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sheephugs

Just back from the Zaandam

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WOW..WONDERFUL..GREAT!! But this is a review so let's start with the negatives. No lemonade. Didn't want to purchase soda card this time (didn't come close to getting my money out of it last time). Got one for daughter..it's now $35.00 plus 15% gratuity. Made do with iced tea but lemonade is a good non-caffeine alternative. Also orange juice wasn't nearly as good as Zui. Apparently it was fresh squeezed but maybe it was out of season? Well that's it for the unpleasantness....let's get to the good stuff!

Embarkation was a dream; I've waited longer to get through Wal-Mart. Also we stayed & parked at the Radisson Resort at the Port (Port Canaveral), a juicy tidbit I learned from these boards. Very convenient but had to wait at the hotel an extra half hour for a shuttle, it was a very big travel day. Disembarkation was just as easy but didn't have to wait at all for shuttle.

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OOPS somehow I accidently submitted....Food, Service, entertainment was superior. Did HAL shore excursion at Cozumel (Beachside Snorkel Tour). Great cheaper snorkel tour. Easy access to water right from beach. Snorkeled out pretty far...in fact met others from another tour who paid alot more $ to take a boat & anchor & snorkel in the same place we accessed from the beach for $29.00. DH took the Discover Scuba tour. He loves it, is hooked & wants to get his certification. By the way, he lost his wedding ring so if any of you see it..

DH made it to the finals of ping pong & won a blue Z dam mug. Last time a 70+ year old lady was creaming everybody so he was quite pleased when he saw the oldest player was about late forties.;)

So glad Grand Cayman made it back...my absolute favorite island, so far. Lots of destruction & I heard alot of people ask why more clean up hasn't been done yet. I know when Ivan came through here we luckily only lost the top part of a tree but it took two weeks to get someone out to haul it away. The captain of the boat we went out in said he just got his electricity back on last week. We did the Capt. Marvin's short excursion snorkeling & stingray sandbar. This was another gem I learned of on these boards. The boat only had about 20 people versus the 100+ on the cruise ship one. Individual attention..actually got to feed this time. Daughter wiped squidy hand on rear after feeding & had ray attach itself to said rear...no water camera in place! Tip: don't wipe squidy hand on any body part you want to remain ray-less:). They also went there when it was between tours for other boats & very few people were there. I would HIGHLY recommend them!

Did Cool Runnings Dunn's River Falls & private beach. It was alot of fun..I didn't climb the falls (they are called "falls" for a reason ). Beach was nice but water was a bit murky & sand slimy in some spots. Maybe HMC has just spoiled me. Loved the incredible number of butterflies there. Boat ride back was alot of fun. Crew really got people dancing...I got caught up in a conga line but had to bow out when we got the the "shake what your Mama gave you" sequence!

HMC was wonderful as usual. Don't know about cabanas...I've only just graduated to clamshells. Had a downpour when we first got there...Clamshells make good umbrellas too!. Didn't do the BBQ, had very limited time & didn't want to miss snorkeling time. Went out to rocks by bouys...just gorgeous! Hundreds of fish! I was very aware of the report on the boards a few weeks ago of the Bull Shark out there but I didn't see him (whew!) Did have one fellow passenger with poor judgment fish twice in the snorkel area & catch angel fish. I was just rising to complain when the lifeguard told him to stop.

I was hitting the Zaandam threads shortly before we left so I'll try to cover some questions that I don't think were answered. Sonia Marie is at the piano bar. The hairdryer looked & smelled like an old vacuum cleaner my Mom used to have. The handle would get too hot if used too long. I have short hair so it wasn't a problem but if you have long hair I would recommend taking your own (we were in an outside Dolphin Deck room so some of the fancier cabins may have better ones). Liner Notes Trio were in the Ocean Bar. Sea Breeze played in the Crow's Nest & played a wide variety. There were several theme nights (usually lasted 1-2 hours) like 50's & 60's, 70's, 80's & rocking through the decades. They had Karaoke one night. This was very popular & I would recommend getting there early if you want to see. Usually midnight & after the DJ would play rap & hip-hop. We don't care for that so we usually left about that time. In the daily schedule it usually said DJ Richie Rich plays the hits (that was the rap & hip-hop).

I'll try to answer any other questions you might have. Oh, yeah, this was the last cruise for the current Zaandam dancers troupe so you all will get all new shows with that. Overall wonderful time!!! I need to get started on planning my next "dam" cruise!:D

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Sheephugs-

Great to hear that you enjoyed the cruise.:) Did you find activities on the Zaandam for your kids?? Too funny about the ray on tail story. It sounds like something I'd too for sure:eek: ! The kids are joining us in March on the Zaandam so any tips are greatfully appreciated.

:cool:

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With the many negative HAL comments lately, it is wonderful to hear such good news! :D

 

Of course, the first question to be asked is, "How was the air conditioning?" :rolleyes:

 

Our family will have 4 children sailing so any info on the kid's activities is greatly appreciated...

 

Embarkation- what time were you able to get on board the ship? Once you are on board, if your cabin is not ready, one has to haul their carry on around with them?

 

For men- were jackets required on informal nights or just suits for formal night?

 

Does the photo shop have the capability to make photo CDs from digital memory cards?

