Noordam Northbound to Alaska + Denali Almost Live

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#1
New Mexico
4,469 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
As is my custom, I am starting a live thread to help others who will follow. My collection of questions is growing but I have room for many more to be posed here on this thread. I will do my best to get answers. My cameras shoot in RAW format so don't expect pictures during this thread. If anyone would like a specific photograph, I will try to take it and will post it when I return.

This will not be the funniest "live" thread but rather one filled with information, answers, impressions, gastronomic reviews, and tips.

For reference, I booked my airfare through my HAL PCC as well as the Pan Pacific Hotel here in Vancouver. My excursions are Crab Feast and Flightseeing in Ketchikan, Tracy Arm in Juneau, Lake Bennett train ride in Skagway, Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali, and a Flightseeing excursion also in Denali. My hotel in Anchorage is the Captain Cook Hotel. I did purchase the Land Portion Meal Plan. While I am about, I can also gather information about other excursions/schedules, if requested.

I have cruised to Alaska with HAL many times with thousands of photographs taken but there remains much that I have yet to experience.

Tomorrow starts a new Alaska adventure.
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Photo Reviews -OR--Menus, On Locations, and More

Oosterdam - Alaska - May 2008 (7 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - May 2009 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Eastern & Southern) - Feb 2010 (14 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2010 (7 days)
Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera - April 2011 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - Sep 2011 (B2B 14 days)
Noordam - Caribbean Seafarer - Mar 2012 (11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2012 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Southern) - Dec 2012 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - May 2013 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal Sunfarer- Nov 2013 (10 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - Jul 2014 (B2B 4 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Dec 2014 Caribbean - (East-West 14 days)
Noordam - Pacific Coastal - May 2015 (5 days)
Noordam - Alaska - May 2015 (B2B 14 days)

Oosterdam - Southern Caribbean - Nov 2015
(11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Pacific Coastal - Apr 2016 (5 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Alaska Inside Passage - April 2016 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - Nov 2016 (10 days)
Noordam - Alaska - Jun 2017 (Northbound includes Denali) (12 days)
Veendam - Caribbean - Dec 2017 (14 days)
Zaandam - Alaska - May 2017 (14 days)

Nieuw Statendam - Caribbean - Jan 2019 (14 days)





#2
Florida
893 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Looking forward hearing about your adventures! DW and I are taking our first Alaskan cruise this summer, so we'll be reading every word of your posts. Hope you have a great time.
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Robert
#4
New Mexico
4,469 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Joanie is not with me on this cruise because of the change In the HAL smoking policy but she continues to push me to keep cruising.

For the record, I was offered a $99 upsell to a SS category but I would have to move from my aft VB, losing my great view for a few square feet of space. I declined.

The turboprop Alaska Air plane was new and landed with nary a bump when it touched the landing strip. Since we had to walk out on the tarmac to the plane and back to the arrival terminal, I accomplished my walking goal for the day.

While waiting in the Seattle Terminal to board, I met a lady from Albuquerque who is working on the same project that had been before I retired. Such a coincidence so far from home. She is now armed with my Embarkation Day, excursion, and dining tips. She and her traveling companion are also going on to Denali as well. Two new CC members, I hope.

The Vancouver Airport Arrival was interesting to say the least. All passengers from all arriving aircraft enter a serpentine of stanchions/tape with about 30 passengers in each of the 20+ 50-foot lanes. All lines were in constant movement at a walking pace. When I arrived at the final lane, I looked back and saw the sea of passenger flowing like streams of water moving in different directions. A video was in order but not permitted in the Security Area.

The Customs process is entirely automated, once you reach the end of the serpentine line, with touch screens that asked lots of questions, each requiring a press of the "Continue" button at the bottom of the screen. The latter had many stumped so the 30 terminals were occupied for several minutes by each passenger. A final stop to speak to a Customs Officer involved answering the same questions that I just answered at the input terminals. Total Customs time was nearly one hour.

Another 20 minutes was spent with the HAL reps who were in panic mode trying to get arriving passengers to the Nieuw Amsterdam departing in less than two hours.

I photographed all of the shops in the Food Court across the street from the Hotel/Cruise Terminal in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel to be better able to describe what was available to those not wanting to pay the very high prices for hotel meals. Many businesses, fast food, shoe repair, dentist, luggage, snacks, clothing, and even an H&R Block for late tax filing were present. The aroma of Greek food beckoned and I could not resist stopping for an early dinner. The quantity of lamb skewers, Greek salad, rice, and pita was more than I could finish.

