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1,994 Holland America Alaska Cruise Reviews

We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table ... Read More
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table 311). Among ourselves, we commented daily on how hard working and pleasant all the ship’s staff were. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room, and used the Lido Market and Lido Dive In for lunch. We chose a wine package so that we could enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner. This was much more reasonable in price than any of the drink packages. Any cocktails we wanted were purchased a la carte. Embarkation was a long but necessary process, again with excellent staff and lots of helpful agents to answer our questions. Disembarkation was extremely smooth. Well done Westerdam! We arranged tours in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan through Holland America. The tours were a little pricey for what was offered. They were pretty basic. Again the staff assisting with the tours and security check in. Our only complaint is Westerdam’s outrageous charge for internet and bottled water in the room. Westerdam, you’re taking advantage of a captive market by charging these exorbitant fees! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most convenient cruise to take from our home, and because we can afford it”. The Alaska cruise is always a lovely cruise, the scenery cannot be beat, and yes you may encounter some rain, but it still can be a marvelous experience. Why Holland America? Well there aren’t too many surprises on their ships, we have traveled on three different ones, and comments about aging vessels really don’t make a lot of sense, they are all well maintained. For the doubters, every ship will have occasional problems, toilets, and a/c malfunctions, but you will get those on any ship in any fleet. We found that Holland America prides itself on service. On the three ships, we’ve sailed the crews seem to be a happy crew. A smile and a greeting will always get a positive result on a Holland America ship. Something we’d been told and found out for ourselves, once the crew gets to know you, they always call you by your name. When they only know you for a seven-day cruise, I find this amazing. You can be way down the hall, and they’ll call out to you. Thank you Holland America for your hiring system. The dining facilities aboard ship, from the Main Dining Room to the buffet and even the Dive-In, are exceptional and there’s always something to please the palate. Now in fairness, I must admit I haven’t sailed on any other cruise line, yet, so my submission may be tainted. We have found the food service to be well above par, regardless of the venue. We have found a home in the Ocean Bar, and it’s not surprising as do many of our fellow cruisers. The bartenders and wait staff can’t seem to do enough for you. Happy Hour is always packed. And again the crew call you by name, which is even more surprising due to the number of passengers they deal with. Each cruise for us has been different, different ships, different cabins, but the service has always been exceptional. On this trip, we were offered a paid upgrade to a suite. It is larger than the oceanview and balcony that we have had in the past. There is plenty of storage space and the bathrooms had two sinks, a jet tub, and a shower stall. The suite was furnished with a most comfortable queen-sized bed, sofa and two chairs. A large widescreen TV had a multitude of options from ship activities, dining options, live TV and movies. There is little to want for in these cabins, they provide a very relaxed comfort zone. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship, the design is marvelous, there is so much to see and do on the ship. In reading some of the reviews on Cruise Critic I sometimes wonder at some of the negative comments from cruisers that were on the ship I was on, where we actually on the same ship? Throughout the ship is works of art, it's like being in a floating museum. On Deck 1, below the atrium, there are even picture frames that you can use to make your own photo portrait. The ship has plenty of elevators but there are also stairs, to wear off the pounds collected in the dining venues, plus the Promenade deck which is covered and allows you to walk around the outside of the ship. When I hear that there is little to do onboard I wonder where these folks may be. Entertainment abounds, music from classical to blues and jazz to modern pop, plus shows in the main theater nightly. There is a small casino. During the day the ship’s activities are for everyone, take your choice - it seems endless. There is lots to do aboard ship. And when we dock, there is a myriad of shore excursions. The highlight of any Alaska cruise is the time spent looking at glaciers. Usually, this includes several hours in Glacier Bay. On this trip, we encountered a different and most marvelous glacier experience. We traveled up Tracy Arm to the Sawyer Glacier. What makes this cruise so special is getting to the Glacier requires sailing up a narrow passageway, through ice flows. Streams flow down the mountainsides making the whole trip an exciting passage. The ice flows are not large, but much larger than those we’ve experienced in Glacier Bay. It is said if you’ve never cruised to Alaska, you need to see Glacier Bay. Once you’ve seen Glacier Bay, you need to see Tracy Arm, you will never experience a more wonderful site. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I enjoyed my cruise! I particularly enjoyed the lincoln center stage and the walking track. I really enjoyed walking around the deck as it was good exercise after the big meals. I didn't find the entertainment that great other then ... Read More
I enjoyed my cruise! I particularly enjoyed the lincoln center stage and the walking track. I really enjoyed walking around the deck as it was good exercise after the big meals. I didn't find the entertainment that great other then the lincoln center stage although I heard one of the comedians was quite good - i'm not interested in comedians. The dance number was good but at the billboard singing event they did the singers were horrible. I found there were a lot of talks during the day to keep me busy but the scenery was the main attraction for most days. One example of a talk was on the Pacific Giants (whales) that was good. There was a naturalist on board and I attended one of her talks on salmon. She also held wildlife sighting sessions, although I didn't attend that. There was a really good Alaska in Concert show where they had a film of alaska accompanied by the musicians of BB Kings and Lincoln Stage. The food was good. I preferred the main dining room to the buffet. There was a seafood night in the buffet though on the ketchikan day that was good. I particularly liked the steak and lobster tail on the second gala night although unfortunately it was rough that night leaving ketchikan and I couldn't completely enjoy it. I was a solo traveller but I found everyone friendly at the dining room. The only tour I did was a rail/bus excursion by Chilkoot charters in Skagway and it was nice it only had 24 people on the bus instead of the 60 provided by cruise lines. Make sure you sit on the right if you are going up to Fraser on the bus as you will have better scenery. Note the bow is open on the Glacier Bay day and the inside passage day. Luckily we had a nice day for Glacier Bay. Note that while overall we had good weather, september has 3 times the rain as May or June. So you are taking your chances in September that you will have good weather - I lucked out. Some people complain of Noordam looking worn but that didn't bother me. I thought it looked nice. I liked being on what felt like a small intimate cruise ship - lots of nooks and crannys to sit in. Disembarkation went really smoothly as I chose to carry my own bags. My only complaint was if i'd know I would have a more leisurely breakfast! Overall, a great first cruise. If cruises weren't so expensive for singles, I would cruise again but as it is I would have to be picky about prices to choose Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were a party of four (my wife and I and my brother and his wife, all late 60’s early 70’s) and we booked Neptune suites on either side (port and starboard) of the Neptune Lounge entrance. That way you don’t miss any views and one ... Read More
