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10 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Dining - Lido is standard buffet style, always good, sometimes great. Loved the fact that they handle most of the food for you. Embarkation - Very easy, we were in our room within 30 minutes of starting the process. Music - the piano ... Read More
Dining - Lido is standard buffet style, always good, sometimes great. Loved the fact that they handle most of the food for you. Embarkation - Very easy, we were in our room within 30 minutes of starting the process. Music - the piano players were pretty good, it was always packed when we were down there. BB King club was a little past my bedtime, so we ended up walking by it on the way to bed, but what we heard was good. Loved the Lincoln Center musicians. Excursions - we only did one, in Juneau. We did the Mendenhall River Float, and it was amazing. We had Carolina as our guide, and she was extremely knowledgeable about the area, and kept a smile on her face the whole time she was rowing. The river float does go past some houses, but it didn't detract at all from the experience, as the guide was able to pass along information about the housing, and how development has impacted the river, and how the river is taking it back a little at a time. Cabin - We were in 6053, and it was a great location. The cabin was clean, well set up, and our stewards were on the spot. Thermal suite pass - worth EVERY penny. One time there were 3 other people in it with us, otherwise it was just the 2 of us. We were able to relax and recharge, use the ceramic heated loungers, and could have spent the whole cruise in there. Disembarkation - worst part of the cruise. It was slow, and I don't stand in lines well. Thank goodness my luggage is bright orange, as we were able to pick it out easily once in the terminal. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked this cruise on a whim as we had never been on a cruise and found a great deal. Seattle isn't far from Vancouver BC Canada (about 2.5 to 3 hour drive) so having this embark and return to Seattle was convenient. We drove ... Read More
We booked this cruise on a whim as we had never been on a cruise and found a great deal. Seattle isn't far from Vancouver BC Canada (about 2.5 to 3 hour drive) so having this embark and return to Seattle was convenient. We drove down in the morning at 7:30AM and parked at Seattle Cruisepark by 10:30 (we had enough time to stop for coffee). They have shuttles that take you to and from the terminal every 15-20 minutes so it was quite convenient. Embarkation was great and straight forward. A porter took our bags before hand and they were already in our room by the time we got on board. Our room was configured in a twin-bed setup, and after our concierge introduced themselves we asked them if they could change it to a single-bed setup while we roamed the ship. They happily obliged. We went straight for the Lido deck to eat as our morning drive and check in left us starving. It did not disappoint as there were plenty of foods ready for everyone as soon as the boarded. The ship itself wasn't particularly huge, but you didn't feel confined either. Memorable for us were the variety of shows on the main stage every night. You could gamble at the casino, go to some cooking demonstrations, watch movies in a theatre, swim, relax in hot tubs, drink in the birds nest or on the Lido rear deck; plenty to do. The main dining room is surprisingly elegant and huge, and the food was delicious there as well as the Lido Buffet. One night we had dinner at the Pinnacle grill. I swear, I had THE BEST 18 oz Ribeye Steak that i've ever had in my life (and this is from a guy who has eaten a fair share of steak!). One night we danced as the Birds Nest turns into a club with dance floor and nearby bar. Alaska cities were beautiful, and the time of year we went (1st week of September) happened to have warm weather at all of our stops. Juneau was 26 degrees celcius!!! Hubbard Glacier was nice as the boat engines were turned off and the only sounds were the calving of ice into the bay. The tradition of Pea Soup served to those on deck was neat, as I don't often have pea soup. In Ketchikan I got to see the Time Bandit (a boat from the show, Deadliest Catch) in port. Sitka Alaska didn't have much to do in town and we didn't book any excursions, so we took the day to relax while everyone went off-ship as well as do laundry so that we didn't have to do so much when we got home. Onboard there are a few laundry rooms with several washer/dryers. Washers cost $2.00 a load, and you can get change from the Front Desk. Soap is free, as well as the Dryers. We popped our clothes in and went to eat with plenty of time before going back to swap the clothes in the dryer and go back to the Birds Nest for some Pina Coladas. For a 7 day cruise near our home and for our first time, this cruise was excellent and we are itching to book our next cruise! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We selected the Seattle to Alaska cruise for a special birthday. Four of us traveled together -- my husband and I and my parents. Holland America was not the cheapest, but had reasonably good reviews and a great route -- Sitka, Juneau, ... Read More
We selected the Seattle to Alaska cruise for a special birthday. Four of us traveled together -- my husband and I and my parents. Holland America was not the cheapest, but had reasonably good reviews and a great route -- Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria. We arrived late in the boarding window, so embarkation was easy. But, that's where the positive part of the experience ended. Our room was a nightmare. Although we paid a substantial amount to upgrade our room (to veranda, high floor, quiet location), our room was directly below the buffet. We had a ridiculous and stressful amount of noise -- pounding, rolling carts, etc -- from 6 am to midnight. We were finally moved after FOUR nights into a beautiful suite room but the thermostat was broken and we had cold air blowing on the bed for two nights. My parents' room was adjacent to another room where they were doing construction. The buffet food was mediocre. The dining room food was worse -- so bad that we stopped eating in there after two nights. We purchased one excursion but it was incredibly overpriced for the experience. We worked with the guest services staff during and after our stay. They were impatient, rude (and maybe overwhelmed since there seemed to be many unhappy customers on board) and clearly not interested in working to make us want to ever try Holland America again. For 6 really bad nights in our room, we received a $300 credit, and nothing more. My parents also received a credit but should have been offered a new cruise. We don't recommend Holland America and will not sail with any ship under the Carnival Cruise Lines umbrella. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
we choose this cruse as an upgrade to the other lines available. paid more but got way less than expected. the rooms were much smaller than described the full size tub was anything but and the ADA equipment that I requested and was assured ... Read More
we choose this cruse as an upgrade to the other lines available. paid more but got way less than expected. the rooms were much smaller than described the full size tub was anything but and the ADA equipment that I requested and was assured would be available, wasn't. of course we were not informed of this till we were outside the 12 mile boundary of the USA. the air conditioning system never worked the entire trip and they continued to do dry dock repairs while at sea. the anytime dinning for the few times we tried it was always substandard while if you were willing to pay the upcharge the food was excellent. the all inclusive drink package had limits not divulged prior to purchase. during repairs of the interior pool the passengers were exposed to toxic paint of some type which my wife has final recovered from but with my COPD I have not and the Captain, to this date refuses to describe what the exposure was. the crew / service personnel were great, the views were great, and we did not have a tour that was not outstanding the biggest issue is that with the line flying a non US flag you as an individual have no recourse against them and they can deny all written comments sent while at sea and ignore you arrive back in the US Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We decided to try HAL as we are Carnival stockholders and usually cruise Princess -Platinum Capt Circle-We have been to Alaska once before and decided to try the smaller ship!! Great choice!! We loved it!! We embarked in Seattle and it ... Read More
