Launched in 2000, the Zaandam cruise ship is a mid-sized Holland America Line vessel. She is named after a small town in the Netherlands, not far from Amsterdam. Her sister vessel is the Volendam, and she also shares several similarities with the Amsterdam and the Rotterdam.
The Zaandam was christened by twin actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, in a bid to attract a younger demographic to the cruise line. The ship is popular with all ages, but you can expect to find more young families on board during school holidays and the summer season.
Weighing in at 60,906 tonnes, measuring 777 feet in length and spanning 10 decks, the Zaandam is a small to medium sized vessel, perfect for relatively short trips. She can accommodate 1,440 passengers and 647 crew members. Her cruising speed is 23 knots.
Like most cruise ships, the Zaandam was designed with a theme in mind; in her case, music. She is tastefully decorated with memorabilia from some of the world's most famous musicians. Examples include signed guitars from the band members of Queen and a saxophone that used to belong to former US president Bill Clinton.
The ship's Dutch heritage also comes into play. The atrium features an impressive Dutch pipe-organ - an instrument that is still used in the Netherlands today - and is often host to a delightful string quartet. Dutch photographs, antiques and memorabilia can be found throughout the ship.
The activities on board tend to be tailored for relaxation as opposed to action or adventure. One of the ship's most popular public spaces is the Explorations Cafe. Sponsored by the New York Times, this room doubles as an internet cafe, library and quiet retreat. Here you can browse the internet, read the morning paper and borrow DVDs to play in your stateroom.
Other popular activities include trivia, card games, enrichment lectures, casino contests and art auctions. The art on the ship is rather impressive and guests can take a self-guided tour (with the help of an iPod) to discover the history behind the pieces on display.
There are of course fitness facilities for those who prefer more active pursuits, such as a basketball court, fully-equipped gym and ping-pong table.
For a medium-sized vessel, the Zaandam offers a fabulous selection of international cuisines. While there are only a handful of venues, each eatery has an in-depth, varied menu, featuring all of your favourite classics as well as exotic flavours. To give you an example of the wide variety of food available, the Rotterdam Dining Room's vegetarian menu alone has an impressive 22 dishes to choose from.
Keeping in-line with the music theme, many of the bars and lounges on board have live musicians perform every evening. This creates a lovely atmosphere on board. What better way to relax than by sitting back in a comfortable bar and listening to a wonderful pianist or string quartet?
The Zaandam spends most of her time between North and South America. The shore excursions available will of course depend on your chosen cruise route, however you can expect an impressive array of options to choose from at most ports. Some examples include a hike in the Tongass National Rainforest in Alaska, a tour of the Otway Sound Penguin Rookery in Punta Arenas, Chile, and a city walking tour in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Whether you are staying in an interior cabin or a deluxe suite, you can be sure of one thing: a comfortable, well-equipped room. All of the rooms on board the Zaandam have been designed to Holland America Line's 'Signature of Excellence' standard. This means they have high thread count sheets, soft fluffy towels, extra pillows, flatscreen televisions, DVD players and high volume showerheads. All cabins also come equipped with an ottoman, reading lamp, writing desk, vanity mirror and basic Elemis toiletries. They are serviced twice daily and chocolates are left for you each evening.
With this in mind, selecting the right stateroom will largely come down to how much space you need and whether you would like an ocean view. Outside and balcony cabins are the same size (between 182 and 197 square feet), while suites range from 282 square feet to 1,159 square feet. The suites come with additional perks, such as a whirlpool bath and large balcony, as well as exclusive access to the Neptune's Lounge, which serves a continental breakfast daily and always stocks free snacks and nonalcoholic beverages.
Dining included in your Zaandam ticket:
Specialty dining (not included in your fare):
You'll find most traditional cruise activities on board the Zaandam, such as card games and paddle tennis, but what really sets this ship apart is the Culinary Arts Centre and the Windows' Digital Workshop. Both exclusive to the Holland America Line, these facilities offer you the chance to expand your horizons and learn new skills.
At the Culinary Arts Centre you can watch talented chefs give live cooking demonstrations, while at the Digital Workshop (powered by Windows) you can learn how to edit photos, create a blog, manage your emails and improve your social networking abilities. Both are well worth a try on your cruise - be sure to book a space at the Culinary Arts Centre in advance, as some demonstrations have a cover charge and are by reservation-only.
