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Old January 10th, 2006, 04:43 PM
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Default Zaandam review

Leaving 10/7 Hawaii never been on this ship and haven't seen much print. Any suggestions for shore excursions would also be helpful. Thanks
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Old January 11th, 2006, 08:56 PM
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Check out our Reader Reviews

There are a number of them that can give you a number of personal opinions of the ship plus you can get Anne's review of the ship in the Ship Reviews section by clicing on the blue bar at the top of screen.

Take care and have a great cruise.
Mike
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Old January 29th, 2006, 10:35 PM
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Will be sailing to Alaska 5/5 and will let you know if you e-mail me.

Gale
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 10:10 PM
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We have cruised 2001 & 2004 on the Zaandam. We love this class of ship. We had an inside lower promenade cabin and a veranda cabin. Both had plenty of room - main difference if you want a tub or just a shower. We didn't spend a lot of time in the cabins. There's lots of windows everywhere and places to sit & enjoy the views. You're taking the cruise we want to do sometime. Have fun!
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Old February 24th, 2006, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRDY
Will be sailing to Alaska 5/5 and will let you know if you e-mail me.

Gale
We are sailing on the same cruise -- it will be the first time on Holland America and first time to Alaska. This will be cruise number 4, been on RCI in the Carribean 3 times before.

The reviews I saw for the Zaandam are a little dated, but most of them have been very positive. Looking forward to going and checking it out.

I will also post a review of the same cruise afterwards. 8)
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Old February 26th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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We just returned from a Panama Canal cruise on the Zaandam. We had a wonderful time. We greatly enjoyed the food, with the exception of the beef, which had a very peculiar after taste. The menu's were varied and all meals were beautifully presented. The service was top notch, even in the Lido resturant.

Our cabin was room #6155 with a verandah. Space was adaquate and the bed was very comfy. Our only complaint was that for about 2 days there was a horrible stench on our side of the ship (starboard side) that rendered our verandah useless. This outhouse odor was noticable from the Promenade deck on up. Very unpleasant, but they soon had it under control. If you do have a problem, don't be afraid to speak up about it, but please remember to be nice and the crew will bend over backwards to rectify the situation.

While I can't recommend any excursions in Hawaii, I will say that all of ours were very well organized and the tour guides were very knowledgeable and personable. Our favorite was the Tortuguero Canal Boat trip in Costa Rica.

Have a great cruise!
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Old May 16th, 2006, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TickledBlue2
Quote:
Originally Posted by FRDY
Will be sailing to Alaska 5/5 and will let you know if you e-mail me.

Gale
We are sailing on the same cruise -- it will be the first time on Holland America and first time to Alaska. This will be cruise number 4, been on RCI in the Carribean 3 times before.

The reviews I saw for the Zaandam are a little dated, but most of them have been very positive. Looking forward to going and checking it out.

I will also post a review of the same cruise afterwards. 8)
As promised, here is the review from my Alaska cruise on the Zaandam on May 5-12, 2006:

Summary:
The Alaskan cruise on the Zaandam was very enjoyable. Holland America had a lot of nice extra touches that were missing from the 3 RCI cruises that we did before. I would not hesitate to do another Holland America cruise again. However, get used to waiting in lines – embarkation, Lido restaurant, and tenders to Sitka.

Embarkation:
Arrived at 11:45 am, and immediately dropped off our luggage in the clearly-marked area. After that, a lady asked us if we filled in the immigration form online – we said yes and was directed to that line – it was twice as long as the line that did not. The line went fairly quickly although they stated that they were having computer problems. It took 1 hour to be processed and get on the ship, immediately when to our stateroom and the luggage was already there.

We were waitlisted for the early dinner seating; however, we got the very last seating at 8:15 pm. This is very late when you are transitioning from EST to PST, plus, we normally eat at 5-6 pm. Went to the Hudson room, waited about a half-hour to talk with the maitre d. While waiting, fellow passengers were complaining about getting a late seating. A sign was posted that early seating was completely full – the maitre d asked when did we book our cruise (he looked it up, so I don’t know why he asked) – it was February. He explained that some had booked as early as last July and seating was based on that. So, we dealt with late seating for the duration of the cruise – this was a pain…

Stateroom
We were upgraded from L-class interior to D-class window stateroom…naturally we were pleased. Our dining partners had the same upgrade as well. The rooms were very roomy compared to RCI and much more comfortable. Our window faced out the walk-around deck; however, it was fairly private during the day since the glass was mirrored and the ambient like make it hard to see in (even with interior lights on). Closed the curtains at night. The bathroom was very roomy by cruise standards, it had a mini-bathtub and it would be cramped to take a bath (but who does that on a ship?).

Rotterdam Dining Room
The dining room was elegant, but not as much as RCI’s Adventure of the Seas’s dining room. The lighting was pretty odd (in my opinion).

