We have enjoyed tours on board Princess line in Mexico and the Caribbean, so we
decided to try Holland America for our Alaskan cruise.
The Westerdam sailed out of Seattle towards Glacier Bay and back for a 7 day vacation.
Though it is a smaller ship by 30% compared to Princess Line, it was just right for us. We didn't have to spend a long time walking from one part of the ship to the other. It actually is the right size for a voyage; you may have more venues on a bigger ship, but really, how many more bars or restaurants or swimming pools did you need?
Traditionally, we use on board laundry facilities by paying with coins. But they only offered daily laundry for $49 total. We used it every day to our delight. (I've never had my underwear pressed !)
We paid extra to dine in the Pinnacle Grill which offers good food and personal
service. The Vista Dining room, either open or fixed dining, offers very good food too, but the service is more hurried and cookie cutter.
My bride pondered why we spent extra money on the Pinnacle Grill and the Italian
restaurant when the Vista offered equally good food. The difference is a smaller venue and more personal service.
They offered some musical shows, funny comedians and a magician in the Vista Lounge. One show that is peculiar to Holland America but we enjoyed is a "crew Show". One week the Philippino crew performs songs and dances and the next week an Indonesian crew offers their version. The crew seemed to genuinely enjoy the opportunity to showcase their culture and their talents.
An Alaskan cruise, even in August, found the weather to be overcast and chilly with rain each day. So bring a windbreaker, sweater and hat. Most of the guests were from parts of America in the 90 degrees so they enjoyed the weather.
We also discovered that we could have breakfast room service at no added cost. On other vessels they might offer a limited breakfast, but this was most a big menu.
All in all, I would take Holland America cruise over Princess any day.
On the last afternoon good bye show, it was secreted that only 3 ships on the seas have escaped broad sickness and Westerdam is one. They keep it clean and to notch.