I am a 3-trip veteran of the Hurtigruten voyages along the coast of Norway & I thought there could be nothing more magnificent...but I just spent 7 days on the MS Volendam, cruising Alaska's Inside Passage and the trip was perfection.
The charming, comfortable cabin had ample closet & drawer space for 3 adults. Our quiet verandah gave me restful alone moments with a breathtaking view. We're early risers & on the 1st morning we sampled a 6:00am light breakfast tray ordered from room service. Piping hot coffee, tea & fruited muesli, elegantly served, became our favorite way to begin each day. Food, food,food...morn, noon & night: gourmet delights in the formal dining room - gourmet & comfort food in the casual Lido buffet - afternoon teas, an Indonesian banquet, late night snacks & 24 hr. room service. (For an extra charge there are also 2 elegant, intimate restaurants requiring reservations.)
The Alaskan scenery is gorgeous & continuous...no long passages with nothing to see. The cruise itinerary is well planned. 3 fascinating Alaskan ports offering shore excursions so numerous, it's hard to make a choice: ranging from whale watching to a train trip up the old prospectors trail to the Klondike. My adult children took the whale watching & Mendenhall glacier tour out of Juneau, the train trip out of Skagway and in Ketchikan, they went walking about town & up to Saxman Village to see the marvelous totem poles. Even on the day it rained, they found it all exhilarating.
There is a day of cruising in the awesome environs of Glacier Bay amid humpback whales, Orcas, porpoises, & sea otters at sea and bears & wolves on shore, watched over by bald eagles perched on the small icebergs.
The atmosphere aboard ship was outstanding. Staff & crew were immediately there when you needed but otherwise unobtrusive. And every one of them was friendly, very helpful and always greeted us with a gracious smile. Each day & night there were a myriad of activities for all ages & tastes: entertainment from Broadway-type shows to a string quartet. There were bars & lounges & pools and still there were quiet, unfrequented spaces where someone like me could relax & view the splendor of Alaska sail by. For all the passengers on board, the ship never felt crowded. Yes, there are days when low clouds hang in the valleys and a misty drizzle enshrouds the land, but that is why Alaska is so green and gorgeous. And when the sun comes out it shines on a world that is indescribably beautiful.
I am a traveler who likes the feel of traveling. I love to feel the swelling sea. I love to hear the hum and feel the vibrations of the giant pistons and I love to watch the world cruising past. The Volendam has it all. It was a perfect trip even when the Alaskan weather was inclement.