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2,001 Holland America Line Alaska Cruise Reviews

Having cruised on some of the bigger ships with RCL, Princess and others, we were not expecting much from Holland America and just thought the itinerary would make up for the ship, but what a surprise! It turned out to be a fantastic ... Read More
Having cruised on some of the bigger ships with RCL, Princess and others, we were not expecting much from Holland America and just thought the itinerary would make up for the ship, but what a surprise! It turned out to be a fantastic cruise. The staff were some of the friendliest we have ever met, the food was fabulous, and the fact that they served it to you in the buffet was a much better idea than the free for all on most ships, which encourages greed and mess. The one thing they need to address though, is that there is no insistence of hand washing before dining etc, we hardly saw anyone using the hand sanitizers, then they wonder why people get ill. It isn't the ships fault, its the people being unhygienic! We were on the same cruise as the lady who said people were coughing all over the ship, well we didn't encounter one of them. There was no illness on that cruise that we saw. The balcony cabin was very adequate with a few issues, like broken shower curtain, but nothing to complain about. 24 hour room service was amazing. So much choice, and beautifully presented. All in all it was a really great cruise, and we were lucky with the weather. I don't think I would sail on this ship to the Caribbean as the pool is so small and there isn't much entertainment, but for Alaska it was perfect! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl ... Read More
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl (Miraki(Sp?)-from Japan but living in Manilla). Our room was beautiful and the gentlemen that serviced it were quick and efficient. The ship was clean and everything was top notch. The entertainment was great! I can't rave about it enough. The spa package was awesome. Seaweed wrap a must. The girls in the spa were lovely and informative. Mary our morning dining room person was so nice and helpful. She helped us start our day with JOY! The BBKing review was great. We enjoyed the special music provided by WayFM every night. The wine tastings we attended were very informative. Everyone was fabulous! A TRIP FOR THE MEMORIES!!! I am recommending Holland-America to everyone I tell about our trip and I will book again.*** Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My husband and I have gone on 4 cruises; HAL was the worst. First of all, we embarked in Seward at 6:30 pm. After going through the muster drill, we came back to our room to unpack. The steward knocked on the door and introduced ... Read More
My husband and I have gone on 4 cruises; HAL was the worst. First of all, we embarked in Seward at 6:30 pm. After going through the muster drill, we came back to our room to unpack. The steward knocked on the door and introduced himself. My husband told him that the safe did not work. He said someone would get in touch with us. No one ever did. We wanted to close the drapes to go to bed and they were on a motorized track. We were not shown by the steward how to work anything in our cabin. When I opened our cabin door to look for him, he was NOWHERE to be found and that is how it was the WHOLE week. Our bed was made everyday with replacement bathroom towels as well as turned down service every night; however, he never ONCE knocked on our door to see if we needed anything. It just so happened that I found a crew member on our floor and asked him to come in and show us how to close the drapes. The next morning (1st full day of the cruise), I called Guest Services. I was on hold for ten minutes! And that is how it was the entire week. I was on a Celebrity Cruise with 3,500 people and when I called Guest Services, they answered in a couple of minutes. HAL had 1,980 people. I had to go in person to Guest Services and told them about the problem with the safe and that the steward told us that someone would be calling us and never did. She came with me to the room and said a locksmith would have to fix it and it was fixed by mid-afternoon. We stayed in a signature suite with a veranda on the Upper Veranda deck. The room was very nice EXCEPT the tub was way too high to get in or out of. Thank G-d for the bars or I would have fallen. The food was average. We ate in the dining room for breakfast as well as dinner everyday. We ate at the Lido market for lunch and one breakfast and were disappointed. Could never find a seat and the food was fair at best. My husband and I had to order room service because we were not feeling well. We both ordered soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. We could not believe that the "grilled cheese sandwich" was actually two slices of toasted bread with a piece of cheese in between, not melted cheese. HORRIBLE. The trays and dishes were too heavy for us to put outside the cabin door. Again, where was our steward?? The nightly entertainment was very good. BB King's was fantastic. Great singers and musicians. Fitness center was adequate; enough machines for use. I did ALOT of research on which cruise line to go with regarding Alaska. The two cruise lines that were always mentioned in my research were HAL and Princess. I decided to go with HAL since they have been going to Alaska for years. We did a land/sea tour, the land tour being first, starting in Fairbanks and catching the ship in Seward. I give HAL a 10+ on their land portion EXCEPT we had to pay for ALL meals EXCEPT one lunch in a 7 day period which was not totally spelled out on the booking. The tours, the organization, everything was seamless. It was wonderful. However, I will not cruise with HAL again. I did complain to the head of Housekeeping Services regarding the steward. The last day they sent a bottle of wine with their apologies and asked if we wanted another steward. Our cruise was over and the damage had been done. I give bad marks for the crew overall. Service was fair at best. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were a group of 3 couples & a travel agent recommended this cruise & itinerary. In addition to the cruise we also booked a 3 day land tour. Our trip didn’t start very well, as we all flew out of Chicago O’hare Airport for ... Read More
We were a group of 3 couples & a travel agent recommended this cruise & itinerary. In addition to the cruise we also booked a 3 day land tour. Our trip didn’t start very well, as we all flew out of Chicago O’hare Airport for the land portion to Anchorage. Our initial departure of 9:35am turned out to be 10:20pm, due to a brief storm early that morning. The delay was awful. We finally arrived at our hotel in Anchorage about 3:30-4am. We had to have our luggage out at 6am with a full day Glass Dome Train Ride to Denali. We were obviously exhausted. The train ride was really nice with dining facilities on the 1st level of each car & reserved seating on the 2nd floor with all Glass Dome to view the beautiful landscape. Unfortunately there was a family of 21 people in our car with about 6 of them children 6-12 years old. They were understandably noisy as kids would be, but it made for a very disturbing ride, especially with how tired we all were. We had breakfast in the dining level which was very good & peaceful. Our waiter suggested taking a walk to the last car where we could be outside looking at the scenery. It was a great suggestion, although we were in the first car & there were 9 cars. We had to traverse up and down two sets of stairways in each car to get back to the 9th car caboose. The reason was each car had their own kitchen so we couldn’t walk straight through. It was interesting to see how peaceful all of the other cars were without the young kids. In hindsight we should have asked if there were 6 seats available in a different car. We finally arrived in Denali where we checked into our room at the Chalet Lodge, which is owned by Holland America. Our luggage was already in our room. I will say Holland America is unbelievably well organized & ALL of their staff on land & sea were outstanding. Always had a welcoming smile even when just passing by. The next day we did the included Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour through Denali National Park in a somewhat modified school bus. Not real comfortable. The tour was about 8 hours. Our driver & tour guide, Steve, was a great driver, especially when going along the edge of the narrow roads way up high. He was very knowledgeable but unfortunately he had no personality. His narrations throughout the tour came across monotonous which made for a very boring day. Others on the bus had the same sentiment. We did stop along the way several times & saw some bears, moose & bald eagles that made the trip somewhat interesting. But it didn’t make up for Steve’s demeanor. He seems like a really nice guy, but he doesn’t have the