We were a party of four (my wife and I and my brother and his wife, all late 60’s early 70’s) and we booked Neptune suites on either side (port and starboard) of the Neptune Lounge entrance. That way you don’t miss any views and one side always gets the sun. However, if you have to pick one side starboard is better as you spend more time on the veranda coming back. The weather was mostly very good, some rain but sun when it was important. We booked 6 months early got a free beverage and no gratuities perk, and the price was less than brochure. The cruise – If you enjoy cruising then you must do this one at least once. Ours was the end of season seven-day Alaskan cruise. Average age 65+; few children (who seemed to have a good time.) I suspect the ship was not sold out and other than the Lido buffet things were pretty quiet. Smoking section is outside aft of the lido and was a sensible solution – heard no complaints and there were quite a few older smokers. Clothing – For excursions and on the boat deck during Glacier Bay - I read everything in Cruise Critic (advice varied) and planned accordingly and was very cold the first day as I did not have any fleece or wool layers. Bought a sweater in Juneau for the rest of the trip. My recommendation – • thin long sleeve thermal undershirt(UNIQLO heatex), • light to medium wool sweater with high neck – zip up was best, • cotton hoodie • unlined rain jacket (NorthFace), • light scarf • light wool gloves These layers were pared down according to condition. Fully dressed in the 45° rain on one of the whale boats on their outside decks. Extras – You don’t need: • Binoculars – the ship has them (in the suite) and all the tours have good ones as well. • Bug spray – never saw a mosquito • Sun block – you welcome any sun There were two ‘formal’ nights and most folks dressed up – some in suits and a few in tuxes – for the main dining rooms. I brought a jacket and tie and black slacks. Embarkation – we arrived at 11:15 and they opened the gate at 11:45 and we were in our room shortly after. We snacked in the Neptune Lounge and had salads in the Lido. The stateroom – Neptune suites are really gorgeous – this was our 4th time and they have only gotten better appointed. Very spacious and a large balcony, although this was only used on sunny days when we had them. Free laundry and binoculars. We have gotten used to booking suites which means we cruise less but cruise better. Our favorite is the Haven suites on Norwegian but Holland is our favorite after that. Both offer some dining advantages especially breakfast and sometimes lunch. Entertainment – we did not partake except to listen to the classical ensemble. Typically we retire after a late dinner Neptune Lounge – This lounge area is a really nice respite from the rest of the ship, offering a quiet escape and great snacks and beverages throughout the day. Plus there is a concierge on duty to assist with any kind of planning. Having it across the hall made it real easy to grab coffee (one of those wonderful cappuccino machines) and get back to the room. Wifi – standard package (day and capacity based) was fine for email and news – 89$ for the week. What we did – • Juneau – 50° - mixed rain and cloudy - we took the whale watch catamaran and Mendenhall Glacier package - about 5 hours. Saw 10 whales, some see lions and a few eagles – and then a bus ride to the glacier. Good guides throughout. I would recommend just doing the whales and skipping the glacier – not much of it left and you miss Juneau. Or if you can afford it – do the float plan tour of the glacier. Saw a little of Juneau at beginning and end of trip. • Sitka – 47° - Mixed rain and sun - we took the another catamaran and saw plenty of otters. Then a bus ride to a raptor sanctuary and bear sanctuary. Missed seeing Sitka. • Glacier Bay – 45-50° - Mostly sunny – This is why you do this cruise – Seeing whales and sea otters is fun, but this part of the trip makes the whole trip worth it. It consumes most of the day and the scenery is visible from many venues on deck, even from your staterooms. Really spectacular landscape and great narration by park rangers. We saw bears, mountain goats, eagles, a whale or two and many glaciers – even caught a double ‘calving’ at one. • Katchican – 42° heavy Rain and then sun - we took the another catamaran. Aside from a 45-minute tour of the beautiful Misty Fjords, most of this 4.5 hour trip is getting there and back. And you have zero time in Katchican, the best ‘town experience’ on this trip. If I did it again I would do the float plane tour of the fjords, otherwise skip it. • At sea to Vancouver – 50° sunny – we arrived at 6 so we never left the ship. Dining – • Lido – better than I remember – really good curries. • Main dining room – Ate there four times –always good - the gala night was the best menu. • Pinnacle – Beautiful space. The rib eye and NY strips were tough and either under or over cooked. The 7 oz filets were perfect, as where all the sides and the service was just great. • Rudi’s Seafood dinner night at the Pinnacle was well worth it – best meal of the trip - we had the dover sole on the frame (skillfully filleted in front of you). My wife had perfect rack of lamb. Big portions. Sides and desserts were really good. • Tamarind – had a really good experience there – We felt that the food and venue (and service) are underrated. I had excellent sashimi and the others had a combo of Asian appetizers and a filet. Great appetizers and sides as well. • Room service – didn’t have any – My sister in law loved it. Overall – I give this cruise B+ that with a few tweaks (regarding excursions) it would have been an A. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. ... Read More
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. The road in Denali is fast falling away, so may not be available for too long. Saw moose, bears, caribou, sheep. Accommodations were as expected, lodges fine, Anchorage hotel a little older and tired. Holland America’s logistics are excellent, including meeting our plane at 2:30 am. Luggage always where it was supposed to be. Check in was 5 minutes. Ship looks in excellent condition, and food excellent. A real upgrade since our last HAL cruise in 2014 when we found it stodgy. Entertainment good but could benefit from more choices like a piano bar or dance band in the pre dinner hour. Excursions, as always, over priced. Do at least one boat trip and one glacier. The Kenai Fjord was great with all the expected birds and animals. I left HAL after many of their cruises, feeling they were stuck in the past. After this successful trip, I will be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We decided about 18 months ago to take a trip for our 15th anniversary and we went with close friends who were married the same year. We are 2 couples ranging in age from mid-40's to early 50's, We selected Holland America ... Read More
We decided about 18 months ago to take a trip for our 15th anniversary and we went with close friends who were married the same year. We are 2 couples ranging in age from mid-40's to early 50's, We selected Holland America because of their history cruising in Alaska.We also liked the idea of a smaller, quieter ship. While we are not seniors we tend to go to bed early and don't need the night life that some other ships provide. We booked 18 months in advance and selected an aft balcony and our friends chose a port-side signature suite. Just before final payment the prices dropped considerably so we contacted the travel agent. Because of the promo we booked under they wouldn't credit us with the difference but they offered to upgrade us to Neptune Suites which we happily accepted. We ended up on Deck 6 port side and our friends were on Deck 7 starboard. Embarkation - I had heard that embarkation can sometimes be long waits at Port of Vancouver. We arrived around 10:45 and we were on the ship by 11:20 with no wait at any point of the process. Very smooth. Cabin - we were in 6064 and our friends had 7051 and we were all happy with the accommodations. The room stewards were so friendly and attentive. Our friends were directly across from the Neptune Lounge and we were one floor below which I honestly didn't mind. Neptune Lounge - the concierges Carina and Kristine were both lovely, welcoming and helpful. We didn't really use their services much except to cancel a pre-paid dinner and make one dining reservation but they were always happy to answer questions. Having access to tea/coffee and snacks was a nice bonus. I would often wander up there early in the morning to grab a tea and a croissant to bring back to the room. Lido - We went to the Lido for only 3 meals the entire cruise, mainly because it was like feeding time at the zoo! I found it chaotic, crowded and only mediocre food. Don't get me wrong, no one was going to starve and the food wasn't bad, just not good enough to make up for the atmosphere. Main Dining Room - Despite booking super early we had open dining. While we liked the flexibility of the Open dining I think it also affected the service in