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903 Holland America Line Alaska Cruise Reviews

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
First review on cruise critic prompted by reading so many negative reviews on this forum. We sailed on the Oosterdam in May and again in September 2019. Loved it so much will probably sail the same trip again in 2020. I think the key ... Read More
First review on cruise critic prompted by reading so many negative reviews on this forum. We sailed on the Oosterdam in May and again in September 2019. Loved it so much will probably sail the same trip again in 2020. I think the key to understanding what cruise line to choose is research. Party animal? Active kids? Love raucous crowds? Holland America is not for you. We love quiet. We enjoy understated elegance. We dine, not 'do dinner'. We absorb classical music and nature presentations. Entertainment for us is bundling up on the verandah and sipping tea while searching the shoreline with binoculars, or counting and tracking whale blows. We loose ourselves for hours in the hydro spa followed by Zen time on the heated tile lounges simply watching the sea. If this sounds like you, the Oosterdam is heaven. In May we had a signature suite, which was simply wonderful and worth every penny. In September we tried a verandah room. It was not as spacious but more than adequate. Our next voyage will be the signature suite again simply for the extra room. Our research found that Holland America has the best, least expensive suites in the industry. And HAL is one of the few cruise lines that still offer complimentary room service 24/7. 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
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
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
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
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
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
This was a very last minute cruise booked within one week of travel. Got a decent price for a partially obstructed stateroom, which was actually larger than I expected. Having just gotten off RCL's Mariner of the Seas one week ... Read More
This was a very last minute cruise booked within one week of travel. Got a decent price for a partially obstructed stateroom, which was actually larger than I expected. Having just gotten off RCL's Mariner of the Seas one week earlier, I was worried that the Eurodam was going to be boring by comparison. But our experience was better than I expected. For this cruise, it was just my 6 yo & me (late30s). We normally travel as a family of 4 (my husband & our 9 yo), plus grandparents. In complete honesty, this ship would probably have bored my 9yo who has become accustomed to our previous cruises' "bells & whistles" from the likes of Disney, Norwegian, and Royal. But my 6yo & I enjoyed the slower, more relaxed pace. I think the more "chill" vibe was very fitting for the serenity of Alaska. Compared to our most recent cruise on the Mariner, Eurodam 's food at the Lido & MDR was much better, although HAL needs to have more vegetarian options. Service in Lido was hit or miss. I often had to get my own drink or clear my own table. I appreciated that servers served portions, versus allowing guests to handle the tongs. Entertainment was good, especially the magician show as well as BB Kings. I do think HAL needs to up their entertainment options, compared to their rivals, who have more lively entertainment often. Fitness Center was sufficient and I even saw whales a couple times while I was using the elliptical. My 6yo enjoyed the kids club, but compared to Disney, Royal, & Norwegian, I thought HAL could do a better job with kiddie activities, playroom, and hours. Excursion & Guest Services did a good job addressing my questions and I appreciated being able to use Port Valet service. Overall, I recommend the Eurodam for an Alaskan itinerary. I'd consider cruising HAL again given the right itinerary and price. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My review of the Holland America MS Oosterdam 08/04/19-08/11/19 We flew out of Kansas City International on Sunday morning, the 4th of August on an Alaskan Air flight leaving at 6 AM. The flight was very crowded and apparently sold ... Read More
My review of the Holland America MS Oosterdam 08/04/19-08/11/19 We flew out of Kansas City International on Sunday morning, the 4th of August on an Alaskan Air flight leaving at 6 AM. The flight was very crowded and apparently sold out so I was glad we got there at 4 AM. As we were descending into Seattle we saw our ship, so that was very exciting! There were four of us cruising together, I am 54, my roommate on the cruise Elsie who is in her mid 80’s, and our friends Jim and Anne who were celebrating their 75th birthdays on the cruise. We were on the Oosterdam in Signature Staterooms 8091 and 8093. We flew in to Seattle and got some scrumptious Macarons there at the airport (Lady Yum!! YUMMY!!!!) We found the HAL people by the luggage area just as we were told and checked in our luggage at the little desk so we no longer had to carry that around and had lunch at Starbucks. Then we went to the area where they told us to wait for the bus. This was a long walk and not for anyone with bad legs. Got there and found seats over in the NCL area I think it was. Waited forever it seemed but they finally had us come over to a specific area and stand there a while then we were on the bus and on our way to the ship. Once we got to the terminal, it seemed as though it took forever but we were in groups F and G to board, F boarded and they called G at 11:30 AM and told us then that our rooms were ready so we went right to our rooms and set our stuff down, then ate at the Lido deck looking