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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a wonderful vacation with siblings. The food was amazing! I tried Duck for the first time and absolutely loved it. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The Cannaletto was awesome! I did feel there was a bit of downtime during the ... Read More
This was a wonderful vacation with siblings. The food was amazing! I tried Duck for the first time and absolutely loved it. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The Cannaletto was awesome! I did feel there was a bit of downtime during the day, but that was okay as I was able to go to the spa and do the hydro-pool and thermal lounge suite which is the best way to relax. The Billboard Onboard was great as Kiersten and Will did a great job on the pianos and singing. The Lincoln Center Stage was amazing and I absolutely loved to hear them play. Be prepared to wait awhile for your food if you order the pizza or from the Dive In. The Lido had good food as always and yes, it is busy during the peak times, so choose when you want to go. The in-room dining was nice as well. All of the staff was very friendly and helpful. I loved the casual portrait nights in addition to the formal (gala) pictures. When we looked through all the photos, the casual ones actually came out nicer and better than the formal ones. This was my 4th cruise with Holland America (my first 3 were on the Amsterdam), and I can honestly say it didn't disappoint and I'm ready to go on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We did an Alaskan cruise 6 years ago and loved it so we wanted to return. Alaska is a great destination for us to escape summer heat and experience beauty. We traveled to and from Seattle. Our cabin was 2715 and a great location for us. It ... Read More
We did an Alaskan cruise 6 years ago and loved it so we wanted to return. Alaska is a great destination for us to escape summer heat and experience beauty. We traveled to and from Seattle. Our cabin was 2715 and a great location for us. It is at back of boat where there were only 2 cabins so there was no traffic. It was quiet. A hidden gem was a small deck on the back, almost private with access through the hall. We went to the shows every night and enjoyed them. There were 2 Gala nights, however we decided to be a bit more casual so did not attend. We ate dinner in dining room a few times as well as lunch. Loved the Lido for breakfast and the Crows Lounge for relaxation. Ports were great with the exception of Victoria which we were not a fan of. We chose to purchase excursions in the port as the prices were better and even got discounts too. My favorite port was Skagway as you are able to take a tour out of the town and experience natural beauty. We traveled with Frontier Excursions. The vehicle size allowed for better tour as there were only 9 of us on the tour. Guide was very familiar with history and area and also helpful in taking pictures. We stopped many spots and went to Yukon and the suspension bridge. In Juneau we went on the whale watch tour with Juneau Whale Watch Company. The boats were small and comfortable. The guides had a lot of information. Out of Seattle we were offered a special program through the Port Authority for free. Our luggage was picked up outside our cabin and put through to our final destination and our boarding passes were printed and delivered to our cabin. This was our second cruise with Holland America and we love them. They seem very professional. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This July the family decided to go on a cruise to Alaska on the Holland America Amsterdam. We had 7 people in our group and had 2 rooms. Everything on our cruise was absolutely perfect. The ship was very comfortable and up to ... Read More
This July the family decided to go on a cruise to Alaska on the Holland America Amsterdam. We had 7 people in our group and had 2 rooms. Everything on our cruise was absolutely perfect. The ship was very comfortable and up to date. The food was excellent and the service was perfect. Holland America gave us a perfect 7 day vacation and we’ll be looking forward to our next cruise on holland America’ We frequently hear how Holland America is the over 90 crowd but this trip the ship was filled with families and lots of kids. We had 2 18 year olds in our group and they enjoyed Holland America so much that they have been next summers family trip on Holland America. We decided Holland America gets the over 90 reputation from their world cruises as the only people that can take a 100 day cruisr are retired. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My husband and I are semi retired and enjoy traveling. This cruise was advertised with a local tour group and Alaska had always been on our list for travel. We booked the Veranda for the balcony. This was an older ship. The cabins were not ... Read More
My husband and I are semi retired and enjoy traveling. This cruise was advertised with a local tour group and Alaska had always been on our list for travel. We booked the Veranda for the balcony. This was an older ship. The cabins were not very clean. I had spilled some ice on the carpet and in retrieving it, brought up a glob of someone else's hair! The dinners were just ok. We spent an hour and a half waiting on courses to be served, and the coffee came 10 minutes after our dessert. We paid to eat in another dining room. Having been on other cruises that offered beautiful food sculptures and chocolate fountains this was a "nothing special cruise". The entertainment was trivia in the bar, or two guys singing at a piano. We could have gone to the digital workshop?#* What! I'm on vacation. I went to the spa/salon to have my hair done for a gala evening. I don't think these people ever worked in a real salon. They washed my hair, blow dried it and tried to sell me products. The positives of this trip were the staff, Alaska and the shore excursions. We went fishing and were fortunate to catch some and have it sent home. We also went to the dog mushing camp. If you like dogs, this is it! In spite of the bad, we did enjoy ourselves and made the best of it. My husband and I are not rich, and felt that we had "splurged" going on this trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last ... Read More
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last lounge is only open at 10:30 casino was very small as maybe three or four tables to play on nothing for the kids to do just terrible absolutely terrible they messed up my room keys my arm board acount the money I put in my account disappeared five separate trips the customer service in two days and we still didn't get the shore excursion I would never recommend anybody use Holland America when we got back to shore and I contacted them about all the problems I had the only thing they had to say was I apologize didn't even attempt to make it right or make it up to making my disabled wife feel like she was an inconvenience these people Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The stateroom was perfect aside from the air not working. It was clean and roomy for the two of us. We had great shows to watch and cozy veranda. There was plenty of storage room, and we even had numerous USB ports. Standard plugin was ... Read More
The stateroom was perfect aside from the air not working. It was clean and roomy for the two of us. We had great shows to watch and cozy veranda. There was plenty of storage room, and we even had numerous USB ports. Standard plugin was limited, but we were prepared for that. There was no outlet near the bed. My husband has a cpap and they brought a power trip to help it reach. Our air didn’t work the entire trip so thank goodness we had the veranda to leave open all day. They called everyday to check on it but didn’t do anything about it. Dining room Awful experience. The back of the ship was so loud and shaking you had to talk quite loudly to have a conversation. Therefore, everyone around you talked loudly as well. We ordered the Spinach and artichoke dip with bread which came with two breadsticks from Nutella. While we were eating, the captain came on to talk about the evening festivities, weather, location and more. We could not make out but a couple words that he said something about Glacier Bay and the spa. You can never hear any of the announcements because they only are in the hallways and stairwells. My husband ordered a New York strip steak medium and I ordered one done. Besides the fact that there were flank steak and not NY strip wasn’t the worst part. I received his steak and he received mine. The asparagus and carrots were saturated in butter. The pecan pie was stale and about two bites worth of pie. The NY cheesecake was not your typical cheesecake. It had more of a cake texture than a cream cheese texture. There is only food available during certain times so it throws off the eastern time zone people. Then when it’s time to eat, there are 1000 people in line waiting for two people to serve you food. The food is not buffet style or self serve. If you want a piece of pizza, it can be an hour wait. There are 30 people selling beer and two people serving food and clearing tables. You have to clear off your own table because there aren’t enough outside. If you want a waffle for breakfast, it can be up to a 7 minute wait. The food isn’t even all that tasty. Most of the choices are the same every day. The ranch for salads is watered down, scrambled eggs are runny and bacon is transparent. The chicken Caesar salad was divine. The omlet station was really good too but there again one person making omelets for 40 people. I’m sure like every other cruise line it’s all about tourism. I paid $4000 to see Alaska. Not buy $3000 jewelry made in China worth $10. I want genuine jewels and custom made things. I want to support Alaska while supporting Holland America. The only activities on the ship were targeted towards women. Jason paid $120 to just play Texas holdem for a bit. We did not know that it was a Chuck Swindoll cruise - that would have been nice to know because most of the rooms and events were for those people. They took the main stage most days so the shows weren’t till 8 and 10:00 at night. That’s 2:00 in the morning for Easterners. I spoke with an employee who said they had most of the ship most of the day. Our travel agent was incredible and really help tailor our trip ideas to our desires. When we went to the excursion desk, she told us that our travel agent booked us for all the old people tours and obviously didn’t know what she was talking about because there was no way we could get a cap for $70 an hour in Juneau. When we arrived in Juneau the taxis said right on the doors, $70 an hour! Felt like we were lied to from most of the cruise line employees. Alaska was breathtaking and so glad we went to Sitka. I had no idea Juneau was as commercialized as it was. I wouldn’t ever have to go back there. It was totally not what we were expecting. Even our family members who go on cruises to and three times a year it said it was unlike anything they had ever experienced I would not be traveling Holland America again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
