“A definite itinerary for your Bucket List but beware of pits”
Cruise review of Holland America Zuiderdam

joan Zuiderdam 4 A definite itinerary for your Bucket List but beware of pits
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Our first ever cruise on an ocean liner - we picked Zuiderdam and it was a beautiful ship. Tried reading all about cruising on websites but didn't find one of DOs and DONTs. Many reviews of course would concentrate on the DOs. So let me just tell you that the best thing about the whole cruise is the destination. Alaska is sublime - a throw-back to the wild west, an uncut diamond and a super destination for your brand new digital camera - assuming you have bought one with a 200X zoom for wildlife. Otherwise that whale or seal or sea otter is just going to be a speck on a grey ocean.

Calving glaciers are fascinating too - it's like seeing the evidence of global warming right in front of your eyes - how much more can the planet take?! I asked myself as yet another piece of ice thunders into the ocean. However watching it through those perspex plastic sheets (for safety) isn't fun. It's like watching a movie in a cinema. So some of us climbed onto the railings and peered over the perspex - only to have the ship security insisting that we get down. But like naughty schoolboys, the moment their backs were turned, we're up again - hey, we paid for our cruise didn't we? We're entitled to some reality TV for God's sakes. It doesn't get better than this - watching glaciers calf. By the end of our 7 days cruise, my eyes just about needed glasses ( had perfect vision before) cos of the endless hours of looking at the ocean from our "money well spent" room with a balcony - waiting for a breeching whale (that the other half saw but my back was turned).

Last but not least, don't fall for those onboard ART AUCTIONS unless you have lots of money to throw away. We were lured by the US$100 discount voucher, the arty farty ambience and I did like a very sensual piece which I thought might look good on my wall back home. SO like an idiot, I bid - but no one else did - so I won it. British American Auctions didn't tell me I could ship it without a frame and they sweetened the deal with another piece of art absolutely free -so I ended up paying US$432 for both and shipping...which was a lot more than what I really wanted to pay - but never mind, I convinced myself that I still liked the first one. Three months after arriving home and not having received the two pieces of art I paid for, I started getting worried. My emails to BAA were unanswered, my web search came up with horrendous stories of scams, my pleas to HAL came to polite replies such as "We'll forward your emails to BAA", blah, blah, but not taking any responsibilities themselves...I was beginning to tear my hair out (whatever's left on my head that is).

Anyway, they did finally come - and the paintings are on my wall - and I still liked it but would I do it again? NEVER!!!!

Zuiderdam Cruises to Alaska
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Cabin review: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Port and Shore Excursions

Too far away from the main town and no complementary shuttles to town centre - Juneau shops should give complementary shuttles to improve on their sales perhaps - cos most people just disembark, wander around the ship and then give up. We had to wait for our onshore excursion, which didn't start for more than an hour and if there was a complementary shuttle, we would have gotten into town, buy souvenirs and then come back for the excursion.

Read 1,108 Juneau Reviews
Had a great time wandering around the old town with houses on stilts. Fantastic view of the stream full of salmon dying - shame all that fish going to waste...put me off salmon for a week!

Read 1,242 Ketchikan Reviews
Absolutely centre of town - lovely view of ship from the main (only) road. Nice shops and ambience.

Read 831 Skagway Reviews
Vancouver - very busy and very confusing to a newbie. Nearly put our luggage onto the wrong ship. Queued for hours to get onboard. Customs were particularly tedious - we were seperated from the main crowd and had to go into another lounge which made us feel as if we were somehow second class citizens...but the US Immigration always makes me feel that way.

Published 12/31/10
Thank Joan
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Zuiderdam Cruises to Alaska
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