The Pan Pacific hotel is definitely 5-Star in quality and the HAL price that included transportation and porter fees was much better than I could find anywhere else. Luggage is still left in the room and the hotel gets it to the ship for you. The last time I stayed here, our luggage arrived only a few minutes after we entered our stateroom at 11:40 AM.

Being collocated with the Convention Center there are always events happening. Tonight was a formal affair with evening gowns, tuxedos, and a plethora of stretch-limousines dropping off attendees. From the height of some of the ladies, the event must have had a basketball/volleyball connection.

The last time that I stayed at the Pan Pacific, the Canadian version of "America's Got Talent" was holding auditions on Embarkation Day and we were awakened at first sunlight by screams as contestants were trying to get the attention of the many network TV camera people.

I received an email from HAL this morning advising a 9:30 AM arrival time to avoid a large number of tour buses arriving and two ships being in port at the same time. What happens when three ships are in port at the same time??

Tomorrow, I will be conducting a ship's tour at 1:30 PM for members of our roll call who are new to HAL as well as to familiarize myself with any new changes to the Noordam. All have been advised to bring cameras as it will be the only chance to see all of the spa facilities open for viewing. With any luck, I will run into some HAL crew members that Joanie and I have met in the past.

I will be observant of the check-in process and report back on this thread. Like many passengers, there is always hope of a "free" Neptune Suite upgrade tomorrow.

More tomorrow.
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Photo Reviews -OR--Menus, On Locations, and More

Oosterdam - Alaska - May 2008 (7 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - May 2009 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Eastern & Southern) - Feb 2010 (14 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2010 (7 days)
Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera - April 2011 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - Sep 2011 (B2B 14 days)
Noordam - Caribbean Seafarer - Mar 2012 (11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2012 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Southern) - Dec 2012 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - May 2013 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal Sunfarer- Nov 2013 (10 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - Jul 2014 (B2B 4 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Dec 2014 Caribbean - (East-West 14 days)
Noordam - Pacific Coastal - May 2015 (5 days)
Noordam - Alaska - May 2015 (B2B 14 days)

Oosterdam - Southern Caribbean - Nov 2015
(11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Pacific Coastal - Apr 2016 (5 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Alaska Inside Passage - April 2016 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - Nov 2016 (10 days)
Noordam - Alaska - Jun 2017 (Northbound includes Denali) (12 days)
Veendam - Caribbean - Dec 2017 (14 days)
Zaandam - Alaska - May 2017 (14 days)

Nieuw Statendam - Caribbean - Jan 2019 (14 days)





#5
New Mexico
4,469 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by Mtn2Sea
Looking forward hearing about your adventures! DW and I are taking our first Alaskan cruise this summer, so we'll be reading every word of your posts. Hope you have a great time.
Feel free to ask questions. What may seem trivial or common knowledge to me, could be important questions for you that might make your cruise a better experience.

Be informed before you board and you will not find yourself wandering and asking questions your first few days aboard the ship.

I did tell the passengers I met in Seattle about the "forgotten" glass elevator just over their right shoulder after Security scans your stateroom card. Instead of waiting in the elevator queue with a large group, they will be in their room while others are still waiting for their elevators.
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Photo Reviews -OR--Menus, On Locations, and More

Oosterdam - Alaska - May 2008 (7 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - May 2009 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Eastern & Southern) - Feb 2010 (14 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2010 (7 days)
Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera - April 2011 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - Sep 2011 (B2B 14 days)
Noordam - Caribbean Seafarer - Mar 2012 (11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2012 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Southern) - Dec 2012 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - May 2013 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal Sunfarer- Nov 2013 (10 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - Jul 2014 (B2B 4 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Dec 2014 Caribbean - (East-West 14 days)
Noordam - Pacific Coastal - May 2015 (5 days)
Noordam - Alaska - May 2015 (B2B 14 days)

Oosterdam - Southern Caribbean - Nov 2015
(11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Pacific Coastal - Apr 2016 (5 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Alaska Inside Passage - April 2016 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - Nov 2016 (10 days)
Noordam - Alaska - Jun 2017 (Northbound includes Denali) (12 days)
Veendam - Caribbean - Dec 2017 (14 days)
Zaandam - Alaska - May 2017 (14 days)

Nieuw Statendam - Caribbean - Jan 2019 (14 days)





#6
Fort Lauderdale, FL
10,230 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Have a great cruise!
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The mail thing: poa1 - at - instituteofcheer.com
#7
Beautiful British Columbia, Canada
2,145 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Looking forward to following along. Sounds like some great excursions you have booked.