 

What were your hours on Half Moon Cay? Any info on the aqua park?

 

We too are staying at the Radisson pre-cruise. Would you happen to have any details on their in room internet?

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So glad you enjoyed the Zaandam, we will be on her for BtoBs in Dec. Surprised that Sonia Marie is still on board, she was on in April when we did the repo cruise. The Zaandam dancers don`t stay aboard too long at a time. On our cruise in April, they were only on board for a few weeks. They have a choreographer that teaches all the new groups the same shows. Any comments on any particular crew members that you liked?.......jean :cool:

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Thanks for your review. I enjoyed reading it.

 

 

Happy to hear you and your family had a good time.

 

Were you happy with your dining stewards' service and the food in the dining room? Lido?

 

Thanks for posting your comments.

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Localady - Unfortunately my daughter didn't join in the Club Hal festivities. When they were introducing the staff at the disembarkation talk they said there were over 200 kids on this cruise! I would never have guessed...I think they must have been kept very busy! I did pass a group of four girls in the hall consulting a list and talking excitedly about needing to find shampoo & shower cap, obviously involved in a scavenger hunt (what fun!). DH & I have decided that as a condition of our daughter accompanying us on the next cruise, she has to go to Club Hal during the first day at sea. She is shy & I think she would have a wonderful time if she would just give it a chance.

 

Arubalisa - (&KK)The AC worked just find, in fact I forgot that was an issue on the boards. We boarded the ship at about 1:00PM. We carted the carry-ons around with us. On the Zui there were crew members taking carry-ons from us but I didn't see that on the Zaandam. We had lunch and the rooms were ready by about 1:45. Jackets are required on Informal nights and suit & tie required with tuxedos suggested for Formal nights. I have no idea about the photo shop. We were scheduled to be in HMC from 8:00AM to 1:00PM, but the first tender left about 7:30AM. The last tender was at 1:00PM. The water park is great. There is a slide, a fountain, water guns and big fiberglass type floats achored at different locations. We didn't use the internet in the Radisson. However the cruise parking is way in the back behind the building with the domed roof. It is confusing because there are signs behind a pink building next to it but that is not the right place to park, we were informed.

 

Krazy Kruisers & S7S - Food was fantastic! Usually lobster night is the last formal night but that was Thanksgiving this time. Believe me I would have had no problem foregoing Tom Turkey for Larry Lobster! But it wasn't listed. They did the lobster & Baked Alaska on Friday instead. Also, being late seating I was afraid too many lobster tails had been consumed & we would be left out (like one reviewer said happened to her) but we had our large, delicious lobster tail with no problems. The staff was wonderful. Our dining room steward was Nur Aziz & he was great. Lots of neat tricks with forks, spoons, apples, etc. he even drew a beautiful picture of the Zaandam for me! Lido food was excellent too. However, I missed a couple of the line lunches because of I was on shore too long but I made due ;) with the deli, soups, salads & of course bread pudding, which is open later. I didn't have the meatloaf which has caused so much controversy, but it looks pretty fancy with veal. Also there was no dutch night. We did see some of the same crew from the Zui in June, the Captain, the bar manager & several deck crew. We did have an underwater camera but I didn't get it into position quickly enough. Also missed the shot of the mother-in-law swimming over a reef with a moray eel 2 feet below her!

 

Family teasing me because I'm already looking into the next cruise...hey, it's what gets me through the day, month, year :D !

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Oops, left out Jean...I think that's a little hidden jealousy on my part knowing you're doing B2B;) ! Sonia Marie always had a following in the piano bar. I don't see how she sings so much & long without losing her voice. Same thing with the singer in the Liner Notes. I'm amazed the dancers haven't been together for ages, they preform so well together. I'm sure you'll have great shows. DV8 Reality Magic (husband & wife team of Drew & Angela) were very entertaining as was Paul Tanner (singer/impressionist)-anyone that can sing as Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole in the same song has my respect. There was also a banjo player named Morry who was touted as the fastest banjo player, he even did The Flight of The Bumblebee on the banjo! Hope you have as wonderful of a time as we did!

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thanks for the great review. Glad oyou had such a great time! We will be on the Zaandam next May/June in Alaska..always great to hear positive reviews.

 

 

Was there any music playing on the pool dec? We did have A/C problems on the Volendam, so happy to hear the Zaandam doesn't appear to have any...of course, being in Alaska in May/June, not sure if we're really going to need it!

 

I understand about the need to begin booking another cruise. having a vacation to look forward too, no matter how are into the future, does indeed help one get through the day. Anticipation is sweet!!

 

Thanks again for posting.

 

Peggy Sue

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Thanks sheephugs for the info, I think Paul Tanner has been on the Zaandam every time we have sailed her! He usually stays onboard for 2 days then gets off in port. We have had drinks with him several times, as he likes to hang out in the Ocean bar....jean :cool:

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There is always stereo music piped in on the Lido deck. I heard a band there once, I think it was Sea Breeze playing Calypso music, but that was all. No band for the sailaway from Port Canaveral. I didn't go to the BBQ on Lido or any of the Sailaway parties when leaving the ports of call so I don't know if they were there but it would seem a logical time for them to be there. There is a little staging area for a band.

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