out on a gorgeous marina and boats sailing in the Puget Sound (I think). While in the terminal we heard that the Blue Angels would be flying at 3:30 so as we were mustering we were welcomed by an Angel fly by. They got closer as it got closer to time for us to sail. We watched from the back of the ship and suddenly the ropes were dropped and we were off on our way to Alaska! We had anytime seating for dinner and we went to the dining room a little late that night, I am the world’s pickiest eater and nothing on the menu sounded good so I ordered steak and fries. My fries tasted a little funny, kind of sweet even…I asked one of the ladies to try them and she said they were sweet so we called the Maître D (Sekan) over and he tasted one and scrunched up his nose and busted out laughing. Turns out there was someone new in the kitchen that got the sugar and salt confused and I was forever known as the sugar fry lady! All the waiters heard about it and it caused a lot of laughter through the whole trip. Monday was a sea day and if I remember it right it was really foggy at first and the ship horn blew every couple minutes but that didn’t bother any of us. We slept in and had breakfast delivered to the room and just explored the ship all day. We got to tour a little of the kitchen that day, that was fun and got a couple of samples of appetizers. We lost a little money in the casino and just had a great day. That evening was the gala dinner and it was yummy! Then we went to bed a little early once again to be ready for Juneau the next day! Tuesday we woke up nice and early – 5:30 AM or so and got coffee and tea from the Lido deck then watched the sunrise from our balcony. It was beautiful! We had breakfast that morning in the dining room and met a really great couple from Walla Walla Washington, but the food was just ok. I loved Juneau! We went gold panning, so fun! Did a little shopping and then did the evening whale watching with Gastineau Guiding and it was wonderful! I didn’t get any good pictures of whales but we saw two, and were able to identify them. I am not sure what the one’s name was but the second one we saw was Sasha! But I did get ok pics of Sea lions, eagles, a jelly fish and we saw seals too. It was an incredible excursion and I recommend anyone take it! It was so much fun. There were only 20 of us on the boat and Dan Michrowski was our guide and he was very knowledgeable. The next day we were in Sitka and it was my favorite of all the stops we made! We didn’t have anything planned so we rode into town and looked around a little, went back to the port and did a little shopping and enjoyed sitting on our balcony watching the world go by. Then we got to do the behind the scenes tour of the Bridge, that was great fun. There were only four of us on the tour and the assistant cruise director made it so much fun. The next day there were 6 of us on the other part where we saw the engine room, the laundry, kitchen, and storage areas. It was well worth the $150 I think it was that it cost! Ketchikan we had no plans either so we got a tour of the city we bought on the pier and we made several stops looking at the Salmon and looking for bears but never saw any. Did a little more shopping and enjoyed the view of Ketchikan from our balcony once again. Later that evening we played in the casino and I won $614! Victoria we just went into town and back again and the funnest part for me was singing O Canada on my balcony while in Canada. (I have sung it a few times for a local baseball team when they play a Canadian team.) I attended the past guest party and enjoyed it at lunch. And we sadly packed. We also saw a glacier on one day, apparently that did not make that much of an impression on me as I don’t even remember what day we did it. The ship was fabulous, our room stewards went above and beyond every day! The food was ok. I am just too picky. Our rooms had adjoining doors and our balconies were open before we even got there so that was nice! Our beds were supposed to be two twins and they were not but that only took about 10 minutes after we talked to our steward to be fixed. I had purchased the Thalassotherapy pool pass and only used it twice. There was just too much other stuff going on. It was a great trip and I would HIGHLY recommend the Oosterdam! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first real cruise and was one of our bucket list items so we took part in the cruise with great expectations. The cruise fulfilled all of our expectations. The cabin stateroom was wonderful and we enjoyed the time in our ... Read More
This was our first real cruise and was one of our bucket list items so we took part in the cruise with great expectations. The cruise fulfilled all of our expectations. The cabin stateroom was wonderful and we enjoyed the time in our stateroom. Bed was exceptionally comfortable. We dined in the main dining room for dinner, and although we were assigned open seating, we talked to our waiter and maitre de the first night and got the same table and time for the remaining nights, giving us the same wait staff. Dinners were exceptional in our opinion and we complemented the meal with a pricey but delicious bottle of california wine. The wine steward would keep the unused wine and bring it out for our dinner each night. We wold eat breakfast and lunch in the Lido buffet and thought the variety and type of foods was always changing, high quality, and appealing. I appreciate that the breakfast room would open early on mornings when we had early excursions so we could always have a good breakfast before embarking. On at sea days we took advantage of the America's Test Kitchen presentations and sat through all of them, sat in on a few naturalists presentations on the Alaskan wildlife, and even managed to attend