Enjoy your cruise.


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
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Coming up:
Koningsdam 21 day Caribbean November 2017

Oosterdam 7 day Mexico February 2018
#8
106,657 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Nice start to your "Live" report.


Have a great cruise.


Looking forward to your reports.
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Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#9
Victoria Harbour, ON
2,465 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
We're doing a couple of the same excursions you are. Looking forward to following along on your cruise. Bon Voyage.
Allan
#10
New Brunswick, Canada
9,587 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I will be looking forward to your impressions. We will be returning to Alaska again next spring on the Westerdam following the Hawaii cruise so I will be reading about your excursions for ideas.

You mentioned that you will be photographing the food court at the Fairmont. There is a tunnel from the street level of the Pan Pacific to the food court so one doesn't have to cross the busy street. It is a little difficult to spot if you don't know it is there but it is very useful. There are stairs down and an escalator back up. However when we were there in April of this year the up escalator was out of service.

The first thing we do after a check in at the Pan Pacific is to visit the Tim Hortons in the food court. After 30 days without our daily fix this year it was such a treat. For Timmie's fans it is sort of tucked away around a corner but it is there.

For those who want something other than a fast food fix but want to avoid high prices at the hotel, I recommend Mahoney's, which is located at the end of the pier to the left of Canada Place. Great food and just a short walk. You can eat inside or out and watch harbour activity.
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#11
SoCal, USA
6,363 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Bon Voyage, Roger!
(Joanie, I know you are following so "Hi there!" Shoot me an email sometime. )
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born2tvl at yahoo dot com (please put "Cruise Critic" in subject line)
CRUISERS from California - Click here



UPCOMING CRUISES:


GREAT MEMORIES: NCL Dawn W. Caribbean (7 days) March 2017 ~ Westerdam Mexican Riviera (7 days) Oct 2016 (4 stars! ) ~ Nieuw Amsterdam Alaska Inside Passage (7 days) May 2016 ~ NCL Sun Mexican Riviera (w/ Acapulco and Manzanillo) (11 days) October 2015 (the sweet suite life!) ~ Noordam Alaska Inside Passage (7 days) May 2015 (Bronze Medallion!) ~ Noordam Pacific Coastal (4 days) May 2015 ~ Zuiderdam Alaska Inside Passage (7 days) May 2013 ~ Zuiderdam Pacific Coastal (4 days) May 2013 ~ Zaandam Mexican Riviera (w/ Loreto) (8 days) Apr 2013 ~ Oosterdam Circle Hawaii (14 days) Mar 2012 ~ Oosterdam Mexican Riviera (7 days) Dec 2011 ~ Oosterdam Sea of Cortez (10 days) Apr 2011 (Mother/Daughter Cruise!) ~ Oosterdam Mexican Riviera (7 days) Nov 2010 (First DVS & Neptune Lounge!) ~ Carnival Spirit Alaska (7 days) June 2010 (aft-wrap!) ~ Oosterdam Mexican Riviera (7 days) Nov 2009 ~ NCL Star CTN (2 days) Nov 2009 ~ Carnival Elation Baja Mexico (5 days) Jan 2009 ~ Oosterdam Mexican Riviera (7 days) Apr 2008 ~ Golden Princess Mexican Riviera (7 days) Nov 2007 ~ Monarch of the Seas Baja Mexico (3 days) Jun 2005 ~ Ryndam Mexican Riviera (7 days) Nov 2003 ~ Viking Serenade Baja Mexico (4 days) Apr 2001 (Dad's 85th B-Day!) ~ Maasdam Panama Canal (full transit) (10 days) Apr 2000 ~ Rotterdam V Alaska (7 days) Aug 1997 (I'm hooked!)
#12
Albuquerque, New Mexico
12,641 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by dobiemom
Bon Voyage, Roger!
(Joanie, I know you are following so "Hi there!" Shoot me an email sometime. )
LOL, you know me so well

Yep, I is following from my staycation site....at home....No more suffering at 35-36 thousand feet with trying to breath (due to hypoxia, high altitude sickness.) No more having to worry because of scents........Hubby gets a break with beautiful scenery and best of all for him....He does not have to cook for the next 2+ weeks AND I get to order pizza as much as I want!!

