We did the Alaska trip on the Zaandam in Aug as a family vacation. our kids are 25, 23, 16.
For all of you who answered my questions about clothing, formal night, etc. thank you, thank you, thank you! Weather was mostly cloudy with rain only in Juneau(one of our shore excursions was cancelled as a result), but we came so prepared with jackets, mittens, raincoats, and positive attitude that we couldn't help but have a good time. We statyed very flexible in our expectations. HAL Zaandam ship was great, very few complaints from us---staff and crew is topnotch and talented. loved the show the crew put on one night! food is excellent. the first 2 days, we were served by staff from the buffet as the captain explained to hopefully avert anyone that might have come aboard ill and spread germs through food. it was a little slow, but fine with us.
we stayed on dolphin deck(we called it our own 'fiesta deck') with window, kids had their own cabin---cabins are very spacious! great storage space.
one of only drawbacks is that smoking is allowed on ship, and the room next to ours was a connecting one(not our kids room) and they were smokers, so we actually could smell smoke occasionally in our room. And of course, the casino was awful--they should really enclose that and vent it better, but we're not gamblers so I didn't spend time there.
Formal night was great---we all dressed up, kids felt great when they looked around and saw so many people dressed up(a few not). picture came out great.
we spent a great deal of time on deck, scenery is awesome, didn't want to miss it, and they have plenty of blankets!
loved the wine cards, soda cards, drink cards!
the ship looked like it could use a little 'sprucing up' here and there-somepaint was peeling, but all in all, very good.
embarkation and disembarking was super smooth.
would definitely do HAL again sometime, gotta save up for awhile again though.
thanks again for all the great advice everyone!!