a few Lincoln Center performances. There always seems like plenty of things to do if you wanted to stay engaged. Service on the ship seems always top notch...people were friendly, courteous, and made us feel welcome at all times. We did the typical shore excursions in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway and enjoyed the time off ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We wanted a cruise that our daughter and son-in-law wanted to take, and they liked the idea of taking their first Alaskan cruise. We had been once, and had bad weather in the Northern stops. This time, the weather was reversed, with ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that our daughter and son-in-law wanted to take, and they liked the idea of taking their first Alaskan cruise. We had been once, and had bad weather in the Northern stops. This time, the weather was reversed, with great weather in Juneau, Glacier Bay, and Sitka, and rain and cold in Ketchikan and Victoria (B.C.). The ship itself has been recently refurbished, with nice new furniture in the suites (and elsewhere), and large flat-screen TVs with free movies. The service has always been exceptional, and this cruise was even better. We also enjoyed the Lincoln Center string quintet, with excellent young musicians playing a wide range of lovely music from Baroque through Broadway, tangos, and jazz. The main dining room's food was the best we've experienced, with great choices and lovely presentation. Free room service, with a good selection of choices throughout the day, was a nice touch as well. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
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
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 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
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
The Amsterdam is a classy older ship. The staff were friendly and attentive through out. They appeared to really like working there. Lanai cabin was great for being able to access the deck and follow sights around the lower prominade. ... Read More
The Amsterdam is a classy older ship. The staff were friendly and attentive through out. They appeared to really like working there. Lanai cabin was great for being able to access the deck and follow sights around the lower prominade. The service in the main dining room was super, although the menu was sometimes not as good as the Lido. The Pinnacle was a lovely, special experience with well prepared food and service up another notch. The Lido had a good variety of food and service was friendly. The theater is beautiful with good sight lines throughout. This was a full ship charter and the crew were very welcoming of the diversity of the passengers. The views going up were astounding, retuning from skagway we were often further out and there wasn't much to see. Stewards were wonderful and the overall maintenance of the ship seemed impeccable. The atrium with it's massive clock brings this touch of class to focus. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise as part of a Land/Sea cruise for our 25th Annivrsary. The ship is in great shape, the staff is always friendly and the services can't be beat. We started in Seattle for the beginning of our R6L. We flew to Alaska ... Read More
We chose this cruise as part of a Land/Sea cruise for our 25th Annivrsary. The ship is in great shape, the staff is always friendly and the services can't be beat. We started in Seattle for the beginning of our R6L. We flew to Alaska on Alaska Airlines, SEATAC is a bit chaotic.. We wandered around Anchorage, went to the Huli knife shop, began souvenoir hubting and a headed back to get something to eat at a Brewery across the street from the Westmark Anchorage, a a good hotel to get some sleep. We picked up a snack for our breakfast the next morning, choosing to eat on the train. The next morning we were bused to the train station, got on our assigned train car and settled in. Once the train was moving we ate breakfast (1/2 the hotel pric) which was excellent!. Back in the train car we enjoyed our train attendan and his knowledge of Alaska while having a couple cocktails. We had an afternoon snack and arrived in Denali 9 hrs later. Debarking the train we were bused to out lodge, we were in the new lodge, Ridge View. These are very nice! Our luggage was waiting for us in the room, we changed and went for a stroll and enjoyed a dinner at Kartstens, good food. After a good night's sleep we had an early start to the day, meeting the Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour at 0530! It was worth it though, seeing allot of animals and great views of Denali. The next day we took a bus from Denali to Seward, another 9hrs! We stopped half way for a very nice make your ouwn sandwich at the Settles Bay Lodge. T he boarding was quick, and we were on the Westerdam. Cruising Glacier bay was beautiful, They expect the glaciers to be completely receeded in 5 years! Haines is a nice small town, Alaska Rod's is a great souvenoir shop, most items are hand made by Rod himself or elsewhere in Alaska. Junea is anothe great port, be sure to see the Medenhall Glacier, it is also quickly receeding! Ketchikan is a busy place, uualy 5 ships in at a time. The Lumberjack show is very entertaining! If you want real canned Salmon, go to Salmon Etc. It is privately owned and operated. Another day of relaxing and then disembarking in Vancouver, we were qulified for direct to ship. You meet in the mainstage area and then are quided to your coach on a seperate brow from everyone else. Yur luggage is already in the bus. After a stop at the borde and passing US customs it's off to SEATAC. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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