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523 Holland America Line Alaska Cruise Reviews

We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table ... Read More
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table 311). Among ourselves, we commented daily on how hard working and pleasant all the ship’s staff were. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room, and used the Lido Market and Lido Dive In for lunch. We chose a wine package so that we could enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner. This was much more reasonable in price than any of the drink packages. Any cocktails we wanted were purchased a la carte. Embarkation was a long but necessary process, again with excellent staff and lots of helpful agents to answer our questions. Disembarkation was extremely smooth. Well done Westerdam! We arranged tours in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan through Holland America. The tours were a little pricey for what was offered. They were pretty basic. Again the staff assisting with the tours and security check in. Our only complaint is Westerdam’s outrageous charge for internet and bottled water in the room. Westerdam, you’re taking advantage of a captive market by charging these exorbitant fees! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. ... Read More
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. The road in Denali is fast falling away, so may not be available for too long. Saw moose, bears, caribou, sheep. Accommodations were as expected, lodges fine, Anchorage hotel a little older and tired. Holland America’s logistics are excellent, including meeting our plane at 2:30 am. Luggage always where it was supposed to be. Check in was 5 minutes. Ship looks in excellent condition, and food excellent. A real upgrade since our last HAL cruise in 2014 when we found it stodgy. Entertainment good but could benefit from more choices like a piano bar or dance band in the pre dinner hour. Excursions, as always, over priced. Do at least one boat trip and one glacier. The Kenai Fjord was great with all the expected birds and animals. I left HAL after many of their cruises, feeling they were stuck in the past. After this successful trip, I will be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We decided about 18 months ago to take a trip for our 15th anniversary and we went with close friends who were married the same year. We are 2 couples ranging in age from mid-40's to early 50's, We selected Holland America ... Read More
We decided about 18 months ago to take a trip for our 15th anniversary and we went with close friends who were married the same year. We are 2 couples ranging in age from mid-40's to early 50's, We selected Holland America because of their history cruising in Alaska.We also liked the idea of a smaller, quieter ship. While we are not seniors we tend to go to bed early and don't need the night life that some other ships provide. We booked 18 months in advance and selected an aft balcony and our friends chose a port-side signature suite. Just before final payment the prices dropped considerably so we contacted the travel agent. Because of the promo we booked under they wouldn't credit us with the difference but they offered to upgrade us to Neptune Suites which we happily accepted. We ended up on Deck 6 port side and our friends were on Deck 7 starboard. Embarkation - I had heard that embarkation can sometimes be long waits at Port of Vancouver. We arrived around 10:45 and we were on the ship by 11:20 with no wait at any point of the process. Very smooth. Cabin - we were in 6064 and our friends had 7051 and we were all happy with the accommodations. The room stewards were so friendly and attentive. Our friends were directly across from the Neptune Lounge and we were one floor below which I honestly didn't mind. Neptune Lounge - the concierges Carina and Kristine were both lovely, welcoming and helpful. We didn't really use their services much except to cancel a pre-paid dinner and make one dining reservation but they were always happy to answer questions. Having access to tea/coffee and snacks was a nice bonus. I would often wander up there early in the morning to grab a tea and a croissant to bring back to the room. Lido - We went to the Lido for only 3 meals the entire cruise, mainly because it was like feeding time at the zoo! I found it chaotic, crowded and only mediocre food. Don't get me wrong, no one was going to starve and the food wasn't bad, just not good enough to make up for the atmosphere. Main Dining Room - Despite booking super early we had open dining. While we liked the flexibility of the Open dining I think it also affected the service in the dining room. We only ate dinner there 3 times and while the experience got better each time it was still not up to the level of past cruise dining experiences. I found the main dining room crowded, noisy and rushed. I felt like our waiters made no effort to connect with us, nor did their service elevate the meal in any way. Tamarind - FANTASTIC!!! We loved the food and service here so we ended up going twice. The servers were so welcoming and they memorized your names. When you saw them later in the cruise in a different location they remembered your names. So personal and lovely. Food was delicious. They even brought me a special cake for my birthday. Pinnacle - As Neptune suite guests we had access to the Pinnacle for breakfast and I have to say that was the best suite perk that we had. Breakfast choices provided a lot of variety and it was delicious. Staff in the Pinnacle were so welcoming and always remembered your requests from the day before. We also had one lunch and one dinner in the Pinnacle and they were both delicious. Excursions - We booked two different excursions through Holland America and we were happy with both. In Skagway we did the White Pass Rail to the Yukon which was a full day tour, including lunch. In Ketchikan we did the Wilderness Explorer Cruise and all-you-can-eat crab feast. Both excursions were well done. In Juneau we opted to rent a car and explore on our own. Entertainment - We visited Billboard one night. The female piano player had a beautiful voice but the man was not great. Mid-week we discovered BB Kings and we wish we had made the effort to check it out sooner because it was great. They do 3 sets every night and the place was packed! We didn't do any of the EXC talks in the main theatre as that's not our thing. We did watch the comedian Jim Short and the illusionist Leon Etienne. Both were great. They also did a variety show on the last night with both of them. We had planned to see the dancers one night but they were cancelled for their safety due to high waves and rocking ship. Disembarkation - We were in the first disembarkation group which was announced at about 7:45 am but since we didn't have a flight to catch until later in the day we had a leisurely breakfast before getting off the ship at about 8:30. From the time we scanned off the ship to when we were outside the terminal was less than 12 minutes. Super fast and efficient. Overall Impression - We found that the things people paid to upgrade (Neptune Suite, specialty dining, etc) were fantastic and provided the experience and level of service we expected of the cruise as a whole. Those things which were included (Lido, Main Dining Room, etc) were not up to par with what we were expecting. We didn't have a bad experience but our experience in the upgraded areas certainly made the cruise that much better. It's just unfortunate that we had to pay for the level of service that has been included on past cruises with other companies. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose HAL again after examining the Alaska ports visited, length of cruise, & the passenger capacity of the Volendam. It can accommodate (per the HAL website) 1432 guests and only has about 9 floors. We booked directly with HAL ... Read More
