This was our second cruise on HA. The first was last year for our 50th Wedding Anniversary on the Veendam to the western caribbean. We were not happy cruisers on the Veendam. Part of our problem was of our own making in that we cruised with a party of seventeen which was not a good idea, too much coordination was necessary. We were not happy with much of anything on the Veendam Cruise, the service was fair, the food bland and mediocre at best, the entertainment O.K. and the ports of call not exciting.
This cruise to Alaska on the Amsterdam, on the other hand, was excellent in every way. Even though the weather was bad, overcast and rainy, the cruise couldn't have been any smoother. Embarkation and disembarkation were pain free and quick, less than 15 minutes each way. We were a group of eight and the open seating worked well for us. We requested a table for eight and we were able to get the same table every night. Our head waiter and wine steward could not have been better. We all purchased the wine card for 20 glasses and although it was only the house wine we found it very good buy. The food was very good and the service was excellent. Our cabin was on the lower dolphin deck and except for the vibration it was fine. The beds and the pillows were wonderful and the closet space was excellent. Four nights we had a review company performance and the dancers and singers (except for the lead male singer)were terrific.
The Ports of Call were Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka and Victoria. Juneau was disappointing, Sitka is breath takingly beautiful and the National Park was an easy walk from the ship and not to be missed. The Glacier National Park was awesome. We were able to get up close and many saw the calving, although my wife and I seemed to miss it everytime. We all remarked how fascinating it was to see, but so awful to know what is happening. Ketchikan was very interesting and a great place to buy your souvenirs. Victoria's Butchart Gardens was our favorite stop. If you haven't been there, it is a definite don't miss. The Gardens are one of the wonders of the world, not really, but are special enough to be one. It was a once in a life time experience and one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. Seattle is a fascinating city, but very expensive. Pikes Market was interesting but would not go back. We were there on a Friday and the crowd of people was huge and although the flowers were beautiful and inexpensive, everything else was no bargain.
The difference between the two cruises, both HA was unbelievable, however, this was such a great cruise I can't wait to try a different HA ship.