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279 Holland America Seattle Cruise Reviews

I really enjoyed the musical entertainment on board; also enjoyed cooking classes, lectures, library, swimming pools and hot tubs. The food was pretty good especially the dining room where you dress up to go to dinner. The lido deck diner ... Read More
I really enjoyed the musical entertainment on board; also enjoyed cooking classes, lectures, library, swimming pools and hot tubs. The food was pretty good especially the dining room where you dress up to go to dinner. The lido deck diner was convenient but often the food was cold so it was only good for a sandwhich, cold cereal, or dessert. I found the staff to be very friendly and personable; especially the guys who cleaned our cabin. We were in room 5013 and the guys were so good to remember our names and bring anything we needed. Some of the things I didn't like was how tiny and cramped our room was. I traveled with my mom and brother so we shared a state room. It said online that a state room can comfortably hold 3 adults but that wasn't true. The room had 2 twin beds and then a flimsy hide-away bed in the couch. The hide-away bed wan't very comfortable but the twin beds were good. Overall my experience was a positive one and I will sail with Eurodam again if given the opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
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
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
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
Sail Date August 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
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
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
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
Sail Date July 2018
We cruised with friends that asked us to join them. The service was excellent and the shore stops were great. The singers and dancers were wonderful but the rest of the entertainment was second rate. We reserved a suite. At least we ... Read More
We cruised with friends that asked us to join them. The service was excellent and the shore stops were great. The singers and dancers were wonderful but the rest of the entertainment was second rate. We reserved a suite. At least we thought that was what we were supposed to get. First, it was no larger then a standard balcony cabin. All the suites were on the 6th deck which was right under the bars and buffet. They started setting up at 5:00 AM and didn’t finish until midnight. Every time someone moved a chair or table we heard it loudly in our cabins. We can’t understand why the most expensive cabins are the noisiest. This was supposed to be an upgrade. The food was hit and miss which surprised me because we have taken Holland America before and had great food. The soups were not good and some of the meats were very chewy. Other meals were outstanding. We boarded in Seattle and cruised as far north as Kodiak. The weather was wonderful with only one afternoon with rain. The water was as smooth as glass. We met some wonderful people and all in all it was a very enjoyable cruise. Embarkation was slow, but ok and disembarkation was wonderful. If you use their transfers, they have a deal with the airlines where they transfer your luggage right to the airline and you don’t touch them until you get home. And they don’t weigh the luggage. No restrictions. We had no children with us, but there were children on board and seemed to be enjoy themselves. We did not spend time in Seattle since we have been there several times. This was our second trip to Alaska, so we probably would not go again, but the scenery is so beautiful, it’s hard to not want to go back. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Two wk cruise that went further north where I haven’t been; Kodiak, Homer, Anchorage Hubbard Glacier and Sitka haven’t been since .1989. The water was like glass and weather couldn’t have been better. Only rained once which was in ... Read More
Two wk cruise that went further north where I haven’t been; Kodiak, Homer, Anchorage Hubbard Glacier and Sitka haven’t been since .1989. The water was like glass and weather couldn’t have been better. Only rained once which was in Anchorage. Hubbard glacier has been the most beautiful glacier I’ve ever ween! Also did dog sledding in Juneau to Tacu Glacier by Northstar. Check off on my bucket list. Smaller ship was very nice and staff fantastic Food not as good as it used to be but that’s the way it is on all the ships now. You would have to pay for what you used to get on formal nights. Formal nights not the same galas as in the past. But all in all Holland and the two week cruise was the best AK cruise Ive taken out of the last 6. First one was in 1989 on Princess. The photography staff was the best. They came to our cabin and took pictures in each of the glaciers of my Mom and me. It was her 78th cruise. Great time!!!’ Also stayed at the Seattle Fairmont. Beautiful old hotel. Did have trouble getting the limo promised by Holland to get from airport to hotel since my Mom couldn’t get up on a bus. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
because of the hype for the "Tweens" program....OMG so mistrepresented, our fault one week in summer, cruise afficeienados beware the portions are mnisule, the food more scooped than served the best is the hilarity of their ... Read More
because of the hype for the "Tweens" program....OMG so mistrepresented, our fault one week in summer, cruise afficeienados beware the portions are mnisule, the food more scooped than served the best is the hilarity of their sandwiches one inch strip of meat warm and soggy on a one inch piece of lettuce even warmer Worst entertainment ever, and bar service worst ever, a cafeteria line in a jail could have done better, how about we have no maraschino sherries maybe try another bar, how about we're out of blue cheese here walk to the other side maybe they have some..etc etc etc Lemon twists sews only have whole lemons no twists, it became comical horrible bar service and they could sell more more and more but they don't care my dog has a better command of the english language, this is not a trainee trip its a family vacation, they need help badly but remember its only a one week cruise so compromise p-revails Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We had to go this week due to kids’ activities in the summer. We spent one night in Seattle then got on the ship around noon. Our room was ready and the lido deck buffet was already being enjoyed. We explored the ship, set up our ... Read More