We decided to try HAL as we are Carnival stockholders and usually cruise Princess -Platinum Capt Circle-We have been to Alaska once before and decided to try the smaller ship!! Great choice!! We loved it!! We embarked in Seattle and it was so fast and easy!! The staff were so friendly and helpful and America’s Test Kitchen Chef Annette welcomed us as we walked by the Test Kitchen and invited us in and showed us the great spot for her classes!! EXC Hist Jeanette was delightful as well!!We had and outside cabin and it was quite spacious and even had a couch and bathtub!! Much better than Princess!! Excellent food choices-We loved the buffet..Fresh food & lots of choices and passengers didn’t serve themselves !! Very clean and no norovirus! Entertainment was good and we enjoyed the many ports!!Cons:TVs are a bit dated an tv lineup could us a lift. Numerous people 3-4 had “service”dogs.. They need more guidelines as these dogs were clearly pets and not trained for service! The Aussie was disruptive and frequently barked !! Not fair to someone who really needs his service animal!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We had cruised to Alaska before but were unable to maximise our experience because of health issues towards the end of the experience. Having cruised HAL in 2017 after a break of about 10 years cruising with one of their main competitors ... Read More
We had cruised to Alaska before but were unable to maximise our experience because of health issues towards the end of the experience. Having cruised HAL in 2017 after a break of about 10 years cruising with one of their main competitors we were keen to return to Alaska and experience it with HAL. The 14 day itinerary sttod out as a must do option travelling further north than our previous cruise. Following Cruise Critic we were made aware of the upgraded bathrooms on many of the ocean view cabins so we upgraded. The new shower is really good and we were pleased with our decision. As we prefer set dining the first night on any cruise is a little worrying - how would we get on with our dinner companions. In all our cruises we have never had to ask to be moved and indeed again we got on really well with our new friends from Florida. On this sailing second sitting was relatively empty. This was great for us as we were able to build a great rapport with our wait staff, Oka, Arie and wine steward Florence. They were a great team and we really enjoyed our dinners throughout the cruise. Some of the ports of call we had visited 5 years ago but apart from in Juneau where we went whale watching again we were able to find different independent tours. Of course on this itinerary there were new ports and we enjoyed them all, that is Anchorage, Homer and Kodiak. Icy Strait Point was particularly interesting as a whole new cruise terminal complex had been built since we were last there. There is just a little concern that the Tinglit heritage could be devalued as more and more ships visit. Being an older ship Zaandam as yet hasn't got Billboard and BB KIng's. This meant that there was live music in the bars every evening for our pre dinner drink. This is much to our liking! All the musicians were very talented and Mike in the Mix/Piano Bar was very entertaining. We also very much enjoyed the Ocean Trio in the Ocean Bar. The evening shows in Mainstage were good and there was only one show we left as being Brits we couldn't cope with one of the American comedians accent and as his act was very intactive with the audience, nothing wrong with that, and we were on the balcony and of course he was interacting with those on the lower level we couldn't catch the conversation. The staff also need to think about closing the doors to the mainstage on Deck 5 so the music from Ocean Bar does not distract from the performers on stage. Tommy Proulx, the young saxophonist was particularly good, so much so that we bought his CD! Mention must also be made of Janette the EXC guide. As a native Alaskan her talks were most interesting and relevant with no pushing of the EXC excursions. So as independent travellers this was great for us. So we had a really great cruise. There were some minor irritations, like why do they charge so much for photographs, but nothing that spoilt our holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I have been to Alaska the last two years with my grandson on Holland America and loved it. The crew, the staff, the Chefs like Chef Kenny and Officer Marcus were so helpful. They were the dinamic duo making sure that everything was ready ... Read More
I have been to Alaska the last two years with my grandson on Holland America and loved it. The crew, the staff, the Chefs like Chef Kenny and Officer Marcus were so helpful. They were the dinamic duo making sure that everything was ready on time. In the dinning, Charlie, Marcus and our servers were happy, and very attentive. This is a happy ship, not sure what their secret is but the crew showed that they enjoyed their jobs, took great pride in all their challenges. Positivity flourished every where.! The excursion team was super. I think Derek from Amsterdam was tops. I would recommend this cruise so much that I am planning on repeating it again next year! The destinations were so different. The other guest on the ship were outgoing and friendly. The Zandam is a happy, clean, ship being staffed by some of the best crew I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Thank you Holland America. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was a repeat of the same cruise my wife took with her sister a year ago. She enjoyed it so much that we went together this year. I don't think you can appreciate HAL unless you've been on other lines. My most recent ... Read More
This was a repeat of the same cruise my wife took with her sister a year ago. She enjoyed it so much that we went together this year. I don't think you can appreciate HAL unless you've been on other lines. My most recent experience was a repositioning cruise last year on RCI. It wasn't bad, but the experience was so uneven in quality it left me unwilling to ever take another RCI cruise! The only poor experience we had was the Dive Inn burger lunch bar. Someone raved about how wonderful it was, so we put up with a 40 minute wait for cold food that was entirely tasteless. Wendy's makes a better burger! I was incredulous that such a screwed-up operation could exist on such a good shop. We also had some of the signature cocktails in the bar that were strange, and just tasted bad, which were graciously withdrawn. Otherwise, it was simply wonderful. I was very happy with the food. The concept of service on their Lido Market deck was very good. Small batch prep on some items and to-order on others was very well executed. We routinely ate breakfast there. Coffee was decent too. In comparison, the brown sludge served on RCI had us routinely paying for good coffee. The whole RCI strategy is to get you somewhere and provide what you really want and expect for additional money at every turn. Not so on HAL. I'm looking forward to another trip on the Eurodam. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I sailed with my mom, our first trip to Alaska, and her first cruise. It was a last-minute decision, due to the cancellation of another planned trip. We booked via Costco.com, which could not have been easier. It looked like we got the ... Read More