ability to make a tour like this interesting. It made for a very long day. That night we went to The Music of Denali, combination dinner & show. The all you can eat food was very good but we were rushed & it felt like the food was being thrown at us. The waitstaff also were the actors in the sophomoric music show that followed. It was a fun time & was at extra cost, not included in the land package. In the Denali Chalet Resort there is a small square area that had a restaurant & some shops. There also was outside seating with a guy playing guitar & singing popular songs. It was very relaxing & entertaining to sit outside & listen to his music each night while in Denali.The next day was a full day motor coach ride to Seward where we started the cruise. Our driver/narrator, Mike, was just the opposite of Steve. He kept us engaged with his enthusiasm, knowledge & humor. He made the drive very interesting with several stops along the way. We were fortunate to be in the 30% that were able to see Mt. Denali/McKinley. When we arrived in Seward at the port our embarkation was amazingly smooth & fast. We soon were in our cabin. Our luggage was in our cabin too. We didn’t have to wait for it which was very nice. We soon met our two cabin stewards who were very nice & did a great job always keeping our cabin fresh. We opted for a cabin with a balcony & the other two couples did an ocean view without a balcony We were very glad we did the balcony. It gave us a little extra room to chill out with beautiful views. Unfortunately for our friends their cabins were just below the dining room kitchen which every morning had loud noises of carts rolling above them & often could hear loud banging noise starting at 5-6 every morning. When they complained to Guest Services they were each provided a bottle of wine, hardly reasonable compensation. The next two days we were at Sea, one of which was cruising around Glacier Bay. It was beautiful & relaxing. It was nice having a vantage point from the bow of the ship, which is normally closed to the public. They served pea soup & hot chocolate was also available. We had open seating for the evening dining which did work out & gave us lots of flexibility for our evening dinners. The cuisine overall on the ship I would rate a strong 7, it was very good. One night we ate in the Pinnacle Grill, one of the specialty restaurants. It was excellent. I had a huge order of king crab legs & my wife had a steak. The service & staff on the entire cruise were extremely friendly & welcoming, always with a smile! The entertainment was excellent as well. The band in the BB King Lounge were fantastic as well as the piano players/singers playing dueling pianos. The Lincoln Center had a nice orchestra too. Also every night there was a show in the Main Showroom with a nice variety of talent, singers, comedian, illusionist & more. Very entertaining. We took some excursions, in Haines we went on a Jet-boat Tour. The driver/narrator was egotistical & there wasn’t much wildlife that we saw. Not a great tour. In Juneau we went on a Whale Watching Cruise on a smaller not crowded boat that was excellent. We saw Killer Whales & lots of Pods of Orcas. Great excursion. Afterwards we did a Helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier with Dog Sledding. That was the highlight of the trip. Worth every penny & an amazing experience. Next stop was Ketchikan where we did The Misty Fjords Wilderness Cruise. It was 4.5 hours & unfortunately very boring. The staff was excellent & very safety conscious although the naturist speaking throughout the tour, very nice, was too monotonous sounding & not very interesting to listen to. She had no enthusiasm or engagement with us passengers. Half way out we did see quite a few beautiful waterfalls that were running due to the recent rain. Other than that the tour was really boring. Our last day on the ship was at sea. Our wives all had massages that they seemed to enjoy. Although they were all over pitched on buying their products. Which they didn’t! The next day we arrived in Vancouver & the disembarkation was extremely well organized as was the entire HAL experience, with a very quick exit from the ship as well as through customs. My brother & his wife live in Seattle. They drove up to Vancouver & we spent one night there & then drove back to Seattle with them for two days followed by our flight back to Milwaukee. We had a very memorable trip with lots of laughs, good cuisine & unforgettable excursions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is ... Read More
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is average. I will say the service especially in the dining room was outstanding. Our waiter was Nadi, assisted by Ed and Janela. These three people were the highlight of the trip. Very attentive and aware of everything. I hate being nickeled and dimed but that’s what this cruise line is all about. We paid a small fortune for our suite. One would think WiFi would be included....not. If you want to use a spin bike in the gym, nope.....unless you take an 8 am class for 15.00 per person. In the spa, be careful. They will ask you if you like this or that. If you say yes, they will upcharge your bill. Many people will look at the base price of a cruise line like this and think I’ll save money vs Regent. When you add up all the add in charges: Drink package Excursions Mini bar in the room (not included in drink package) Automatic small print tips of 16.00 per day per person and compare to the price of Regent, you’ll come out pretty close on total cost. All these things are included on Regent. I’ll not take another Holland America cruise and I recommend you look at Regent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
A couple of years ago, my husband and I went on our first cruise for out 40th anniversary to the Baltic - on Oceania. Maybe starting at close to the top wasn't the best idea! :) . We loved all of it. This summer we wanted to do ... Read More
A couple of years ago, my husband and I went on our first cruise for out 40th anniversary to the Baltic - on Oceania. Maybe starting at close to the top wasn't the best idea! :) . We loved all of it. This summer we wanted to do Alaska and our agent recommended Holland-America because we wanted to go to Denali and they are among the few lines that offer the Denali experience as a seamless part of the cruise. We knew our ship, the Noordam, was a few years past new, but decided to go for it. We really wanted a king size bed on the cruise and to get that had to have a suite. And, the suite was lovely and large with a fantastic deck. The stewards were amazing, too. That being said, this ship is ready to go into dry dock next year and it needs it. Nothing is worn or frayed, but it just feels middle-aged - a little saggier than before and not quite as glitzy! We departed from Vancouver and sat on our lovely, large deck all that afternoon as the weather was quite pleasant. Concierge service was good...first time I had used this. I'm not totally sure it was worth the extra money, except, again, we wanted the large deck and king bed and they were a combo. Food on the ship was okay - perhaps we were spoiled by the food on Oceania. This food was okay, but not outstanding, but then, they are feeding 2000 people. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants for dinner, as there was a substantial upcharge - again on Oceania 1 dinner at each specialty was included. However, with a concierge suite, you get to eat in a specialty restaurant for breakfast and that was VERY lovely! (although it was a little unclear to me at the start....I thought it was one day, but it was every day...much better than room service with free mimosas!). Back to food - there are two "seatings" - something like 5 and 7:30.....we wanted to eat in-between, of course, and then we sometimes had to wait. Best food surprise - the hamburger stand on the Lido deck. GREAT burgers! All the amazing excursions we did through Holland America were well worth it (I'll review them separately). Entertainment was enjoyable - especially the piano bar near the casino. A not to miss is the Lincoln stage - 30-40 string quartet concerts at various times of the day. Just wonderful to sit that close and listen and relax. Also wonderful (if you are a cook) were the America's Test Kitchens demonstrations. The comedians were good, but you have to get there early to get a seat - it fills up too fast. The talk on the Iditarod was also fascinating. Do not get in the line for the free charm bracelet - poorly organized and the darn bracelet doesn't work well at all (and the charms are extra...plus the "free" charm doesn't fit the bracelet!). The day at Glacier Bay was awesome - get out on the deck and drink it all in! Other activities - we are early risers and were sad to learn that the hot tubs are not open until 8. Actually, they are drained every night (good news, bad news) and so really aren't ready at the time we would have liked - 6am with a cup of coffee! Also, the fitness center is adequate, but classes cost extra - if you use the ship's app to see what's going on that day, they don't tell you there is an upcharge for the class unless you actually click on it. If you just see there's a class, you won't know...and the yoga class was just very okay. In addition, on Oceania, guests can use the sauna, steam room, and quite room without a spa booking. Not true here...and the price for a message ($60 at home) is crazy ridiculous....how could I relax paying those prices! :) Finally, Holland America did a terrific job of moving people - after we docked in Seward, they got groups on a bus to Denali (us), others on buses to the airport, others on buses to Fairbanks, etc. Well done. We had a similar experience in Denali - well organized. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After ... Read More
