which is a beautiful property. Across street from shopping, excursions available on property or across street. We hiked around property some and did a bus tour 60 miles into Denali. Saw plenty of caribou, Dallas sheep and some moose, and one bear. Got a great video of momma and baby moose walking down the road. Otherwise just stunning views. Traveled back to Anchorage by McKinley Explorer train. This is an awesome way to travel! Dining car on bottom and observation dome with our seats on top, with a bar. The hotel in Anchorage was an older building and needed renovations, particularly, elevators and lobby. The rooms were fine, with balcony and nice view. All in all it was a great trip and I highly recommend it. Holland America owns and gets you everywhere Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Selected this cruise because it was part of our Vacation points options and it was in the time frame when we wanted to travel to Alaska. Ship is medium size, about 1250 passengers. Common areas are very nice. Cabins are OK but a ... Read More
Selected this cruise because it was part of our Vacation points options and it was in the time frame when we wanted to travel to Alaska. Ship is medium size, about 1250 passengers. Common areas are very nice. Cabins are OK but a regular stateroom with a large window felt cramped. Plenty of room for our luggage and clothes. A balcony is nice to have but we seldom used it on a previous cruise. I think it would have been nicer to have the option weather permitting. Dining room food and service was excellent. Lido was OK but service needs some help. In-room dining service was good. Technology is lacking. The ship internet service can only be used to see some menus & agendas. One cannot order excursions or shop. You have to wait in line at front desk or travel consultant area when they are opened. Onboard internet service is $55/hour. I did not receive my onboard credit and am still trying to get it resolved. We heard mixed reviews on entertainment. Most people loved the comedian. Ports visited were great. Quaint towns with lots of shops. Never realized Alaska ports were into the jewelry businesses. Heavily emphasized on the ship too. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a ... Read More
Been on this cruise three times before. Great if you like days at sea, as we do. The entire staff of the Zaandam, in every department, provided excellent service, with a few monitor hiccups during the cruise. We are confused by a couple of negative reviews of the short repositioning cruise just prior to ours - the one from San Diego to Vancouver. We heard rumours about up coming changes to the Zaandam during its next refit - such as the elimination of a library and changes to the Crow's Nest that we are concerned about, but change is constant in our current world, and we will wait to see if these rumours are true and, most importantly, if we feel they are positive ones or not. Handrie, or dining room steward, was excellent in his attention to our needs during our entire cruise, and our several visits to the Pinnacle Grill reconfirmed what we had experienced on our three Hawaii previous cruises on the Zaandam - the steaks are outstanding. We have never experienced better in our business travels around the world. Great to experience the same captain, Christopher Turner, as last year! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My wife and I did a similar cruise on the Zaandam from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago and wanted to try it from a different port, and to see what changes may have occurred to the ship and/or ports of call. The ship seems brighter ... Read More
My wife and I did a similar cruise on the Zaandam from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago and wanted to try it from a different port, and to see what changes may have occurred to the ship and/or ports of call. The ship seems brighter and refreshed, except for the TVs in the cabins which are from the 70s, or so they appear based on the very poor picture quality. Speaking of which I can't understand why we were void of major TV news channels on the last three days back to Seattle except for two ESPN stations, and the only TV weather updates were for South American countries through the BBC channel. HAL, it's 2017 and we have the technology so PLEASE USE IT!! Try for some better customer service here. Our primary negative perception about the cruise and the ship is about how cool/cold the ship's public areas were kept requiring us and many other passengers to habitually walk around wearing our coats, hoodies, etc. We would sit in, for example, to listen to Adagio only to have cold air conditioning blowing on our heads, as well as elsewhere about the ship. Uncalled for. The lack of a librarian/IT supervisor was another failure in customer service, and the staff at the front desk was no substitute, nor should they be. The excessive cost coupled with the poor quality of WiFi service is a slap in the face for any passengers trying to make use of that service and should be improved. One thing that seemed to have changed for the better was the overall quality of the entertainment throughout the cruise, at least in comparison to our last four cruises with HAL since 2014 on other ships. But the over amplification of the band and singers constantly corrupted what could have been a better musical experience and often took away from the quality of the singers voices who always seemed to be trying to be heard over the band; those gals and guys deserve better treatment and respect from any musical group that accompanies them. The cabin stewards were good, and the 5th floor dining staff excellent. The Lido's dining chairs need reupholstering, now. Almost every chair's cushioning has been flattened down to the frame. Our overall experience was such that, contrary to our usual practice, we didn't sign up on board for a specific future cruise; we did leave a future cruise deposit that will be good for the next several years on a cruise of our choosing. If there is one. Our next several cruises will be with Cunard and we'll just keep reading CC's blogs and look forward to hearing about improvements. I'm not going to say anything about the tours offered under the precept of, if you can't say anything nice...... But if HAL perceives all touring passengers to need a shopping stop, please do away with them on cultural tours and just organize plain old shopping tours for those who want to shop and visit markets, etc. Read Less
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.7
Service 3.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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