We boarded Holland America's SS Zaandam around 3:30 PM on Sunday July 17th at its berth in the Seward, Alaska Harbor. If you would like more info on this ship check out http://www.hollandamerica.com/cruise-vacation-onboard/Zaandam.
Initial check-in was in a large clean shedlike building.
From there we proceeded onto the dock and to the gangway proper. There were no long lines or delays when we boarded no doubt due to the fact that we were early and departure was not scheduled until early evening.
Inside we were met by the security guy in shades, checked again, and funneled in front of a photographer who took a mug shot for our on-board credit card. The card would also be used to check us back onto the ship after shore excursions.
Once inside we found that we were already on the proper floor for our stateroom. All we had to do was walk down a football field long corridor until we found the right stateroom number.
And there it was--our little home away from home for the next six days. There was a nice view out of the window and a little sofa, chair, and coffee table for general lounging in front of the TV.
The bathroon, as one might expect, was tight, but functioned efficiently.
All told quite pleasant. The most pleasant of all was that our luggage, which we had last seen outside our door at the Windsong Lodge some eight hours ago, was sitting patiently on our bed awaiting its unpacking. We settled in , took a short rest, and then headed out for an initial exploration of the ship before dinner. The Zaadam holds about 1500 passengers. It was the largest one we have ever been on. Our Costa/Rica/Panama Canal ship only held 100 passengers. This one, with elevators zipping you up and down its ten decks, seemed gigantic, but according to the web site it is classified as a mid sized vessel. They are now making cruising behemoths that serve twice that number or more.
What did we find?
You can walk four times around the promenade deck to make a mile.
You can also walk up and down the grand staircase while gazing at a huge white pipe organ. We were assured that it could be played, but we never heard it.
There are lounges and bars around every corner.
The main showroom/auditorium holds over 400 and holds daily lectures and the evening shows.
And of course there are pools. There are two large hot tubs and a pool on the Lido Deck and also a smaller pool aft.
We were still in port as we settled down to our first dinner.
The view from our table was fully as good as our dinner. I had a lovely soup, salad, a soft buttery sea bass fillet, and strudel for dessert. Jan sampled some tender veal.
A soft rain accompanied by mist had begun to fall as we finished dinner and we were suddenly aware that we were moving. There was no engine sound or any sense of wave motion, but we were clearly gliding along in a massive tube of silence broken only by muted conversation and the soft chatter of silverware on fine china. I suspect that folks whose tables were away from the windows were not even aware that we had left the dock and were leaving Seward behind.
After our lifeboat drill around 7:30 PM, we took a turn around the deck and had no trouble persuading another strolling passerby to snap our photo as we began the second week of our Road Scholar adventure.
The rain continued to fall intermittently and that old Sandburg fog catfooted its way around us as we left the harbor further behind. Slowly the inlet widened and the shore receded into shadowy grey mounds.
Bedtime. Hope to see you bright and early tomorrow in College Fjord.