We had to go this week due to kids’ activities in the summer. We spent one night in Seattle then got on the ship around noon. Our room was ready and the lido deck buffet was already being enjoyed. We explored the ship, set up our phones, and started planning activities. The weather was lovely the entire trip! We only saw rain on the first day at sea when we watched rainbows and mountainsides and sipped coffee from the crow’s nest in comfy leather chairs. We dined in Tamarind and Pinnacle Grill as well as Rudi’s pop-up restaurant. We were not impressed with Tamarind and actually cancelled the second reserved night. Some of the favors were spot on, but the seafood did not seem fresh. I hated PG. I thought the menu was outdated and four of our steaks were over-cooked. Rudi’s was not what it was built up to be or worth the price. My husband said he liked the restaurant atmosphere and service over the main dining room. I did not think any were worth the extra cost. There is also a “sommelier” who is basically a cocktail server. They seem be irritated that we wanted to use our signature beverage plan to order drinks. We actually chose two glasses of wine the first night that were over the $9 cost and were charged full price. I thought we would be charged the difference. We did the helicopter to the dogsledding on a glacier for four. We splurged on this once in a lifetime experience at $649 per person. We were greeted by a high school girl who seemed distracted by her friends who were passing by as she was checking us in on the pier outside the ship. We had a 3:15 reservation and were to check in at 3:05. We were on time. When we handed her our tickets, she said, “how much do you weigh?“ to each of us. It was very embarrassing especially for my husband who weighs 250lbs. They charge people who weigh over 240 a $130 extra fee. The greeter shouted over to another teenager “how much we charge for heavy people?” OMG! We have already paid almost $3,000 for this three hour experience. The fee showed up on our cabin bill. At about 3:40, some other tenn age girl said, “alright, glaciers this way.” There were several tours going on and we weren’t sure what do do or if she was talking to us. So unprofessional. We got to the helicopter facility, were told to sit down to listen to safety presentation which was some 8 x 11 printouts of parts of the helicopter we were not to touch. We were given a locker they said they would lock when we left(?) for our purses and items not allowed on the flight. At 4:20, we finally got in the helicopter and took off. The flight and dog time were amazing but fast. We were back at the ship at 6:28. Worth it? Still not sure. I must warn anyone thinking about the “otters, raptors, and bears, Oh,My” excursion from Sitka. We started right on the boat to explore sea life. The main space was enclosed in glass and became miserably hot. There were no windows to open other than four 4 by 10 inch rectangles that provided a very slight breeze when we were moving. Upstairs was just railings for whale watching. Neither made a THREE HOUR boat ride comfortable. As soon as we docked, we were rushed to a bus. Not a nice or even decent bus. It had old upholstery that smelled musty and the weak ac came on after we sat there for 8 minutes until they turned on the engine. After they counted us twice, the driver announced that we would be going to the eagle location and then the fortress of the bears. I could not wait to get off the bus. When we stopped to see eagles, the driver said that due to the Fourth of July parade, we would need to be back on the bus in 27 minutes. The establishment was fine, and it was nice to see the Eagles. It turned out that 20 minutes would be enough time to see the facility. We got back on the bus and headed to the bears. Again it was announce that we should be back on the bus in 25 minutes. Ugh. The fortress of the bears was two giant round cylinders with a few bears in each. We went up the stairs to look down in the holding cells and down the other side. There were a bunch of hot miserable bears lying amongst garbage piles and puddles of mud. We do see a ton of eagles in the trees surrounding the bears. At the close of the tour, we were dumped off in town 6 miles from the ship. We could not wait to get off that awful bus and get back to the ship. Unfortunately and understandably, we could not get a shuttle back to the ship for over an hour because of the parade. Of course we were starving and thirsty after being on the boat and bus tour for five hours. We got lunch and waited in the longest line to get on a remodeled school bus that took us back to the Eurodam. Do not spend money on the trip. I don’t hate the boat part since we did see lots of sea life. Just beware of the type of boat you are signing up for. I’m afraid HAL is making the excursions seem a little more classy than what you actually get and charging a premium price for them. I loved the piano players! Especially Rachel! They play top hits and requests two or three times an evening. They were great! The casino was small but seemed perfect for the gamblers who were there. Slots and roulette are all we need. The shows in the theater were entertaining. The service was great all around the ship. Staff was upbeat and friendly. I could not believe how many knew our names by day one. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My husband and I are active thirty-somethings who love to travel. For about half our trips, we choose to cruise rather than plan everything on our own. This was our 7th cruise together. We previously sailed with HAL on a 3 night cruise in ... Read More
My husband and I are active thirty-somethings who love to travel. For about half our trips, we choose to cruise rather than plan everything on our own. This was our 7th cruise together. We previously sailed with HAL on a 3 night cruise in October of 2016. SEATTLE We stayed two nights at a lovely Airbnb in the Magnolia neighborhood. We enjoyed walking around the peaceful streets, hiking through Discovery Park, and watching boats pass through the Ballard Locks. It was a great start to our vacation! EMBARKATION The Airbnb was near Pier 91, so it was a short Lyft ride there. The Port of Seattle knows what they're doing! We were greeted by many smiling employees who directed passengers efficiently. We were able to drop off our luggage without being bothered by porters. Check-in was quick and easy, and we waited a short time to board. From drop off time to boarding the ship, the whole process took less than 30 minutes. Great job Seattle!! SHIP The Eurodam is in good condition and easy to navigate. There is only one spot for smokers on this ship. (As a nonsmoker, I was thrilled!!) Even the casino was smoke-free, so I was able to actually enjoy the