60 Holland America Zaandam Family Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Due to the weather ( which was awful) we were not able to stop in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I did enjoy Quebec and our private tour with Tours By Locals, Claude was our guide and he was beyond ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Due to the weather ( which was awful) we were not able to stop in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I did enjoy Quebec and our private tour with Tours By Locals, Claude was our guide and he was beyond excellent, I would recommend Clause to everyone going to Quebec . I also enjoy a private tour to the Bay of Fundy in Halifax by Bruce's Tours, I recommend him to all, he also was excellent. The weather is Bar Harbor caused trip to Callilac mountain to be cancelled. We were told o free bus service until July to the national park, but weather was an issue.Back to the ship. The service in the dining room was very slow, each and every night. Food was just ok. To get a good steak or fish dinner you needed to go to the speciality dining which they charge extra for. One good night in the dining room, the second gala night, the food was very good. Our room steward was excellent, always a clean room and kind friendly service.The test kitchen is located in a small room if you don't get there early you are out of luck. Same room for bingo same problem. I do not recommend going on this cruise in May weather is not good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We booked this cruise at the last minute (just a few weeks before sailing) since I realized our three college-age daughters would be available for the week before starting summer jobs. We had two ocean-view cabins, which were midship and ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute (just a few weeks before sailing) since I realized our three college-age daughters would be available for the week before starting summer jobs. We had two ocean-view cabins, which were midship and had a connecting door between the rooms. This was our first cruise on Holland America. It definitely was an older age group than we had sailed with on prior cruises, but that was OK for all of us. We are not party people or big drinkers, nor do we do a lot of group activities (such as bingo or trivia). So having the chance to see some new cities in New England and Canada was our main goal, while at the same time having some nice meals. The food in the main dining room was above average for a cruise line (our last cruise had been on Celebrity.) Two of our daughters are vegetarians, and they enjoyed having a separate menu of interesting items (in addition to the vegetarian items on the daily menu.) Our one item of contention in the main dining room was the inconsistency of service, both at breakfast and at dinner. Frankly, out of six nights, we only thought that our service was good once. The wait times seemed to be unexplainable for the most part (we did not have set dining times, but made reservations once we got on board). The specialty Italian restaurant was very good. We dined there one evening and both the food and service were very good. We also all thought that the buffet was a little nicer with a better selection than on Celebrity. The cabin itself was a little outdated, but it had a wonderful bathroom with the largest shower we have ever had on a cruise. My main complaint was the TV...it was tiny! It was difficult for us to see what was on TV. Also, along those lines, we were happy that movies were offered in a "theater", but actually it turned out that there was not even a big screen -- just two slightly larger TVs on each side of the room. While it may not be easy to replace all TVs in the cabins, certainly HM can buy a larger screen TV for the "theater"! The evening entertainment was nothing special--but it was something to do for the evening and gave us all something to talk about and critique (I do not mean this as a put down to HM because we have said the same thing about the entertainment on even higher end ships.) The real gem of an entertainer for my husband and me was Stryker the "piano man" in the piano bar. He was WONDERFUL. HM needs more seating in the piano bar. It was standing room only each night. Our daughters enjoyed the Test Kitchen presentations, and wished they would do one daily. It would have been nice if there had been some additional "game shows" or something at night in addition to the main theater shows for some of the "younger" people. And for Catholics who are considering HM, I need to tell you why we will be sailing with Holland America again: there was a priest on board who celebrated daily Mass. This was a wonderful benefit for us so that we did not need to figure out how to find a Catholic Church in one of the ports on Sunday. Keep up this practice, Holland America, and we will be back on board with you! Bar Harbor and Quebec were definitely our favorite ports. We scheduled a tour of Acadia National Park directly with the Park in advance via the internet (the bus was an easy walk from the port.) We also purchased a Hop on Hop Off bus tour of Quebec once we were in Quebec (there is a tour desk in the Fairmont Hotel lobby, which you will want to see anyway.) You can skip the Funicular up the hill in Quebec -- it truly was a waste of money. Halifax was a nice stop, and an easily walkable city. I must give a shoutout to Avis in Montreal We rented a car for our family to return to Boston in (an easy drive of about 7 hours with stops for lunch and ice cream). Avis was the only car rental agency that we found which would permit us to take a car across the border and leave it in Boston. And Avis sent a van to pick us up at the cruise port! The weather during the week was colder than we had hoped, but overall it was an enjoyable week on Holland America, even for our 20-something daughters who love to explore the world and have interesting food along the way. I would recommend Holland America and look forward to sailing again with them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was a tailor made holiday to Brazil and ended with the cruise from Bueno Aries to Santiago. The facilities were fine. Food in buffet was excellant but in restaurant I was underwhelmed. Tendering was a shambles. Missed my private ... Read More
