First Time is The Charm
Zuiderdam Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage
Sail Date: June 10, 2006
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
Our 2006 cruise on MS Zuiderdam through the Alaska Inside Passage was our first ocean cruise. On this cruise, we shared the experience with another couple who have been long time friends of ours. I should add as an aside that if traveling with other than family members (and maybe it should apply to family members as well) it is an excellent idea to know them well enough to know that your experiences together will be good. As we had traveled with this couple before on holiday trips, we had no worries. Anyhow, the idea of shared experiences which can consist of being with other couples or family members really can add to the enjoyment of a trip. Not that it is a must of course since my wife and I have taken other cruises and non-cruise trips, just the two of us and enjoyed them quite well. Anyhow, I digressed.
This cruise was the round trip one to and from Vancouver. I am not sure what prompted us to select Holland America for the cruise. Perhaps time and itinerary but regardless, we made no mistake by choosing this cruise line. Honestly it was long enough ago as to my having forgotten some or most of the finer details of the ship experience. Holland America is a very good cruise line. Perhaps on a scale higher than the ones we have cruised with since. I simply cannot pinpoint any particular details which would be unique in setting it apart.
A couple of points to mention, however. The staff was above and beyond. When entering the dinning room, even the buffet dining room and having one particular member of the staff who every time, "good morning Dan, good morning Sandy, good morning Dean, good morning Charlotte." How did he manage that with maybe a couple thousand other people on the ship a the same time. Then the little cake with a candle and a song at our table to wish my wife and me Happy Anniversary one evening.
The food and food service was outstanding. The balcony cabin was great as well. Like I said before, little details of the room may not come to memory right now but enough do to say that it was very comfortable and accommodating. As to other amenities on the ship, I can't remember all of them so each person will have to judge for themselves.
One thing we have found unique to Holland America ships which at least so far we have not on any other cruise line is the open bow deck. On other ships there are many good spots for views of the surrounding scenery, the bow presented a nice place to view and photography head on the sights we would encounter. It's not a big thing but a nice one anyhow.
As with our other cruises we enjoyed a number of shore excursions on or various port visits. I don't remember just how we made arrangements for booking those but we had no complaints regarding any of them.
In June in Alaska it is still a bit on the coolish to cold state. A jacket is a must for spending any time at all out on deck. For my wife, a heavier jacket was the choice. Constantly available and good hot chocolate in a cup to take out on deck really hit the spot.
Oh yes, I should add. This was Alaska, after all, and the availability of good, local salmon let those of us who enjoy seafood, enjoy our fill.
Though we have enjoyed every cruise we have experienced, most, we would probably not elect to repeat. Simply for the reason that there are others yet to be experienced. The Alaska cruise might be the exception. I think that should we do it again, we might consider instead of the round trip version, do the added land excursion part. Seeing Denali Park is something which would make it worth doing the cruise again.