The cruise ship Zaandam was built at Fincantieri's Venice Marghera shipyard. The 63,000t vessel was delivered to Holland America Line (HAL), the Carnival Corp subsidiary, in April 2000.
During its first summer cruise season, Zaandam alternated between eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries. Zaandam was the seventh vessel built by Fincantieri for HAL and followed by Amsterdam in the Autumn of 2000.
To date, Holland America has had three ships named Zaandam, a city in Holland near Amsterdam. The other two ships were the SS Zaandam (1882–1897) and MS Zaandam (1938–1942).
The ship's décor is music-related, the focal point of the grand atrium being a 22ft-high pipe organ designed by the ship’s interior architect, Frans Dingemans (managing director of Architectenbureau, Utrecht), and interpreted by the sculptor Gilbert LeBigre. A highlight of the musical theme is a collection of guitars signed by famous musicians including the Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie and Iggy Pop, which are featured throughout the vessel’s public rooms. There is also a saxophone placed on one of the aft stairways signed by former US President Bill Clinton
Zaandam is 238m long, 32.2m wide and can reach a speed of 23 knots. Her maximum height from the waterline is 48m.
Zaandam offers 168 deluxe cabins with a balcony. She has one penthouse suite with a balcony, 28 passenger suites with a balcony, 384 standard outside cabins and 139 standard inside cabins. With 359 crew cabins, the Zaandam's full complement is 2,425. All staterooms are equipped with a television, telephone and multi-channel music.
Zaandam contains a choice of eating areas. The Rotterdam restaurant offers world-class cuisine that is served on Rosenthal china, and aims to create a sanctuary of civilisation. Zaandam also features an alternative restaurant, the Marco Polo, serving California-style Italian food.
The vessel also has a crow's nest lounge, situated forward on the sport deck. It provides a panoramic view and features original artwork commissioned especially for the Zaandam. Though a popular place to be when the vessel is arriving at or departing from a port, it is divided into several distinct areas, giving a perception of space.
The vessel also contains an expanded spa, an internet centre, a playroom and club HAL - a programme for children aged from five to 17. Continuing the musical theme, the casino bar contains displays of music memorabilia, from jazz and blues to the classics.
The main lounge is designed to enable passengers to enjoy a quiet cocktail and pleasant conversation before dinner. Later in the evening, the lounge changes into an arena for passengers to be dazzled by the glitz and glamour of a Broadway-style show. The stage, ceilings, lighting and seating are all designed for state-of-the-art entertainment.
The vessel has been designed to offer a range of sporting activities. The outdoor pool is situated on the lido deck and is dominated by a sculpture of a trio of leaping dolphins. Food is served in this area during the day. The vessel also has a roomy gym, the ocean spa gym, with a view over the bow. The beauty salon and massage area adjoin the gym.
Propulsion on the Zaandam is provided by five medium-speed, four-stroke Sulzer 12ZAV40S diesel engines. Each engine has an output of 8,640kW at 514rpm. Each of Zaandam’s engines drives a three phase synchronous 10,500kVA alternator, providing power at 6.6kW. The ship is propelled by two synchronous electric propulsion motors, each driving a shaft line with a CP propeller. The vessel has a services speed of 20.2 knots at 85% MCR.