Just returned from round trip San Diego to Hawaii on Zaandam and have to admit we were rather disappointed in Holland America. We have previously cruised with Celebrity and loved it, and from all accounts, Holland America is comparable. The ship was lovely, the entertainment was good but there seemed to be, for the lack of a better word, a tension, on board. We started boarding late because there had been illness on the previous cruise, so maybe there was a staff shortage or maybe they are cutting back on staff. Who really knows, but we felt it. There always seemed to be a bit of chaos in the dining room, and our waiter never seemed to get our orders correct, whether lack of communication because of language, stress, incompetence, or the kitchen screwed up.
I found the meals inconsistant in the dining room. The meat was always good, but some of the other meals I had trouble reconciling what I had ordered to what was on the plate! No complaints with the Lido though.
The biggest complaint from ourselves and from talking to fellow guests, was the length of time we had in the ports. After 5 days on board, having to check your watch while in port to be back on the ship by 4.30 each day was quite stressful. I guess the idea is to sign up for shore
excursions !! Unfortunately, the tender to Mauii was very disorganized, so we lost a lot of time getting ashore and then had to wait with everyone else for our car rental!
Sorry if I'm sounding negative, but I just feel our Holland America experience was not up to what we expected.