Amsterdam Cruise Review by carri cruiser: 14 day Alaska cruise, farther up into Alaska!
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14 day Alaska cruise, farther up into Alaska!
There are 6 of us in our group, my friends from Canada came the night before departure, and my brother and his wife that live in Seattle. My husband and I live on the Olympic Peninsula across the sound from Seattle. We met at the pier around 11:30, left our luggage with the porters and went up the escalator to check in... check is was quick and easy and we boarded the Amsterdam around 11:45,our cabins were ready for us, and we went to our cabin and left our carry ons, then we went to the MDR for the welcome back lunch that is served instead of waiting in the lines at the lido. My brother and his wife came with us, although this is their first cruise, ever. After lunch we explored the ship a bit, we had cruised on Amsterdam before but the others had not. We had our lifeboat drill, but didn't have to have our lifejacket on. We sailed from Seattle at 5pm. We went to dinner around 7pm - open seating, we went as a group of 6 for dinner and asked for a table by the window, we got a More
window.and enjoyed the view as we sailed , our waiters were Iman, and Gede, (g - day)
June 2, was a cruising day, on our way to Ketchikan, the waters were a little rough, and my Sister-in-law was not feeling well, went to the front desk and got some pills, she then took to her cabin. We went to dinner around 7:30 and asked for the same table, which we were "blessed" with for the entire cruise.
during dinner that evening there were only 5 of us,we saw whales while dining.
June 3,Sunday in Ketchikan. The waters were calm, my SIL was feeling better, and we had room service for coffee and muffins, then went to Lido for some breakfast. I had eggs benedict almost every day, my DH had omelette. We ate out on the lido deck by the pool, the roof was open many times, because the weather was so beautiful.We saw whales in the am, and again in the pm, when we were leaving Ketchikan, many eagles were seen and one flew very close to the ship's windows where we were sitting, and at the same time a whale blew!!
The weather report stated that it was 54 degrees, our home temperature was 53 degrees!! In ketchikan there was a free shuttle to take you into the downtown section, and we got off and went looking around creek street at the old houses and the shops. Everywhere we went there were jackets on sale for $19.95! The creek street shops were interestin. One of the men has a beer glass collection, and wanted to find the brewery, but we never found it!! no one seemed to know anything about the brewery!
June 4,We cruised Tracy Arm , the weather again was beautiful, clear and not cold. we saw many icebergs floating on the water, as we entered Tracy Arm.
The views and the manuevering of the ship in Tracy arm were magnificent. the sides of the mountains were almost close enough to touch!!! We were able to get all the way into Tracy Arm ti see tge glaciers. We ate at Cannaletto that night, It was good, but the menu is limited. We only ate there once.
June 5th We arrived in Juneau around 10:30, we had a 7 passenger Van reserved with Alamo car rental, whose ad was that they were on the cruise dock pier. We couldn't find them anywhere, and no one seemed to know where they were, I called the # I had for them, with no answer. we walked down the pier a bit, there were 5 ships in port. after about the 4th ship, down my the Mt Roberts Tramway, we found a free bus to the last ship, where someone said the Alamo Office was. I finally found the office, no signs, and in a small wooden garden shed. I found out that the phone # given was to the Alamo at the Airport, where no one answered!! We got the Van and drove out to Mendenhall Glacier.
I had quite a few items on my list for Juneau, but after the fiasco of trying to find the car rental, we came back into town, and there is a strange thing about parking a car in Juneau, you need to get it registered and then can park for 2 hours free. We found a nice metermaid that helped us find a parking spot, and did the registering for us. We went to the famous Red Dog Saloon.
it was loud and crowded. I was delivering a license plate to the Viking Saloon ,for one of my other brothers, it was just up the street. we decided to go there, and then everyone except DH and I went back to the ship.
DH and I drove to Fred Meyer, I had left my makeup at home, and needed to buy some more. we filled the car up with gas @ $4,65 per gal, regular.
We took the van back to the rental agency and they drove us back to the ship.
It was later discovered that my brother had left my blue notebook with all our
information , in the Van, I called them on their cell # that they had given me, and they offered to bring the notebook to me, how Nice they were to do that! I got my notebook, and went on board the ship. We had dinner, and sailed at 10pm, it was still light out, we left 4 ships still in port.
june6 Icy Strait Point.
this was a tender port, no one except my brother planned to go ashore, and myself. My brother went in the early am, I decided to go around 11ama. It was so small, it was easy to find my brother, he was sitting watching the Zip Line . There was a few things to look at in way of the way they used to can salmon. There was a Shuttle go Hoonah, which was just a little ways from Icy Strait Point. the shuttle was $8, round trip. I went into Hoonah and found a couple of shops in Hoonah, but nothing else except there was a totem carver
I took the bus back to Icy Strait, but the bus driver said she heard there was a bear that we could see, and she drove us to where we could get a picture of the bear. The people were very friendly, We were warned of the rough waters in the gulf, but the water was pretty calm, and my SIL didn't get sick this time.
