My husband and I really enjoyed this Cruise. This was our 1st time on Holland were very pleased with the whole experience. We had booked a Guaranty Veranda and was given a Aft Balcony. We were one deck below the Lido deck and never heard a sound from above which I was worried about.
Embarkation: Quick and easy. Once on we were able to head right to our room. Dropped off our carry-ons and went to lunch. We had One star Mariner status and was able to eat lunch in the MDR. Hint...we were able transfer our cruise history from Carnival to get Mariner one star status. This allows you to eat lunch on embarkation in MDR and a special lunch with champagne later in the week!
Westerdam: The ship layout was easy to master. The dEcor was "classic" and tasteful.
Food: We enjoyed each meal in the MDR. We ordered 2 entrees each day without any problem but did get desert. The buffet was good... the 1st 48 hours we were served everything and that slowed things down. Once we were able to serve ourselves the line moved faster. Room service was good and on time. We did open seating and found it to be very organized. We asked to sit with other people and really met some nice people.
Entertainment: The shows were ok...just ok. Compared to other cruise lines the production shows just did not appear to be professional productions. Illusionist was very good and is on America's Got Talent this season. Don't miss the final show of Dancing of the Stars.
Crew: Everybody was very friendly and respectful. Our room stewards were quick and always ready to help if needed.
Ports: We choose to do our own thing in each port.
~Juneau: We rented a car from Juneau Rental Car. About 1 mile from where were docked. Easy to walk to with a slight uphill getting there. We took the suggestions and map from the rental agency. We drove out to Eagle Beach, St. Theresa Chapel and Mendanhal Glacier. This allowed to spend as much time as we wanted. If you have the time...walk to the 2 mile round trip walk to Nugget Falls at the glacier. We saw a beautiful rainbow on our way back to town.
~Sitka: Tender port...we did not have to wait for a tender. We got a bus to Fortress of the Bears for $3.00. Nice facility but small. We had to wait for and hour for the bus to pick us back up. The bus did drop us off at the Alaska Raptor Center. Another nice facility. We then walked back to town via the Sitka National Park. This was a nice pleasant walk. The line to tender was long but moved quickly.
~Ketchikan: We loved this port and wish we had more time there. We got off the boat and walked across the street to Tongrass Trading company. As I seen on the cruise critic boards....we bought the $19.99 jacket. What a great deal! Don't miss it! We then took a city bus to Bight Totem Pole park for $1.00. This was a very nice park that you toured on your own. Bus comes every hour and was able to catch it back to town. We walked around the town before we had to get back on the ship.
~Victoria, CA: Very beautiful city. We walked to Beacon Hill Park and checked out the roaming Peacocks. We then walked to downtown and explored the area around the Empress Hotel. We did ALOT of walking but it was beautiful weather to do. You can pick up a map for the walking tour right on the dock.
~Seattle: We spent a day there before we got on the ship. We loved Seattle and was so glad we were able to spend sometime there. We took a Free walking tour of Pike Market and of Seattle Center. We also went to the Chihuly Glass Gardens near the space needle...Very beautiful. Buy the combo ticket for the glass gardens and space needle at Chihuly and you won't have to wait on line to buy tickets for the space needle.
Overall impression. We were very pleased with this cruise and Holland American. I ended up taking over 600 pictures and will relive this trip for a long time. We will go on another Holland American Cruise in the future.