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
15 Helpful Votes
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
4 Helpful Votes
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Having been thrilled at our experience with H&A on our last cruise we had no second thoughts about choosing this company once more. Why? The staff, food and clientele were all first class. We especially like the fact that all the ... Read More
Having been thrilled at our experience with H&A on our last cruise we had no second thoughts about choosing this company once more. Why? The staff, food and clientele were all first class. We especially like the fact that all the food has to be served to you, no scramble and self service that we have encountered on other ships. This also stops germs spreading. We were two of only 12 British guests. We were so blessed with the weather that we even got sunburned on one day! Having packed layers and waterproof clothing which we rarely used apart from times out on deck whilst sailing into winds. Always good to be prepared as the weather can change. Locals were amazed how hot it was 24 degrees! Food was top draw once again. This is fine dining and good to see more people dress up this time. One tip if you want to eat alone is book early and in advance. Excursions are down to you, however June is fine regarding bears but I would be worried after that once the salmon come to town. Remember this is bear country so if you are concerned then read the signs and ask for sightings. Glacier bay is unbelievable and meets all expectations. Juneau, glacier and waterfall is excellent and make sure you walk to the whale statue. Sitka and ketichkan just use shuttle bus to explore yourself. Sitka museum certainly worth a visit however the Russian dance so is worthy of a Monty python sketch. Ketichkan will take you 40 mins to walk round! The lumberjack show was worth a look and book on ship as it is literally 2 mins walk from dock and saves queuing a a slow ticket booth. Victoria was get off and on in a couple of hours. Arrived at 7pm, so no point in going to the gardens which is probably the highlight here. Chinatown was a joke . We stayed in Seattle for 2 nights and had a day on the way back. Boeing factory and flight museum are excellent value. If you get the elvis driver to the factory you are in for a treat. Space needle and skyview for sunset are a must visit. Seattle however is worse than New York for beggars, homeless so be aware. Go to pike place market to have the best fish and chips at athenian restaurant. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Our son and our nephew both graduated from high school this year. We wanted to get my husband's whole family together, and since several of them live out west, Seattle was a good meeting point. Our family (we don't live out ... Read More
Our son and our nephew both graduated from high school this year. We wanted to get my husband's whole family together, and since several of them live out west, Seattle was a good meeting point. Our family (we don't live out west) flew in one day before the cruise. It was a good thing because our flight was delayed. I would suggest, if you are coming from a long distance, fly in a couple of days ahead and explore Seattle. Uber rides from the airport only take 15-20 minutes to where our hotel was. We stayed in the Sheraton Four Points due to its great location. It is walking distance to the Space Needle. We got an Uber to the port and it was a very quick ride from the hotel. We got onto the ship pretty quickly. We had a bit of a wait before checking in but were on the ship by 12:30. And, our room was ready when we got on. Things were smooth for embarking. The ship itself was clean and easy to navigate. It is an average-sized ship, I would say. We liked walking around the deck on a daily basis, although at times, it got rainy or chilly. The public spaces were nice and comfortable. We especially liked the crow's nest area. It was just down the hallway from our room and was a perfect meeting spot for family members. This ship is very similar to other HAL ships we have been on. Our son works out a lot. He was not impressed with the fitness area. And, the lady who works in that area was rather rude to him. So, he didn't spend much time in there. The pools and hot tubs were nice. The pools never were crowded. And, you could get into a hot tub if you wanted, although they were very small. They closed very early in the evenings, perhaps because of the weather, I'm not sure. Smoking was allowed in an area by the aft pool. We don't smoke, so we avoided that area. No smoking was in the casino. The casino got fairly crowded, depending on what was going on there. Our son discovered that he is a good poker player on this trip; that was exciting for him. I didn't participate in many ship activities. There wasn't a huge amount of entertainment. The music was good that was performed. It was very loud and crowded in the Blues Club; I don't think that the space is large enough for the people who want to hear the music there. The comedian was pretty funny, and he was clean, so the kids were able to join us. Our nieces went to the children's activities and seemed to really like them. There were a good number of teenagers; between two of our families, there were 6. The teens met several others on the ship, and they seemed like nice kids. I don't know how much they had provided as far as organized activities for the teens, but our teens did have a wonderful time. Service on the ship was very good. Our stewards did a consistent job of tidying our room, although we keep a clean room. And, the dining room service was nice, as well. Our waiters were friendly and did an excellent job each night. We dined in the main dining room every evening. Even our teenage kids wanted to dine in there each night. It was a fun experience for them. We had a couple of nights where all 21 of us ate in there together. Although we had late dining, because the sun barely sets at that time of year in Alaska, it wasn't a bad time, really. Lunch meals were nice in the dining room, too. The menu was varied, and the food was of good quality. I especially liked the main courses. The Lido often got busy and it could be hard to find a seat sometimes. They have some nice stations in there at lunch time, so the days the MDR was closed, I would walk around and see what was available before getting food so I didn't overeat. Dive Inn is a good place for sandwiches and fries; I just ordered from there one time and shared my food with a daughter. Our cabin was on the tenth floor. It was a balcony but might have been a little smaller than some of the balcony rooms. It had a tub, a real plus on a cruise ship. This had less storage than other balcony rooms I have stayed in, but there were four of us. We had two beds together (king), a pull-down bunk above, and a pull-out loveseat. Beds were comfortable with nice linens. The balcony itself was pretty narrow, I think due to the location on the ship. The pull-down bed actually rattled a lot, until I finally stuck a rolled-up towel into part of it. We had the wall between our balcony and the ones beside us opened up because there were three family rooms beside each other. I would recommend closing them back at night because they can make some noise. One night, there was a huge amount of fog, and the foghorn was going off all night. At first, I thought someone had fallen overboard. Once I realized it was the fog, I fell asleep. it is nice having the balcony when going to the glacier and also when in port. But, it gets cold and windy when traveling. And being on the tenth floor is close to the Crow's Nest, which is a nice spot. Each port was good. Seattle is a lovely city. We enjoyed the Seattle center with the Space needle, fountain, museums. Just a great place to walk and see the sights. And, the mountain views are gorgeous as you leave port. We booked a last-minute whale watching tour in Juneau. The kids LOVED it. It was fun and we saw a lot of sea creatures. We booked it when we got off the ship and so we got a nice discount. I recommend NOT booking on the ship for these if you can avoid it. Better deals for the same thing onshore. Hubbard Glacier was incredible. One couple in our group had booked a suite, and they had a wraparound balcony, so we spent a good bit of time there during our Hubbard Glacier stop. We got close to the glacier, saw some calving and had great weather. The port for Sitka is 6 miles from town, but the shuttle gets guests back and forth quite well. It was about 12 minutes to get there, and the wait for the shuttle was just a few minutes. If you get a Sitka map online, you can just follow that and walk around town. Our group enjoyed the sea walk and spent a lot of time out along the sand in the sound area. We saw starfish, eels, crabs - the kids LOVED it. There were seals swimming in the sound, too. There are pretty green spaces and flowers on the walk, as well. We walked to Sitka National