June 7th. This was a sea day, we had beautiful weather, played trivia in the crow's nest, saw whales and porpois, eagles, and beautiful snow covered mts.
sunset was at 11:30 , but it was light enough all night to be able to see the treeline. (kind of strange)
June 8 Anchorage - There were HAL sponsored large tour busses to take us into town for free. once in town there were many different shuttles to take us to many places. We got on one that went to the zoo, but when we got there, it was not handicapped accessable, and one in our group of 4 couldn't walk very far.
they said the steep hills made it difficult for any wheelchairs. we got on the net bus back to town. My brother and SIL had gone to the ULU factory tour(free) and learned how the ULU knife is made and used., the tour ended with a free icecream cone! There was a shuttle to the Native Heritage Center, and free shuttles to various other places. There didn't seem to be any entrance fees to any of the attractions the shuttles were taking you to, except the zoo.There is a rather large shopping mall in town across the street and down the block from where the HAL bus lets you off. There are lots of Souvenier shops, the people were very helpful and friendly, and the weather was sunny and warm enough for just a light jacket.
June 9th Homer, AK. There was a free shuttle provided to take you to the spit at Homer. there was also a bus marked hop on hop off for $15.00 pp from Hal, both were yellow school busses. We got on the hop on hop off, the sign said there were 4 stops where you could get on or off, we found that one of the stops was for the Pratt Museum, and possibly the library, but we did not get off, I feel that particular bus was a rip off. there was nothing to do or see on the route, other than the museum or the library. we passed a Farmer's Market that looked interesting, but no stop for that!! We went back to our starting point, and got on the free bus that took us to the spit, where all the little shops and the action was. The Salty Dog Saloon was on the spit, as was the Boat from "the deadliest catch" moored there. they also had espresso there. We saw another green and red trolly, a HO HO trolly, but never found where to catch it.DON'T TAKE HAL'S bus, it is not worth the money. you can get a cab to that part of the town for around $8.00. Everyone went back to the ship, but myself and friend went to the HOMER brewery , by cab... It was back by the 2nd stop of the HO HO Hal bus. out in the woods kind of, my friend bought his 2 glasses and a tshirt. the cab waited and took us back to the pier.
June 10 Kodiak
there was no transportation to the downtown area, It was rumored that a cab cost 7.95 pp, but when we found a 7 person van, we were told the fare was $8.00 for all of us. We went into town, walked around a bit, went to a museum admission was $5.00 pp. not much to do, we looked for the Kodiak brewery and found that the address given is where they plan to move to! We called the same cab driver, and went back to the ship, when we were quite close to the ship, we found the Kodiak Brewery, so got out of the cab and we went to the brewery where we purchased a "growler" a large pitcher-like vessel. we walked the half mile to the ship. We were in Kodak on a Sunday, many of the shops were closed.
June 11th Cruising Hubbard Glacier. We were warned that we may not get into Hubbard Glacier very far, it depended on the weather conditions. it was lightly raining, there was lots of ice on the water, and many many icebergs, some with seals, and some with eagles sitting on them. A Naturalist from the Parks department was on board and gave talks on Glaciers, He had a talk in the Queen's lounge before we got to the glacier, very interesting. don't miss that!
We got quite close to the glacier, and could hear it "rumbling" it calved a few times for us. beautiful going in and going out!!
June 12th Sitka, beautiful Sitka, it has small islands all around it, many many eagles in the trees, many whales, but you must be watching for them.
Our Canadian friends went on a HAL tour to the Raptor Centeor and to the Bears, they loved it!! (we have been to the raptor center before) We mostly walked around the city, bought my lladro polar bear at the jewelry store, where I had bought my last one. looked in some of the shops and went back to the ship to watch from the crows nest the whales and eagles.
June 13 cruising, watching for whales, enjoying the scenery.. A formal night to observe that the formals on this cruise seem to be a little more like black slacks and shiny tops for women, some of the men wore tuxs but many just in dress shirts, maybe a jacket.
June 14th Victoria.... My brother and I decided to walk into Victoriam none of the others were going ashore. We walked straight from the ship and ended up at a marina with interesting food shops, and a small ferry took us across the water to the Empress Hotel, we walked around there for a while, and then headed back to the boat, we walked back, it was about a mile of so, we didnot go the way most of the walkers went. Looking at some of the old houses was interesting.
June 15th Home again! We arrived in Seattle at 7am, were off the ship by 10:30
we got our final bill that am, (the casino has a way to charge gambling... don't do it!!) We ate in the lido the last morning and departed the ship, our bags had been picked up sometime after midnight, and we just had our carry ons with us. We got off the ship, there were no porters to help us with luggage, so we had to deal with it ourselves. (we had been told that there would be no porters) Our neighbor was at the terminal to pick us up,
All in All it was a great cruise, we enjoyed ourselves, and as usual am still getting used to having to take care of myself and DH again.! Less
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Cabin review: Amsterdam Large Oceanview Dolphin 1857
anice location, middle of ship on the starboard side, the cabin was a little smaller than we have had in same catagory on other ships, but adequate. lots of closet space. the shampoos, body wash, and conditioner are now on the wall. I didn't like their hair dryers, but brought my own. Our cabin stewards were very attentive and filled up our rolling ice chest every day. I had lost an earring in the bed, it was sitting on my bedside table the next am. Our cabin had it's carpets cleaned on of the days we were on board, the carpet was damp for a while, but posed no problem. I was dissapointed to not see the towel monkey this trip!!