I sailed with my mom, our first trip to Alaska, and her first cruise. It was a last-minute decision, due to the cancellation of another planned trip. We booked via Costco.com, which could not have been easier. It looked like we got the last balcony stateroom available. We selected this particular cruise line/date because it left from Seattle, returned to Seattle, and fit into our available vacation window. Neither of us had ever sailed with Holland America (HAL) before. We were dropped off at the dock by a family member. Our luggage was quickly whisked away while we entered the terminal (no line to enter, yay!). We got to the terminal around 1130am, earlier than our appointed time per tickets. We waited in line about 30 minutes; by noon, we were on the ship and our room was already available. The terminal attendant who checked us in said HAL is one of the few cruise lines that gets people on their ships early with their rooms available immediately. I would consider this embarkation a better than average experience, compared to the 10+ other cruises I've taken. After dodging the annoying photographers (on every cruise line, sadly), we were met by Ship's staff , smiling upon our entry, standing nearby with maps and offering directions to oncoming passengers. Atrium was clean and not clogged with people, making it easy to make our way to our room. For dining, we tried the Lido Market (Casual), Dining Room, and Pinnacle Grill (steakhouse, specialty dining). Food in all locations was good. Lido was difficult to navigate; so many people and all fighting for a window seat. By the time you found a table your food was cold (so we learned quickly to find a seat and then take turns getting food). Some lines there were quite long. I liked that we did not serve ourselves (hygiene), but it did take longer. Food variety was good and quality was good. Dining Room was used for dinner, lunch, and breakfast. We had open seating, but never waited more than 5 minutes to be seated whenever we went. Food was good; better quality and presentation than Lido. Nice variety too. We especially liked the filet/lobster dinner! All desserts were great. Pinnacle Grill was a dining event. Food quality/presentation was a step up from the dining room. I am not sure it was worth the extra $35 per person we paid, though. We did not purchase any drinks, so cannot comment on bar service. Entertainment and Activites: EXC provided several talks and included a naturalist, who provided information on flora/fauna along the way. We enjoyed all talks and learned a lot! We especially enjoyed the Glacier Bay day (at sea all day), as National Parks rangers boarded our ship for the day, gave talks and had materials to share/purchase. The best part though, was the ranger talking throughout the day via ship intercom about the glaciers we were seeing/sailing by. It was not incessant, but pretty regular throughout a several hour period. While some may have been annoyed by it, but we really liked it. Theater shows were good. Singers/dancers/musicians all very talented. Comedian Jim Short was very funny, and we enjoyed the illusionist too (Joseph Reohm) . There were other activities on the ship that we did not partipate in (America's test kitchen, Lincoln Center Stage, BB King's Blues Club). Service was excellent. Friendly staff, always smiling. All spoke impeccable Engish. If you had a frown on your face, someone was right there to ask how to make things right; you didn't even have to verbalize a complaint. Ports included Juneau, Sitka, Ketchitkan, Victoria (Canada). Juneau: A very rainy cold day, but we made the best of it. Easy off ship with 1 block walk to shops (3 other ships in port, so it was crowded). Many chain stores (similar to Caribbean islands), which we avoided. A few local shops, but we wondered how local the merchandise was. One purchase (fabric at a quilt store). Back near ship in time for our HAL-purchased Gold Panning/Alaska Salmon Bake excursion. "Tundra Tom" collected us and took us to a creek for gold panning. We all found a few flecks (retained in small vials) and boarded the bus after admiring the creek and nearby waterfall. Next stop was the salmon bake, an outdoor venue in the woods (also with a creek). Rain moved off, but they had covered picnic tables and portable heaters. Salmon cooked on wood planks and sides served buffet style. Not gourmet by any means but all was tasty. Coffee and dessert were lacking, with help slow to replenish. Marshmallows were offered for roasting over a campfire, but that was a challenge given the recent rain (we just had smoke). A quick tour of creek and waterfall and we were in line for the bus, which took us right back to our ship. Sitka: warmed up and no rain; yay! Again off ship was easy (shops across the street). Shops less chain-oriented. Purchased a specimen of Pyrite and some local yarn. Toured the Russian Orthodox church (gave donation). Back at port to meet our HAL-purchased Tongass National Forest Hike. This was advertised as a moderate 2-4 mile hike, depending on the group. Well, this was a STRENUOUS hike that was 4 miles. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our 5th cruise first trip to Alaska and on Holland. We booked last minute and ended up with a cabin on the main deck 2647. It was quiet with a walk in shower! We bought the spa pass and felt it was our own spa for the cruise. ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise first trip to Alaska and on Holland. We booked last minute and ended up with a cabin on the main deck 2647. It was quiet with a walk in shower! We bought the spa pass and felt it was our own spa for the cruise. We used it in the morning after our exercise in the gym and it was empty. The service was top rate from room Stewart to dining to ocean bar. Everyone referred to us by name and were very attentive. The food was the best I have experienced on all cruise lines(carnival, celebrity,norwegian and royal caribbean). We were in the dining room for lunch and dinner and it was fantastic. We did 2 excursions: In Juneau we did the whale watching and Mendenhall glacier. The whale watching boats so crowded 150 people? Too many! In Sitka we did an ATV which was fantastic. There was only one other couple. We took a small boat to a volcanic island and saw 3 whales, sea otters and bald eagle. The ATV was fun and beautiful scenery. Afterward we went to town and the totem pole park. Hubbard glacier was breathtaking. In Ketchikan just walked the town. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had been to Alaska in June on the Celebrity Solstice and my wife wanted to go back to Alaska. We booked a last minute cruise on the Amsterdam because it was out of Seattle, visited a couple of new places, and the price was right. The ... Read More
We had been to Alaska in June on the Celebrity Solstice and my wife wanted to go back to Alaska. We booked a last minute cruise on the Amsterdam because it was out of Seattle, visited a couple of new places, and the price was right. The ship has an old world feel and was very comfortable. The food was not up to the same standard as the Solstice. The entertainment was slightly better. One of the reasons we took this cruise was that it went to Hubbard Glacier and Sitka. Hubbard Glacier was amazing! We stayed at the glacier for more than enough time to see several calvings. The captain also rotated the ship to give both sides of the ship time to experience the glacier. I would go back just to see Hubbard Glacier again! Sitka was also great. It had a completely different feel from all the other ports. We would take a cruise on the Amsterdam again. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our 9th cruise, first time on HAL, first time to Alaska. Excellent cruise all around. We spent a day in Seattle the day prior to boarding, Having seen the wine prices listed on HAL online, we decided to bring a case of wine ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise, first time on HAL, first time to Alaska. Excellent cruise all around. We spent a day in Seattle the day prior to boarding, Having seen the wine prices listed on HAL online, we decided to bring a case of wine onboard and pay the $18 per bottle corkage fee. We found a nice selection of wines for under $20, 15% discount on a case, at Pike’s Place Market wine store (Pike and Western Wine Shop, 1934 Pike Place). We used Lyft from the airport to our hotel (Homewood Suites Downtown – pretty good), from Pike’s Place to the hotel, from the hotel to the port and from the port to the airport. Very easy. If you are a new customer, look for a Lyft discount code displayed at baggage carousel when you land. Embarkation was super easy. No lines to wait in at noon, and so many smiling faces. One of our party forgot his passport – we were directed to a lovely woman who assured us that the colored copy we had was sufficient! I have carried copies of our passports for years, and this is the first time I had to use it. Disaster averted. Before we went to check in, we were directed to a table where corkage fee was charged to our room and stickers were put on the bottles, assuring that we could drink it anywhere on the boat. We were told at check in that our rooms were ready! So nice to go right to the room and be rid of carry-ons and wine. We were in rooms 6102 (ocean view – front of ship) and 6116 (port side verandah). Good location for ease in getting around ship. Each room had 2 robes, 2 pair slippers, 2 wool throw blankets. The verandah room had binoculars. 