the dining room. We only ate dinner there 3 times and while the experience got better each time it was still not up to the level of past cruise dining experiences. I found the main dining room crowded, noisy and rushed. I felt like our waiters made no effort to connect with us, nor did their service elevate the meal in any way. Tamarind - FANTASTIC!!! We loved the food and service here so we ended up going twice. The servers were so welcoming and they memorized your names. When you saw them later in the cruise in a different location they remembered your names. So personal and lovely. Food was delicious. They even brought me a special cake for my birthday. Pinnacle - As Neptune suite guests we had access to the Pinnacle for breakfast and I have to say that was the best suite perk that we had. Breakfast choices provided a lot of variety and it was delicious. Staff in the Pinnacle were so welcoming and always remembered your requests from the day before. We also had one lunch and one dinner in the Pinnacle and they were both delicious. Excursions - We booked two different excursions through Holland America and we were happy with both. In Skagway we did the White Pass Rail to the Yukon which was a full day tour, including lunch. In Ketchikan we did the Wilderness Explorer Cruise and all-you-can-eat crab feast. Both excursions were well done. In Juneau we opted to rent a car and explore on our own. Entertainment - We visited Billboard one night. The female piano player had a beautiful voice but the man was not great. Mid-week we discovered BB Kings and we wish we had made the effort to check it out sooner because it was great. They do 3 sets every night and the place was packed! We didn't do any of the EXC talks in the main theatre as that's not our thing. We did watch the comedian Jim Short and the illusionist Leon Etienne. Both were great. They also did a variety show on the last night with both of them. We had planned to see the dancers one night but they were cancelled for their safety due to high waves and rocking ship. Disembarkation - We were in the first disembarkation group which was announced at about 7:45 am but since we didn't have a flight to catch until later in the day we had a leisurely breakfast before getting off the ship at about 8:30. From the time we scanned off the ship to when we were outside the terminal was less than 12 minutes. Super fast and efficient. Overall Impression - We found that the things people paid to upgrade (Neptune Suite, specialty dining, etc) were fantastic and provided the experience and level of service we expected of the cruise as a whole. Those things which were included (Lido, Main Dining Room, etc) were not up to par with what we were expecting. We didn't have a bad experience but our experience in the upgraded areas certainly made the cruise that much better. It's just unfortunate that we had to pay for the level of service that has been included on past cruises with other companies. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our 37th cruise but our first trip to Alaska. How could it have been better? Uber dropped us off at the front door at 12:15, in our cabin at 12:35. Holland really knows how to get you on and off the ship. The ship was a little smaller ... Read More
Our 37th cruise but our first trip to Alaska. How could it have been better? Uber dropped us off at the front door at 12:15, in our cabin at 12:35. Holland really knows how to get you on and off the ship. The ship was a little smaller than our last HAL cruise on the Koningsdam. Our room was so big that we could not see the TV to pick movies, had to use binoculars. We like to sit outside a lot but did not on this cruise, the back of the ship on the starboard side allows smoking so we did not sit out there much. I do love the fact that this is our first cruise where they did not allow smoking in the Casino. Spent much more time there. We asked for late seating at a large table. We went to our assigned table the first night and we dined alone so the next night we asked to be changed to the dine anytime and that worked out perfect and we met a lot of really nice people because we asked to be seated with someone each night. Only 1 night (gala) was there a 5 minute wait in the lounge. Food was good, service was spectacular. We had most breakfasts in Lido which was great, had an Omelette almost every morning and the longest wait was 10 minutes because there were 3 people in front of me. They had 2 omelette stations and 2 servers making omelettes at each. We had room service at least 3 mornings and it was on time, hot and very good. We spent a lot of time in the Crows Nest and listened to Morgan the onboard naturalist speak and that was really nice. We went to several of her outdoor morning briefings. Wife attended the Test Kitchen presentations and she enjoyed them all. We visited the Billboard Onboard or BB King every night, great entertainment. We attended all of the shows. I believe we witnessed the funniest comedian ever (John Wang), this guy was hilarious and it was a clean act. Enjoyed the talk with the captain in the main stage. The ship had a medical emergency during the day and a Coast Guard Helo had to take someone off the ship and we turned around for an hour to give the Helo more time over the ship. Captain said this happens about 2x per year and a lot goes into planning and making this work safely. The ship was in great shape and the staff of Holland is by far the best that we have ever witnessed. They are the friendliest crew at sea. I read reviews from our same week that said there is not enough entertainment and the shows were not good even though they did not attend any shows. Huh??? These are not Vegas productions but small scale shows on a moving ship so....... We now like Holland because there are NOT hairy chest contests and drinking contests onboard. Holland is a little older crowd but that is good, I did not hear or see any over served guests, nobody running up and down the halls at 4:00 am Someone complained there was no big central atrium on the ship. I believe it was designed this way. Maybe they would be happier on the mega party ships. I read where someone complained that you did not get a tray in Lido so it was slower. Yes, and that is a good thing, the servers give you your food after you tell them what you want. I love this, have you watched people getting food on other cruise lines and can you imagine that 1/2 or more do not wash their hands? We were on a Holland 21 day Europe last year and we signed up for 17 night Hawaii next year and we are looking forward to the great experience. I do expect to do Alaska again but might try Vancouver next time to see different ports. Seattle was easy, flew in a day early, Uber to the dock which was just at the edge of the city. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska & Glacier Bay itinerary. I've been on 7 cruises to Alaska, this was the first time for a good friend. I'm a 2 star Mariner on HAL, and like their no hassle approach, no hard up selling etc. Food was good in the MDR for ... Read More
Alaska & Glacier Bay itinerary. I've been on 7 cruises to Alaska, this was the first time for a good friend. I'm a 2 star Mariner on HAL, and like their no hassle approach, no hard up selling etc. Food was good in the MDR for the most part and excellent in the Tamarind and Pinnacle Grill. Great service from waiters and cabin steward. My one reservation with HAL nowadays is the lack of daytime activities and music on board. If you don't cook or enjoy classical music and jazz, your options are limited. A great shame, since the majority of baby boomer cruisers wanted rock and roll and oldies. This was evident by the folks wanting to dance to the Billboard Onboard piano duo that was unfortunately sub par. In the space between them and the casino, folks tried to dance & join in the singing, but we would have all preferred a venue that catered to original hits and the ability to have a dance party. During the day the options were few and unimaginative. "How to Decorate a Mug" was offered many times, as was making a metal picture. Seriously, we're over 50/60 but not dead yet! I was told by the entertainment host that all decisions on activities came from corporate these days. What a bad decision! Gone are the days of the cruise director having the flexibility to change.customize activities to the crowd. What ever happened to FUN at HAL? No music during the day either. The main stage shows were great though, however on the last night in Victoria, there was no show available. It was assumed all had gone ashore, even though the ship was late arriving & was only in port for a few hours. Loved the spa and thermal suite. Was the perfect place to watch the glaciers in the warm. Unfortunately, I may not sail HAL again until they offer more fun & activities at the appropriate time (music trivia at dinner time, when everyone is eating??) Come HAL, you have a unique mid-ship up advance that draws an upmarket crowd. Time to upgrade your thinking on what baby boomers want!! (Or do 20 somethings make the decisions & think we're too old to play?) Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Visited wifes family in Tacoma and booked Holland to see Sitka and Hubbard Glacier and to see what Holland has to offer compared to other cruise lines. Very little action in pre cruise comments and no interest in a meet and greet. The ... Read More
