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Found 43 results

  1. 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
  2. I am looking for feedback regarding the Zaandam and Amsterdam ships. We are looking at an Eastern Canada cruise next June and both these ships do the itinerary. They look very similar but I was wondering if there is an advantage of one over the other? Also, in terms of the itineraries which go from Montreal to Boston and in reverse, stopping at the same ports, is one direction better than the other? Perhaps it's splitting hairs. We have never done this itinerary. We have sailed on the Zuiderdam and Eurodam previously. Thank you in advance for you help!
  3. Welcome to my trip report/review of the Zaandam Montreal to Boston cruise. We left Montreal on Saturday, August 10, 2019 for this 7 night cruise. We disembarked in Boston on August 17, 2019. Please feel free to ask any questions, and I will try my best to answer them. I realize that not everyone's experience will be the same, and keep in mind this was our experience. Travelers were me and my husband (40's), our son (13), and my mother (70s). My husband and I have cruised about 14 or 15 times on mass market cruise lines such as NCL, RCCL, Princess, Carnival, MSC, and Premier (remember the little blue boat?). We tend to cruise in a balcony cabin. For the Zaandam, we had 2 oceanview cabins on deck 2 near the bow. Cabins were adjacent but not connecting.
  4. We are thinking about booking a New England/Canada cruise for next summer. HAL has two ships sailing that area. Zaandam or Amsterdam? Are they basically the same ship? They seem to be in the same class. Thoughts or comments? Also, is there any chance that HAL will implement any of their new music partnerships such as Billboard Onboard, BB Kings or Lincoln Center Stage on either of these ships? I know they are small and have limited space, but maybe they convert some of their existing space. Thanks
  5. This is it! The beginning of our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. We are aboard the ship, and are happy to be here. Everything went very smoothly this morning. Check in was a breeze. Everything very well organized. Boarding was swift. Rooms were ready at 12:15. We have enjoyed our burgers at Dive In, and will be heading to the Mariner reception at 2:00. I have a feeling this will be a great week.
  6. If you have any questions about the Zaandam I just sailed on her for two weeks. 7/6-7/20 Sue
  7. We went on a Koningsdam cruise in February and loved the entertainment. The Rock and Roll club, BB King's, Lincoln Center, Billboard, guest entertainers, etc were all enjoyable. But then we just went on a 17 night Zuiderdam cruise. Smaller ship so there was no Rock and Roll club which we really enjoyed. Now we are scheduled on the 22 night Zaandam cruise next January, an even smaller ship. All I see on the deck plans is Lincoln Center. Is that it for evening entertainment?
  8. My husband and I are booked on an early August 7-night cruise on the Zaandam. I've read the most recent reviews and they are mixed. I'd appreciate any comments regarding this ship as we have not sailed HAL in many years. I am not worried about food or service but have a few concerns about noise in cabins (we have a Guaranteed OV so I can't research any particular cabin). Thanks for any help.
  9. Thought I'd found good dates for B2B Panama Canal San Diego - Fort Lauderdale - San Diego until I noticed that HAL shows the Zaandam both arriving in Fort Lauderdale and departing San Diego on Dec 19, 2020. See enclosed. Must be magic! Seriously, I've written to HAL about the apparent mistake. Zaandam_PanamaCanal_Dec,2020.pdf
  10. Just wondering what the procedure is for lifeboat drill on Zaandam (or any of the HAL ships). Do passengers wear their life jackets and meet at the assigned lifeboat or is it done without wearing life jackets or meeting somewhere other than near the assigned lifeboat? Do they call out the cabin numbers and wait for response from the occupant with how many passengers etc.
  11. Does the Dolphin Deck on the Zaandam have windows, portholes, or both? If portholes, how big would they be? Thanks id advance for responses.
  12. Is there a library on the Zaandam? Last post with this question was not directly answered. Thx for any help!
  13. When was the last dry dock for Zaandam and does anyone know what updates, if any, were made to the cabins e.g. bathroom tiling, soft furnishings etc. I thought I had read somewhere that there was a not so long ago drydock, but can't find it now and wonder if I was dreaming!