6102 had a tub, 6116 had a shower stall. 6102 had a sloped ceiling, which made the room seem smaller, and reduced the closet space somewhat. Both rooms had wonderful views. We really felt the ship movement the first night from Seattle towards Juneau. Other times, we felt movement/vibrations, probably due to the smallness of the ship and the Pacific Ocean. Not a major issue – did not see any seasick people. Room 6102 was above the theater and on some late nights the noise was annoying. The combo of movement, noise, and sloped ceilings would keep me from booking this room again. Weather was mostly cloudy, with highs in the 50’s and 60’s. We did not have any pelting rain while on shore. In Sitka, the sun even came out! For excursions/walking outside decks, layers were key. Two of our party wore long underwear. I wore a long sleeved wicking shirt, then a polartec fleece hooded sweatshirt, a lightweight down jacket and covered it all with a raincoat. Combined with a hat and light gloves, that took care of the coldest day – at the Hubbard Glacier. Low hiking boots were perfect for everywhere. On our kayaking excursion and our jeep/canoe excursion, raincoats/waterproof pants were offered. The interior of the ship was very warm. We were fine in short sleeves, and never needed sweaters or shawls at dinner. The Amsterdam is a lovely ship, with great service from everyone. There is a huge library, lots of public spaces with expansive views, and a card room with playing cards, chess sets, mahjong and many games and puzzles. The staff is very low key – you won’t be pestered to buy anything, or pose for photos. We really appreciated that aspect. The clientele does skew older. There were some children onboard, but mostly as part of large family groups. Our mid-twenties kids were perfectly happy with available activities. The food was very good in the dining room and the Lido. I am a vegetarian and each night at dinner, I was offered both the menu for the next day and the special vegetarian menu so I could choose the next night’s meal. We had second seating but were able to switch to first seating on our last night so we could visit Victoria at the 6 pm docking. We enjoyed the America Test Kitchen demonstrations – it was standing room only most of the time, so arrive early. I booked two of our excursions (Glacier View Kayaking in Juneau and Canoe and Jeep Adventure in Ketchikan) through Costco and the Sitka Marine Adventure directly at their website (sitkawildlifetours.com). We were joined by people from our ship who had booked directly from HAL, and there was no issue about getting back to the ship on time was not an issue. Liked all the excursions, highly recommend the Sitka Marine Adventure! Debarkation was painless and quick. We managed our own bags, and exited about 8 a.m. We made it from the stateroom to the airport in under an hour. Sea-Tac was very busy, with long lines for checking baggage and TSA screening. We had no trouble making our 11:20 a.m. flights. Definitely planning to cruise with HAL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
This was the longest cruise I have been on. Tha Zaandam is a smaller ship but everything seemed to be well maintained. The itinerary was great saw some smaller ports most people never see. The crew were all friendly and helpful. Scenery ... Read More
This was the longest cruise I have been on. Tha Zaandam is a smaller ship but everything seemed to be well maintained. The itinerary was great saw some smaller ports most people never see. The crew were all friendly and helpful. Scenery was awesome and saw lots of wildlife. Weather was really good for Alaska much sunshine. Went to Americas Test Kitchen demos and they were all informative and well organized. Only thing is I wished I had booked a balcony cabin, but Zaandam has very limited number of balconies and they are quite expensive.Food on board was generally quite good, but I really don't recommend the Italian restaurant on board not really worth the upcharge. MDR had very good food and service was really good, a life saver for me was that they had many 2 tops in the dining room which made my daughter very happy, She does not like eating with strangers. Buffet food was amazingly good. Overall I would recommend this cruise visits the itinerary it awesome, Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have been on the Zaandam for the 14 day Alaska Explorer. I really like the size of the ship with 1400 passengers. The food was good overall. Not really a fan of cafeteria style service in the buffet but it does keep contamination at a ... Read More
We have been on the Zaandam for the 14 day Alaska Explorer. I really like the size of the ship with 1400 passengers. The food was good overall. Not really a fan of cafeteria style service in the buffet but it does keep contamination at a minimum. Breakfast had a nice selection of fruits, omelette station, Belgian waffles, and eggs cooked to order. Really everything imaginable was available. I wish the omelets could have been made with fresh eggs instead of pasteurized eggs but again they are going for food safety. The Taco Bar in the Solarium was open from 11:30-5 and had a good selection of Mexican food. The most popular place for fast food was the Dive shop in the Solarium serving excellent hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken along with French fries. Dinner in the main dining room had a good selection of appetizers and main courses. Halibut was on the menu several times. Overall the food was very good with the exception of the desserts which were a little mediocre. We were disappointed at the lack of green vegetables at lunch and dinner. We find that to be true on most cruises. The tables were well spaced so it did not feel crowded and the large windows were great for viewing the beautiful scenery. The layout of the ship is excellent. A Favorite space was the Exploration Cafe on Deck 5 which was a library/lounge with lots of chairs and even recliners/tables with puzzles and games. Especially loved the big windows which let in lots of light. It was the most well stocked library I have seen on any ship. The promenade deck on Level 3 was perfect for walking since it went completely around the ship. Both pools were heated to a comfortable temperature. The Solarium on Deck 8 had plenty of tables and chairs for lounging. They opened the roof frequently to let in fresh air, although sometimes it was too breezy. One thing to be aware of is cabin selection. We had an Oceanview cabin on Deck 3. Cabins 3360-3394 are directly under the kitchen so we were awakened at 4:30am with the sound of pans banging and carts be rolled across the metal floor. Another thing to be aware of with any Oceanview cabins on Deck 3 is that the Windows look directly onto the promenade walking deck. The glass is coated so no one can see in but we felt we needed to close the curtains for privacy. In the future I will certainly pay more attention to the ship layout and location of cabins. I would definitely enjoy cruising on the Zaandam again and I enjoyed it more than cruising on a different Holland ship on my last Alaskan cruise. Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Our cruise was from July 28 – August 4. We booked far in advance (Sept. 2017) while the Explore 4 program was in effect. This was a celebration cruise for my wife’s retirement. We both enjoy having OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) ... Read More
