The cruise started off on the wrong foot as we were told at check-in that there would be a delay in boarding of some hours due to the ship undergoing an incline test. It was in fact about 3 hours and we were offered a trip to Granville Island. As we had spent the previous day there we declined the offer and sat on the waterfront until we could board. I felt that Holland America could have at least given us a free cocktail to compensate for the late start. I am sure that the ship was aware of this test not the sort of thing that is sprung upon them the previous day! However that apart we set sail in beautiful weather and found our way around the ship. This was our first cruise on such a large ship and it was rather daunting at first. Our previous cruises had approx 700 passengers and no children. Our cabin was on deck one but very roomy with lots of storage space but was looking rather tired with quite abit of rust around the window.The Lido Bar offered a wide choice of food which after the first 48 hours was on a serve yourself basis (in my view being served by the crew was a much better arrangement, not so much wastage). We ate each evening in the Vista dining room, food good, service excellent. We had travelled accross Canada but we still managed to adhere to the formal dining requests but many others did not and I was surprised they were allowed in the dining room. Even smart casual had many interpretations on this cruise. The Captain Chris Turner and his first officer were both British which gave us peace of mind, in safe hands you might say! Our other cruises have always had a series of talks/lectures either relevant to the cruise or a theme, this we missed on Zuiderdam. The trivia quiz was enjoyable amd here I must mention Hamish, the cruise director. He was excellent. Cannot comment on the evening entertainment as we only went to one show. The day spent travelling through Glacier Bay was awesome and with the added bonus of some expert rangers on board a truly unforgettable experience. Would we travel with Holland America again, well unless it was going to a destination we really wanted to go to. Too many children on board and quite a number of rowdy aussies especially at happy hour in the Crows Nest! Quite often it was cold in the Crows Nest and some passengers resorted to wrapping blankets around them. A number of us complained but nothing seemed to happen. The singer in the Crows Nest was excellent. If you want wifi forget the ship it was overpriced and not always successful, cafes and bars at ports of call are good although in Skagway there wasn't the facility. But overall it was a ggod cruise. The crew were fantastic, our cabin steward Chemi, dining room steward Hendrik a very persuasive wine waitress Leila and a wonderful bar steward in the Pinnacle Bar, Alex.
Ports of call. Juneau-
Whale watching at Auke Bay with Capt Scotty and Caitlen our guide. Saw 4 whales, bald eagles and seals. A wonderful walk through the rain forest trail with Jon to the Mendenhall Glacier. On the way back to the ship he pulled up at a creek to show us some salmon who were making their way back to spawn. Amazing.
Early start on the first train yp to White Pass Summit, truly awesome train ride. We were met by Dallas and Kellie who were our guides for am amazing bike ride back down to Skagway. They were very attentive at all times, ensuring our safety and noting our capabilities on the bike. Thanks alot guys. Skagway easy to see in an afternoon.
We thought we had arranged a tour independantly but this did not work out the other two trips were booked through the cruise line. Had a gentle stroll around the little town along with thousands of other cruise passengers. Found a good wifi spot, The First Choice Saloon on the waterfront. The owner Shane made us very welcome.