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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, the rainy season. We live in Eastern Washington so a Seattle departure and a short trip were the most critical elements. Sunday to Sunday works. We both had been on Alaskan cruises before so this wasn't about anything other than a nice boat ride in spring. We knew we wouldn't be taking any excursions because only flight related ones appealed and the weather is not predictable enough to spend that kind of money for marginal ceilings. So we rode the boat for the experience. And we had a great time. While not night owls, we spent every evening moving back and forth between the BB King venue and the pianos in the Billboard Onboard section. Made it worth the trip. Stage shows were fine, but we don't care much for magicians, even though the young lady was good, and dance troupes don't grab our hearts, and again they were good. The comedian did a great job with audience participation, but that meant he picked people from the crowd, so we absented ourselves. Our travel agent suggested an aft cabin and picked one for us on the stern. Loved it. Yes, there is motion. Yes, it is the ocean. Decks are slightly larger on the stern. Had it been warmer, this would have been even better, but we had some chilly times so indoors was the choice. Liked the stern so much we booked another one for our next adventure. Ship was in great shape, clean, constantly being cleaned, and bright and reasonably cheery. (Day before our departure the Oosterdam bumped another Holland ship in Vancouver, slight damage, but just below our room) We were contacted when the crew was going to be working below to repair the cosmetic damage to the ship, great communication. Public areas were great, as well. Service wonderful with attentive, positive folks everywhere, except maybe the guy at the dining room check in. Tough job. No big deal. Food was great when it was great, okay part of the time, and never lousy. Gala nights were the best food. The Lido was more hit and miss. Best food was generally anything Asian. Might be comfort zone for staff. American breakfast was okay, step above Best Western free breakfast, but not a full flight better. Lots of other options. Our last Holland cruise was through the Panama Canal so longer cruise. That trip did not have a huge number of ball cap, ragged jeans, with Jack Daniels shirts. We had some of these. (sorry for the stereotype) Things like lines, personal space, and gentle conversation weren't what I was used to, but this was only apparent on the Lido. Crowd management was a bit rough there as far as seating went. Too many large tables with one person sitting while unseated guests were searching for a table. In defense, this was the first Alaska cruise of the season and was a sell out, so maybe some ramping up. Same was true for first destination. Disembarking was rough with some frustration. Later ports were better. We had a great time, met some wonderful folks, enjoyed wonderful entertainment and signed up for more, just on a different ship going elsewhere. No knock on the Oosterdam, just wanted something different and smaller. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise ... Read More
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise expectations and HAL checks many of our boxes, though not all. We will continue to experience different cruise lines. For us, we cruise to spend time with our family. We enjoy the food, the destinations, shore excursions, and to be at sea. We do not care for drinking, partying, and childrens entertainments. For us, HAL is a good choice. This review is of the Oosterdam May 5 Alaskan Explorer cruise from Seattle. The Ship: The Oosterdam was in good shape, though I wish the last refit had kept more of the old Dutch Masters feel. The public areas were spacious and well appointed (I think the HAL Vista class ships have the highest area per passenger rating of all the majors). I like a full promenade deck, and it was the place to be during the cruise down the inside passage from Ketchikan. The card room(s) were well used by groups playing all kinds of games together. One plus of the Vista Class of ships is the retractable dome over the Lido Pool area. This is very helpful in Alaska as it can rain at any moment, and can be quite chilly at times. The Exploration Cafe was my favorite public area. The gym was well used and I thought the class instructors were quite good. I did two yoga classes on the 7 day cruise and worked out daily. The Food: I was especially impressed with the Lido Market (buffet) which we used for breakfast and lunch. There were special selections from around the world daily, and all manner of offerings for every taste. Some of our party really enjoyed the Dive In for burgers and fries. