Embarkation and Disembarkation
Wow - I've never had to spend so much time in line waiting for customs clearance! We arrived around 11:30, and didn't get on board until just after 1:00pm. I'd recommend boarding later if you can be patient, as I've heard the lines get shorter as it gets later. The actual passing through customs was a breeze - we didn't even need to complete an immigration form, but it took a long time to get there.
Ship & Cabins
We heard that the Zuiderdam is going to dry dock for a few weeks at the end of the season - it really needs some upgrades. The cabins are well-used - lots of corrosion on the balcony doors and railings, and the bathroom and furnishings show a lot of wear. The public spaces, though, looked great, and the ship ran like a dream. We didn't make use of the spa or gym, but ate in all of the restaurants, and enjoyed most of the public spaces.
Service & Activities
The ship's crew is as friendly and solicitous as always. The entertainment was enjoyable, and there was always lots of activities to choose from. The offerings in the Computer Lab are more varied, and the Alaskan-themed info sessions - some given by Alaskan park rangers were very much appreciated. The food was as good as always - lots of selection - even more selection in the lido than there has been previously. The service in the main dining room was quite slow at times - and sometimes we had to wait as much as an hour for a table with as you wish dining. We will choose a set seating on our next cruise.
Ports of Call
This was a nice change from Caribbean ports - we did a ship excursion in Ketchikan, and booked two private excursions. There was plenty of time in the ports, and a good selection of things to do. The ship talks about the ports were informative. There is quite an animosity between the ship's "guaranteed shops" and the shops that are not "recommended" - in Juneau, they even put signs in their windows about kickbacks given to cruise ships.