Despite Some Bad Weather, Holland America Came Through With Their Class Act Service and Good to Great Food.

Zaandam Cruise Review to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 4
Helpful Votes: 150

Overall rating:

3 out of 5

14 Night China & Korea (Hong Kong Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 19, 2012

Ship: Zaandam

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 7001

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 7 years ago

Review summary

We did the 14 Day Asian Explorer on the Zaandam out of Hong Kong in February 2012.  To date we have sailed Holland America Lines (HAL) seven times and will sail the Zaandam again at the end of this month. 

We are looking forward to sailing the Zaandam again, to see how well they have refurbished it since we sailed in 2012.  To be honest, one of our few complaints was the Zaandam was showing it's age.  We were advised that it was going to dry dock soon for refurbishment. 

Once again, we were fortunate to be staying in the Penthouse Suite (now known as the Pinnacle Suite), which not only has a very nice cabin, but, gives you access to the Neptune Lounge, with their own concierge service, and priority to restaurant seating, embankment, disembarkation, and other perks.

As we sailed HAL over the last eleven years we felt they have had great service and food, but, in the last few years, it appears to us that their parent company, Carnival, has been making some cutbacks on Holland America ... maybe too many. 

The other concern we have with the Zaandam and HAL in general is that need more restaurants.   The Zaandam only has four restaurants.  That gets old really fast on longer voyages or if you travel HAL often.  We will be trying NCL for the first time on their mega ship, the Epic, as they have 21 restaurants.  Regardless, we do think HAL is a class act.

The Rotterdam Dining Room (Main Dining Room) offers good service and food.  The menu does vary from day to day yet offers some constant mainstays for people who do not want to try anything new.  

The Pinnacle Grill, their specialty steak and seafood restaurant, offers fine food with excellent service.  There is a fee, but, it is well worth it and I highly recommend eating there.  You need to make your reservations as soon as you get on board as it does book up fast.

I also recommend the Canaletto restaurant that offers Italian food.  There is also a fee for this restaurant, but, once again, well worth the price.  This is located within the greater Lido restaurant area, but, has it’s own section.

The Lido restaurant offers buffet style food.  It changes it’s menu daily and actually serves some of the dishes offered in the main dinning room.  During peak times it can get very crowded, but, overall does move quickly.  Window seats do go quickly.  Most evenings they do offer a late night (around midnight) snacks and light meals.


Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Be sure to try their specialty restaurants, the Canaletto (Italian) and the Pinnacle Grill (Steak & Seafood) as they are well worth the extra fee.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Lacks a lot of the activities you find on the mega ships, but, most passengers are over 55.


5 out of 5

Children's Programs

Did not use.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
HAL has always shown great service and attitude.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Was showing it's age, but, we were advised it was going into dry dock to be refurbished and renovated.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Was showing it's age, but, we were advised it was going into dry dock to be refurbished and renovated.

Ship tip

Do try both the Italian restaurant, the Canaletto, and the steak and seafood restaurant, the Pinnacle Grill, as they are well worth the extra fee. Do make reservations for them as soon as you get on board as the do book up quickly, especially the Pinnacle Grill.

Ports of call

Hong Kong

5 out of 5
Great city! Make sure you spend at least a few extra days before or after cruise in this city!

Shanghai, China Did not visit port

Due to weather, this port stop was cancelled. :(

Xingang (Beijing), China

5 out of 5
Great Wall is another marvel to see.

Incheon (Seoul). South Korea

5 out of 5
A large modern city with much to see.

Jeju City, Jeju-Do, (Cheju-Do), South Korea

5 out of 5
Beautiful Island, well worth taking an excursion.
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