Named after a distinguished town in North Holland, ms Zaandam is a beautiful mid-sized cruise liner boasting refined décor, ultra-spacious cabins and a whimsical artistic flair. Abounding with enrichment activities and equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, she effortlessly combines contemporary luxury with classic tradition for a voyage that takes luxury ocean cruising to previously unimagined heights.
The imaginative musical theme sweeping the entirety of Zaandam’s decks singles her out as a truly one-of-a-kind vessel from the moment you embark. Her soaring three-storey atrium plays host to a truly astounding Baroque-style Dutch pipe organ, ornate in design and unparalleled in grandeur, which has even been known to pipe out a tune or two on sea days – and throughout the ship you will find artefacts, memorabilia and artwork inspired by some of the world’s greatest musicians. As the sun begins to set and the evening draws in, it becomes apparent that the Zaandam’s musical fixation is a treat not just for the eyes, but the ears too; live music is at the heart and soul of the ship’s entertainment and top-class performers take to the stage to get feet tapping and fingers snapping night after night.
Every stateroom aboard Zaandam proudly bears the Holland America Line “Signature of Excellence” seal of approval, denoting them to be super-luxurious, expertly-designed havens of rest and relaxation. Decadently soft beds with Sealy® Premium Euro-Top mattresses and sumptuously fine linens, Egyptian cotton towels, premium massage showerheads, waffle weave bathrobes and high-end bath and body products ensure a sublime night’s sleep and a refreshing start to the day; while elegant touches such as the ice service, shoeshining, flat-screen TV with DVD player, nightly turndown service and complimentary fresh fruit attest to the high-end quality of the cabins. Zaandam has a modest passenger capacity of 1,432 aboard her spacious 781-foot-long quarters, and as a result her cabins are sprawling and expansive, abounding in light and space to relax. Those looking to truly indulge in the heights of luxury with their sleeping quarters should consider a Vista or Neptune Suite reservation. Steeped in enhanced amenities and high-tech facilities, these suites feature such delights as premium duvets, binoculars, a menu of pillow options, personalised cruise stationery, oversized bath towels and a whirlpool bath and shower, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows to positively bathe the room in light. Suites are also beautifully appointed with spacious verandahs, commanding dramatic panoramic views of the sky and seascapes, and allowing passengers to revel in a stunning sunset or breathtaking landscape from the intimacy of their own quarters. The Neptune Suite even offers an in-suite high tea service, priority dining and seating and a cordial invitation to a cocktail party with the ship’s officers. Going one step further is the suite truly deserving of its name: the Pinnacle Suite. Almost double the size of all other staterooms, its extra services include mimosas at breakfast to get the day off to a sparkling start, an in-suite coffee machine and an oversize whirlpool bath and shower, as well as a separate living room and dining room. Neptune and Pinnacle Suite passengers also enjoy access to the industry-leading Neptune Club, an exclusive on board sanctuary furnished with a large-screen TV, sofas, library and an array of refreshments.
Zaandam offers a rich variety of cuisine options to suit any time of day, mood or taste. The ship’s main restaurant is the luxurious Rotterdam Dining Room, lushly decorated in deep purples and rich reds for an ambience that is at once inviting and refined; a charming setting from which to sample the superb breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Dinners are artfully-presented, impeccably-prepared, multi-course feasts comprising both regional cuisine and classic favourites, served by gracious and attentive staff, while breakfast and lunch take the classic buffet structure and offer a wide variety of hot and cold options to tempt any palate. The Lido Restaurant, meanwhile, offers an alternative venue with serving stations for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a speedier service of Western, Asian and Italian cuisine. Those looking for a more leisurely bite to eat should meander down to the Terrace Grill, where you can dine on gourmet burgers, hotdogs, veggie burgers, tacos and other mouth-watering favourites as you lounge by the pool and soak up the sun’s rays. Or if it is a more luxurious, fine dining experience you are looking to be swayed by, look no further than Zaandam’s premium dining venue: the world-renowned Pinnacle Grill. Taking inspiration from Holland America Line’s home city, Seattle, this high-end restaurant serves an indulgent spin on Pacific Northwest cuisine: expect delectable seafood and luscious steaks and salads, beautifully assembled and exquisitely cooked. Unsurpassed in quality, this is not one to be missed.
