Thank goodness for Seattle. I'd finally convinced my husband to take an Alaskan cruise ( about 4 years of talking). When he said yes, I quickly booked a trip before he could change his mind. Booked in August for travel in September. Since he had agreed to the adventure, I added 2 days pre cruise in Seattle. Thank goodness for Seattle. We stayed at the Seattle Marriot Waterfront. Nice hotel,great views, close to Pikes Place Market ,the BigWheel and lots of restuarants. We took two Savor Seattle Tours ,both great , a city bus tour and went up into the Space Needle. We had a great time and want to return for a longer visit. Thank goodness for Seattle.
Since this was our first cruise , we were a bit apprehensive about embarkation. Happily , it was painless. Everyone was courteous and helpful. We were feeling excited, we were on our way. We had heard so many good things about Holland America obviously they had not been in our room on the Oosterdam. We walked into room 5154 and were so disappointed. The room looked worn and shabby. The sofa's arm was torn ,the springs ( it was a sofa bed) were showing. The pillows on the sofa were dirty and stained. The plaid throws looked liked they should have been thrown away cruises ago. But what I had noticed first was the most upsetting. The black knob on the blonde wooden cabinet over the sofa was being held on by white tissue sticking out all around the knob. Really. I realized it was the second to last cruise of the season and things may be a little worn,but REALLY. The bedding looked worn and the pillows smelled old. Thank goodness for Seattle.
By Wednesday-the third day of the trip- the knob had been glued,the sofa had been changed. The bedding did not improve. The ship's decor was a bit dated and worn. Know now I should have checked the last time it was refurbished when choosing a ship. Positive note, the mattress was comfortable even in high seas.
The food---------the buffets, not bad not great. Hard to find a place to sit. The Vista dining room was better but service was slow. We had dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, probably the best meal. The crab cakes were wonderful. Again the service was a bit slow. Canaletto, pretty good, BUT. We were offered the dessert menu before we were served our pasta. Lots of servers, one not knowing what the other was doing.
We ordered drinks. We waited for the bill. Finally got up and told the person at the podium about the drinks and our room number. Our evening at Le Cirque is another story--------food very good ,service good BUT with 80 mph winds and 20 foot seas, a little hard to enjoy. I could see huge waves through the window ! We ordered breakfast room service each morning. Food good but always a little later than the time we requested. It was hard to get a call through to room service. Always busy. One afternoon i requested some orange juice. They said they only serve orange juice in the morning?? Thank goodness for Seattle.
Alaska is BEAUTIFUL. We saw only a small amount and would love to go back. Just not on a cruise. Tracy's Arm was overwhelming. Could not believe that blue even on a cloudy day. Our Juneau tour,a glacier and whale watching photo safari, was great. Fun and educational. Our photo guide and boat captain were wonderful. THEN , a real adventure began. We thought we left the Gulf Coast and hurricanes. No, we were on a ship in Alaska with 85 mph winds and 20 foot seas and we couldn't evacuate !! Stuck on a ship rocking and rolling. We could not stop in Sitka--the reason I booked this cruise-- not many cruise ships stop in Sitka and from what I have read since we have been home,Holland America skips it often in September. I wish I had done more research on this cruise line. Let the buyer beware. We also missed Ketchican. So for a 7day cruise, we were on the ship for 5 days. Thank goodness for Dramamine and Seattle.
Had never seen ships shows before. After the first show didn't really care to spend time there again. Though I did go back for Dancing With The Stars the last night-----entertaining. Wanted to see the magician, boat was really rocking that night , had to hold on to the bed instead. Most activities involved some sort of a fee. Movies were free but unless they moved to a bigger room only about 30 people fit. The Digital Workshop was so informative but there again if you didn't get there early there was no room.
So happy to get to Victoria. To get off the ship. But by then we were a little ship shocked and sad we had missed so much. We did take a city bus tour. Victoria is beautiful and we want to return but not on a cruise. We tried but just couldn't get into it. Don't want to be, but still sad about the whole cruise. From what I have learned since returning home,maybe Holland America should leave for Hawaii at the end of August. It seems the weather is often not conducive to cruising in September. The salmon are gone--we saw none and the whales are on their way to warmer weather. Maybe the cruise ships should also leave or when offering a lower price also tell the customer that some ports may be skipped because of the weather in September. We are not from that area of the country and had no idea of September's stormy weather. Seattle was cloudy and rainy but thank goodness for Seattle.
We paid $20 per person extra to have our luggage , best money spent. The disembarkation seemed a bit disorganized. Wish we could have stayed a few days in Seattle after the cruise. Thank goodness for Seattle!