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After dinner that night, other table guest were gone, wife mentioned it was our anniversary. The waiter did not know, told us to wait, ran off and got a cake for us, poor communication. Waiter, probably doing his job, trying to up sale dinners. Card on table, advertises a seafood dinner for $27 and a steak for $76 and waiter tells about it every night, nobody was impressed. Leave this to the specialty restaurants. If this is the way things are going, average people "the bread and butter" cruisers, will stop cruising. The "whole" dinning experience was disappointing, things are going downhill fast. Entertainment, not much better. Really not much to do on board. The Mariners Club lunch was poorly organized two of us stuck at a table for six, other people the same way. The Captain and staff did not even stay. No Captains cocktail party. The best thing was the assistance my wife received, getting on and off the ship thank you. Sailed three times with HAL and this was definitely the last. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with ... Read More
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with HAL before and 8 of our previous cruises were with NCL. I had the impression that HAL cruises were for an older, quieter demographic and they seemed to offer less flash and dash as NCL so we had previously avoided booking. When we finally made the decision to join our friends and found out it was an older smaller ship we lowered our expectations accordingly and felt it would be an affordable way to see Alaska as the fare was quite low in comparison to what we usually pay. We booked a deck 3 promenade ocean view stateroom (3418) and over the course of three months added a few extras such as a couples thermal suite pass, specialty dining for the Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants and two excursions (Tracy Arm explorer and Skagway White Pass rail, Yukon tour). We arrived the night before and stayed at the Fairmont at Vancouver airport. The skytrain goes from the airport to Waterfront station and then a 1.5 block walk to the Canada Place cruise terminal. There were three ships embarking that day and we were impressed with how smooth everything went. I felt our 10:30 arrival time was too early though and a noon arrival would have likely allowed us less in terminal waiting time. The ship is twenty years old and the decor shows its age but it appeared to be very clean throughout and our cabin was clean and roomy compared to some Ocean view cabins we've had in the past. A nice surprise was the renovated washroom which I felt was just as nice as the NCL Bliss' washrooms. Our cabin steward Bach was very friendly and efficient with any requests we had. He was around and interacted with us just the right amount of time and we enjoyed our chats with him. He made it clear he was always available if anthing was not to our liking with the stateroom and provided excellent service throughout the entire cruise. The main dining room food was above average and breakfast was fine every morning as well. The Pinnicule was incredible. My surf and turf was delicious and my wife really enjoyed her salmon. It was a fine dining experience with incredible service from our waitress Sharin. Overall the food was as good as any NCL ship including the specialty restaurants. The cruise had an authentic traditional cruise feel to it and we were able to focus on the awesome scenery and wildlife that we seen throughout our cruise. All of the activities and information sessions we went to were informative and interesting. The Alaska beer tasting was fun and we met people from all over the world and shared a few laughs. I would have to give the entire cruise a solid 8 out of 10 and our low expectations were greatly exceeded in all areas. We now will put HAL on our "do again" list. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship ... Read More
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship coughing, sneezing, congested and worn out. Long land transports were ideal pathogen breeding grounds, and HAL was invisible with any contagion prevention. RCL does a much better job in this regard. Also, stayed in a real dive along the way. If you're lucky enough to be healthy at ship embarkation, you will see some gorgeous scenery, and, hopefully, some wildlife. But, wildlife viewing was sporadic at best. Other aspects of the cruise were about what you'd expect: very attentive service by stewards/waiters, good food (but specialty restaurants had the really good food), good entertainment, some good excursions/some to be avoided. If you can afford it, get a room with a veranda. The extra space and additional viewing area was great for relaxing and taking in the scenery. We had to have the steward fix a squeaky door leading out to the veranda, but he was very accomodating and got it done right away (along with fixing a slow drain in the bathtub). We usually dined with the other people in our 16-person group. The wait staff quickly became familiar with our group. We celebrated a couple of birthdays during the trip, and the staff entertained us with some birthday cakes and renditions of Happy Birthday. Food was good but did not blow us away. The ship was an enjoyable size--not so large that it took a long time to get from one end to the other and not too small as to be lacking in venues. Hot tubs were actually hot and not too crowded. Didn't get a chance to use any of the several pools but those that did looked like they were enjoying it. Overall, we were a little underwhelmed by the land portion of this tour. Didn't see much wildlife, smoke was everywhere due to the forest fires, and we're still trying to get better two weeks later. So, avoid that leg of the tour, stick to the cruise and you'll enjoy it more. Don't bank on Alaska being the "trip of a lifetime". It certainly isn't--especially the way HAL operates. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances ... Read More
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances and flew to Seattle the day of the cruise. We arrived before noon and our shared shuttle driver had us to the pier in no time. Check in was fast and our cabin was ready for us. Muster drill was held outdoors. We had a Vista suite and it was similar to what Norwegian calls a mini suite. There was nothing special about the cabin. No butler, sparking wine or afternoon treats. We had a walk in shower instead of a tub and we were grateful for that. Except for the lack of water pressure! The cabin was tight for two. A larger person would have to walk sideways to get around the bed. We had a sofa, glass top coffee table and and end table. The lamp on the end table had a single USB port. The lamp can be switched on and off from a wall switch. More than once, the wall switch was off and our device didn't charge. The refrigerator was inside the end table. It functioned but was completely iced over. The desk area held the 32" tv, DVD player, ice bucket, a make up mirror that once lit up and more drawers than we could use. A handheld hair dryer and another mirror were in one of the drawers. The tv had horrible resolution and more often than not, no satellite reception. The ship does have an extensive DVD library for just this very reason. The balcony held 2 chairs and ottomans along with a tiny end table. We sometimes brought the ottomans inside the cabin so we could watch a movie a little more comfortably. The room darkening drapes were a necessity in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Also, one person could sleep while the other watched tv, with the additional drape adjacent to the bed pulled closed. Food is always subjective but after 50+ cruises, I wasn't impressed. Food was often cold. How can pancakes be cold and hard when you are one of the first guests served in the dining room? Buffet food was not at all appetizing. I did appreciate buffet items being served to you but the selections were very limited as were the times the Lido was open. Don't expect to stop for a snack after attending a show in the theater as the Lido is closed from 8pm til 10:30pm. If the show