Not exactly what I was expecting!

Zaandam Cruise Review to South America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 18

Overall rating:

3.4 out of 5

16 Night South America Passage (Santiago To Rio De Janeiro)

Sail date: October 18, 2018

Ship: Zaandam

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 7051

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

The Itinerary was good, but Zaandam wasn’t, never had cause to criticize a ship like this one, never been subjected to such controlling tactics as on this ship-will never go with Holland America again! Drinks packages two and a half times the price of ANY other cruise line, and the bars closed at 11.30pm on Zaandam. Disgusting!


4 out of 5

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
I was excited at the prospect of 5* dining, but was quite disappointed when what I received, was at best 3*+ We enjoyed what there was, one night we had lobster, I’m not that fussed over it, but my partner said it was good. Other evenings the food was just ok, certainly not 5*, as ice had it on Cunard. We often decide to eat in the Pinnacle grill, that was good and I’d certainly recommend it, although quite expensive.

Onboard Activities

2 out of 5
On the Zaandam, there were very few activities, and we named this cruise the “One foot in the grave” cruise, as mostly Americans and Canadians only wanted to sit, chat, and fall asleep in easy chairs. When, (according to the Cruise director) we had to audacity to criticize the lack of things to do or lectures to listen to, we were told and I quote here “This is not the Holland America way!”, when we heard this and stated that others have a lot more to do and experience, we were told that Holland America doesn’t have any completion from other cruise lines! Such arrogance and the fact that we had spent a fortune on this cruise was enough incentive for us to cancel another Holland America cruise that we had booked.


2 out of 5
No entertainment to speak of in the bars etc, 2, and a very poor presentation in the theatre, which left a lot to be desired, as shown by many empty seats every night.

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
Good service in the bars, they tried to make fun of all the misgivings we had, but service in the restraint was abysmal, taking at least an hour to get our starter and then another hour to get the main course. We left twice in order to see a show. One reason why we dined often in the Pinnacle grill.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
It was nice and overall comfortable, but I’ve had better on Celebrity, and the bathroom smelled of urine as it seemed to be ingrained around the toilet bowl. Not the best for the price paid.

Ship tip

Well, I hope you like a very laid back ship, and the take “War and Peace” to read so you don’t get too bored!

Ports of call

Puerto Montt, Chile

3 out of 5

Punta Arenas, Chile

4 out of 5

Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina

3 out of 5

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

5 out of 5
Fantastic we got in, and it was so interesting, really good!

Montevideo, Uruguay

5 out of 5
Totally breathtaking city, highly recommended. Lots to see and really quite inexpensive.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

4 out of 5
Nice place but unfortunately the weather was awful and we didn’t see much from rainy coach windows.

Punta Del Este, Uruguay

3 out of 5
It looks great, but try finding somewhere to eat and drink that does not cost a fortune and there is no shopping to speak of.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

5 out of 5
Wonderful Rio! We disembarked here and transferred to our hotel for a few nights! Totally fabulous place- don’t miss it, it’s the best!!!


3 out of 5
Very complicated and time consuming!
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