We had cruised on Zaandam in 2010 on a Circle Hawaii cruise.. we met a couple from the Roll call, and have cruised with them in 2012 and this cruise plus my brother and Sister in law, who also cruised last year with us.
We boarded Amtrak from Edmonds, WA to Vancouver, there were the 4 of us on the train, and would meet the other couple on board. (they were Canadians).
We arrived at Amtrak on time, and took a taxi to the ship, the cost for 2 was around $10.00 (we needed 2 taxis for all the luggage).We arrived at the ship and check in was smooth and easy! We were able to go to our cabin immediately and drop off our carry on luggage, our cabin had a red ribbon on the door, I questioned the steward, and his reply was that it had been a "show" cabin. We then went to the Welcome back Mariner lunch. We met up with our Canadian friends and had a wonderful seat in the very back of the dining room, next to the windows. after lunch we went to our cabins and unpacked.
We found the Zaandam to be in better shape than when we sailed in 2010, there had been a problem with a broken window on the lido, and one of the elevators never worked all the time we had been on board... those items had been fixed!
Our cabin was fine, the bed was comfortable, the air conditioning was not cool enough for my DH, I went up to the office and requested a fan, which they didn't really give me an answer to, I think they said they would see what could be done, they send someone in to check the air, and it was around 73 degrees in the cabin.
We sailed the inside passage, leaving Vancouver around 5pm, the inside passage was nice and calm, however I think maybe most of it was sailed during the night.
Our first port was Ketchikan, it was a nice day, no rain, my brother and I went to the "Funicul" that goes up from Creek street to a large hotel at the top of the hill. the cost was $2.00 for all day, we looked through the hotel, and the grounds, there were some totem poles in a group, and quite a few other things to look at in the hotel, a small museum upstairs, no charge, a lovely view of the ship, and a latte stand, if you like lattes!
Our next port was Juneau, it was still very warm in our room, and no relief, so DH thought we should take the city bus out to Walmart, the cost...$2.00 there were vans that would take you to Walmart, but they wanted $10.00 pp!! we bought a fan for our room, and caught the bus bus back to the ship. Most cruisers would go to Mendenhal Glacier, but we have been there many times!
When boarding the ship, the security said they would have to confiscate our fan!! I protested, and they instructed me to go to the office with the fan. the office said they would have to send an electrician to our cabin to inspect the fan, and to bring us one of their extention cords! so I waited in my cabin for the inspection..... I left the fan, and went out of the cabin, when I returned the office had sent a stand up fan to our room!! we put ours in our closet and used the HAL fan.
We ordered room service every morning for coffee and a roll, or muffin, a few times my husband went up to the Lido for an omelet, which he said got a little better as the cruise progressed.. I ate breakfast 4 times in the lido, and usually had lunch at the grill on the lido, we ate all of our meals in the MDR, the service was good, usually it took 1 1/2 hr to eat... we were lucky and got the same table and time all 14 days!! we were assigned open seating, there was not a choice when we booked, which was almost a full year before!
I got to the tea once, there were a couple of Mariner lunches, which we attended and a nice lunch for those of us that were sailing on the B2B, which numbered 101 of us. We also had a nice cocktail party, where champagne, wine and hors de ouvers were served! We ate in the Pinnacle grill on night, I personally was not impressed by the PG or the service, I had a filet mignon, which was huge!!! my husband and my friend's husband ordered the tbone, which was also very large. my friend ordered the lobster, she said it was delicious, but it was very tiny!! My dessert in the PG was crème brulee, but didn't measure up to the one I had in the MDR one night. We all noticed that the baked potatoes seemed to not be done.... even in the PG, they were not done.
This is the first cruise that had the white chair covers on the chairs for formal night, I had read about them, but never had them on any of our other cruises!
The service on the ship was wonderful, and always cheerfully given. the food left a little to be desired, but we certainly didn't starve!! I was hoping for one of those chocolate extravaganzas, but there was none.