We (3 of us) sailed on Sept. 10. This was our first cruise with Holland America but our 4th cruise. All three of us are somewhat disabled and I use a walker. Everyone had told us that Holland America would compare with Princess but I have to disagree. Holland America was definitely better than NCR, but Princess and RCL have the top billing. Our cruise was pleasant enough and I would sail with Holland America again.
We were late getting there as our transportation from airport to ship fell through. We had arranged with a company called Lincoln Taxi to transport us in a Lincoln Towncar. We had 5 pieces of luggage and when the man arrived, which we had to wait for over a half hour, he parked 3 cars away from us and when he finally came to where we were, he looked at our luggage and said it wouldn't fit in his car. We had used a Ford Taurus to get to the plane!! Then he announced that his car was "down there" and returned to his car. About then, the SkyCap that had brought us there came by and told us he could have a stretch Limo there in about 5 minutes. So we rode in style!! We were late boarding so did not get the Welcome buffet. Otherwise, the embarkation procedure went well and we were in our cabin in no time.
Our cabin was roomy (for a cruise ship) and kept clean. This was our Cabin Steward's second sailing and he did a real good job. Our fruit bowl was replenished whenever we ate something out of it. Our room was made up promptly when we left. The only complaint that I had was that I would have liked to have the couch made back into a couch during the day instead of left as a bed.
Enjoyed the Vista dining room. Our waiter was not a ball of fire, but he got the job done. Didn't think that the selection matched up to Princess as the only option that was available all the time was the baked potato. Had enjoyed being able to have a steak, shrimp cocktail, etc., whenever I wanted on Princess. Ate in the Lido buffet several times and it was very good. Never lacked for help there and they were very wiling to get coffee, etc., for us when we were playing cards.
Felt that Holland America kind of fell down here as it was hard to find a drink person. Once, my husband, who had a drink card, tried to find a coke and was turned away from 3 places before he found one. Never did see a drink person when we played cards in the Cafe or other public rooms. Other than that, had lots of assistance with Tender assistance, etc.
Took advantage of most of the shows but not much of the other entertainment. The shows were excellent and enjoyed them very much. The only problem that we had was getting there early enough to have handicapped seating with a view.
Ports of Call
Enjoyed every port. Took excursions at all of them. Our excursion was cancelled in Juneau and we were niot notified until too late the night before, so just went off the ship and talked to a Cruise Person and she told us what was available and helped us get on the tramway. In Sitka, we had an excellent tour with the Sea Life Discovery.
Almost didn't take this one, as had taken one in Aruba and were unhappy but this one was different. They had lots of helpers pointing out things to you and enjoyed the divers at the end that brought up things for you to see.
In Ketchican, went to the Lumber Jack show and it was excellent. Then took a city tour in a horse drawn wagon which for us, being disabled, was the only way that we could see the city. In Victoria, we did the Empress Hotel Tea but were disappointed in it as it was after 6:30 and didn't get a lot of city tour before dark and then had a long walk to the tea. Found out later that if our bus driver had let them know that he had disabled people on board, other arrangements could have been made for us. The hotel people took care of us though and returned us to the bus without so much walking.
We did not have a plane to catch so we were the last to disembark. The only problem was that we were all 3 wheelchair assists and they were anxious to get rid of us so tht they could start loading on the new passengers. They took us to the luggage area and dumped us to hunt for our own luggage and find a porter to get it outside.
Other than the small things that I have mentioned, our cruise was wonderful. Everyone should take a cruise to Alaska at least once. I am looking at my pictures and am just as awed as I was when I seen it for real!! You can not believe the majesty of it all. Our cruise in Glacier Bay was wonderful and we got to within a mile of the big glacier which is closer than they had been all summer. Enjoyed the Ranger talking about Glacier Bay and it was piped throughout the Lido Deck evidently, as we were in the Lido Buffet, and could hear all of her comments and pointing out what to see. Seen a couple of bears that we would not have seen had it not been for her.
Would I sail again with Holland America? I would have to say Yes as do not feel that any of the problems that I have mentioned are major and could be overcome. Overall, we had a wonderful 7 days. It was just not long enough!!