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Almost "Live" Ms Zaandam 14-Day to Alaska (May 21 - Jun 4, 2018)

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This post starts my regular "live" thread where I will seek answers to posed questions, report on ship operations, discuss excursions, evaluate new changes to facilities, develop hints for subsequent Zaandam cruisers, give impressions of the dining venues, etc.

 

I plan to be at the terminal when the doors open to report on check-in process.

 

More to follow.

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Thanks Crewnews. Really looking forward to as much info as possible. Have a great cruise.

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What nights are the Gala night?

Any screenshots of menus would be most appreciated!

Thank you!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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We are sailing on June 18th. I'd love to see programs and menus if you can. Bon voyage!

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Looking forward to your reports. Who is the cruise director and the locations/naturalist/destination specialist?

 

I hope you get good weather! We’ll be watching the ship pull into Juneau.

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Looking forward to your posts! We are on the June 4th sailing so we will be embarking on the Zaandam the day you disembark!

 

Utahtea

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We are sailing on June 18th. I'd love to see programs and menus if you can. Bon voyage!

 

The programs will be scanned every day and I hope to get all of the Lido and MDR menus as I have in the past.

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Looking forward to your reports. Who is the cruise director and the locations/naturalist/destination specialist?

 

I hope you get good weather! We’ll be watching the ship pull into Juneau.

 

I will post all of the ship's staff as I have done in the past.

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Looking forward to your posts! We are on the June 4th sailing so we will be embarking on the Zaandam the day you disembark!

 

Utahtea

 

 

What things are you especially interested in knowing about each day?

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Looking forward to your reports! We are booked on this cruise in July, and looking for any "insider tips" you may have.

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Looking forward to your live thread. I am booked on the July 2 cruise if I don't have to cancel. I've been looking forward to this cruise and I pray that I don't have to cancel. I know I'll enjoy your posts and photos. Have a wonderful cruise.

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Woohoo! We are on this itinerary leaving Aug 13. Will follow your trip with bated breath, Roger!

 

Interested in your shore excursions (many of the ship's are already full or too full for my group of ten), so if you hear of independent tours esp. whale watching that would be excellent. Which port do you think is best for whales? Have done in Juneau and in Seward (after the end of the Northbound 7-day), but with all the "new" (to me) ports on this cruise, I'm flummoxed!

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Any info on America’s Test Kitchen would be great, such as chefs, specifics on classes, costs, etc.

Thank you!

I am also interested in Test Kitchen info... and generally enjoying your report :D

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I am interested to hear if the Neptune Suites have been upgraded during dry dock. I assumed they were, with TVs, USB ports, bathrooms, etc., but a recent thread "Zaandam Neptune Suites" says "no". Thanks.

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What things are you especially interested in knowing about each day?

 

My number one question is there a USB charger port in the cabin? Some say there is one in the lamp in the Vista Suites.

 

I know it will be different when we get there, but I'd be curious about the weather in each port.

 

Hope you have a wonderful cruise!

 

Utahtea

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Roger - as always I am looking forward to your "live from" review! Please post as many pictures of the ships interiors as possible :) So little information on the Zaandam since the refresh!

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Yes, agree.......we are all curious about upgrades since the dry dock. Anything you can share on what has changed around stateroom 6190 would be great. We're hanging out there for 40 days in September and wonderin' what we're in for.

Thanks and have a buttkickin' trip!!!

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Embarkation Day began with fluffy clouds and bright sunshine during my taxi ride from the Doubletree Hotel near SEATAC airport ($51) to the Pier 91 terminal.

 

I was checked in and seated with the Group A borders within 10 minutes. No health certificates were required to be completed and no electrical adapters/extension cords were confiscated. While in the waiting area for only a few minutes, I met several roll call members before the 11:30 AM boarding.

 

My Vista stateroom has a shower/bath combo, no USB plugs beside the bed, one USB on the lamp, one A/C (110 and 220) plug on the desk, one A/C plug in the bathroom, old DVD player ad TV, and bed is too low to accept closed suitcase. More to follow as I get used to the stateroom.

Prior to lunch, I scrambled to correct the mistakes in my PG and Sol de Mer reservations. My fingers are crossed that all are now properly recorded.

 

The MDR was open to all for lunch.

 

A short excursion around the ship found the following: New indoor pool, carpeting removed from the Lido walking areas (only carpeting in seating area), Explorations Cafe lost the big cookies so now serving only chocolate truffles and biscotti, EXC still located next to the Front Desk on Deck 4, there were hand washing stations in the Lido Market, still lots of library books in the Explorations Cafe area, elevators have mats with the day of the week, elevator decor now grey instead of gold, no Pizza Inn on the aft Lido deck, only one baby spotted and no kids, and the ship's photographers were not pushy during the boarding process.

The 2:00 PM Suites and Mariner's reception was packed with passengers but no officers appeared.

 

No passengers were allowed on the Promenade Deck until the Muster Drill was actually called so passengers stayed just inside the doors to the Promenade Deck. The loud whistles were not activated to signal the last stage of the drill. Lots of happy ears were noted.

 

Internet packages were: $14.95/day (social media), $24.95/day or $169.95/cruise (surfing), or $29.95 (streaming). The price is a lot cheaper than the $250/1000 minutes on other ships.

 

Early dining was hectic with everyone getting acclimated. Of note was the soft music being played during the meal time. The menu included a $25 special: "Taste of Alaska" including crab legs appetizer, lobster with crab chowder, and crab and shrimp cakes. I spoke with the Assistant Dining Room Manager about collecting menus. Tablets were not used to take orders. The rainbow trout was excellent.

The Canaletto menu now has daily specials and there are new bar menus with the increased prices that I have now scanned. More bar scanning coming during the remaining days.

 

I found a personal invitation dated May 12 for the America's Test Kitchen workshop "tomorrow". The next line was March 14, 10:00 AM Anchorage. Cost was $39 and included apron. The Front Desk is now trying to figure out what happened to cause the date/location errors.

 

Most of the ship's officers changed today and the Front Desk did not have an updated list. There is an interactive screen in the Explorations Cafe that has not been updated. I will work on getting the staff names during the next 14 days.

 

Tomorrow is our roll call Meet & Greet at 11:15 (after 10:30 AM Kitchen Tour).

 

More tomorrow which is also Gala Night.

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Embarkation Day began with fluffy clouds and bright sunshine during my taxi ride from the Doubletree Hotel near SEATAC airport ($51) to the Pier 91 terminal.

 

My Vista stateroom has a shower/bath combo, no USB plugs beside the bed, one USB on the lamp, one A/C (110 and 220) plug on the desk, one A/C plug in the bathroom, old DVD player ad TV, and bed is too low to accept closed suitcase. More to follow as I get used to the stateroom.

 

 

 

Thank you for answering my question on the USB plugs.

 

You mentioned the bed is too low to accept closed suitcases. We've always been able to fit our luggage under the bed on previous HAL ships and that's going to be an issue if we can't do that any longer. Can you give us an estimate on the height under the bed?

 

I also though of another question. Can you find out how much the photo packages are? Do they offer an "all inclusive digital photo package"?

 

Enjoying your review and thanks again for answering questions.

 

Utahtea

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Agree, that is crazy, where are you supposed to put your suitcase(s)? Assume you are not traveling with a steamer trunk...

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