on the main stage isn't your cup of tea, a movie is shown nightly in the much smaller Wajang theater. America's Test Kitchen shared this space. If you want a seat for ATK get there 45 minutes before the program starts. It is one of the few activities available on sea days. Other activities included Microsoft and photography workshops and several EXC pesentations. Mahjongg was offered every afternoon but at strange times. The casino is small but was never crowded. As a non-smoker, it did not seem smoky. The shops were constantly trying to sell old stock from the 2019 World Cruise. We had been to Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait, Sitka and Victoria on previous cruises. Weather was not on our side so our rain gear came in handy. One morning, I did a load of laundry before we went ashore. $2 to wash and the dryer was free. Best deal on board the ship. They even provide the detergent. We enjoyed walking around Anchorage and Kodiak Island. Our friends have a summer home in the Homer area so we spent the day with them. A highlight was visiting the Kilcher homestead from the Discover program Alaska: The Last Frontier. We also cruised Dawes and Hubbard Glaciers. Amazing! We purchased the Victoria shuttle through Holland. We could've purchased the exact shuttle from the provider at 2/3rds of the cost. We should've known better. We do enjoy cruising Holland America but the Amsterdam was too small for us. My husband was quite bored, especially during the day time hours. Our past experience was on the Eurodam, so we'll stick with a similar size ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose it for the length, route and price. As usual, embarkation was smooth in Seattle. Cabin was standard ocean view and clean but showing age on chair arms, window frame rust and tile/plastic bathroom walls and sink. Chose ... Read More
Chose it for the length, route and price. As usual, embarkation was smooth in Seattle. Cabin was standard ocean view and clean but showing age on chair arms, window frame rust and tile/plastic bathroom walls and sink. Chose any-time dining and booked same table for entire trip. Wait staff fantastic and food excellent most of the time. (Cream soups seem to be the same plain cream poured over a handful of different ingredients each meal.) Onion soup, offered on every menu was usually excellent except a couple of times when it was way too salty. Rudy's Sel de Mer was a total three-course mess at a ridiculously high price. It began with a half-cooked scallop as an amuse-bouche. Next came a seafood tower for me - routine salad bar popcorn shrimp salad, less than a teaspoon of crab meat and I passed on the octopus. My entree was a really tough whole Dover sole which had more in common with the shoe variety than the seafood type. A friend had the Maine lobster which amounted to two baby critters smaller than prawns. (I didn't know things that small were even legal to harvest.) Other friend raved about rack of lamb. Desert was supposed to be Crepes Suzette. Again, very disappointing. Crepe was very tough, smeared with what seemed to be orange marmalade and served lukewarm with half melted ice cream. No way close to being Crepe Suzettes. Friends profiteroles were standard issue from the Lido. To complete the evening, the wine steward never bothered to return and refill wine glasses and overall service was excruciatingly slow. As standard these days, all land excursions were very expensive and on-board entertainment reduced to the minimum with old BBC videos and house band filling in a couple of times. Favorite locales remain Icy Strait Point, Hubbard glacier viewing and Homer. Other ports/sights are okay but tend to be similar to each other and offer the usual search for wildlife/birds, some totem poles and a church here and there. Cruising remains a bargain if you can ignore a lot of the overpriced things on offer but it seems the day of inclusive pricing is about over. Cruise lines have adopted the airline pricing model - quote a cheap fare, and then add port fees/taxes and a $14.50 a day service charge per passenger called a tip, and then charge exorbitant fees for everything else. I expect to see all menus with à la carte pricing within a year or two. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are a couple in our early 60’s. We traveled with another couple. We stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown. We took an Uber to the port which was very close to the port at around 10:00 AM. We were on the ship by 11:45. We were ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60’s. We traveled with another couple. We stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown. We took an Uber to the port which was very close to the port at around 10:00 AM. We were on the ship by 11:45. We were able to go straight to our rooms. We had a nice quiet lunch in the main dining room. The Amsterdam is an amazing ship! Very clean and nicely decorated! Smaller ship but easy to get around. Since our cabin was on the 3rd floor it was very easy to get to the main dining room which was one floor up. Love being in the back of the ship. Dining: We went to the Pinnacle Grill three times. Love the menu and the waiters and waitresses. Lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, lobster tail and filet were all so amazing! Also had the scallops, candy bacon and porterhouse! All were amazing. Wahyu and Kay were so amazing in the Pinnacle. We also went to the Canalleto one night. Liked their menu also. Mira and Carla were amazing and always friendly and nice when ever we saw them! The main dining room was great. We ate most of our meals there including a couple of lunches and breakfast. Amazing Amin, was one of our favorite waiters! Always had a smile on his face. The last at sea day they served surf and turf and shrimp cocktail in the dining room. Very good! The Lido serves an awesome breakfast. Lots of different juices. Egg making station, pancakes etc station. Lunch they have a great salad station. Ports: Awesome itinerary! Picked this cruise for all the amazing ports! Ketchikan: Bering Sea Fisherman Tour was excellent. We did this tour 11 years ago and couldn’t wait to go back. It was rainy and cold but they provided raincoats and they had heaters on the boat. We watched them catch fish and crabs in the pots. You could hold rock crabs etc. They threw herring and we watched the eagles fly down and catch them . An awesome shore excursion not to be missed! The boat docks right in town. Lots of nice shops etc. Sawyer Glacier at Tracy Arm was beautiful. Nice relaxing day. Juneau: We took the Jeep Wrangler 4 Door Jeep tour. We booked through the ship. We went on our own to the Mendenhall glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. So nice to take our time and explore at our own pace. We also went to Saint Therese Chapel which was beautiful location in the woods. Amazing area! Then onto the Fish hatchery. Very cool to see that many fish! Icy Strait Point: TOK River Outfitters is a company we found on line. They were awesome! We went halibut fishing! Between the six of us we caught about 25 halibut! The boat was in pristine shape and Nick the captain and Tammy were so amazing! They baited our lines and released all our catches for us. They went out of their way to make our day so awesome! It was a rainy and cold day but we were having so much fun catching fish we didn’t even notice the weather. Anchorage: There is a free shuttle to town. We booked the Glacier Quest Cruise through Phillips 26 Glacier Cruises on line. We actually called direct and got a AAA discount for the cruise. We booked the motor coach for transportation to Whittier which is where the tour begins. The glaciers we visited were beautiful! The lunch was great! This excursion takes all day but it was so amazing to get up so close to the glaciers. We chose the glacier quest which was a shorter cruise because we worried we would not have enough time for the longer 26 glacier cruise. As it turned out though, there was just enough time for the time we had at port to take either cruise. Homer: We took the free shuttle to the Spit. Nice area for souvenir shopping for some unusual things. We booked a private tour through Bay Excursions for a Marine Wildlife Tour. The tour was right down by the water at the spit. We saw puffins and otters and eagles. Very Knowledgeable guys on board our boat. The captain was great! Kodiak: We took the free shuttle to town. The guys booked a Bear Viewing tour through Island Air Service. Expensive but the best tour! Up close to see bears in the wild. They flew them to Fraser Lake in float planes and you are very near where the salmon are. The bears were very close to where they stood and watched them. My friend and I booked a floatplane tour with Andrews Air. We were so close to the mountain peaks that I felt like I could touch them. The take off and landing on the water was so smooth. We highly recommend either place, which were next door to each other, for floatplane trips. Hubbard Glacier: Amazing day to see the Hubbard Glacier up close. The ship offers an excursion to get off the ship to go see the glacier even closer. We didn’t do it though since we had been very close to glaciers in Whittier when we were there. The scenery is just undesirable at the passage into the glacier. Sitka: We took the shuttle to town. We booked a tour on our own with Captain Gary’s Sitka Adventures for a Whale watch. Gary met us in town and took us out on his pristine boat. It was just the four of us. Gary was amazing! We saw so many whales. We saw otters. Beautiful area! Gary was the best! Victoria: The shuttle offered by the ship is $15.95/pp to town. We took a taxi directly to the Butchart Gardens on our own. Way cheaper. The Gardens are about 40 minutes from where the shuttle drops you off at the Empress Hotel in town. The gardens are the most amazing gardens we have ever seen. Highly recommend going there. Embarkation: The Port Valet offered by SEA/TAC is an awesome way to go. Put your bags out at midnight and you don’t have to deal with them until you get to your baggage claim at your final destination. FREE too!!! This itinerary was so awesome! We hoped to go to these same ports next year but they changed them. No Kodiak or Sitka! We hope they bring them back. This was our 16 cruise. 