Zaandam Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage

Second Mate

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Alaska on Holland America Zaandam - Cruise #38

Sail Date: June 06, 2014

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Suite

Cabin: GUAR

We chose this cruise first because of the itinerary; second because it left from Vancouver, B.C. which we wanted to visit for a few days before the cruise; and third to experience Holland America cruiseline for the first time.


This Inside Passage cruise visited Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Alaska and also spent a full day cruising the Tracy Arm Fjord. As far as a seven day itinerary to Alaska is concerned, you could not do much better. In Skagway we took a full day tour over to the Yukon Territory booked online through Frontier Excursions. Many interesting stops and great photo opportunities and the sighting of a bear in the wild along with a great guide made this the best day of the cruise. Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord with icebergs floating by and getting up close to Sawyer Glacier was next best, with Juneau and Ketchikan still very enjoyable. 


The Zaandam itself is an older ship with only two levels of balconies. We had a balcony room and for this type of cruise where the scenery is a major attraction, we highly recommend it as the crowds up on deck jockeying for rail space can be avoided.


 While older, the ship is very well maintained and clean. There are many comfortable public seating areas to relax in. As with all cruises there was a wide variety of daily activities from which to choose.


The quality and variety of the food we found to be generally excellent. It was the food service that was greatly lacking...actually poor. Whether in the cafeteria or the main dining room there never seemed to be enough servers and those that were  there did not seem to be very organized or be working as a team. To make matters worse, they were not very friendly and rarely smiled. Our experience in the Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant was deplorable. When I requested the server to bring my soup before my salad, the  Maitre,d came to our table and basically chastised me saying that that was not the way it is done. In comparison, the service in the Italian specialty restaurant was excellent..the best on the ship.


The cabins are conservatively appointed but clean and with excellent mattresses.


As indicated above this was our 38th cruise and the seventh cruise line we have sailed on. We found the itinerary to be most enjoyable but Holland America employees could go a long way toward making their guests feel more appreciated in comparison to other cruise lines. Whether or not we sail with Holland America again remains to be seen



Ship Quality Old but well maintained and clean
Food and Dining Good variety, tasty, well-prepared
Service and Staff Except for the Italian specialty restaurant, the food service was poor. Rest of the staff ok.
Entertainment Theater shows very good. Bar entertainment caters to a decidely older crowd.
Children's Programs Not Applicable
Destinations and Excursions Itinerary was excellent.
Cabin / Stateroom
Great mattresses.
Vancouver (Canada Place), British Columbia
If you stay downtown almost everything of interest is within walking distance. Take the Aquabus for great views on the water.
Juneau, Alaska
Mendenhall Glacier is a must if you have never seen it. Only take the pricey ($32) Sky Tram if the weather is clear. Otherwise it is a waste.
Skagway, Alaska
Excellent port for ventures up to Whites Pass or better yet into the Yukon.
Cruise Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska Excellent day. Icebergs, glacier wildlife and great scenery.
Ketchikan, Alaska Hope you like Totem Poles!


Highly recommend a balcony room as there is constant scenery close by every day.

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