We chose HAL again after examining the Alaska ports visited, length of cruise, & the passenger capacity of the Volendam. It can accommodate (per the HAL website) 1432 guests and only has about 9 floors. We booked directly with HAL & received no perks, just their lowest price for a Large Ocean View stateroom for 2 adults, roundtrip airfare, transfer from/to airports, & travel insurance. We also "guaranteed" the type of stateroom desired, selected open dining & paid all at once on our credit card which gave us air miles for the purchase. Exactly 90 days before our cruise date we received the exact category of room assignment & confirmation of our airline tickets. We were directed to website called FlightEase to see the exact info about the tickets. Our airline confirmation number was listed there-- the "Airline Locator" number -- so we could also lookup the info on the airline's website. If you go to any cruise-related website &/or the HAL website you can search for the cabin category & find the location of the cabin category you are assigned. Our cabin was initially in the farthest back, lowest deck on the ship. Twenty days before sailing & up until the day before, the email offers started coming in -- "Club Orange" offer for $25/person/day (which apparently is included in the price of any HAL suite); 4 times we were offered an ever decreasing price to upgrade to a CA category, which if you look on the chart is a Lanai cabin with a sliding door to the ship's exterior deck and 2 reserved deck chairs. In the middle of all these offers we were automatically upgraded one floor up, & moved toward to middle of the ship to the DA category with out any action from us. Ten days prior to sailing we booked 2 shore excursions (Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer, White Pass Summit Scenic Railroad) thru the HAL website. Looking back, we should have booked thru a travel agent to see what free perks we could have received with our booking at the same price;we should have waited to book our excursions onboard the first day to receive the onboard spending credit which counts toward your "Mariner Society" loyalty program (every $300 converts to one bonus cruise day to help you move up the program levels); we also should have paid out the balance over time. If the price decreased, we could have called & asked for the lower price. Once you pay for it all, they wont make any adjustments. After the major walk thru "Canada Place" boarding dock to check in, the stateroom was underwhelming to say the least. Despite being very clean, one could not overlook the tired look of the furnishings. The drapery hung limply on the rods, obviously needing pressing; the upholstery was worn, showing obvious signs of wear. The TV was an 18' type from the the 1990s. The window needed exterior cleaning. We were amazed at the large amount of closet space for hanging. We didnt even use 2 of the 4 closets available. There are even drawer units under the bed. Each bedside table had 2 ample drawers. The bed was 2 twin mattresses pushed together -- very comfortable. With "Open Seating" dining, one can still call for a reservation. However they are available at only 530pm or 745pm. Nothing in between. If you tell them you will sit at a 4-8 person table you will have to wait till all are seated before you can order. We were 30 minutes late to our 515 reservation & had to wait in the long line with those lacking reservations. We tried our luck other nights, opting for walking up whenever we were ready to eat dinner & being led to a table having 2 available seats. Only once we opted to dine in the Lido Market on the 8th floor due to a 20min wait time for 2. In the main dining room, you order all your courses at once & you can order more than one item if you desire it. Alcohol orders are taken & served by servers different from food servers. The food is delicious, beautifully presented, with modest-sized portions. Dont expect very attentive service. The servers are quite concerned with taking orders quickly, clearing other tables away, bringing dishes to be washed & bringing out the food. They are literally rushing as fast as they can to perform those duties first. We found attentive service to the diners is LAST. It appeared wait staff was under-staffed: many websites state the Volendam crew number at about 675. The "Voyage Log" we received in our cabin on the last night stated they had only 567! It sure is felt in the dining room. The attentive service is felt in the bar areas. The ship has an abundance of areas to serve drinks. Wherever people gather, the ship takes the opportunity to sell drinks--even when lining up to disembark! Happy hour specials occur almost ever 2 hours: second drink for $2; 5 wine sampler $25; food wine pairing $7. You'll also feel in-room dining is well done. We had coffee delivered EVERY morning including the last morning. When thy didnt get something quite right, they called the next time to see if all was good with the order. The last morning on the ship we ordered full breakfast for 6am. Our attendant advised we take that delivery time & not gamble with the 7am delivery option (You fill out a card & hang it on your outer door knob before 2am). Feel free to write-in whatever else you would like if its not listed--they aim to please. At night we enjoyed the casino, the double piano bar & looking thru the shops occasionally. We seemed to be the only ones that didnt know the "Mainstage" theater has been renamed "BB King Blue Club", another live music venue. All the ship maps still have the old name, but the "Where & When" daily planner doesnt mention the name change. A large band with 2 singers would play there some nights. It was fun seeing the musicians stroll around the ship & speak to them. Same for the speakers who would lead nature talks during the day. By far the most enjoyable day on ship was the morning spent in Glacier Bay, narrated by a US Forest Ranger. Words cannot describe the other beautiful ports we saw: Juneau (& excursion to Tracy Arm), Skagway (& excursion on White Pass Railway); Ketchikan (we rented a car for the day, $100). We were pretty tuckered out after all this fun & sightseeing, the dinner, drinks & music afterward were just right. Sailing days were spent sleeping in, going to the spa (wait to book on board when the daily specials start arriving in your stateroom), in the "Crows Nest" looking at the scenery, going to nature talks, having a fancy coffee at the coffee bar, religious observation, taking afternoon tea, in addition to breakfast, lunch & dinner! The swimming pools were unremarkable & I didnt see many folks in them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a great, low key trip to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had cabin 4006. The cabin is at the front of the ship. It was clean and a nice size cabin. No bath tub but we didn't miss the tub at all. The cabin is near the side ... Read More