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night ($35 surcharge but ours was a gift from the travel agency). The food there was very good. Not quite as good as Ruth's Chris or something like that, but better than Outback for sure. The main dining room was pretty good for the MDR on a major cruise line. Some of the menu selections weren't that great and so it was hit or miss if you picked the right thing. One night I chose a fish (not great) and my spouse chose the deconstructed pot roast (good). Service started out a bit shaky, but I learned many of the staff had just joined the ship as our cruise was the first cruise of the Alaska season. They got better as the week progressed. Destinations: Juneau, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan, Victoria. We were on a Coral Princess Southbound cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver a few years ago. We chose that cruise because it went to Glacier Bay. On this cruise we were looking for value, as we were cruising with relatives and cost was a concern. If I was only going on one Alaska cruise in my life, I would want to do Glacier Bay. And I would cruise later in the season. That said, Hubbard Glacier was worthwhile. Despite the rain and lots of ice in the water our captain was able to get us a pretty good view of the glacier face. It was a fun day, and a lot of us went out to the bow to take photos. I spent some time on the promenade as well. And a secret spot - Deck 9 Forward in front of the Gym was a good and mostly empty spot for viewing, though you are further up from the water. Shore Excursions: Good excursions overall. We did the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau as we had been to Mendenhall previously. It is worthwhile. We were not in Juneau long or else we would have probably gone up to Mendenhall again. We did Birds, Bears, and Barnacles in Sitka. Fun excursion. The bear place is still under renovation. We went to see the Totem Poles in Ketchikan. I would like to spend more time in Ketchikan someday. We were only in Victoria for 5 hours so we didn't do much. We have been there several times in the past. It was evening so options were limited. I would like to see Bouchard Gardens in the spring, though. At Sea: I like the feeling of being at sea. I am not looking for the floating hotel experience. I think a lot of the newer ships (ahem Royal) are very inward focused. The Oosterdam is very much in the vein of a classic cruise ship. I like hanging out outside, playing cards with family, enjoying good food, relaxing. Passengers were a good mix. HAL has a reputation of being the cruise line of choice for elders. I have not found this to be true. Though there were few children, most age groups were well represented, with a diversity of passengers from mostly North America and Asia. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We liked: the itinerary - 10 days at sea, embark from Seattle, verandah stateroom, good food, good service, good selection of at-sea activities, excellent cleanliness, good selection of in-room movies, large state room TV, had a bath tub, ... Read More
We liked: the itinerary - 10 days at sea, embark from Seattle, verandah stateroom, good food, good service, good selection of at-sea activities, excellent cleanliness, good selection of in-room movies, large state room TV, had a bath tub, free room service, excellent performances at the "Lincoln Center Stage" (The very best part of the whole cruise!), free seating option in main dinning room Didn't like: excursions - extremely over priced & poor selection (only offered excursions from a company owned by HAL), hard mattress, AC directed at head of the bed, very poor main stage performances, outrageous price to get online, HAL charges for up-grades ("Buy Ups"), very high required daily gratuity fee, no booking incentives like offered with other cruise lines, poor shops on board with overly high prices Would cruise with HAL only if we can get an extremely good price. Otherwise, there are other cruise lines that are a far better value for the price (see above). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Holland America Eurodam, Sept 29, 2018, 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise, Seattle to Vancouver, BC Embarkation was very quick, easy, smooth. Luggage arrived quickly enough. Disembarkation was the same, but then we just walked off the ship ... Read More
Holland America Eurodam, Sept 29, 2018, 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise, Seattle to Vancouver, BC Embarkation was very quick, easy, smooth. Luggage arrived quickly enough. Disembarkation was the same, but then we just walked off the ship with our luggage to a taxi. Activities/Entertainment: Lincoln Center Stage - fantastic program!! Might sail HAL again just for that one aspect! Liked the many and varied daily activity choices - i.e. lectures, Test Kitchen, tours Two very important aspects of cruising for us were an extreme disappointment with HAL: Extremely disappointed with nightly main stage entertainment - mediocre to poor quality in all categories HAL was notably bad in this area when we last sailed with them (1985). No improvement! We had abandoned HAL and become loyal NCL cruisers since 1985 because of that. Extremely disappointed with HAL excursions: completely over priced, few choices, limited variety We are convinced it is because of HAL's monopoly of this service - a huge rip-off of their passengers!! We only bought one excursion. We will only use prearranged excursions with locals if we sail HAL again. This is a complete reversal from our usual practice when cruising. NCL does very well in this area. Stateroom service was very good! Stateroom was adequate in size/appointments, large closet space with adjustable shelving, A deck 8 aft cabin was nice for the veranda, but was very noisy at two times EVERY day: gathering of all deck furniture at