One of the best cruise experiences we have had. We sailed aboard the Zaandam from Port Canaveral March 8, 2003 to the Western Caribbean.Embarkation - Port Canaveral is a great port. Parking is easy. Terminal nice. Porter service quick and friendly. Had to wait a bit in line, but line was moving quickly and nice chance to visit with people also waiting.Food and Service- Can't say anything but fantastic. From the casual dining, dining room, alternative restaurant... the food was wonderful and the service outstanding.Bar Service- Our meeting place was the casino bar. Armando, the bartender, only needed the first night to get all the drinks comitted to memory. He had them waiting for us every evening. He was the best I have seen. Also the appetizers served at the bar are a nice touch.Deck Service- The deck waiters were entertaining and delightful. The 3 we had every day kept things moving along and gave impeccable service.Casino - Lively and lots of fun. Even won slot machine jackpot.Cabin- We were in Cat. B Verandah deck balcony cabin. The room was well laid out. Lots of storage space. Nice Jacuzzi in the bathroom. The balcony was roomy. We were traveling with friends in the next cabin so our room steward opened the entranceway between the cabins so we had one large balcony for both cabins. The service from the room steward was great. We always had ice, and anything we needed was provided.Tipping - We very much liked the tipping policy of Holland America. We have been on ships where the "recommended tips" are added to your credit card at the time of boarding. You have the choice to remove or add to these, however, that means a wait in the purser's line. HAL policy is you tip for the service you receive. I feel that this is good for the employees as they probably get more that way. I know in our case that was true. They worked very hard and were rewarded.Ports - We had visited the ports on other cruises except for Montego Bay. We took the Margaritaville tour. It was very nice and the people there were very friendly. The beach is gorgeous. Our tour guides and bus driver were quite entertaining and everyone enjoyed the afternoon.Holland America - As I said before, we have cruised many times and with most of the other lines. This was our first cruise with HAL and will not be the last with them. From embarkation to debarkation, it was a fantastic week.
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