To my wonderful hubby....I is following you me darlin!! I will be recording you tomorrow as you cruise by the Orca Cams.

Joanie
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Email [email protected]

"To me a stranger is just a friend I have not yet met."

Our Personal Web Site for our cruises, photos, menus, activities, etc. http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/


Past Cruises
:

Brendisi-Piraeus Jun 83

Greek Islands Jun 85
Piraeus-Venice Dec 85
Oosterdam-
VA 5054-Alaska May 08
Westerdam-SA 7076-Alaska May 09
Westerdam-
VF 8154-Caribbean (E&S) Feb 10
Nieuw Amsterdam-
SC 6164-Caribbean (W) Nov 10
Oosterdam-SC 6166-Mexican Riviera Apr 11
Zuiderdam-SC 6166-Alaska Sept 11
Noordam-SB 7142-Caribbean (S) Mar 12
Nieuw Amsterdam-SC 6175-Caribbean (W) Nov 12
Westerdam-SA 7085-Caribbean (S) Dec 12
Zuiderdam-SC 5190-Alaska May 13
Zuiderdam-SC 6166-Panama Canal (PT) Nov 13
Westerdam-SC 5190-Alaska July 14
Westerdam-SS 6052-Alaska July 14
Nieuw Amsterdam-SB-5187-E/W Caribbean 7-21 Dec 15
Noordam-SB-7142-San Diego/Alaska 5-23 May 15
Oosterdam-SB-6166-Caribbean Wayfarer 16-27 Nov 15
Nieuw Amsterdam-SC 5186-San Diego to Alaska Inside Passage - 19 Days-25 Apr through May 14 2016
Zuiderdam-SB 5190-Panama Canal (Partial Transit) 20 November 2016
(FINAL Cruise due to HAL Smoking Policy Change)
#13
Albuquerque, New Mexico
12,641 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
A couple of snap shots from the Inside Passage. the 2nd one is the Nieuw Amsterdam passing by the Orca Lab Base off Hanson Island at approximately 5:30am PDT

Orca_Lab_Base_6-4-2017_6am.jpgOLB_Nieuw_Amsterdam_6-4-2017_530am.jpg

Joanie
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Email [email protected]

"To me a stranger is just a friend I have not yet met."

Our Personal Web Site for our cruises, photos, menus, activities, etc. http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/


Past Cruises
:

Brendisi-Piraeus Jun 83

Greek Islands Jun 85
Piraeus-Venice Dec 85
Oosterdam-
VA 5054-Alaska May 08
Westerdam-SA 7076-Alaska May 09
Westerdam-
VF 8154-Caribbean (E&S) Feb 10
Nieuw Amsterdam-
SC 6164-Caribbean (W) Nov 10
Oosterdam-SC 6166-Mexican Riviera Apr 11
Zuiderdam-SC 6166-Alaska Sept 11
Noordam-SB 7142-Caribbean (S) Mar 12
Nieuw Amsterdam-SC 6175-Caribbean (W) Nov 12
Westerdam-SA 7085-Caribbean (S) Dec 12
Zuiderdam-SC 5190-Alaska May 13
Zuiderdam-SC 6166-Panama Canal (PT) Nov 13
Westerdam-SC 5190-Alaska July 14
Westerdam-SS 6052-Alaska July 14
Nieuw Amsterdam-SB-5187-E/W Caribbean 7-21 Dec 15
Noordam-SB-7142-San Diego/Alaska 5-23 May 15
Oosterdam-SB-6166-Caribbean Wayfarer 16-27 Nov 15
Nieuw Amsterdam-SC 5186-San Diego to Alaska Inside Passage - 19 Days-25 Apr through May 14 2016
Zuiderdam-SB 5190-Panama Canal (Partial Transit) 20 November 2016
(FINAL Cruise due to HAL Smoking Policy Change)
#14
Andover, MN
68 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
We are doing the South Bound in a couple of weeks, wondering if you could post copies of the daily planners so we have an idea of activities on board ahead of time.

