Zaandam Cruise Review by jeffwendt
- Sail Date: July 2017
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed view)
We flew into Anchorage a day prior to the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. The hotel offered a free shuttle from the airport, The receptionist said the shuttle would be 30 minutes but they would pay our cab fare to the hotel. We enjoyed our 2 free drinks at the Embassy and took the free shuttle to downtown Anchorage. The driver suggested several places to eat, all were extremely crowded and long waits for a table.The city of Anchorage was nothing special. In the morning the shuttle was again busy, the Embassy paid for a cab to take us to the "check in" for our shuttle to the cruise.
The check in for the shuttle to Seward was at the convention center, it was well organized and convenient. We checked are bags and did not have to bother with them again until on board the ship. During the few hours we had until our bus left we explored the local outdoor market.
The bus from Anchorage to Seward was excellent, the driver gave great information on our 2 1/2 hour ride. The views from the bus were also good.
Embarkation was a breeze, there were no lines.
We checked into our cabin and instantly noticed that the temperature in the cabin was hot. The thermostat was at the lowest setting and began to wonder if this was going to be a problem. We brought the two bottles of wine on board that Holland allows. Our cabin steward kept the bottles iced down for us the entire cruise. The cabin although a bit outdated was kept clean and the service was excellent. The first night we noticed a banging noise coming from the ceiling above our cabin, it continued night/day sounding like someone banging on a pipe then later in the cruise it sounded like drilling into the pipe. Later we determined that the kitchen was above our cabin, twice during the cruise we noticed water dripping from the ceiling in the hallway outside our cabin. The temperature in the cabin remained hot for the entire journey.
The quality of food was good but we were disappointed at the limited selection each day in the dinning room. The first 3 days had French onion soup on the menu. Each day offered a choice of 4 appetizers, 2 soups, and 5 entrees. The same food could be found on the Lido deck buffet. Since we booked last minute our dinning time was optional, we never waited for a table and ate when we liked. On two occasions we found the service in the dinning room to be very slow and received the wrong food.
The entertainment was average. We enjoyed the band in the "crows nest." The best value on the ship was the happy hour in the "Crow's nest" where your second drink was $2. The casino was small and offered very few slot machines.
Glacier Bay was the highlight of the trip. The scenery was breathtaking. Park rangers boarded the ship and explained about the wildlife and glaciers. We spotted whales, bald eagles, seals and porpoises from the ship.
Haines was a very small port, we walked around the town and took advantage of the free internet in the library. We found that most of the shore excursions cost more than we paid for the entire cruise.
Juneau we took a bus from port to Mendenhall glacier for $35. The bus driver was a local resident who was very informative and pointed out much of the wildlife. At Mendenhall glacier we hiked about 45 minutes to "Nugget Falls" with a nice view of the glacier.
Ketchikan we found that most of the tours were more than we spent on the cost of the cruise. We took the free shuttle to "Creek Street" the salmon were not swimming up stream yet but did see some seals in the creek. We found the vendors in Ketchikan to be much more aggressive and rude than the other Alaska ports.
Disembarkation was smooth, We chose to take a cab to the airport for a flat fee of $35 instead of the Holland Shuttle that was $45 a person.
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