Great Trip - Pay Attention to the Details

Zaandam Cruise Review to Canada, New England, New York

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 15

Overall rating:

4.6 out of 5
Verified Review
Zaandam

7 Night Canada & New England Discovery (Montreal To Boston)

Sail date: June 29, 2019

Ship: Zaandam

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 7075

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Overall a great trip. Would pay attention to the details if booking on Holland America in the future -especially around beverage packages. Crew and staff for HA are top notch and wonderful!

Embarkation

3 out of 5
For our cruise there were a few glitches - the pier changed approximately 1 week prior to departure due to local festival activities in Montreal. Embarkation processing was in an air conditioned tent which was crowded. Our agent somehow switched our names during the check in so that we were known as Mr and Mrs Wife_Name instead of Mr and Mrs Husband_Name

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Dining was excellent. Disappointed in the SBP beverage package. Wine options were limited at the $11 price cap and the ship ran out of one of our most drinkable preferences, Sangiovese on day 3. Ask and understand your beverage package selection.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5

Entertainment

5 out of 5
Musicians were great - especially Jamm Sheed in the Piano Bar each evening. Stage shows were well done and the comedians on the boat were both excellent.

Children's Programs

We didn't bring kids on this trip

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Holland America staff are excellent.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Excellent maintenance and appearance

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Enjoyed the cabin, the space for living and storage were both great for two people.

Ship tip

Understand your beverage package options - the SBP has a limited number of wines which qualify for the $11 per drink cap. I don't think we could see all of the options prior to boarding. Holland America does not give credit for buying off the list - for example if you select a $15 glass of wine I would expect to only pay the difference of $4 if I have the SBP. Also - be sure you like more than one wine as on our cruise the ship ran out of Sangiovese on the SBP.

Ports of call

Montreal, Quebec

5 out of 5
We happened to schedule our cruise when the Jazz Festival was starting up - what a treat.

Cruise St. Lawrence River

5 out of 5
Beautiful views on both sides of the ship.

Quebec City, Quebec

5 out of 5
We chose to use the HOHO Bus to get an overview of the city and enjoyed it. Skip the waterfall if it is a high tourist day - we road the bus out to learn that it would take multiple hours to ride the cable car up and back down. Once at the waterfall we had to wait for the next HOHO Bus as we were unable to schedule an Uber back downtown.

Cruise Gulf Of St. Lawrence

4 out of 5
Due to whale sightings the ship was restricted to a 10 knot maximum which put us late to the next port. As a plus - whales were visible from the ship for about a half an hour in the afternoon.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

4 out of 5
We enjoyed the Ultimate L.M. Montgomery excursion. Guide and driver were excellent. Due to arriving late to the port, we had no additional time in Charlottetown to shop or look around.

Sydney, Nova Scotia

5 out of 5
Enjoyed the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. Took the option to walk to town and have lunch then meet the bus to return to the ship. Happy we did that as it gave us time to have lunch and enjoy the local shops.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

3 out of 5
Rating is based on the HOHO Bus - as we were told it would pick up at each stop approximately every 30 minutes. This was extremely inaccurate. We hopped off two times and the next pick up bus was over an hour at both stops. This lost us valuable time and kept us from visiting the maritime museum with the Titanic exhibits.

Bar Harbor, Maine

3 out of 5
Tender process was disappointing at this port for passengers not purchasing an excursion. Following the directions given on the ship, we did not get a Tender Pass until we were ready to leave the ship. Unfortunately there was a 1.5 hour wait to leave the ship after we picked up our passes. We could have picked up the passes and then eaten our breakfast which would have maximized our time versus creating a long wait simply to leave the ship.

Boston, Massachusetts

5 out of 5
We've enjoyed Boston multiple times and used Uber and HOHO Bus to get around for a great tourist day. There are two HOHO Bus solutions - both do a good job around downtown Boston. One of them takes you out to Harvard and MIT which may make a difference in which one you choose.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
Some confusion boarding the buses to the airport as we were given different instructions by each of the people working the lines. Ended up having people in line behind us moved in front of us just because of different people giving instructions
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