midnight, setting out of same at 6:00 AM (Banging, dragging furniture across deck floor.) Very annoying if you like to sleep at either of those two times of the day. Appreciated the high quality, removable wooden hangers. Very annoyed with the AC vent that aimed the draft directly at the head of the bed - great negative affect on our quality/quantity of sleep. Loved the verandah furniture! Mattress was too hard, pillows didn't work for me (one too large to be practical and too hard; only one was nice soft and regular, usable size) Fridge did not work well - always too warm, no matter the dial setting Bathroom was always wonderfully clean!! enjoyed the tub, nice personal products A 2-day toilet problem was quickly fixed when reported Loved the large TV on the wall! TV programing was very good. Good movies that could be stopped and restarted later Appreciated continuous current news networks The entire ship was very clean! very little wear/tear of any kind was in evidence anywhere Loved the cloth towels in all public bathrooms - high class! Loved the self-contained rooms in public restrooms rather than toilet stalls - again, high class! Service staff was always friendly!! On board shopping extremely limited - therefore, not very useful. Main dining room food was very good to excellent, except for desserts. Desserts seemed to be designed more to look good on a plate rather than for eating enjoyment. Bread was always too dried out / hard - probably from being dished up too early. Appreciated not being constantly bugged by photographers in the dinning room. Dinning room service varied from barely adequate/slow (esp for large tables) to very good (We were open seating.) Main dining room reservations were messed up several times, so we finally gave up. Waiting for a table actually wasn't that bad. Wine service was very good, knowledgeable. Dress code was very relaxed (thank goodness), including for Gala nights. Lido Market lunch food was very good and quite varied - very good service there! Breakfast was only fair for my personal taste until I discovered the yummy, custom made-while-you-wait omelets. Fruit was always too green, poor yogurt choices, bread was hard/dried out (except for croissants). Dive In Burger was good, fries were excellent Very nice wine tasting events, excellent Cellar Master dinner!! Pinnacle Grill was very good Covered pool was lovely! Loved the Crow's Nest: quiet, nice view, comfortable chairs, appreciated the library (though limited), nice jigsaw puzzles, fun computerized maps to manipulate Nice, quiet Gallery Bar with table shuffleboard and good supply of board-games, card-games Tender was only used at one port. It was handled nicely. Bottom line - If given a good itinerary and a very good price, there MIGHT be enough good aspects with HAL for us to sail with them again. However, there are some major negative areas that greatly affected the overall quality of our cruise trip. It will be a toss-up. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
When I was 17 I did a road trip from British Columbia to Southern Alaska. It was the best trip I had ever been on. The scenery, the wildlife, and the splendor of it all took my breath away. I did not think anything could top that ... Read More
When I was 17 I did a road trip from British Columbia to Southern Alaska. It was the best trip I had ever been on. The scenery, the wildlife, and the splendor of it all took my breath away. I did not think anything could top that experience. Then I booked with Holland America and the adventure was better than I remembered. Embarkation. You are given an assigned time to arrive at the port in Seattle. Ours was 1pm so like all good travelers we arrived at 11:45. I did think it would take us longer to get there but this was fine. Having cruised four previous times I knew what to expect. Hurry and wait to drop off luggage, hurry up to wait in line to pass through security, hurry up to get in line to check in, wait for a few hours in a waiting room. Take the eternal walk to get on board, go to Lido deck and eat for four hours and then go to room to wait for your luggage. Yeah, I have played this game before and this time...was an exception. We dropped off our luggage straight away, no line at all. Then we went to security and... no line at all, got in line to check in and get our key. That took forever at about 3 to 5 minutes to get up there and 3 to 5 minutes to get processed. The they gave us free cookies and water which I had to eat while walking on to the ship. Wait did I skip the waiting room part? Oh, wait there was none, we got our key and went on board. 