Zaandam positively teems with on board entertainment throughout the day and deep into the night, from enrichment lectures to cookery classes, live music to line dancing, for a journey as memorable as the regions you visit. During a peaceful sea day or a lazy afternoon, explore the ship’s extraordinary collection of artwork and memorabilia with a self-guided iPod tour – and if a piece really catches your eye, maybe even sit in on the art auctions conducted by Parke West Galleries to see if you can procure it for your private collection. For a pleasant afternoon of bookish comfort, cosy up in the Explorations Café and Library: a calm and distinguished space sponsored by the New York Times and populated with computers, puzzles and books to while away a few hours in tranquil quiet. Or perhaps you would prefer to take a walk along the teak Promenade, breathing in the invigorating sea air and savouring the astonishing views – followed, maybe, by a well-deserved dip in the pool, or a cocktail and a catch-up with your fellow passengers. As the evening draws in and the dinner service comes to a close, eager audiences convene in the Mondriaan Lounge with an aura of barely-contained excitement for the evening’s entertainment. The space is sumptuous with its plush red furnishings, tiered seating and sweeping gilded curtains – and its vibrant atmosphere is matched only by the lavish, glitzy performances that wow passengers night after night with music, dance and showbiz glamour. When the night deepens, Zaandam truly comes alive and shows its multi-faceted, outstandingly versatile musical colours. Dance to your favourite chart-topping hits with the dance trio in the Ocean Bar, or allow yourself to be enchanted by a classic performance from the resident pianist in the Piano Bar. For a more understated performance, swoon under the string quartet’s light classical music in the elegant Explorer’s Lounge – or stamp your feet and snap your fingers as an easy listening rock combo has the Crow’s Nest shouting for more. Bounce between genres and performers for a night of musical wonder – and for those who can’t stand to see the night end, the Crow’s Nest features a DJ to keep everyone dancing into the early hours.
Zaandam has a bountiful supply of sports and fitness facilities, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, basketball and paddle tennis courts, ping-pong and the fully-equipped on board gym, featuring ski machines, stationary bikes, weight training machines and free weights. Passengers are also welcome to take part in group exercise classes such as relaxing yoga and Pilates, or high-energy cardio such as spin and aerobics, to let off some steam and re-energise the body – while those looking for a more leisurely way to exercise are encouraged to join the mile-long walk organised every morning by the fitness staff. After a hard workout, why not pamper yourself with a trip to the Greenhouse Spa, a calming sanctuary offering soothing spa treatments, facials, wraps, manicures, pedicures and massages to relax and rejuvenate. With its sauna and steam room, heated salt water pool and hydrotherapy pool, it will transport you to an oasis of calm as you cruise along in unsurpassed luxury.
Club HAL, the on board youth club, offers a wide array of stimulating and exciting activities to keep kids entertained and enthralled throughout the voyage. It gears its programme to kids (3-7 years old) with arts and crafts, ice cream parties and candy bar bingo, tweens (8-12 years old) with dance classes, karaoke and scavenger hunts and teenagers (13-17 years old) with its popular “The Loft” hangout. Teenager activities include video movies, trivia contests and card games in a comfortable club-like setting furnished with a dance floor and lounge area, while the no-parents-allowed “The Oasis” is a private deck draped with hammocks for young adults to socialise and relax. Additional kids activities include ship tours, Coke-tail parties and even cooking classes.
Learn how to enhance, backup and share your valuable holiday snaps at the hugely popular Windows® Digital Workshops. Led by Microsoft-trained “techsperts”, these informative classes cover everything you need to know to make the most of your technology – from getting your photos from your camera to your computer, all the way to photo editing, blogging, creating movies and setting up websites. No matter what your skill level, you are guaranteed to come away learning something new.
Head to the Wajang Theater to catch a professional cooking class from either a high-calibre guest chef, or one of the professional chefs aboard the cruise liner, as part of the renowned Culinary Arts Center initiative. Offered in conjunction with Food & Wine magazine, this innovative venture encourages passengers to try their hand at regional and classic dishes through demonstrations in the fully-equipped show kitchen (or, occasionally, a more hands-on workshop). Daily arts and crafts classes see passengers exploring their inner creativity, while engaging and knowledgeable lecturers are invited on board to deliver seminars on a wide range of subjects, from sociology to wine tasting, art history to wildlife. Especially popular are the lectures on the surrounding regions; adding a layer of depth to your understanding of the local areas, they allow you to look with a better-informed eye on the cultural wonders that await you ashore.