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Cruise of a lifetime by clanmcglynn

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska - Inside Passage

Exceptional food, plenty to do, plenty of ways to work off the extra calories.

AK is amazing, ESPECIALLY Haines, which is visited only by HAL apparently. Saw whales, dolphins, seals, Eagles. Stateroom (interior) was plenty big with ample storage. Only complaint was that bathroom constantly smelled of urine, despite steward's best efforts. Would sail off again in a heartbeat!

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Many activities, something for everyone aboard. by danisaacman

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Coastal - West Coast

There were plenty of things to do aboard ship. We understand that the cancellation of the Victoria port of call was beyond anyone's control. The crew members we came in contact with were all outstanding.

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Relaxing cruise, excellent service, great views by Travelsoften

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Coastal - West Coast

We enjoyed our cruise. The weather was rough which added to the adventure for us.  We were disappointed thath the ship did not stop in Victoria due to the weather,  but we still enjoyed the trip greatly.   My wife and I used several of the educational classes/presentations and enjoyed them. 

 

 

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See the Diversity of Aouth America by savorycity

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: South America

This cruise has so much variety in landscape, culture and weather.  We saw so much and learned so much!  There are a lot of sea days, so if you want a new port every day, this isn't the cruise for you.  This was on of my top life experiences in terms of what I saw...especially the Chilean fjords,  glacier alley and the penguins in their own habitat.  You get a taste but not the "full on" beauty of the jagged peaks of Patogonia.

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Zaandam Cruise by jmack1199

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: South America

Great cruise with fantastic scenery.  Excellent food.  Very professional service staff.  Only shortcoming was lack of information -- we would have liked more information and recommendations on shore tours and more detailed information on dismemberment procedures. 

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2 Comments

Beautiful scenic cruise but ship has operational issues by rew45k

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: South America

The cruise met and exceeded our expectations for scenery.  Views were breathtaking and captain did excellent job of informing us each day of what and at what time we would pass by scenic locations.  Ship is just right size for this trip and staff was very polite and  helpful.

However, AC was very poor in our stateroom.  We were on deck seven and little to no AC in suite for the first three days.  We were not alone ...it was an issue in many cabins we learned from talking with other passengers.  It was pronouncedly bad when we were in warm climate portion of trip.   I have been on more than three dozen cruises and never encountered such a problem. It was terrible to try to sleep. It was not acknowledged by staff as a problem.  AC in activities area of ship was fine.

The dining room was clearly understaffed.  You had to ask repeatedly for anything from iced tea (which was awfully weak) to cream instead of milk for your table.  The waiters were very humble and kind but obviously overloaded every single night.

We took tours at every stop and found some good and some very poor and many were over priced for the quality we had expected from H-A.

In summary we loved the cruise itself  but found the ship in need of attention in cooling system and dining room.  Stateroom service was outstanding..

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Pretty good cruise by jmsikora

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: South America

The cruise lived up to my expectations. We got very lucky in that the weather was perfect. I suspect that if we skipped a port or two due to the weather, I'd have a different opinion. The onboard activities were very good. Food was average to very good in the main dining room and casual dining buffet. Dinner at La Cirque was way over rated. The tasting of South America was extremely good.

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Holland America Excellence as Usual by Cruiser159

Sail date: / Traveled as: Family (older children)
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: South America

Our cruise was fantastic!  Holland America did it again!  The Zaandam  is a great ship.  It is the perfect size for us.  Holland America's hospitality, elegance, and commitment to excellence can't be beat.

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3 Comments

Best yet! by Cruisin85848655

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: South America

This cruise turned out to be the best we have taken.  The itinerary, the ship, the crew, the outstanding service, the shore excursions - all made for a memorable cruise.  It certainly exceeded our expectations and don't have enough words to described how pleased we are with the overall experience.

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Review of South American Cruise with Zaandam by rachelchemtob

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: South America

The South American cruise was amazing. Some of the places were interesting to view however one or two stops I would pass over (Punto Arenas, Ushuaia and Santiago Chile). The staff was friendly and accommodating. The only draw back is that not sufficient vegetarian choices especially when the dining room was closed for lunch. The scenic cruise is great panoramic view.  We were well rested despite the itinerary stops.

 

Excellent staff and ship!