Dinner service was not as good as RCI’s – we enjoy iced tea with dinner, but we kept running dry. During open seating times (breakfast, lunch, and 2 different nights at dinner), service was significantly degraded – I think they waiters had too many people to serve. The food was excellent, in general. Two salmon choices were always on the menu. My favorite dinner was the steamed Alaskan sea crab legs – scrumptious. This was served on the second day…they had a lot of crab leg leftovers served in the Lido on the third day – enjoyed them again then, this time chilled. The surf-and-turf was good, got a second rock lobster tail – it was better than RCI’s. They had plenty of other delicious choices it you aren’t as big of seafood lover as I am.

Lido Restaurant
The Lido buffet surprised me a little in the following ways:
Most of the food is served on plates at your request and handed to you – this made for very long lines (takes longer when you don’t just serve yourself). Probably more sanitary though.
Table cloths adorned the tables during evening dining.
Always had linen napkins, never paper.
Food quality was very good, in general. The ice cream bar was hand-scooped (naturally not self-served), however, I thought it was bland (but that didn’t stop me from eating it in waffle cones). We thought the lunch deserts in the Lido was generally better than those in the Rotterdam, just not a well-presented. These were actually self-serve.

Pinnacle Restaurant
The steak was to die for – if you are steak fan, it is worth the cost…the crab cakes were only so-so. Reservations for the day at sea were completely booked until 8:30 pm – this was early on embarkation day. Make your reservations early!

Mondriaan Lounge
My wife and I enjoyed most of the shows in the Mondriaan Lounge; however, this venue was not perfect.

The seating was not very comfortable (nor very attractive). The orange “sofas? were more comfortable than the purple seats because you sat lower and had better back support. However, people in the purple seats could somewhat block your view since they sat up taller. The best seats in the house were on the balcony – these seats had very good back support and if you were at the front, a very good view.

There were some obvious maintenance issues about the stage at that time – a whole section of non-working lights on a stage prop and at least 2-3 non-working lights overhead. I was feared that this did not bode well for maintenance for the rest of the ship; however, no other issues were noted (the rest of the ship was kept in very good shape).

The very first show of the cruise mainly just introduced the different musical groups that were in lounges throughout the ship. It was not very impressive and you wouldn’t miss much by skipping it.

All three productions (H2 Oh!, Ultimate Broadway, and Southern Nights) by the Zaandam dancers were very good – they were top-notch dancers and singers. I’d recommend these if you enjoy Vegas-style shows. Craig Diamond, a magician-comedian, performed one evening – he was funny and worth seeing as well. A Beatles group “Whyte? played one evening – I think the familiarity of the music made the crowd enjoy this more than the actual quality of the group – but it was still very entertaining.

A newly-wed/not-so-newly-wed show was entertaining. This game is very similar to the old Newlywed game on TV – Women are asked questions with the men offstage – they men come back and are given points when their answers matches their spouse’s. These questions never vary (they were the same as on all three of the RCI cruises that we have been on): These are some of the questions that I remember:
Women are asked:
1. When your husband comes out of the shower, who does he remind you of:
a. Superman
b. Woody Woodpecker
c. PeeWee Herman
2.Where was the strangest place you ever made Whoopie?
3.What is your husband’s most annoying habit?
Men were asked:
1. What is your wife’s bra size?
2. What would you make on your wife bigger? What smaller?
3. Which of your wife’s relatives would you never want to be stranded on an island with?
4. If your love life was like a bath, how would you describe it?
a. Hot and overflowing
b. Luke warm
c. Take it once a month whether you need it or not
d. Empty

The Filipino Crew show was held at 11:15 pm – we did not attend; however, it played on the stateroom TV the next day. Judging from the little I watched – it was not very good and was glad we just went to bed.

The evening when we were supposed to be in Victoria, they showed the movie “Walk the Line?. They served popcorn (in very small bags).

Wajang Theater
The theater had comfortable high-backed chairs; however, they were somewhat difficult to see over since the floor was only gently sloped. We did not attend any of the movies – the show times did not mesh too well with our other activities.

Shore Excursions
Juneau – Helicopter tour, booked it myself through Coastal Helicopters (http://www.coastalhelicopters.com/) and saved $50 each ticket compared to the cruise line. This was a small professionally-run business – I recommend them. Be sure to bring a printout of your receipt, though.
Sitka – Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest – Excellent! I booked this through the cruise line which was handy because they transported us back to the ship instead of going to shore for tender service.
Ketchikan – Deluxe Misty Fiord Floatplane - Must do! Misty Fiord was so beautiful and the floatplane was an excellent way to experience it. I booked this through the cruise line (I do not know how this differed from the “regular? Misty Fiord Floatplane).
Victoria - had no excursions planned for this port - it was just as well...we never got into port. It was very windy, so much the whole ship was angled 5-10 degrees. I overheard that this was not unusual...
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