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jamieandsam

Zaandam Review

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I just returned from a week on the Zaandam, Montreal to Boston. I was so disappointed and thought I'd share my review.

 

I'm a frequent cruiser, generally Princess, Royal Caribbean, and NCL. It's been at least 20 years since I was on HAL but I know it has an excellent reputation. The Zaandam did not live up to it.

 

Food: 

  • Dinner in the main dining room was poor. I ordered red meat 2 or 3 times, and the meat was overcooked (I ordered medium rare) and texture was off. Lobster tail was overcooked and wasn't served with melted butter. Desserts were okay, but weren't as described. Fish tasted like frozen fish was used. Service was mediocre, our waiter seemed tired all the time, and on 2nd gala dinner, service was atrocious.
  • Dinner in the Pinnacle Grill was excellent, steak cooked appropriately, and huge servings. Well worth the $39.
  • Lido Buffet has a great salad bar for lunch and dinner. Breakfast food was average. Main courses at lunch and dinner were mediocre. Desserts and ice cream were average. Buffet closed at 2pm and didn't re-open until 5:00 or 5:30 so if you were hungry in the afternoon or when returning from shore excursions, your options were Dive-In Grill or afternoon tea (which I heard was good but I never went).
  • Dive-In Grill for hot dogs and burgers was good.

 

Ship:

  • The Zaandam is in need of renovation. The bathroom tile was coming off the wall in places and looked like it was from the 1960's. We did have a tub/shower combo which is a rarity on a ship, but I would rather have not had to climb over the high tub edge to get in the shower. 
  • Cabin was well-designed and had a lot of closet space.
  • I found blood on my pillow cases - wasn't from me - pillow cases were immediately changed but this grossed me out anyways.
  • Public spaces were nice.

 

Entertainment and Activities:

  • Main stage shows were terrible, with the exception of the stand up comedian.
  • I never saw Amanda, the cruise director, anywhere except for the main stage shows. She did not seem particularly enthusiastic.
  • America's Test Kitchen was ok, but needs an overhead mirror so you can better see what the chef is doing. Not enough seats in there.
  • I didn't go to any of the computer workshops, but there are a lot of these, mainly on working with digital photos.
  • There were almost no daytime activities. Trivia was boring and questions so obscure. I only ever saw one other cruise entertainment staff other than cruise director, and she wasn't very enthusiastic either.
  • There was a fabulous string quartet, but other entertainment was terrible.
  • I was so bored on this ship - and other people felt the same way.

 

Jamie

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Sorry to hear your cruise was not up to your expectations. I would agree with you in regards to on board entertainment. We cruise quite often on HAL but do so for the itineraries not for ship entertainment. Although many on this sight do not enjoy eating at the Pinnacle my DW and do 85% of the nights. We find the noise and slow pace of the MDR not to our likings. 

Where did your cruise take you? Were the ports interesting? Any excursions worth advising us on? 

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1 minute ago, freestyling said:

Where did your cruise take you? Were the ports interesting? Any excursions worth advising us on? 

Cruise was Montreal to Boston, with port stops in Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Sydney and Halifax Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor Maine.

 

Quebec City was fabulous, we toured the city and went to the falls. We had included lunch at Chez Muffy, which was excellent.

 

I've been to PEI before and it was still wonderful. They were still recovering from Hurricane Dorian, so there were areas without power and we saw a lot of downed trees. At the Anne of Green Gables home the bathrooms were running on generators. Tour included lobster lunch which was great.

 

Sydney, Nova Scotia is a waste of time. We did a walking tour which was fun but not very impressive.

 

We had been to Halifax before so we did the Hop On Hop Off bus mainly as a way to get between sites. Lots of tree damage from Hurricane Dorian so we couldn't go to the public garden. It wasn't storm related but we couldn't go to the Titanic Cemetery either, I didn't really understand the issue. Halifax is a great city, and others mentioned their tours were good.