Our cruise was from July 28 – August 4. We booked far in advance (Sept. 2017) while the Explore 4 program was in effect. This was a celebration cruise for my wife’s retirement. We both enjoy having OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) but only in a mild form which results in extensive research and planning when we take vacations. I would encourage anyone who is not of that mind to invest the time to do advance research and planning because the result usually means a better experience than just being led along by whatever happens. You miss a great deal by allowing fate to rule your experience. I’m a cruise addict and just love Cruise Critic. So, I wanted to give back as much as possible. Alas, I have no pictures for you. I’m just lazy which is unfortunate since I place the highest value on CC reviews that have photos. Sorry, my bad. Pre-Cruise: We live in St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota and it’s a short ride to the airport (no airport related noise at our house however). Several months ago my wife downloaded the Uber app to her Smart Phone so we used Uber to get to the airport (and when we returned home) and in Seattle as well. It’s a wonderful system and we highly recommend it. I know there has been some controversy regarding Uber during the past year or so but the new company president has made it his priority to work out any kinks in the system. We found Uber to be extremely good and slick as could be using the Smart Phone app. Arrival in Seattle was on time. We collected our luggage and did Uber to our hotel. The hotel we selected was the Hotel 5...A Staypinnapple Hotel. This chain exists on the West and East coasts and Chicago only. We highly recommend it. It’s a fun, quirky kind of place that flies just under the radar of the major hotel chains. It’s clean, courteous, with great coffee, food, and staff. We paid $250 for one night after all the usual add-ons. Obviously we flew into Seattle one day early as we always do when we cruise. Flying in the same day as embarkation is simply throwing caution to the wind and inviting problems. It can be done and many do but that’s not my choice. After checking in at the hotel we did the obligatory visit to Pike Street Market where we had a fabulous lunch at Maximillian’s Restaurant, a long established French eatery. We had walked from the hotel to the Market and decided to walk back using a different route. For dinner we had made reservations at Blueacre Seafood. In a word, Stunning. Embarkation: Once again, Uber to Pier 91 where we dropped our luggage off with one of the porters (yes, there are porters in Seattle contradicting a thread that appeared on CC not long ago which said there were not), stepped in the terminal, up the escalator to the check-in desk followed by security (or perhaps security was first) then a 10 minute wait before we were called. At this point I should mention that we booked an aft-wrap Neptune Suite when we made our arrangements last September so our boarding was priority (but after the physically challenged and the upper Mariner Society folks). Our plan was to have a quiet lunch in the MDR but unfortunately it was closed for a private lunch which apparently happens quite a bit in the Port of Seattle. So, off to the Lido, which was not crowded and just fine after all. After lunch we checked in with the Concierge in the Neptune Lounge about a few things, then stopped by the Spa to purchase our Spa Passes for the week. We are big on the Spa, not for the outrageously expensive treatments, but for the Hydro Pool; Tile Loungers; and the Steam Rooms. From there we went to our cabin where our luggage was waiting and we unpacked. Unpacking and checking out the Neptune Suite was done after I thoroughly wiped down everything with Clorox Hospital Grade Disinfectant Wipes, which are the best you can get for Norovirus. By now you might be thinking that this guy is just slightly nuts, and that could be true, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. The most important items to wipe down in a cruise ship cabin are the TV remote, the telephone keypad and receiver, and the keypad to your room safe. The suite was beautiful, the binoculars were brand new, and the wrap around veranda was stunning. A bottle of sparkling wine was on ice waiting for our consumption. I should mention that we booked Neptune Suite SB 8073 which is on deck 8 (obviously) directly under the Lido deck. I would not have booked this suite, or any other cabin under the Lido deck if this were a warm weather cruise because of the traffic and chair noise that comes from the Lido deck. Since this was Alaska, I booked the cabin for the stunning view, betting that the noise factor would not be an issue. I was right. My wife loved the separate dressing area; the twin sinks in the bathroom were nice to have; never used the single shower (except to dry bathing suits) but both used the large shower/tub combo. My wife used the jetted tub at least twice and said it was marvelous, proving that at least on HAL, the jetted tub is not just for show and actually worked the way those tubs are supposed to. Our cabin attendants were absolutely marvelous. We used the complimentary laundry/pressing/dry cleaning service quite a bit and everything was always returned in beautiful condition. The king bed was extremely comfortable with a nice selection of pillows. For those that may not realize it, there are two large pull out drawers at the foot of the bed which could go unnoticed since they are covered by the bed spread. I’m not sure if the beds in all cabin categories have them but I believe so. As usual, closet space is plentiful but not for storing suitcases, so they went under the upper part of the bed like we always do. The veranda was everything we hoped for and included a round table with four chairs; two lounge chairs with foot rests; and two chaise loungers along the side part of the balcony. The veranda is completely covered and we had no issues with soot from the smoke stacks but did not expect any. Our cabin attendants would always bring in the cushions from the loungers and chairs at the end of the day so they would not collect dew overnight. I should mention that one possible drawback of these aft cabins is the vibration from the propellers. You only feel it when the ship is going over 18 knots but it’s quite noticeable. Not a problem for us however. Food: We found the food on Eurodam to be quite excellent. Several months prior to the cruise we made reservations for Pinnacle Grill; Canaletto; and Tamarind. We decided to avoid the usual semi-controlled chaos of the MDR on embarkation night and ate at Tamarind. It was unbelievably good. So much so that we made another reservation for later in the week. Sunday night was Gala night and we ate in the MDR (Rotterdam dining room) and that was quite enjoyable. Monday night we ate at Canaletto and were surprised by how lovely it was. That’s because so many reviews of Canaletto seem to run both hot and cold. We enjoyed it enough that we made a reservation for the last night of the cruise. Pinnacle Grill was the Pinnacle Grill and all we’ve come to expect from that lovely spot. We both had the bone-in Rib-Eye. We ate lunch in the MDR several times and enjoyed one lunch from the Dive-In. Great burgers. We ordered room service breakfast a couple of mornings and it always arrived on time and at the correct temperature. Room service always called later to see if everything was okay. I became somewhat annoyed by that but my wife thought it was very thoughtful. One evening (after spending the day in Sitka) we decided to order dinner off the MDR menu from room service. Again, very well done. Since Sunday was a sea day we decided to attend Tea Time and enjoyed it very much. The tea was good and there were a wide assortment of tea sandwiches and sweets. I opted for one sandwich and quite a few sweets. Since we were entitled to complimentary breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill we ate there on Sunday morning. It was wonderful and also featured fresh squeezed orange juice. I mention the juice because various posts over the last several months indicated that fresh squeezed was no longer available. The Ship: As expected the Eurodam was all spit and polish. Very clean and well appointed. Out of the entire ship my only criticism goes to the MDR. First