We were looking for a family cruise to Alaska and chose the Statendam for its itinerary but were pleasantly surprised by the entire experience. We were a little apprehensive about bringing our 15 month old daughter on a cruise and did not really know how she would respond to the environment. However, the crew of the Statendam did a fabulous job of entertaining her. Almost everywhere we went, the staff would smile and talk to her and she loved every minute of it. Even through the sometimes long dining experiences in the Rotterdam Dining Room, the waiters, managers and beverage staff would perform little magic tricks for her and keep her occupied. They also did a great job of bringing food for her early so that she did not get antsy waiting.
We were also impressed with the shore excursions. We went on the Misty Fjords catamaran tour in Ketchikan, the Mendenhall glacier and gardens tour in Juneau and the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad summit pass round trip in Skagway. Each was well worth the time and expense and was well organized. The scenery is amazing and we highly recommend all of them to anyone looking for a good time and great sights.
We also really liked the priest on board and that Holland America has a priest on board all of their ships. The daily masses were all well attended and we were surprised to learn that more cruise lines do not provide these services.
We also really appreciated our cabin steward, who kept our cabin in great shape despite having to deal with the mess created by our toddler every day. He always kept the cabin clean and worked around our schedule.
We were also very impressed with the embarkation and disembarkation process. We almost never felt like we had to wait in line and the entire process was seamless. Having a toddler that does not like to wait for anything, we really appreciated that. We also liked that the ship generally arrived at a port early in the morning and did not depart until late in the evening, so we never felt rushed to either get off the ship or back on. We also noticed that the smaller size of the Statendam enabled it to get a closer berth to the town while the larger ships were generally farther away. This made the walk to the town center considerably shorter.