 

We didn't do a tour in Bar Harbor as we had been there before as well. Acadia National Park is always fantastic and people on whale watching boats said they did see whales. If you stay in town, it's mainly cute shopping.

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We too are just off the Zaandam, Montreal to Boston, and then back to Montreal.  We thought the ship was in pretty good shape inside, and surprised to realize that a lot of cabins have been converted to showers instead of tubs (a multi-year project).  There was more rust than usual on the outside, but a very active painting program to get rid of it.  We thought the food was pretty good, typical for HAL.  Canaletto was better than in the past.  We skipped the stage shows because the music venues (Piano Bar, Adagio, and Neptunes) were quite good.  Amanda took over as CD on our second week, and we thought she was pretty enthusiastic.  We seemed to see her a lot - maybe because we knew what she looked like.  But the CD position has changed, and doesn't involve as much passenger engagement as before.  There were no surprises in what the ports would be like - except that the view of Quebec City in the morning was fantastic.  Too bad that the Halifax Public Garden was closed, it is one of the nicest.

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We did that cruise as a B2B in early July, and I liked the ship.  The food, I agree, was mediocre - I had a pot roast that was too tough to cut one night!  And we were in an ocean view for the first time in years, and it was one of the cabins that has not been updated, but it was fine.  Main Stage entertainment was also mediocre.  We loved the ports, and the CD at the time was Jude, who seemed to be all over the ship and interacting with everyone.  The second week saw a change in front office staff, and they really needed some more training in customer relations!  Otherwise, a good cruise for us, and it was nice to be back on a smaller ship again.

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Thanks for getting back with additional input jamieandsam. Spending my summers in Maine just down from Bar Harbor I get the stores! It was a zoo back in the 80’s and 90’s before all the cruise ships we’re making port. Visited 2 years ago and couldn’t believe all the people. 2 ships were at port. 

 

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Thanks so much for your review JamieandSam and also thanks to JennysUncle and T8NCruise.   I'll be on Zaandam later this year.    Can I ask what your cabin numbers were?  I shall cross fingers and hope that I don't have a cabin with tiles coming off the wall etc.  

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1 hour ago, jwh said:

Thanks so much for your review JamieandSam and also thanks to JennysUncle and T8NCruise.   I'll be on Zaandam later this year.    Can I ask what your cabin numbers were?  I shall cross fingers and hope that I don't have a cabin with tiles coming off the wall etc.  

3348 on the Promenade deck.  Right next to the  door to the outside - which we had fixed so it stopped slamming hard whenever anyone went outside!  Great location.  This cabin has not been updated but it was more than sufficient.

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2 hours ago, T8NCruise said:

3348 on the Promenade deck.  Right next to the  door to the outside - which we had fixed so it stopped slamming hard whenever anyone went outside!  Great location.  This cabin has not been updated but it was more than sufficient.

Thanks so much.  I have a friend booked in that same cabin!  She'll be glad you had the door fixed 🙂 Do you have any photos by any chance?

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Thanks for posting your review, sounds like you didn't have a very good cruise. I agree about the entertainment aboard HAL ships. Hope your next cruise on what ever ship you're on is better.

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We did this cruise in May.  It rained every day except our day in Halifax, but we still loved our cruise on the beautiful Zaandam!  The ports, food, and service were great.  Agree with you about the entertainment.  

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6 hours ago, jwh said:

Thanks so much.  I have a friend booked in that same cabin!  She'll be glad you had the door fixed 🙂 Do you have any photos by any chance?

No photos, sorry, but if you check cabin 3341 on Halfacts dot com it is the same,  just reverse.

 

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11 hours ago, jwh said:

Thanks so much for your review JamieandSam and also thanks to JennysUncle and T8NCruise.   I'll be on Zaandam later this year.    Can I ask what your cabin numbers were?  I shall cross fingers and hope that I don't have a cabin with tiles coming off the wall etc.  

