Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Question: Have any of you been cruising?  

We hadn't and  I really wasn't sure what to expect!... It soon became very clear to me as we boarded that everything is ENORMOUS!!

Boarding this large ship along with 2000 of my closest friends was a process .. .very well managed I might add!  We moved and shuffled and were bemused by this new experience.  

Once on board,  we were delighted with our cabin which was at the extreme rear of the ship (the Stern) on the left corner.  We had a lovely deck and the stateroom was spacious.  We soon learnt that nothing happens quickly on-board ship! We had problems with the drainage in our bathroom - the basins emptied very slowly and I had managed to "lose" the key to the lock on my suitcase! It only took 4 hours for someone to come to my rescue!  The drainage was repaired the following day.  

The beds and bedding on this ship were superb... and we slept in such comfort.

Leaving Vancouver area

Meals and the booking of meals was a learning curve in itself.  There are two sittings for dinner at both Vista 1 and Vista 2 Restaurants!    The first sitting is at 5.30pm and the next at 7.30.  We opted for the second and booked mostly for 7.45pm.  I can only marvel at the vast quantities of food prepared on this ship daily.  The food was quite good and there were a couple of "select" restaurants where one could eat after paying $10.00 per person extra.  

The Lido is a vast Buffet style dining room where all meals are served daily as there were many, many people who preferred to eat self-served food, given that they could return to the buffet as often as their appetites would allow them to!!   

We had breakfast in the Lido and arrived early in order to find a table next to a window and avoid the crowds!  There was a fair selection of fruit, an excellent selection of bakery products and lots of different cooked breakfast options.  The coffee was undrinkable but luckily we discovered The Observation Cafe which was on Deck 10!!!  Needless to say,  we would walk the length of the ship and head up to the 10th floor for a decent cup of coffee... Did I say "cup"?... I meant paper cup!!

The library in the Observation Lounge

The Observation Cafe is housed in the Observation Lounge and library, on the 10th Deck at the Bow of the ship.  We loved this area as it was reasonably quiet,  and aesthetically pleasing.  Tan leather lounging chairs,  books, magazines and the smell of coffee...  There were doors from this area to the Observation Deck where photographic opportunities had to be scrounged for!  Our day in Glacier Bay was particularly difficult as everyone with a camera hugged the railings and one had to ask for a spot exchange in order to take a photo!!

There is a daily schedule of events posted in the 'post-box' of each stateroom.  Specials at the Spa,  live concerts,  art auctions,  card games,  bingo etc are just a few of activities one could participate in on board ship.  I did sometimes get the feeling that we were a captive audience,  and that a certain amount of "hard-sell"  was metered out!  For example,  a "Five minute make-over"  talk was nothing more than a ploy to get us to buy cosmetics!   There was Ross,  the tour director who made numerous announcements over the intercom system each day informing everyone of what entertainment was available!

I opted for sight-seeing mostly... and what sight-seeing there was.  In the next post,  I will talk about Alaska.

The beauty of the Inner Passage through Alaska


  1. The pics look amazing...I also have the fjords cruise on my list. I always thought I would hate cruises. Mr CSW and I went on the Queen Mary transatlantic cruise only bc he doesn't fly ( I know!) So I thought I would just ticket the box and use it as a meditation retreat but I ended up loving it and i regretted not choosing to take the boat back with him. But then again part of the charm was that we never docked as there are no stops in the atlantic so i wonder what it would be like to get on and off all the time? Hope you got some bear shots :) xx

    1. Fjords are a definite! Getting on and off the boat takes time! The crew are very organised and it isn't too much of a problem. I have often wondered what the Queen Mary is like... what did you do most of the time? Bears.... IF ONLY!!! Sadly, we didn't see any. I know, for sure that Alaska is a country to re-visit... over land the next time. xx

    2. There was soo much to do - bc of the lack of ports to dock - we had some amazing renown professors and lecturers ( my husband even was interested in some of them) There was also a RADA( royal academy of dramatic arts) workshops with the chosen actors from the school who went through various techniques of acting and voice travel. Bridge, spa, walks on the deck with nothing to see except for the ocean which was like lake in the middle.oh and eating!! but i didnt' like the black tie dress code every evening and no shorts anywhere on board after 6. I was taken aback at how much there was to do but then I again i have a low threshhold for boredom (PS no internet either!)

    3. I would have loved all of the dramatic arts stuff... I think that the Queen Mary is in a class all of her own. I promise you that the majority of people on board the Zuiderdam would not be wearing black tie!!. We did have wifi.. but had to pay for it and it was only available in the Observation Cafe!!!.... towards the end of the ship we did have wifi in our cabin... Strange??

  2. So interesting. The view from your room and the deck looks lovely, and I've found your description of cruising quite entertaining!! My aunt and uncle in law were on the Queen Mary early this year (I think?) between Melbourne and Adelaide. They didn't enjoy it - mainly due to the size, but also because they had dreadful weather and most people were sea sick... seems all the luxury in the world can't escape that!
    I'm so interested to hear about your sight seeing in Alaska- the photos you've shared from the ship look spectacular. I've heard there are often people who don't bother to leave the ship when they cruise.... xx

    1. It is huge - never saw the same people twice! But i was nauseous for two days which was weird considering how big the boat is...

    2. Thanks Heidi... yes.. lots of people don't leave the ship.. most odd!! perhaps they like the peace when everyone's off!! This cruise served a purpose in leaving me with the desire to return to Alaska and do a road-trip. We never saw bears unfortunately, but quite a few whales, lots and lots of dolphins and a couple of seals from far off! xx

  3. The views from your terrace are beautiful and it must have been a relaxing spot away from the hustle and bustle of the main areas of the ship. Although the ship was very comfortable and there were plenty of activities, I too would have opted for as much sightseeing as possible as I love to explore! The last photo of the Inner Passage is stunning as it's so serene and the colour of the water in the earlier photo is so turquoise and the shades of blue of the jackets on the left just add to the photo!!
    By the way, The Nitobe Memorial Garden in your last post was so tranquil and beautifully maintained.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comments miss b... Nitobe was a glorious space! We left the ship at every opportunity... I loved Skagway.. a small town in Alaska which I am about to do a post on. I was admiring your Turkey market photos but got distracted before I could leave a comment!... will do so now! xx


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