Zaandam in Alaska
Zaandam in Alaska / Holland America Line / Simon Watson
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Lido Bar and Pool
Lido Bar and Pool / Holland America Line
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Casino / Holland America Line
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Piano Bar
Piano Bar / Holland America Line
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Ocean Bar
Ocean Bar / Holland America Line
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Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Holland America’s 1,432-guest Zaandam debuted in 2000 following her sister R-class sister ship Volendam (all R-class ships were named for Dutch cities) and featured a jazzier design with an overall music theme throughout the ship. Memorabilia on board includes signed guitars from Queen, Iggy Pop, Eric Clapton, and the Rolling Stones, as well as a Baroque-style pipe organ. Subsequent refurbishments, the last in 2018, have kept Zaandam’s interiors looking fresh, although the ship’s smaller size and age may be a factor for travelers looking for a newer vessel with more onboard offerings. The ship’s design also means that there are more Interior and Ocean-View staterooms than Balcony accommodations — in fact, you’ll need to book a Vista Suite to enjoy a private balcony. 

What We Love

Its Manageable Size: Zaandam has just 716 cabins, appealing to those who want to avoid a ship overrun with several thousand passengers. It's a throwback to vessels of an earlier era and offers a more intimate, low-key ambiance. And when in port, the ship’s population does not overwhelm islands and small towns.

Wining and Dining: The Pinnacle Grill, the extra-fee specialty restaurant, is an ideal setting to celebrate a birthday or anniversary — especially for anyone who enjoys a big juicy steak, fine wine, and attentive service. Holland America is also rolling out a new Morimoto By Sea pop-up restaurant within Pinnacle Grill in 2024 that features an exclusive menu by “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto, who it named its “fresh fish ambassador.”

Best Known For

A Grown-Up Vibe: Holland America has a reputation for having a relaxed and more sedate atmosphere than other cruise lines with livelier, more party-centric clientele — especially around the pools and in the bars. Explorations, which combines a café, Internet center, and library, is a popular gathering place on Zaandam.

Room to Roam: The ship's wide teak Lower Promenade Deck draws those who enjoy daily walks when at sea or simply hanging out in a deck chair and reading while watching the ocean waves. 

Who It's Best For

Mature Cruisers: Zaandam attracts a sedate Middle America crowd looking to cruise at their own pace — without being overwhelmed by the energy of larger, flashier ships. Guests on the longer South America cruises will be older than those sailing to Alaska.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

There’s No Music Walk: Holland America ships are known for signature nighttime live music venues, known collectively as Music Walk, which feature pop (in Billboard Onboard), classic rock (in Rolling Stone Rock Room or Rolling Stone Lounge), and blues (in B.B. King’s Blues Club). Zaandam and Volendam are the exceptions, although guests on both of these older ships can enjoy music nightly in onboard lounges and the World Stage theater.