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Great Staff, Food and Entertainment by eleanorwg

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Hawaii

We sailed from Vancouver around the Hawaiian Islands then to San Diego on the Zaandam.  It was a great cruise, smooth sailing, wonderful food and super entertainment.  The staff is so accommodating and friendly.  There was no pushing of drinks or photos and the CD, Linda had a good personality.  The  long sea days gave us plenty of time to really get to know people on board.  We had a great Hawaiian culture group with us on our first 5 sea days.  The crafts, music and dancing lesson put us in the aloha spirit.  The overnight in Oahu gave us time for evening activities too.  The weather was great too.Love

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Great Experience by etcbox2

Sail date: / Traveled as: Family (young children)
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

We really enjoyed the cruise.  The crew members were very friendly.  The programs on the ship was entertaining.  The food was good, and we had a lot of fun on the excursions.

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ok by billruthotto

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska

I was disappointed that our wedding anniversary was not recognized in any way     by the staff. (Even with two cruise activity directors.)

This was our third cruise to Alaska so we did enjoy the trip. We think that going to Hubbard Bay was better.

My wife and I, both got sick the last two days, but we do not blame the ship.

We will cruise again in the future.

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4 Comments

The best one yet by counselor39

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

ok, so, here's the thing. I have cruised Princess, Royal, and Carnival and wanted something a bit more upscale, so I chose Holland. I was not disappointed; in fact, they exceeded my expectations (and hopes). While the pre-cruise had some customer service issues, they were all straightened out by the time we boarded, and, let me tell you, not ONE thing went wrong. The service was impeccable, but it was the FOOD that made the trip - FAR above any other lines I've taken. The stateroom was much LARGER than I expected and very well adorned. (I LIKE taking the least expensive rooms because they are lower in the ship and in the middle, thus, less rocking). The staff was helpful and knowledgeable; the ship VERY clean (in fact, they are all over the place, giving you hand sanitizer - I didnt see ONE sick person on board). What I DO think....is that they spend too much time in Haines, and not enough time on Ketchikan. All around, this was the best cruise I have ever taken.

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Astounding beauty by InAweOfCreation

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

We thoroughly enjoyed our Alaskan cruise on HAL Zaandam. We had an inside stateroom on the main deck (level 2) for 3 adults; it was comfortable--more spacious than the rooms on other cruiselines we have sailed. Plenty of storage: 3 closets, bureau drawers, desk, underbed drawers, 2 nightstands. The inside staterooms do not have a refrigerator. The room was adequately soundproofed from other cabins and the hallway noises. However, we did hear rumbling vibrations a few times (wave action? engine noise?). But we slept well. Comfortable beds! Food was tasty, plentiful, and always available. Service in the main dining room, Rotterdam, was attentive. The buffet on the Lido deck had many of the same entree choices as the more formal Rotterdam, in addition to vegetarian, ethnic, and sushi options. The Dive-in Grill, by the forward pool on the Lido Deck, serves burgers, hotdogs, and chicken sandwiches. Delicious, but slow preparation. There's a taco buffet there too. Keep this in mind when the Lido Buffet closes down and dinner is not yet available.      The hands-on computer and photography seminars were so helpful.

Alaska is unendingly beautiful! Glacier Bay is awe-inspiring.

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Zaandammmmmn I'm Dehydrated! by snspeyer

Sail date: / Traveled as: Family (older children)
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

I couldn't decide between 2-3 stars for this one...This was the first cruise I have ever taken and everyone I know who has gone on a cruise tells me they can't wait to go again.  Unfortunately, I can't say the same.    I heard Holland America was one of the better cruise lines so I picked them.  Pros:  The scenery of the trip was phenomenal, good food selection (included), and friendly staff.  Cons: 1) We chose the 'oceanview' room deal that was advertised (they don't tell you that THAT price is for the 'obstructed' oceanview room, expect to pay more if you really want a 'view') - if you go, PICK your own room - not the 'guarantee' where they pick for you - we ended up with what no one else wanted!  2) Soda and alcohol are NOT included!  I purchased a $50 "soda card" for only $25 on the first day that reduces the price of sodas to $1.75 each instead of $3.50.  Plan on bringing your own soda and water bottles with you, then stocking up at each port! (Note: can't bring alcohol on the ship.)  3) the cruise price does NOT include the $11 PER PERSON PER DAY they charge for cleaning your cabin. This cost is tacked on to your on-board tab which you will get the morning you arrive for debarkation. (Note: ask for a copy of your bill the night before to review so you can get over the shock before you leave the next day!).  4) Any worthwhile shore excursions are expensive and could end up doubling the price of your trip should you decide to take them.  5) Wifi is NOT free and is NOT included!  They charge 55 cents PER MINUTE!  If you have a smart phone, wait until you are in port and find a free wifi hotspot.  6)  This was one of the smaller cruise ships and not what I expected (you know, like what you see on all of those glamorous cruise ship commercials! If that is what you are looking for, pick another one).  Overall, I am glad I finally got to do the 'inside passage' to Alaska, but I think next time, I'm going to skip the cruise and find a nice "ALL inclusive" resort where I can actually relax and enjoy the trip instead of worrying about what my final bill will look like.