This was a great, low key trip to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had cabin 4006. The cabin is at the front of the ship. It was clean and a nice size cabin. No bath tub but we didn't miss the tub at all. The cabin is near the side thruster, external door, and main stage. It was generally quiet, but there were times when engines, entertainment, or door drop were very noticable. Food was good across the board, although room service had warm cold items and cold warm items for breakfast. Entertainment was great with the Lincoln Center Stage being wonderful. The BB King Blues Club and Billboard groups were fun as well. If you fly in, make sure to check out the Port of Seattle program for luggage coming and going. Also, we suggest not buying any drinks until you are out of the Washington state area...otherwise you will have to pay 10% sales tax on things like sodas, wine, beer. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. We also suggest using the Navigator phone application so you can see daily events and check your bill. We had a great server in the Lido named Yasmeen. The Pinnacle Grill food was excellent. It is a great first night dinner as you cruise out the Puget Sound. We also picked the night at Victoria for the Pinnacle as the time is quite short in port. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I chose Holland America because the ship size was not so big that I would be lost. My family and I prefer a quieter experience, crowds, crazy dancing and rocking bars not really our thing. Embarkation was a breeze, went on the ship at 2pm, ... Read More
I chose Holland America because the ship size was not so big that I would be lost. My family and I prefer a quieter experience, crowds, crazy dancing and rocking bars not really our thing. Embarkation was a breeze, went on the ship at 2pm, walked right on. Ship, a little dated, 70's like décor mirrors, velvet and geometric shapes but still in decent shape. Our cabin steward was wonderful. Dining in the main dining room eeeh…. it was fine. Dining in specialty restaurants Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind... fantastic! Dining in Lido crazy crowded and grabby people. Dive in burger bar and pizza always a wait of 35 to 40 min, food ok. Alaska is beautiful... cruise excursions helicopter ride to glacier and dogsled in Juneau and zipline in Ketchican (booked our own private whale watch in Sitka for $135 per head - this was not on Holland America excursion menu) all were fabulous. Kids ages 12, 16, 19 actually played board games in the game room on the ship, a lot!! That was awesome.. they all go to their separate corners at home. BBKings blues band was really great and magician and comedian entertaining as well. Overall a great family vaca to Alaska on the Eurodam. If I had to do it again I would do dining room for breakfast and lunch and book specialty restaurants for most nights of the cruise to stay away from crazy Lido, although convenient crowds take relaxation factor way down. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This had a very good itinerary, with plenty of time in Anchorage and Victoria. Although, lots of smoke in Anchorage due to nearby fires. The staff on this ship is wonderful. They all seemed to have great attitudes, and were willing ... Read More
This had a very good itinerary, with plenty of time in Anchorage and Victoria. Although, lots of smoke in Anchorage due to nearby fires. The staff on this ship is wonderful. They all seemed to have great attitudes, and were willing to help. The ship still maintains a quiet elegance although it’s scheduled for dry dock next May. The public spaces never seem crowded, and the onboard entertainment on the Main Stage was very good. Three production shows, three comedians/magicians, and a wonderful pianist (Ryan Ahern). Temperatures during the day were in the high 60’s, but I definitely recommend warm clothes for being out on deck. The Hubbard Glacier was a good highlight. We were able to get very close, and their was calving during our visit. We also had a lot of whale sightings off the ship. This was our 4th cruise to Alaska, and I recommend this line for anyone looking for a quiet, and enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Past the “sweet spot”..... timing wise, for sailing Alaska, but weather was really good, considering. We’ve been up that way 6+ times. Arrived day early staying at boutique in Queen Anne neighborhood, closer jump off to getting ... Read More
Past the “sweet spot”..... timing wise, for sailing Alaska, but weather was really good, considering. We’ve been up that way 6+ times. Arrived day early staying at boutique in Queen Anne neighborhood, closer jump off to getting to ship next day.... a little hilly, great neighborhood & restaurants. Uber from airport to hotel $38 and the hotel to port $8. Arrived port 11:15am We were sailing Neptune suite so check in easy, they were already boarding group 3, we walked on, drop our bags in room, unpacked, decent closet space, then to dining room for lunch. Ship falls into mid size for Holland. Don’t particularly care for these ships, the layout, stuffy, lounges small, but Holland has done about as good as they could accommodating the newer music venues and ATK. Main show room is ok. MDR is tightly packed, Canelleto part of buffet seating. Pinnacle Grill nicely sized. EXC central (Crows Nest) ok seating, but has lost a little ambiance with the EXC adder. Across ship Disappointed with bars, small cramped, service poor. Had anytime dining, Club Orange.... seated immediately. Food and dining service both MDR and Pinnacle Grill a bit spotty.... quality, missed items, under, over cooked. We only did buffet a few times for breakfast.... nice mix of options. Otherwise can’t comment further. Club Orange needs further development on these size ships. Aside from immediate seating... no seperate dining area, seated with reg passengers with different menu... a bit uncomfortable. Can’t see any other perks..... what am I missing here? As for Suite perks, not competitive with any of the RCL products,even Princess a bit more refined.... I hear larger HAL ships not as big an issue. Main Showroom shows have taken on a more cultural bent, in line with featuring the music venues. Featured a dance company.... excellent.... The EXC lecture presentations were outstanding. More professional done, focused topics to the area sailing. Very impressed America’s Test Kitchen presentations were excellent. Outstanding Chef great chat, meaningful recipes... well attended... shares BB King venue, works out well. All in all a good trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is my first review of a cruise ship. I have been on two previous cruises. One was in 2015 on RCI's Liberty of the Seas, and in 2018 on Holland America's Maasdam. I have to say, for my third cruise, the Oosterdam did meet ... Read More
