At 781 feet in length and 105.8 feet wide the Zaandam ship holds 1,432 passengers. The Zaandam is one of Holland America’s smaller ships designed to carry fewer guests in an elegant and comfortable space. This ship offers plenty of exceptional onboard activities throughout the day. Trust me, you won’t be bored, especially during the days at sea.
Sneak peek of Ms. Zaandam
Most of the ship is not camera/video friendly because of the soothing yellow lighting and glossy and shiny interior. The lighting reflects and bounces everywhere. Make sure to hit the settings icon and set the quality to ‘1080P60 HD’. Enjoy!
Arrival & Departure
When you arrive at port, you will handover your luggage to a port employee before getting checked in. The luggage will go through security and arrive outside your room sometime in the evening. When you check in, you will need your passport, and other documentation that is required by Holland America. During check-in, you will get your very own Holland America ID Card, an itinerary/aka. technical and a map of the ship. You will then go through security and may get your picture taken right before boarding. This entire process happens fast since everyone has different boarding times. Don’t worry about waiting on long lines wishing you got to port earlier or later. When you board the ship I recommend you spend some time walking around. There are many elevators to choose from with maps located beside them. If you haven’t made dinner reservations or booked excursions in advance, this is the day to do so. I recommend booking your dinner reservations on the early side so you can participate in the nighttime activities. Before heading to your room make sure to go to the fitness center and sign up for some fitness classes. Once everyone has boarded and some time has passed you will have to listen and participate in a safety drill. It’s not boring and takes about 30 minutes tops.
On the days you are at port make sure to give yourself at least 15min. to get off the ship since it may take a good 5min. to get to the gangway and to your excursion start point. When you get back on the ship you will need your Holland America ID and will be required to go through security. Getting through security is fast and easy. Keep your Holland America ID with you all the time. Remember, the Captain does not have to wait to depart from port so arrive early and don’t be the last one on the ship. He/She may have to depart early due to the weather or due to schedule change.
Pack up everything the night before. You will leave your luggage outside your room the night before and you will pick it up the following day in Port. Make sure to be ready when your number/color/time is called over the PA system. You will be able to keep you Holland America ID.
Click on each deck below to learn more of what Zaandam has to offer.
If you are on a budget, the Dolphin Deck is one of the few decks where your guest room might be located. This entire floor just consists of rooms, one after another. The benefit of being on this floor is that if you are someone who develops motion sickness when the water becomes rough, you will teeter less than those staying in the guest quarters above you. Although you are on the lowest deck, you can get a little porthole for light to shine through. If you don’t mind not having a window then you can always get a non-ocean view stateroom which will put you somewhere in the middle of the ship. The benefit here is since you are closer to the middle you will experience less teetering. This deck is also where the medical center is located.
This deck is for those that are also on a budget but also wants an ocean with window instead of a porthole. The window is about 5-7 feet wide which allows for a lot of light to come through, especially if you are facing the side where the sun is shining. I stayed in an Oceanview Stateroom and although it’s a little smaller than your average hotel room it was fine for me and one other person. There is plenty of closet space and the bathrooms do not feel crammed like on a train or plane. They are like a hotel bathrooms with all the amenities. This floor also has rooms without windows. The benefit of this floor is that you only have to walk up 1 flight of stairs to get to the Atrium on Deck 3.
The benefit of being on this deck is you get a window with a balcony. This is the first floor that has a balcony in which you can walk the perimeter. Above your heads you will see the lifeboats. If your guest room is on this floor you can walk down the hall and see the Atrium with an organ that skyrockets upwards into floors 4 & 5. You will get to see where some of the Officers offices are located. If you are looking for quietness but don’t want to sit in your room I would recommend sitting in the Atrium.
This is one of the most important decks for guests to know while on board the ship. This deck is where the Dinning Room, Pinnacle Grill, EXC, Wajang Theater, Art Gallery, Gusts Services, Photo Gallery, and the Main Stage is located.
The Dinning room is huge and is open for breakfast and dinner located on floors 4 & 5. This Dinning room is on of the most beautiful rooms on the ship! The lightings is magnificent and there is floor to ceiling windows on all sides. The room is very spacious so when you want your own table you don’t feel like you are sitting right next to the people beside you. The food here is superb and tastes absolutely fresh from the kitchen! The presentation of the food to the environment is on point. The hosts and waitstaff are such a delight to be around. The portions are European size.
Wajang Theater – Movies & America’s Test Kitchen Live Presentation
There is a good chance you will stop at the guests services deck at least once. If you have any questions these people are excellent. The line can be a bit lengthy at times so either get there right when it opens, during the day when the ship is docked and people are exploring, or late at night.
This deck is one of the most crowded decks, especially at night.
