I just got off the BEST cruise ship I have ever been on (that is within my expense account.)..which include RRCL and Princess.
It had all the elements that I expect when I pay my hard earned dollar.
#1...good service and to be made feel that the crew are there to make my holiday special.
#2...good food and presentation.
#4 A ship not too big that you can't get to know the crew or fellow passengers.
#5 A good mix of passengers (age etc.)
Above point had me concerned from reports I had heard that everyone rolls into bed at ten........NOT SO, at least not in the crow's nest !!
Another few things I liked were the excellent kid's program run by HAL. Had my 10 yr. old grandson with me .He was so busy that I hardly saw him. He was also made to feel special.
Being a smoker (i know ,I know) and what I feel to be, considerate of those who don't smoke...I was concerned that there would not be a place that I could enjoy a cig. somewhere where it wouldn't infringe on non-smokers. There are places outside (covered) and on opposite side of ship of non-smokers.
Will not cruise any other line(or ship,if I can help it) from now on .If you are looking for big and glitzy this will probably not be the ship to sail on. Zaandam is class in every way.
Oh, one more important point. I have NEVER wanted to tip so much on any cruise as I did on this one. Was nice to get near the end of trip and not have all the crew falling all over you with what i felt were insincere smiles and nice gestures...knowing the tips were coming next day or two. Did not hear one complaint from fellow passengers.....this in itself is very unusal.