This is my first review of a cruise ship. I have been on two previous cruises. One was in 2015 on RCI's Liberty of the Seas, and in 2018 on Holland America's Maasdam. I have to say, for my third cruise, the Oosterdam did meet or exceed our expectations. Starting in Seattle, embarkation went smoothly. We were in a pretty long line, and it took 30 minutes to get to speak to someone. I'm by far not complaining--as we had general boarding. We had been on HA the previous year, and were able to speed through the boarding process with ease. The cabin was nice and had a large window to look out at the beauty that is Alaska. HA could have spent a little more on the bathroom. The shower was the smallest of the previous cruises. We also had an issue with the toilet not flushing and almost overflowing. It took several calls before someone finally showed up to fix the toilet. Not the best experience there. For dining, we spent the majority of our days/nights in the buffet. Definitely a wonderful selection each day! Canaletto was our only paid night of dinner and I would definitely go back. Service was out of this world on the Oosterdam! Our cabin attendants were polite, funny, and catered to our every need. Some very intense customer service had to have occurred because we have nothing but good things to say. I also liked the unlimited laundry. We used it four days, and were charged a very reasonable price. Unlike some cruise lines that have laundry based on the number of pieces and can only be used once in the trip. Ports in Alaska are definitely worth a visit. Some are like others--all the same jewelry retailers trying to sell you over-priced jewelry. However, steer away from this and go on an excursion! Take the tram to the top of the mountain, go on a halibut fishing trip, have lunch in a sawdust floored restaurant, and get as man pictures as possible at the glacier! Overall, I would do this trip again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Eurodam 7 day to Alaska August 10, 2019 My wife and I decided to take a cruise for our 15th anniversary leaving the kids with grandparents for the week. This is our story. Before the Cruise We had initially booked and fully paid ... Read More
Eurodam 7 day to Alaska August 10, 2019 My wife and I decided to take a cruise for our 15th anniversary leaving the kids with grandparents for the week. This is our story. Before the Cruise We had initially booked and fully paid almost a year ago for an N interior room at $699/ea. By the time two months before sailing rolled around I saw prices had dropped significantly for the trip so I called up the booking company and managed to get upgraded first to a HH then to an E outside stateroom. I almost had the chance for a guarantee verandah for $50 but the best deal that I could actually get an offer on was $80 for a Guarantee Verandah. I decided the room we had was fine. If we didn’t need to have everything set up for kids it would have been $200 cheaper to book about a month out than what we ended up with. Something to know for the future. Arrival, embarkation We arrived at 10:30 am dropped off by my inlaws and our bags were promptly picked up by a porter. We wandered over to the terminal where there was a huge line that almost reached to the outside of the terminal. It turns out this was the line for dropping off luggage, which we avoided by having tags made ahead of time and using the porter outside. We went up to the desk and got all squared away in under 20 minutes from showing up at the terminal to being at the gate. We were in boarding group C and we didn't start boarding until 11:30 so we had a bit of a wait but once boarding started we were on the ship by 11:40 and our rooms were ready at 11:45. Our First Room The outside view room we were assigned was 1126 which seemed perfectly fine. Generally speaking the room had everything we needed. The window was totally sufficient for looking out and viewing the whales that passed by the early on the second morning. I'd have had no problem staying in the room assuming everything worked as expected. There was a little wear on the wood coverings on the desk and tables which made everything feel a little dated but there were plenty lots of outlets (all located at the desk) and USB plugs on the nightstands and on the desk, most of which worked. The room is shower only which is actually pretty nice as the bathroom feels bigger than shower bath combos and we didn't have any plans to use the bath. The Problem I had read a post from 2015 saying that the air conditioning in the room didn't work. I'd figured that through dry docks and several years passing this wouldn't be a problem. I was wrong. It was still broken. Now this is on a Holland America ship and the vast majority of passengers would likely not have a problem with a room that could only cool down to 72.5F. But this was the lowest possible temperature after several adjustments. We initially reported it the first night. They checked it and gave us a fan. The fan really did help the second night and the room was workable at that point but the next day we were in the BB King Blues area and the AC there was in full swing and we were suddenly comfortable. This made me realize that the issues we were having in our room weren't just a matter of cruise ships being hot in general (which it was) so I continued to bring this up with guest services. Eventually, after bringing down one of the technical managers who determined that they couldn't fix it we were offered a change in rooms. When I walked into the new room it was actually a comfortable temperature which felt like a godsend at that point. Our Second Stateroom We got upgraded to a VB 4045 which was an extended balcony verandah. Considering we had paid rock bottom prices the upgrade was amazing. Still the best feature of this room for us was working AC but being able to watch the glaciers in Glacier Bay from the verandah was nice. Otherwise the room was incredibly similar to the old room. I did have to ask guest services to push the beds together which they did promptly, however, while doing so they also turned up the heat in the room all the way. I caught it pretty quick because I was only out of the room for about 30 minutes while this was going on. More funny than anything else. The room is right by the forward elevators which had more traffic than our room down in the back but nothing problematic. Just more likely to hear stateroom doors opening and closing at some points. Having had a verandah I'm not sure that I would need one in the future assuming we had working AC but having a window that you can open and close seemed useful after our AC challenge. Entertainment Overall most of the entertainment was fine but in no way outstanding. Vince, the Travel director, was really good onstage. It took us multiple shows to realize that he had a teleprompter since he felt so natural. The Captain's Toast which came with free champagne, was interesting and fun as was the kitchen tour where I got to meet the executive chef and get an advance peek at the upcoming dinner menu. I was hoping to be able to do the America's Test Kitchen classes, the ones that cost extra, but only one was offered all week, there was a waiting list which was reserved for 5 star mariners for the first 24 hours and it was an Egg class which I wasn't at all interested in. The actual onboard cooking sessions weren't great. We decided we'd stop by for the recipe cards and watch old episodes of the show in our state room, which we did plenty. The mainstage entertainment wasn't anything special. The BBC Alaska that we thought was the symphony was just an audio track which was really just an unimpressive discovery channel special. The dancers putting on a show called Humanity had a cool gimmick but it wasn't executed to the level that it was exciting to watch for the entire 45 minutes. Their second show Stages was really fun, as was the Crew Show. The comedian was good fun for both of his sessions. Instead of many of the onboard options we spent time in our room watching movies like Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Crimes of Grindewald, Rampage, and Jurassic World 3. We ended up skipping the magic show due to a two and a half hour dinner at Tamarind (more on that below). Food We had dinner in the main dining room every night, except for one, which was always great. Little tip: if you can wait until after 7pm the crowd dies down significantly and it's way more chill. We had one server named Jeffery who was awesome. He even found us in the morning on the lido and had a table for us in the Canaletto area. Food there was solid everytime we had it. Some requested