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About JennysUncle

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    Holland America

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  1. "Was Francois Barrata the Hotel Director on your Zaandam cruises? I think he is terrific" No, our HD was Bart Groeneveld
  2. Zaandam has pulled out on time at 5 pm. Making 23.4 kn downriver.
  3. The current problem must be different. The second bow thruster was working OK, so there was no impact on the schedule. I assume that they put it back together on the next week's trip. It was just interesting to watch the divers getting suited up, and then a hoist bringing up propellor components. MarineVesselTraffic.com shows the recent ship track. They had left the port just after midnight Friday and got about a third of the way to the narrows with the very low bridge, then at 0:30 am Saturday turned back and went around to the St Charles River dock. They must have delayed the Friday 6 pm departure to work and thought things were fixed enough, then decided not and went back. Must have been a shock to the passengers this morning.
  4. Zaandam was built in 2000 so it is approaching 20 years old. I have seen it mentioned that ship life is about 30 years. A plan for updates in four quarters drydockings, with one done, would imply completion around 2026, so a few years before obsolescence - but with plenty of time to keep attracting passengers. And the bathrooms might be due for major maintenance anyhow - we have been in cabins where it looked like the tubs had been renovated, but staying tubs. Also - it might be easier to sell off a ship with new bathrooms - I think in the recent overhaul of the Prinzendam the cabins were gutted but the bathrooms retained.
  5. I think that on the R-class ships all the veranda and oceanview bathrooms had tubs - only the inside rooms had real showers. Just now we are back from a B2B on the Zaandam and got to look at several different cabins while they were being made up for the turn-around. To our surprise, we saw oceanviews with nice new real-shower bathrooms. I was able to ask the Hotel Director about this. He said that HAL has realized that people's attitudes have changed and that tubs were no longer liked, so HAL will be converting most tub bathrooms to showers. The Zaandam plan is to do about a quarter at each drydock, so that in ten years they will all be updated. The first phase is done. This is now apparent in the fine print on the deck plan on the HAL website - the C-class is now listed as 'shower', instead of 'tub and shower'. I'm sorry that I didn't follow up with the HD as to whether this was the plan for all the older ships, but the Amsterdam and Volendam (but not Rotterdam) deck plans now list C-cabins as 'shower'. However I have found that the deck plans featured on several cruise agent websites have not been updated. So beware when browsing or booking - check with HAL. The Cruise Atlas probably cannot be trusted since it is only updated annually and might not reflect the latest drydock. And even the website might not be trustable, given all the user complaints.
  6. The ship-locating site MarineTraffic shows the Zaandam at a commercial dock behind the grain elevators rather than at the Cruise Terminal dock by the Old Town. On the 8/31-9/7 trip from Boston to Montreal there were divers working at every port to disassemble one of the bow thrusters so that it could be repaired, supposedly after snagging a lobster pot at Bar Harbor.
  7. We were in 2609. That is an inside cabin like most of the other insides. It was quiet, and convenient. You used to have to book an inside to get a real shower, but many of the C's have had the bathrooms rebuilt with showers.
  8. We too are just off the Zaandam, Montreal to Boston, and then back to Montreal. We thought the ship was in pretty good shape inside, and surprised to realize that a lot of cabins have been converted to showers instead of tubs (a multi-year project). There was more rust than usual on the outside, but a very active painting program to get rid of it. We thought the food was pretty good, typical for HAL. Canaletto was better than in the past. We skipped the stage shows because the music venues (Piano Bar, Adagio, and Neptunes) were quite good. Amanda took over as CD on our second week, and we thought she was pretty enthusiastic. We seemed to see her a lot - maybe because we knew what she looked like. But the CD position has changed, and doesn't involve as much passenger engagement as before. There were no surprises in what the ports would be like - except that the view of Quebec City in the morning was fantastic. Too bad that the Halifax Public Garden was closed, it is one of the nicest.
  9. The TV was a ViewSonic LCD with a bigger screen than the old units, but not that large. The edge stuck out just a bit beyond the cabinet. However, the picture quality did not seem any better than on the old CRTs. I think that could be because the actual signal sent over the coax is still at the resolution of old antenna TVs. The one music channel is titled "Music 3", and the content is pretty modern. Music 1 and 2 have been replaced by movies, I think - we just skipped over them to get to the BBC. The channel that used to have American Songbook and Jazz has disappeared.
  10. We are just off the Zaandam, and I had the opportunity to chat with one of the IT technicians. (They are the ones with green stripes between their gold bars.) He said that the S and R ships would not be upgraded to the new interactive TV system. As noted above in this thread, it is because all the cabins would have to be rewired with 'internet' cables to replace the coax that feeds the old system. Not impossible, just costing more than HAL wants to spend. We did have newer flat-screen monitors up on the corner shelf with DVD's underneath, but just the same old lousy selection of channels. (Actually worse, there is only one Music channel now.)
  11. We are just off the Zaandam. Jeff Warren was playing in the Piano Bar, and every night the place was packed, overflowing to the seating along the hallway and as many standees as could fit and still see. If there had been more space, the crowd would have been larger. And people were buying drinks. It's hard to understand why HAL is persisting in eliminating such a popular entertainment.
  12. We are just off the Zaandam doing the Montreal to Boston cruise. The Ocean Bar had a very good combo, now called the "Ocean Quartet" instead of the Neptunes. They are not a pick-up group, but an actual group named "C'est si Bon" from Buenos Aires, so they are not just sight-reading. Piano, electric bass, drums, and lady singer/clarinet. Some instrumentals and vocals, a mix of American songbook - Latin - Brazilian - French. Most days they did 45 minute sets at 6:30, 8, 9, and 10. One night off each week. There were few dancers, but the Ocean Bar was generally full with listeners. The Adagio was a duo - piano and violin, and seemed good, well attended. The Piano Bar was Jeff Warren with an extensive repertoire and interesting patter. He kept the Mix Bar and surrounding hallways packed to overflowing.
  13. No deck plan yet online. Wonder if it will have a traditional Crows Nest like the Koningsdam or the EXC version on the Nieuw Statendam.
  14. Do some research, look at a map, assess how much you want to handle your own luggage. Walking anywhere will entail going over bridges - most only a few steps, but an effort with suitcases. The vaparetto (ATAC water bus) is currently 7.50 euro single ticket. Water taxis start at about 60 and can cost 80+. Porters are available but not cheap - (think of manhandling a load of luggage on a hand cart over canal bridges). Water taxi to the airport will be 100+, but there is frequent bus service by ATVO for 8. Venice is expensive, and you trade off cost for convenience. But it is a wonderful place to visit and wander around.
  15. Captain Albert has posted on his blog a photo tribute and full list of the crew finishing the last cruise of the Prinsendam. One member of the food services team is called the Dining Room Greeter, so that is probably the official title.
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