of all, the carpet is way too busy to the point of being ugly and I’m sure the design is meant to disguise stains. Second, and most egregious, would be the Roman Torch-like lights serving as wall sconces. They look like something stolen off an old Carnival ship. Finally, there is a circuitous pattern of recessed lighting in the ceiling throughout the dining room that is a pale yellow and it’s so out of place. Very dated looking and basically quite ugly. Other than those items nothing else seemed offensive (well, a few border line items) and overall Eurodam is a beautiful ship. Hey, despite my complaints I’ll sail on a HAL ship anytime. I definitely would not get on a Carnival or Norwegian ship. Yes, I’m a snob. Shore Excursions: We booked 3 shore excursions well in advance. In Juneau we did a combination tour called Whales and Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari. It was stunning. Saw bunches of whales, orcas as well, sea lions, etc. I think we were out on the water for about 3 hours. Small excursion…only 12 passengers on a boat that only holds 14. Back on shore our guide took us through the Alaskan Rain Forrest near the glacier and we had ample opportunity to take photos of the glacier. A ride back to the ship on a very nice tour bus concluded the time. Worth every penny. Glacier Bay. While not a tour since the ship glides around the huge bay, we were disappointed by the fact that the entire northern part of the bay (where the 4 glaciers are) was fogged in. At first I thought the Glacier Bay Park Rangers said this was the worst fog they had seen all season. In fact, it was the worst fog they had ever seen period. After a few hours and listening to the ships fog horn (which reminded me of growing up in San Francisco) we had to move south again and the Sun had broken through in that area exposing fantastic snow covered mountains. In Sitka we took the Historic Sitka tour which found us on a somewhat comfortable school bus. The dock in Sitka is 6 miles north of the town but fortunately all tours for the port pick you up at the dock. We had a fantastic guide and made stops in downtown; at St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral; and at the Sheldon Jackson museum. The museum is wonderful and a short, medium, or long walk through the rain forest is available. Totem Poles are everywhere by the way. The tour ended around 12:30 at the Cultural Center in downtown Sitka where we decided to skip the Native Alaskan Dance troupe in favor of a massive burger at the Bayview Café. Then it was time for a little shopping before boarding one of the many shuttle busses back to the ship. In Ketchikan we elected to do the Misty Fjords Boat tour. There is a float plane version available which will set you back mega-bucks. Unfortunately this tour was a disappointment and we would have been better off just walking through town. It takes the boat quite a long time to get to the Fjords and the scenery is just a repeat of what we had already viewed at other ports. No wildlife at all, which might have redeemed the tour for us. Hats off and a big shout out to the captain and crew of the boat however. It is a large craft with two decks, comfortable seating, windows galore, and plenty of food, both complimentary and for purchase. In Victoria we decided to stay on board. Entertainment: We are not big on going to shows in the theater. However, we did attend one which was a video of Alaska accompanied by a sound track which was augmented by all the performing musicians on board and included acoustic as well as digital instruments. Nicely done. We stopped in to hear the BB King Blues band and they were great. Missed everything else although I understand the classical music offerings were top notch. Odds and Ends: • HAL Navigator: Wonderful!! No cost. Must be used on a smart phone in airplane mode. You log in once you are on board and follow the instructions. So, no having to wait in line for someone to help you do it. By the way, there is a wonderful “tutorial” on You Tube that some fellow did in the last year that you should look at before you leave home. Just type in HAL Navigator You Tube to find it. It’s great for checking you’re on board account; making dinner and shore tour reservations; checking the ships on board activities for the day and much more. A real plus in my opinion. • Elevator Etiquette: Amazingly we encountered not one bit of the usual elevator etiquette problem most often encountered on cruise ships. You know, when the doors open and people immediately try and board the elevator before letting other passengers get off first. UNBELIEVABLE!! • Staff: All of the workers and staff we interacted with were just wonderful. Always greeting us with a smile and asking how our cruise was going. HAL is well known for its stellar staff and they just seem to be getting better and better. • Mariners Lunch: The Mariners Lunch was held on Friday while on our way from Ketchikan to Victoria. Each table setting was accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine which was a nice touch. The menu was quite limited but we made do with both of us having a wonderful salmon dish for the entrée. If you have Mariner status you will receive an invitation in your cabin the day before. • Neptune Lounge: A lovely space with food offerings rotated by time of day. Quite nice. The Concierge was very helpful when we met her on embarkation day to review a few things and made a reservation for us in the MDR for Sunday’s Gala Night dinner even though we were Dine as You Wish passengers. An Honor Bar is also available. • Luggage Direct: We signed up for this service a month or two before the cruise and it worked like a charm. We placed our luggage outside our cabin as required on Friday night and did not see it again until we claimed it at Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. This enabled us to do a tour of the Chihuly Museum and Gardens (and lunch) after we disembarked on Saturday. The Museum and Gardens are completely amazing by the way. • It was very nice to return home feeling rested and with almost no laundry. Did not feel like we needed a vacation to recover from a vacation. I think that was due in part to the structure of the itinerary. Just the right amount of time at sea vs. shore time. That’s it. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions fire away, I’ll answer them. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My Mother bought us a family cruise for all of us for our Birthdays. We were very excited. The whole trip was a disaster on the Ansterdam. 1st day they gave my brother’s in laws a 2 bed bedroom and my other brother and his daughter a ... Read More
My Mother bought us a family cruise for all of us for our Birthdays. We were very excited. The whole trip was a disaster on the Ansterdam. 1st day they gave my brother’s in laws a 2 bed bedroom and my other brother and his daughter a one bed bedroom. They would of switched rooms but my brother’s room had no hot water the whole 7 days of the trip. They wouldn’t switch the room for him or the in laws. So he and my niece had too shower in my Moms room and they would only give her a $200 credit. The toilets did work for a couple of hours 3 times and we didn’t have water from 12 midnight till 5 am and it still didn’t really fix the problem. The DVD player in my room didn’t work, TV was fuzzy the safe locked me out. The movie they played in the so called movie theater was the same movies they played on the 2 TV movie channels. Their nature experts couldn’t answer simple question like does Alaska have Racoons. She said they didn’t but we asked a excursion guide and he said of course we do. The food was not soso the service was poor. I could go on and on. My brother summed it up the cruise was a floating Motel 6 with Denny’s food. Alaska was beautiful! It was just a awful ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose Holland America as we have cruised with them several times before and were very impressed. Things have apparently taken a turn for the worse lately. We were surprised to find there were no refrigerators in the cabins; there were ... Read More
