For us, this cruise was "A trip of a lifetime". The hints and suggestions that we received from other Cruise Critic participants were very helpful as we prepared for our cruise.
Our cruise started from Sydney, Australia after a long plane ride from Los Angeles, and a night spent at the Jolly Swagman's Backpacker Hotel. At 10am, on our day of departure, we were able to drop our bags at HAL's baggage drop tent at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on Circular Quay, and spend some time looking around the area. We boarded the Zaandam at 11:30am, went to our stateroom to freshen up, and proceeded to the MDR for the Mariner's lunch. After attending the mandatory safety drill, we returned to our stateroom to discover our bags and unpack.
The Zaandam proved to meet our expectations in every way. We enjoyed the wide variety of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and desserts that were available in the dinning rooms and the Lido. The Zaandam staff made us feel very welcome, and went out of their way to answer questions and meet our requests. During the 28 days that we spent on the Zaandam, we attended information sessions, visited the casino, discovered great observation decks, spent relaxing time in the lounge chairs on lower promenade deck, attended productions, watched performers, and frequented the Explorations Cafe where the jigsaw puzzles were kept. The great thing about the Zaandam is the fact that a person can always find a comfortable place to sit and relax.
We were very satisfied with our cabin. It should be noted that cabins located in the vicinity of the aft area of the ship will no doubt experience hearing and feeling the vibrations caused by the side thrusters when the ship is arriving or leaving the docks.