Historical Park's Totem Trail. We walked to the river; it's a very pretty, but also fairly easy walk. You can get nice views of St. Michael Cathedral along Lincoln Street. And panoramic views can be seen from Baranof Castle Hill. You will take several flights of stairs to get up, but it's worth it. At the end of town is the Pioneer Home, some type of retirement home. It sits on a big square with a giant totem pole and is a good photo spot. our time in Ketchikan was short - only five hours. I suggest getting up very early so you can see it all. It's not a big town. The waterfront promenade is nice, and there is an interesting tunnel that is good for photos. We got some nice street views right beside the tunnel...after walking up several dozen steps. Creek Street is fun to check out. There was an eagle down by the creek eating fish, and we saw cute little marmots. Married Man's Trail was pretty; my son and up took the stairs up to the Civic Center. It was a pretty walk. We also took a walk along Park Avenue, by the creek. After crossing the bridge, we found a paved path among the trees. We then found a spot where we could walk down to the creek banks; my kids loved that area. The waterfront shops are good places to buy souveniers. Victora was really lovely. We walked quite a ways and just got lots of pictures. We were there in the early evening. I would love to have been there during the day. But, we all had a great time at each stop, so I cannot really complain. Disembarkation was pretty quick. Really, if you need to change your time, they will work with you. It was easy finding our suitcases. You have to walk a little way to get to the Uber area, but once you get there, booking a driver is very simple. We loved this cruise. The stops were great. Our time with family was delightful. Typically, HAL cruises have a huge number of senior citizens. This cruise had a wide array of ages. There were many, many family groups, and it was a festive enjoyable feel overall. Our son (18) wasn't crazy about the onboard experience and would probably like RCI a little more, or Carnival, with its party atmosphere. But our three kids did have a fabulous time with family and this cruise allowed us to all gather together and that was what was so special about it. We have gone out of Whittier before, and getting to Alaska by plane is exhausting. Going to Seattle was a little tiring, but much easier than all the way up to Alaska for the departure. Yes, I would go again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise was booked last minute at a reasonable price. I had been to Alaska several times before, but my first time solo. Since I found it more cost effective to take the HAL shuttle to the ship, I followed the directions on my ... Read More
This cruise was booked last minute at a reasonable price. I had been to Alaska several times before, but my first time solo. Since I found it more cost effective to take the HAL shuttle to the ship, I followed the directions on my paperwork and contacted a HAL employee near baggage claim. They directed me to an area where I dropped off my luggage. It was quite a walk out of the airport, across the bridge through the parking lot and down to a holding area. It was so loud and crowded, it was difficult to hear what was going on and when the colored tags were called to board the bus. I was able to snag a seat on an earlier bus, as being solo, one of the buses had just one seat left and I got it. If not for that, I don't know how long I would have waited. My suggestion is to take a taxi if you have more than 2 people. It's only a couple of dollars more and much less hassle. I chose a guarantee verandah stateroom and was pleasantly surprised to have my room assigned in advance. I had plenty of storage room. It would have been fine for two, but no more. The verandah was an added boost as it was always refreshing to step out and watch the scenery go by. The air did not work even set on the coldest setting. I reported it the first day and by that evening, maintenance had come in and solved the problem. I ate at all three for fee dining venues. The food was good in both Tamarind and Canaletto. Food was brought out cold at Pinnacle Grill and I felt rushed, no heed taken when I mentioned the cold food and my pre dinner cocktail had a piece of aluminum foil in it. I wasn't expecting a free drink, but the bar service could have apologized. Service was excellent at Tamarind, and iffy at Canaletto. Yes, I cruise solo and usually dine solo. It does not mean that you can ignore a single guest to the point of being disrespectful. Or give sloppy service. The entertainment at the main stage was okay. The headlining show never performed due to an illness, and the comedian and magician just had additional performances. The BB King Blues band had the best lead singers I have heard on a HAL ship. They were a delight to hear and their interaction with the audience endeared them all the more to me. I booked all my excursions through HAL. The tour I had in Juneau was overbooked by one. Being a single I was asked to forfeit my time and come back later for the next tour. When I went back for the second tour, it was cancelled. I asked for my money back and was told that I had to go to the ship for a refund. I went back to the desk and was told that they didn't know of any excursions being cancelled, but if I could wait for the excursion leader to come back they would find out. I received a call a few hours later by a very rude woman telling me that someone in the Neptune concierge booked a couple on the same excursion with the wrong date on one of the two tickets. She then stated If I had any problems with that to call guest services, and yes my refund was back on my statement before she made the call. No sorry, nothing. Very rude! I was disappointed to miss the excursion and lack of sympathy on HAL's part. The other excursions went well, and the final tour of Seattle with transfer to airport was a good overview of the city and a good way to spend time while waiting for a late afternoon flight. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose Holland America and Eurodam because it was going where we wanted, when we wanted to go and we are so glad we did! This was an amazing experience. From the moment we boarded the ship until we stepped off to head home it exceeded ... Read More
We chose Holland America and Eurodam because it was going where we wanted, when we wanted to go and we are so glad we did! This was an amazing experience. From the moment we boarded the ship until we stepped off to head home it exceeded our expectations. The ship itself is just beautiful, no detail overlooked. Having never cruised before, we wanted to ensure a memorable experience and so we booked a Neptune Suite. If you can do this, I highly recommend it. The suite was gorgeous, had plenty of room for the two of us, and the "perks" that come with being in a suite are fantastic. The crew are all wonderful, full of smiles and very helpful regardless of what the question may be. We had a unique situation in that we recently lost my mother in law and she had wanted a burial at sea after being cremated. We worked with the ship prior to boarding to ensure we knew what we could expect and they were absolutely phenomenal in guiding us through the process. Once on board we worked with Inge, the Concierge in the Neptune Lounge, who made sure everything went beautifully. We cannot thank her enough for all she did. I have seen people comment about the ship vibrating, or that you can hear the engines. For those who may not quite understand, it's a moving vehicle. It is going to sway, and rumble, and vibrate. That was actually comforting to me, because if I could hear it and feel it I knew it was moving and taking us to the next amazing location. I am prone to motion sickness, so while many people say "You can't even feel it moving", yeah, you actually can and even though the crew indicated we had calm seas on this particular voyage, I did have to take Dramamine a couple times which fixed me right up. All that is left to say is thank you Holland America for making our first cruise so perfect. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I did this exact same trip last September and boy, the things slipped a bit. Still enjoyed myself but Holland America Line really needs to look at making some changes. Generally, I really enjoyed my Neptune Suite. It was large and ... Read More
I did this exact same trip last September and boy, the things slipped a bit. Still enjoyed myself but Holland America Line really needs to look at making some changes. Generally, I really enjoyed my Neptune Suite. It was large and bright and had a great balcony. The Concierge Lounge is a huge benefit. Enjoy coffees and small plates in the morning and afternoon. Food for the most part was very good, I think the dining room tries too hard to serve fancy dinners. I would rather just calm down and made nice dinners that weren't too fancy and under two hours. My biggest problem with this ship is regarding the hours it keeps and the buffet service. The buffet seems to be closed more than it's open leaving only room service if you want something to eat. Sounds great, but the problem with that is with 2,000 passengers it really isn't a great idea. Sometimes you had to wait on hold for over 10 minutes. My first night it took an hour and a half to get a club sandwich. They need to keep something open 24 hours where you can go sit down and eat. Coffee shop style, anything but just relying on room service so many hours of the day is a terrible idea. Why is the buffet closed so often? Worried about food waste? This was the most disappointing aspect of the trip. And while we're on the subject of hours, why does it seem like they roll up the sidewalks right around midnight? If you do the late dinner you're not going to get to do a show afterwards the last show is at 9:00.. Really? Why so early? How about a midnight comedian?Something for the people that want to stay up past 10:00. They have a couple bars and the casino open late and that's really it. If you're doing a late dinner you really can't catch a show after you eat. I also felt the service wasn't as good as in the past. A lot more of the crew seem to have bad attitudes. Especially the bartenders. I think the reason for that is because they know they're getting 15% and nothing more, so why do they have to try? Having that policy is really terrible for customer service, cuz they basically just rolled their eyes and make you a drink. After this Cruise I'm probably moving on and going to try Celebrity or somebody else. Some of these policies Holland America has implemented seem like nothing but cost-cutting measures and really hampered our experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our second sailing from Seattle to Seattle inward passage cruise. Getting on the ship was very easy until someone forgot to purchase a couple bottles of wine. My wife and I took Uber to a grocery store to purchase four bottles of ... Read More
