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4/16 Zaandam Review


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Just thought I would write up a few notes on our 4/16 Zaandam cruise.


For the most part, we had a very nice time. I always read on these boards how the reviews are very subjective, and that is so true. My wife and I both did the ships survey on the last night and then compared to see how each of us did. My survey on average was between 6 and 7, while my wife's was between 7 and 8. Only a couple of 9's for both of us.


The embarkation, we thought went rather smoothly, but there were a lot of complaints from others in line. One couple behind us complained the entire time, saying that they should have had more than two doors open, it was too cold, the line was to slow. From the time we got there, we were on the ship in 20 minutes. Much better than any other ship we have ever boarded. As soon as we boarded, we were directed to the Lido for lunch.


Our room was ready before 1:00 oclock. We had what I called the worse cabin on the ship. It was on main deck and as far aft as you could get. It was very noisy, rattled and everytime someone went in or out the door to the back of the ship, it slammed extremely hard. Size of the room, very nice, the bed was great. More comfortable than our bed at home. Our cabin steward was very friendly and very efficient. He always referred to us by name, and every night left us a little animal he made out of towels. One other complaint about the room, one of the drawers under the bed came sliding out the first day we were there and our room steward tried to fix it but he couldn't, so he reported it and I tripped over it for 3 days before they finally fixed it.


Meals in the dining room and Lido were all very mediocre. Not at all what I expected, from reading the reviews. Certainly not "horrific" but it really was just okay. Even the desserts were not at all what I expected nor what I was used to from other cruise lines we've been on. We were at a table for 8 but only one other couple showed up every night with us. It didn't matter though, because they were great and we had a lot of fun every night. Great converstation and laughs. Very poor wine service. We ordered wine the first night and the steward never came back, we had to complain to get him back to the table to bring the wine. Never showed up at all the next night.

One night the ship hit a wave and all of the dishes and condiments in the shelf directly behind me came crashing down onto the floor and me. Fortunatley we had already finished dinner and were getting ready to leave, but it scared the crapola out of us:eek: .


We did the Baths at Tortola. I am so glad I listened to all the great reviews on here about Virgin Gorda. It was fantastic. At St. Thomas we did a two man boat and snorkeling tour. Again well worth it, and we had a blast. And of course all of the wonderful reviews of Half Moon Cay were right on the money. The island is so clean and well maintained. We got some great pictures from there. The only complaint we had with that stop was that it was way to short. We originally had rented a cabana, but at the last minute decided against it. Really glad we did, we just really enjoyed the island.

Fact is though, all the excursions, tendering etc., well organized and efficient. No complaints at all regarding getting on and off the ship.


Entertainment good, we enjoyed all the shows. What an energetic group of singers and dancers, they wore me out watching them, but they never missed a beat.

The Casino is pretty small, but we had fun in there as well. Matter of fact, we won $600.00 one night on $1 slots. We also played bingo a couple nights, not something we would normally do, but the snowball jackpot got up to $3700. The couple we met waiting in line to board the ship (not the complainers) won the money. We were pretty excited for them. Lots of choices for lounges and night clubs. The Crows Nest is very nice. We were wondering though if they water down their alcohol. We tried several of their "drink specials" and no buzz:o .


There was quite a diverse group of people on this cruise. Not at all what we expected, since most of what we had read indicated that the average age on these ships was 60-80. Not at all. There were several elderly people, but there was also a lot of young families and middle aged couples. And there was not a polka band at the pool (someone had stated that in an earlier thread). There was a good band that played Caribbean type music.

I only saw one diapered baby in the pool, and believe it or not they took it into the hot tub:confused: . Why someone would take a baby in a hot tub is beyond me. You all will also be pleased to know that we saw them stop a couple gentlemen from entering the dining room in shorts on a couple different nights. We also watched them ask a guy leave the Lido that didn't have a shirt on. Again, it is beyond me why anyone would think that is okay. It's a restaurant, for pete sake, they dont allow people in restaurants on land without shirts and shoes, why would the Lido be any different (IMHO).


Like I stated before, overall we had a nice time. A very relaxing and enjoyable vacation. No WOW factor here, but we would probably do HAL again some day, but I will be a little more picky about my room choice.

So there you have it.....will be glad to answer any questions.

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I am glad you had a good band that played Caribbean type music on your cruise. When we cruised the Zaandam in March, the band was not good and did not play Caribbean music. I think we heard Hawaii 5-0 at least twice every day and they only played for 2 hours by the pool.

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On the same sailing ... Just posted on another thread ... but basically agree with you ... nice time but not as good as expected.


Our wine steward was good ... but dining staff seemed overwhelmed. Shows seemed aimed @ older audience


Anyway. sure beats being back @ work!

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Thanks for the review.


DH and I basically felt the same about the Zaandam when we sailed on her in December. When it was good it was really good, when bad it was really bad.


In addition, our table of 11 had very spotty service from wine stewards.

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Also just returned from the 4/16 sailing. Agree that embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly.


Lanson5...sorry about your cabin location. We were mid ship on main deck, had good cabin service and a very comfortable cabin.


Food service was a disappointment for several reason. After sending a fax from my physician to Holland America and waiting to see the maitre d on board for 45 min. to ask for early seating was left with an 8:30 seating. This just would not work for medical reasons. In comparing the Lido with the buffet on a former cruise, felt the Lido was more like a cafeteria than a buffet. The entrees were varied and acceptable but the desserts were the same every night.


Thought the band Eureka did an excellent job. Definitely not polka music!


Also was surprised at the variety of ages as I too was expecting a much older average age.


No WOW factor here either but had a pleasant enjoyable relaxing cruise.

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That is really too bad about your dinner seating. I was suprised that there were so many empty tables on the second seating. There was one table that never had anyone sitting at it.


We enjoyed the band by the pool as well. The only thing that would have made it better would have been for them to have a vocalist.

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