Just booked it on HAL---Xmas and New Years on board! some advice on the Zaandam or the Hawaii excursions? What can I expect from a holiday cruise? Thanks.
You can expect an elegant ship that will be beautifully decorated for the holidays. Also be aware that you can expect lots of families with kids. While I've never taken a holiday cruise, I watched the Amsterdam disembark from their holiday cruise in January 2006. Tons of kids getting off with their families.
But, know that I am not saying that the increase in children will in any way impact your cruise. If those kids are well behaved and their parents conscientious about their parenting duties, you will have a great cruise ... and a wonderful way of celebrating the holidays without having to do any of the normally associated work.