20 minutes after getting out of the Uber we were on the ship. On the ship an elevator was standing by and we were directed to the buff... wait not the buffet but our stateroom. It was 1215 and we were walking to our ready stateroom. We met our cabin steward and sat down wondering...what do we do now. Well first we unpack. Our luggage arrived 5 minutes after we did. Then we went to the buffet to eat some of the best meals at sea. The Cabin Standard industry sized veranda with a 45-inch TV. So, we could watch it and enjoy it. It was loaded with some great new and a little older movies and live TV. The bed was firm and comfortable. There was a bathtub but for a 6'2" guy it was a bit tight and smaller than what is at home. The linens and fluffy stuff was soft and nice. There were plenty of outlets and enough closet space for our clothes, shoes and Jacket. On our way up the weather was rocky but we love that because it helps us sleep. The rocking was gentle and not jolting at all. The veranda came with the usual appointments and was the same size as other ships. The Food The food was a cut above. There was a unique combination of standard fair, fancy, and really fancy. It was all well prepared and very good. Even the Buffet which can many times get stale and feel second rate was fresh and changing. The pizza was worth the wait and was delicious. Tea time at 3pm was amazing with many pastry's and other delicious snacks. Also, the chocolate event on deck two was a blast. Entertainment Was sparse. Almost every day we were in some port or some location so the need to entertain people on board with exciting activities was less. Not to mention it is a senor crowd and that limits the options available of activities to do. The activities there are, are very enriching, fun, and amazing. I was never bored but very relaxed. The wine tasting, bar hop, mixology class, etc were fantastic. The jewel of the trip was the orchestra that played classical music every night and the jazz club that got people dancing and singing till late in the night. The piano bars were very nice as well and a lot of fun to be in. Glacier Bay The benefit of a veranda, when it is 45 F outside is that between great shots and scenery is you watch movies in you cabin. The balcony offered timeless views and warmth. Whale watching, glacier and wilderness tour in Juneau This was a great investment. We had the wonderful captain Buck who found us orcas and humpbacks. Also provided insight into the local history along the way. The Glacier was amazing and awe inspiring to look at. We saw other amazing scenery of the area and it was a wonderful day. The Towns All the towns had the requisite tourist shops that you see on any other cruise ever. Juneau being the capital had interesting history and nature, especially the mines. Sitka had an old Russian Church and stores. Kechihan was the most interesting town with Creek St houses (brothels) being a very interesting history, as well as the totem poles and other sights to see. At the port BE ON TIME. They tell you be back at 12:30 PM. They must leave at that time to make it to Victoria on time. We saw 5 people get to the dock after the gang plank was removed and we were sailing away. A missed boat can cost you between $1,500 to $2,000 in extra costs. Did not get off at Victoria. just not enough time and you arrive at 7PM leave at 11:30 PM. The Ship The ship with its covered pool, fantastic fitness room, great food, and super staff was the best I had ever been on. I do look forward to going back, maybe to the Mexican Riviera. Tip: If you go on a cruise at the end of the season, the clearance sails are superb. I got a very nice coat for $15, and other items were 75%$ off. Jewelry related to Alaska was also super discounted (This was true onshore as well). Disembarkation Was as fast as embarkation, we left at 8:50 AM and was in the Uber at 9:10 AM Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our first cruise. We chose the Amsterdam specifically for its smaller size and itinerary that included Hubbard Glacier. We loved the presentations by Kelly who shared about wildlife, points of interest and historical significance. ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We chose the Amsterdam specifically for its smaller size and itinerary that included Hubbard Glacier. We loved the presentations by Kelly who shared about wildlife, points of interest and historical significance. She came across as smart and witty. We also really enjoyed the entertainment. I’m still humming songs that Don the piano guy chose. Seats in the piano bar were prime real estate when he was singing oldies, Neil Diamond hits, and rock n roll tunes. We were super impressed with a BBC wildlife film set to live music on the main stage. Magical. We went to one gala night, of two, in the main dining room and found the food and service less than spectacular, so most of our meals were taken at the Lido Market. Hubby loved the pasta station where you chose the sauce, veggies and meats that were cooked right there. There was steak on the daily menu and delicious desserts that tickled my palate. My favorite lunch spot was the Dive-In for juicy, delicious, charred to perfection burgers. Breakfast was nearly always served to us via room service. We alternated between fresh fruit and yogurt or perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and toast. Coffee was hot and strong! Speaking of rooms, we had a veranda suite. The stewards, Bagus and Yoga, tended to our every need—including finding duct tape to patch one of our aged suitcases. The young men were cheerful and attentive. In port, we did a couple excursions. One was booked through the ship and the other through the travel company we booked with via United Airlines. Both were memorable and offered us great subjects for photographs. We did a whale watch in Juneau on a smaller vessel—17 passengers. In Sitka, we went to the raptor center, saw salmon spawning in a stream, visited a park with totems and local carvers, then a native dance performance—all on one excursion. Amelia, our guide, was knowledgeable and witty. We felt that