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.
Liz - those are the reasons we have sailed only with HAL for 22 years. So glad you enjoyed yourself. Would love to take my 10 year old grandson on a cruise with me, but then I would have to take his 8 year old sister also and that gets a little expensive.
Dizy....Will be taking my 8 yr.old grandaughter next year..God willing! She has to have a turn now. Good age for them to remember such an experience.
What other Hal ships have you sailed and which did you like the best? Think Zaandam would be hard to bet
Liz - have not sailed the Zaandam, Maasdam, Amsterdam or Zuiderdam, but have sailed all the other HAL ships. We sailed the new Volendam last Christmas and she & the Veendam are our favourites. Sailed on the old Volendam for our first cruise back in '81. and then the Rottererdam V, which was our favourite back then.
lLz...we have cruised every HAL ship (multiple times) except for Prinsendam and have received the lovely service on everyone of them; wonderful dining; spotlessly clean; and fabulous crew.....on EVERY HAL ship.
We just returned from b-to-b's on Zuiderdam and are looking forward to returning for another set of b-to-b's in August. Despite much I read when she first started sailing, she is a great ship and we had a fabulous time.
We cruised Zaandam two times last year and she is one of our favorites. Noordam is our least favorite and it would not be our choice to sail on her again but we know many people love her.
Liz: "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."
I discovered cruising late in life. A trip on Carnival left me with the desire for more, but ... not on Carnival. One factor was the service vs. tipping. I had a great waiter and tipped more than suggested, but the others ..... I had to look for reason to tip the suggested. And it became very tiresome to be hounded by various staff on the last couple of days, telling me how crucial the evaluation card was to them (sounded as though they would be fired without a maximum rating).
I felt that HAL would be a more appropriate line for what I wanted in a cruise, so took a trip on the Veendam in April. I had to ration my remaining cash to give tips to everyone who truly deserved it -- a bunch of them. And had to forgo one cocktail waitress (of 4 deserving ones) and the lovely Java Cafe woman who started my double espresso when she saw me coming down the hall. I'm now trying to justify going on a similar Veendam cruise in the winter so that I can remedy the oversights. I'll be more prepared for outstanding service!!
Yes, I had a similiar problem with tips........had to go to front desk and get more money as I hadn't put enough away to give to those who were not on "the list" and who I wanted to show my appreciation. It was truly one time that I wished I "lots of money"
thank you so mu ch for your response to the Zaandam, we are taking her Oct 18 and have been reading the boards and have been a little concerned. Our first time on HAL. I am a smoker as well and was concerned about enjoying my cig too, but if I can do so without disrupting the non smokers then that is what I am looking for. We are booked for a cat A mini suite and we are sure looking forward to the balcony. I am well concerned about the non smokers so I do not want to be flamed for this post as I always try to be a considerate smoker. thank you for your input
The ultimate in consideration would be when you go to smoke on the balcony be aware of others in the cabins adjacent to you if they are outside on thier own balconys since the smell and smoke travels. I would be incredibly grateful if I was next to you for that kind of consideration.