There are two outdoor swimming pools on the Zaandam, one with a retractable roof so you can take a dip rain or shine. Each pool is home to a jacuzzi and several deck chairs.
The Greenhouse Spa & Salon is perhaps the most relaxing place on board the ship. The spa offers a wide variety of Elemis treatments, such as facials, manicures, pedicures and massages. In the spa you will also find the Greenhouse Retreat, which is home to ceramic loungers, a sauna, a steam room and a hydrotherapy pool.
Those looking to keep fit will find all of the latest cardio equipment and free weights at the fitness centre, as well as group classes such as aerobics, spinning, yoga and pilates. If you'd prefer to exercise outdoors, the wraparound promenade on Deck 3 is a beautiful way to burn off a few calories. Fitness staff will often organise group walks here, so do keep an eye out for these. The ship also has a basketball court, paddle tennis court and a ping-pong table.
As nighttime rolls around, you'll find many people will gravitate towards the Atrium. A string quartet starts playing here in the early evening, making it the perfect place to enjoy a pre-dinner drink.
After dinner, watch a production show at the Mondriaan Show Lounge. The shows here are of exceptionally good quality and will keep you coming back for more. Alternatively, you can relax in one of the ship's many bars and lounges. The Piano Bar features an excellent live pianist, while the string quartet relocates from the Atrium to the Explorer's lounge after dinner. The Ocean Bar is home to a live dance trio.
A family-friendly vessel, the Zaandam has an area reserved exclusively for children. On Deck 9 you will find three age-appropriate venues - Club HAL for ages 3 to 7, Club HAL Tweens for ages 8 to 12 and The Loft for teenagers. Each of these venues is equipped with a range of age-appropriate activities to keep your kids well entertained.
Club HAL and Club HAL Tweens both run organised activity programmes from 9am to 12pm and then again from 2pm to 5pm, however teenagers are able to hang out at their own leisure - The Loft has video games, music, films, karaoke and other fun activities. There is also an outdoor playground area for all children on Deck 10.
If you want to enjoy a night out without the children, you can enrol your kids in the Club HAL nighttime activity programme which runs from 8pm to 10pm. After 10pm, group babysitting is available for a small charge. In-cabin babysitting may be able to be negotiated - it's best to check with the Club HAL staff.
Please note that children must be potty-trained to be able to participate in the Club HAL activities. The same rule applies for use of the pools.
We cruised 2 times with Holland America in a few weeks both trips were amazing. We went up to Alaska then returned also by ship it was a cheaper option to flying and you got to visit all the great places again. That was so good as it is so hard to choose between all the excurtions available so that
way you got to do so many more of them. The ships are great so many areas to check out. The staff were wonderful and couldn't do enough for you, they work very hard to keep the ships running smoothly. There were lots of fun activities to do while sailing, bingo, music trivia, game of fun, dancing competitions all sorts. The shows were so professional beautiful costumes and singing. The crew nights were also fabulous they were all so busy don't know when they had time to practise for it. The information talks on all the places we were going to visit were very informative. The daily news letters kept you up with everything that was happening daily on the ship it was difficult to decide which things to do most days. The variety of food was great. Give yourselves a treat and go for a cruise you will not regret it.
2 lower beds convertible to 1 queen-size bed, bathtub, shower. All FF-category staterooms also have 1 sofa bed & pullman upper. Approximately 140–319 sq. ft.
Stateroom amenities include:
* Luxurious beds featuring Sealy® Premium Euro-Top mattresses and finely woven cotton linens
* Deluxe waffle weave and terry cloth bathrobes for use during your voyage
* 100% Egyptian cotton towels
* Premium massage showerheads
* 5X magnifying make-up mirrors and salon-quality hair dryers
* Fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from Elemis Aromapure
* Complimentary fresh fruit on request
* Elegant ice bucket and serving tray for in-stateroom beverages
* Flat-panel TV and DVD player
* Ice service, shoeshine service and nightly turndown service
The state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen offering interactive gourmet cooking lessons taught by Master Chefs or culinary guests.