6th cruise with Holland America. We really love Holland!! One big plus for us is that Holland America Line has a priest on board for all their cruises. We really love that they do this! All in all, we can’t say enough how wonderful this cruise was. Alaska is an awesome place to visit! So much untouched amazingly beautiful scenery!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Absolutely everything in this two-week cruise was amazing from the moment we entered the cruise terminal in Seattle to the moment we exited the same terminal upon return. We got a last minute, inexpensive upgrade to a Lanai stateroom ... Read More
Absolutely everything in this two-week cruise was amazing from the moment we entered the cruise terminal in Seattle to the moment we exited the same terminal upon return. We got a last minute, inexpensive upgrade to a Lanai stateroom and were so glad we did! Thoroughly enjoyed the door taking us out to the Lower Promenade deck and allowing us to see out to the ocean and ports we visited as well as the scenery and wildlife. The reserved deck chairs outside our cabin were awesome (although a little hard to get out of) and perfect for the at sea days and drifting through Tracy Arm Fjord and toward Hubbard Glacier. We have decided that we would like to try and always get a Lanai stateroom (five of the HAL ships have them) because it offers the freedom to view what's happening outside and being able to enjoy the fresh air, ocean, and scenery as it goes by without the extra cost of a private veranda. We also very much enjoyed watching people walking by (and knowing they couldn't see inside) and visiting with our Lanai "neighbors". The staff who took care of the room for us were awesome and attentive to our every need and want. Room service was great for the times we didn't feel like heading out to eat and the morning pre-ordered breakfast was nice to take advantage of when desired. Cabin was spacious enough, bed that was supposed to be a queen actually was more in the king-size range and quite comfortable. Laundry service! We can't recommend buying the laundry package enough! Out in the morning, back in the evening and so nicely done. We were across from the laundry room but didn't want to stress over laundry and waste time doing it. The $100 we spent for the service was well worth the price of not having to worry about clean clothes. Pinnacle Grill... wow - what a great restaurant. We loved our experience there and will be doing it again on our next two cruises in 2020. Main Dining Room was very nice, we loved the food, menu selections available, atmosphere, and service. Lido Buffet was where we did most of our meals. Can't express enough how we loved the selections, variety, quality, and non-crowded lines. The wait-staff (especially Monica and Apicha) were fabulous. Never had a bad meal or experience there. We also loved that they had no sugar added dessert selections. Dive In restaurant at the Lido Pool was very good - the taco bar and selections from the grill were great! Crow's Nest Happy Hour and trivia rocked! Can't beat the view from there, either. We loved the ambience of the entire ship - I was amazed and thrilled with the Faberge Egg collection (have wanted for all my adult life to see Faberge in person) as well as the museum quality antiquities on display. Very nice! Music in the lounge areas was nice and not annoying (which is always a plus when you want to just chill and drink). We did not go to any of the shows, but heard the comedian was very good. Simone, the ship's photographer, was amazing and did such a great job taking our photos on one of the gala nights. We were happy to purchase the photo package as our pictures were very professionally done - they will be used for Christmas cards this year. Quality of the excursions was as described. We didn't feel we paid too much for anything. Will definitely use HAL for our excursions on future cruises. Guest services desk had wonderful, very helpful and courteous staff - always ready to provide exactly what was requested. Maybe it's because the Amsterdam was our first cruise ship, but we will always look for HAL cruise itineraries with this ship first when planning future vacations. We are incredibly impressed with Holland America and plan on cruising with this line from now on. Looking into Seabourn now (another Carnival/HAL line), as well. Thank you Holland America and MS Amsterdam for making our first cruise the most memorable vacation we've had up to now! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was a charter cruise so most of the standards don't apply. Overall it was nice. I just wish the bow was open all the time not just for special occasions. The buffet was ok nothing to brag about and the staff were very nice ... Read More
This was a charter cruise so most of the standards don't apply. Overall it was nice. I just wish the bow was open all the time not just for special occasions. The buffet was ok nothing to brag about and the staff were very nice and always accommodated us. The ship was clean and reasonably well maintained, but the cherry on top was the cloth towels in the public bathrooms. Each bathroom had individual cloth towels for your hand as well as paper to open the door but 90% of the time I could use the cloth and drop in the towel receptacle. The best part of the trip was the cabin. It was very roomy and comfortable and the staff took care of my request to empty the mini fridge so I could put my own soda in it. It was also nice to have USB charging ports on the desk and night stands for electronics. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My partner and I, 55 and 58 gay men, decided pretty last minute to do this Alaska Explorer 7 night charter. We were able to get a good deal booking with the charter as we are alumni with many past cruises with them, and there were many ... Read More
My partner and I, 55 and 58 gay men, decided pretty last minute to do this Alaska Explorer 7 night charter. We were able to get a good deal booking with the charter as we are alumni with many past cruises with them, and there were many cabins to fill.....our luck. Also, we had never cruised with Holland American Line before and have wanted to for years, so a win-win all around! We flew in to Seattle arriving around 1pm for a 3pm at the lasted boarding time. We had thought we would simply grab an Uber or Lift to the pier, but after getting our bags, time was running out, and we discovered HAL had a service to transfer us by bus to the terminal....so we used that (both ways as it turned out).... Check in was easy as we were getting they later in the day and most had already boarded. Our veranda cabin on the 8th floor starboard was decent. Definitely could use an upgrade as there were repaired holes and such in the bathroom. The deck really needed to be washed, as it was all a mess and dirty. The beds were quite comfortable, slept well all 7 nights. The TV served up some good movies OD, a few TV channels, access to the bridge cams.....nice. I liked how the closets had shelves that could be swung up to make more room for hanging clothes....every cruise line should have this great idea. Cabin steward was efficient and did not see much of him. As for dining, we ate most meals in the main dining room and had mostly above average luck with our meals. We are mostly Celebrity Cruisers so that is what we are comparing to....I think Celebrity does food better, my partner thinks HAL is just a bit better. The Lido Market is not a bad place for snacks and small meal. Overall, the service onboard is wonderful. The staff seems to enjoy what they are doing and we enjoyed having one waiter all week who treated