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This was my very first cruise. My husband and I booked in December 2006 and then I spent the next nine months searching the internet for information that would perhaps enhance my experience. We had a Saturday departure from Vancouver and elected to fly out the same day from Calgary on an 8:00am flight scheduled to land at 8:17am. We landed a little late because we were late leaving Calgary and finally arrived in Vancouver around 8:40am. We collected our bags and decided to have breakfast as the airport liquor store opened at 10:00 and we wanted to grab two bottles of wine. During that time we decided to try the Vancouver Airporter service to the Pan Pacific hotel (Canada 1 Place). The fare was $21.00 return per person. We grabbed our wine at 10 and waited for the shuttle to arrive. The airporter is suppose to depart every half hour but with cruise ships arriving into port on Saturday morning, as well as departing, they can be a little slow. At 10:30 we boarded the shuttle for our 30 minute trip to Canada 1 Place. When we arrived there was the Zuiderdam and I was so excited to think that I would be on board in a short time. I forgot to print the instructions on what to do when we got to the dock and needless to say my husband was not very happy when we walked the length of the ship (with 4 suitcases and two carry-ons) before I asked for instructions. We ended up going through the IMAX theater, taking an elevator down to the right level, walking through a parking lot, into the main area and then back to drop off our luggage (where all the taxis were arriving) and even then my husband was not sure if we should just hand over our luggage to these guys. I pointed out all the other luggage had Zuiderdam tags and we reluctantly handed them over. By this time it was about 11:30 and we walked into the customs line. Customs was separating into US/Canadian citizens on one side and all other nationalities on another side for finger-printing. We certainly heard stories of seniors spending 2 hours in line for customers, with no place to sit nor were they able to get food or water, for processing through customs. On the US/Canada side things went very fast. We passed through security, on to customs, moved to the Holland America Check In and promptly boarded the Zuiderdam around 12:15. We headed for the Lido, had some lunch, sat outside and enjoyed the view. At 1:15 our rooms were ready. We met our cabin steward Ratiman, who was so friendly and did an excellent job with our room. I truly felt very spoiled to have my bed made twice a day. We had dinner in the Vista Dining Room, where we met Bass and Noor. I can not say enough about these two guys. They made the difference between having a great cruise and a phenomenal cruise. It was a delight to spend time with them. We had booked a table for 2, 6:00pm seating when we booked our cruise and that is indeed what we ended up with. We had a window view on level 2. Every meal was delicious. I stuck to turkey, chicken, and beef and my husband mainly the seafood. Most of the time we stuck with Bass's suggestions. He always had a yum-yum for us as he went through the menu and we were not disappointed with his choices. RJ was our wine steward and he was very attentive as well. We had purchased a 20 glass wine card and by the end of the week we were drinking a lot to use up the card. The red was a merlot and the white a chardonnay. This wa san easy choice to make as we like wine but we didn't need to think too much about what we were drinking. In fact we drank only one of the two bottles of wine we purchased and I think it was Wednesday before we drank the champagne. We had dinner in the Pinnacle one night. The dinner was amazing. Our room was comfortable and I should have asked for a duvet but I didn't. I didn't once need to adjust the thermostat. The bed was luxurious. Since Sealy doesn't ship the Mariner bed north I am now forced to go try mattresses this weekend with my husband. Sleeping on our own bed when we got home was awful. I went from having deep sleeps on the cruise to tossing and turning. There are dips in lots of the hallways and yes the Zuiderdam will do nicely with the refit but there was always a special feeling walking down the halls admiring things that you missed the last time. I really enjoyed the Vista class and I can't wait to cruise again. She is worn but the crew works tirelessly to keep her spotless. There was always someone cleaning, polishing, vacuuming. We took in some of the entertainment. The magician (James Ceilen) and the comedian (Mike Robinson?) were both excellent and I really wished the comedian had had a second show. My husband was crying he was laughing so much. The only other show I wished we had seen was the Indonesian Crew show. Unfortunately because of our dining time and our excursion planned in Skagway we felt the 11:15pm showtime was just too late. Our ports of call were Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. We walked to the museum in Juneau and then grabbed a shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier. In Skagway we had an excursion booked. The Heli-Hike and Train. WOW! I was terrified but I went. The helicopter ride was so smooth. Taking off and landing much better than a plane. I will do it again. We then hiked to the Laughton Glacier and caught the WP&YR back. A fantastic excursion worth every penny. In Ketchikan we did the self-guided walking tour and visited Creek Street. We aren't shoppers but there were some serious deals to be had in every port we visited. On our last day at sea we took advantage of the Future Cruise Deposit and put down the $100 per person in USD good for 4 years. I know it will be at least 2010 or 2011 before I go again but I can't wait. I am hooked on cruising. Disembarkation was very smooth. We opted for a 10:00 call time and they called us early. We were through customs, with luggage in hand, and waiting for our shuttle by 10:15am. We arrived at the airport at 11:00am and paid to stand-by on an earlier flight home. We saw lots of wildlife, we saw lots of glaciers, the weather was better than expected for September. If you happen to read my review and you happen to be cruising the Zuiderdam give my regards to Bass and Noor!