Have a great cruise.
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Jeff

DCL- Wonder 3/12 Mexican Riviera, 3/13 Western Caribbean
DCL- Fantasy- 7/12 Eastern Caribbean
NCL- Getaway 3/14 Eastern Caribbean
DCL- Magic- 10/14 Southern Caribbean, 10/14 Repo
NCL- Jewel 3/15 Western Caribbean
NCL- Escape 1/16 Eastern Caribbean
HAL- Zaandam 8/16 Alaska
NCL- Epic 3/17 3 day Caribbean

Upcoming-
HAL- Noordam 6/17 Alaska
MSC- Seaside 3/18 Western Caribbean
#15
New Mexico
4,469 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by woodduckmn
We are doing the South Bound in a couple of weeks, wondering if you could post copies of the daily planners so we have an idea of activities on board ahead of time.

Have a great cruise.
I am scanning all of my On Locations and will post them.
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Photo Reviews -OR--Menus, On Locations, and More

Oosterdam - Alaska - May 2008 (7 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - May 2009 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Eastern & Southern) - Feb 2010 (14 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2010 (7 days)
Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera - April 2011 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - Sep 2011 (B2B 14 days)
Noordam - Caribbean Seafarer - Mar 2012 (11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2012 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Southern) - Dec 2012 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - May 2013 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal Sunfarer- Nov 2013 (10 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - Jul 2014 (B2B 4 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Dec 2014 Caribbean - (East-West 14 days)
Noordam - Pacific Coastal - May 2015 (5 days)
Noordam - Alaska - May 2015 (B2B 14 days)

Oosterdam - Southern Caribbean - Nov 2015
(11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Pacific Coastal - Apr 2016 (5 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Alaska Inside Passage - April 2016 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - Nov 2016 (10 days)
Noordam - Alaska - Jun 2017 (Northbound includes Denali) (12 days)
Veendam - Caribbean - Dec 2017 (14 days)
Zaandam - Alaska - May 2017 (14 days)

Nieuw Statendam - Caribbean - Jan 2019 (14 days)





#16
New Mexico
4,469 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Just a note that the Noordam is running very late. When I went to breakfast at the Food Court this morning, just before 7:00 AM, I saw the Noordam moving slowly in the harbor.

For those with early flights, they will need some real luck today with a one hour late start getting to the airport..
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Photo Reviews -OR--Menus, On Locations, and More

Oosterdam - Alaska - May 2008 (7 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - May 2009 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Eastern & Southern) - Feb 2010 (14 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2010 (7 days)
Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera - April 2011 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - Sep 2011 (B2B 14 days)
Noordam - Caribbean Seafarer - Mar 2012 (11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2012 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Southern) - Dec 2012 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - May 2013 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal Sunfarer- Nov 2013 (10 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - Jul 2014 (B2B 4 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Dec 2014 Caribbean - (East-West 14 days)
Noordam - Pacific Coastal - May 2015 (5 days)
Noordam - Alaska - May 2015 (B2B 14 days)

Oosterdam - Southern Caribbean - Nov 2015
(11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Pacific Coastal - Apr 2016 (5 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Alaska Inside Passage - April 2016 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - Nov 2016 (10 days)
Noordam - Alaska - Jun 2017 (Northbound includes Denali) (12 days)
Veendam - Caribbean - Dec 2017 (14 days)
Zaandam - Alaska - May 2017 (14 days)

Nieuw Statendam - Caribbean - Jan 2019 (14 days)





#17
New Brunswick, Canada
9,587 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Crew News
Just a note that the Noordam is running very late. When I went to breakfast at the Food Court this morning, just before 7:00 AM, I saw the Noordam moving slowly in the harbor.

For those with early flights, they will need some real luck today with a one hour late start getting to the airport..
We don't like to depend on luck so we always check into the Pan Pacific for a night following a Vancouver arrival. It guarantees a stress free disembarkation.
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#18
California
1,031 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
First question: Why was the Noordam late coming into Vancouver today? Did it have to do with the tides?

We'll be on this ship in a few weeks and will be embarking in Anchorage and flying out of Vancouver so I hope this is an unusual situation!
#19
USA
284 Posts
Joined May 2016
Have a wonderful cruise. Looking forward to hearing about it. I'm also looking forward to the new information you'll be adding to your wonderful website. It's the best cruise reference for cruisers I know of .