Tomorrow marks the start of another exciting Live Voyage Report here on From the Deck Chair. In the past year, we’ve tackled the Mediterranean; sailed to the beautiful ports of the Baltic; explored the waterways of Europe; cruised the Caribbean, crossed the Atlantic Ocean; expedition cruised the mysterious British Isles, and put out backs into it aboard a schooner through the San Juan’s.

Tomorrow: we board Holland America’s Zuiderdam, docked at Canada Place in our hometown of Vancouver, Canada. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

But I’m excited to embark Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam tomorrow at Vancouver’s Canada Place for a weeklong sailing to Alaska on the classic Inside Passage route for two reasons: it gives me a chance to sail aboard one of my favorite ships, and allows me to return to Alaska again for the first time in six years.

It was here that I discovered my love of cruising in 1998, on a memorable weeklong voyage to Alaska.  Though it was aboard another ship and another line, there was no looking back for me after that first seven days; heck, I was hooked after the first thirty seconds. I remember vividly how it felt to step out of Vancouver’s Ballantyne Pier and onto the tide-sensing gangway, suspended briefly between the terminal and the ship.  And then, I was there: on the deck of a real ship, its metal surface vibrating ever so gently against my feet to let me know it was alive, and we would indeed be going somewhere later that day.

Midnight along Alaska’s Lynn Canal, just south of Skagway. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Since that July day 14 years ago, I’ve sailed to Alaska three times. While many of my voyages take me to Europe – a place I know and love well – I never tire of returning to Alaska.  It can rain, it can be cloudy, cold, dreary, foggy, windy and, yes, sometimes even sunny.  But Alaska is a stunning destination that truly must be seen to be believed.

If Alaska is a visual feast for the senses, so too is Holland America’s 2002-built Zuiderdam. The very first of the line’s Vista Class ships, the Zuiderdam is one of my favorite ships.  I love the funky color schemes that caused so much controversy when she first set sail.  I love the sweeping, curving hallways that run throughout her decks and the banks of enormous, floor-to-ceiling windows her designers have graced her with.  Glass elevators whirr up and down along her midship elevator bank, adorned with art deco accents and vibrant lighting.

Everywhere you turn, there’s something new to discover aboard the Zuiderdam.

Holland America’s Zuiderdam in Skagway, Alaska in September, 2006. Photo © Aaron Saunders

But half the reason to sail with Holland America is for the spectacular service afforded to guests by their dedicated Indonesian and Filipino crew members, and for their spacious, larger-than-average staterooms and suites.  Oh, and the beds – the Mariner’s Dream Bed – is exactly like it sounds!

Our full itinerary:

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We’ll have daily updates with plenty of up-to-the-minute photographs all week! So come follow along with us as we rediscover Alaska – and the beautiful Zuiderdam – all over again.  The fun starts tomorrow, right here on From the Deck Chair!

For more information on the Zuiderdam and Holland America Line, be sure to pay a visit to their website! To learn when our latest Live Voyage Report installments are posted, be sure to follow us on Twitter @deckchairblog.


One Response to Tomorrow: our Zuiderdam Live Voyage Report

  1. Nicholas Sabalos, Jr., CDR, U.S. Navy (Ret.) says:

    Bon Voyage, Aaron. Hope you’re feeling 100% again, too!

    My bags are still packed from a very recent cruise aboard Veendam to Bermuda…..and, with a 3-week roundtrip cruise from NYC to Quebec City aboard Eurodam coming along in just over 4 weeks…..I think I will just STAY packed.

    So, for once, I am BOTH vicariously packed for your Zuiderdam voyage….and REALLY packed for my own cruises! 🙂

    Wishing you Fair Winds and Following Seas!


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