This was a tailor made holiday to Brazil and ended with the cruise from Bueno Aries to Santiago. The facilities were fine. Food in buffet was excellant but in restaurant I was underwhelmed. Tendering was a shambles. Missed my private pre booked trip because the steward would not allow me off the ship although I explained I needed to leave to meet my tour. Even when I booked a ship tour I had to ask permission to leave to make tour. Also price of tours are now so expensive . Not good value. Entertainment on main stage was O.K. Some shows were excellant ,others were not suitable for the main entertainment. Staff were friendly but there was not many on dockside to help when going ashore for trips. This was my second cruise with Holland America , I chose them because last cruise I was very happy with them. This time I felt the standard had fallen slightly, However I would cruise with them again if cruise itinerary was what I required Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have been to Alaska the last two years with my grandson on Holland America and loved it. The crew, the staff, the Chefs like Chef Kenny and Officer Marcus were so helpful. They were the dinamic duo making sure that everything was ready ... Read More
I have been to Alaska the last two years with my grandson on Holland America and loved it. The crew, the staff, the Chefs like Chef Kenny and Officer Marcus were so helpful. They were the dinamic duo making sure that everything was ready on time. In the dinning, Charlie, Marcus and our servers were happy, and very attentive. This is a happy ship, not sure what their secret is but the crew showed that they enjoyed their jobs, took great pride in all their challenges. Positivity flourished every where.! The excursion team was super. I think Derek from Amsterdam was tops. I would recommend this cruise so much that I am planning on repeating it again next year! The destinations were so different. The other guest on the ship were outgoing and friendly. The Zandam is a happy, clean, ship being staffed by some of the best crew I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Thank you Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was the longest cruise I have been on. Tha Zaandam is a smaller ship but everything seemed to be well maintained. The itinerary was great saw some smaller ports most people never see. The crew were all friendly and helpful. Scenery ... Read More
This was the longest cruise I have been on. Tha Zaandam is a smaller ship but everything seemed to be well maintained. The itinerary was great saw some smaller ports most people never see. The crew were all friendly and helpful. Scenery was awesome and saw lots of wildlife. Weather was really good for Alaska much sunshine. Went to Americas Test Kitchen demos and they were all informative and well organized. Only thing is I wished I had booked a balcony cabin, but Zaandam has very limited number of balconies and they are quite expensive.Food on board was generally quite good, but I really don't recommend the Italian restaurant on board not really worth the upcharge. MDR had very good food and service was really good, a life saver for me was that they had many 2 tops in the dining room which made my daughter very happy, She does not like eating with strangers. Buffet food was amazingly good. Overall I would recommend this cruise visits the itinerary it awesome, Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Having sailed with HAL many times in the past, it was a no-brainer to pick the 14-day cruise on the ms Zaandam. This was my 4th cruise to Alaska, yet the itinerary included no less than 4 ports/sites that I had not seen before (Homer, Icy ... Read More
Having sailed with HAL many times in the past, it was a no-brainer to pick the 14-day cruise on the ms Zaandam. This was my 4th cruise to Alaska, yet the itinerary included no less than 4 ports/sites that I had not seen before (Homer, Icy Strait-Hoonah, Kodiak and Anchorage). As expected, the food and beverage service was above average. HAL's history of Filipino and Indonesian service staff is time-honored and well-known. But I did notice a few things that were not characteristic of prior HAL cruises. The cabin steward service was maddeningly inconsistent. The ventilation in our ocean-view stateroom was substandard - it always seemed warm and stuffy, even with the thermostat at the lowest possible setting. The bedding and bath linens were old, rough and threadbare. However, the bath had been recently upgraded with a nice sink and shower. The mattress was a slight upgrade over a military surplus cot, and I arose every morning with a a backache. I was surprised to find only ONE electrical outlet to be used for cell phone chargers, CPAP machine, Kindle chargers, etc. We had to ask for a power strip/extension cord which we had to drape over the door handle for the adjoining stateroom, which was cumbersome and hazardous. One thing has not changed on HAL is the pricey beverage structure. $7.00 for a domestic beer and $50.00 for a bottle of wine was enough to discourage my customary couple of beers in the afternoon and a bottle of wine for dinner. I was not happy with the structure of the Lido. A buffet should be self-serve, yet you had to stand in line for any hot food selections. On the other hand, I found the quality of the food in the Lido equal to that of the Dining Room, and since I was limiting my alcoholic beverage consumption due to high prices, I visited the Lido for all afternoon and evening meals except twice during the 14-day trip. Overall, a fine cruise with several notable disappointments. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Wanted a 2 week cruise to get out of the heat and this one had stops at places we haven't been to before. Like the smaller ship and getting an elevator was easy with no waiting. The crew and food were very good. The library was ... Read More
