Just returned from the 8/20 sailing of the HAL Veendam. There were 6 of us (2 adults, 2 seniors, 2 kids).
Service is fantastic!! Kids absolutely loved Club Hal. The Playstation room was great and so were the counselors.
Make sure your cruise does Glacier Bay and College Fjord. The latter was unbelievable.
Food was very good. But the Lido deck daily buffet could have used more of a variety each day. Also, you can skip the Asian station (not worth it). Meals in the Rotterdam dining room were very good to excellent.
The naturalist talks were very nice. Bruce did a good job. And as whales were seen, they made announcements over the PA.
Seawind Aviation in Ketchikan for a floatplane trip to Misty Fjords. Steve and Leslie are fantastic hosts.
Orca Enterprises (Captain Larry) offers the best whale watching tours in Juneau. Humpbacks came within 15 feet of the boat. Then we even saw Porpoise, Sea Lions and Sea Otters.
In Skagway, we rented a car with Avis. They normally don't have vans. But for 6 of us, we requested one. $100 for the day. Not bad. They found a van for us and we drove up to the Yukon and Emerald Lake. Don't miss this trip. You'll see everything the train does, but you can stop. They train doesn't make it to Emerald Lake. A quick stop in Carcross is worth it also.
Stay in Seward for a night or two. This is not a tourist town like the others. We fished outside of our room at the Whistle Stop Lodging. Our 6 year old snagged a salmon (no bait) in minutes. Boy did it taste good. Someone fillet it for us ($2) and then we ran it down to Apollo Restaurant to be cooked up.
Tanya at the Whistle Stop Lodging (907-224-5050) has converted a train car into 2 great rooms. $125/night per room. The cars are from WW II with nice amenities. The website is www.sewardak/was. It's walking distance to the cruise dock. But Tanya may be able to pick you up if you have a lot of luggage. What a view from the rooms !!
IdidaRide runs Sled Dog Tours (800-478-3139 www.ididaride.com) in the summer. The Seavey's, especially Danny, give a great tour. You can hold the little pups, play with others and go on a 2 mile trek in the woods. It's a blast for everyone. Buck from the movie "8 Below" is there also. He's actually not a racer. But you can pet him. I think his real name is Flap Jack. $49 for adults and $24 for kids. A great value and they have free shuttle service from downtown.
To get to Anchorage when your stay is over in Anchorage, I would suggest no one else than Renee at PJ's taxi service (907-491-1500). She's the best !!! For one very fair price, Renee made as many stops as we wished. We even took a detour to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. They take in bear, caribou, bison, fox and many other animals who have been injured in the wild. You can get up close and take photos of the animals. During the journey to Anchorage, Renee points out many sites of interest and will allow you to stop and take photos along the way. What a great way to end a fantastic trip. Thanks Renee.
Take the Veendam, visit with some of these tour companies, see Alaska. It's a trip of a lifetime.