A cruise I had been excited for over a decade about finally came to fruition this summer. My longtime friend, Angie, and I boarded the Holland America Zaandam ship in Montreal, Canada and cruised through the beautiful New England region ending in Boston, Massachusetts. It was one of my favorite cruises to date, with a spectacular itinerary and seven fun-filled days, but the Holland America Zaandam ship and new Club Orange benefits made it even more special.
With VIP privileges from Holland America’s Club Orange, delicious cuisine, dazzling stage performances, and an almost-private spa, this vacation was top-notch!
Our Zaandam Stateroom
Angie and I stayed in an ocean-view room which had plenty of space for us and our things. I was amazed by all of the storage options–three closets to choose from and drawer space. A couch and movable table provided a nice spot to eat our breakfast, do a little work, or stretch out to enjoy watching TV.
The beds were quite comfy and the Euro-top mattresses were thicker and more plush than those in other cruise ship staterooms. I was very thankful that we had a tub in our bathroom. While the tub was small, it was still an okay size to soak in and relax.
While it may not be that important to anyone else, I adore the fact that Holland America uses Elemis brand toiletries. Elemis has been my skin-care line for 20 years so using their shampoo, conditioner, and soap make me a happy cruiser.
The Holland America Zaandam Ship’s Layout
The Zaandam cruise ship is really nice. I liked the layout of it, which was simple to navigate with only 9 decks. It had a smaller crowd, with only 1432 guests onboard. The Zaandam’s decor is elegant and understated, and the boat has plenty of spots throughout to read, enjoy intimate conversation, or people watch.
I really liked the ship’s rock and roll memorabilia all over the walls. There were signed guitars from Queen, Iggy Pop, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. Check out the onboard duty-free shopping, enjoy recent release movies in the theater or in the comfort of your stateroom, and for kids ages 3 to 17, Club Hal is the place they will want to be.
Don’t miss the daily 3:00 complimentary afternoon tea service. Sink your teeth into delicious pastries, bite size sandwiches, cookies, sweets, and scones with clotted cream and jam as you sip hot (or iced) tea in the main dining room. Enjoy the music, ambiance, and professional servers as they keep your tea cup full and plates well-stocked. Afternoon tea is one of my favorite parts of the cruise experience.
While Angie and I didn’t attend any of the America’s Test Kitchen offerings, the space was popular and really nice. This is where you can watch cooking demos and sample the food, plus take home recipes. I’ve done it on other Holland America ships.
There are two swimming pools on the Zaandam; the sea view at the ship’s stern and the lido pool near the middle. The Greenhouse Spa and Salon (offering customized facials, body treatments, massage, manicures, pedicures, hair-styling, and acupuncture) and fitness center are at the ship’s bow.
There were high energy dance and musical numbers in the MainStage. My favorite performance was on the World Stage, an amazing BBC Earth Experience big-screen film that is set to music from a live orchestra. You experience all sorts of emotions watching the featured animal life.
The casino onboard the Holland America Zaandam was really small and for once, I skipped that whole experience.
Zaandam Cruise Ship Food
I could go on for days about how delicious the food was while cruising to Canada and New England, but instead, I will share some photos of my favorite meals. There seemed to be quite a bit of beef and mushroom dishes on the Canada/New England itinerary, which I absolutely loved! The rich sauce or perfectly cooked vegetables were nice compliments every time.
Breakfast most morning was either room service (eggs, bacon, English muffin) because we had super early excursions, or Eggs Benedict, which is made to order at one of the breakfast buffet stations. For lunch, we had either burgers, salads, or a hodgepodge of tasty things at the Lido Restaurant. One day, we had a poutine bar at the pool. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
For dinner, we tried out each of Holland America’s speciality restaurants and had four meals in the Rotterdam Dining Room. Honestly, each meal was exceptional, regardless of the location.
At Canaletto, have Beef Carpaccio. At Pinnacle Grill, go for the Beefsteak Tomato and Burrata Salad and Beef Tenderloin with Lobster Dumplings. Angie and I were lucky to have Master Chef Rudi Sodamin’s Sel de Mer dinner offering, too, which was superb. Our favorite part of that dinner was the Fruits de Mer, a huge sampling of lobster and crab claws, langoustines, jumbo shrimp, mussels, oysters, and clams. I get hungry just thinking about it!
In the main dining room, watch for the Beef Short Rib Stroganoff, Baked Ricotta Stuffed Shells (which didn’t look very tasty, but I dreamt of for days after), and Seafood Deviled Eggs.
Orange Club Program Benefits
Holland America’s Orange Club, or “Club Orange” as it is more commonly called, was created to offer a new level of luxury on board on your cruise. The additional charge, exclusive amenities program rolled out to all Holland America ships in October 2019 and includes VIP access and:
- Stateroom upgrade
- Premium bathrobes
- Complimentary jewelry cleaning at Merabella
- Exclusive Club Orange tote bag (one per stateroom)
- Priority access/Skip the line to many things including checkin-in and disembarkation
- A special event for Club Orange guests chosen by the ship’s Captain
- Dedicated Concierge hotline, lines at Guest Services, and Shore Excursion Desk
- Priority appointment at Black Label Studio for portrait session
- Premium dining room and room-service menu items
- And much more
Miscellaneous Cruise Info
Download the free Holland America Navigator mobile-friendly app to book tours and speciality dining, see the daily menus and what is happening around the ship, plus more.
You will get the best exchange rate exchanging some US dollars prior to your Canada cruise for Canadian dollars.
Things You Won’t Want to Miss: Two Formal nights, Captain’s Welcome Toast, Kitchen Tour, and Chocolate Surprise Late Night Party.
Your luggage will be delivered to your stateroom sometime after check-in. Sometimes it is within minutes, while other times it takes several hours. Bring everything with you in a carry-on that you may need prior to your luggage arriving, such as a swimsuit, medicine, passport, phone charger, and all cruise documents.
If you need a hotel in Montreal prior to setting sail, we found the accommodations at Le Centre Sheraton Hotel to be stellar. The hotel had everything we needed–super comfy beds, a friendly staff, and was within walking distance of many great attractions. For shopping, head over to St. Catherine Street or the entire Old Montreal neighborhood.
More Zaandam Photos
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Thanks to Holland America for hosting on this awesome itinerary. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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