The Dinning room is huge and is open for breakfast and dinner located on floors 4 & 5. This Dinning room is on of the most beautiful rooms on the ship! The lighting is perfect and there are windows on all sides. The room is very spacious so when you want your own table you don’t feel like you are sitting right next to the people beside you. The food here is superb and tastes absolutely fresh from the kitchen! The presentation of the food to the environment is on point. The hosts and waitstaff are such a delight to be around. The portions are European size which is great.
Microsoft Digital Workshop
The Microsoft Digital Workshop is to help the older folks understand how to use Microsoft Edge, organize photos with Windows 10, store and share with OneDrive, bring photo’s to life with Windows 10, and tell stories with OneDrive.
This room is for private events and the Mariner Guest. You probably won’t see this room if you’re a guest a low budget.
This is a great little tasty cafe where you can pick up a cup of coffee and some sweet treats while playing games, socializing or reading in the Explorers Lounge.
This lounge is fairly large with a pool table, piano, boardgames, and a small shelf of books. It is quite nice to come here during the day because it is very quiet and the couches and chairs are very comfortable. During the night there are musicians you can dance and sing along too.
The gallery is small and behind a piece of glass.
Merabella Luxury Collection
A small section on the ship where you will find some beautiful jewelry.
A small little room for social gatherings and activities.
A fun social area in the middle of the ship for social gatherings. The Jewelry auctions are held here and there is always nighttime entertainment.
Gamble away at the slot machines, play roulette, give it a go at black jack, and try some poker and earn a profit or realize you have no more money. I liked the size of this Casino because it isn’t to big and it doesn’t feel like people are running around yelling. One of the nights they offer a class for beginner blackjack and roulette players.
With all the money you won at the Casino you can spend it at The Shops. Buy some pens, jewelry, hand bags, etc… The best part is it’s all duty free.
A fairly large bar where you can get some bar food and a drink.
This is the upper level seating area for those who want to sit higher up and back a ways. This is also where the sound engineers are located.
Spend a little more for a vista suite with a nice big window from floor to ceiling with your own private verandah. Get a whirlpool bath, mini-bar and refrigerator. Sit out on the balcony at night and watch the stars. Sit out on the balcony during the afternoon and watch your fellow travelers get on and off the ship.
Spend a lot more money or be a Mariner and get a really nice Neptune or Verandah Suite with just about everything you need. You get the biggest view, access to the Neptune Lounge and have your own private concierge at your service 24/7. The Neptune Suites are 558-566 square feet and the Pinnacle Suite is 1,296 square feet. Think of it as having your own tiny house with personal services by your side.
This is a nice outdoor pool with seal statues in it. You can sit on the edge and stick your feet in.
Drink a little, watch the pool water move with the motion of the ship. Then try to figure out if you had to much to drink.
So much delicious food! You can go here every day and never repeat what you ate. Walk around it once and then pick what station you want to get your food from. Some stations will have you order and they cook it fresh in front of you. There are so many deserts to choose from and if you just want plain ice cream there is an ice cream station. There isn’t any unhealthy food, just a lot of it!
This pool is really nice. The pool has a dolphin sculpture inside of it and 2 hot tubes next to it. The pool is not deep, so don’t worry if you can’t swim. The roof opens and closes as needed. There are 2 ping-pong tables and open showers.
Fresh cooked burgers, hotdogs and fries with a fresh salad bar.
Greenhouse Spa & Salon
There are so many options you could come here each day and get a different treatment. Just a few are listed below:
Face Therapies – Anti-Aging, Skin Resurfacer, Collagen Age Defy Facial, Pro-Radiance Facial, Skin Energizer
Massage Therapies – Aroma Stone Therapy, Poultice Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage, Couples Massage and Bathing Ritual
Acupuncture lasting up to 50 minutes.
Men’s Services – Pro-Collagen Grooming Treatment with Shave, Deep Cleanse Grooming Treatment with Shave, Men’s Wet Cut and Style Dry
Smile Spa – Tooth Whitening Treatment
Hair Services – Re-Growth Tinting, Phyto Thirst Quencher for Dry hair, Elemis Frangipani Conditioning Hair and Scalp Ritual, Permanent Color
Nail Services – Fire and Ice manicure and Pedicure, Exotic Hand Ritual with Manicure, Nail Fix, Acrylic Nails, Shellac
The fitness center is clean and small ad never feels crammed. There are about 10 pieces of weight machines, treadmills, ehlipticals, and a few weights and an open floor space with handheld equipment. There are a lot of fitness classes that you can sign up for. Below is just a few:
Morning Stretch, Guided Meditation, Pilates, Total Body Conditioning, Evening Stretch, Complimentary Foot Print Analysis, Tour de Cycle, Body Sculpt Boot Camp, and Yoga.
