This was our 3rd HAL cruise and 12th overall. Cruise dates Aug 31 - Sep 7, 2013. Flew from Phoenix to Seattle via SW Airlines the morning of the cruise, arriving at 1030am. Taxi from SeaTac to Pier 91, including a stop at Safeway for wine, $60. Boarding was painless and we were in our cabin by 1230.
Cabin attendants introduced themselves and provided us with their card and phone # if we needed anything. Achmad and Komang from Indonesia provided us with excellent service throughout the cruise. We booked a veranda, VF, 4016, port side, fwd. Large veranda with 2 chairs, ottoman and table. The cabin was roomy enough for the two of us with plenty of storage under the bed for the suitcases. 3 closets, bathroom with shower/tub, small sofa, and a small tv. 2 outlets at the desk. Cabin was quiet with no noticeable noise and close to the fwd elevators.
We like the layout of the Vista class ships of Holland America. Easy to navigate about and not a lot of walking around to find things. Crow's Nest has excellent views, quiet and a nice place to watch the scenery. Lido provided a variety of eggs benedict each morning, which I loved. In fact, we enjoyed the no waiting in the Lido so much we didn't go to the dinning room once. Different strokes... Room service was timely and had enough options to keep us satisfied for late night munchies and snacks.
Entertainment was hit and miss. Enjoyed Alex, guitarist, in the Crow's Nest, everyday for Happy Hour (2 for 1 drinks). Barbi and the HAL Cats were, eh, ok. Indonesian crew show was excellent. TV programming was fine for the cruise.
Sports Bar and Casino treated us favorably. DW won $130 on a .25 slot and promptly cashed in :) Cesar in the Sports Bar, Cesario, Jeffrey and Von in the Crow's Nest provided good drinks, bar puzzles and appetizers during HH's.
I used the Internet to check-in for return flight and was pleasantly surprised at the speed. A 15 minute package was available for $10 plus a $3.95 one-time sign-up fee. Only took 10 minutes and that included printing the boarding passes. BTW, the Microsoft classes were well attended and early arrival for the session is required.
Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. We were Grey, Group 2, and could wait in our stateroom until 9:15am disembarkation time. Walked straight off, picked up our luggage and literally walked through US Customs in minutes. Shuttles were available for $40 for the 2 of us to SeaTac and we were at the airport, checked-in and waiting comfortably for our flight before 1130am.
We recommend Holland America and are planning our next cruise aboard the Noordam to complete cruising in all 4 of the Vista Class ships. The staff and crew were a pleasure to have around. We were impressed with the smiles and greetings everywhere we went. This cruise did not have many children or young folk. DW and I felt like the youngest aboard at 57 and 45. Biggest surprise of the cruise was getting into the fjord to see John Hopkins glacier.
Beautiful sunny day in Juneau. Walked off the ship and took a local shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier and falls. Stunning. Walked about town and enjoyed to lush scenery.
Docked on Front Street. Walk off into town. Lots of shopping. Creek Street had lots of salmon, dead and alive. Partly sunny but mostly drizzle, misty rain. With 4 ships in port it was quite busy and crowded. Walked up some long wooden stairs and had a great view of the port and town.
Sitka was a tender port. Only ship in at the time. However, weather was misty rain, drizzle, grey, and wet. Tendering was not a problem. Town is very small and easy to walk about. Dressed for the weather but it didn't make it any better, just drier :)
Arrived around 730pm. Back aboard time was 1030pm. Not very much time. Would like to be in this port for at least 6 hours to see and do much of anything. So, we decided to enjoy our last night aboard.