Wanted a 2 week cruise to get out of the heat and this one had stops at places we haven't been to before. Like the smaller ship and getting an elevator was easy with no waiting. The crew and food were very good. The library was excellent, stocked with books and games. We had an outside cabin with a newly renovated bathroom which was great. We are not fond of HAL's room setup and prefer Princess design better. HAL hallway into the room was cramped with the closet setup. Did not like having to stand up to turn the change on the tv. The bed was under the window and in Alaska you still get a lot of daylight coming in under the drapes.HAL is doing room steward care differently. There are no carts in the hallway and somehow your room would get taken care of. Saw very little of our room steward and miss talking to them during the day. You had to call guest services if you needed something and they would contact your steward. The portage glacier excursion was excellent in Anchorage. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I booked this cruise through a local travel agent. All the connections went smoothly to and from the ship. Our staterooms were cozy and cleaned daily by friendly staff. There were many places to eat onboard and the early dining was the ... Read More
I booked this cruise through a local travel agent. All the connections went smoothly to and from the ship. Our staterooms were cozy and cleaned daily by friendly staff. There were many places to eat onboard and the early dining was the best! We enjoyed all the excursions and the staff made sure we all found our activities after the ship docked. Had a terrific 2 week cruise we’ll never forget!! We also had a person using a walker and the handicapped room proved spacious enough to store it. The hot tubs and pools were very much enjoyed. Very clean and provided many towels. We also enjoyed the many ports with free shuttles to and from the activities right from the pier. While we were enjoying the glaciers the captain spent at least an hour at the scene so we could take many pictures and enjoy the wildlife while he turned the boat around. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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
Sail Date September 2017
I chose this cruise because it offered a visit to the Denali Wilderness Park. It also visited Skagway and Fairbanks, both places I had not visited. My first mistake was booking through a secondary seller. My usual travel agent was told ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it offered a visit to the Denali Wilderness Park. It also visited Skagway and Fairbanks, both places I had not visited. My first mistake was booking through a secondary seller. My usual travel agent was told by Holland America that they had not heard of the trip I was trying to book. So my friend and I booked through the secondary seller. The price was very low and as the trip progressed we discovered why. A complimentary cabin upgrade was offered. When we asked, no such upgrade was available. Gratuities were advertised as included. We were billed onboard for gratuities. Holland America's response to my inquiry about this was to politely say that it was my fault for taking such a cheap trip. The food on board ranged from acceptable to mediocre. Things that had been complimentary when I last travelled on Holland America were now charged for. Service was acceptable but orders in the dining room were frequently incorrect. There seemed to be an expectation that every service person you encountered was owed a tip. Shore excursions were aggressively marketed and overpriced. The hotel we overnighted in in Anchorage was badly in need of renovations. It was advertised as three star. I would call it closer to two stars. The breakfast buffet was terrible and outrageously priced. Read Less
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
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise to sail through Antarctica. Having been on several HAL cruises we were not concerned with quality. We were convinced that the quality would be the same on this ship as it had been on our previous three cruises. It was ... Read More
We chose this cruise to sail through Antarctica. Having been on several HAL cruises we were not concerned with quality. We were convinced that the quality would be the same on this ship as it had been on our previous three cruises. It was definitely not! If you have food allergies BEWARE! The Lido deck is fraught with dangers for those with allergies. My adult daughters suffer from some fairly severe allergies and had a most difficult time finding anything to eat. Bread and butter became their best friend. Our cabin cleanliness was quite lacking as well. Several times our stateroom door was left open. So much fo safety on the ship. The only time we had hot food was in the specialty restaurants, which of course cost extra. There's something inherently wrong with that. Service is another big issue on this ship or should I say lack of service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
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
This was our first time on HAL and to Alaska. I have been on two other cruises with Carnival and Royal Carribean. Overall it was a very good experience. The rooms were bigger than I expected and very clean. The attendants were friendly ... Read More