A play room for those who bring their little kids.
A space for socializing.
There is a basketball and pickle ball court.
This is the highest point you can stand on the ship. If you get motion sickness you may not want to be up here. Special events are held up here.
Custom Map of New England & Canada Cruise Stops
Guest & Employee Relationship
Get to know the Employees
You will probably see those few guests who cause problems and complain. Have some respect and don’t be that guest. If you have to complain, wait until you get the survey at the end of the trip. Not everything is in their control nor are they to blame and they are not going to customize the trip to your needs all them time.
I highly recommend you get to personally know the employees that are trying to make your trip enjoyable. You will realize how hard they all work. A lot of them come from Indonesia, the Philippines, Europe and other places. I applaud Holland America for hiring a diverse group of workers. Many of them have to work over 70+ hours a week, 7 days a week. Most of the year they don’t get to see their family and friends they left behind. Have a conversation with them and let them share their stories. Make sure to write down the names of the employees you felt treated you well. At the end of the trip you will get a survey in your email asking which employees did a great job. May of them sign yearly contracts and when you state their name in the survey, it will help them get a raise and raise their chances of getting their contract renewed for the following year.
Tips are already included but I highly recommend you get a stack of envelops at the guest services desk and write the names of each person you felt treated you well on the envelope then put some money in it and go to each person and hand them the envelope. Do not leave the envelopes at the guests services desks since the deserving people may never get them.
The room service is superb and is way better than at hotels. The people that clean your room will introduce themselves to you and remember your name. If you request ice, they will make sure you have ice in your room each day. They clean your room twice a day and create towel animals and give you chocolate when you get back. I have seen them vacuum and clean and they do get in and around each corner. You will also get an itinerary/technical for the day which lists all the activities.
Don’t be that guest who leaves the room a mess each time you go out and then get mad that the people cleaning your room moved your stuff. Tidy up your room before you leave for the day so they can do a good job. Remember, they want to impress you and do good. Don’t make it difficult for them.
If you want food any time of the day or night you can call and it will be delivered fresh just they way you would want it. You will get glass plates, napkins, and silverware and no paper and plastic.
You will not use cash, credit/debit card while you are on the ship. All transactions will be done through your Holland America ID card which will be linked to your credit card. For example, if you purchase an item worth $70 with your Holland America ID card, the $70 will show up on your credit card statement. This is for safety and security reasons.
When you are at port make sure to bring your wallet. You can not use your Holland America ID off the ship. There may or may not be ATM machines, so plan ahead.
‘Zaandam Sluicestone’ Cast in eco-deco after stone. Original by Jacob Cressant (utrecht 1734 – 1794). The Netherlands, 1780. Replica by: Lebigre & Roger. Italy, 1999.
Baroque Organ inspired on the traditional barrel organ by architect Dingemans and Mr. Janssen, 1998-2000, DFL 650,000. When played it is suppose to remind people of street organs that are being played in the streets of Dutch cities.
‘Yellow Jasper’: An unknown head. Though scientists believed this head to be the Egyptian Queen Tiye or maybe Queen Kiya. TULIPS = two lips.
Merabella Luxury Collection
- If you can’t read the menu, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s not worth order something and let it go to waste and have to complain that they food wasn’t good. The fine dinning restaurants have fancy menu’s and the employees don’t expect you to come in knowing what every dish consists of. The staff are trained at Holland America University and trained on board to make sure you have a pleasant dinning experience. Before getting on board make sure to have proper knowledge on how to fine dine so you don’t look bad or cause problems for the staff. For example, I went to the Pinnacle Grill one night and this lady order a dish assuming the sauce was something different than what was on her plate. She wiped off the sauce into her napkin only for the waitstaff to throwout. She also didn’t know which utensils to use first and did not know how to cut her meat properly.
- Walk around the boat and look at all the beautiful artifacts.
- Most guests are over 50 years of age so if you’re worried about sitting by the pool in your bathing suit looking like a fat rotting potato, don’t worry. Chances are there will be those guests that think they have the body of an in shape 20-40 year old or they know they look old and stale but don’t care what anyone else thinks.
- Bring a backpack for all the souvenirs and gifts you buy at port. A purse or murse (man-purse) is fine too.
- Please don’t bring your kids. Guests didn’t sign up to have to strain their eyes watching your kids runaround and complain there is absolutely nothing for them to do. If you really need to take your kids on a cruise then take a Disney Cruise.
- If you can afford it, get a hotel and spend an extra day at your start and end destinations.
- Make it your goal to become a Mariner (member program).
- Most announcements will happen over the PA system or on documents left outside/inside your room.