Holland America Disappointment

Zaandam Cruise Review to South America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 32

Overall rating:

2 out of 5
Verified Review

14 Night South America Passage (Buenos Aires To Santiago)

Sail date: December 06, 2016

Ship: Zaandam

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 6221

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

The favorite parts of this cruise were the itinerary and the Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant.  Outside of those two items, the rest of this experience was a total disappointment. This cruise was not representative of the Holland America that we experienced in the past. There appeared to be understaffing in all areas, poor communications by personnel, mediocre food quality, inconsistent service experienced with dining room , room service, cabin attendant, front desk and excursion staff.  This was not just our opinion but opined by other cruise customers in conversations during our wait at the airport for our return flights back to our homes. I could never recommend this particular cruise line and ship to others.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

1 out of 5
Food quality (with the exception of the specialty restaurant - Pinnacle Grill) was very mediocre. Also, the dining room on numerous occasions seemed to be understaffed. It was not unusual to wait 20+ minutes for the order to be taken. Also, it was hard to receive follow up service from the staff without several attempts to get their attention.

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
The scheduling of activities were poorly thought out. It was not unusual to have activities scheduled too close to other activities of interest or not enough time allowed to complete the dining room service. Also, some of the lectures were in hight traffic areas which made it almost impossible to hear the presenters or fully concentrate on the lecture. Other staffing personnel working near the lecture areas had no consideration for the presenters. The bingo activities are very short and not challenging at all.


3 out of 5
The entertainers brought onboard for special performances were excellent. However, the cruise line performers were OK. Their shows are dated -- need to get more variety and especially diversity.

Service and Staff

1 out of 5
There appeared to be understaffing in the dining room area. The cabin attendant had no personality and did not seemed to be pleased with his job and did not make you feel welcomed. The specialty restaurant staff (from the receptionist to all the wait staff) was very good. The staff communication lacked detail and clarity.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
This ship is pretty old and outdated. The ship's design is a little confusing. Overall, it appeared to be clean and kept cleaned on a regular basis.

Cabin / Stateroom

1 out of 5
Needs updating in all areas and equipment (tv, fridge, etc.). Not impressed with Suite at all for the costs.

Ship tip

From what has been stated in the overall review, I think you can guess what kind of tip someone would receive regarding the Zaandam.

Ports of call

Buenos Aires, Argentina

3 out of 5
Take the hop-on hop-off tour to get an overall view of the city. The cost is inexpensive compared to other excursions offered.

Montevideo, Uruguay

5 out of 5
Take a city excursion of the old and new town. This city is one of the best kept secrets of South America.

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

5 out of 5
Easy to walk around the town of Stanley to get an appreciation for the island and experience the various weather changes that can take place within a few short hours. Visit the Historic Dockyard Museum. Also, must visit the The Falkland Collection Souvenir shop located on the museum grounds. You must take time to speak with the owner whose is all knowledgeable about the Falklands.

Punta Arenas, Chile

5 out of 5
Found this city to be very easy to walk and sightsee. Two places of interest and worth visiting and spending some time are: (1) The Palacio/Mansion Sara Braun and (2) Cemetery Municipal (nine blocks north of Plaza Munoz Gamero at Avenida Buines 949. Unbelievable cemetery.

Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina

3 out of 5
Good quality souvenir shop on the dock. Also, the Ushuaia hop-on hop-off bus is easy to catch right across the street from the port terminal in the square. The fare is very inexpensive.

Puerto Montt, Chile

1 out of 5
Was not impressed with this city. Personally, did not find much to do or see.

Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile

3 out of 5
Nice wine country area. About 2 hours from Santiago Airport.
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