July 2016 - Zaandam to Alaska
embarked Vancouver 7/31/2016. No problems at 10:30 am check in or customs.
Dissapointment #1 - Lack of dining venues.
Rotterdam Restaurant - no charge - open for short time for Breakfast and about 2.5 hours for Dinner. Many dishes what I suggest are for "foodies", not a lot for the meat and potatoes crowd.
Lido cafe/buffet - Breakfast, then close for two hours, Lunch then close for hour and half, Dinner then close for hour and half, open at 10:30-11:30 for late snack. Get hungry between their open times? Then room service is your only option.
Of course if you like good hamburgers, hot dogs and tacos, they are available next to the pool from 11:30-5pm.
2 additional food venues available at additional cost of $10 for one, or $29 for the other. Neither one in my opinion was worth the cost.
Disappointment #2 - Entertainment/activities.
If you like 20 minute trivia games, they are available several times a day. If you want instruction on how to use windows 10, it's available twice a day.
If you enjoy piano tunes for 45 minutes you have a venue twice a day.
If you enjoy contemporary music, late night at 11:30 for an hour.
One movie daily at 4 different times daily. A show nightly at 8pm, repeated at 10pm, lasting one hour. No A or B list entertainers, but I enjoyed the comedians and magician. Very simple shows.
Enjoy Karaoke? It's featured once a week.
Of course, there are times for ping pong, checkers and chess, bridge and other card games for free.
Disappointment #3. I enjoy the use of a steam room and sauna to ease the pain in my back. This was offered to me in a health club package for $129 per week per passenger, or 2 passengers for $249. I found this to be an excessive charge so I passed.
Daily beverage packages available at astronomical prices. I find it disgusting that a cruise ship charges $2.50 (including about $.12 tax and mandatory tip) for a 12oz soda that I can buy in a store for $.25. Don't mind a small markup, but that is ridiculous. The only free beverages are available in the Lido buffet, and consist of water, coffee, hot and iced tea and lemonade.
Of course, the Zaandam features all the normal revenue-enhancing activities such as Bingo, card tournaments and more, but bring your wallet 'cause they aint cheap.
All in all, I found my time onboard ship rather boring, as there were not enough daily activities to keep you interested. Will not be back on H-A or any other smaller ship (Zaandam carries 1400 max passengers)