customizations never happened but nothing that was too significant. Every time we ate there we left feeling pleasantly satiated without being stuffed which was a great experience for a three course meal. The Lido was frequently crowded for breakfast at around 8:30-9am but was generally pretty empty by 9:30 and wasn't as bad at 8am either. We decided to try to avoid the busy time there. Busy times for lunch were unpredictable due to schedule of events and docking times but we had to make multiple trips to find a seat after viewing the Margerie Glacier. Afternoon tea was a bit of a cattle call with no customization and very little attention paid to each guest. After going once we decided to avoid it for the future. Though several of the little bites there were great, having tea seemed unnecessary when the entire Lido was still open. Fine Dining We had one meal at Tamarind which was incredibly disappointing. Several of the dishes were great but even with the restaurant half empty it took two and a half hours to get through the meal, our water glasses ran empty multiple times, and we never really seemed to get service. They totally drenched the lobster roll I ordered in Mayo which wasn't even listed as an ingredient on the menu and I brought it up with 3 servers who never did anything but apologize. No offers to take it away or get something else. My wife ended up eating most of it but about half was taken away at the end untouched. I never leave sushi on the plate. This has pretty much turned me off of specialty dining entirely. I wouldn't have been happy paying $50 for that dinner and service in a restaurant under regular circumstances. The fact that I had to pay extra for lower quality service and in some cases worse food than the Lido is unacceptable. In the future I'm perfectly happy with the MDR. Service was also incredibly slow. Ports We didn't plan any excursions at port as we were hoping to explore on our own. This may have been a mistake. Juneau was heavily inundated with Cruise Port jewelry shops, places with locations in major cruise ports in Alaska and the Carribbean with locally themed swag. If you weren't looking for jewelry or something with the words ALASKA on it, you were probably out of luck. The entire area by the port is a big tourist trap with a number of the rudest sales reps I’ve ever met. I did manage to walk far enough to get to some local shops, local artists, and local native wears, but it was a few blocks back away from the main drag. Sitka was a pretty cool small town that reminded us of Friday Harbor in the San Juans. Having more time helped but we managed to hit the entire downtown in just a couple hours. I don’t have any particular drive to return to Sitka but it was pleasant being there. Kechikan seemed like a town I could spend more time in. The Creek Street area is super cool and I’d love to have time to hang out for coffee there. I really feel we didn’t have time to explore the area very well. As it was we spent a good 3+ hours wandering around there and came back at almost noon for a 12:30 departure. I wouldn't mind a fuller day there but the stop was pretty short. Victoria is a beautiful town that was somewhere I’ll definitely visit again, but our stop from 6 to 11 was too short to do much of anything. We walked to chinatown which looked like a cool place to eat but had nowhere to shop at 8pm. I’d love to explore the town more but there’s only so much still open at 7pm. I’d prefer to spend a long weekend in Victoria than a cruise stop. If I had another 5 hour stop there I probably wouldn’t get off the ship. In the end we decided we enjoyed our time cruising much more than our time in port. Watching the world go by outside of your window while relaxing, reading, and having access to unlimited food is pretty nice. Each of the stops didn’t really give us a chance to get more than a brief view of the town and we never stopped to eat or shop for local food since everything was free on the ship. If you really want to know what a place is like, cruising isn’t the best way to see it. In the future I think I’ll care less where the cruise stops and think about what I’d be seeing from the ship. Navigator App The Navigator App is a good development that hasn't really come together yet. First thing, don't register on it until you are on board. It just confuses the poor thing. Second, be careful because it doesn't update as quickly as you'd hope. I was still getting alerts in Seattle time while we were in Alaska for a few days and we still had the previous day’s menu until after dinner the next day. It's also fairly slow to load. That said, it's a pretty cool feature compared to nothing so I'd get it and use it onboard. Overall Cruising was a fun experience and pretty good for a couples getaway. Imaging the differences with kids takes away a lot of the potential relaxation that was present. The fact that ports are tourist traps makes it difficult to use cruising as a method of experiencing specific locations you might be interested in. Previously I had a lot of interest in a carribbean cruise where you got to see several eastern carribbean island but I feel like it would be difficult to get much more than a casual glance at each one and that view would be heavily skewed by the scenes that existed at port. I feel like cruises where a lot of the point was what goes on outside of your window would be more exciting. So in the future things like a Panama Canal, fall New England/Canada or European River cruise seems really interesting to me but I’m not sure that paying $300 more for a flight is worth the change in scenery. Excursions also don't really interest me as I don't generally want a curated experience. This means that the ports are less vital than the route. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose this 12 day cruise/land journey for a 35th wedding anniversary for my wife and I. Never been on a cruise or extended vacation like this before. Cruise was enjoyable but did not know what to really expect since this was our first ... Read More
Chose this 12 day cruise/land journey for a 35th wedding anniversary for my wife and I. Never been on a cruise or extended vacation like this before. Cruise was enjoyable but did not know what to really expect since this was our first cruise. We had a window in our room to watch the ocean. A balcony would have been better but for a first time on a cruise and for only 3 days it was nice. The land journey portion of the trip was fun and exciting. We visited Skagway, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Fairbanks, Denali Park, and Anchorage. Most of the motor coaches were comfortable with nice leg room and good visibility except for the last one we rode on. Weather was relatively good and we did get to see Denali with no clouds or weather to obstruct it. The last leg of our journey was to be an 8 hour ride in the glass domed train from Denali to Anchorage. Due to wildfires the train was shut down and we were loaded on motor coaches for a 12 hour ride back to Fairbanks and around another highway to Anchorage. This particular motor coach was not real comfortable. The seats were stacked closer together which meant less leg room and the climate controls did not work very well. The windows continually fogged up and you could not see outside. We were herded through a little roadhouse for lunch, which the food was good but hardly room to sit down and eat. None the less, the train trip from Denali to Anchorage was one of the major reasons we booked this particular trip and to not be able to experience it was extremely disappointing. I realize that wildfires are beyond their control but that bus ride was 12 hours of hell. It put a bad taste in our mouth for what was to have been a pretty good trip. Holland America got my money so I guess that was the most important thing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because there was a great deal (including gratuities) just a few weeks before sailing. We live in Vancouver, so the transportation to and from the ship was easy, as was the embarkation and disembarkation (just ... Read More