This was our first time on HAL and to Alaska. I have been on two other cruises with Carnival and Royal Carribean. Overall it was a very good experience. The rooms were bigger than I expected and very clean. The attendants were friendly and prompt with anything we needed. The entire crew was the most friendly we've ever experienced and could not have been better. The entertainment was pretty much what you would expect. I only have a few suggestions for HAL: Please provide music in the dining areas other than the elevator music loop that plays continuously. Also, if you take the land cruise portion of this cruise, you will likely be staying at HAL's hotel chain (Westmark Hotels). In Fairbanks and at Denali Park, these were very nice, however; the Anchorage location is very sub par and the kind of hotel I would never stay in. It smelled funky, had stains all over the carpet and looked very tired. Have them put you in the Captain Cook Hotel instead if headed to Anchorage. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was my first cruise. All in all it went well. The positives: cabin very clean, ship very clean, staff extremely attentive (except the front desk people who were not always helpful). Negatives: in my cabin you could hear the music ... Read More
This was my first cruise. All in all it went well. The positives: cabin very clean, ship very clean, staff extremely attentive (except the front desk people who were not always helpful). Negatives: in my cabin you could hear the music being played from the floor below, the cabin had an odor as if the there was an issue with the plumbing system. The entertainment was not very good and that was disappointing. Also the port of Haines was VERY boring as there really is not much to do there. There are not many activities to do on the ship and the ship needs updating. We took the train from Anchorage to Seward. The ride was nice but they messed up our registration on the train so when we were going to the ship we had to wait for our boarding cards. Getting off the ship also did not go very smoothly as we purchased the package for transportation to the airport and for the ship to take our bags to the airport. They call EVERYONE at the same time to the lounge at 7:50am. We did not board our bus until 10:00am! We sat for over 2 hours in the lounge doing nothing. No reason for that. We had dietary restrictions (kosher) and the food specially ordered was NOT edible. The cruise line needs to get a new supplier. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We did the land and sea trip, landing first in Fairbanks AK. The arrival to Fairbanks Airport was seamless and staff were waiting for us with envelopes in hand. Communication was excellent and we proceeded by coach to the hotel. Was a ... Read More
We did the land and sea trip, landing first in Fairbanks AK. The arrival to Fairbanks Airport was seamless and staff were waiting for us with envelopes in hand. Communication was excellent and we proceeded by coach to the hotel. Was a quick night stay in a lovely hotel before being shuttled off to the Riverboat tour. This was an informative, relaxing and enjoyable tour with a hearty meal afterwards. We then proceeded by coach to the McKinley Westmark Hotel in Denali. Took a bit of a learning curve to figure how to get about the grounds and where things were located but otherwise the beauty of this area is astounding. Cost to eat meals is quite expensive and most of the entire area is owned by Holland America or Princess Cruise lines. We learnt that after the last cruise of the season, the entire area is boarded up, stop lights shut off and everything is closed till spring. Took part in the bus tour into Denali National Park in attempts to see Mt. McKinley or Denali Mountain. Only about 30% of visitors get to witness the highest mountain in Alaska. We weren't part of the lucky ones, however we did see plenty of wildlife and enjoyed the rugged scenery along the way. Our driver and guide "Becky" was extremely knowledgeable of the area and the animals/birds we were seeing. Had one day of tour free time. Glad we didn't book anything extra as we truly needed some relaxation time as the itinerary thus far was go, go, go. Travelled via train to Anchorage. They sold us on the Trolley City Tour of Anchorage which in my opinion was a total waste of money. Unfortunately, when our luggage was being transported via truck to Anchorage it was totally destroyed and unusable. We spent a good portion of our limited time in Anchorage searching for a replacement piece of luggage at our cost. Upon arriving back home, we'll need to see if we can be reimbursed. (not what wants to deal with on, nor after a vacation). Back onto a train for a scenic rail ride to Seward. This train ride was very picturesque and loved that our embarkation paperwork etc was completed on the train so that when we did arrive in Seward we could go directly onto the ship. First day at sea was a bit rough but once again needed the relaxation time. Sailing through the Glacier Bay area was breathtaking and pictures, nor video captures the vast beauty of this area. We were within 4 football fields of the glacier itself and I was magnified to its glorious colours, hugeness and the way its noises of crackling seemed to tell a story. Definitely a highlight. We ate our dinners primarily in the Rottingham Dining room. Saw many people not meeting the dress code and this to me was demeaning the classiness of the dining experience. I don't think pants and a collared shirt is much to ask. The Lido dining was very slow in the mornings, especially for a personal omelette. Did the specialty restaurant one night to celebrate anniversary and birthdays. Ordered the King Crab and it was the most tasteless piece of crab I have ever had. All the others enjoyed their meals but hadn't ordered the king crab. Haines port was very small and we didn't spend much time there as we took a ferry into Skagway for the White Pass Summit train ride. This was a beautiful tour with great views and information regarding the gold rush. We even got to go to the Yukon, Canada where the train then began to travel back the way in which we came. Shopping in Skagway was expensive and in many of the jewelry stores one felt like you were prey for the store clerks to pounce upon when you walked into the door. However this prey like behaviour lessened and the jewelry prices got better the