Alaska cruise with pre cruise tour package Holland America Lines and Statendam in early September 2010 had its good points and bad points. Unfortunately Holland America Lines is not up to their pre take over standards. You and see and feel the Carnival parent company all over the ship from public rooms to crew service and especially the less than favorable meal selections.
The Statendam is 18 years old and was one of my favorite HAL ships until now, public rooms (crow's nest) have been altered beyond use. Cabins need to be refurbished and in general the ship needs a good cleaning and paint job.......
The pre cruise tour package starting in Anchorage, private train car to Denali Park (including park tour) and a visit to Fairbanks was very well planned and executed by HAL without any problems. Transfer from Anchorage (via Fairbanks) to Seward to board the Statendam was excellent.
The WEATHER on this cruise was the STAR, clear skies everywhere and temperatures in the 60's and 70's every day. Glacier Bay viewing was spectacular and a fantastic photo opportunity.
The other ports of call were nothing special just the usual stops in Alaska on our way to Vancouver BC.
Fortunately HAL has not allowed Carnival Corp to destroy the feeling on HAL ships like Carnival has done to Princess Cruises (I will no longer sail on Princess)........but.....give Carnival Corp a few more years and every company they own and every ship they operate will be exactly to same, no individuality from company to company. It is sad to see these wonderful cruise lines being dismantled to fit the Carnival Corporation image.....