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Brenda

Age: 51

Occupation:office manager

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Zaandam

Sailing Date: 2011-07-17

Itinerary: Alaska- southbound

Loved our Alaskan cruise....but there were some drawbacks. This is not the cruiseline to take kids on.

We still had fun, as it was a very pleasant way to travel. But for the kids, there was a lot of tv watching, and my girls spent 4-5 hours in the pools every day. The pools were nice (and uncrowded) but since there was not much else to do they would just swim all day.

And it was a little boring for me too. I read 4 books on this cruise. I have never gotten through one on the other cruises we have taken.

But the scenery was amazing! Truly spectacular.

The food was good, but definitely directed to adult tastes.

I thought they worked very hard on a creative menu that mirrored the area you are touring. They had excellent fresh fruit, and salads which really helps once you get saturated with eating heavy meals.

My kids were not quite as satisfied as I was. There was no self serve ice cream, or easy kids food.

I did think Holland America was very classy when they voluntarily upgraded us to a better stateroom, because it was available. It was done at check-in. So we ended up with a room with a huge window that was really wonderful because we were in Alaskan waters, and so there were lots of whales, seals, and ice chunks to look at.

I don't think they could improve on how comfortable the staterooms were; and the beds were heavenly.

And the room seemed bigger then the other cruises we have been on.

I travelled with 3 of my kids, ages 13, 12 and 9. There were maybe 30 kids on board, and nothing for them to do. Club Hal just plants the kids in front of a tv with a wii. And their hours were very limited, open for two hours then closed for lunch, etc.

As for the shows: The magician was good, and very funny. But the other shows reminded my of "The Lawrence Welk show" that my grandparents used to watch. Really LAME! And I hated the seating in the main entertainment theater. It was set up as lounge seating, and it was not very easy to see past the people in front of you. I much prefer regular stadium seating then sharing a couch with a bunch of strangers.

If you are traveling with kids: Haines (Alaska) had the cutest playground where we took some really great pictures. Ask when you get there, as it is a bit hidden in the trees.

We also found a terrific toy store in Juneau, the kind you can browse for hours. And we really enjoyed the tramway which is a stones throw from where you dock. The trails at the top were a lot of fun, as was the ride itself. And we enjoyed the tour of the capitol building.

Ketchikan had a free bus that picks you up in the cruise parking lot and takes you downtown. The drivers there have a lot of local info and gave an interesting narrative. Nothing too spectacular, but it was pleasant. and convenient.

The Zaandam did have a great feature over the pool. The glass ceiling could open and close. They were great at keeping it closed when it was chilly, and then opening it when the temperature warmed up. And their pools were the perfect temperature.

I will not cruise with Holland America again while my kids are young. But I would definitely consider it for my husband and myself if they had a great itinerary that I really wanted to see. The ship is really nice and you will be comfortable. You just have to be able to entertain yourself.

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