Zuiderdam Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
4-6 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
17

5 out of 5

Amazing trip

Sail Date: June 26, 2010

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Inside

We just returned from our first Alaska cruise and our first time sailing with HAL. (Five previous cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico with other lines)
We were impressed with the very attentive service, yet unobtrusive feeling of HAL. We didnt feel like we were constantly listening to an advertisement for daily activities, hours things were open or bar/spa specials (always given this on the daily program).
Beyond the ship, Alaska is the most spectacularly beautiful place I have ever visited. I was in awe each day at the beautiful scenery in each port (Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan), Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm. I had a highlight of my life experience almost every day: dog sledding on a glacier, calving glaciers, eagles catching fish, spotting whales, flight-seeing over an ice field. It was almost too fantastic to be believed. I would highly recommend the HAL Alaska Inside Passage cruise as a great first experience to see what Alaska has to offer. Well be going again.

Pros: attentive staff

Cons: shipboard entertainment

Recommends Zuiderdam? Yes!

Entertainment
The entertainment was decent, but we were so tired from our busy day that we were nodding off most every night apologies to the hard-working entertainers!!
We rarely participated in any of the activities since we were so enthralled by the fantastic scenery.
Ship Quality
The Zuiderdam was small enough to frequently see new acquaintances over and over, yet large enough to offer plenty of activity and entertainment.
We have read other reviews that mention the Zuiderdam is an older ship with unusual dcor. The rugs were brightly colored and the dcor was quite eclectic, but the accommodating service and gleaming, clean ship made more of an impact.
It seemed impossible that there were 2000 guests aboard. We rarely waited in line for anything. Lines to disembark in port had fewer than 10 people ahead of you.amazingly efficient. The only long line we experienced was at the dessert extravaganza and then only until everyone realized that there were four identical stations plus additional areas (chocolate fondue and fruit area, no sugar added area nice touch!).
Food and Dining
We dined most every meal in the main dining room and our waiter was attentive, fun and catered to our every whim. We did visit the Lido Restaurant buffet for breakfast twice and lunch once. It was nicely organized like a food court with stations for different options so line waiting was very minimal. We also came here for cookies and ice cream a couple of times because there were a half dozen choices of each every day. All of the food we had was quite tasty with one entre exception which was immediately replaced. All was served in a beautiful presentation and arrived at the appropriate temperature. No complaints about the food or wait staff in the dining room, buffet, bars or lounges.
Cabin / Stateroom
If it is the age of the ship that provides larger staterooms (nightstand on each side of the bed, much larger bathroom and shower, tons of closet and storage space as compared to other ships) then I would never complain about that!
Service and Staff
Attentive, but not pushy or intrusive. You were welcome to sit in any bar, lounge or public area and enjoy the scenery without being constantly asked to purchase a drink offered once and then you could easily signal them when you wanted something.
Our stateroom was tidied and cleaned by stealth attendants who always seemed just a request away....every need was accommodated. We were greeted by name by every staff member that we saw more than once. No staff member looked away when passing you, but always made eye contact and greeted you.
Juneau, Alaska
If you do the helicopter doglsledding (worth every penny!!) then you can skip the Mendenhall Glacier and Mt. Roberts Tramway....you've already seen those sights and sooooo much more.
Don't Miss: Helicopter dogsledding
Ketchikan, Alaska
Interesting, entertaining and amazing. The eagle show from the boat is outstanding!!!
Don't Miss: Deadliest Catch tour
Skagway, Alaska
Go see the Emerald Lake above Carcross....it is spectacular.
Don't Miss: Train or rental car to the Yukon


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