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ms Zaandam Reviews

A great range of ms Zaandam reviews written by our customers. To write your own ms Zaandam review click the link on the right.
Average rating: 5.5 out of 65.5 out of 65.5 out of 65.5 out of 65.5 out of 65.5 out of 6 (from 5 reviews)

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Latest ms Zaandam Reviews

User Rating: 6 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 6
Date: 04 Apr 2016
Author: Susan Ratcliffe
Summary:  We recently returned from a cruise around South America with a 2 night stay in Buenos Aires and a 2 night stay in Santiago at the end - all arranged by Iglu. From the moment we set off from Heathrow the whole holiday went superbly. We flew with British Airways and Iberia via Madrid to Buenos Aires and on our return Journey we flew via Sao Paulo with LAN and British Airways. All flights were good with plenty of time for transfers. Our hotel in Buenos Aires was very central within easy walking distance of many of the sights. The hotel in Santiago ( the Park Plaza ) was excellent although not central. It was in a very nice area with the stop for the hop on hop off tourist bus just outside. All our transfers were on time and in clean comfortable cars. Embarkation went very smoothly and our cabin was ready even at midday. The service was excellent in all areas without it being too familiar. We loved the Zaandam because we felt it looked like a real ship rather than a tall floating hotel. The food was very good in both the Lido and the more formal Rotterdam restaurant with plenty of choice. The range of activities provided on board was very good although we felt that there should have been one or two guest speakers talking about the area. There were plenty of quizzes, cooking demonstrations, tango lessons, a digital workshop and plenty more. The weather was superb so we were able to visit all ports. The port excursions were well organised and there was never any queuing to get off the ship. We enjoyed all ports, particularly the Falklands where we visited Bluff Cove and the penguins. The scenic cruising was wonderful. The bow was opened up and hot pea and ham soup was served on deck. The captain and his crew contributed greatly to our enjoyment. They tried very hard to ensure that we saw everything. The holiday could not have been better and we would definitely travel with Iglu and Holland America again.
User Rating: 6 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 6
Date: 20 Mar 2016
Author: J. Green
Summary:  We enjoyed an excellent cruise round South America, with flights from Heathrow to Buenos Aires, return flights from Santiago via Sao Paulo. We would like to thank Iglu for organising this trip as all the connections, hotels and transfers were spot on. We had booked with Iglu on another cruise and were equally satisfied. We will definitely book with them again.
User Rating: 5 out of 65 out of 65 out of 65 out of 65 out of 65 out of 6
Date: 13 Mar 2015
Author: Iann
Summary:  We traveled to Antarctica on the Zaandam on the 30th January 2015 and were absolutely blown away by the ship, the people, and the scenery. We had two nights in the Kennedy in Santiago which was a very nice hotel but a little out of the way for city centre sightseeing. It was close to a very big shopping mall which in honesty could have been anywhere in the world but did have some nice bars and restaurants. Hotel cars into the centre cost about £10 each way but you could also get the metro if you were prepared to walk 15 minutes. Iglu had prebooked us a tour to Concha y Toro for 9 o'clock in the morning which would have been OK but it was changed to 12 o'clock which rather spoiled our plans for the day. I understand this was a last minute change by Concha y Toro and not by Iglu. The trip was OK but the wine tasting was quite limited and strangely no food (not even nibbles between drinks) was provided. Overall I would describe the tour as an overblown shopping trip. Santiago itself was a great city, very friendly and clean with some nice tourist attractions. I thought two days was probably enough to see everything you needed to. We were transferred to Valparaiso to pick up the ship and everything went like clockwork. We gave our bags to a porter and watched them get scanned and the next time we saw them was in our cabin. Check in was smooth and quick. The ship was very nice although perhaps a bit "old school" for some. Personally, I thought it was great, very comfortable and spotlessly clean with large well furnished public rooms and lots of bars. There are 3 banks of 4 lifts which means you don't have to walk far or have a long wait for them. The ship is of a size that feels intimate (1400 passengers) and is very easily walked. The lower promenade deck is a fully outside deck meaning that you can walk round the ship without ever going indoors or climbing stairs. Strangely, you are discouraged from running/jogging but people were anyway. Overall the ship feels like a club with lots of brass and wood and even has wooden deck chairs on the promenade deck (which are really comfortable). A nice touch was that at times of sightseeing, the bow of the ship was opened up to allow people to great views all round. Our cabin (inside, deck 3) was a good size with a large comfortable bed and a settee. It had lots of wardrobe space (we didn't use all ours) and the bathroom was clean and quite large. It had a flat screen TV and DVD player (DVDs from the front desk) and two hair dryers. The ship provided good quality toiletries and the towels etc were very nice and thick. We had a problem with our toilet frequently refusing to flush but despite several complaints to the front desk, they seemed incapable of solving the problem. The staff were always attentive without being fawning and seemed genuinely happy to be there. The food on the ship was good without being spectacular. We ate most of our meals in the Rotterdam Restaurant because it was a bit more relaxed. It was probably slower than eating in the Lido but you were seated and waited on rather than having to find your own table and then queue up for food at the buffet. We were also on "free" dining plan which meant we met many different people from around the world, an aspect of cruising which I particularly like. The Lido was available at extended hours and we did eat there sometimes. The food was good there too with a greater choice (obviously) than the main restaurant. We didn't eat at the speciality restaurants. Drinks on board were surprisingly well priced and if you made use of the happy hours, it was amazingly good value. We could get beer for just over $5 and two gin and tonics for about $12 which worked out at the time to be about £3.50 and £8. Wine was perhaps a bit more expensive but not