both excursions were money well spent. So, embarkation and debarkation seemed daunting before we went through it. We found it super efficient and organized. No lines. Lots of helpful, cheerful people to show us the way. We used the port porter service in Seattle that allowed us to check in for our United flight onboard and handled our baggage all the way to Colorado Springs, our final destination. No charge! (At this writing, we haven’t gotten to Colorado Springs yet, so I can’t report on whether our luggage will actually get there, so I’ll update once we know the final outcome. The Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. There were lots of different kinds of “public” spaces to enjoy our time at sea. We’d grab a coffee at the Explorer Cafe and spend quiet time nearby where folks were reading, playing games or completing puzzles. The Crow’s Nest offered spectacular views and a bit more energy than the coffee spot. We viewed the approach to Hubbard Glacier from there with Kelly narrating. We chose to take pictures from our stateroom balcony once we got there. The captain positioned the ship so each side, port and starboard, had significant viewing time. I still can’t believe how close we got. The whole Hubbard Glacier event was surreal, unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. So, we loved our cruise. We actually started planning our next cruise before the first was done. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was my 4th cruise to Alaska.(HAL) This time on Amsterdam. She is a lovely ship with many beautiful greek statues. Layout of the ship was very easy. Embarkation and disembarkation was amazingly smooth and fast (as compared to 3 ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise to Alaska.(HAL) This time on Amsterdam. She is a lovely ship with many beautiful greek statues. Layout of the ship was very easy. Embarkation and disembarkation was amazingly smooth and fast (as compared to 3 prior cruises). Cabin was inside with a view on lower prom. deck. Only noise was 9:30 PM approx. when cleaning the deck. We ate all meals in the Lido and the food was outstanding. Entertainment was piano bar (very good) and "On Tour" singers, dancers and musicians was very good. Husband attended all Windows workshops and rates A+. He used the gym and movie theater daily. The service from our cabin to the Lido was excellent (as always in past cruises). Every crew member was happy, smiling, and very courteous. Only shore excursions this time was Fortress of the Bear (Sitka) and the Raptor Center(Sitka) - SO GOOD. In all other ports we walked around on our own. First cruise we had time to enjoy shipboard activities. "Ask The Captain" virtual bridge tour was excellent, as was America's Test Kitchen shows daily. Enjoyed the casino. We have booked a 14 day Alaskan tour onboard Amsterdam in June 2019 and looking forward to it! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I really enjoyed the musical entertainment on board; also enjoyed cooking classes, lectures, library, swimming pools and hot tubs. The food was pretty good especially the dining room where you dress up to go to dinner. The lido deck diner ... Read More
I really enjoyed the musical entertainment on board; also enjoyed cooking classes, lectures, library, swimming pools and hot tubs. The food was pretty good especially the dining room where you dress up to go to dinner. The lido deck diner was convenient but often the food was cold so it was only good for a sandwhich, cold cereal, or dessert. I found the staff to be very friendly and personable; especially the guys who cleaned our cabin. We were in room 5013 and the guys were so good to remember our names and bring anything we needed. Some of the things I didn't like was how tiny and cramped our room was. I traveled with my mom and brother so we shared a state room. It said online that a state room can comfortably hold 3 adults but that wasn't true. The room had 2 twin beds and then a flimsy hide-away bed in the couch. The hide-away bed wan't very comfortable but the twin beds were good. Overall my experience was a positive one and I will sail with Eurodam again if given the opportunity. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
His was our fifth Cruise. We have been on large ships. Eurodam was the best. The food was incredible and the size of the ship made it relaxing and it wasn't crazy with a bunch of drinking or too many little children running around. We ... Read More
His was our fifth Cruise. We have been on large ships. Eurodam was the best. The food was incredible and the size of the ship made it relaxing and it wasn't crazy with a bunch of drinking or too many little children running around. We had 10 people in our group ranging from age 24 to 81. I highly recommend the Eurodam. Of all the cruises I've been on they had the highest quality of food. What a wonderful time. I would definitely go on the Eurodam again! The entire experience was so fantastic! Holland America is such a relaxing cruise line. I am 64. Loved Alaska cruise. Did a zipline on shore 100 feet plus above ground. Fun!!! Being up on the deck for 5 hours while the cruise ship was in one spot slowly turning around giving us a panoramic view of the glaciers. I really recommend Holland America and the Eurodam. Read Less
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