us great. I would say the general overall service seems a bit warmer on HAL that Celebrity. Also, the Oosterdam has a warmer feel to it than most of the Celebrity ships. The design is obviously night and day, with Celebrity more modern and HAL a bit traditional. I like the change and the size of the ship. As a charter ship, the on board entertainment was quite good. A few let downs, but over all some great comedy, music and dancing were well done. The ships own dancers did an awesome job the night I saw them, using the huge screens on stage to interact with....something new to me and fun to watch! Something else HAL does is the Lincoln Center Stage, with a string quintet and pianist play a huge variety throughout the cruise. I wish I was able to see more of them, but what I did hear was top-notch..... OK, the internet! I thought I would take advantage of buying a weekly package before boarding as I would save about $50 for the 'Premier' package and be able to stream shows if I would like. Well, the internet on the Oosterdam is a joke. I was never able to stream....downloading pictures from Facebook took many seconds, and often,,,,very often, the whole thing stopped and needed to be restarted.....not fun....the front desk passed on my concerns.....but while I was there at the front desk,(and every time I was there, btw) other passengers were also complaining and some were rather irate. I just put down my iPad and did not let it bother me. But just don't expect much in terms internet on the Oosterdam. We had been to Alaska a few times before, so did not do many excursions, but LOVE seeing Hubbard Glacier....always my favorite part of an Alaska cruise! We would certainly consider HAL again....we like the 1900 pax load. Not too small, not too big. The food was good and service great. While this review was a little boring, the ship was not! I would suggest this to those who like music, relaxed atmosphere and a ship not geared up with bells and whistles of all the newer ships like RCL and Norwegian and Carnival. I almost forgot my favorite place on the ship, the Crows Nest on the top deck.....great place to sit and stare out watching the world go by with the panoramic windows....and a bar and coffeeshop..... Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
HAL Westerdam July 14 to 28 Alaska We were on Niew Amsterdam in 2016 and found it to be excellent. We loved it so much, both managers and crew were very friendly and accommodating. Therefore, when an opportunity for an Alaska cruise ... Read More
HAL Westerdam July 14 to 28 Alaska We were on Niew Amsterdam in 2016 and found it to be excellent. We loved it so much, both managers and crew were very friendly and accommodating. Therefore, when an opportunity for an Alaska cruise North and Southbound on the Westerdam came by, we did not hesitate to book the cruise. However, what we experienced was far from our previous HAL experience. It was the total opposite that I am compelled to write this review. 1. Maitre d and Chef were unaccommodating to special requests unlike Niew Amsterdam wherein they were so pleased to fulfill any requests. The Lido servers in contrast were the friendliest and the only saving grace of this cruise. 2. Check-in was a pain. Their computer system had issues and therefore all the information I had filled in prior to the cruise was erased and had to be re-done. By the time we were assured that all information was complete and that both North and Southbound cruises were linked including our payment credit cards, etc, it was already over an hour. 3. Despite reassurances that all is well, when we got to immigration and looked at the key cards we were given, it said roundtrip FLL instead of Alaska! We did not even bother going back to queue again just to change our key cards- Florida it is. 4. The next day of our vacation, we were woken up very early at 6 AM! by incessant knocking on our door despite the privacy notice on our door. It was room service insisting we ordered breakfast at 6! We told him he had the wrong cabin whereupon he checked and he was indeed in the wrong cabin. Geez... 5. On several occasions, we tried calling reception for information; or room service; or anyone in the ship and we are always put on hold. When I asked other pax, I was told the same thing to the point we just give up and cancel the call. It really feels like the ship is short staffed! 6. Southbound: Well, despite reassurances during check-in, my key card no longer works. Security had a problem with it when I was about to leave the ship for a shore excursion- had to take photos again, etc. 7. After a long and very tiring day of excursion, the new key card I was given DID NOT WORK- NOT one time when I returned to open my cabin door, NOT the second new card, NOR NOT the third new card! Each time, I had to walk from my cabin down to reception and back 3x. All I wanted was to shower and sleep but with my key card not working, I could not get into my cabin. The cabin attendant felt so bad for me and he let me into my cabin. (Even the, I will still have to get a key card that works.) When finally a couple people from reception came up to the cabin, they key they brought with also DID NOT WORK. They wanted me to go down again and get a new key whereupon we requested that they are the ones who should bring the key up to us so they can also check if the 5th key card will work. NOT make me walk a 4th time roundtrip to their desk and my cabin. What if the 5th key also does not work? Walk roundtrip a 6th time?! This is a basic of CUSTOMER SERVICE. One should take care of the problem for the customer and not have the customer do the run around for you. 8. We waited a couple of hours whereupon I called reception to follow up (thank goodness someone answered the phone after ONLY 14 minutes on hold) and they said they will bring the key cards for both of us up. We had the PRIVACY PLEASE note on the door, but regardless, they knocked and despite our reply, they barged in anyway without waiting for us to say come in or go to the door. I was fresh from my shower and hastily had to dive into the bed for cover. 9. Despite all the issues with key cards, one would think there would be no other issues. However, the next day, I got a call from reception early in the morning to ask how I would like to pay for our account! I groggily informed the caller that they have my credit card all along since the Northbound trip and do not understand why they are waking me up for this information. But of course, system issues, bla bla, I later had to go down and given them the same credit card again. 10. Next day, guess what? Another early morning call. On vacations, we are hoping to sleep in and not wake up early-- after all, that is what we look forward to. This time the call was to ask if I was joining one of the excursions. Well, the excursion ticket was already delivered to my cabin a couple days prior so I am wondering what the question is all about. Turns out, they do not even know if I was going on the excursion or not when I informed them that they had already delivered my ticket! WHAT A MESS HAL's SYSTEM IS! 11. Did I mention none of their ship clocks on each floor on their stairwell work? Despite notices that the ship's clock would be one hour ahead or fall back for time changes, their clocks do not work.--- Not the entire 14 day cruise. The ship itself is good, facilities are well maintained by the crew. The cabins are good as well. Dining at Lido during lunch is a pleasure but dinner offerings are pretty much the same each night of the 14 days we took the cruise. With regards to information regarding wildlife, etc, I received far more information when we took the same North and Southbound Alaska cruise last year through Star Princess. To the point that other passengers followed me as I have a map from Princess showing waypoints where wildlife sightings are expected. I love wildlife and my hobby of photographing them calls me to cruise to Alaska each year. Next year, I will likely go back to Princess or try other lines for different ports. The saving grace as mentioned were the servers at the Lido including the Dive In personnel from the Philippines. They were most friendly and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have a big family reunion come all of the world. before this cruise the biggest worry for me was the condition of the ship, I saw many reviews that people talking about how bad the ship was. First the embarkation went smoothly, even ... Read More