bars in that area. The atrium is very compact and not conducive for prolonged hanging out. There is a wrap around promenade on deck 3, which was usually a peaceful place to walk or relax. However, it often smelled of varnish, so we would only traverse certain sections of the deck. The Crow's Nest has been revamped and now focuses on shore excursions. It was always very busy here and not very relaxing. DINING For embarkation lunch, the dining room was closed for a private event. This was the one and only time we ate in the buffet. The food here was very lackluster, and the drink service was slow. The rest of our meals were consumed in the dining room. The dining room staff did a great job! Breakfast each morning was very good with plenty of options. My favorite was the muesli. For lunch, we preordered our meals the day before from the vegetarian menu. Both of us eat fish, seafood, and poultry, but we enjoyed using the vegetarian option. The menu was more diverse and flavorful than the MDR lunch choices. For one lunch, we requested our food be delivered by room service, which was a nice treat. Most of the dinners were good. We did the anytime dining and were often asked if we would like to share a table, which we always turned down. There was never an issue getting a table for two. As a word of warning, if the ship is moving at a high speed, avoid the back of the dining room on deck 2. The engine was loud and made the tables shake. It was hard to converse in this area. On the second Gala Night, we ate in Canaletto. It was delicious, and the service was highly attentive! I wish the restaurant was in a more private area away from the buffet. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES This is the area HAL really needs to work on. Sea days offered little to do, and we found ourselves getting bored. Many of the activities offered (i.e. test kitchen, EXC talks) were just sit and listen things. We would prefer more active options (i.e. dance classes). The only show we attended was the BBC Earth presentation about Alaska. The live music was great, and the presentation was interesting. The Music Walk is a good idea. The Lincoln Center Stage group played diverse music from classical to Led Zeppelin. The dueling pianos in the Billboard Onboard were good, but we never stayed long here. We prefer to dance. The BB King band is awesome, and we were able to do our dancing here. However, one of the players had to be quarantined due to illness, and the band did not play for 3 nights in a row. This was a big disappointment. I understand one band member could not perform, but I have seen bands on other ships work around issues like this and still perform. For the rest of the cruise, we had to make our own fun. Thankfully, I packed a deck of cards. There were also board games in the Gallery Bar. SIGNATURE BEVERAGE PACKAGE Our booking included the Explore4 Promotion, so we both received the signature beverage package. This was a great deal! Plenty of alcoholic drinks are covered, and bottled water and specialty coffees are also included. We were able to order Evian at every meal, and we even got bottles to take with us on port days. Each evening, we would have a cocktail in our favorite spot, the Tamarind Bar, and then enjoy a glass (or two) of wine in the MDR. I'm not sure if it would be worthwhile to buy the package at the full price, but if you can get the Explore4, then go for it! PORTS This is where the cruise shined!! Alaska is absolutely breathtaking! In Juneau, we took a Juneau Tours bus to Mendenhall Glacier, which allowed us to spend all the time we wanted there. We saw a family of black bears!! We hiked to Nugget Falls, and it was completely worth it. Such a beautiful place! Glacier Bay was amazing! We spent most of the day on the bow just taking it all in. I had seen pictures of this place before, but they do not do it justice. A park ranger provided just the right amount of commentary as the captain guided us around tiny icebergs. We spent an hour in front of Margerie Glacier and saw a tiny bit of calving. Sitka was my favorite town. We docked at a pier five miles from town. Free shuttles to downtown were provided. We visited the Sitka Sound Science Center. It's small, but it's worth visiting. The staff were friendly and informative. The touch tanks were cool. How many aquariums let you touch a starfish or a sea cucumber? We went hiking in Sitka National Historical Park. We had planned to visit the raptor center, but while we were in the park, we came across a bald eagle posing on a tree trunk. We stood watching him in awed silence for at least 10 minutes. After seeing this, we felt we could skip the raptor center. We also hiked to the beach and saw even more bald eagles! A group was hunting for fish and flew back and forth over our heads between the water and the trees. It was amazing!! In Ketchikan, we hiked around town. We were able to easily get away from the touristy areas and enjoy the natural beauty. There is very little time here, so we weren't able to do more. Victoria is the only disappointment on the port list. We did the Harbour Walk but felt like there wasn't much to see, especially compared to the Alaskan wilderness. There is a very long pier next to the cruise dock, and we enjoyed walking out on that. Perhaps Victoria would have been more enjoyable if we had arrived earlier. Being there from 6pm to 11pm is an odd choice. DISEMBARKATION Again, the Port of Seattle did a great job!! We were off the ship and in a cab in about 10 minutes. FYI, taxis charge a flat rate of $40 from Pier 91 to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary & this cruise line because of our positive experience on our only other cruise up the east coast of US into Canada also on Holland America. Our stateroom was on Level 5 midships with ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary & this cruise line because of our positive experience on our only other cruise up the east coast of US into Canada also on Holland America. Our stateroom was on Level 5 midships with verandah so we were able to enjoy the views even more. We took 7 shore excursions through Holland America & felt they were good value & helped us make best use of our time. We arranged our own Hop On in Bergen but that day it was pouring rain(which isn't unusual in Bergen) so we cut the day short after seeing a couple of museums & having lunch near the Fish Market. We arranged our own activities in Amsterdam pre & post cruise(I Amsterdam cards were a big help). The specialty restaurants on the ship are very good(used Dining Around option). Service in the Main Dining Room can be slow & food tends to have cooled down before being served. The Lido is usually crowded but great selection & very convenient. Entertainment is very good in the smaller venues & ok on the Wold Stage. Library is pitiful(used paperbacks in different languages apparently left by other travellers). No laundry facilities which was ok by us as we chose the unlimited option(extra charge) & the laundry was returned promptly the following morning. Geiranger was the most beautiful port & they are restricting the ships to only 2 a day. Glad to have the opportunity to visit the North Cape;Flam etc. Embarkation;disimbarkation & tenders went smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Great trip. 14 days soooo much better than the 7 due to ability to really settle in and be cozy. The 7 day was great, mind you, but this 14 day itinerary had so much more. We want to do it again. Service staff is consistently wonderful, ... Read More