  14. Hi - just booked Zaandam South America cruise on Nov 18th 2019 and cannot find a roll call. Am I missing something or is it possible there is not one?
  15. Hello everyone! It’s me with another LIVE (ish) thread, although this one is an unplanned surprise. It has been a tumultuous year, thus far, so we booked some “You-and-Me-and-the-Sea” time. Cost was a factor as we have a big trip coming up in the Fall. We also had a narrow window of availability. We were lucky to find a *Private Sale on a Canada/New England itinerary which fit within the parameters. (*Proof positive that I can be bought. Or at least worn down.)
  16. I booked a short notice Vista cabin on Zaandam because my other cruise was cancelled short notice. I am enjoying myself, but am shocked at the low tech in-room TV. First I had a remote that had no mute button and no way to select channels without randomly scrolling one by one, with no menu choices, no on demand excursion info. I was also surprised that the TV only has two music options, one basically elevator Musaak option and another background Musaak on the channel that shows the bow view from bridge. I have had three different people look at it ( each one passed the buck, blamed old tech or winged answers just to get me out of their hair ), better like Musaak or bring your own speakers and run them off your iphone. One maintenance guy came up with a new and different remote which got me a mute button ( hurrah— other crew just claimed mute option does not exist) but still said there is no music other than the two Musaak options. Too bad, so sad. You also have to rent physical CDs to see movies, ( allegedly100 available) but nothing is available on demand in the cabin. The main news channel I like has a buzzing sound, was told to live with it, that is the way it is. No way to view account on TV. Have to log on to wifi and use the Navigator website at logon.com, which consumes paid internet, app alsodoes not work despite attempts to repair. Very 20th century tech, but we are well into the 21st century. I like many other aspects of this old fashioned style but super comfortable ship , ( will write a fair and balanced review when done) but would be hesitant to take a long cruise with such a lame TV, if information given to me by three crew is actually correct. Has anyone been able to get more than two music options on a Zaandam TV? Is this the TV music standard throughout the HAL line? Are there upgrade plans? Thanks to anyone who responds.
  17. I wasn't planning on taking a cruise this month but I was playing around online and stumbled across a 5 day Pacific Coastal on HAL. The days fit in perfectly with my work commitments and best of all it was on Zaandam. For a long while I have wanted to try this class of HAL ship having previously sailed on the larger vessels. She did not disappoint. I know much has been written about Zaandam so I won't bore you with every little detail but I would like to share my thoughts of the ship. I literally booked this a couple of weeks ago and was trying to find information about the interiors since dry dock. I had done a fair amount of research for this class of ship and was familiar with what they ship looked like prior to this recent dry dock (thank goodness for the internet and for Youtube videos). There was very little out there on the new decor so I have taken a bunch of photos which I will upload at the conclusion of this review. I hope that it will excite those of you with Zaandam bookings and I hope it will encourage some of you to book a Zaandam voyage. Embarkation: What a breeze. One of the joys about joining a cruise mid-way is the pleasant boarding experience. Only a handful of us were joining for the 5 day San Diego-Vancouver itinerary so we were processed very smoothly and went on board around 1:30pm and into our stateroom. Accommodation: We have only sailed on larger HAL ships; Westerdam and Eurodam to be exact. For our prior three HAL trips we booked Neptune Suites. However, for this short trip we had a mid-ship Vista Suite. Upon entering it felt like a calm space. You could tell instantly the room was recently refreshed. I only had internet images to compare to but I could identify the new components easily. It had that new room smell which I love. New bedskirt, new bed accent throw, new sofa or possibly just new upholstery (I could not get a straight answer out of anyone!), new curtains, new net curtains (very pretty ones), new accent pillows, new desk chair (or newly upholstered). I found the entry way a bit cramped. The hallway as you entered the stateroom was narrow and I felt the many closet doors were awkwardly placed especially when trying to access the bathroom. Overall storage in the Vista Suite is really good. The bedroom and living area can be separated almost completely by a curtain which is always a nice feature. The living area is spacious and very comfortable. The