We chose Holland America as we have cruised with them several times before and were very impressed. Things have apparently taken a turn for the worse lately. We were surprised to find there were no refrigerators in the cabins; there were no bathrobes or slippers. We had the open dining option but when we twice turned up at the dining room we were told to come back at 8pm as they were full. The Lido food was good quality but the same every single night. Ours was a 14 night cruise to Alaska departing Seattle on 16th July 2018 and many of the ports visited were fantastic. Some however I fail to see why they even slowed down let alone stopped. Icy Straight Point, nothing there. Homer, nothing there. In the Northern ports school buses were used as excursion coaches. I can see why other cruise lines do not visit these Northern ports. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Having sailed with HAL many times in the past, it was a no-brainer to pick the 14-day cruise on the ms Zaandam. This was my 4th cruise to Alaska, yet the itinerary included no less than 4 ports/sites that I had not seen before (Homer, Icy ... Read More
Having sailed with HAL many times in the past, it was a no-brainer to pick the 14-day cruise on the ms Zaandam. This was my 4th cruise to Alaska, yet the itinerary included no less than 4 ports/sites that I had not seen before (Homer, Icy Strait-Hoonah, Kodiak and Anchorage). As expected, the food and beverage service was above average. HAL's history of Filipino and Indonesian service staff is time-honored and well-known. But I did notice a few things that were not characteristic of prior HAL cruises. The cabin steward service was maddeningly inconsistent. The ventilation in our ocean-view stateroom was substandard - it always seemed warm and stuffy, even with the thermostat at the lowest possible setting. The bedding and bath linens were old, rough and threadbare. However, the bath had been recently upgraded with a nice sink and shower. The mattress was a slight upgrade over a military surplus cot, and I arose every morning with a a backache. I was surprised to find only ONE electrical outlet to be used for cell phone chargers, CPAP machine, Kindle chargers, etc. We had to ask for a power strip/extension cord which we had to drape over the door handle for the adjoining stateroom, which was cumbersome and hazardous. One thing has not changed on HAL is the pricey beverage structure. $7.00 for a domestic beer and $50.00 for a bottle of wine was enough to discourage my customary couple of beers in the afternoon and a bottle of wine for dinner. I was not happy with the structure of the Lido. A buffet should be self-serve, yet you had to stand in line for any hot food selections. On the other hand, I found the quality of the food in the Lido equal to that of the Dining Room, and since I was limiting my alcoholic beverage consumption due to high prices, I visited the Lido for all afternoon and evening meals except twice during the 14-day trip. Overall, a fine cruise with several notable disappointments. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Wanted a 2 week cruise to get out of the heat and this one had stops at places we haven't been to before. Like the smaller ship and getting an elevator was easy with no waiting. The crew and food were very good. The library was ... Read More
Wanted a 2 week cruise to get out of the heat and this one had stops at places we haven't been to before. Like the smaller ship and getting an elevator was easy with no waiting. The crew and food were very good. The library was excellent, stocked with books and games. We had an outside cabin with a newly renovated bathroom which was great. We are not fond of HAL's room setup and prefer Princess design better. HAL hallway into the room was cramped with the closet setup. Did not like having to stand up to turn the change on the tv. The bed was under the window and in Alaska you still get a lot of daylight coming in under the drapes.HAL is doing room steward care differently. There are no carts in the hallway and somehow your room would get taken care of. Saw very little of our room steward and miss talking to them during the day. You had to call guest services if you needed something and they would contact your steward. The portage glacier excursion was excellent in Anchorage. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Friends and I wanted a cruise that would give us a chance to enjoy each other and be a bit pampered. The Eurodam roundtrip to Mexico from their home town in San Diego was exactly what we wanted. After several excursions on small ships, I ... Read More
Friends and I wanted a cruise that would give us a chance to enjoy each other and be a bit pampered. The Eurodam roundtrip to Mexico from their home town in San Diego was exactly what we wanted. After several excursions on small ships, I was somewhat apprehensive about a large ship so I ordered an electric scooter from Scootaway. I have limitations in walking distances, and the electric scooter was just what I needed on the large cruise ship. I ordered it in advance and found it waiting outside my stateroom when I boarded, and I left the scooter at the gathering spot when I debarked. Our cabin steward put the scooter away and plugged it in to charge in the late evening and brought it back & left it outside our cabin when he came on duty the next morning. The scooter really allowed me to enjoy the ship (and not be wiped out when we mixed up bow and stern and ended up in the wrong end of the ship!) The ship was comfortable and the food was tasty and varied. We were not impressed with the Italian specialty restaurant as it's crammed into an alcove off a busy passage - not relaxing at all. The food is designed as small plates to be shared. There were 3 of us and everything came already divided into two portions. I asked the serving staff if they couldn't alert the chef that there were 3 sharing, but they said that it just was the way it came from the kitchen. And the food was just average. However, our reservation at the Asian specialty restaurant was a complete reverse of the just ok Italian. From the moment of sitting down in a lovely room to the enjoyment of every nuance of the meal, we were delighted. I believe that I can say that was the best part of the whole shipboard experience. We signed up for one excursion in Cabo - that one took us on a boat tour of the bay where we had a chance to see the arch rocks close up and then we boarded a bus to go to the plaza and cathedral with time for lunch at one of the places on the plaza. We then boarded to bus again to go to the quieter Cabo San Lucas to enjoy a drink and heavenly views before finishing up at a glass factory. We had a fantastic tour guide and driver, but the tour involved a little more walking than I expected. I enjoyed the pool most days and learned a few more water exercises from other passengers - and shared a couple of mine. We caught various shows - both in the theater as well as smaller venues. All good but not fantastic. Spent time in the coffee bar and viewing lounge in the bow. Found it a great place to read, play our card games, and play around with the interactive maps - and a bonus of free pieces of very good chocolate.. I found the staff unfailing helpful and pleasant, the stateroom comfortable, the food good, the excursions a bit pricey, and many options for entertainment. All were good but not exceptional (except for the Asian specialty restaurant - that was 5 star!). We had a nice trip, enjoyed each other's company, and felt well taken care of. But, looking back, I think of it as OK - not superb. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Most beautiful sight seeing of the nature. Excursion, family friendly, enjoying food, good company, entertainment. A class ship and well managed by the serving staff. All the staff and guides were friendly and helpful. Cabin well decorated ... Read More