outrageous. The cheapest bottled wine I saw was about $24 but you could get a carafe for about $14. During happy hour, you could buy a beer and get a second beer for $1 (applied to all drinks less than $7 I believe) - two beers for $6 was very good value. Tea and coffee were available free 24 hours a day from the Lido. Trips from the ship were mostly overpriced in my opinion but you were able to get local buses and taxis in all the ports of call. The only trip which was exclusively available from the ship was the 4x4 trip on the Falklands, simply because the ship booked all the available cars. As an example, the ship were offering Petrohue Falls for $89 each but we were able to do this in a taxi for $70 for the car. The taxi driver was happy to wait for us when we stopped and was able to explain things as we traveled. No waiting for bus loads of people to get off or back on the bus. On the positive side, the ships tour director provided a really good overview of upcoming ports of call and was surprisingly honest in his description of locally available tours. The cruise itself was magnificent. We were glad we went from Valparaiso (it operates in both directions) because we saw the Chilean Fjords before Antarctica. They were magnificent in their own right but may have been an anticlimax had we seen Antarctica first. We were able to call at all of our ports of call but the cruise before had been severely restricted due to bad weather and had been unable to call at Stanley and Chacabuco (I believe). I was not particularly impressed with Ushuaia because there was very little to do in town and we didn't take a trip - perhaps a mistake. Cape Horn was interesting and thankfully not rough at all. We were able to sail around and went from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back again! Hot chocolate/coffee and sausage rolls/cheese croissants were served on deck by waiters walking round so you didn't miss a minute. Antarctica was amazing from the point at which we arrived (4 am) to the day we left! Unfortunately, restrictions meant no food or drink on deck. The scenery was breathtaking. There was live commentary from the onboard expedition team at points of interest coupled with a good programme of presentations/lectures about many aspects of life in Antarctica. The captain was able to manoeuvre the ship very close to icebergs and glaciers and the views of penguin colonies, all manner of sea birds, and seals was fantastic. We were lucky enough to see a group of killer whales kill a young humpback whale and proceed to eat it right at the side of the ship - something I'm unlikely to ever see again. The Falkland Islands were very scenic although barren and very windy. We were able to see penguins at Gypsy Cove (£10 from the pier) and then look around Stanley and have a couple of pints in the Globe. Montevideo was a surprise as I had thought it looked quite boring on the internet. It was actually very atmospheric in the old town and there was enough to keep us happy sightseeing for most our stay. The market at the side of the port was fascinating if only for people watching. We had a night stay in Buenos Aires on board ship and then two further nights, courtesy of Iglu, at the Savoy. The city is massive and comes as a bit of a culture shock given the previous three weeks in landscapes largely devoid of people and traffic. We had a great meal in a local parilla (steak and chips) and we enjoyed going round the Palacio del Congreso Nacional Argentino which is the Argentinian legislature. On our final night we went to the Tango Night, again arranged by Iglu. This was spectacular with a great meal beforehand and all drinks provided. Flights to Santiago were with KLM and were very good. Flights back from Buenos Aires were with Air France and were pretty bad (surly stewards and poor food). If I were to go again, I would try to get KLM both ways. Overall, this cruise package was fantastic value for money and the trip was everything I could have hoped for. I had been slightly concerned about the number of separate transfers involved but everything ran amazingly smoothly. Well done Iglu.
User Rating: 6 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 66 out of 6
Date: 22 Feb 2015
Author: Philip Edwards
Summary:  Excellent cruise and all arrangements made by Iglucruise for pre and post cruise transfers and accommodation worked well. If there is any criticism it is that the Frier's Park hotel in Buenos Aires is not really five star and was a disappointment.
User Rating: 5 out of 65 out of 65 out of 65 out of 65 out of 65 out of 6
Date: 14 Nov 2014
Author: Ann Redkwa
Summary:  We recently returned from an 18-day holiday in South America and we're still on a high after a wonderful experience of a lifetime. The scenery is breathtaking and our chosen excursions were well-balanced and value for money. My favourite trip has to be the visit to Magdalena Island to see the Magellan penguins, closely followed by a drive around the Falkland Islands (even though it was bleak, cold and windy)! We had a two night stay pre-cruise in Santiago at the Kennedy Hotel, which was within easy walking distance to the shopping malls and restaurants. All of which you'd expect to find in other cities of the world. A must to try is the hop-on-hop-off open top bus tour which is approx. two hours. The pre-cruise stay was worthwhile as it allowed us to adjust to the time zone and rest after the long haul flights. The time between the connecting flights was short (two hours), so if we had to do a similar trip again I would allow more time in between in case of delays. US immigration was very slow and on the return from Buenos Aires to Miami, we were delayed on the tarmac for an hour. Then, we had to collect our luggage before going through Customs (even though they'd been checked in from Buenos Aires to London) and then recheck-in the luggage for the last leg from Miami to London. I've never had to run to the gate with 10 minutes to spare before. In comparison to other ships we've cruised on, the Zaandam is a little dated but it is well maintained and the public areas are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. All the staff are lovely, efficient and eager to ensure you have a wonderful time onboard. There was an excellent variety of food in the restaurants along with the wines - there is something for everyone. The excursions are well balanced, with knowledgeable English speaking tour guides who encourage passengers to ask questions. The guides are passionate about their countries. Safety is important and the transport provided all had seat belts and the drivers did not use their mobile phones / radios while driving. This was very reassuring. I would definitely choose Holland America again.

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