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Rita Mansfield

Age: 44

Occupation:US Government

Number of Cruises: 1st

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Zaandam

Sailing Date: August 7th, 2004

Itinerary: Alaska Inside Passage

We were in the first group to arrive on board ship traveling with our 9 year old daughter. We had booked Cabin 7043, an A category mini suite with a veranda. As we were boarding the ship, we were approached on many occasions to purchase soda packages for all members in our party at $27.65 each. And we did... later to find that it would have been best to purchase the soda package only for our daughter, we didn’t drink that much soda and free iced tea and coffee came with meals.... and a $12.38 service charge was tacked on to the price of the package that we were not aware of. Upon boarding the ship around noon, we were directed to the Lido Dining Room on the 8th deck. We weren't that impressed with the food. We weren’t impressed with the food at any of the meals in the Lido Dining Room. The more formal Dining Room had much better food. The cabins were ready around 2:30. Upon entering the cabin we were in total shock. It did not appear to have been cleaned at all. The bathroom smelled so badly of mildew that I became ill. There were crumbs of food on the floor. The veranda had not been swept. The stopper in the bathroom sink was broken and had to be removed for water to drain. The sofa and chair were badly stained. The batteries in the TV remote did not work. Worst of all, there were open cartons of milk, soda, and an old glass of orange juice in the refrigerator left from the last cruise. We reported these problems immediately. Again, and again... the old items were removed from the refrigerator around 11:30 pm. We finally decided to see the head of Guest Relations on the Ship. She had a bottle of wine and a nice letter sent to us the following day. The cabin steward did make an extra effort for the remainder of the cruise to keep us satisfied. I didn't feel that it was enough. Cruise vacations are such a big investment and you expect the best. We were disappointed in the children's activities on the ship. It was difficult to keep our daughter busy. There was a pool outside and a pool on the Lido deck... it was warm there when they closed the overhead cover, this is where we spent most of our time. Maybe it was just our cruise but we found that there were a lot of smoking areas on the ship. We aren't smokers... have nothing against smokers, but just weren't used to that. Especially when you are in such closed in areas.

Alaska was beautiful. We did opt for an excursion in each port. In Juneau we visited the Mildenhall Glacier and went to a Salmon Bake. We did not like the Salmon Bake. The Glacier visit was nice but we didn't expect it to be so dirty from pollution. And the crowds were bad. Next time I'd opt to see the Glacier from the air. In Skagway, we took the White Pass & Yukon Railroad Ride. This was very impressive although the ride was over 3 hours. In Ketchikan we rode a horse drawn trolley around town and went shopping. One thing that we didn't expect was the crowds. In all three ports, there were three cruise ships and lots of crowds. I commented to my husband that Skagway reminded me of Main Street USA in Walt Disney World with the crowds. You could barely walk through the streets and shops. Glacier Bay was definitely the best part of the cruise. Absolutely beautiful. If traveling with children, I'd recommend a cruise line that has plenty of activities to keep them busy so that you can take in the sights. Our 9 year old was still too young to appreciate it. And take warm clothing. It was extremely cold in Glacier Bay... even in August. We are definitely going to return to Alaska on a cruise... probably not with Holland America.


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