Most beautiful sight seeing of the nature. Excursion, family friendly, enjoying food, good company, entertainment. A class ship and well managed by the serving staff. All the staff and guides were friendly and helpful. Cabin well decorated the attendant was efficient, courteous. Fine dinning with your choice, entertainment of your theme you like. Very goo service. Fine well managed ports with well managed and cooperative shore excursion staff. Prices were affordable and alternate of your money. Weather and timing selected for voyage was nice many things to see, the plantation water, water falls travelling through green and beautiful Alaskan jungles seeing at the water falls, travelling through greenery by train enjoying the company of fellow travelers. Watching the wild life live which we used to watch on TV and films, that was unbelievable for me. More inspired from the hospitality of staff traveling by train from Denali to Anchorage. I love to travel again to Denali Alaska. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Really enjoyed this cruise. Things were very organized and flowed well. Management were responsive to feedback. I had been worried I'd be bored, but there really were enough different activities, presentations, shows, etc., that I ... Read More
Really enjoyed this cruise. Things were very organized and flowed well. Management were responsive to feedback. I had been worried I'd be bored, but there really were enough different activities, presentations, shows, etc., that I didn't experience this. I had loaded a bunch of books onto my Kindle just in case but barely spent any extra time reading. The Hubbard Glacier was definitely the highlight of the voyage. Just an incredible sight and cool to hear and see the calving. I was really surprised at just how close the ship got to it. Saw plenty of whales and porpoises. It's quite enjoyable sitting there eating a meal while watching whales. The Rudi's Sel de Mer night was exquisite dining! Can't recommend it highly enough. Lido food often was more flavorful than the main dining room. Although the Asian tastes offerings were fairly sad. Didn't matter if it was called Vietnamese, Malaysian, Singaporean, etc., it all tasted the same. But it isn't as comfortable as the main dining room, and service can be hit or miss. It can also get pretty dawn busy in there. We really enjoyed eating breakfast in the main dining room. Much more relaxed, much less crowded, and great offerings. The food experience in the MDR improved during the cruise, though. Pinnacle Grill was also great and holds really well to the steakhouse theme. Go hungry, though. Portions are very good-sized. The biggest disappointment was in-room dining. The first day we ordered breakfast and were told it would take 45 mins. It took over an hour, and they left things off. Our 2nd try was much improved. We did in-room breakfast on the final day, and it was missing stuff, too, but at least they showed up on time. Getting sodas at meals can be quite the challenge. Only the bar servers/wine stewards can get you a soda. During the first gala night, it took 3 requests and about an hour to get a single can of soda for my daughter. It wasn't rare for it to take about 20 mins regardless of which public dining room you were in. If you're at the Lido pool, though, it goes more quickly since the bar is right there. Happy hour in the Crow's Nest was enjoyable. They served pretty good appetizers along with the drinks, and service was great. It's such a great view. My teen really enjoyed it. The teen club wasn't as organized as it could be. Often she would shop up for a scheduled activity, and they wouldn't be there, or they'd announce they're closing 5 mins after she got there (for the scheduled activity). They did have some fun activities, though. Our room only had one outlet which I thought was odd. They had an adapter plugged in which gave you 3 plugs to use, but you had to be careful changing or adjusting one of them as it would turn the cabin lights on and off. Even though they knew I was bringing on a CPAP machine, I still had to go to guest services to get an extension cord since the outlet is nowhere near the beds. No biggie, but so you know. Adagio was one of my favorite musical performers. The violinist is superb. I listened to them almost every night. Lots of lounges, and each one has its own look and feel which is quite nice. Gives you some great variety. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Multiple other cruises. First time on holland America. This trip - Charles Stanley inspiration cruise to Alaska. Poor guest service. Long food lines. Dinner sat at a table for 6. When other guests arrived 1 hour late our meals were held ... Read More
Multiple other cruises. First time on holland America. This trip - Charles Stanley inspiration cruise to Alaska. Poor guest service. Long food lines. Dinner sat at a table for 6. When other guests arrived 1 hour late our meals were held back until everyone else caught up resulting in several dining experiences that lasted 2-3 hours! Cruise excursion cancelled by ship but no one from excursion staff available to assist with booking another excursion prior to next day port arrival. Fitness center staff unfriendly and inaccessible often seen lounging around ship (not in fitness center to assist guests with equipment). Gym hours not suited for early excursion and dining hours. Wrote letter to ship manager with suggestions. Never heard back. Cabin steward friendly and helpful. Balcony for cruising a definite plus! Multiple broken items in room requiring service calls (phone, balcony door). Very disappointed and will never cruise with holland America again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We went on the Charles Stanley Alaska cruise July 7-14, 2018 to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary last April. It was everything we'd hoped it would be! Embarkation went well, although a bit slow since we arrived about 1:00, ... Read More
We went on the Charles Stanley Alaska cruise July 7-14, 2018 to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary last April. It was everything we'd hoped it would be! Embarkation went well, although a bit slow since we arrived about 1:00, instead of 11:30. About 50 min. from arrival at terminal to our cabin. Our cabin was perfect...#5049. Close to elevator and stairs, quiet and serviced by two of the nicest fellows ....Taufik & Yudi. Every night they would make cute little animals out of towels and neaten up our room for us. Everything is streamlined to cause the least stress...the dining room, embarktation, and. debarktation. On shore, buses were waiting for excursions (tickets can be purchased on board ship), or one could walk off the ship to town (Juneau & Ketchikan) for shopping and sightseeing There was a free bus trip to the town of Sitka, where inexpensive shopping was the best!. The ship is beautiful, with everything you could want! The Lido food was terrific, with many choices, get there a little early for a good table. Dining room was elegant, plus we were matched with a wonderful couple for dinner who will remain our friends. :) The service in all areas was top notch. Since it was a Christian cruise we had awesome Christian entertainment and seeing Charles Stanley in person was a treat. We loved the Southern Gospel quartets, Dennis Swanberg is a funny funny man, and Mike Speck, Stan Whitmire, The Whisnants, etc. superb gospel singers. We didn't see much sun, it was overcast most of the time, however we still had a great time. We cruised up the Endicott Arm fiord and saw so much ice, we eventually had to turn around. There are shore excursions you can take (although a bit spendy for some), tickets can be purchased on board ship, or you can walk to town (Juneau & Ketchikan) for shopping and sightseeing There was a free bus trip to the town of Sitka, where I enjoyed.inexpensive shopping. Also in Sitka at the Visitors Center we saw a Russian Dance program. In Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier trip was a good learning experience, the movie shown at the Visitiors Center was informative and we saw many bald eagles that day! Alaska is beautiful! They have good presentations onboard, but unfortunatly, they are colored by a sales pitch. Also, the little fridge in our room was stocked, but every can of soda came at a price, as were the bottles of water! Those were probably the only negatives we can think of! Since this was our first cruise, we have no way of knowing if it was a good value for our money, so I put "average." Disembarkation went like clockwork....we were out of our cabin at 8:10, thru customs and on the bus to the airport within 35 minutes! We'd love to take the trip again! Read Less
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