Great trip. 14 days soooo much better than the 7 due to ability to really settle in and be cozy. The 7 day was great, mind you, but this 14 day itinerary had so much more. We want to do it again. Service staff is consistently wonderful, kind, heartful. Love the public rooms except for bad music choices in Crows Nest. Food on Lido excellent as usual. Lots of choices, usually tasty, and fresh. There were little things we would like to see improved such as the music choices in public areas and the one smoking area on back deck leaves smoke drifting across the whole back deck when the wind blows it...unfortunate as the back deck is one of our favorite places! Wi-fi is extra cost, which is a bother, but able to hit free wi-fi spots in ports. This itinerary was just super, and we had outstanding weather all but Ketchikan where rain is the norm. Homer, Sitka, Kodiak, Icy Strait Point were all great fun and beauty. We did Endicott Arm instead of Tracy Arm due to ice. Endicott was fabulous. Hubbard was amazing! Active calving was a real treat. If you use the Port Valet service reprint your boarding passes at the airport before TSA. One of ours would not scan and we had to go back. Amazing trip. Love HAL and this size ship. Zaandam and Volendam are super. Shuttle to and from airport is nice, though the departure shuttle ran an hour later than schedule which made for some nervousness. Shore excursions can be planned independently for less cost. We found public transportation and walking quite useful at various ports. Did a trip with Chugach Adventures from Anchorage and it was superb....train, wildlife center, Spencer Glacier, river float...about 11-12 hour day of greatness. Did a water taxi and hike to Grewingk Glacier from Homer...excellent! Walked to Raptor Center and Totem park in Sitka, plus public bus available to the Fortress of the Bears. SUPER. Hikes in Juneau on Mt Roberts were terrific and only cost the tram fare. Mendenhall is a great hike after shuttle also and can transport to the glacier can be arranged after you step off the ship (about $30RT). Ketchikan has a free bus which goes to Totem Heritage Center and other spots in town. You can walk to the Discovery center..,well worth a visit to both. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Great itinerary...fantastic staff. The workers were fantastic, they worked so hard to please. It seemed to me, though, Holland America has cut back on the number of waiters and bus boys as we experienced long delays in the dining room. ... Read More
Great itinerary...fantastic staff. The workers were fantastic, they worked so hard to please. It seemed to me, though, Holland America has cut back on the number of waiters and bus boys as we experienced long delays in the dining room. Again, I stress, this was of no fault of the servers, I think there were just not enough of them to go around, some handling 4 or 5 tables of 6 plus people. I also think there were not enough cabin stewards as our steward had a whole hallway..that is a lot of cabins! Food was good, and plenty of it, portion sizes were big. Lido Deck buffet stayed crowded and it was hard to find a table to sit at during peak times. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth as silk as were disembarkation in ports. We did not have to tender at all. Entertainment was good and there was a good variety. There were not a lot of activities happening on the ship during the day,although, I guess I should clarify that statement. I have been on numerous Holland American cruises and they all have the computer classes, test kitchen and encounter talks. They were there but I had done a lot of them already on other ships and wasn't interested in doing them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Hope you will find this information helpful in planning your Alaska visit. This was our (wife and self)14th cruise over many years, with 5 cruise lines, and yes we did enjoy it despite some rocky seas on Sunday while in the open ocean ... Read More
Hope you will find this information helpful in planning your Alaska visit. This was our (wife and self)14th cruise over many years, with 5 cruise lines, and yes we did enjoy it despite some rocky seas on Sunday while in the open ocean prior to entering protected waters near Juneau. If you are prone to seasickness I would suggest departing from Vancouver via the "inside passage". We flew in from Florida one day prior to the cruise. Took a Taki Cab to Motif Hotel in downtown Seattle and the fee was $48 + tip. Cab from hotel to Pier 91 on Saturday morning was $18 + tip. Motif is excellently located just 5 easy walking blocks from Pikes Market and the hotel s super clean with a nice glass of complementary Wine in the lobby following check-in. Castle and Elephant Restaurant is located at the base of the hotel which made for a convenient place for dinner. Directly across the street is the Specialty Bakery and Cafe for Breakfast, etc. All stores are very close for easy walking. Embarkation was the best experienced to date...hats off to Port of Seattle and its smiling staff. Holland America also had its act together at check in. We arrived at port at 11:35 AM and were aboard by Noon and immediately directed to the cabin. Ships staff seem happy the entire cruise. Disappointed that staff did not push hand sanitizing prior to and anywhere else on the ship. Although, restrooms have a sign "please use towel to open restroom doors when leaving". Especially enjoyed the Observation Lounge (crows nest) and Coffee Cafe on the 11th deck. Beautifully appointed with new furnishings and carpet. Ship was in a 10 day drydock before heading to Alaska and I believe the public area carpets were mostly replaced. In Juneau, with a light rain, we took the ships shuttle bus ($45) reserved to Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls. We