The cruise was a last minute decision and we were excited about it. We had been to Alaska twice before but this took us to two places we had not explored. The food in the lido deck buffet wasn't very good. By the second week I was tired of it, not enough variety and the desserts were for the most part dreadful. We liked the ice cream, fruit crumble and the bread pudding the best. The pie pastry was like shoe leather.
The dining room food was much better and I really enjoyed being waited on and many of the meals were really delicious, perfectly cooked lobster!
The Grill area by the pool had Mexican fare and pizza every day and was pretty good.
We were last time to Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity and the food in their lido deck was amazing, but Celebrity it a higher priced cruise.
This is the 5th Holland America ship we have been on and I'm not a fan of these smaller ships except that for an Alaskan cruise the sliding roof over the Lido pool is a real bonus in bad weather. Other ships lose the use of this area when it's cold or rainy. We prefer about 2400 passenger ships and that gives more space, more venues and more shopping on board. Not a huge difference, on Holland it's 4 times round the deck equals 1 mile whereas on the slightly bigger ships it's 3 times around.
We felt that is was the friendliest ship we've been on. All the staff were amazing. This attitude has to come from the top down. The captain was a young man and the crew said he'd often wander around the ship and eat in the Lido deck and make himself visible to guests and staff. That was a good thing a happy atmosphere.
We had so many invitations to luncheons and receptions with free drinks it was amazing. Must have had occasions where champagne or cocktails were supplied at least 7 times in two weeks!
Yes the ship is older but most of Holland America Ships are but they are constantly being well maintained. We had an inside cabin midship on main deck. It is due for a refitting in Oct. 2013. We find the bow to have the most motion so try to avoid a cabin there. These smaller ships tend to have more motion, but our cruise was like glass!
The ship shore excursions tend to be expensive and we don't usually go on them from the ship but others were raving about helicopter rides and whales watching experiences. Check ahead by going on line and see what excursions are available privately. Sometimes (most of the time) they are cheaper and better and the people giving them are really enthusiastic, not just using you as a 'meal ticket'.
We had a wonderful excursion with Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, a 6 hr. boat trip and we saw Orcas, humpbacks, dolphins, seals, sea lions and glaciers.
I also recommend Halibut Hole fish and chips in Ketchikan, at the end of Creek Street overlooking the water (we saw seals swimming by). After seeing Creek Steet, take the tram ($2.00 for all day) up to the Cape Fox Lodge and see the Native art work in the lodge and the totem poles outside. Take the path to your left and walk through the forest (trail, walkway and steps) back down to where you started.
Didn't try Tracy's Crab shack in Juneau but sure wish we had, it's right next to the big parkade near the dock.
I liked the amount of time that we were in the ports, no rushing.
All and all it was a wonderful relaxing cruise great ports of call, magnificent scenery and who doesn't enjoy unpacking once and being waited on!