We've cruised once before, on the Celebrity Mercury. We're a middle aged gay couple. We wanted to try a longer cruise, so we got a deal on HAL and really liked it. It was just two weeks ago.
Holland America Line Zaandam lived up to and exceeded its reputation in our eyes. The Seattle round-trip was convenient because we are local. Parking was easy; the shuttle was there and waiting for us. We were surprised to have to load our own luggage, but we managed fine. (This is a brand new dock/terminal, and apparently by the time of our return the arrangement for luggage handling to and from the parking lot was straightened out, so we didn't lift a finger.)
We arrived at 1:30 pm for a 4 pm sailing. Only a few people were behind us in line to check in, and there were dozens ahead of us. The host and registration personnel were knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. Within 45 minutes we were on board, having dropped our carry-on in the room, already enjoying a buffet lunch on the Lido Deck. The Captain informed us immediately following the muster that we would embark at 5 because there were still items being loaded onboard. True to his word, we sailed at 5 pm.
HAL 3317, outside window on promenade. GREAT location for a smokerjust a dash outdoors around the corner. GREAT location for a deck-walker too, with your quick and convenient access. Bath is fine. Prefer the sitting area to be in front of the window, instead of the bed. No biggie. Still plenty of room to sleep and change, and even eat a breakfast or two.