5 Holland America Zaandam Family Cruise Reviews

This is by far the worst cruise line I have ever sailed with. It was like travelling on a free holiday where you have to go to a few lectures about time share apartments and be sold the whole story about buying into it, except that this ... Read More
This is by far the worst cruise line I have ever sailed with. It was like travelling on a free holiday where you have to go to a few lectures about time share apartments and be sold the whole story about buying into it, except that this holiday wasn't free and you couldn't get away from it. I wasn't alone in my thinking either as there were so many agreived passengers on board that it was ridiculous. Managers would come around the tables in the evening trying to persuade you to go to the specialist restaurants on board - extra cost. Food at the standard restaurant was mediocre - same things over and over. This was I assume to make you want to cave in and go to the Specialist restaurants. If you've ever been on a Cunard cruise you will realise that it doesn't have to be like this to get decent food on board included. Waiters always offered you bottled water - pay more. After dinner 'would you like a cappuccino'- pay more. (Standard coffee was free). This takes us on to the other annoying thing. There was almost nothing to do on board. The quality of entertainment was poor. The first performer summed it up, advertised as America's best unknown comedian and talks during the day were almost 100% biased towards selling something - come and learn about dancing diamonds - oh now we have a 60% sale on. How irritating! During the trip I wanted 3 shirts laundered - oh yes sir we have a package for laundry. Let's see, unlimited laundry on 16 day cruise that's over $100. But I only wanted 3 shirts done.... A lady wanted a lipstick -, sorry mam we only sell them in packs of 3 - $100 'Next destination' talks were only held once on the main stage area which was small and held around a third of the passengers who, naturally all wanted to go. Films shown in the theatre were only held once in a small theatre. We decided to go to learn the Tango - held on a tiny dance floor of one of the bars. About 30 wanted to go but it was so ridiculous that we gave up. I could go on and on. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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
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
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
Zaandam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.8
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 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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