This was our second sailing from Seattle to Seattle inward passage cruise. Getting on the ship was very easy until someone forgot to purchase a couple bottles of wine. My wife and I took Uber to a grocery store to purchase four bottles of wine for the two couples. Overall no problems and everyone seemed to enjoy this process. On Sunday morning I went down to the fitness center for my daily treadmill walk. This day was a disaster. I ended up completely tearing my hamstring and actually used the medical staff onboard. They were outstanding! Everything about the ship was outstanding from the room to dining. Our cabin boys were really nice and went above and beyond to help us. The other couple had minimal complaints mainly about the cost of alcohol and other meaningless things. My wife and I are currently planning a trip for 2020 and will travel alone next time. I really enjoy Holland America and their clientele. If you enjoy kids take another cruise line! When we embarked I had a person who wheeled me through customs and collected our luggage. I was extremely impressed with their support staff! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Since my husband and I have never taken a vacation in 10 years together, and since we are Puget Sound residents, we decided an Alaska cruise would be a relaxing and easy getaway. Embarkation was extremely smooth. We parked at the ... Read More
Since my husband and I have never taken a vacation in 10 years together, and since we are Puget Sound residents, we decided an Alaska cruise would be a relaxing and easy getaway. Embarkation was extremely smooth. We parked at the SeattleCruisePark lot within the confines of the Armory. Took about 10 minutes to shuttle to the terminal. Once we got our bags inside, time from check in to onboard was about 20 minutes. If we hadn't have been able to use the Neptune Suite check in line, it probably would have been significantly longer; the regular check in was a verrrrryyy long line. Once on board we were impressed with the ship. The furnishings are tasteful and the art is interesting. There are many little nooks you can sit at and not be bothered. The ship was at full capacity but it never felt crowded other than at the Lido during peak times. Our room was 7132, an aft corner Neptune. We booked specifically for the balcony which we used extensively. We were very happy with the room and our steward, Aan, was great. We used the Neptune Lounge a few times and the concierge, Inge, managed to track down my husband's suit bag when it went missing from his returned dry cleaning. I found there to be a lack of daytime activites that weren't centered on shopping. Too many jewelry auctions, shopping presentations, shopping guides, ect. There was also a lack of any kind of live music or anything; there was an empty piano in the Ocean Bar where we went frequently. Why not have someone there playing? The shops on the 3rd deck also were lackluster. When an "end of cruise sale" is supposedly happening, why is none of the merchandise actually on sale? We got a couples deep tissue massage, which was worth every penny. No hard upsell for the products afterwards. Nighttime entertainment was good. The BB King band was awesome. We stayed for the whole 3 hour set. The comedian was funny as well. I was a little disappointed with the BBC Planet Earth "Alaska" show. I was under the impression that the Lincoln Center Stage performers would actually play live with the Planet Earth footage. It was just a screen with the music. It was good, just not what I had anticipated. Food was excellent. Cannot say enough good things about the Pinnacle Grill. Lido food surprisingly good, however VERY busy there. Loved having breakfast in the PG where it was nice and quiet. We only ate in the MDR once and found that the food was good and so was the service, however, it was absolute chaos in there and WAY too noisy from the engines. Dive In makes a great burger but the wait is too long, sometimes it was over 20 minutes. The pizza by the aft pool is some of the best I've had. We did not do any shore excursions. Lots of them were "walking through a rainforest" type things, which, since we live in Washington, we see all the time. We opted to do self guided walking tours: In Juneau we saw the Governor's Mansion and St. Nicholas' Orthodox Church. We were given a tour by the clergyman inside. In Sitka we went to the Russian Bishop's House and took the upstairs tour, which was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. We also went to St. Michael's church and saw the New Archangel dancers. Tip: eat at "Agave". Very good food. In Ketchikan we just walked around. Kinda tourist trapy. We were there on a rare sunny day. Got some coffee. Didn't even get off the ship in Victoria. Disembarking was very easy. When they called our group we were off the ship in about 5 minutes. No one was blocking any hallways or elevators so it was quick and painless. All in all, there were just some minor things that certainly didn't make our trip any less special and we would consider HAL again for our next cruise. We had a great time. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We just returned from a 14 day cruise on a the venerable Grande Dame, Holland America MS Amsterdam. Let me preface this review by saying we (my husband, son and DIL) very much enjoyed this cruise. We chose it for the unique Alaska ... Read More
We just returned from a 14 day cruise on a the venerable Grande Dame, Holland America MS Amsterdam. Let me preface this review by saying we (my husband, son and DIL) very much enjoyed this cruise. We chose it for the unique Alaska Itinerary that included many ports to which we had not been on our previous Alaska cruises. This was our 4th Alaska cruise and first time on Holland America. We have also cruised with Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity and Viking Ocean. By reading all the previous reviews, we knew that HAL caters to an older crowd; however, "older" is a relative term which in this case means "floating nursing home." I myself am 70 but I felt young and spry on this ship of canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Don't expect to move anywhere quickly, but do expect to meet educated, well traveled shipmates with much good information to share. One of our shipmates reported going to the Lido late-night buffet, when an elderly man wandered in completely naked. Yes, that happened. Holland America knows their target market well, and have staff to help the frail get food at the buffet, enter and exit the ship, and even have the day of the week printed on the rugs in the elevators to help with orientation. This ship still has the great viewing room with floor to ceiling windows that many newer ships have replaced with fee restaurants. There is also a big library/gameroom/computer room with large windows, which is a great place for hanging out. We flew in a day early and had arranged for a car to pick us up at the airport through Seattle Town Cars. Their service was prompt and friendly. They delivered us to The Inn at the Market, which has a good location near Pike Place Market. We did the Savour Seattle food tour, which I recommend. We got to taste many of Pike Place Market's highlight foods including crab cakes, chowder, doughnuts, chocolates, dried cherries, Beecher's cheese and mac'n'cheese, to name a few items. My favorite was the salmon pate piroshky and rhubarb piroshky from "Piroshky, Piroshky." Absolutely delicious! We Uber'd to port, arrived later than most, so there was very little wait in line. We boarded and were able to go straight to our cabin, which I will review in the appropriate section. Dining: I would describe it as hit or miss. It is sometimes hard to find a clean table in the Lido Buffet. Or the table would be clean but the chair greasy or the wide carpeted window bases next to the table would be littered with food crumbs, etc. The bread baker is awesome, the assortment of breads varied and all delicious. And the pastries! You won't find better in Paris--flaky, light and baked to a golden brown perfection. Bravo! We found the Japanese, Chinese and Thai selections to be very good overall. Some soups were very tasty and well-seasoned, others were bland. The gravies on this ship are all deep rich and hearty. I wish I could make gravy that well! If you order filet in the main dining room you will receive a slice of baked tenderloin, good but lacking the crisp sear of a good filet. For that, you would need to eat in Pinnacle Grill, which currently has a $35. per person up charge. It is a bargain at lunch though--only a $10 per person. Make reservations early and know that the Pinnacle has no view and Cannaletto is a closed off section of the buffet (and serves many of the same foods). The Italian foods on this ship are in general just OK. Some dishes (rigatoni) were dried out, some sauces bland or watery. Avoid anything with spinach in it--the veggie lasagna consists of noodles, alfredo sauce and a blob of boiled spinach. Spinach omelettes are similarly yucky. Some foods that would have been delicious had they been served hot, suffered by being served lukewarm or cold. The Dive-Inn burgers fell into the lukewarm category (congealed cheese), but were served with tasty hot fries. Avoid anything with guacamole. It is a blackish-green color. My kids enjoyed the sushi choices and we all liked the salad bar, with many fresh choices, and some excellent house made dressings. I highly recommend the Asian Sesame. The ice cream was a lower quality that I have experienced on any ship, with some choices (chocolate) tasting more like ice milk. My DIL loved the sorbet choices. The Lido has some serve yourself sections, but most hot sections were served by behind the counter servers. This, along with limited hours, led to lines. It was not unusual to wait in a line for your eggs, then wait in another line for your toast. If you do the egg line first, your eggs will be lukewarm, if you do the toast first, it will be cold by the time you get your eggs. The main dining room is beautiful, but has problems. Service varies from very good to glacial, depending on the wait staff in your section and the time of day. We quickly learned where the best wait staff worked and requested their section. (Kudos to waiter Anas at dinner time--- ask for table #177 folks). Be advised that the MDR fills the worst seats first-- the ones that back up to a service station, face a wall, have a view blocked by a large column or surprisingly, are on the side so sunny that you have to pull the curtains and miss the view, while the shady side goes unoccupied. I avoided breakfast in the MDR after two tries. Are they deliberately trying to funnel people to the buffet by making them wait 45 minutes to order and another 45 minutes to receive the order? And then you receive lukewarm eggs, cold toast and cold pancakes. What a disappointment. The room service folks try very hard to get your food to you on time, as ordered and still warm. It is just a long way from the kitchen to the cabins. Toast will be cold (order pastry instead), eggs lukewarm. Do not order the scrambled eggs unless you write in "use fresh eggs," or you will receive tasteless, weird-textured pre-fab eggs. Hint to Holland America: please get some lighter-weight dishes for your hard working servers. Those trays are heavy! And they need a heated cart to keep the food hot. A napkin wrapped around toast is not going to hold in the heat. I only used room service at breakfast--my son and DIL used it once for dinner and commented that it wasn't good. Staff: There were many friendly staff members, but some who seemed stressed, unhappy or unfocused. At breakfast one morning as I waited for my eggs, I watched a (novice?) server mix up the orders, break the over easy eggs, walk away to wipe his nose and then walk back to wipe the edges of the fry pan with the same paper towel. I asked him if he realized what he had just done and he presented a blank stare. After that, I avoided any station where I saw him working. (I did report that to a supervisor.) The room stewards were all very personable and friendly, and there were always smiling folks to wish you a great day as you entered or left the ship. Download the Holland America Navigator App for easy reservations at any of the extra fee dining venues. It has a free chat service with fellow travelers which we found helpful and which was operational most days of our cruise. It also has a list of the days activities, although some days it was not a complete listing and we found it safer to carry our daily newsletter. There was less entertainment on this ship than on any of the other lines on which we have traveled. There were some mediocre to very good singers and dancers, a very funny ventriloquist, an amusing comedian. We liked the violin and piano duo "Adagio." Some evenings the highlight entertainment was a not so current movie or a BBC documentary accompanied by music. Small 1/2-filled bags of cold popcorn were available at the movies. There were also the usual Trivia and Bingo. The Test Kitchen presentations were well attended. If you don't want to stand, you need to arrive 1/2 hour early. They need a mirror over the work surface of the chef, as even if you sit in front, you can't really see what the chef is doing unless you watch the two TV screens at the sides. Might as well skip it, and watch it later in your room. My DIL attended a stretching class which she enjoyed. Each day there is a tea offered at 3 PM. We attended once and it was enjoyable to share a table with new friends, but the bread on the little sandwiches was stale. If you are a swimmer or hot tub lover, this is your ship. They were sparkling clean, the pool is also heated and they were often empty. No problem ever getting a lounge chair and the roof closes whenever the weather is cool/cold. We avoided the casino area because it was so smoky. Unfortunately, the ship's shops are across from the casino and also smoky. I usually enjoy on shop browsing, but not this time. Ketchikan: We booked the George Inlet Crab Feast privately. We have done this before and loved it. I must say that there has been some erosion in quality. Gone was the tasty potato that used to accompany the crab. The dressing on the salad, which was delicious in the past, was not as tangy. In the past, all the crab was fresh and delicious. This time, about one in three tasted watery and not fresh. The fresh ones though were awesome and the cheesecake is creamy and delicious. Be aware that there are many steps to climb to reach the Inn whether you arrive by bus or boat. You can request a ride if you need it. That afternoon, our son and DIL did the Lumberjack show (we just walked up and bought tickets) and they loved it. Juneau: We have done Taku Lodge excursion in the past and it stands out in our memories as one of the best tours we have taken. This time, our son and DIL did it and also loved it. It is expensive, but so worth it. Anchorage: We rented a car from Avis (the "B" street location). We took the free shuttle from port to the drop off point and walked the approximate 5 blocks to Avis. We arrived at around 8:30 AM and there was no line. We drove south along Turnagin Arm which is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. We stopped at Potters' Marsh and watched a pair of geese herd their brood of goslings. We drove on to Girdwood and had a yummy lunch of fried fish and chips at the 5 Chairs Restaurant. It has a charming log cabin feel and a beautiful mountain view. We also stopped at a quirky little coffee shop called "The Grind." We moved on to the Mt. Alyeska Lodge where our son and DIL met their tour for the "Summer Sled Dog Adventure." Both really enjoyed it. Meanwhile my husband and I took the hike through the beautiful woods behind the Inn. There is also a tram up the Mountain for scenic views. We then re-united and finished our day at the Alaska Wildlife and Conservation Center. If I go back, I will rent a car again and do the Portage Glacier Boat ride, which you can book privately. Homer: We loved this port. We took the free bus out onto the Spit. Word of advice--if you plan on shopping, there is no need to arrive before 10AM. We shopped, stopped at the Memorial, walked on the beach and had lunch at The Little Mermaid Restaurant, which I highly recommend. Everything we ordered was top quality and perfectly seasoned and prepared. Service was excellent and friendly and the atmosphere is wonderful. They play great upbeat music and you can hear the happy cooks singing along. Our kids took the Katchemak Bay tour offered by the ship and said it was good. Sitka: We did the Wildlife Quest and Finn Island Lodge tour offered by the ship and enjoyed it. The boat was large, comfortable, with plenty of indoor and outdoor viewing space. We saw one whale blow about 3 times and then dive. We saw many otters and eagles. We then proceeded to the lodge. The room where they serve you is a calm and pleasant banquet hall with a vaulted ceiling and wall of windows overlooking the expansive deck and water view. Everything seems new, fresh and meticulously clean. The food was wonderful--everything fresh, perfectly seasoned, piping hot. It was one of the best meals we had on the entire voyage. After eating, we went out by the bonfire where they had all the ingredients for s'mores, including Reese's cups, which make a surprisingly delicious addition. Sitka is almost always under cloud cover--dress for the likely misty rain. I can only imagine how beautiful this lodge/setting must be on the very rare sunny days they get. Icy Strait Point: We have been before and enjoy this made-for-cruisers stop. This is one of my favorite places for souvenir shopping. There is a nice shoreline walk, and a free exhibition of old canning equipment. Don't miss the trail through the woods behind the main buildings. It is an easy walk that evokes the Frost poem, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep." Seriously, it is the kind of old growth, mossy woods where fairies and hobbits would be right at home. Too bad they are building a ropes course in the center. Kodiak: Next time I will take a flight plane to see the bears. Folks who did that highly recommend it. We did the ship's tour that included a Russian Tea. Our bus arrived a little late. Our guide introduced herself and said that both she and the bus were old but still had good engines. I would add that the bus also had good brakes--more on this later. Every two seats had a washcloth hung over the back, presumably to use on the windows, which had to be closed due to the misty rain. With the windows closed, they quickly misted over and between that and the pea-soup fog, our sight-seeing drive was a bust. We could see absolutely nothing. If you have allergies, avoid this bus, there was mold/algae growing on a panel over the door and around the seals of the windows. At one pint, we drove around a corner and traffic was at a standstill due to some construction. Our driver slammed on the brakes and we hydroplaned sideways into the oncoming lane. Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic, but it gave us all a scare. Our guide was also our driver and seemed unable to focus on both her driving and delivering her spiel at the same time. We stopped at a chapel of a Russian Orthodox Seminary and learned some history and went into a Russian Orthodox Church where the Pastor gave a presentation. We almost missed this second stop as our guide said the church was not open, until someone commented that they could see people going in and out, so we did stop. The tea part of the tour was held in a large room at at an Episcopal church. The tables were laid out nicely with cloths, china and Russian knick-knacks. The tea was a delicious citrus blend. The borscht was bland, the piroshky had very little filling and paled in comparison to what we had in Seattle. We each had one cookie, which was very good. The best part of this tour was the music, played by a large group with unique stringed instruments and dressed in Russian costumes. It was obvious that they enjoyed playing together and they were excellent musicians. Victoria: We took a taxi from port to our meeting point for the 5 Star Whale Watching Tour. We booked early and were able to get the smaller boat, the "Sailish Shadow." It was just us 4 and the captain and only cost a little more than the other large-group boat. The small boat does have a bathroom, but it is tiny and you literally have to crawl in and out. The hour long boat ride out to find whales is not recommended for anyone pregnant or with back problems. Heed that advice--the ride is jolting, at times my bottom and the boat's were air-borne. Still, I found the ride exciting and kind of like being on a thrill ride at a a fair. We saw only one whale, a transient male orca but were able to follow him along a coast-line, watching him blow, surface and dive. He even rolled once and showed us his pectoral fin. Our driver was excellent at maneuvering to get the best view. After our tour, we walked down to see the floating houses on the wharf, then took the harbor taxi boat back, had delicious lobster rolls at Nautical Nellie's Restaurant, and caught a taxi back to port. The two taxis to and from port were 1/3 the cost of using the ship's shuttle. We also cruised to Sawyer and Hubbard Glaciers. Amazing. We luckily had sunny days for both. Hubbard Glacier is magnificent, reminds me of the great ice wall in Game of Thrones and is backed by snow capped mountains. The glacier talks to you with loud creaks and thundering cracks and we were lucky so see an active day of calving. Sawyer itself is smaller and less impressive, but the scenery as we cruised toward it was beautiful and the sun on the glacial water turned the water to jade. It looked like it was lit from under the water. Mesmerizing. We Uber'd from our final port to the airport. Easy peasy. So, final judgement... would I cruise with Holland America again? Yes, but... only if it offered a unique itinerary that my favorite cruise line (Viking Ocean!) doesn't offer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise (our 5th to Alaska) because it went to four new ports and we live within an hour of the Seattle port. The itinerary was fabulous. New ports besides the usual and two glacier days. We liked cabin 6118 very much. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise (our 5th to Alaska) because it went to four new ports and we live within an hour of the Seattle port. The itinerary was fabulous. New ports besides the usual and two glacier days. We liked cabin 6118 very much. The only downside was that it was portside and we noticed that starboard had the better views when docked at each port. The cabin was close to the elevator, which we like. We never heard the elevator or people in the hallway. It is roomy with a slightly larger veranda than many. We liked being about 8 cabins from the front of the ship. This made our trips to most places, other than the dining room, fairly close. We both have some ambulatory issues but don’t use a wheelchair. We could go outside at the front of our deck level during our glaciers days. The staff are very accommodating for some issues we had. I needed extra ice and a wedge for the bed due to being 9 weeks post op from shoulder surgery. My husband needed larger front for the daily schedule and for the dining room menu. No problem. They accommodated us very well. Now, for a few negatives and the reason for the 3 stars. The entertainment was rather lame. They had the three same entertainers for 14 days in the bars. There was a duet (piano and violin), a trio that played music from the mostly 1940’s, and a piano bar that wasn’t the fun sing along kind. He was an excellent player but didn’t play much that a 67 year old woman (me) enjoyed. Fourteen days with these same three. Really?! Boring. The stage shows were ok. Four were really good, a xylosyth ( xylophone/synthesizer) show, a guy that sang Beattie songs, a comic ventriloquist, and a comedian. The problem with the ship’s Singers and Dancers was that they had very bright backlit wall behind them for all shows except one and no front lighting, like spotlights or just lighting in general. It made seeing them kind of difficult. There wasn’t any karaoke. All and all, the ship was just rather boring. I think if one just wants to relax in a very quiet place with not much going on, this might be the cruise for you. For the food...the dining room room food all looks beautifully presented but it’s all rather bland. Even the “spicy shrimp”, etc was bland. I could hardly taste curry in my curry dish. There are only two specialty dining restaurants and they are very good. One Italian, and one steak place. The Lido buffet is just okay, like they usually are. Our favorite free place to eat was the Dive In by the pool. It had good burgers, hot dogs, and a taco bar. Ahh. Finally some spice. The ship’s entire crew were very friendly and gave excellent service. We like the crew director very much. He wasn’t over the top like some are. I guess no cruise is a bad cruise. We just like more going on and we aren’t young. We are 67and 72. I read six books and I’m not a fast reader! Better load up your kindle before heading out on this ship! I did two loads of laundry. The washers takes $2.00 in quarters and the dryers are free. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
1. Seattle cruise terminal again was organized and FRIENDLY for both departure and arrival. Everything moved smoothly and the wait wasn't unbearable. Plenty of room for all to sit if they so desired. 2. One of the passengers had ... Read More
1. Seattle cruise terminal again was organized and FRIENDLY for both departure and arrival. Everything moved smoothly and the wait wasn't unbearable. Plenty of room for all to sit if they so desired. 2. One of the passengers had been to Alaska on 2 other occasions, second one it was the first trip. We wanted to see as much as we could so we booked the 14 day trip. 3. Each port was unique and glad to have such a variety of places to go. 4. Ship entertainment was good, shows were good, especially enjoyed the coffee with the cruise director. We heard some interesting tales. 5. Service was good from Lido to main dining room to cabin stewards to laundry staff. (we received a personalized note each time laundry was delivered to the room) 6. The dolphin level outside cabin was a good size for 2 passengers. The only "complaint" would have been the single outlet for the entire room. Thank goodness I packed a multi port charger. We had a problem with the shower draining slow and it was taken care of within a few hours (before our next use) 7. Again the ports were good. Juneau in the sun was so much fun, Sitka and Kodiak were our favorites. The Fortress of the Bears and the Raptor Center in Sitka were the highlight of our tours. 8. So many eagles were spotted we lost count but we saw whales and puffins and sea otters and a seal on an iceberg and so much more. 9. We did eat most of our meals in the Lido and from wait staff to line staff couldn't have been more pleased. 10. The Dive In treated us to hamburgers, fries and hot dogs a few times to have that taste of home 11. Met some very interesting friendly fellow cruisers! We would book this itinerary again on Holland America. We might opt for a balcony the next time Oh and the night spent in the cove was pretty cool, just wish it had gotten dark enough to see the stars, it would have been incredible Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Sailed HAL for 10 of 12 cruises. Last cruise 34 years ago. First vacation in 8 years and first vacation with wife in 28 years (never had honeymoon and always had kids)?? Basically, the shore system didn’t match the onboard system. I ... Read More
Sailed HAL for 10 of 12 cruises. Last cruise 34 years ago. First vacation in 8 years and first vacation with wife in 28 years (never had honeymoon and always had kids)?? Basically, the shore system didn’t match the onboard system. I bought 4 indulgences and packages and none were ready for us. We never received the excursion tickets or most of the Add-ons without multiple trips to Guest services. They never notified us of Port Valet services or shopping specials that were supposed to be delivered to room. HAL completely missed our anniversary. They were quick with ‘I’m so sorry’ but slow on resolutions. Missed several onboard events while waiting in line at Guest Services. They don’t answer the phone so don’t bother. MDR was nice but if you share a table, they may make you wait 30 minutes until the table is full. Lincoln Center Stage was the best. I wish they would let me throat punch the drunks and obnoxious passengers that walked by and disrupted the performance. Weather was rough 1 day (18’ swells) and passengers felt the need to vomit on the common area carpets instead of staying in their cabins. Everything is an add on. Better meals in MDR ($25+ extra), candid photos ($20 each or 5 for $60). Portraits at Gala, $40 each or $160 for 5). Bingo was about $40 plus the $2.50 dauber. Staff was always pushing drinks, pictures, spa treatments, etc. Had 2 of 8 days without problems and trying to get what we paid for. Well possibly travel on HAL again if they fix their problems. I’m a 3 star Mariner and have a long way until 4 stars. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. This was also our 25th cruise. We had never cruised to Alaska before and over the years many fellow cruisers had recommended it. It was our 3rd time on the Oosterdam and our 2nd ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. This was also our 25th cruise. We had never cruised to Alaska before and over the years many fellow cruisers had recommended it. It was our 3rd time on the Oosterdam and our 2nd Neptune suite so we knew what to expect as far as accommodations. We stayed in Seattle at the Marriott waterfront for two days prior to embarkation and had a nice time there exploring the city and doing the usual touristy things. We rode the Light rail for the experience and ate at two notable places in Seattle: Belltown Pizza, and the Biscuit Bitch, both within walking distance from the hotel. Embarkation was easy but different from any others we’ve experienced. We arrived at 11:00 and walked right into the terminal but were not directed by anyone to the proper stations for check-in. There were signs of course, but with so many people walking around at once it seemed a little confusing not to have a person directing traffic. We expected to complete a health check first as we usually do but surprisingly that was not required for this cruise. We found our way to the proper line and were checked in quickly and were instructed to wait for our number to be called. The waiting area was combined with Princess and Holland ships, a first for us. We began boarding about 45 minutes later and walked right on to the ship without any greeting at all. We expected at least a greeting and maybe the usual mimosas as suite guests but nothing. We went straight to our cabin (5190) and found it ready for us but without luggage so we went exploring a little and had lunch in the Lido. Our luggage had arrived by 1:00. Our steward, Toni, took very good care of us. The room is a nice size and the balcony is amazing as we remembered. We stayed in the same cabin 18 months earlier. It’s perfect for Alaska viewing. Dinner in the main dining room was routine— food satisfactory, service good. With one exception, it remained that way throughout the cruise. We had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill one evening and it was considerably better than the Main Dining Room, as expected. Breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill was very good each day. We avoided the Lido as much as possible. It’s crowded, difficult to get a seat, long lines, and mediocre food. Hundreds of people in there at once, many wandering around, stopping and turning without notice, breaking in line. It’s a madhouse. Some use it as a place to sit long after eating rather than a place to eat and leave, contributing to the shortage of places to sit and eat. There are so many other places on the ship to sit; I don’t understand the desire to use the Lido. On the first night we began to have a lot of ship movement which got steadily worse throughout the night and into the next day. The captain announced at noon that the winds were gale force in excess of 40 mph which had not been forecast which were causing the significant motion. He predicted it would improve later in the day but it didn’t until after midnight. Many got sick including crew. Fortunately my wife and I did not. We did the Mendenhall Glacier guided hike in Juneau, which was strenuous but very nice. We walked around town in Sitka, visiting the historical museum with totem poles, native artifacts, and artisan presentations, and a stroll through downtown shopping. We found it a very pleasant place. In Ketchikan we watched the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was a little corny, but entertaining. The Hubbard Glacier cruising was spectacular, especially from our enormous wrap around verandah. Lastly, we got off in Victoria, walked to the Fisherman's Wharf Park about ½ mile from the dock. Lots of places to eat and to see unusual houses built on the water. As for entertainment, my wife attended a couple of shows but didn’t find them interesting enough to stay the entire time. I like to play blackjack but not unless the table is at least 4-6 people. Many times there were just one or two at a table so I didn’t play as often as I like. We did like the Lincoln Center musicians and the two piano players just across from the casino. The group playing at the B.B. King club sounded great but we did not go in. We had a good time, and we’re glad we went but doubt we’ll ever visit Alaska again. Once was enough for us. In fact I think we realized something on this cruise. Our enthusiasm for cruising has diminished over the years. The past two cruises with a Neptune Suite have been nice upgrades from previous cruises and a must for future cruises but at a cost that now competes with some other pricey getaways. I think we’ll try something different for a while. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
3 couples (brothers & sister & spouses) took this trip for the Glacier Bay stop. 2 of the couples had been to Alaska previously--but never had seen Glacier bay. Our age grouping is late 60's to early 80's. My wife ... Read More
3 couples (brothers & sister & spouses) took this trip for the Glacier Bay stop. 2 of the couples had been to Alaska previously--but never had seen Glacier bay. Our age grouping is late 60's to early 80's. My wife & I had never been to AK and after reading many reviews on CC, decided to select the Eurodam for the GLacier Bay stop. We flew in to SEA the day before and stayed at Cedar Brook Lodge near Sea-Tac. Very nice facility--nestled in a woodsy--outdoor setting. Would highly recommend this facility. Free morning buffet included in the price ($215) Hotel had free shuttle from SEATAC. We used Seattle Express to travel from hotel to Pier 91 and Pier 91 to SEATAC --they were prompt & had nice vans. Got to Pier 91 around 945 am and got stuck waiting outside terminal building as folks from the ship were still disembarking. Got congested outside terminal (people & bags).They started letting people inside around 1045 am. Once we were inside and dropped off our luggage--we were processed quickly and sat in the upstairs waiting are until our group # was called. Princess Ruby was also boarding at the same time, from the same waiting area, Got on the ship around 1115 am, dropped the carry on's off in the cabin and headed to the Lido buffet Got our lunch and then went outside on the Lido deck to watch the activity on the Ruby Princess & Eurodam. We had the Signature Beverage Package as part of our Explore 4 promotion, got some drinks and watched the people and ship activity--went to the Lifeboat drill at 315 pm. and then went back up to the Lido deck to watch cast off of the Ruby & Eurodam. Ruby left first @ 4 pm. Eurodam left 445pm. Delay was never explained--not a big deal. One comment about the SBP drink package--it also included the 15% Service charge as long as the total for the drink & SC together was under $11, not $9 as I was led to believe. To buy the package separately was $363. Cheaper than on Royal Caribbean. 15 alcohol drinks per day was the limit. I never exceeded that limit and I tried hard. "Miami Vice" was our favorite drink. Our previous cruise was July 2018 on Oasis of the Seas (6000 passengers), that is our basis of comparison for this cruise. Wife does not like seafood much and complained about lack of menu options, but I found the MDR menus varied. Lot of Asian/Indonesian items on the menu--wife would not try them. Sigh. Ate in the MDR six nights and Pinnacle Grille one night (part of our Explore 4 package). Good food & service in the MDR & Pinnacle. Our table servers in the MDR were outstanding. Food portions on Eurodam were smaller than Oasis, but adequate for most folks. I sometimes had an appetizer size second entree Wife thought the French Onion soup on the Oasis was better than Eurodam. Very little cheese on the soup on Eurodam vs Oasis. Shrimp cocktails on Eurodam were of better quality & size than Oasis. Steak, salmon, French Onion soup, Caesar salad were offered every night. Eurodam has a late night (1030--1130 p) buffet in the Lido, was always too full to try it. We had SY7078 (Signature suite) and my siblings had SA 7061 (Neptune suite) & PS7036 (Pinnacle Suite) Our suite was adequate in size, but not as roomy as the JR Suite we had on the Oasis. Lighting for the closets was lacking somewhat. Shower stall in the bathroom was tight. We had a shower tub combo in the bathroom as well. I never used it, USB ports and 110/120 outlets by the bed were adequate. Went to BB King performance several nights--they were V good. Female singer was combo of Aretha & Tina Turner and has some powerful pipes on her. Got the club jumping. The group played late 70's & early 80's hits & disco type tunes. Saw the magic & comedy shows--good--but G rated. Saw the BBC Alaska wild life movie in the main showroom--good but short--less than 45 minutes. Short clips from other films. Casino had $6 Blackjack table--spent several hours in there. Wife tried the slots and was happy with that activity. We did not partake of other offerings on the ship. Lincoln Center chamber group played several afternoons & evening. I attended one performance and that was enough--very dry, odd ball classical (IMO) music. 2 violins, a bass & piano. Lots of scooters & walkers & canes on board--beware when moving about. They are dangerous. We lucked out with the weather. Cloudy leaving SEA, Juneau was misty & cloudy, but bearable, it cleared later in the day. We found a taxi that took us to the Mendenhall Glacier & picked us up again at our time, for $27 /ea., I had a National Park pass that saved us $5 each (Entrance Fee to Park Visitor Center). Walked to Nugget Falls & back (1 mile each way). Easy trail. Glacier Bay was cloudy, but were able to see clearly. Margerie glacier was calving while there. Sitka was clear & sunny. Took ship excursion (4 & 1/4 hrs) out on the bay looking for Otters, Bald Eagles, Whales. Saw lots of Otters, Eagles, a few whales in the distance and stopped at the Raptor Center. Only had about 15 minutes to look at the Eagles & Owls, etc under rehab--not long enough. Tour was SI10 $160/ea. After getting back to ship, we sat out on the Lido deck and watched Eagles sitting in trees near the harbor watching for fish. That was neat. Ketchikan--sunny--walked around downtown ( very close to ship pier), shopped and got T shirts, etc. My 26 year old son who came along on cruise did an ATV ship excursion into the forest area and was pleased-- $200 for the trip. Got back on board and again watched Eagles doing their thing. Bar service on Lido deck was V good. My son is a social animal and hung out with the bar crew after hours and as a result we got V good bar service from those people when they were on duty. Victoria--arrived 6 pm. (sunny) took shuttle bus ($15 RT) to town and walked around. 