Visited wifes family in Tacoma and booked Holland to see Sitka and Hubbard Glacier and to see what Holland has to offer compared to other cruise lines. Very little action in pre cruise comments and no interest in a meet and greet. The cruise itself followed this scenario as it was most uneventful and very subdued. The ship design does not appear conducive to a lot of social activity as promenade decks 2 and 3 take you in tunnel fashion through the ship and shops and bars and service locations. There is no central Atrium where things come together on a multi level agenda as we have come used to on Princess. No band playing on top deck as we left Seattle nor at any other time. Except for the Crowsnest there was really no central meeting place to celebrate or converse with new friends. Did visit BB Kings Club one night and the lady singer was great, but never made it to the Mainstage as saw nothing advertised there at night except a magician. Life after dinner was totally subdued as we are not gamblers and had no interest in the casino nor were there any other enticements to our interests. Room and service there was fine and the loading and unloading of the ship was exceptional as we were on and off with no problem. The Port Valet program unique to Seattle is remarkable and should be utilized by all. Food service on Lido deck is a problem as no trays are provided and you have to take one plate at a time to a table and then go back for your other needs. Too much foot traffic. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this itinerary for the Hubbard glacier. My original cruise plans (was planning to sail r/t from Vancouver) got disrupted, so opted for easier Seattle embarkation). I originally booked an aft-facing deck 4 verandah and TA sent an ... Read More
I chose this itinerary for the Hubbard glacier. My original cruise plans (was planning to sail r/t from Vancouver) got disrupted, so opted for easier Seattle embarkation). I originally booked an aft-facing deck 4 verandah and TA sent an upgrade offer about 2 weeks prior to embarkation for a Neptune, which I took. I had taken a very similar itinerary last year on Eurodam in an oceanview, but really wanted to see Hubbard. Hubbard is astounding. Disenchantment Bay is spectacular. Oosterdam managed to be in the best port docks at every port, which made my mobility issues much easier, thus could expend my energy in town rather than all on simply getting from ship to anywhere. Unlike last year (we chose 8pm dinner seating and only managed to get into MDR once as a result, we did Anytime Dining and ate dinner and breakfast in MDR every day, sitting with new delightful people every meal. Having the flexibility to dine at times that suited that day's activities and our hunger level worked very well for us. Only managed to get to 1 mainstage show (Stages) and it was fine (I don't cruise for shows). Oosterdam is beautifully maintained. Overall, the food was excellent. I did find it a little odd there seemed to be much less salmon featured in MDR and Lido (last year, my favorite lunch was a heaping bowl of salad topped with a perfect salmon filet and I never found that salmon at lunch and the salad bowls were smaller, but that is a small quibble). My only concern going forward is how I am going to manage in less than a Neptune LOL Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first cruise--and we chose it based largely on reviews here and on other sites which gave it high marks for food. We beg to differ. Among the low-lights: burned omelets, over-cooked fish, under-cooked pasta, laughably bad ... Read More
This was our first cruise--and we chose it based largely on reviews here and on other sites which gave it high marks for food. We beg to differ. Among the low-lights: burned omelets, over-cooked fish, under-cooked pasta, laughably bad fried chicken and pathetic attempts at caesar salad. In fairness--the desserts on board were fabulous--but the only truly good meal we enjoyed came during an on-shore visit to a non-affiliated restaurant. The food was not the only disappointment. Drinks were exorbitantly priced and the constant badgering to buy jewelry of unknown origin and quality was extremely annoying. Add to that--easily 1/3 of the guests were ill by the end of the cruise--easy to recognize by the hacking and wheezing. Rumors were rife that the on-board medical clinic was charging highly excessive fees for such basic treatments such as Tamiflu--which may well explain the spread of the illness. We felt--and this was echoed by many of our fellow travelers--that Holland America was trying to relieve us of more money at every possible opportunity. If this is typical of cruising--we have done our first and last. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose HAL again after examining the Alaska ports visited, length of cruise, & the passenger capacity of the Volendam. It can accommodate (per the HAL website) 1432 guests and only has about 9 floors. We booked directly with HAL ... Read More
We chose HAL again after examining the Alaska ports visited, length of cruise, & the passenger capacity of the Volendam. It can accommodate (per the HAL website) 1432 guests and only has about 9 floors. We booked directly with HAL & received no perks, just their lowest price for a Large Ocean View stateroom for 2 adults, roundtrip airfare, transfer from/to airports, & travel insurance. We also "guaranteed" the type of stateroom desired, selected open dining & paid all at once on our credit card which gave us air miles for the purchase. Exactly 90 days before our cruise date we received the exact category of room assignment & confirmation of our airline tickets. We were directed to website called FlightEase to see the exact info about the tickets. Our airline confirmation number was listed there-- the "Airline Locator" number -- so we could also lookup the info on the airline's website. If you go to any cruise-related website &/or the HAL website you can search for the cabin category & find the location of the cabin category you are assigned. Our cabin was initially in the farthest back, lowest deck on the ship. Twenty days before sailing & up until the day before, the email offers started coming in -- "Club Orange" offer for $25/person/day (which apparently is included in the price of any HAL suite); 4 times we were offered an ever decreasing price to upgrade to a CA category, which if you look on the chart is a Lanai cabin with a sliding door to the ship's exterior deck and 2 reserved deck chairs. In the middle of all these offers we were automatically upgraded one floor up, & moved toward to middle of the ship to the DA category with out any action from us. Ten days prior to sailing we booked 2 shore excursions (Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer, White Pass Summit Scenic Railroad) thru the HAL website. Looking back, we should have booked thru a travel agent to see what free perks we could have received with our booking at the same price;we should have waited to book our excursions onboard the first day to receive the onboard spending credit which counts toward your "Mariner Society" loyalty program (every $300 converts to one bonus cruise day to help you move up the program levels); we also should have paid out the balance over time. If the price decreased, we could have called & asked for the lower price. Once you pay for it all, they wont make any adjustments. After the major walk thru "Canada Place" boarding dock to check in, the stateroom was underwhelming to say the least. Despite being very clean, one could not overlook the tired look of the furnishings. The drapery hung limply on the rods, obviously needing pressing; the upholstery was worn, showing obvious signs of wear. The TV was an 18' type from the the 1990s. The window needed exterior cleaning. We were amazed at the large amount of closet space for hanging. We didnt even use 2 of the 4 closets available. There are even drawer units under the bed. Each bedside table had 2 ample drawers. The bed was 2 twin mattresses pushed together -- very comfortable. With "Open Seating" dining, one can still call for a