7 Day Southbound Glacier Discovery Cruise
Mr P Wheaton | September 26, 2017 | Holland America Line | Zaandam
The Zaandam is an attractive ship and at 60,000 tonnes, one of the smaller ships in the Holland America fleet. We sailed from Seward in Alaska in early September and arrived in Vancouver 7 days later. We had an Ocean View stateroom aft of mid ship and we had calm seas all the way including our transit of the Gulf of Alaska. We also had fine weather throughout the cruise, which is unusual for Alaska, and the cruise was to say the least spectacular. On our second day we entered Glacier Bay which is a U.S. National Park, and as well as boarding U.S. pilots we also boarded a National Park Ranger who gave us commentary throughout the day.
We spoke with the resident Catholic Priest who had been on board since the 1st August and he advised that on all the August cruises to Glacier Bay on the Zaandam it had not been possible to view the glaciers, due to dense smoke from forest fires in British Columbia and/or heavy fog. In contrast we had blue skies (with some cloud) and we saw Glacier Bay for what it was, truly magnificent! The 3 ports that we visited on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th days all in Alaska were very interesting and we still experienced very good weather.
The circulation areas on board were very good indeed, it’s a pity our stateroom (see below) could not have been in the same condition!
This could have been a 5 star cruise but a couple of things let it down. Our stateroom, although dated, was still good except for our bathroom. On the first day we discovered that we had a blocked wash hand basin (full of matted hair and grease which took nearly half a day to clear) and the basin itself appeared to be very well used, the shower curtain rings were all rusty, the bath was very old with many marks and there were patches of rust burning through the paintwork on the lower door frame. Not what I expect from a stateroom! The second point of dissatisfaction was the quality of the meals served in the Rotterdam restaurant. We felt that the choice of dishes was more limited than on previous cruises with P&O and some dishes were served either over (more usually) or undercooked.
The service however was excellent both from our cabin steward and the waiters in both the Rotterdam and Lido restaurants, and the route and ports were also excellent!
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