walked to the falls and back which took about 20 minutes each way...don't you miss this great opportunity. Then visit the visitor center which has a nice movie and convenient restrooms in the building. The $5 entry fee is included in the Shuttle cost. Shuttle time was 3.5 hours round trip with about 30 minutes travel to and from the ship. Driver provided much information on both legs of the trip. Glacier Bay was magnificent on a mostly sunny day. Saw quite a bit of calving of the Margerie Glacier and the ship was maneuvered much closer to the glacier than expected. Thank you Captain. In Sitka, a shuttle to town is provided from the pier which is about 5 miles from town. Weather was clear. We visited the Russian Bishop House (no fee) and very interesting. Run by the National Park Service and very close to the shuttle exit point. Also visited the Sheldon Jackson Museum ($7) which is probably a 10 minute walk beyond the Russian Bishop House. The museum is very large with many historical artifacts. Also visited the St. Michael's Cathedral ($5) which is kind of run down and not that interesting. In Ketchican the weather was sunny and clear. Went directly to the Lumberjack Show ($37) and got seated for the first performance at 8:45AM. Interesting but Kids would enjoy it more than adults. Kind of silly! We then went to the Visitors Center which is run by the National Park Service...a beautiful building, exhibits and movie. $5 entry fee unless you are a National Park Pass holder. Walked Creek Street and did a bit of shopping. In Victoria, Canada, with a light rain, the ship was about 40 minutes late to the dock. We took a pier taxi for about $9 each way to and from the ship. There are many taxi's waiting at the pier and this was the quickest way to the city which is about a 20 minute walk from the pier. On return the taxi's are mostly located near the hotel by the visitor center. In general, the ship doesn't offer much in the way of entertainment. Two main shows, dueling piano's, BB King lounge for music and limited dancing, some cooking show, computer lab, etc. Rather older crowd with a lot of far Eastern passengers. The Seattle Port Authority offers "Port Valet" baggage service in conjunction with the cruise ships and most airlines. This is how it works: The ship will around wednesday send information to your cabin. Simply complete to forms authorize a charge to your onboard account for $25 (per bag) that you want routed directly to you airline and your bag(s) will be delivered to the baggage carousel when you arrive at your destination. The ship also checks you in for your flight and prints your boarding passes. Wow this is a wonderful service and was flawless for us. We walked off with two carry on bags. Disembarkation was a breeze. Walked off the ship at 7:30AM, went directly to the Taxi Cab line and were on our way to the airport. The cab fare is a fixed flat rate from the pier to the airport for $40. Our drivers Prius was hitting 90 mph most of the way. Arrived spooked but in one piece. Let me know if this write up was helpful to your planning and don't miss Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a birthday celebration for my daughter. My second cruise to Alaska, first time on HAL; her first cruise experience ever. Embarkation was fast and efficient. Probably the quickest encountered. We arrived around 1pm, and was ... Read More
This was a birthday celebration for my daughter. My second cruise to Alaska, first time on HAL; her first cruise experience ever. Embarkation was fast and efficient. Probably the quickest encountered. We arrived around 1pm, and was surprised to be on board and have immediate access to stateroom in under an hour. (which was a bonus not having to lug the carry on around with you to lunch or explore the ship) Late May is early in the season and quite unpredictable weather wise. Our "at sea" days were rainy, cold and windy. As long as you plan ahead and pack clothing to layer as needed it is not a major issue. We were extremely fortunate, and the weather cooperated in all of our ports. Glacier Bay was magnificent and did not disappoint. We had a full hour at the famed Marjerie glacier. Juneau was the only port where it was drizzling on arrival, but let up to allow enjoyment of the sights and excursions. Since Alaska itineraries are more about the scenery and ports, we noticed that while there were activities on board, these are not to the same extent experienced on other itineraries. Did not experience much interaction with the cruise director at all. The ships main stage entertainment was not as good as we have seen on other lines, but the ship does offer a wide ranging assortment of venues ranging from classical, to Billboard hits and blues. In addition, the headline acts for the sailing, illusionist Joseph Réohm, and comedian David Crowe were exceptional. Dining: Very happy overall with dining options on board. One thing to note about this itinerary is due to late port cells in Juneau and Victoria, if going ashore you will have somewhat limited dinner options in these two ports. Not complaining, but something to be aware off. Lido Market: Very nicely arrange and good variety of options available. This is not self service for the most part, so in addition to finding tables during peak times, there are also significant lines at the more popular food stations. Table service in Lido could be better- do not rely on staff to bring drinks during peak hours... They are too busy clearing tables. We decided it was best to get our own drinks first, then our meal. Tamarind Restaurant: we took advantage of the embarkation day special! The discount price of $18 per person this night made it an amazing beginning. There are so many options, but would strongly recommend the Laksa soup and Baramundi! The tamarind chocolate and sorbet trio were outstanding ends to the meal. Chef's Table: part of Holland's Food & Beverage Aficionado series, we were fortunate to participate in the evening with Chef Ethan Stowell on our sailing. This five course dinner with wine pairing was one of the highlights of our cruise. This program is NOT available on every sailing and has limited capacity. We highly encourage those fortunate to be on one of these sailings... Do NOT hesitate! It is well worth the cost, and an amazing experience. Main Dining Room: No complaints with either the menu or service. The views looking aft from the dining room are exceptional. Disembarkation in Seattle also provided a new experience. The port in cooperation with SeaTac Airport have a program that allows for passengers flying later in the day to have their bags collected, taken to the airport, and checked in for the flight. This is an exceptional program and allowed us to avoid the hassles and lines both at the pier and the airport! All details are provided earlier in the cruise, and made for an enjoyable last day before an evening flight home. Everything went smoothly and our bags were right there when we landed back home. A fabulous cruise from beginning to end. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Having been on numerous cruises, we thought we knew what to expect for our first cruise with Holland America. We had been on 3 prior Alaska cruises (Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean) and knew Alaska cruises have very little ... Read More
