A few summers ago, my long-awaited dream of going on a New England cruise finally came true. Embarking from Montreal, Canada, my friend Angie and I set sail on the Holland America Zaandam cruise ship, which took us on a remarkable journey through the picturesque New England region and concluded in Boston, Massachusetts.
The entire experience was nothing short of exceptional, featuring a meticulously crafted itinerary spanning seven delightful days. What made this cruise even more extraordinary was being privy to the Holland America Club Orange program.
Our Canada and New England vacation encompassed a myriad of VIP privileges, including delectable cuisine, mesmerizing stage performances, and access to an almost-private spa. As you weigh your options, this article aims to provide you with valuable insights to help you determine whether the Holland America Club Orange upgrade is the perfect choice for your needs.
Our Zaandam Stateroom
Angie and I had the pleasure of staying in a spacious ocean-view room during our Holland America Zaandam cruise. We were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of storage options, including three closets and ample drawer space. Additionally, the room featured a cozy couch and movable table, which provided the perfect setting for enjoying our meals, catching up on work, or simply relaxing while watching TV.
The beds were exceptionally comfortable, with Euro-top mattresses that were thicker and more plush compared to those in other staterooms on the cruise ship. Another pleasant surprise was the presence of a bathtub in our bathroom. Although the size was relatively small, it still offered a satisfactory space for soaking and unwinding.
As an added perk, I was particularly delighted by Holland America’s use of Elemis brand toiletries. Having been a loyal user of Elemis for the past 25 years, it was a pleasant surprise to find their shampoo, conditioner, and soap available onboard. This small touch added to the overall enjoyment of the cruise experience.
Holland America Zaandam Cruise Ship’s Layout
The Zaandam cruise ship boasts a well-designed layout, allowing for easy navigation across its nine decks. With a limited number of guests onboard—only 1432—it ensures a more intimate atmosphere. The tasteful and understated decor adds an elegant touch to the overall ambiance, creating a serene environment ideal for reading, engaging in intimate conversations, or simply people-watching.
One of the highlights is the ship’s extensive collection of rock and roll memorabilia adorning the walls. These memorabilia include signed guitars from renowned artists such as Queen, Iggy Pop, and the Rolling Stones, to mention just a few.
Additionally, the Zaandam offers an enticing array of onboard duty-free shops and the opportunity to enjoy both recent release movies in the theatre or from the comfort of your own stateroom. For younger guests, Club Hal is the ultimate destination designed precisely for kids aged 3 to 17, providing them with an unforgettable experience.
Thanks to Holland America for hosting on this awesome itinerary. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
Holland America’s Onboard Activities
Discover the incredible indulgence of Holland America’s daily 3:00 PM complimentary afternoon tea service. Treat yourself to a delectable assortment of pastries, bite-size sandwiches, cookies, sweets, and scones accompanied by clotted cream and jam, all while savoring hot or iced tea in the elegant main dining room.
Immerse yourself in the enchanting music, inviting ambiance, and impeccable service from our dedicated staff, who ensure your teacup remains full and your plates are replenished. Undoubtedly, afternoon tea is an absolute highlight of the cruise experience.
The Zaandam boasts two splendid swimming pools; the serene sea-view pool located at the ship’s stern, and the inviting lido pool found towards the ship’s center. At the ship’s bow, you’ll discover the prestigious Greenhouse Spa and Salon, offering a wide array of customized facials, invigorating body treatments, soothing massages, immaculate manicures and pedicures, exquisite hair styling, and even acupuncture.
Additionally, our state-of-the-art fitness center awaits your desire for invigorating workouts, of which I did zero.
Experience the captivating energy of high-energy dance and musical performances, showcased on the dazzling MainStage. However, a personal highlight for me was the extraordinary presentation on the incredible World Stage; a magnificent BBC Earth Experience presentation enhanced with live orchestral music. Prepare to embark on an emotional journey as you witness the wonders of the featured animal life.