We chose this cruise because there was a great deal (including gratuities) just a few weeks before sailing. We live in Vancouver, so the transportation to and from the ship was easy, as was the embarkation and disembarkation (just about the smoothest we have experienced). We would consider the Noordam to be a mid-sized ship and although we generally prefer smaller vessels, the Noordam has retained some of the charm of the past (which we enjoy). Our sail-away inside cabin assignment was roomier than many and convenient (10th floor outside the Crow's Nest) although I think that we got an extra dose of the fog horn when it needed to be sounded (just a couple of nights). We also suffered from poor sound insulation and neighbours who kept their TV on loud all day and all night. A sound machine function on my phone managed to drown/muffle the sound enough for us to sleep. The cabin steward team was very capable and provided good service without being intrusive. The food in the main dining-room was generally very good as was the service. We ate breakfast and lunch at the Lido Market and generally enjoyed the food there as well, although sticky buns (dry), French toast (little egg content) and pancakes (under-cooked) were disappointments. Fortunately, they have kept the tea and that wonderful opportunity to relax and meet some interesting new people (a highlight of cruising for us). The vast majority of the crew were friendly and helpful. The Cruise Director (Stone) was very polished in her delivery and we valued her engaged but not hyped approach to her announcements and presentations. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss. The EXC and BBC enrichment presentations were very good, but not up to the standard we are used to with live presentations by people with real knowledge and experience. The production singers and dancers were about average. The comedians were mostly good, but one experiment with a comedy club style comedian died an ugly death. He just didn't research the demographics well and wasn't able to figure it out to adjust his material on the fly. I doubt that HAL or the comedian will try that again. The Lincoln Center musicians were very skilled, but a bit too stuffy for my tastes. I prefer the older Adagio duo approach with a mix of classical and popular music. Speaking of stuffy, the room they played in was way too small and way too hot for comfort. They did schedule some ballroom dancing on a few days at 5 pm, but really didn't make much of an effort. The first day they just plain forgot about it until someone called the front desk. Thereafter, music just started playing in BB Kings at 5 pm from an invisible DJ. Most of the time we were the only couple there. Bad venue, Bad timing and Bad music... A real disappointment after our last Amsterdam cruise with a trio playing dance music in Oceans Bar most evenings. It sad that there is so little live music and it all starts in the evening (even on sea days). It is too bad that they don't spread their entertainment investment a bit further and more frequently. We didn't do any excursions as we have been to the ports multiple times, but were able to find great hiking trails within walking distance at each port. All in all, it was a great experience, but sadly, some of the charm of HAL is slipping away and they seem to be following the bad example of bigger ships and less class. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First time sailing Holland America. We a frequent Celebrity and RCCL cruisers, but liked the HA Alaska itinerary, plus there were some pricing specials that made this cruise very affordable. We booked a category VD balcony cabin ... Read More
First time sailing Holland America. We a frequent Celebrity and RCCL cruisers, but liked the HA Alaska itinerary, plus there were some pricing specials that made this cruise very affordable. We booked a category VD balcony cabin (guarantee), and we were assigned our cabin 10 days before sailing. Location was pretty good....all of the VD cabins are either in the front or towards the rear of the ship. We had a cabin towards the front of the ship. Long walk to the dining venues (as they were on the other end of the ship), but we got used to it. The pros.....spacious cabin, quiet, large shower/bathtub combo, nice balcony. Service was first class and very friendly. Embarkation and disembarkation was so incredibly fast....HA blew away their competition on this aspect of the cruise. A nice choice of shore excursions, but pricey (as all Alaskan shore excursions tend to be). The highlight for us was the Tracy Arm Fjord/Sawyer Glacier excursion in Juneau. A long day (7 hour excursion), but well worth the time and money (tour is run by Allen Marine...wonderful tour folks). The one day we were cruising Glacier bay was an experience Holland America does best. This was the main reason we chose this cruise and HA did not disappoint. Had several other shore excursions which were ok....fortunately we got into Victoria before nightfall and got to Bourchart Gardens while it was still light. Had about 2 hours to visit and by the second hour it was nighttime. You cannot get the beauty of these gardens if you only have the night time to visit...so if you can't see the gardens during some daylight time, it is not worth going to (in my opinion, if you are a first time visitor). The not so good stuff had to do with the food and entertainment. The Lido restaurant is where the buffet is and we found the food selection and quality adequate, but nothing compared to the quality and selection you find on RCCL and Celebrity. We ate in the main dining room twice and the good was good in that venue (the gala night surf and turf was excellent.....probably the best we have had on any cruise ship). Service was fine. No quick way to get a slice of pizza or a quick hamburger/hotdog. HA does not do this part of their food routine very well. Also deserts were so so; cookies were lousy. Not much in the way of entertainment, but HA is not known for their big productions that RCCL and Celebrity have. We booked the premium wifi package ahead of time, as it was priced attractively but it was somewhat slow (but expected), and stopped working completely on our Apple devices that had IOS software under 10.0 (because of an HA wifi upgrade while we were at sea). So if your IOS software is not 10.0 or higher, their wifi will not work on those devices (primarily older Ipads). Very easy to catch a taxi from the cruise terminal back to the airport. They all charge a flat fee of $42. Lots of taxi's available despite two large cruise ships arriving at about the same time. Hope this info is helpful to any of you taking the Alaska inside passage cruise on HA. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have sailed on a number of HAL cruises and this was our first time on the Westerdam, one week Alaska Inside Passage followed by a one week land tour. The Westerdam was remodeled last year and we were impressed with the tasteful decor, ... Read More
