Couple in our forties on our 1st cruise
Live in Downtown Vancouver
Both employed - Government jobs
Travel to Port of Embarkation
Took a cab that day because of the rain, would normally just walk to Canada Place Waterfront. It is about a 10 minute walk from our condo.
Holland America Zaandam
We got there about 1:00 pm and there were huge lineups. It took about 45 minutes to get through. We didn't care as we were pretty excited.
We were in cabin 3389 - lower Promenade deck. Our cruise was almost ruined because of our lack of sleep caused by having to listen to the galley noise all night long. The galley was above on the 4th floor next to the Rotterdam Restaurant. We expected noise such the ship, people etc. This was unacceptable noise- just extreme and constant. Holland America is very aware of the hell their passengers go through when booked under the galley. And yet, they still book people there. I have seen reviews of this very problem from the year 2000. Surely they could try and soundproof the floors and have their staff wear soft soled shoes only. The carts rolled around like rolling thunder and the staff walked around all night. It sounded like bowling balls on top of your head. I begged to move, but they said the ship was full. It is apparent that the staff and the front desk are very used to dealing with the constant complaints regarding this stretch of cabins. They gave us earplugs but that did not help. Had we been on land, we would have moved hotels whether or not we received a refund. Here you are held captive on a ship. The PR person sent us a note saying they would "monitor the situation" So basically they have been "monitoring the situation" since the inception of the ship!! So disappointing for our 1st cruise. Needless to say, our last cruise with Holland America. Now that we understand the importance of cabin placement, this will not happen again. The not so funny thing is we were orignally booked on the Dolphin deck between two floors of cabins. Holland America moved us up to 3389. If we had stayed on the Dolphin all would have been well. We had dinner with people on the Dolphin deck who said it was very quiet. What an upgrade!
Boy have we learned valuable lessons from this horror.
We opted for the anytime dining which worked well for us. We had been told that we could make reservations for this type of dining, but no one answered the phone when we called. I heard other complaining about the same thing. We didn't mind too much though. The food was very good. They had one vegetarian option on the menu each night,so that worked for me. My husband had steak and chicken. We dined at night in the Rotterdam Restaurant.
We had room service in the morning in our cabin, it was excellent!
I had avoided going a cruise because everyone I talked had said they gained weight. I soon realized that did not have to happen. The Promenade Deck has a walkway made of teak wood. Beautiful surface to walk on. So, we walked and walked and walked! Four times around was a mile. We also did the flights of stairs as well. So needless to say, we gained nothing and got more exercise than ever. We also watched what we ate, and did not overeat at all. I know people go on cruises for the food, but we did enjoy enough of the tasty food.
Staff and Service
The staff is very friendly and welcoming on the ship. Our room attendant was wonderful. You don't have to tip because it is charged on your credit card at $11.00 per person per day. However we tipped because we wanted to. It did take a very long time and another call to receive a package of 6 beers to our room. After a half hour my husband called again. They did seem a little confused as to the order. But on the whole everyone was great.
We went to see the comedian - Sean O'Shea one night. Song and dance fellow - He was hilarious! We really enjoyed that. We also played slots at the casino. The only drawback is that smoking is allowed. So if you are non-smokers like us, you may be bothered by it. It was also allowed upstairs in the Crow's Nest, so we did not go up there at all.
The shore excursions were great. We had lots of time to explore the cities and return to the boat.
We were told to be ready at certain time and were called to leave in order. It was so well organized and so quick to get off the ship. Really amazing.
We had a wonderful time with the exception of the cabin. Unfortunately being very sleep deprived does not add anything positive to a holiday. Make sure you pick your cabin and check the deck plans to make sure you don't have areas above you such as a galley. It is really unethical that these cabins are sold to anyone. Disgraceful!
We have booked another cruise on Princess to LA in September. Booked directly through them and picked our room......and specified no upgrades.....live and learn!