For those seeking a touch of excitement, the casino onboard the Holland America Zaandam offers a modest yet entertaining experience. However, I must admit, on this occasion, I decided to forgo this particular indulgence.
Zaandam Cruise Ship Food
The culinary delights aboard the cruise to Canada and New England were truly exceptional. While I could spend countless days praising the delectable food, allow me to provide a glimpse through a collection of mouth-watering photos showcasing my favorite meals.
Throughout the voyage, a delightful array of beef and mushroom dishes dominated the Canada and New England itinerary, a culinary experience that resonated with my taste buds. The dishes were skillfully complemented by rich sauces and perfectly cooked vegetables, ensuring a delightful harmony of flavors.
Mornings typically commenced with breakfast options ranging from convenient room service with eggs, bacon, and English muffins, catering to our early excursions, to made-to-order Eggs Benedict at one of the breakfast buffet stations.
Lunches were equally enticing, with a varied selection of burgers, salads, and an assortment of flavorful delights available at the Lido Restaurant. As a highlight, one glorious day featured a poutine bar by the pool, an experience that truly felt otherworldly.
The culinary journey aboard the cruise to Canada and New England was an epitome of deliciousness, an ode to the artistry of gastronomy.
Specialty Restaurants on the Zaandam
During our Holland America cruise, we had the pleasure of dining at their specialty restaurants and enjoying the Rotterdam Dining Room for dinner on four occasions. Each meal was exceptional, regardless of the location.
At Canaletto, try the perfectly prepared Beef Carpaccio. Over at Pinnacle Grill, indulge in the delectable Beefsteak Tomato & Burrata Salad and the exquisite Beef Tenderloin with Lobster Dumplings.
We were fortunate to experience Master Chef Rudi Sodamin’s Sel de Mer dinner, which surpassed all expectations. The Fruits de Mer, a bountiful platter featuring lobster and crab claws, langoustines, jumbo shrimp, mussels, oysters, and clams, was the highlight of that evening’s dinner. Just the thought of it makes my mouth water!
Be sure not to miss the Beef Short Rib Stroganoff in the main dining room, and the unforgettable Baked Ricotta Stuffed Shells (which may not look appetizing but will leave a lasting impression). Also, treat yourself to the tantalizing Seafood Deviled Eggs.
For more culinary delights, check out the offerings aboard Costa Cruises, a sister brand under Carnival Cruise Lines.
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 onboard your cruise. The additional charge, exclusive amenities program rolled out to all Holland America ships in 2019 and includes VIP access plus:
- 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
Stuff You Need To Know
To enhance your experience on the Holland America Zaandam, we recommend downloading the free Holland America Navigator app. This mobile-friendly app allows you to easily book tours and specialty dining, stay up to date with daily menus and ship activities, and much more.
Before embarking on your Canada cruise, it’s advisable to exchange some US dollars for Canadian dollars to obtain the best exchange rate. This will ensure you’re well-prepared for your journey.
During your Holland America Zaandam cruise, there are several noteworthy events and experiences you won’t want to miss. These include the two formal nights, the Captain’s Welcome Toast, a fascinating kitchen galley tour, and a delightful late-night chocolate surprise party.
Upon check-in, your luggage will be delivered to your stateroom. While the delivery time may vary, it typically ranges from minutes to a few hours. We recommend packing an essential carry-on with items you may need before your luggage arrives, such as a swimsuit, medicine, passport, phone charger, and all necessary cruise documents.
Montreal Hotel Recommendation
For those seeking accommodations in Montreal before setting sail, I recommend the Le Centre Sheraton Hotel. This stellar hotel boasts comfortable beds, a friendly staff, and convenient proximity to many fantastic attractions. Take a stroll down St. Catherine Street or explore the charming Old Montreal neighborhood for enjoyable shopping experiences.
We hope these recommendations provide a seamless and enjoyable journey aboard the Holland America Zaandam.