Holland America Line's Ryndam was a ship unlike any other ship I've ever been on, the first thing I noticed was for an 8:00 p.m. sail-away time the ship hosted a 4:00 p.m. lifeboat drill this was a major inconvenience considering that at 4:00 p.m. only half the passengers checked in and boarded making the next day's 10:00 a.m. make-up drill a real inconvenience having about 500 passengers standing on a deck for 45 minutes with no instruction that should be included with the drill. When the late dinner began at 8:00 p.m. the service was just above mediocre 4 out of the 7 nights dinner was served my family didn't get out of the dinning room until 10:30 that was without sitting around, 2 hours and 45 minutes for a meal was ridiculous with children.
One Major turnoff was A-Deck this deck smelt like the local tavern with the stench of alcohol and smoke coming up from the staff deck below the line should at least put up a door to close off the staircase from the passenger section More
of the ship.This ship seemed redundant everyday having the same activities such as bridge playing, this ship tends to hang towards seniors more than the younger crowd howerer during our trip there were a good amount of kids and families onboard.
One positive about the ship is once all passengers are accounted for after being in port the captain would leave port many times 10 to 15 minutes ahead of schedule which gave a major advantage on the next day in port getting in slightly earlier ment the ship was cleared for debarkation into the ports. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
As soon as the doors of the MS Ryndam opened all the eye could see was tour buses and stands trying to sell shore excursions, once past all the crowd Juneau has some AMAZING things to offer the Mt. Robert's Tramway experience was an ok thing to see however if you have time in Vancouver if your ship disembarks there forget mt. Robert's and head to Grouse Mountain in Vancouver this place was worth the money more than in Juneau. Shore excursion wise Whale Watching quest and mendenhall glacier were the places to be the great part of whale watching is the company uses no sonar and uses past experiences to locate whales guarenteed sighting or $100.00 back per adult ($50.00 per child)
The piort of Ketchikan may have been great however Holland America docks up at aproximately 2:00 p.m. and pulls away at 8:00 p.m. sharply so if there are any shore excursions planned for the day that don't explore the shopping district and you are a major shopper you can just forget about seeing Skagway and it's shopping experiences. Shore excursion wise Misty Fjords and Wilderness Explorer was a great tour opperated by the same companyt as the whale quest in Juneau you are given complementary coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. A free snack of apple pastry is given as the tour comes to and end the crew serves up a bowl of chowder of vegetarian chili that will please any appetite.
Sitka was an OK experience, very few cruise lines make Sitka a choice port therefore very few ships are docked in town. Sitka is a tender required port of call therefore if you want to debark ASAP you need to be waiting in the theatre at least 45 minutes before the scheduled time of arrival to get a low numbered tendere ticket to get you into town sooner. No shore excursions were completed however took tour of town on our own using maps given out at the tender dock one major highlight was the Alaska Raptor Center ths place was amazing holding many bald eagles that have been injured. Right outside of the tender dock lies St. Michael's Cathedral this place was a really great experience of what a russian church looks like the admission fee is $2.00 for adults and kids are free.
Vancouver was the city of disembarkation the Port Authority of Vancouver are FANTASTIC at what they do they took off all the luggage and cleared the ship very quickly being in the last disembarkation group was very nice that there was more time on the ship however the port authority did such a great job they had everyone off the ship 45 minutes ahead of schedule.