reservation. However they are available at only 530pm or 745pm. Nothing in between. If you tell them you will sit at a 4-8 person table you will have to wait till all are seated before you can order. We were 30 minutes late to our 515 reservation & had to wait in the long line with those lacking reservations. We tried our luck other nights, opting for walking up whenever we were ready to eat dinner & being led to a table having 2 available seats. Only once we opted to dine in the Lido Market on the 8th floor due to a 20min wait time for 2. In the main dining room, you order all your courses at once & you can order more than one item if you desire it. Alcohol orders are taken & served by servers different from food servers. The food is delicious, beautifully presented, with modest-sized portions. Dont expect very attentive service. The servers are quite concerned with taking orders quickly, clearing other tables away, bringing dishes to be washed & bringing out the food. They are literally rushing as fast as they can to perform those duties first. We found attentive service to the diners is LAST. It appeared wait staff was under-staffed: many websites state the Volendam crew number at about 675. The "Voyage Log" we received in our cabin on the last night stated they had only 567! It sure is felt in the dining room. The attentive service is felt in the bar areas. The ship has an abundance of areas to serve drinks. Wherever people gather, the ship takes the opportunity to sell drinks--even when lining up to disembark! Happy hour specials occur almost ever 2 hours: second drink for $2; 5 wine sampler $25; food wine pairing $7. You'll also feel in-room dining is well done. We had coffee delivered EVERY morning including the last morning. When thy didnt get something quite right, they called the next time to see if all was good with the order. The last morning on the ship we ordered full breakfast for 6am. Our attendant advised we take that delivery time & not gamble with the 7am delivery option (You fill out a card & hang it on your outer door knob before 2am). Feel free to write-in whatever else you would like if its not listed--they aim to please. At night we enjoyed the casino, the double piano bar & looking thru the shops occasionally. We seemed to be the only ones that didnt know the "Mainstage" theater has been renamed "BB King Blue Club", another live music venue. All the ship maps still have the old name, but the "Where & When" daily planner doesnt mention the name change. A large band with 2 singers would play there some nights. It was fun seeing the musicians stroll around the ship & speak to them. Same for the speakers who would lead nature talks during the day. By far the most enjoyable day on ship was the morning spent in Glacier Bay, narrated by a US Forest Ranger. Words cannot describe the other beautiful ports we saw: Juneau (& excursion to Tracy Arm), Skagway (& excursion on White Pass Railway); Ketchikan (we rented a car for the day, $100). We were pretty tuckered out after all this fun & sightseeing, the dinner, drinks & music afterward were just right. Sailing days were spent sleeping in, going to the spa (wait to book on board when the daily specials start arriving in your stateroom), in the "Crows Nest" looking at the scenery, going to nature talks, having a fancy coffee at the coffee bar, religious observation, taking afternoon tea, in addition to breakfast, lunch & dinner! The swimming pools were unremarkable & I didnt see many folks in them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Although the cruise was nice, going through customs at the Vancouver Airport PLUS the registration at Holland America requires a ton of walking and standing. My feet throbbed for two days after getting on the ship. We are both in our ... Read More
Although the cruise was nice, going through customs at the Vancouver Airport PLUS the registration at Holland America requires a ton of walking and standing. My feet throbbed for two days after getting on the ship. We are both in our 70's and are fortunate to not need a wheelchair. However, there was a lot of unnecessary walking at the warehouse prior to boarding. On one leg of the walk we had to go up the escalator, walk down the hall into a room, check-in, down to the end of the room, turn left, turn left again, only to see we were leaving the same room. We had circled rows and rows of empty folding chairs when we could have simply turned around and gone out the same door we came in. After going through customs at the Airport,which was a ton of waiting and walking, we were tired. All of the unnecessry walking involved in Holland America registration just made it worse. I heard many guests complaining about the amount of walking to get there. One said, "it was torture". Another said, "they make you do all that walking so when you get here, you think everything is wonderful". I also wanted to comment on the Totem Pole tour. they should describe is as a "walking tour". If we had known it was all walking, we never would have signed up. Yes, you take the bus to the Totem Pole Park, but you have to walk the entire tour. If you are bothered by cigarette smoke, don't plan on going into their Casino as they allow smoking in the Casino. As soon as you get off the elevator on the 5th level, you can smell the smoke. It was very annoying and prevented us from going into the Casino as much as we would have liked. All in all, the cruise was very nice. The Holland America team offered excellent customer service at every turn. We would use your Cruise line again, but never, never, will we ever cruise out of Vancouver again. Thank you for your time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We took the SoundTransit (light rail to downtown from airport)) 2 blocks from the hotel. The next morning rideshare was 15 mins to pier. Be warned after the Seattle cruise rideshare pickup is way past the regular pickup. Keep walking. ... Read More
We took the SoundTransit (light rail to downtown from airport)) 2 blocks from the hotel. The next morning rideshare was 15 mins to pier. Be warned after the Seattle cruise rideshare pickup is way past the regular pickup. Keep walking. Getting on was smooth and getting off was a pleasure with Port Valet. Thank you Seattle Port Authority. Cabins, Dining, Service, Ship Condition, Entertainment, Activities and Ports were all good to great. Where I felt Holland hit it out of the park was the diversity of offerings on board. We met a couple at dinner and hung out throughout the adventure, each enjoyed very different activities in addition to our shared interests. Cruiser 1 - Thermal Spa, Windows Classes, EXC Port Album Cruiser 2 - ShipFliks, Happy Hour, Movie Theater, Port Tours on TV Cruiser 3 - Stage Shows, Bridge, Vegetarian Dining Cruiser 4 - Library Recliners, Northern Lights, Stage shows and the Movie Theater. Notable food observations: The omelet bar starboard 5 stars, the DiVE IN Mushroom burger was extra special and all 14 days the Soups and Sauces were fabulous. We all loved scenic cruising, seeing whales and bumping into an iceberg. Favorite Excursion...rented a car in Juneau and drove to Mendenhall and the Hatchery. Favorite walkabout... walked to Sitka Raptor Center and took the Historical Park trails back to the Visitor Center, Science Center and then port shopping. Our Advice: need some sort of water bottle filling station and longer Happy Hour :) In Ketchikan early morning we enjoyed watching many float planes take off next to ship. Seriously, given the funding and open calendar, We would have gotten right back on board for another 14 days! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a great, low key trip to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had cabin 4006. The cabin is at the front of the ship. It was clean and a nice size cabin. No bath tub but we didn't miss the tub at all. The cabin is near the side ... Read More
This was a great, low key trip to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had cabin 4006. The cabin is at the front of the ship. It was clean and a nice size cabin. No bath tub but we didn't miss the tub at all. The cabin is near the side thruster, external door, and main stage. It was generally quiet, but there were times when engines, entertainment, or door drop were very noticable. Food was good across the board, although room service had warm cold items and cold warm items for breakfast. Entertainment was great with the Lincoln Center Stage being wonderful. The BB King Blues Club and Billboard groups were fun as well. If you fly in, make sure to check out the Port of Seattle program for luggage coming and going. Also, we suggest not buying any drinks until you are out of the Washington state area...otherwise you will have to pay 10% sales tax on things like sodas, wine, beer. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. We also suggest using the Navigator phone application so you can see daily events and check your bill. We had a great server in the Lido named Yasmeen. The Pinnacle Grill food was excellent. It is a great first night dinner as you cruise out the Puget Sound. We also picked the night at Victoria for the Pinnacle as the time is quite short in port. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