Having been on numerous cruises, we thought we knew what to expect for our first cruise with Holland America. We had been on 3 prior Alaska cruises (Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean) and knew Alaska cruises have very little nightlife and more multigenerational families. Overall, the Eurodam exceeded our expectations. We arrived in Seattle two days early and rented car. On cruise day, we returned the car to the airport and caught a shuttle for the 30 minute ride to pier 91 (*cruise tip: Several local companies offer airport transfers for less than the cruise line…*cruise tip: the local companies charge a few dollars less for a ride from the SEATAC car rental location then from SEATAC so have them take you to/from the car rental and then catch the free shuttle to the airport). The Eurodam uses pier 91 which holds two ships. Although there were about 5000 people at the pier between the two ships, boarding went very fast and took 25 minutes (at about 12:45) from dock to room. Our luggage arrived 20 minutes later and was placed in our room by our cabin attendant. We selected a balcony room on the 4th floor, right side, of the ship. We choose the lower floor so we could be closer to the icebergs as the ship sailed Glacier Bay. The right side was the way to go. As the ship sailed Glacier Bay, it hugs the right side near the land. On this cruise, it gave us an excellent view of 4 bears walking on the shore. Once the ship reaches the glaciers, the right side is positioned first to view the glaciers. Although the ship will eventually turnaround for the left side people, who wants to want for the great view? The room, which comes with a bathtub, had enough spaces to hide everything we brought onboard. The only drawback was that the air vent is located above the bed which causes air to fall on us as we slept. On prior Carnival and Princess cruises, the first night “show” was a waste of time. On the Eurodam, the first night show gave a good sample of what to expect during the week. Although the Eurodam does not have the normal game shows (Newlywed game, Quest, etc) the entertainment kept us happy for all 6 nights (no theater show on the last night due to being in Victoria). We found the food to be near the top of the 25 cruises we have taken. We expected the food to be bland and mundane, but found it to be the opposite. On our Princess cruise in March, we had a hard time selecting dinner entrees on several nights due to nothing sounded appetizing. This was not a problem on the Eurodam (*cruise tip: the shrimp taco appetizer at dinner, and the Banoffee pie in the lido at lunch, were OUTSTANTING). During every meal in the lido they had small plates of cut fresh fruit, and fresh sushi, which was a nice touch. They even had whole litchi fruit available one day (a first for us on a cruise). Several cruisers asked us what it was thinking there were sea urchins on our plates. In Juneau we took the pier bus to Mendenhall Glacier. By taking the pier bus, and not the shore excursion, we were able to save a few dollars and spend as much time as we wanted at the glacier. On our first Alaska cruise years ago, we felt like there was too little time at the glacier on the excursion to enjoy the hiking trails. For the other ports, which we have been to several times, we just walked around town and enjoyed Alaska. We knew Holland America has an older demographic. Before the cruise we joked about the halls being cluttered with parked walkers. Although the average age was about 60, with only about 50-70 kids on the ship, we found the other cruisers to be active and sociable. Although we would not pick Holland America for a Mexican or Caribbean cruise, it was a perfect fit for Alaska. You cruise Alaska to relax and view the beautiful scenery. We were happy to play board games with our 21 year old daughter and watch Alaska sail past us at night (it does not get dark until very late at night). For those wanting to stay in their cabin, Holland America has one of the best selection of free movies available on television and room service is free 24 hours a day (other brands charge for late night delivery and some even charge for movies). When it comes time to disembark, you are allowed to stay in your cabin until your number/color is called (no lugging suitcases to the lido for breakfast and then sitting in a room waiting to be called). Overall Holland America exceeded our expectations. The crew was exceptionally friendly and the ship was in great shape. The food was excellent. Holland America would definitely be our first choice for Alaska. For the party itinerates (Mexico, Caribbean), we would pick Royal Caribbean which has the best toys (rock climbing, zip lines, ice skating, Flowrider, etc) at sea. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Second Alaska cruise with friends who had never been before. Have sailed on the Eurodam five times in the last eight years and was excited to see that the common areas had been refreshed and repurposed to keep up with the times. Cabins ... Read More
Second Alaska cruise with friends who had never been before. Have sailed on the Eurodam five times in the last eight years and was excited to see that the common areas had been refreshed and repurposed to keep up with the times. Cabins have not been updated and furniture is showing a lot of wear and the "Mariner" bedding is old and uncomfortable. Embarkation and debarkation a breeze. Port to airport luggage program is wonderful! Service in the dining room is haphazard and since we had anytime dining, the caliber of service changed with each new table. The changes in the Crows Nest are beautiful, but I miss the happy hour in that venue during sailway with its 2 for one drinks and accompanying hot appetizers. Wifi and drink packages seem cumbersome and expensive. Last sailed with Celebrity which "bundles" drinks, wifi, gratuities and shipboard credit in a one package. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We choose this itinerary because of all the different ports it hit and we weren't disappointed. We got up close and personal with a couple glaciers and that was exciting. The captain always pointed out if there were whales nearby ... Read More