further down Broadway one walked. In Juneau we took a bus excursion from a local company at a cheaper rate than offered on the ship. Was a fantastic excursion to Mendenhall Glacier, city tour, panoramic photo op of the port and city itself. The driver/guide was born in Juneau and had much information to offer. While at the glacier we saw the salmon swimming upstream to spawn. Fortunate for us there was a Momma Black Bear and her 3 cubs along the riverside. We watched as Momma splashed about in the river and caught a salmon, bringing it on shore for all to feast upon. The shopping in Juneau was primarily Jewelry store with a few trinket stores dispersed within. I did but a pair of black "fuzzies" comfortable leather shoes/slippers/moccasins at a reasonable price. Also to note there is free Wifi in the library located on the top of the parking garage for anyone wanting to check emails but not wanting to buy the internet package on board. BTW I heard it was very intermittent on the ship with frequent cut offs from service. We had an inside cabin in the middle of the ship. Was very comfortable and room stewards were actively cleaning all the time. There was a terrible rotting cabbage/garbage smell in the hallways for several days on our floor. It seeped into the rooms a bit but I had brought room deodorizer with me that seemed to help keep the smell to the hallway. The weather was cloudy most of the days with the odd peaking out of sunshine. Fog was standard in the mornings and usually had cleared by 9:30 - 10:00 am, although some lingered along the mountain tops playing peek-a-boo with the peaks of the mountains. Temperatures ranged from lows in the evenings in high 50'sF or teens C to almost 80F or 26C in Ketchikan. We didn't require sweatshirts, scarves, gloves etc. Unless you plan on walking onto the glaciers. A long sleeved shirt with a jacket seemed to suffice, but shorts and t-shirt was needed in Ketchikan on our visit. Washed laundry while on the ship in the laundry room. Wash was $3.00 and dry was $1.50. Machines did a good job only there weren't enough of them. Often there was a line up and people waiting. Somewhat of an organized chaos. The cost of $50.00 for the ship to wash a small brown paper bag of clothes after being on shore for 5 days prior to the cruise itself was a bit much I think. Obviously, given the number of people doing their own laundry they all felt the same. Several times while eating a meal we caught a glimpse of whales, otters and even bald eagles in the distance. The entertainment was a good quality but many of the entertainers we had seem before on a HAL cruise. Thought the shows themselves could have been a bit longer. The next stopped was in Ketchikan. This is the most affordable stop for souvenirs. Jewelry was still too expensive in most stores. We ate a fantastic "Halibut" sandwich at a place called "Dairy Queen" located by the vehicle tunnel across the street from the port dock. We looked into attending the Lumberjack show but thought $39.95 each for a 1 hour show was too expensive so we just walked about. Considering the cloudiness of most days, the pool temperature was very nice. The hot tubs were at 2 different temperature in each and quite enjoyable. Often there were kids in them unsupervised, so we usually went after dinner. They close the hot tubs and pool at 10 pm and although I understand the reasoning behind this, it would be nice if they were opened longer. We had the late disembarkation into Vancouver and found it went well considering the amount of people leaving the ship. Customs was easy so long as you had your declaration paperwork completed before you left. The line-ups to obtain a taxi was crazy long and something needs to be done to manage that better. We ended up walking with our luggage to the Budget Rent a Car about 1.5 km or 1 mile away. Keep in mind it was uphill most of the way. Not for the faint at heart. We stayed in Vancouver for 4 days to take in the sights. Driving in Vancouver is treacherous and crazy. Its more like a moving parking lot intertwined with bicycles and pedestrians coming out of nowhere. I'm a professional driver and advise if you are a nervous driver at all, take the public transportation instead of renting a vehicle. Vancouver is a refined beauty compared the rugged beauty of Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise because of the free cruise for 3rd and 4th passengers and excellent price for the cruise/land package. This is an older ship but well maintained and our only complaint was a smelly hallway on deck one from time to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the free cruise for 3rd and 4th passengers and excellent price for the cruise/land package. This is an older ship but well maintained and our only complaint was a smelly hallway on deck one from time to time. Our ocean view cabin was a little bigger than we expected and we had enough room for clothes and luggage storage. Dining was above average, we ate second sitting for Dinner in the main dining room. Waiters were friendly and spoiled our grandkids. Service was outstanding and every detail for the transition from cruise to land tour was very smooth. We booked our own shore excursions and saved a few bucks but we didn't skimp on the activities that appealed to us. We did a whale tour in Juneau, the Deadliest Catch tour in Ketchikan, and a wonderful Glacier Point Adventure tour in Skagway. Glacier Bay National Park was a highlight. Alaska was on our bucket list for traveling with our grandkids and this trip met all our expectations and will be a highlight for our family. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was my first cruise and the experience was wonderful. We had chosen HAL on the recommendation of a friend. The other 5 in my group had all done at least one cruise before, so I was the lone "rookie". A bit of concern the ... Read More