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Excellent experience aboard ship, a little less so ashore by tewardii

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

We absolutely could not ask for more aboard ship.  Embarkation & debarkation were quick & easy, and the service aboard ship was truly fantastic - especially in the dining room.  Shore side linkages, however, were another story.  I understand the corporate desire to sell package deals where the traveler just has to line up and follow the rest of the crowd, but I found it very difficult to do anything on my own.  The situation was best described as "opaque," making planning from a distance a real challenge.  For example, once you've done this once, you know HAL lands at Seward.  What isn't clear from a distance is that Seward is a long way from Anchorage.  Some sort of transfer is required to get from Seward to Anchorage.  The train schedules appear to be set up for tours rather than point to point travel, so a motor coach is required.  The IHG & HAL folks on the phone don't really understand how that works, so they advised us to go to the reception center first, then take a shuttle to the airport, where we planned to pick up a rental car for exploring the interior on our own.  In fact, there are motor coaches that go directly from Seward to the airport, and the baggage truck from Seward goes to the airport FIRST, before it goes to the Anchorage reception center.  We wasted a lot of time at the reception center.  The other rough edge was ashore in Skagway.  Our WP & YR locomotive broke down short of the White Pass summit.  No big deal - stuff happens; that's just part of the adventure.  However, that 1.5 hour delay meant we had no time in Carcross, BC ("go directly from the train to the bus"), because our group had travelers from the Ruby Princess that were pressed to make their sailing time (4:30 PM).  Our sailing time was about 4 hours later, but we were stuck with the Ruby Princess crowd.  The excursion folks reimbursed us $50 apiece for the inconvenience, but I would much rather have spent the time in Carcross than have the money.  I don't expect to get back to Carcross again any time soon.  The excursion folks could have treated us Zaandam travelers much better, by providing return transportation from Carcross to Skagway that didn't rush us with the Ruby Princess crowd.

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Great Destinations to see whales and glaciers by gabriele883

Sail date: / Traveled as: Singles/Friends
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

Lots to see weather permitting.  Fortunately we had great weather.

Food was good and all the crew were very friendly.  Common areas were crowded on those days at sea.

Don't bother with "Le Cirque" dining experience - it is not worth the money...

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Zaandam a lovely ship by mhudak357

Sail date: / Traveled as: Family (older children)
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

Although I had an exceptional vacation, and would recommend the Zaandam for it's excellent voyage itinerary, more intimate size, tasteful cuisine and nicely appointed rooms and public areas; the cruise was not without faults.  Although as individuals I believe the 'international' staff tried to be professional, pleasant and accommodating, the (more than one incidence) language barrier made for less than expected experiences.  Some of the 'classes' were very poorly presented, either because presenters were ill prepared or could not articulate (why put a staff member in that position?)  It was also quite noticeable that if a mere question was asked concerning an off ship detail that was not Holland related, the staff suddenly had no knowledge to share. Word of wisdom, be sure to check your statement for errors the last night on the ship - the line at the service counter was quite long and sometimes 'vocal'.

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I will recomend to all my friends by JADWIGA

Sail date: / Traveled as: Singles/Friends
Ship: Zaandam / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

It was my most beautiful cruise from all the existing ones. The first thing that catches up my eyes was a beautiful bouquets of fresh live flowers (some never before seen by me) literally everywhere you looked. The second things were shows. All the time everywhere something was happening. There were so many and so good that we did not know which to leave in favor of which. Next positive side was the atmosphere. Everyone was so nice and smiling naturally that perhaps even the neighbors do not talk with such a pleasure. I have to finish because I could go on and on forever.

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