We have a big family reunion come all of the world. before this cruise the biggest worry for me was the condition of the ship, I saw many reviews that people talking about how bad the ship was. First the embarkation went smoothly, even was raining that day at Seward, there were umbrellas available for walking up the ship, no long line at all, took us about 15-20 mins to get on ship. The ship was clean and well maintained, even it was an old ship from the décor I could tell, but it was tasteful and nice. we had various rooms from balcony to inside cabin, I visited all and they were nice and clean. Only first day one of our cabins had issue with hot water and they were moved to an ocean view from an inside room, One room had plumbing issues and was handled right away. The staff were very polite and helpful, the cabin-keeper introduced themselves to us and most impressed was Vista Dining room server, they are not only professional and also very friendly. As we expected the onboard activities was not much but the main stage show were fine, Lincoln Center performance were delightful, we did not attend any other shows. The food at Vista Dining Room were excellent, meet our expectation. Buffet had good days and some day were par. We bought some excursion on board, but we did find the price for similar tour were cheaper at the port off the ship. Unfortunately due to weather, they canceled helicopter glacier landing and dog sled. We did White Pass train ride, that was ok, I enjoy the ferry ride from Haines to Skagway better than the train ride. Over all, we really enjoy this cruise, HAL showed us great time. Disembarkation was little mess due to taxi line issue, so took us long time to get out Port Canada. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was a wonderful vacation with siblings. The food was amazing! I tried Duck for the first time and absolutely loved it. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The Cannaletto was awesome! I did feel there was a bit of downtime during the ... Read More
This was a wonderful vacation with siblings. The food was amazing! I tried Duck for the first time and absolutely loved it. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The Cannaletto was awesome! I did feel there was a bit of downtime during the day, but that was okay as I was able to go to the spa and do the hydro-pool and thermal lounge suite which is the best way to relax. The Billboard Onboard was great as Kiersten and Will did a great job on the pianos and singing. The Lincoln Center Stage was amazing and I absolutely loved to hear them play. Be prepared to wait awhile for your food if you order the pizza or from the Dive In. The Lido had good food as always and yes, it is busy during the peak times, so choose when you want to go. The in-room dining was nice as well. All of the staff was very friendly and helpful. I loved the casual portrait nights in addition to the formal (gala) pictures. When we looked through all the photos, the casual ones actually came out nicer and better than the formal ones. This was my 4th cruise with Holland America (my first 3 were on the Amsterdam), and I can honestly say it didn't disappoint and I'm ready to go on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We did an Alaskan cruise 6 years ago and loved it so we wanted to return. Alaska is a great destination for us to escape summer heat and experience beauty. We traveled to and from Seattle. Our cabin was 2715 and a great location for us. It ... Read More
We did an Alaskan cruise 6 years ago and loved it so we wanted to return. Alaska is a great destination for us to escape summer heat and experience beauty. We traveled to and from Seattle. Our cabin was 2715 and a great location for us. It is at back of boat where there were only 2 cabins so there was no traffic. It was quiet. A hidden gem was a small deck on the back, almost private with access through the hall. We went to the shows every night and enjoyed them. There were 2 Gala nights, however we decided to be a bit more casual so did not attend. We ate dinner in dining room a few times as well as lunch. Loved the Lido for breakfast and the Crows Lounge for relaxation. Ports were great with the exception of Victoria which we were not a fan of. We chose to purchase excursions in the port as the prices were better and even got discounts too. My favorite port was Skagway as you are able to take a tour out of the town and experience natural beauty. We traveled with Frontier Excursions. The vehicle size allowed for better tour as there were only 9 of us on the tour. Guide was very familiar with history and area and also helpful in taking pictures. We stopped many spots and went to Yukon and the suspension bridge. In Juneau we went on the whale watch tour with Juneau Whale Watch Company. The boats were small and comfortable. The guides had a lot of information. Out of Seattle we were offered a special program through the Port Authority for free. Our luggage was picked up outside our cabin and put through to our final destination and our boarding passes were printed and delivered to our cabin. This was our second cruise with Holland America and we love them. They seem very professional. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This July the family decided to go on a cruise to Alaska on the Holland America Amsterdam. We had 7 people in our group and had 2 rooms. Everything on our cruise was absolutely perfect. The ship was very comfortable and up to ... Read More
This July the family decided to go on a cruise to Alaska on the Holland America Amsterdam. We had 7 people in our group and had 2 rooms. Everything on our cruise was absolutely perfect. The ship was very comfortable and up to date. The food was excellent and the service was perfect. Holland America gave us a perfect 7 day vacation and we’ll be looking forward to our next cruise on holland America’ We frequently hear how Holland America is the over 90 crowd but this trip the ship was filled with families and lots of kids. We had 2 18 year olds in our group and they enjoyed Holland America so much that they have been next summers family trip on Holland America. We decided Holland America gets the over 90 reputation from their world cruises as the only people that can take a 100 day cruisr are retired. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My husband and I are semi retired and enjoy traveling. This cruise was advertised with a local tour group and Alaska had always been on our list for travel. We booked the Veranda for the balcony. This was an older ship. The cabins were not ... Read More
My husband and I are semi retired and enjoy traveling. This cruise was advertised with a local tour group and Alaska had always been on our list for travel. We booked the Veranda for the balcony. This was an older ship. The cabins were not very clean. I had spilled some ice on the carpet and in retrieving it, brought up a glob of someone else's hair! The dinners were just ok. We spent an hour and a half waiting on courses to be served, and the coffee came 10 minutes after our dessert. We paid to eat in another dining room. Having been on other cruises that offered beautiful food sculptures and chocolate fountains this was a "nothing special cruise". The entertainment was trivia in the bar, or two guys singing at a piano. We could have gone to the digital workshop?#* What! I'm on vacation. I went to the spa/salon to have my hair done for a gala evening. I don't think these people ever worked in a real salon. They washed my hair, blow dried it and tried to sell me products. The positives of this trip were the staff, Alaska and the shore excursions. We went fishing and were fortunate to catch some and have it sent home. We also went to the dog mushing camp. If you like dogs, this is it! In spite of the bad, we did enjoy ourselves and made the best of it. My husband and I are not rich, and felt that we had "splurged" going on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were part of an 18 member family party on a cruise from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK. The staff were generally helpful, the facilities fine, the Alaskan scenery amazing, the food ok, yet my experience was largely negative. We brought ... Read More
We were part of an 18 member family party on a cruise from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK. The staff were generally helpful, the facilities fine, the Alaskan scenery amazing, the food ok, yet my experience was largely negative. We brought our three small children with us. Mistake. The marketing literature implied “child friendly” but that is misleading. The kids center “Club Hal” was fun for older kids (mostly they watched movies) though occasionally with limited hours, but unfortunately not available to toddlers. But THERE WAS NO SAFE PLACE ON THE SHIP FOR OUR TODDLER. Lots of ways he could get hurt. For example, on Glacier Bay day we rented a cabana and we were on high alert (hard to enjoy) because he could easily slip thru the bars and fall 11 stories to certain DEATH. Deck 2 was the floor with the entertainment on it, and it included a Casino with sounds and lights which seem designed to attract toddlers. CASINO STAFF (manager Tom) WERE MILITANT ABOUT NO KIDS. So I spent endless hours in the evenings going up and down the stairs and elevator, trying to keep our toddler entertained, safe, and out of the casino. BEING TRAPPED ON THE WESTERDAM WITH A TODDLER WAS A FRUSTRATING, STRESSFUL, and EXHAUSTING EXPERIENCE. Never again. For the most part, with the exception of the casino staff, the WESTERDAM staff were empathetic and helpful to our situation, but still a horrible way to spend a vacation. In retrospect we should have just told the family we were not going with them. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