This was my first cruise and the experience was wonderful. We had chosen HAL on the recommendation of a friend. The other 5 in my group had all done at least one cruise before, so I was the lone "rookie". A bit of concern the night before we left Vancouver (we had flown in from New Jersey a day early) as we saw there were also 2 other ships in port at 1 Canada Place. But, we were able to arrive early enough to get on the ship without much hassle. And, as a bonus, our staterooms were already serviced and ready for us. The dining package and our included drink package was the best part of being onboard. We could eat as our time allowed (always breakfast and then around the day's scheduled excursions) and it was almost always a good quality meal. The main dinner setting had a fine choice of foods, but we also ate on the Lido Deck a few times, which was also very good. We were fortunate that for 2 of our 4 excursions, it was just the 3 of us. But it was well organized, as we never had an issue finding the right bus or van just off the boat or right outside the main lodge once we reached Denali National Park (McKinley Chalet Resort). For each of our excursions, we had both knowledgeable and entertaining guides. In Ketchikan, we went to the Bear Creek Zip Line excursion, where Jake and Justin were highly skilled in all facets while also keeping us laughing the whole time. Since I was initially a bit nervous abut zip lining, it was very helpful. In Juneau, I went on a photography themes hike to the Mendenhall Glacier, followed by a whale watching tour. Shane was our main guide and was very helpful with his photo tips, both while hiking and on the boat. Capt. Jim, working with his nearby associates, got us in perfect position to catch first 2 humpbacks (a mom and a calf) and then a whole group of about 12-15 more. We then reached port in Skagway, where we took the White Pass & Yukon Rail tour up to Fraser, British Coulmbia. A fantastic train ride from sea level up 2,800 feet and 28 miles into the mountains led us to the excursion we were anticipating the most.....kayaking in Lake Bernard. While the weather made it a bit cooler than we had hoped, it was still a great experience. Our new friends from Packer Expeditions _ Alex, Brent and Megan _ were fantastic in teaching us kayak safety (even though we are all experienced kayakers!) and what to expect on the tandem vessels. The remainder of the cruise portion of our trip took us back down into Glacier Bay before travelling on to Seward. The trip the Glacier Bay National Park was another of the trip's highlights. Though we learned the weather along the Alaska coast can be a bit of a bummer with the overcast and rainy nature, it always seemed to be nice enough when we needed it to be. We were able to get many great photos around the glaciers, even catching quite a few chances to see/hear ice breaking off. Our disembarkation in Seward was a little difficult, only because we had to do so at 6 AM!!! That was a bit rough. However, the ship had made the decision to open the kitchen an hour earlier than usual (5 AM), so we were able to eat before leaving for the train ride up to Anchorage. The land portion was equally enjoyable, if a bit short. When I go back, I will plan to spend more time on land, as I would've liked to do more exploring there. But both the first train ride up to Anchorage (4 hours) and the second day from Anchorage to our resort in Healy (8 hours) were wonderfully scenic. Our first full day in the park, HAL had scheduled a tour of the park that was pretty amazing. We saw 4 of the "Big 5" in terms of wildlife (moose, bear, caribou and dall sheep, no wolves) and the beauty and just vast landscape were overwhelming! Our last chosen excursion was the Black Diamond ATV adventure, a second time we were lucky inthat we were the only ones who had chosen that particular journey. Again, we had a blast with our guides Braden and Nickolai. They were very funny and made sure we were educated on the machines we used. The only complaint I had was HAL trying to separate from our luggage when we left the ship. They wanted us to ship any bags we felt we didn't need directly to Fairbanks, our last scheduled stop before flying home. As I had brought 2 smaller bags instead of 1 very large one, this was very inconvenient. It took a great deal of discussion to get the second tag I needed. I'm not sure why they did it that way, but in the end they did allow me to keep both bags with me the entire time. I would definitely go again and have been constantly telling friends they should go if/when they get the chance. I have had many vacations in my 53+ years, and can honestly say that this was the best one yet. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
we traveled with our daughter and 3 granddaughters. we had 2 oceanview cabins next to each other. It was on the main deck. they were very good cabins and location.we thought the food at the Lido deck was very good, with many cooked to ... Read More
we traveled with our daughter and 3 granddaughters. we had 2 oceanview cabins next to each other. It was on the main deck. they were very good cabins and location.we thought the food at the Lido deck was very good, with many cooked to order fresh at breakfast. We like that most items at the Lido restruant was not serve yourself. and the crew went out of their way to serve you. The main dining room was another story they were very slow and at times seemed like they would rather that we were not there, with our 3 grandchildern. so after three days we quit going to the main dining. Now the Canaletto dining was fantastic with great service and waiters not able to do enough for you. yes we would go again even on the same ship, because a trip is more than one or two misfortunes. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This ship should be taken out of service for a maajor overhaul. Bathroom tiles were mildew stained. Vinyl on restaurant booths were torn Dining tables had cracks in Formica that collected dirt. Line cooks were nice unless you had a ... Read More