We have sailed on a number of HAL cruises and this was our first time on the Westerdam, one week Alaska Inside Passage followed by a one week land tour. The Westerdam was remodeled last year and we were impressed with the tasteful decor, (except the odd colorful benches on each floor by the elevators). The decor is understated elegance, neutral colors, with many comfortable public spaces to relax. Our mini-suite 6190 was very roomy, more storage than I could fill, lots of room between the bed and the furnishings. Bathroom was also very large, double sink, separate shower and jetted bathtub. A wall of closets/shelves too. Once of the nicest staterooms we've had in our 14 cruises. Food was very good though the service in the dining room for dinner was a bit slow. Entertainment also exceeded our expectations with the exception of the HAL dancers/singers who's performances were a bit too theatrical rather than light and upbeat (this is the fault of the director, not the singers). The public spaces did not feel crowded, perfect size ship for our sailing. The EXC presentations on the Iditarod, Whales and Salmon were excellent as were the cooking classes presented by the chef for America's Test Kitchen. Very enjoyable cruise and highly recommend this ship for an Alaskan cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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
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
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
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
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
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 my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship ... Read More
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship where one could settle in with a good book. The only time it felt crowded was peak times in the buffet. I liked having breakfast and lunch in the dining room. They served steak and lobster on the 2nd gala night and it was very good. Other Dining Room menu items for dinner were hit and miss. The buffet was typical. I noticed they didn't have trays and the staff dished up most of the food for you, which I didn't really like but apparently it reduces the incidence of illness. Unlike some other cruise lines I've been on, there didn't seem to be any theme nights in the buffet. We dined in Canaletto, the Italian specialty restaurant, one night and the food and service were first rate. I liked the films and talks showcasing Alaska. There were none of those dreadful "Vegas type" shows. There was an illusionist one night and a comedian. There was a dance group but it didn't appeal to me and I left. I loved the Lincoln Centre Stage featuring a piano quintette from Hungary and also the B.B. King Blues club. We had lots of fun at Trivia and Music Trivia. The staff were helpful, friendly and service oriented although I found sometimes there was quite a wait to get a drink. Speaking of drinks, I discovered the Ginger Mule and will ask for that next time. I didn't get off the ship in Juneau but took the White Pass and Yukon trip in Skagway and the Wilderness Exploration and Crab Feast in Ketchikan. Both through the ship and both very expensive. Converted to Canadian funds the cost was around $500.00. Our party included a 12 year old and a 16 year old. The younger one had a blast but we worried there didn't seem to be much for the teen. However, she said at the end that she would love to do another cruise. I had wheelchair assistance embarking and disembarking as I am on supplemental oxygen and the batteries don't last too long. I really appreciated this service. Disembarking was really well organized, probably the best I've ever experienced. All in all, a lovely week with family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The best thing about this ship are the four extra elevators they added either as an afterthought or in retrofit — Two on each side of the ship in the middle give us a total of seven elevators at entry point. These glass elevators on the ... Read More
The best thing about this ship are the four extra elevators they added either as an afterthought or in retrofit — Two on each side of the ship in the middle give us a total of seven elevators at entry point. These glass elevators on the side of the ship are much faster than the normal elevators and so wait time was actually quite minimal. A cruise ship leads a hard life, the cabins are constantly occupied 12 months a year the elevators are constantly moving so things do you wear out quick... noordam isn’t bad at all But too many elevator button lights are burned out, Drain on bathtub broken,the toilet stopped working for a while, There is some wear on the furniture in the cabins. The TV reception and remote isn’t very good. I certainly can’t mark it down because it caters to an older crowd, 80 percent 50 plus, but be aware of that when you are looking at cruise lines. The entertainment budget goes for a string Quartet that does Bach, not trapeze artists. Relatively limited dining options. Food is just OK. Wine is prohibitively overpriced even for a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We arrived at the ship at approximately 12:30 after parking at the Cruise Parking lot by the Armory and taking their shuttle to the cruise dock... We were on board and in our cabin about 20 minutes later. It was pretty painless. Our ... Read More
We arrived at the ship at approximately 12:30 after parking at the Cruise Parking lot by the Armory and taking their shuttle to the cruise dock... We were on board and in our cabin about 20 minutes later. It was pretty painless. Our luggage was in our stateroom after we got back from lunch. The ship was in great shape and was constantly being cleaned and maintained. We had Verandah Stateroom 4181 which is an aft facing cabin on deck four. This was a great cabin in some ways and not so great in others. It was plenty large enough for two people and the verandah was nice and spacious. It got plenty of sun and at times it actually got TOO hot out there. There really is no cross wind. We had no problem with “soot” as some people said we might. When we looked down all we could see was water and the ships’ wake... When you are at the rail, people on the upper decks can see you but you do have complete privacy if you sit closer to the cabin. It is very close to the MDR and the elevators to the Lido are not too far away. Getting to the Crow’s Nest and gym is a hike though, especially if you need to go up there to shower, which brings me to the not so good. This cabin had hot water issues from day one. It was hit and miss. Sometimes you had it and other times you didn’t and you could never count on it. Eventually, the ship became very responsive to the problem and it was finally resolved permanently two days before the cruise was over. HAL and the Guest Relations Manager on board did make it up to us and we were satisfied with the end result but not before I had already trekked up to the gym on two separate occasions to find a hot shower. The cabin stewards were awesome as usual. Food: We ate in the Canaletto twice on this cruise. It was GREAT both times. The food was excellent and the service was awesome. Canaletto seems to get lost in the shadow of the Pinnacle Grill but it truly is a hidden gem. We ate once in the Pinnacle Grill and it has redeemed itself in my opinion. I have been somewhat critical of this venue recently but this experience was really good. We had a weird and unusual experience with room service though. Two out of three times our order just never showed up. When we called, they said they had no record of it. There were a lot of kids on this cruise and maybe