4 ships were in port, so DT was crowded. Arrived in SEA 6 am Sat. left the ship at 845 am., on SEA Express and at the AP by 930 am. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise because it spent the day in Glacier Bay (which did not disappoint). We had 2 cabins one for our 3 kids (21, 18 and 17) and one for my husband and I. Both had verandahs. We booked through a big box store and had quite ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it spent the day in Glacier Bay (which did not disappoint). We had 2 cabins one for our 3 kids (21, 18 and 17) and one for my husband and I. Both had verandahs. We booked through a big box store and had quite a bit of onboard credit which was nice. My complaints were minimal and the cruise was way better than I had anticipated. The Greenhouse Spa was kind of chaotic. It is close to the Lido Market and I was trying to relax and be in the moment in my robe and there are people wandering around looking for a restroom. Or coming in the spa dressing room looking for the buffet. Really poor signage and not super relaxing. The Lido Market was also pretty chaotic every time I went there. We stuck to the main dining room for our dinners and had breakfast and lunch in there a few times also. Just did the Lido for grab and go sandwiches and quick salads. There were several issues with us and other guests getting on the Navigator app. People were still asking about how to use it 3 days into the cruise. They should have a quick session on how that works. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Where do I begin...To me, HAL is how cruising is supposed to be. The ship was very elegant and classy, like you would picture an old-time cruise ship, but not antiquated at all. It was also very "green" and environmentally ... Read More
Where do I begin...To me, HAL is how cruising is supposed to be. The ship was very elegant and classy, like you would picture an old-time cruise ship, but not antiquated at all. It was also very "green" and environmentally conscious and that's something that is very important to me. I never saw a single paper towel or napkin (even in the public restrooms you dried your hands on little washcloth-sized towels) and no disposable plastic ANYWHERE. The drinking glasses in the buffet area were a really heavy plastic that we thought were glass at first, but the plates are all glass/stoneware and the bowls were a very heavy resin type material. In the buffets, you don't serve yourself, you just tell them what you want, so there aren't a thousand people touching the spoons and messing with the food. The food here was remarkable, considering the amount that's served each day. The main dining room was fantastic (atmosphere, food and service) and in the afternoons there were little happy hour specials at different bars on the ship where you get your second drink for $2. We actually had a TUB in our cabin and the bath towels were huge. They even provided blankets for the balcony and up on the outside decks. It was all just amazing. Yes, HAL is sometimes referred to as the "geriatric cruise line", but that is a misnomer. I have been on at least a dozen cruises, and this one was by the far the busiest, but it wasn't geared towards keeping children entertained. (This was my first time on HAL so I can't speak regarding their other ships). That said, they do have a kids' program and I can't imagine that a kid would get bored, (I would be delighted to take my grandchildren on this cruise) but there were no water slides or rock-climbing walls or things like that other than whatever they have in the dedicated kids' area. One thing I was a little afraid of was that it was going to be a more formal atmosphere than we wanted, but that wasn't the case at all. Even on the Gala nights the wardrobes ran the scale from formalwear (but not much) to jeans and everything in between. In a nutshell, we are new HAL fans and are already thinking about our next cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Probably I took my last cruise on Holland America last month. The cruise was a 7 day cruise on the Oosteram round trip from Seattle to Alaska. Here is an explanation of why I feel as I do: Pros: • The Hotel staff was nice and ... Read More
Probably I took my last cruise on Holland America last month. The cruise was a 7 day cruise on the Oosteram round trip from Seattle to Alaska. Here is an explanation of why I feel as I do: Pros: • The Hotel staff was nice and provided good service; the room was clean and comfortable; the ship was clean. Our cabin staff remember my name after the first day. • The bow was open for viewing and picture taking when at a Glacier; the naturalist’s narrative was helpful. Since it was cold out, hot beverages were served during the sightseeing on the bow. • Regular Coffee was better than the coffee on many ships I’ve been on. • Bar service was reasonably priced, and we were not constantly bombarded with someone trying to sell us a specialty drink. • The string quartet was very good in the Lincoln Center venue. Cons: There is a list of cons: Food: • Food and Food Service: Food service in the main dining room was spotty at best and on several occasions we had to flag down a server after a long wait. One of our party ordered a soda and it was never delivered. When we complained, he no longer wanted it as we were through with our meal although it was offered at no charge. At Breakfast the portions were very small, much smaller than what is normal in a regular Diner. In the main dinning room I ordered lamb chops, medium rare. I was served two very thin, too thin to cook medium rare, chops. I sent them back and got 3 chops, 2 of which I’d call medium, 1 close to medium rare-it was the only thick enough to be able to be cooked right. • In the extra $35 charge specialty restaurant there was an extra charge of $10 for a lobster tail with a steak, something I have not seen of other lines I’ve been on. In fact on one cruise two of the party I was with had three or four lobster tails, one after the other, in the specialty dining room at no extra charge. One of our party asked if it was possible to get a side dish of the mac and cheese entrée and was told she would be charged $15 for an extra entrée. We asked to speak with the dining room Captain and he approved it for no charge. I have never before been told on a cruise that a second entrée was an extra charge in either the regular or specialty dining rooms. Although the steak I ordered was very good, the sides were smaller than usual portions. • In the specialty Italian Restaurant the food was good, but again the service was slow and the portions smaller than I’ve seen on other ship. • The Lido buffet was a big disappointment when it came to service. Although the food was good, the lines were slow due to a lack of adequate staff, especially in the sections that required some preparation. Staff was slow to clean up tables during busy times and in one case only cleaned part of the table. I ordered two eggs over easy and the yoke on one broke and I was served this unappealing glob with one yoke whole and the other a yellow spot on the plate. When I saw an supervisor and mentioned it to him he said he would take care of it, took my plate and returned with only one egg where part of the white was still uncooked. On another day that featured poached eggs, I asked for two eggs and was given one. The portion of corn beef hash was smaller than I have ever seen before in any food venue, shipboard or on land. Other portions were also smaller than usual. As a side note, the Taco Bar by the pool was tasty, but often the bins were empty and the shredded beef was put out with so much juice that it was hard to get to the meat. • As a coffee lover, there was no place for specialty coffee drinks, even at an extra charge, on board other than in the main dining room. Entertainment: • Understanding it was Memorial Day weekend and there were a number of Vietnam Vets and families on board, the ship closed up early in the evening. The piano bar, which on every other cruise I’ve been on was always open in the evening was usually without a piano player, there was some dancing in BBKing Blues shows, but that’s because the shows were more Motown than Blues. The other bars were also pretty dead with almost no entertainment. • The first night had no entertainment venues other than BBKing that I found open. • The big production show had fine dancers, but I found it loud and the fantastic electronics took away from the talented performers. Some people said they liked it, most I talked with found it annoying, loud and overproduced. • Was there a lack of activity because the ship felt the passengers would not take advantage of it or was there no activity at night because the passengers give up trying to find a place to dance or do anything other than buy drinks. I don’t know the answer, but my guess it was the second reason. If you look at other reviews I’ve written you’ll see I tend to be positive in what I see and I’m sad that I am writing such a disappointing narrative. My other Holland America cruise a number of years ago did not have any of the problems I describe here. Hopefully the other passengers had a better experience than I did, but I’ve read where Holland America is playing with charging extra fees and cutting back in order to get a better bottom line. It’s unlikely they’ll see me again. Read Less
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