Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Canada Hols - All aboard the HAL Zaandam Cruise Liner

Sunday was Cruise Day, so we had an easy start, leaving the Hotel room around 11 to catch the bus in to the Waterfront. We checked our bags, and then began the long line-up through immigration and customs. There were two cruise ships at Canada Place, so it seemed pretty busy to us, but when chatting to one of the attendants, he said that it was actually fairly quiet, as the Celebrity ship was around 400 passengers down, and he was sure that ours was down on numbers too. We learnt from our first cruise, to pretty much get to the ship as early as you can, as you need time to orientate yourself, and they do start activities right from first boarding. It was around 1pm by the time we had lunch at the buffet, and after finishing realised we could check out our stateroom. It is on starboard and we have 2 porthole windows. There is a lot more cupboard space than on Celebrity (we could have brought more clothes!) The ship also has lots of art, including a great collection of Egyptian artefacts. We attended an introductory talk about the cruise, followed by a Wine reception. Darryl won a raffle in the Spa, but as I was 'present' and had to do a dance to accept, it becomes mine (a hot-rock massage). We went to the dining room at 5:30, and met Bill and Dale, and a grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter from Cape Cod. The service was quite slow, which meant that people after us were lined up. The appetisers were extremely small (the Coconut Scallops looked like half a scallop cut in half and placed on a lettuce leaf), so when it came to desert we ordered two, but Darryl didn't get his second. The coffee was not that nice, but we were saved by them asking us to make way for more guests, so we went up the buffet where Darryl got another desert and I got a much nicer coffee. The meal was so slow we missed several activities that we had checked, so went to Bingo, Showtime (a sampler of the entertainment), and a couple of other raffles, but didn't win anything more. We looked at our boarding photo, which really wasn't too flattering – don't think we'll be getting that one! Once the captain ramped up the engines we could feel what Darryl calls, an 'out of balance' vibration through the floor and body.

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