Our trip to Alaska can only be described as fantastic. We were initially aware that the Amsterdam was an older ship but after a couple of days we were oblivious to its age. The conscientiousness of all crewmembers was the greatest asset of our trip. Most meals were good to great. The only complaint we had was that the coffee was not hot and sometimes the food was warm.
Let get off the ship and on to land! The beauty of Tracy Arm is hard to describe. The Captain's ability to maneuver the ship into small spaces was truly amazing. In Juneau we negotiated with a young man (for a reasonable price) to take us on a floatplane to get an overview of the area including the glaciers. Breathtaking! We then went on a relatively small boat that can hold 40 people to look for whales. There happened to be only 7 of us on board and Captain Tim and his naturalist were wonderful. We saw humpbacks and Orcas and the crew seemed as incited as us at these sightings. They offered us a special treat of Smoked Salmon and it was delicious. This was a perfect day and we said if the rest of the trip turned out to be uneventful after a day like today we would not feel cheated.
But when we got to Sitka our best day got even better! Sitka is absolutely beautiful. Once again we decided to take a chance and see if we could book our own excursion. And once again we hit gold! We signed up with Paul David of Gallant Adventures (907-738-2855 www.gallantadventures.com) to take us out to hopefully see the wildlife. Paul has a small boat, which holds 5 to 7 people and was perfect for maneuvering into small places that bigger boats could not enter. We saw sea otters, otters with their babies, sea lions, tufted puffins, eagles, and humpback whales and much more....and all up close and personal. Previously Paul worked as a geologists and his knowledge about the geology of the area in addition to his knowledge of the wildlife made this trip and this port the perfect ending to our Alaskan trip. If you looking to go fishing or sight seeing we can't recommend him highly enough!