As a former Hal loyalist, I was excited to cruise again after a short 2-3 years break. I grabbed my son to go with me as my hubby didn’t want to visit Alaska for the Nth time. The first indication that things weren't as rosy as ... Read More
As a former Hal loyalist, I was excited to cruise again after a short 2-3 years break. I grabbed my son to go with me as my hubby didn’t want to visit Alaska for the Nth time. The first indication that things weren't as rosy as I’d remembered was our embarkation lunch at the Lido. We selected a variety of items from the Asian section (Thai) and the meat was dry, tough and too salty. We thought, "Ok, maybe this is because it's embarkation day so quality control isn't as thorough..." How naive we were. Over the next couple of days, we realized that the Lido had severe issues. The Asian station's meat was consistently too dry, tough and salty. The pasta tasted like pure salt and no other flavours. Desserts usually had raw tasting dough. The waffle cones tasted stale. The printed menu on display was frequently wrong (as in the wrong menu was put up altogether or ingredients were missing compared to the printed version). And the plates are often too hot to hold. The only consistently decent hot food was from the Homestead station! How about the MDR food? Well, the taste there was quite a bit better but we found that the only thing consistent about the kitchen was their inconsistency... and their overly salty soups (we end up asking for half a bowl of soup and diluting it with hot water whenever we felt like soup). In the MDR, we've had two orders of the same item come differently(missing ingredients), a salmon filet filled with bones and pasta the texture of soggy cardboard. Our warm/hot water has come smelling/tasting like the pool and a medium-rare steak arrived overcooked. The most disappointing thing was the prime rib I ordered - it came was so filled with those fatty hard-to-cut parts I ended up not having a single bite because I literally could not cut the beef with my knife... even after I requested for another steak knife! Other than food issues, we've noticed the effects of budget slashing coupled with a lack of proper planning/training. We had to visit the photo gallery three times to receive our complimentary mariner picture of the shop and received a different answer/information each time. The Exploration Cafe didn't offer ceramic cups until the third day - the paper cups offered were completely inadequate: hot drinks were scalding to hold even using two cups. The paper cups were also prone to crumple if you kept cold drinks in them! Ordering hot water kettles from inroom dining resulted in kettles with hot handles most of the time.... The women’s washroom on Deck 3 was had completely unusable toilets one day (all of them!). Hotel management seemed a mess because we received the wrong information documents to our cabin... But although all these issues were disappointing, they weren’t completely “vacation ruining”. We can choose to eat the decent stuff in the Lido and the crew usually tried their best to fix things when problems happen (which was fairly often... we became VERY well acquainted with Guest services). It was our experience with the beverage manager that utterly ruined our vacationing mood. Here's the background: we aren't heavy alcohol drinkers so we purchased the quench beverage package planning to avail ourselves of mocktails, smoothies and specialty coffee. Unfortunately, we immediately noticed that all the bar menus on-board had been revamped for the worse. The drinks' description were removed, and most pertinently, the section on mocktails and smoothies disappeared. Not a problem, we can still ask the bar to make the drinks right? Well... Sort of! Turns out the bars no longer make drinks using real fruits. Instead it's "syrup" all the way! This caught us off-guard because we've had real fruit smoothies on previous cruises and during our cruise planning we saw another cruiser's May 2019 beverage menu and THAT one (multiple ones actually) still had drinks with detailed descriptions and real fruits stated. As we weren't reconciled to having only "syrup" ( corn syrup with a small % of real juice plus other favouring ingredients and preservatives) drinks, we wrote in to guest services and after a series of back and forths... we finally ended up speaking to the beverage manager in person. Horrible mistake. The beverage manager ( Cyrill?) had the worst service attitude ever and was confrontational to boot. He stated that he was the one in charge of ordering everything related to drinks. When asked about using real fruits in drinks, he basically implied we were lying about having it before or that it was some special one-off service. He swore that in all his 20+ years of service across multiple ships that he has NEVER ordered fruits to the bar and that drinks made due with just syrup. He even grabbed one of the bystanding crew members to collaborate his claim. Really? Was the poor guy going to contradict his BOSS to his face?! Talk about abuse of authority. When pressed, he told us to try the inroom dining... MAYBE they could make us a real fruit smoothie. As for if there was a charge there? He said he wasn’t sure. What kind of manager are you...? So after giving us a "that's that" attitude with no effort to apologize or make things better, he left and all we felt was incredulity. How did someone like this become a manager?! Was nepotism involved somewhere...?! On the spot, we weren't able to refute his highhanded claims but we afterwards we found the website with photo proof of previous/other ships having fruits in their drinks. (That url previously mentioned) We later also spoke privately to older bartenders who acknowledged that yes, they used to make drinks with real fruits. In fact, they still did so on their last contract a few months ago! So, the beverage manager straight up lied to our faces while trying to browbeat both us and his staff into accepting HIS way. This encounter with that disgrace of a manager completely destroyed any goodwill we felt towards HAL. In fact, because it's the beverage manager who has been such a disappointment, it's affected my impression of the whole beverage department and more... I know I’m sort of on the emotional side (really, most women are right? XD) but I ended up going out of my way to NOT walk by the bars if I could. Of course, we responded to Guest services about the horrendous treatment we received and the next day we met with the Food and Beverage DIRECTOR (one step up the chain?). He was a lot more gracious and friendly. We were given complimentary freshly made juice for breakfast/dinner (MDR) and one mocktail/smoothie of our choice each day for the remainder of the cruise. So in summary: - the kitchen was consistently inconsistent: the food was missing ingredients, under-cooked, over-cooked, too salty, wrong portions, etc - drinks from the bar for non-alcoholic drinkers nowhere near a “premium” experience - hotel management seems to have a systematic issue with procedures/training - crew was still great and did their best... except for ONE notable counterexample Final rating: Would not recommend and we’ll be trying other cruise lines in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was my wife's and my brother/sister in law " Cruise of a Lifetime ". Started off fine. Staterooms clean and the cabin staff very nice. Now for the fun parts: - LIDO so full, one could barely walk through. Food ... Read More