this trip was WAY beyond our expectations - it was AWESOME and I highly recommend! Definitely recommend doing the Alaska land part first - because you are in constant motion and it can be a bit exhausting. And then you get on the ship ... Read More
this trip was WAY beyond our expectations - it was AWESOME and I highly recommend! Definitely recommend doing the Alaska land part first - because you are in constant motion and it can be a bit exhausting. And then you get on the ship where you have more time to relax. Our overall itinerary only included one full day in Denali - I would recommend two Full days there if possible. Flew into Fairbanks and home out of Vancouver - highly recommend! Part of the cruise itinerary included a half day Riverboat tour in Fairbanks - I wasn’t expecting much, but it was actually a fantastic excursion and learned alot about the history and culture. From Fairbanks, you only have to go 2 1/2 hours south to Denali....where we had Two nights and One full day. On the full day- the cruise package included an 8-hour bus ride that goes 2/3 of the way into Denali Park (62 miles) where you see wildlife and gorgeous beauty. Later on that day, we took a 2+ hour Flightseeing Tour into Denali (details below). From Denali, you take an 8 hour Dome train ride (awesome) down to Anchorage. Spent one night in Anchorage (eat at the Glacier Brewhouse for dinner) - and next day was a 5 1/2 hour train ride south to Seward - where you board the ship. We sprung for a Neptune Suite on the Holland Westerdam ship - it was worth it! Details below. We really enjoyed the Holland Westerdam. It was refurbished in 2017 and is very tasteful, understated elegance and more of a quiet ship. You won’t find big theatrical productions or go-kart tracks/rock climbing etc - but we liked that. 1940 passengers and about 800 crew. Not 3000-5000 passengers.... ideally, the smaller the better, but the price points go WAY up for that. (I.e. Seabourn). The ship has an always-open Lido Cafe - with tons of different food, buffet style (they serve you, which is good - more healthy/less germy). The main dining room where you can have breakfast and make a standing reservation for either late or early dinner seating (we chose early) was very nice - we had the same two waiters at our Table 81 the whole week. The menu changes every night and the food was delicious. Then there are a couple of specialty restaurants for a slight upcharge. THE best was Pinnacle - upcharge of $35 pp, and worth it! We only ate there once and wish we had eaten there more! The ship also has a very nice spa (I had a massage, facial and accupuncture treatment!) We did a 7 night Southbound inside passage - Seward to Vancouver. We did Two major excursions during our trip. 1) in Denali - a flightseeing/glacier landing ($549 a person - worth it!!!!) - THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY LIFE! We flew in a 8-seater plane including the amazing pilot, Joe (Fly Denali) for one hour, into Denali park (6 million acres), through/over mountain ranges, right past the North Face of Denali - then landed on the Ruth Glacier and threw snowballs in the brilliant sunshine and took pictures with Mt Denali in the background - and then flew another 40 minutes back to base. It was incredible that we were even able to SEE Denali (all week long while we were in Denali and traveling southbound) - only 30% of people get to see it, because it’s usually covered in clouds. We took the 6:15pm departure - and with 21 hours of sunlight a day (in July) - it was still super bright and sunny at that point. 2) In Juneau - did the Tracy Arm Fjord excursion - a 7 1/2 hour day - aboard a high speed catamaran - ending up at the South Sawyer Glacier (almost in the Yukon) - watching it calve, sea lions, floating icebergs, Caribbean blue colored water, waterfalls/cascades, bald eagles Both excursions were major WoW factor!! Ending in Vancouver was fantastic - and so glad we chose to spend a few more days instead of hopping off the ship and flying home. First day in Vancouver - we checked in EARLY (by 11am) to the Westin Bayshore - perfect location. Rented bikes right out in front of the hotel and biked 9 miles around Stanley Park - very organized bike and walking paths. https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx Next day - FULL Day- did an All-day trip to Victoria - through Viator tours. They picked us up at 8:30am at our hotel in big bus, then picked up other people at their hotels - took us to ferry - bus gets on the ferry 1 1/2 hours over to Victoria. Did the Butchart Gardens (amazingly beautiful!), then only had 1 1/2 hours to explore downtown Victoria (had dinner), and took the 7pm ferry back, then bused us to our hotel - it was 10pm before we got back. LONG DAY. But It was worth it for the gardens. Next day - FULL Day - we walked 20 minutes to Canada Place and hopped on a free bus over to Capilano Suspension Bridge park - beautiful! Spent most of the day there - had a delightful lunch there as well. Next day flew home. You might also want to tack on another 3-4 days and go over to Lake Louise/Banff/Whistler area - about 2 hours east of Vancouver, i think. Trying to load photos but having trouble... will try to do that separately. HOTELS: let me preface by saying I travel a LOT for work and am very picky about hotels. I’m used to staying at Hilton and Marriott - good beds/pillows, clean, etc - but because of some reviews I had read before the trip, I was initially not all that keen on the hotels that were part of this itinerary. However, they all turned out to be just fine! Westmark Fairbanks - One night - not 100% contemporary but room was big, bed/pillows clean and comfortable, bathroom fine, dining room (arrived late, cannot comment on dinner) but breakfast buffet was good. McKinley Chalet (Denali) - reviews I had read had complained about no AC. You DO NOT need it! I get hot very easily - and we were in Alaska during a major heat wave - i.e. in Denali, it was high 80’s, low 90’s each day! The river flowed right behind our Cabin unit (Building P, Room 105) and there was a great cool breeze of mountain air flowing all the time. Left our windows open and frankly, I got a bit cool at night! The rooms are rustic - think Ski Chalet - don’t go expecting Four Seasons and you will be A-OK! The rooms had a small living room/sitting area, bathroom and smaller bedroom with King Size bed. Everything was comfortable and clean. Westmark Anchorage - One Night - reviews I read said REQUEST HIGHER FLOOR - Agree! We requested - were on the 9th floor - and it was fine. There is a lot of street/traffic noise down below. The room was HUGE, king sized bed comfy and clean. Big bathroom. Again, not 100% up to contemporary standards, but it was all good. There is a fantastic restaurant across the street where you can have dinner - HIGHLY RECOMMEND - Glacier Brewhouse (upscale brewhouse - not just burgers - with great variety including fantastic seafood). The hotel also has a restaurant - good for breakfast, or grabbing a drink/salad at the bar. Westin Bayshore (Vancouver) - AWESOME! Perfect location overlooking the marina - and adjacent to shoreline walking/biking trails. 20 minute walk to Canada Place (where the cruise ships disembark and where it’s a central stopping place for buses/transportation to take you on excursions. You can rent bikes right in front of the hotel - (the little three-speeds are free, but in limited QTY - otherwise we rented the 21 speed for $20 each.) - and ride through Stanley Park - which is right there! Stop at the Totem pole area in the park, see sailboats and beaches.. great sights. It’s only 9 miles around - and very organized - everyone walks/bikes in the same direction - there is a bike path and a pedestrian walking path. Actually, this is how Vancouver is everywhere - very bike/walking friendly! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last ... Read More
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last lounge is only open at 10:30 casino was very small as maybe three or four tables to play on nothing for the kids to do just terrible absolutely terrible they messed up my room keys my arm board acount the money I put in my account disappeared five separate trips the customer service in two days and we still didn't get the shore excursion I would never recommend anybody use Holland America when we got back to shore and I contacted them about all the problems I had the only thing they had to say was I apologize didn't even attempt to make it right or make it up to making my disabled wife feel like she was an inconvenience these people Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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