Seattle: We flew in late the night before, so there was no time to spend in the city, something I would definitely change next time. Lots to do. Embarkation: We arrived early (10:15) on the HAL transfer bus, and breezed through the check-in process (thanks to the on-line process beforehand). We were in Group 2 to board, and were on the ship at 11:40! The Zaandam: We loved the ship, which is 10 years old, but still looking good. The staff is so friendly and helpful. My SO's 13 year old had such a great time in The Loft and making new friends that we only saw him when we insisted that he join us for dinner!! Activities: I was recovering from a disc problem, but my SO made full use of the gym facilities, which were always busy, even at 6 am. I had a facial, and the experience was blissful. Entertainment: The Show Lounge shows that we attended were very good. The Comedian (Elliot Maxx) was hysterical!! Rachel and the Hal Cats were a conundrum: Rachel couldn't hold the pitch if her life depended on it, but the Hal Cats (backup band) were really great. The String Quartet was very good. The Neptunes (jazz combo) were easy to listen to. Dale in the Piano Bar was dreadful..... Bear in mind that I sing and am a musician, so I tend to be very critical! Food: Absolutely no complaints in this department. Stateroom: We loved our Verandah Suite. Plenty of room for the three of us. The bed was very comfortable, and having a back problem, I was very pleased. Stewards: Our cabin stewards were very sweet, and always looking to please. Laundry: We made use of the washers and driers and ironing board. Disembarkation: Not ever having done a "silent disembarkation", I was amazed at how smoothly the process could go. We only waited 5 minutes for our luggage to be available to claim. We were in the 8:00 am Black #2 group, and we were in the bus and on the way to SeaTac at 8:30. The least pleasant part of the cruise was Day 2, which was our day at sea, and was a seasick day for many. Going west of the Queen Charlotte Islands in the open Pacific was very rough. HAL gives out Meclazine tablets for free, which is a helpful perk.

First Cruise To Alaska - Certainly Not My Last!

Zaandam Cruise Review by songbert

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2009
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
Seattle: We flew in late the night before, so there was no time to spend in the city, something I would definitely change next time. Lots to do.
Embarkation: We arrived early (10:15) on the HAL transfer bus, and breezed through the check-in process (thanks to the on-line process beforehand). We were in Group 2 to board, and were on the ship at 11:40!
The Zaandam: We loved the ship, which is 10 years old, but still looking good. The staff is so friendly and helpful. My SO's 13 year old had such a great time in The Loft and making new friends that we only saw him when we insisted that he join us for dinner!!
Activities: I was recovering from a disc problem, but my SO made full use of the gym facilities, which were always busy, even at 6 am. I had a facial, and the experience was blissful.
Entertainment: The Show Lounge shows that we attended were very good. The Comedian (Elliot Maxx) was hysterical!! Rachel and the Hal Cats were a conundrum: Rachel couldn't hold the pitch if her life depended on it, but the Hal Cats (backup band) were really great. The String Quartet was very good. The Neptunes (jazz combo) were easy to listen to. Dale in the Piano Bar was dreadful..... Bear in mind that I sing and am a musician, so I tend to be very critical!
Food: Absolutely no complaints in this department.
Stateroom: We loved our Verandah Suite. Plenty of room for the three of us. The bed was very comfortable, and having a back problem, I was very pleased.
Stewards: Our cabin stewards were very sweet, and always looking to please.
Laundry: We made use of the washers and driers and ironing board.
Disembarkation: Not ever having done a "silent disembarkation", I was amazed at how smoothly the process could go. We only waited 5 minutes for our luggage to be available to claim. We were in the 8:00 am Black #2 group, and we were in the bus and on the way to SeaTac at 8:30.
The least pleasant part of the cruise was Day 2, which was our day at sea, and was a seasick day for many. Going west of the Queen Charlotte Islands in the open Pacific was very rough. HAL gives out Meclazine tablets for free, which is a helpful perk.
songbert’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Verandah
Cabin A 7039
Plenty of space for two adults and one 13 year old. Tons of storage space - more than we needed. Suitcases fit under the bed. Not noisy at all. Loved having a balcony.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Juneau
    We had ample time in Juneau to stroll the main streets before our excursion. I'm not into gold or diamonds, but there were also many shops with local goods and managers. Red Dog Saloon is over-rated. We didn't stay because my SO's son couldn't go in (13 years old). Our bus driver told us that none of the locals eat there because the food doesn't encourage repeat visitors!
    The Mendenhall Glacier was amazing, and the walkways easy to navigate. We saw a bear cub up a tree, and a bald eagle on an iceberg. Their nature information center was very educational, and wonderful for kids.
    Glacier Gardens were beautiful and had a snack bar and clean bathroom facilities on site.
    The Mount Roberts Tram was a breeze. We didn't do any of the trails because we were there later in the day, but there was a large gift shop, restaurant, and nature center at the summit. My SO and his son don't like heights, but they were able to do it.
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  • Ketchikan
    Ketchikan was my favorite port to walk around. They had the usual shops, but Creek Street was really a lot of fun.
    We did the "Best of Ketchikan by Land and Sea". The bus part of the tour was interesting, and our driver was funny and very knowledgable. We saw Totems, a black bear, eagles, and the former Libby Salmon Cannery. The tour at the cannery was interesting and informative. We then boarded another Allen Marine boat and traveled back to the port by sea. We saw more eagles, bright colored starfish, and a fishing crew in action. It was a nice ride back to port.
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  • Victoria
    Although it rained almost the entire evening, Victoria was lovely. I wished we had more time in port, but it was an evening call (7-11:30 pm).
    The Butchart Gardens were fantastic, even in the rain. They provide umbrellas and the gardens were just breathtaking. Our bus driver gave us a brief tour of the city on our way back to port. Would definitely love to go back.
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