Let me start off by saying I LOVED THIS CRUISE, this is my 20th cruise and I jump from one cruise line to another to suit my vacation desires, to me the secret to having an enjoyable cruise is you simply need to tailor it to your own preferences. Boarding was very fast, always a challenge filling out the health questionnaire while carrying luggage and keeping pace in line. Off to the Lido deck for lunch, the Lido was packed, no trays so you grab a plate, stand in line forever, throw some food on, hunt down a table and skip the drama of finding beverages while guarding the table. That was the first and last time I ate in the Lido. After lunch we went to the room to discover we received a free triple upgrade to the Lanai stateroom on the lower balcony, after walking in the room Holland America was “tops” in my books. The room was large, wheelchair accessible for those who may need it, huge shower and bathroom of wall to wall Terracotta, so many drawers and closets you cant even use half of the space provided and a electronic sliding glass door that leads out to the Lower Promenade where you have your own private (reserved) cushy chairs to relax in. We named the electronic sliding door DD for Devil Door, on two separate occasions it closed while my cabin mate was standing in the doorway chatting up a storm, no harm just plenty of giggles, I miss DD, she showed gumption. All window Glass is ONE WAY VIEW so you can see out but people outside can not see in.
We ate Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in the La Fontain dinning room, open seating so we could mix and mingle with people, lifestyles, and cultures from around the country and around the world. Made reservations at the Pinnacle Grill and then cancelled them because we were getting Prime Rib, Lobster, Filet Mignon, and many other terrific multi course meals in the LaFontain dinning room that could not have been better. If you see Surf and Turf and prefer the surf then ask for 2 lobsters, if you prefer the turf then ask for 2 Filet Mignon, mix and match to your taste buds desire. Without going into every delectable dish I will finally say they serve up home made sorbets pineapple, Mandarin, Mango, ETC---that are out of this world and could never be found in a grocery store.
Juneau was the first stop, went on the Kayak tour and the water was really rough. Had fun watching the bald eagles, wildlife and getting exercise. I understand from other passengers the whale watching tour was amazing as they watch pods of whales feeding.
Sitka is the most picturesque of all the stops with islands around you covered in pine and mountains abound.
Ketchikan was another stop with the usual tshirs, sunglasses, knick knacks, jewelry.
Victoria, if you love flowers –Botany – then go to Buchart gardens, or if you want to walk around town and see the Parliament building light up at night it’s very nice or do the pub crawl if a big glass of ale is your preference.
Seattle, spend a day at the Pikes Market and enjoy the fruits right off the vine, tasting like they should taste.
There are so many options and tours at each port that you can change them so every visit to the same port is different, new and exciting.
The Oases is a nice collection of palm trees and hammocks to relax in, the back of the ship offers a hot tub to relax in while watching whales swimming by on their migration, the Mix is a great place to meet up with friends and family for cocktails, Sushi bar, Serenity pool, mid ship pools and hot tubs, the places to go and things to do are so many you need to remember to RELAX, reflect and rejuvenate and not let the cruise go by in a flash.
T-Shirts, sweatshirts and polo’s go on sale for half off on the last day of the cruise. GLBT parties every evening ensure new friends are made as well as Solo and Single parties for the other passengers on board.
Cruise Critic parties were also held in the Crows Nest, allowing Cruise Critic passengers to meet & greet, and discuss the art and enjoyment of cruising.
Holland America runs it's cruises like a finely tuned Swiss watch, paying attention to the small details and the satisfaction of all of their guests so everyone has the highest potential to have the vacation of a lifetime.