We choose this itinerary because of all the different ports it hit and we weren't disappointed. We got up close and personal with a couple glaciers and that was exciting. The captain always pointed out if there were whales nearby too which was really nice.The stops were interesting places and the crew on board was, as always, fantastic!! The food was good, not fantastic, but good. Their ice cream selection at dinner was great but the ice cream station in the lido was disappointing. They had vanilla, chocolate and strawberry everyday and then one other flavor which was never very exciting (rum raisin a couple days - I mean how many people do you know that like rum raisin??). Their salad bar was great! The trio in the Ocean Bar was great, as was the pianist that played there for happy hour. The shows were okay but not great and last but not least I do love to go to the movie theater and see a movie but whoever built it didn't think it out very well and there is not enough slope to see over peoples heads which is just annoying! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary. Wasn't disappointed with what we saw. Weather wasn't the greatest but scenery still great. Service from all on the ship was very good. Crew was very friendly and we felt ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary. Wasn't disappointed with what we saw. Weather wasn't the greatest but scenery still great. Service from all on the ship was very good. Crew was very friendly and we felt appreciated. Room was like most balcony cabins but with lots of storage. Bathroom wasn't that great. Shower in a small tub area sufficient flow of of water but slow. Captain kept us well informed and did not disappoint in Tracy Arm or Hubbard for glacier viewing. Embarkation and disembarkation from Seattle was a breeze but beware of Seattle airport, horrible. Food menus had a wide variety and for the most part, was very good. Specialty restaurants were excellent but the main dining room wasn't far behind. TV system needs an upgrade for picture quality and on demand movies. We bought an unlimited internet package for the 14 day cruise for $239.00 and felt it was sufficient. We had the middle package for surfing and speeds were like DSL's first offerings. Not good for streaming at all. We feel this cruise was a great value and would highly recommend it. Don't be put off by the atrium monstrosity as it's the only bad thing on the ship. Someone at Holland America was hopefully fired for this HUGE mistake. Crew and the rest of what the ship offers will more than make up for this. Fellow passengers were a bit disappointing as most were 70 to 80 years of age and a lot of them with walkers of wheelchairs. Some younger than us (we are 60's) but not many. The advantage to this was that as the cruise went on we had lots of room to move around. I believe most stayed in their stateroom. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
2018 Alaska Cruise Log May 19 Saturday- We flew out of Green Bay to Seattle, with a layover in Minneapolis. No delays. We arrived in Seattle on schedule and so did our luggage. A quick call on the courtesy phone and the shuttle was here ... Read More
2018 Alaska Cruise Log May 19 Saturday- We flew out of Green Bay to Seattle, with a layover in Minneapolis. No delays. We arrived in Seattle on schedule and so did our luggage. A quick call on the courtesy phone and the shuttle was here to take us to La Quinta, our preferred motel. Nice room with a view of pine trees. May 21 Monday- To the ship! Starting our 14 day cruise on HAL Zaandam, round trip to Alaska. We had a 1:00 embarkation time, but the car to take us to the pier arrived early, so we were at the port by 11:45, all checked in by 12:15 and in our cabin by 12:30 (They weren’t supposed to be ready until 1:00. Outstanding! Weather, sunny and in the 70s. May 22 Tuesday- Sea day. Chance to explore the ship. Mostly cloudy in the 50s. First glitch. We went for the breakfast buffet. Food looked good. The way they serve it is not. Generally with a buffet, you take a plate, stand in line and select your food when you get to it. Here they have serving stations. One person want scrambled eggs and bacon, you need to be there at just the right time, because quantities are limited. Choppy seas this morning. Gala Event tonight. We have Open Seating and were placed with two really nice couples. It is fun to meet new people and learn about their cruising experiences. The performer tonight was a guitarist, who was excellent. His parents bought him a Les Paul guitar when he was 11, for winning a guitar competition. May 23 Wednesday- Ketchikan. They get over 200” of rain a year and it was raining when we pulled in to port. Temperature in the 40s. It stopped raining and cleared up somewhat by the time the passengers could go ashore. May 24 Thursday- Sea day today as we head into Endicott Arm. Temps in the low 40s and not likely to get any warmer as we head to the glacier. We have eaten most of our meals in the buffet, so far, which means usually being seated next to other passengers. I continue to be impressed with the friendliness of the people we have met. We went to see the magician tonight. Very entertaining. He didn’t bring his A game, but he seemed to be going more for the comedy. We were in the balcony seating for the guitarist and the way they have the seats laid out is really neat. Seatings for two even though they are all together. The lower seating, where we sat for the magician, is much smaller and more like you expect in terms of seating. May 25 Friday- Gloomy morning in the 40s here in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Beautiful city, with lots to do. This is a good thing, since we are here from 8 am to 10 pm. One thing it looks like we will not be doing, unless it clears up, is the tram. It takes you to the top of the mountain where you have a really nice view of the surrounding area. We have done that previously. Another activity that is well worth the trip, is the Mendenhall Glacier, which is about 14 miles away. We have done that previously, both times we were here. There is also whale watching and this is a great time of year to see them as they eat as to get ready for their trip to Hawaii. We were told, on an earlier excursion that they do not eat on the way. What we do plan on doing today is going to the State Office Building to see the 77 year old Kimball Pipe Organ. There is a free concert at Noon on Fridays. May 26 Saturday- I would tell you what the weather is like, but