Zuiderdam - Alaska

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by hillzie

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2007
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
This was my very first cruise. My husband and I booked in December 2006 and then I spent the next nine months searching the internet for information that would perhaps enhance my experience. We had a Saturday departure from Vancouver and elected to fly out the same day from Calgary on an 8:00am flight scheduled to land at 8:17am. We landed a little late because we were late leaving Calgary and finally arrived in Vancouver around 8:40am. We collected our bags and decided to have breakfast as the airport liquor store opened at 10:00 and we wanted to grab two bottles of wine. During that time we decided to try the Vancouver Airporter service to the Pan Pacific hotel (Canada 1 Place). The fare was $21.00 return per person. We grabbed our wine at 10 and waited for the shuttle to arrive. The airporter is suppose to depart every half hour but with cruise ships arriving into port on Saturday morning, as well as departing, they can be a little slow. At 10:30 we boarded the shuttle for our 30 minute trip to Canada 1 Place. When we arrived there was the Zuiderdam and I was so excited to think that I would be on board in a short time. I forgot to print the instructions on what to do when we got to the dock and needless to say my husband was not very happy when we walked the length of the ship (with 4 suitcases and two carry-ons) before I asked for instructions. We ended up going through the IMAX theater, taking an elevator down to the right level, walking through a parking lot, into the main area and then back to drop off our luggage (where all the taxis were arriving) and even then my husband was not sure if we should just hand over our luggage to these guys. I pointed out all the other luggage had Zuiderdam tags and we reluctantly handed them over. By this time it was about 11:30 and we walked into the customs line. Customs was separating into US/Canadian citizens on one side and all other nationalities on another side for finger-printing. We certainly heard stories of seniors spending 2 hours in line for customers, with no place to sit nor were they able to get food or water, for processing through customs. On the US/Canada side things went very fast. We passed through security, on to customs, moved to the Holland America Check In and promptly boarded the Zuiderdam around 12:15.
We headed for the Lido, had some lunch, sat outside and enjoyed the view. At 1:15 our rooms were ready. We met our cabin steward Ratiman, who was so friendly and did an excellent job with our room. I truly felt very spoiled to have my bed made twice a day.
We had dinner in the Vista Dining Room, where we met Bass and Noor. I can not say enough about these two guys. They made the difference between having a great cruise and a phenomenal cruise. It was a delight to spend time with them. We had booked a table for 2, 6:00pm seating when we booked our cruise and that is indeed what we ended up with. We had a window view on level 2. Every meal was delicious. I stuck to turkey, chicken, and beef and my husband mainly the seafood. Most of the time we stuck with Bass's suggestions. He always had a yum-yum for us as he went through the menu and we were not disappointed with his choices. RJ was our wine steward and he was very attentive as well. We had purchased a 20 glass wine card and by the end of the week we were drinking a lot to use up the card. The red was a merlot and the white a chardonnay. This wa san easy choice to make as we like wine but we didn't need to think too much about what we were drinking. In fact we drank only one of the two bottles of wine we purchased and I think it was Wednesday before we drank the champagne. We had dinner in the Pinnacle one night. The dinner was amazing.
Our room was comfortable and I should have asked for a duvet but I didn't. I didn't once need to adjust the thermostat. The bed was luxurious. Since Sealy doesn't ship the Mariner bed north I am now forced to go try mattresses this weekend with my husband. Sleeping on our own bed when we got home was awful. I went from having deep sleeps on the cruise to tossing and turning.
There are dips in lots of the hallways and yes the Zuiderdam will do nicely with the refit but there was always a special feeling walking down the halls admiring things that you missed the last time. I really enjoyed the Vista class and I can't wait to cruise again. She is worn but the crew works tirelessly to keep her spotless. There was always someone cleaning, polishing, vacuuming.
We took in some of the entertainment. The magician (James Ceilen) and the comedian (Mike Robinson?) were both excellent and I really wished the comedian had had a second show. My husband was crying he was laughing so much. The only other show I wished we had seen was the Indonesian Crew show. Unfortunately because of our dining time and our excursion planned in Skagway we felt the 11:15pm showtime was just too late.
Our ports of call were Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. We walked to the museum in Juneau and then grabbed a shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier. In Skagway we had an excursion booked. The Heli-Hike and Train. WOW! I was terrified but I went. The helicopter ride was so smooth. Taking off and landing much better than a plane. I will do it again. We then hiked to the Laughton Glacier and caught the WP&YR back. A fantastic excursion worth every penny. In Ketchikan we did the self-guided walking tour and visited Creek Street. We aren't shoppers but there were some serious deals to be had in every port we visited.
On our last day at sea we took advantage of the Future Cruise Deposit and put down the $100 per person in USD good for 4 years. I know it will be at least 2010 or 2011 before I go again but I can't wait. I am hooked on cruising.
Disembarkation was very smooth. We opted for a 10:00 call time and they called us early. We were through customs, with luggage in hand, and waiting for our shuttle by 10:15am. We arrived at the airport at 11:00am and paid to stand-by on an earlier flight home.
We saw lots of wildlife, we saw lots of glaciers, the weather was better than expected for September. If you happen to read my review and you happen to be cruising the Zuiderdam give my regards to Bass and Noor!
hillzie’s Full Rating Summary
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