cocktail table was incredibly heavy and took some effort to move it. It did not raise in height so dining ensuite as a couple might be challenging. We only had room service once for breakfast and found the table height an issue. The new TV (I think it was new) was very small and it was screwed into a large black platform that you could pull out and swivel. The whole thing looked like a make-shift improvement and was not thought out well, in my opinion. The balcony furniture was comfortable and clean so I wonder if that was also new. I did not take specific photos of the balcony furniture but when you see the images I will upload at the end of this review you can see it through the balcony door. Dining: I will keep this brief as we all have different tastes, different levels of expectation and different ideas of what constitutes good food. For context, I live in San Francisco where we are spoiled with amazing restaurants. I also primarily sail on Crystal, Silversea and Oceania so my cruise cuisine expectations are impacted by my personal experience. we dined one night in Pinnacle Grill and one in Canaletto. Both meals were very good and I regretted not booking Pinnacle on the last night for the chef tasting menu (next time!!!). The main dining room food was good, but to me it looked and tasted like banqueting food - like you would get a a nice wedding. I have no complaints I just didn't feel the food was outstanding. In saying that please know we had lovely evenings in the dining room and enjoyed our meals. Beverages: We purchased an Elite package. I know there have been many threads discussing the beverages on board. Here are my two cents... I certainly don't need 15 drinks a day but I really loved the fact the package included large bottles of Evian and the specialty coffees from Explorations Cafe. I would have two or three coffees throughout the day and two bottles of Evian which made life very easy with the EBP. Throw in a cocktail before dinner, maybe a glass of champagne and a couple of glasses of wine and we were ahead of the game. On paper the beverage packages always seem to be a bit pricey but for us it worked out nicely. I think the water and coffee could easily add up so it made the daily rate for the beverage package worthwhile. I felt the splurge for Elite was worth it alone for the champagne and better choice of wines. For others it may not be necessary to upgrade. Entertainment: Sadly we did not participate in any shows or events. For us we wanted a quiet relaxing time at sea enjoying each other's company and having some nice meals. It would have been nice to see the production shows but we opted not to. We also did not visit America's Test Kitchen. Next time we will. Zaandam: LOVED it. I know its an old ship - that does not worry me. I know there is rust if you look closely - again that does not worry me. I know there are pipes on the promenade deck that are wrapped in old white sticky tape - does not worry me. I know there are occasional smells and issues - again that does not worry me. Why did I love Zaandam? Firstly the size. 60,000 tons is perfect. I am used to sailing on smaller ships - its just my preference. Despite the fact we sailed full I did not feel crowded. The public spaces were laid out well and there seemed to be plenty of little nooks and crannies where you could curl up with a book and a coffee and enjoy a calm day at sea. The Lido, at times, was a bit busy but name me a ship where this isn't the case. We timed our visits to the Lido accordingly and did not have to battle crowds. I love the promenade deck. It is wide and was never busy. We would walk and talk for 'miles' with the sea surrounding us and breathing in fresh clean air. I could not be happier. I also liked the new decor in the areas that have been refreshed. I am certainly used to the brighter and more colorful HAL interiors so, for me, it was refreshing to see the new color palette. I found it calming and the blue/grey/gold resonated with me. Carpet has been changed out in many places such as the elevator and stairs, the main dining room, Pinnacle Grill, Crows Nest and I was told more carpet is on its way but apparently it was not all delivered during dry dock. I am sure some of you know more details than I - but that is what I was told when I asked the crew. The newly reimagined Crows Nest is welcoming with lovely seating areas which have been refreshed (I never saw the old one, remember, so I did not have the image of the DJ booth and dance floor of yesteryear). They changed up the bar in Crows Nest apparently and this new one is really nice. The Explorations Cafe and new library is really lovely and well laid out and its a great social spot or perfect for a quiet read and a coffee. I am not sure what was in this area before but I was very happy to see this new-to-Zaandam feature. Disembarkation: A breeze! We decided to spend the day in Vancouver seeing friends and visiting the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens so we were able to disembark around 9am. Being independent and being able to choose from a selection of disembarkation times was convenient. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast ensuite and then walked off the ship when our color was called. Overall: Were there a few things that could be improved - of course there were, but overall we had a great time. I loved the ship, we met some nice people and we will be back for another HAL cruise and most likely sticking with the smaller vessels. I would like to sail on Rotterdam and Amsterdam. I also have my eye on Prinsendam as that is one I really want to experience as she is steeped in so much history. I will upload some photos of our cabin #6166. I will also include some photos of the newly renovated spaces. There are two photos of the main dining room carpet and a couple of photos from the Pinnacle Grill. The chairs and carpeting in Pinnacle are really elegant. If anyone has questions I will be more than happy to try and answer but please remember this was my first Zaandam so I won't be the best resource if you have specific questions about what she looked like before the dry dock. Thanks for reading, Ashley
  18. we are sailing this saturday and even with reading message boards, i still don't feel i know anything about zaandam. what should we know that i don't know? lol
  19. Visiting Quebec City today, where unfortunately the ship cannot continue to Montreal due to the high water level on the St. Lawrence River, we will be disembarking here tomorrow and enjoying a bus trip on to Montreal for our trip home. So much extra work for the staff logistically.
  20. Zaandam will be our next to the last FLL sail-away of the season. She will be at pier 19 from 0500-1600 (although one schedule says 1700). She is doing a 10 day Atlantic Coast cruise in preparation for her summer of Boston-Montreal cruising. She will be the first HAL ship back to FLL on October 16. Boston, Massachusetts (27 Apr 0800-1700); Bar Harbor, Maine (28 Apr 0700-1600); Halifax, Nova Scotia (29 Apr 0900-1800); Sydney, Nova Scotia (30 Apr 1000-1800); Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (01 May 0800-1700); Quebec City, Quebec (03 May 0800-1700); Montreal, Quebec (04 May a0700) There are no other cruise ships in port. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Zuiderdam will be in Bermuda from 0800-1700. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.portbermudawebcam.com/. For the Addicts : San Diego will be visited by Nieuw Amsterdam on April 28, Eurodam on April 29, and Oosterdam on April 30. Next up: The Juneau HAL season begins on May 6 with the first visits of Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam. No toots but at least we can see our ships sail in and, if you stay up late, sail-away. Our last FLL sail-away will be on May 16 when Amsterdam returns from the 2019 World Cruise and then heads to the west coast for her summer season in Alaska.
  21. We are considering a seven night cruise to NE/Canada this fall. Both ships have the same itinerary between Montreal and Boston. I only see small differences in the ships. We prefer a balcony or small (cheap) suite. There's some difference there. Possibly an aft cabin? Same restaurants? Bars? Coffee/Crow's nest? We are not interested in the casino. If you have sailed on both what is really different?
  22. Can someone confirm that the walls in the staterooms on the Zaandam are magnetic? I was on the Veendam last May and they were no longer magnetic. Thanks!
  23. I would be interested in any info on the above cabin. I recently forfeited our prepaid gratuities from our Main deck Ocean view cabin for our Canada/New England cruise for this cabin without having to pay anything additional except for our new gratuities. I know, I should have booked a Vista Suite to begin with but at the time it would have been $1000 more 😥. Thanks in advance for any info.
  24. I understand that the amenities in an ocean view cabin are not quite the same as a balcony, but will there be a hairdryer and a nightlight in the bathroom? It's been many years since we sailed a HAL ship. Thanks.
  25. I hope that nobody will be annoyed at this question; I know it's a sensitive and controversial topic. It has been many years since we've sailed on HAL. In the passing of those years, we have become more sensitive to smoking. We are looking at returning to HAL, and the itinerary we are considering (NE/Canada) uses three different ships. Is this correct? Zaandam and Amsterdam allow smoking in the casino. Zuidederdam does not allow smoking in the casino. Logically, it seems to me that a ship that allows smoking in an indoor area will have more smoking passengers than a ship that only allows smoking outside. Is that a reasonably assumption?
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