The Dutch midfielder scored 15 goals in all competitions in addition to being one of seven nominees for the PFA Player of the Year award.
The 28-year-old also hailed the Premier League as the biggest in the world.
“I couldn’t really have imagined it would have gone as well as it did, I had a great season,” he told the club’s official website.
“You have your ups and downs but at the end I scored 15 goals, the team played well and it was a great Champions League season.
“Of course it’s a pity that we didn’t finish in the top four but we had a great season. So I’m a happy man and it was a nice first year.
“The Premier League is the biggest in the world. Everybody in every country sees our games and that’s a nice thing.
“As a player you want to show what you can do to the whole world so it has been an important move for me.”
Van der Vaart lost out on the PFA award to team-mate Gareth Bale and the Dutchman feels his colleague was a worthy winner of the award.
“It was a great honour [to be nominated],” he said. “First year and straight into the top seven names, I was really proud.
“But Gareth was great and he deserved to win it. He also had a great season.”