they were playing pranks by removing the menus from the doors at night? We have never had that issue before and it was really strange to have it happen two out of three times. The Hotel Manager did mention that some kids were playing pranks by filling out the menu cards, ordering one of everything, and placing them on random doors. Maybe we were victimized by something similar? We ate in the MDR twice and it was good both times. The Lido was good also. I was afraid that the Lido would be a madhouse in the mornings for breakfast because of all the families aboard but it really wasn’t too bad. It looked like a lot of people were using the MDR for breakfast. We had the Hot Dogs at the Dive In Grill once, they were good but the line was consistently long. !5 minutes just to get the pager and then another 30 minutes if you wanted Hamburgers. Not so long for just the dogs. This was a very popular venue with all the families aboard. Entertainment” This was our first cruise where we never went to BB King’s Blues Club. We just never got around to it. We did see the comedian and the magician and enjoyed both. The dual pianos were ok, we saw their show once. Lincoln Center Stage was good but we only saw a brief performance. The naturist on board gave some very interesting lectures as did the Cruise Director. She is a very good public speaker. Crew” The crew was wonderful as usual and they did a good job managing with all the kids on board. Our room stewards were great and always kept our cabin tidy and stocked with ice and fresh fruit. All in all this was a very nice cruise and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was sunny and warm every day! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Just returned from our fourth time on the MS Eurodam. First things first, Eurodam is a great ship and still in really good condition. She is well worth a trip to any destination. The cabins are in good shape, as well as all of the public ... Read More
Just returned from our fourth time on the MS Eurodam. First things first, Eurodam is a great ship and still in really good condition. She is well worth a trip to any destination. The cabins are in good shape, as well as all of the public areas. The employees aboard all HAL ships, and in this case Eurodam, always go above and beyond to make sure that your cruise is the best it can possibly be. A special shout out at this time for our cabin stewards, Holqi and Ilyas, who made sure our cabin was always ready for us at all times of the day. Also special shout out to Marcel and Ryan, who rule the Pinnacle wine bar! They both made every day in their bar a great time. They went out of their way to have a special Bday cake made for my wife. It was very much appreciated. Now, some items that continue to trouble us on most cruises lately, but particularly Holland America. Entertainment continues to be cut back. On this particular cruise the main stage show was cancelled twice, due to a cast member "illness". It's amazing that there is no understudy to take on any role in a show, as is always done in this profession. Also, used to be two shows per 7 day cruise, now only one. The Pinnacle grill is always a highlight for us. This particular cruise, they just overbooked the room and the kitchen and the service staff could not keep up. There was a general feeling that they were trying very hard, but could not catch up. The food itself was fine, but the length of the experience ( 3 1/2 hours for 4 course dinner ) was a bit much. The Maitre'd always just stands at the door and NEVER helps the servers when they are in trouble. Also, in this type of dining experience, NO food should ever have to be auctioned ( okay, who gets the steak and who gets the fish)!! Really?? Come on, basic service training please!! Had to laugh that the Pinnacle Grill prices jumped $4.00 in the middle of our cruise! Yikes, couldn't even wait until the next cruise to implement!! The MDR was also under the gun each night and all I can put that down to is cutting of staff. Meals were auctioned, slow service and no wine service on three nights. The sommeliers are stretched so thin that when a few tables actually order cocktails and wine, they can not keep up. Again, everyone friendly, but you can see the stress in the MDR. Never see Captains or Maitre D helping. They always stand at the main door, nothing more. The food quality and portions continue to be cut. At least three nights out of seven, there are specialty menus, so you can not order other items, such as salmon or s Caesar salad. The portion continue to get smaller and smaller. We are not big eaters, and usually only eat three courses. You now have to eat all 5 courses to even feel some kind of full. Hawking of items that you can now purchase, such as a Tomahawk Ribeye or Alaskan King Crab legs gets really tiring. The proteins continue to be cut. Try to find a good cut of beef or chicken. Serving Chicken leg as an entrée on the menu in MDR?? Really? The Lido food is okay, nothing special. Just remember you are eating lots of processed foods and you will gain weight if you are not watching what you eat. Even the Mariner's Luncheon offers you Pot Roast instead of steak these days! We did not take any shore excursions this trip as we have travelled to Alaska 6 times. We did however, give lots of advise to persons looking for excursions. Alaska is one of those places where you really need to take excursions to see all of the beauty that it has to offer. Also, we always advise people who ask us to book Verandah cabins in Alaska, as you will really miss so much wonder if you do not. We have a few more HAL trips booked. We will continue to monitor the cuts made by the accounts and hope for the best. The perks we receive as three star Mariners are not that good, compared to the other lines that we cruise with. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We went on this cruise because Max Lacado and Matthew West were on it as part of a package. We typically cruise on Carnival, so keep that in mind with this review. Cabin: we had an aft balcony, 7134. We liked it. It had enough storage ... Read More
We went on this cruise because Max Lacado and Matthew West were on it as part of a package. We typically cruise on Carnival, so keep that in mind with this review. Cabin: we had an aft balcony, 7134. We liked it. It had enough storage space in the closet and shelves in the closet. The bed was comfortable. And there were two night stands with drawers in them. Dining: The food was fine. I guess we were hoping it would be a clear step up over Carnival. But it wasn’t. I liked the pizza. You sometimes had to wait 30 minutes but they gave you a beeper so you can do other things than stand in line. I’ve seen some folks say the lido was too crowded. Yes, it was crowded during peak times. But I find that on most ships. Entertainment: the entertainment was good. When something was going on. We loved the piano duo and BB King band. But during the day, unless you wanted a metabolism talk, not much going on. Two trivia per day, given the older demographics of HAL, seems light. And there were no bands or singers playing throughout the ship. And they might as well convert the casino area into something else. the piano duo and BB King saved the score from a failing grade. Service: service was good. Lots of places and people who serve drinks. Ship: I liked the ship. The layout was easy to navigate. Plenty of space to hang out. And a smoke free casino. And that’s huge even for non gamblers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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