This was our 3rd cruise and we are planning another! The Zaandam was the smallest ship so far that we have sailed and we were not disappointed at all. Yes she was showing her age on the outside, but the inside was always clean and free of odors. One thing I wish they would clean the windows while over night in port. Most of them were salt streaked and not sure when the last time they were cleaned. That's the only thing I can think of that I can say negative.
We flew into San Diego 8 am the same morning we set sail. Found a taxi and headed to Albertsons for my Caffeine Free Coke. Once we were at the port we had a couple of hours to wait. Boarding was said to start at Noon, but we were on the ship by 11:45. Our room was ready for us, so we dropped off our carry on and headed to the Lido for lunch.
After unpacking and touring the ship it was time for the Muster Drill. It was fairly quick then off to the bar for our sail away drink of the day. Sailing out of San Diego we had the prettiest sunset and great picture moments.
The next 2 days were sea days. We did see a lot of whales the entire trip.
First port of call was Puerto Vallarta and it was an over night docking. This was a first for us and enjoyed it as well. Of course we hit Walmart while in port...seems like most of the passengers did. Our Pirate ship excursion was cancelled due to lack of interest. But we were happy to go on Two If By Sea. This was a wonderful excursion! Snorkel, lunch, drinking, private beach and a wonderful sail down the coast of PV. Our underwater camera died early on this trip and we were happy to purchase the photo package from the excursion. We just got out CD in the mail yesterday and are pleased with the pictures. We opted not to hike to the water fall but now have pictures as if we were there.
While on the beach, there are beggars and children trying to sell trinkets. We simply smiled and said no thank you and were left alone.
We stayed on board the second day in port and enjoyed the aft pool until it was time to sail away.
Cabo was our next day and I enjoyed that better but felt we had so little time to do everything. We enjoyed shopping and bartering and then had a delicious lunch at Taco Loco. It was in front of Cabo Wabo and little better of a price for us.
We never felt unsafe at either port. We only stayed in the tourist areas and enjoyed both ports of call.
Our last sea day was lazy pool day. Later in the day the seas were getting a little rough and by dinner time we were really rocking and rolling. The barf bags were put out on tables but we never saw any one get sick. We felt queasy while packing to go home but by the time we laid down we felt much better.
We ate at the Pinnacle Grill for lunch once. We didn't find any thing special about it. Seemed like the MDR but smaller and more intimate. It wasn't bad at all. We now can say we have eaten there.
We enjoyed the MDR on most nights and had Open Seating. This is my favorite because we meet new people every meal and have different servers as well. On the first night we all enjoyed Burgundy Cherry Ice cream. I loved it so much that our server made sure I had more the next few nights. We didn't even sit at his table those nights but I had the wonderful ice cream 2 more times!
The Mariners brunch was also a first for us and really enjoyed that as well. We ate breakfast and snacked at the lido. There was always something good to eat. Breakfast didn't seem to change variety but we did get full. Room service for the Chocolate cake is a must!!!! Breakfast was good too. We ordered the omelets, fruit and coffee.
The entertainment was just OK. It gave us something to do in the evenings. This sailing seemed to have an older crowd and the shows fit their genre. Not at all did we feel out of place. We did see a few kids on board and they were always polite and no running or pushing elevator buttons.
Leaving the ship was easy but delayed due to non US citizens not being where they were supposed to be at the right time. Many calls were made for people over and over. We finally got off around 930 and headed to the airport via taxi.
I love HAL and plan to sail again. The Zaandam was a nice ship. The crew was absolutely wonderful and always smiling!