This was my wife's and my brother/sister in law " Cruise of a Lifetime ". Started off fine. Staterooms clean and the cabin staff very nice. Now for the fun parts: - LIDO so full, one could barely walk through. Food Service staff rude, close to being downright nasty. Same goes for bar staff on deck 9 stern. Terrible. - Food - Marginal at best. Dining room dinner maybe 1/2 star better. - Magician - I think he had three tricks. lasted 40 minutes. Pretty much a joke. Casino - Small and , well, never saw a roulette table with a 0, 00, and a Special third 000. - They should just eliminate it, but with odds further stacked I'm sure a good source of revenue. - Juneau - Port area typical tourist trap,,,,nothing special there. Did go to Mendenhall and that was fine. Walked to Nugget falls, pretty neat. Then went out whale watching. Saw some humpbacks, uuh, well at least their tails. Saw more wales from the back deck just while cruising. - Glacier Bay - Awesome. 100% beautiful day ( 8/27/19 ) Couldn't have asked for anything more perfect weather wise. Surely a sight to behold even if the servers were jerks. -Sitka - Ditto on the weather ( We got lucky! 8/28/19) Cool place. Saw the salmon going up river which was really cool, rainforest walk, etc. Really neat. Then...…….. we were to depart at 6:00pm. Ship was moving nowhere. Mechanical problem. Not corrected until approx. 10:00pm. As a result, the captain indicated he was changing the intinerery!!!! We were scheduled to go to Ketchican the next day arriving at 7:00 am. We had booked the " Deadliest Catch " excursion and were so excited...……. We lost out on the visit to Ketchican and ALL related scenery. Now, I don't know all international travel laws, speed limits, port rules, etc,,,, but lets do the math.... We were delayed (4) hours +/-, and as a result we aborted a (5) hour stop in Ketchican, all kinds of scenic viewing in and out of that port. Instead the captain put the ship back out to the Pacific in high gear and we spent 1.5 days out at sea, looking at nothing but the shoreline from 10 miles out, and/or open sea. Why you ask, so we could get to Victoria Canada early and spend more time there, which frankly I didn't drop $7k on an Alaskan cruise to see Victoria. Now, Holland American realized that all on the cruise were "disappointed" and so was the captain. They wrote everyone a letter and gave us a coupon for 20% our next cruise. Are you kidding me?!?!?!?. I will never, repeat never, cruise with this train wreck of an organization again. Don't be fooled. I have cruised with RC, NCL, Carnival and HA is not even close. Forget about the breakdown and change, things happen, but the demeanor of staff, lack of good food, poor entertainment, and a slap in the face apology for a breakdown ruined the trip. Buyer Beware. Go to Alaska, be prepared for some rain, but do it with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had an amazing cruise! We missed Ketchikan, which was very sad but we had a full afternoon and evening in Victoria. We traveled with 10 of us ages 9-79. We had 4 staterooms and I personally had an interior and it was large and ... Read More
We had an amazing cruise! We missed Ketchikan, which was very sad but we had a full afternoon and evening in Victoria. We traveled with 10 of us ages 9-79. We had 4 staterooms and I personally had an interior and it was large and comfortable. The show were great, we only got one because of the missed port. Magician and comic were fine but the music walk is AMAZING! Dancing at BB King was so fun and be sure to listen to the billboard piano players. They are amazing. My 9 year old found a friend at the pool and she swam with her everyday instead of the HAL club. She wasn’t much interested in the club. Too many young kids for her. Not too many kids in the club and it would have been fine if she hadn’t found a friend. Food was amazing! We only ate at the Lido and main dining room. Not sure how you couldn’t find enough food at those 2 places. Oh. And we went to tea everyday we could. I read so many conflicting reviews before I left that I wanted to write and say, it’s a beautiful ship, the covered pool is amazing and the staff and food could not be better. If you’re going to have a good time on a cruise, it’s up to you to make it fun. We went to the shows, swam and hot tubbed, tried all the food, danced at the Bb king and sang with the billboard artists. We also took games to play in the crows nest and at the poolside. Thanks HAL staff for taking such good care of us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Took full advantage of wheelchair assistance and porter, made it a lot easier – on both of us. Delivered to stateroom door at embarkation. Quality of food varied, meat generally overcooked on the Lido, meat and seafood tough in the ... Read More
Took full advantage of wheelchair assistance and porter, made it a lot easier – on both of us. Delivered to stateroom door at embarkation. Quality of food varied, meat generally overcooked on the Lido, meat and seafood tough in the Canaletto and beautiful and tasty in the Tamarind. Lack of consistency across the board. Why should we have to pay extra to have a great experience. Tamarind was the best part of the cruise. Five courses for $25 each [4-star discount] Apple, Utra, Dhana provided gracious service, even getting us a second anniversary cake, as we were too full the first night, so we returned. Not only was the food presented in a beautiful manner, the taste was exquisite.Frustrating to come onboard mid-afternoon after excursion, Lido closing despite people in-line. Only dining option salads or Dive In. Miss the bands in the lounges. Stefanie Bolton of the BB King All-Star band was the highlight every evening. Juneau rained all day, but were forewarned so brought warmer clothing. Took the ship’s excursion for Whale watching and wildlife quest. Enthusiastic wildlife specialist gave us all sorts of information on wildlife we encountered. Particularly interesting was learning the returning whales have been given names, made the sightings more meaningful. Enjoyed various nibbles throughout the cruise, smoked salmon and kelp pickles at the end of course were the best. And just at the end we found the whales! In Skagway walked off the ship, and found the street car tour. Could use our ship’s card to pay for it, so made it very convenient . Driver was dressed in frontier dress, bit eccentric, as she swerved all over the road to avoid hitting the caterpillars? Would have preferred her narration vice recorded version, so could have a more personalized experience. In Ketchikan, berthed directly in the middle of town. Easy access to Visitor Information and shops; picked up discounted? Ketchikan Wildlife Tour. Last of the day, no other passengers so it became a private tour for the two of us. Sonia took personal delight in sharing her town with us. Because DH couldn’t walk far, we didn’t go to the Totem poles. Instead of the Dolly House which didn’t interest us, she graciously took us directly back to the ship. Medevac of patient occurred last day in Inside Passage, skillfully handled, kept low key. Only thing Captain had to cancel his “Questions” session, and wasn’t able to present the Mariner rewards. Two hour delay did not affect the schedule, kept up the slow cruising of the Inside Passage and made up time during the night Discouraged by the impoliteness of fellow guests, barging into the elevator before passengers disembark, blocking the way of a wheelchair bound passenger’s assisted departure of the tour boat. All going to the same place at the same time. Verbal+Finger salute from obviously a disgruntled passenger as she went the entire length of the luggage room on disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We decided with friends we wanted to do an Alaskan cruise for our special Anniversaries and we researched a few alternatives and finally chose Holland and America. Having cruised before with other companies we had an idea of what we liked ... Read More
We decided with friends we wanted to do an Alaskan cruise for our special Anniversaries and we researched a few alternatives and finally chose Holland and America. Having cruised before with other companies we had an idea of what we liked and didn’t like. Holland and America did not disappoint, the ship was a good size with plenty of space. We had a lovely outside cabin with a good sized bathroom. The choices of dining was very good made better by a complimentary meal in the Pinnacle Grill on our first night which served up one of the best beef tenderloins I have ever tasted, all our meals were good so we booked to go back on our last night and again didn’t disappoint, would definitely recommend.All the staff on the ship were very friendly and helpful. The choice of excursions were excellent and ports of call good. We enjoyed what Holland and America had on offer and will definitely choose them again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose this cruise as it seemed to be one of the few to visit Glacier Bay. With climate change we found the glaciers disappointing especially after seeing the ones in Argentina. The Volendam is a small ship and we were again ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it seemed to be one of the few to visit Glacier Bay. With climate change we found the glaciers disappointing especially after seeing the ones in Argentina. The Volendam is a small ship and we were again disappointed by the entertainment, it wasn't a patch on larger ships ( as you might expect), but was outshone by Fred Olsen which is a similar size. We found the drinks expensive and didn't like the 15% on top for service when we had already paid a general daily service charge. We had freedom dining and for the most part it worked, except when we made a booking for a certain time on a formal night and we still had to wait for a table. However the food was quite good. In spite of what they say in the dress guidance, they do not enforce the formal dress code and when we took the trouble to dress formally it was a shame that many passengers didn't and arrived as if it was a casual night. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I've written another review of our experience on the Volendam from Vancouver to Skagway Alaska. After that cruise we went on a nine-day land tour of the Yukon and Alaska, and at its completion we boarded the Westerdam for the trip ... Read More
