My husband and I just returned from a wonderful cruise (June 9-16) Holland American America service was outstanding. This was our second cruise to Alaska the other previous cruise being nine years ago. On our previous cruise it rained every day, on this cruise we had beautiful beautiful weather and much warmer than expected. I am somewhat spoiled since our last three cruises have been on Oceania, which we enjoyed.
Cabin - We booked the largest inside cabin 8041 since space meant more to us than a balcony. We did not ask for a free upgrade and were very happy with our cabin selection. It looked just like the picture on the website with a sofa a room to move around
Dining - We ate most meals in the dining room and found most of the food to be tasty, hot and well prepared. The best part was Tedi our waiter on most nights. Portions for the entree are very small but most of the time we didn't mind since there are so many courses. I was upset when I ordered veal which was delicious but my portion was so much smaller than I saw other being served (3bites). If I asked, I am sure they would have brought more but I wanted to get to the show. Dinner didn't take an unreasonable amount of time and the dining room was open for lunch everyday except for one.
I did not like the Mariners brunch. Only a few choices. I did like a salmon roast on deck and the salmon was good. I found a good variety of choices on most menus including several types of fish.
I loved the soups available in the dining room much better than Oceania since most of their soups are cream based. I also loved their baked Alaska.
We loved the specialty restaurants. My husband celebrated his birthday at the Pinnacle Grill. They surprised him with a cake and the food was comparable to an Oceania specialty restaurant?
Ports - Tracy Arm was beautiful. Similar to Millford Sound in New Zealand but a lot closer to visit.
Juneau - we had a beautiful day so Roberts tramway up the mountain was great no problem buying tickets when you get off the ships. 2 movies on top which we enjoyed. The views since it was a clear day made it well worth it. Sitka - Birds, Bears, Barnacles. Seeing bald eagles up close was fantastic, the bears were interesting. I didn't, care much for the Barnacle part of the tour since it was the wrong time of year for the salmon eqq process. We were glad overall that we did this tour.
Ketchikan - just walked around town since we only had 4 hours and had been here before.
Victoria - took Holland excursion Craigdarroch castle and city tour. We were disappointed. It's not really a castle like you see in Europe. Just an historical home. We didn't get to see the harbor until it was almost dark and the bus didn't even slow down for pictures. We would have been much better off going on our own directly to the harbor and china town which looked so interesting.
Entertainment - it was fine. We enjoyed the shows. It's not Broadway but great after a nice dinner.
The cooking demonstrations on the ship were great. As good as watching Julia Child. Informative and humorous.
We had no problem with disembarkation and catching a cab to our Seattle hotel. Enjoyed Pikes market, gold rush museum (free from national park service), and the Chihuly garden and glass .
We were glad that we selected Holland America. If you have reasonable expectations, I believe that they will be exceeded.