We took a four night cruise on HAL Statendam from San Diego to Vancouver. This was the final leg of a Panama Canal cruise originating in Fort Lauderdale. We greatly enjoy San Diego and the timing wasn't right for the full twenty night cruise so after staying one night at the Hampton Inn on Pacific Highway we boarded the ship at the new cruise ship terminal. The Hampton provides van service for this at no charge.
I have mostly very positive things to relate about the cruise but I have inserted the paragraphs below early in this document because they contain important information that I wish to prioritize.
Our flight back to the Midwest was from Seattle because we wished to visit some friends there. So, I explored ways of traveling from Vancouver B.C..
I discovered that HAL had a one night cruise on Amsterdam departing the same day our Statendam cruise arrived and for a great price of only $29. So I booked that one night cruise on line directly on the HAL website and felt quite proud of my brilliance since it would save us a night in a hotel and get us fed and transported to Seattle. Two days prior to our Statendam cruise departure however, I received a call from HAL informing me that I was in violation of the Jones Act because I had booked a back to back trip departing from Canada. I was aware of the Jones Act provision requiring a stop at a foreign port before returning to the U.S. but had no idea that my brilliant one day cruise YVR to SEA was illegal. I was instructed to pick one to cancel, so, of course I cancelled the one day cruise.
I received several answers as to why the one nighter was not permitted by law one of which is that the traveler must have a 24 hour break in traveling before booking a back to back which results in a departure from a foreign port to a US port.
Please learn from my mistake. A travel agent might have caught this but I booked directly with HAL but on different days and there was no computer edit that merged my reservations, spotting the problem.
The Statendam trip was a very nice cruise, although short with only a single stop at Victoria. However, that is a great little city with a nice park, Beacon Hill a short walk from the pier and the walk to downtown is scenic and good exercise.
The entertainment on board was strong especially the vocals by Jordan. The last night of the cruise only a movie was provided which was a bit disappointing.
After the passengers boarded in San Diego the entire ship was required to do the life boat drill again. It was fortunate that the majority of the passengers were understanding Canadians because had there been other countries citizens primarily (I mean us Americans), there would have been a great deal of complaining. An older gentleman became ill during the life boat drill and the ship EMTs responded. The length of these close quarter drill formations is a problem for many people and those with disabilities or age issues should be encouraged to find seats during the drill.
As usual the food was excellent in the Rotterdam MDR, Canaletto and even the Lido where sushi is served at lunch and fresh squeezed orange juice is provided at no extra charge each morning.