Holland America Line Zaandam by sassyredhat Hawaii April 3, 2008
We are 61 and 59 years old. This was our 7th cruise, 5 with HAL, and our 2nd cruise to Hawaii.
Embarkation port was San Diego. We arrived at 12:30, which is when we usually get to the terminal. We knew, from reading cruise boards, that the ship had sailed Code Red on the previous cruise. HAL offered a full refund if we wanted to cancel. Some did, but we chose to stay.
Zaandam is a beautiful ship, well maintained (I only saw some minor wear and tear), and very easy to navigate. We were on deck 6, Verandah, near the aft elevators. We loved the location! Very quiet.
Verandah suites are very spacious, have a lot of storage, whirlpool tubs, Elemis bathroom products in small bottles, hairdryer in the drawer, stocked mini bar, flat screen TV w/DVD player. Balcony has a lounger, a chair, and a small table. Petitions are metal and go to the floor on one side, almost to the floor on the other side, clear plexiglass on front side.
As usual, service was absolutely outstanding. Dining room food was very, very good, as well as was food in Lido. We had early, traditional seating. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in Lido, and dinners in the dining room. We thought breakfast and lunch was just ok in the dining room, however, dinners were great.
There was live music throughout the ship, and numerous huge floral arrangements.
HAL ships have a movie theater (Wajang), which we love for all those sea days. Movies were fairly current.
Our favorite place is Explorations Cafe. The library is fairly extensive, comfortable computer areas, ample seating, and good game area.
Entertainment was actually pretty good. The Indonesian and Filipino crew shows were held late, but they were good also.
A "must see" is the chocolate extravaganza ! See the carved fruits, chocolates, cakes, breads, ice carvings -- everything was really something.
There were no announcements in the cabins at all, and no photograpers except on formal nights. There were 4 formal nights -- days 3, 5, 11, 14.
We had been to Hawaii before and seen all the main attractions, so we opted for smaller tours. In Hilo, we did the Waves and Waterfalls tour, which included the Tsunami Museum. It was an interesting tour, the falls were beautiful.
Honolulu was the Little Circle Island tour. The tide was out when we arrived at Halona Blow Hole, so we didn't get to see the geyser, but it was a nice tour.
Kauai we took the Wailua River cruise, mostly because of my walking limitations. It also was a nice tour. The Fern Grotto is just now getting back to normal after Hurricane Iniki decimated most of the foilage.
Maui was Ulelena Theater. This is the reason we went back to Hawaii. I didn't see it last time, and DH wanted me to see it. It's hard to describe this experience. It is so much more than a Cirque de Soliel adaptation, and was worth the effort to see it.
Kona we saw the Seahorse Farm, and what a fun treat. This is a "bare bones" facility, but so educational and fun. We got to hold a seahorse! This is a good tour for anyone.
The weather in Kona was cloudy, due to the volcano eruptions. The locals call it "VOG" -- volcano fog.
This was our favorite cruise, although we sometimes didn't have enough to do. We aren't pool people, and what activities were scheduled sometimes overlapped. We played Trivia everyday, and met some nice people.