We were in 2513. I wouldn't recommend the cabin, not only because it's dated, but it was forward Deck 2, and we were awoken several mornings but the tender deck being put out, by the anchor, and/or by the gangplank being set up. It wasn't a huge deal for us because it was around the time we were getting up anyways.

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We were in 2609.  That is an inside cabin like most of the other insides.  It was quiet, and convenient.

You used to have to book an inside to get a real shower, but many of the C's have had the bathrooms rebuilt with showers.

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Thanks for the reviews everyone!  We are sailing Saturday from Montreal to Boston and looking forward to our 7-day get away before winter sets in.  Looking forward to the Ports as we haven't been to most of our Canadian ports on this cruise.  Thanks again for your info that you provided.

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Just off the Zuiderdam going from Boston to Quebec City and we also did the HOHO bus in Halifax, before the hurricane hit. My understanding about the Titanic cemetery was there was a giant sinkhole where the bus is supposed to drop off/pick up passengers.  Apparently, there isn't anywhere else to drop people off?? 

 

Since all their advertising was mentioning that they now go out there, and nothing was said until we were zooming past the cemetery about the fact that we wouldn't actually be stopping there, that was a fairly large disappointment for me, in an otherwise enjoyable HOHO experience.

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Thanks to all for the information and advice.  We will be sailing on the Zaandam - Boston to Montreal in May 2020.  I have been looking for suggestions on shore excursions and found all of the comments extremely helpful.  I am concerned as I know that this is an older ship.  This is my husband's first time on HAL and I am worried that it might be an unpleasant experience.  Here's keeping my fingers crossed that it will be good.  This too will be my first time in a Neptune Suite.  We are giving it a shot to see if it really is worth the money.  Again, since this is an older ship will the experience be tainted.  If anyone has thoughts on this I appreciate it.

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We are leaving on Saturday on this cruise. I am so disappointed to hear the negative review. We have never cruised on Holland or been to these ports so was so looking forward to some fun and relaxation and good food!  I hope our experience will be better than the one just described.  We have been on Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean--We were told this was an upgraded cruise line--Maybe the scenery will be good so at least we can look forward to that.

 

Sorry your cruise was not good--we all plan and look forward to these vacations and to have it not turn out is disappointing.

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My husband and I were also on this cruise and thought the food and cabin (7070) were great.  I didn't like the nature movie as entertainment one evening but liked the other shows.  Our balcony needed to have some paint in a f ew spots. But the ship was in good shape. I thought the internet and shore excursion prices were high. We would do this cruise again. We usually cruise on Celebrity but this was a last minute cruise.

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I am sorry you had a negative experience with the Zaandam,  Our experience in July was the opposite.  We thought the food in the main dining room was excellent as was the service.  Of course, the ship is older but we thought it was in good shape.  We enjoyed the entertainment as well.  Our cruise director was Jude, and she seemed to be everywhere.  I admit we do not go on cruises for either food or entertainment.  We look at the itinerary first, and sailing from Boston to Montreal was a lovely experience.  It may be that you would prefer a much larger ship that has loads of entertainment, games, and so on.  People just have different tastes, and nothing wrong with that.  Life would be boring if we were all the same.

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On 9/16/2019 at 9:45 PM, 051654 said:

We are leaving on Saturday on this cruise. I am so disappointed to hear the negative review. We have never cruised on Holland or been to these ports so was so looking forward to some fun and relaxation and good food!  I hope our experience will be better than the one just described.  We have been on Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean--We were told this was an upgraded cruise line--Maybe the scenery will be good so at least we can look forward to that.

 

Sorry your cruise was not good--we all plan and look forward to these vacations and to have it not turn out is disappointing.

 

We are on the same cruise on Saturday.  Don't go expecting to be disappointed....expect to enjoy the cruise and you will.  People have different expectations and not all are the same as others, which is a good thing.  It is an older ship but as long as it is clean then that is fine with me.  One can expect a few chips and dings here and there....don't we have that in our own homes!  See you Saturday at the aft bar after muster!

 

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