I've written another review of our experience on the Volendam from Vancouver to Skagway Alaska. After that cruise we went on a nine-day land tour of the Yukon and Alaska, and at its completion we boarded the Westerdam for the trip back to Vancouver. To be fair, this seven-day cruise was better overall than three days on the Volendam. Our waiter in the main dining room was great, as was our room steward. We still have complaints about the way food is served in the Marketplace (the buffet restaurant), where people are funneled into a single line for all the main dishes. Not efficient at all, especially if someone simply wants a piece of sausage at breakfast. They are forced to wait for everyone else who are selecting their entire meal. Other cruise lines have numerous stations throughout the room so that lines are short or nonexistent. Beyond that, however things went pretty well. Most of the entertainment was fine. Our only real quarrel was with guest services. Without going into a lot of detail, I was trying to get a refund of several gift cards which we did not use on the Volendam. I was told it could be accomplished on this ship, and spent every one of the entire seven days checking in with them to see the status. Everyday they told me things were moving along well, until the last night. I was then told that, unfortunately, there was nothing they could do and that corporate guest services had been notified and would be taking over. I told them I wished they had simply stated that at the beginning so I didn't have to walk the entire length of the ship everyday to get a progress report. Debarking was a simple process, and we went home the next day. The day after arriving my wife mentioned that the amount of our final bill did not match the amount charged to our credit card (it was nearly $200 more!). I immediately phoned Holland America guest services, waited on hold for a half hour, finally gave up and sent them an email. A day later they had not responded to the email, so I phoned again. After waiting 42 minutes (I timed it this time), someone in the finance department answered the call. Upon hearing about the charging discrepancy, she looked at the account record and asked me if we had removed anything from the minibar. I said we had all the drinks removed when we first embarked. She said that apparently what had happened was the room steward had not restocked the refrigerator before the person checking it came through, and we were charged for everything in the minibar! She apologized, and said a credit would be issued for that, as well as our gift cards. However, refunds take 4-6 weeks to process! I was flabbergasted but apparently that's the way it works with Holland America. Left quite a bad taste in our mouths to say the least. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose an Alaskan cruise to celebrate husbands 60th birthday with our four adult children. We’ve been regular cruisers on Hal, so very disappointed with some of the changes.. Ship is in great shape and the wait staff and cabin stewards ... Read More
We chose an Alaskan cruise to celebrate husbands 60th birthday with our four adult children. We’ve been regular cruisers on Hal, so very disappointed with some of the changes.. Ship is in great shape and the wait staff and cabin stewards fantastic as usual. Front desk folks not helpful or friendly...took Many trips to resolve a couple of small issues. Wait staff in Pinacle were surly and unfriendly. New photo policy requires you purchase the digital image for each photo for $29.99 plus an additional $10.00 if you want a print...no option for print only. Pkgs only bring down to $20 each....as i have no intention of reprinting, each print costs $39.99. We used to pay $10 each .... Shore excursion talks were 60 min long infomercials for the diamond gem shops owned by Holland . Total waste of time. The new daily schedule format lacks basic information about activities and length of programs. Most activities were just an opportunity for Hal to sell you something. Shows were poor to mediocre at best. Scheduling was poor... 3:00 bingo ran late into the 4:00 trivia time and left no seats for the Trivia crowd...Catholic mass was in an open room next to Crows Nest bar during Happy Hour..poor priest had to shout over reveling drunks and whirling blenders. Could they have changed Mass tme or move happy hour to a different bar? Not scheduling another Hal cruise any time soon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I chose Holland America because the ship size was not so big that I would be lost. My family and I prefer a quieter experience, crowds, crazy dancing and rocking bars not really our thing. Embarkation was a breeze, went on the ship at 2pm, ... Read More
I chose Holland America because the ship size was not so big that I would be lost. My family and I prefer a quieter experience, crowds, crazy dancing and rocking bars not really our thing. Embarkation was a breeze, went on the ship at 2pm, walked right on. Ship, a little dated, 70's like décor mirrors, velvet and geometric shapes but still in decent shape. Our cabin steward was wonderful. Dining in the main dining room eeeh…. it was fine. Dining in specialty restaurants Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind... fantastic! Dining in Lido crazy crowded and grabby people. Dive in burger bar and pizza always a wait of 35 to 40 min, food ok. Alaska is beautiful... cruise excursions helicopter ride to glacier and dogsled in Juneau and zipline in Ketchican (booked our own private whale watch in Sitka for $135 per head - this was not on Holland America excursion menu) all were fabulous. Kids ages 12, 16, 19 actually played board games in the game room on the ship, a lot!! That was awesome.. they all go to their separate corners at home. BBKings blues band was really great and magician and comedian entertaining as well. Overall a great family vaca to Alaska on the Eurodam. If I had to do it again I would do dining room for breakfast and lunch and book specialty restaurants for most nights of the cruise to stay away from crazy Lido, although convenient crowds take relaxation factor way down. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This cruise was the most relaxing and enjoyable of the many vacations we have had. The boat is super clean, easy to get around, lots of things to do and the food was fine. We had a signature suite and the room was spacious, the bathroom ... Read More
This cruise was the most relaxing and enjoyable of the many vacations we have had. The boat is super clean, easy to get around, lots of things to do and the food was fine. We had a signature suite and the room was spacious, the bathroom was large for a cruise ship and the balcony had the best views. We could not do everything on board but we would recommend the Eco talks, BBKing Lounge, Lincoln Center and the Billboard Stage. I did a couple of the sessions of the American Test Kitchen which were simple and OK. The Humanity Show was a highlight. The weather this week was terrific. The day in Glacier Day was magnificent. The crew is extremely helpful and nice. I would take a pass in the spa our massages were not very good and they only wanted to really sell you stuff you don't need, so skip the spa. Pinnacle Grill was a good one night upgrade for steak. For excursions, we did the Bear Walk in Ketchikan and that was amazing and highly recommend that. You are back in plenty of time for more shopping if you need to. We would sail again with Holland America. In Juneau, we went out whale watching and the salmon dinner at the lodge and we must have seen 20 whales that day. Mendenhall Glacier even had some bear sightings. In Sitka, we highly recommend a food truck Captian JuJu's for fish. Fish so fresh that even the fisherman in town were eating there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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