This ship should be taken out of service for a maajor overhaul. Bathroom tiles were mildew stained. Vinyl on restaurant booths were torn Dining tables had cracks in Formica that collected dirt. Line cooks were nice unless you had a request then they were snippy. Buffet often closed early or opened late. Food variety was good and it looked great but was bland. Bar service was spotty. One of the chefs and one of the muscians obviously hated their job as they were miserable. Also I didn't like the fact that they often turned the cruise into a floating market by putting up tables to sell wares. Also several of the "activities" and "services" that they offered was just a ploy to get you to buy things. The only reason I didn't give it a one star is because the desk agents and stewards were great and they responded quickly to a broken AC unit and toilet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Overall, this was an excellent trip. Of course, we enjoyed some uncommonly phenomenal weather, so that set the tone for most of the trip. The pre-cruise hotel stay at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver was the perfect place to kick ... Read More
Overall, this was an excellent trip. Of course, we enjoyed some uncommonly phenomenal weather, so that set the tone for most of the trip. The pre-cruise hotel stay at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver was the perfect place to kick things off. The hotel couldn't be in a better location (at Canada Place overlooking the pier), and the accommodations and service were wonderful. Having read some of the other reviews, I had some concerns about whether I had made the best choice of ship for our family group of 4 adults (2 in their early 50s and 2 in their early 70s). I chose the Zaandam because I was looking for a smaller, more elegant ship that would be easy to navigate and would hopefully allow us to avoid congestion and long lines. The ship is in very good condition, and I think it was a perfect choice for our group. For the most part, there were never lines, congestion or waiting for anything. The ship's common areas are tastefully decorate and spacious, and allow for easy traffic movement. We elected to upgrade to the Neptune Suites, and we had adjacent staterooms and adjoining balconies. There are certainly far less expensive stateroom options on the ship, but we definitely wanted access to balconies for this trip to Alaska, and the up charge from a balcony cabin to a suite was quite reasonable. In my opinion, the extra space of the stateroom (about 450 sq. ft.) and access to the Neptune Lounge alone justified the modest additional expense. With the Neptune Lounge, you have delicious food and beverages available all day (many days we ate breakfast and lunch in the lounge), and the services of a personal concierge. It is a terrific perk, among others that are afforded suites passengers (e.g., daily laundry and dry cleaning service). The stateroom itself was also tastefully decorated and quite spacious. My only criticism would be that the bathrooms, which are perfectly functional, are quite dated looking. I know the ship was christened in 2000, but I can't imagine when in the last 15 years the color palate in the bath areas was ever "in." The food onboard the ship was, for the most part, excellent. We particularly enjoyed The Pinnacle Grill, but we had several excellent meals in the Rotterdam Dining Room. Our experience at Le Cirque was very good, although we all agreed that we preferred our meals at The Pinnacle Grill, and we didn't feel the significant up charge for Le Cirque was justified. I think the real standout of this cruise with HAL, though, was the customer service we encountered while on the ship. The service was very warm and personal; in fact, it was not uncommon to be addressed by name if we encountered staff members outside of our cabins. They really seem to have a "whatever, whenever" philosophy about offering assistance in any way they can, and their enthusiasm and quick smiles and greetings really made us feel like special guests. We enjoyed excursions in every port (several of which I scheduled on my own before the cruise due to cost savings), and the disembarkation/embarkation process in every port was quick and hassle free. My two criticisms of the entire almost two-week trip concern the disembarkation process on the final day (Seward) and the post-cruise/post-Denali hotel stay in Anchorage. First, the land tour specialist on the boat completely mishandled the disembarkation process for those of us continuing on a land tour to Denali, and it resulted in a lot of hurry up and wait time at 7:00am. When we were finally cleared to leave the ship, it was a cluster to secure seats on the bus and our group was separated. It was unnecessary and frustrating, and set a bad tone for an all-day bus trip to Denali. Once in Denali, the McKinley Chalet was clean and comfortable, but it was the Wilderness Tour the following day that more than made up for the hassle of getting there. On an 8-hour tour, we saw dall sheep, moose, caribou, and 4 adult grizzlies and 4 grizzly cubs. It was phenomenal! The return trip to Anchorage the following day aboard the McKinley Explorer train was also a highlight. In addition to the amazing sight-seeing aboard the domed rail cars, the food and service onboard the train was top-notch. In fact, HAL impressed us with the caliber of the guides and drivers. They were all genuinely engaging, informative and entertaining. Now, back to the other criticism, and a big sore point of the trip: The post-cruise hotel stay at the Westmark Hotel in Anchorage. In a nutshell, it's a dump and really should be removed from the itinerary. After having kicked off the trip at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver and then spent a week in a suite onboard the ship, to end the trip at the Westmark was a real letdown. The Westmark enjoys a great location in Anchorage, but there was a Hilton and a Marriott within a stone's throw of our hotel, and I would insist on staying in one of those properties if I had it to do all over again. Fortunately, our time there amounted to less than 24 hours of entire trip, and it didn't kill us (at least nothing we've been diagnosed with yet), but it was sure a low-light of the trip and definitely a misstep on HAL's part. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was the “14-day South America Passage” during the first and second weeks of March, 2015, on the MS Zaandam. First, the up-side. Holland America Line (HAL) delivered on its itinerary. We embarked in Valparaiso, Chile. ... Read More
