The ms Amsterdam was in excellent condition. The events were plentiful and live show by the Amsterdam Singers/Dancers were excellent and lots of energy. Room stewards, Diby and Erik were always friendly and cheerful & went out of their way to keep my stateroom in perfect shape and always made up quickly. Daily fresh fruits hit the spot. First night we had dinner in the Main Dining Room. Food was great but the service was sluggish, taking over 2 hours to consume. The Lido staff were great. Its manager, Harry is what every ship would love to have on their staff. He was always cheerful, helpful and greets everyone personally. He gets my vote for being "Outstanding Manager of the Year". Mid-week in the Lido, while standing in the sandwich line, Captain Fred Eversen stood next to me. Realizing who he was, I asked him if he remember January 18, 2009? After a few seconds, he smiled, knowing we were on the same cruise to South America/Antarctic. On that day transiting the North and South Coast of Elephant Island we started to circumnavigate Paulet Island, Amsterdam encounter "Katabatic Winds" gusting to 80 knots. Passengers on the bow were thrown onto the deck. Yes, he did remember. To me, that was the best cruise of 17 I've taken. Being this was the "Inaugural 14 Days Alaska Adventure Cruise", I give it a 5 Stars.
The three new ports of call were very unique in its self. Some Cruise Critic members were up at 4 am in the Crow's Nest viewing the transiting up Cook Inlet. We were on the Sports Deck as the Amsterdam was pulling into their $375 Million Dollars, 1200 ft.long Multi Purpose Dock and its 100ft. gage Container Cranes. Anchorage was ready for the Big Times. Their Chamber of Commerce and City Fathers went out of their way to make this day successful. Local newspaper headlines quotes "Cruise Ship Makes First of 9 Visits" and "Amsterdam Makes Its Inaugural Port of Call, First Ship in 25 Years". Easy transportation into downtown and only took 15 minutes. Great City Maps for all those wanting just to walk and explore. Live music all afternoon in their park. I counted six food carts and I had their Reindeer Sausage. Outstanding and the onions were grilled with Coca Cola which made it very tasty. The Anchorage Museum is a must. I also liked the Trooper's Museum. The city is very clean, easy to walk and I like the sounds of those military aircraft's in the distant. It reminded me of the days in the Bay Area when there was a military presence of Alameda near by. I call it the "Sounds of Freedom". People were very friendly and I spoke to three Police Officers and they said we brought the great weather and you can see Mt. McKinney in a distant which was unusual. There is a City Trolley for $15 that takes you for a 40 minutes tour of the city. Homer was a mid-morning port of call, tying up at their Deep Harbor Cargo Dock on the east side of the Spit. A shuttle service for $15 with 5 stops in town and return to the Spit. Homer is a quaint, small town. I got off at the Lakeside Mall and started walking south-east on Pioneer Avenue. Shops and points of interest were spread out, but weather was perfect for walking.
I checked out City Hall, Police Dept, Tech Connect, Homer Bookstore, The Mercantile and the Pratt Museum, a perfect place for a rest stop and had great displays. Then I headed down to Homer Old Towne, point #5 for the shuttle back to the ship. I did talk to many locals and I got the feeling having Amsterdam's visit was not a big deal for them. It seems that the Spit had more of a concentration on people, especially at the Salty Dawg. Kodiak's 7 am arrival at their City Dock Pier #2 was uneventful. I got off at 8 am and it was a short 15 minutes walk on Slelikor Street, passing fishing processing plants to downtown. HAL did offered a shuttle for those that were challenged. On my way, I passed a parking lot. On top of a pickup truck's Cab sat a bald eagle, keeping its eye on its baby brown eagle. Passed the Harbor-master's building. Not many shops opened, so I went over to the Visitor's Center and was told that Kodiak open at 10 am. The only shop open was a Liquor Store. Many that went to town early were disappointed. I dropped by the Alaska's Legislative Offices, walk up 5 blocks to City Hall and Kodiak's Island Borough Offices. Spoke to these clerks to get the skinny on Kodiak. Return to Baranov Museum, Wildlife Refuge Center and Russian Orthodox Church. Was a very interesting town. As I said earlier, that this cruise rates a 5 Star. *Great Ship, *Great Itinerary, *Great Crew, *Great Food & *Great Weather. A very good value for your money and I would book this again.
Thanks to 'Mescat4" (EV & Sybil) for taking charge of our Cruise Critic's Meet & Greet gatherings. Also thanks to the ship's Ass't Event Manager, Manuel for setting these up. On boarding day, Ev found out that the Crow's Nest was not available for our M&G tomorrow. He had the ship call all those who signed up and notified of the change to the Rembrandt's Lounge. Thirty two attended and name badges were given out and we did the gift exchanged. It was nice to meet all those posting. The second M&G was held in the Crow's Nest. Only twenty two attended because the Mariner's Club also held their lunch at the same time. Again, thanks to Manuel and the Amsterdam for hosting these two events. "FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS"........Gimer