This was the “14-day South America Passage” during the first and second weeks of March, 2015, on the MS Zaandam. First, the up-side. Holland America Line (HAL) delivered on its itinerary. We embarked in Valparaiso, Chile. We disembarked two weeks later in Buenos Aires having sailed around the Horn. There were two ports along the way where we were supposed to stop, but didn’t. The Captain probably made the right decisions in the interest of safety. One was weather-related. The other due to a forest fire and a lot of smoke. The food was great, plentiful, and available just about every minute of the day. The cabin was clean and everything worked well. The boat is getting a little old, but it is well maintained. Our cabin steward was excellent. He was incredibly cooperative, conscientious, and attentive. Now, for the downside. HAL maximizes its revenue by selling use of limited boat space to vendors who make good use of a captive audience. There’s a wrist watch shop, a jewelry store, people bugging you all day long to buy photos of yourself, a place that sells clothing, and a smoky casino. Pardon me, but if I want to buy a watch, some earrings, or a sweatshirt, then I’ll do it on land before I leave for the trip. And I won’t pay an inflated price. We would like for HAL to use all that vendor space for something more productive - like a place to sit and look out the window at the fantastic scenery. The most amazing hustle of all is the Park West Gallery art “auction,” complete with the “auctioneer’s” confederates circling behind you, telling you when to raise your card. It was offensive. HAL seems to be a generation behind in the areas of on-board entertainment, restaurant décor, and mid-ship sculpture. The comedy and dance presentations could compete for the Lawrence Welk audience. The fancy restaurants looked like 19th century brothels, complete with servers sporting costumes and a level of fake formality calculated to encourage heavy drinking. A hideous, organ-shaped sculpture consumes the middle of the ship, unavoidable on decks three through five. HAL would make more friends if it traded the artificial opulence for brighter, more contemporary furnishings and service. In short HAL, as an independent company, was a first-class cruise line for the first nine decades of the last century. Carnival bought it in 1989, and has now completed the culture shift. Today HAL is a reflection of the lowest common denominator. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I have just completed the Christmas / New Year 20 day South America and Antarctica cruise aboard the Zaandam with my wife and two daughters ages 10 and 14. What a trip!! Firstly on board the Zaandam:- Excellent, friendly and attentive ... Read More
I have just completed the Christmas / New Year 20 day South America and Antarctica cruise aboard the Zaandam with my wife and two daughters ages 10 and 14. What a trip!! Firstly on board the Zaandam:- Excellent, friendly and attentive service. Special mention to Imbuh and Tatang (our Cabin Staff). Christina our Cruise Director was the absolute professional. Friendly and approachable. Jeremy our Show Host was a tonne of fun and a really likeable guy. Entertainment - Varied with some real hits and in my eyes only a couple of misses. The Tango Show at the end of our cruise was amazing.Latest release movies and some well chosen classics in the Cinema. Food - High quality. We didn't feel the need to go to any of the other restaurants as the Main Dining Room and Lido were great. The on deck BBQs were also yummy. Weather and seas - Lots of sun including 3 ripping days in Antarctica. Cape Horn and Drake passage were like a lake. Basically for the whole trip you wouldn't know we were on a ship. We got a bit of rain in Ushuia, Punta Del Este and The Falklands but got more than our fair share of great weather too. Ports - Varied and I will review some of them. Tips - Even though we had great weather, if you want to spend some time on deck (and you will), then you will need lots of layers. Apart from a wool hat and a hood on our wind proof jackets we found a neck roll that you could pull over your face really necessary. Sunnies, sunscreen, thermals and windproof pants also helped. I was surprised at the number of people ill equipped. Some could not last a minute outside because of the cold. - Have multiple photographic options. Our Canon SLR died in Ushuia but thankfully we had an I-Pad and waterproof camera too. Not the same but better than nothing. - Aim to arrive in South America by around the 10th / 11th December to avoid the ridiculous air fare prices after this time. We self organised Machu Picchu and Iguassu Falls before the cruise with the money we saved. We saw lots of wildlife and the team of Experts and Naturalists on board were fantastic. Their presentations were very interesting. Interestingly our ship went everywhere that the National Geographic and Quark Expedition ships went. The only difference appeared to be that they could launch their zodiacs for a one or two hour trip onto Antarctica land where we would just have the ship slowly rotating. We still saw lots of penguins on icebergs, seals, whales, heaps of birds and plenty of icebergs. In conclusion, it was a fantastic itinerary with magnificent scenery and interesting ports.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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

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