if you have been reading the updates, you already know. Add wind to the rain and cold. Still, we found out it is in the 80s and 90s back home and this is preferable. Today we are at Icy Point Straight, Hoonah, AK. This is a new port for us, so we can learn about it together.. It is mostly woods, like we have back home. Pretty quick day in port as we sailed at 2:00. About 4 hours out we passed a yet to be identified glacier and there was enough sun to get a picture. Shortly thereafter- rain mixed with snow! The Captain warned us of rough seas and he sure was right. BTW, the ship has 12 elevators, 4 each aft, mid and forward and they seem to be fairly quick. May 27 Sunday- At Sea Day today. Temps in the 40s, now there’s a surprise. The sea is fairly calm and the clouds show signs of breaking up. On our way to Anchorage, which will be the midway point in our cruise. Pretty day today. Even have some sun. Okay, here goes my one and only RANT (hopefully). We have been on 23 cruises. Not a lot, by many standards, but enough to know what to expect from the wait staff. We like Anytime Dining. It has a lot of advantages. We almost always are able to make reservations and sit in a desired area, and the service has almost always been very good or better. The service in the MDR, for this cruise has been far short of what we have come to expect. It is like we are treated as second class citizens compared to assigned seating. We have had 3 different wait staffs in the MDR and all have been the same. I mentioned earlier that staffing might be a problem, and this could be, but they don’t even do basic things like clear the crumbs off the table cloth or fill your water glass without being asked. And the service is much slower even than the leisurely pace you expect. The band went around playing to the assigned seating guests, but never came to our dining room. In contrast to this, the wine stewards have been terrific! If we had the same one throughout, he would be getting an additional tip. We like tipping extra and it is rare that the wait staff and a bartender or two do not get an extra tip. Not yet on this cruise. It has been a very good cruise so far, so don’t let the rant get to you. It turned out to be a beautiful day today and we are getting lovely views of the snowcapped mountains. We have one excursion tomorrow, The Big Swig! Limited to 12 people and they still have 5 spots available. May 28 Monday- We have broken a pattern. The sun is out and temps are in the 50s. Our plan is to go into town this morning to do a little shopping and then do the Big Swig excursion this afternoon. The area is secured, so the only way off the pier is the free shuttle. The Big Swig was quite a tour. We toured 3 breweries, The King Street Brewery, Land Of The Midnight Sun Brewery and Resolution. At King Street, we got a lengthy explanation of the different hops and barleys they use and why. They also explained why certain regions use certain grains. It is because of the mineral content of the water in those regions. Of course, while he is talking, we get to be drinking. Midnight Sun is the 2nd largest craft brewer in the state and Resolution one of the smallest. If you appreciate beer, you should appreciate this tour. It is a privately owned company. Just one guy and a part time employee. When we got back to the ship, we went to see comedian Mark Pitta. Very funny and clean. May 29 Tuesday- Mostly cloudy, windy and in the 40s today. We are in Homer and will be doing the Best Of The Bay boat tour. There is a free shuttle to take us to the other side of the Spit, where all of the shopping is, but to actually go into Homer costs $15. The Best Of The Bay tour is rated more difficult because it is a pretty long walk to the boat and a fairly steep ramp to get to the dock. What we saw was lots of sea otters and puffins close up We also saw several Eagles and even mountain goats. There were also birds that looked a lot like penguins, but were able to fly. Very nice tour. The weather made a turn for the worse as we got back, so the afternoon tour probably won’t have it so comfortable. May 31 Thursday- I forgot to tell you yesterday about the eagles on Kodiak. They were everywhere! Today we are doing Hubbard Glacier, the largest tide water glacier in North America. It is in the 40s and will be getting colder as we approach the glacier, but the sun is reflecting off the water, so I have high hopes. This, boys and girls, is worth the price of the ticket. Cold and windy to start the day. The sky is mostly sunny and the scenery is beautiful, so just throw on an extra layer and go sit out on the balcony. O. June 1 Friday We are in Sitka today until 4:00. Docked right next to the NCL Jewel. Temp is 49 degrees, with a high of 56 expected. June 2 Saturday- Sea Day. June 4 Monday- Disembark. Disembarking and Customs was a breeze. We stayed in the stateroom until our tag color was called and had no trouble leaving the ship and getting our luggage. A taxi was right there to take us to the hotel. We had checked in online yesterday and they had a room ready. Perfect view of the Space Needle! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I chose this cruise for the Neptune suite aft balcony room for 3... which I thought to be fairly reasonably priced looking at other luxury cruises. However, the suite was small, but amazingly clean and comfortable, I would highly suggest ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the Neptune suite aft balcony room for 3... which I thought to be fairly reasonably priced looking at other luxury cruises. However, the suite was small, but amazingly clean and comfortable, I would highly suggest that it be for just 2 people. It was my husband and me, along with our 6'6" 20 year old son. And he was highly bored, no kids his age.... a few younger children... and a few 26 year old types.... who looked as bored too, ha. I was hoping he could meet some great friends like he has on other cruises. So, if it were just me and my husband, I would highly go on Eurodam again for an Alaskan cruise. No real activities for 20 somethings, and the only "nightclub" experience starts at 11:30 at night.... and with most people having a 3 hour time difference... that was just too late to start, and no one would show up. (comfy sleeping was the call during that time.) Embarkation was fine, and we were one of the last ones off, and disembarkation in Seattle was a breeze. The ship itself is a nod back to old-time classier cruising which my husband truly enjoyed. Everyone of the staff could not have been any friendlier and responsive. Knowing that they work normally 6-7 months at a time, I'm impressed by the smiles. Our cabin, Aft suite, 6164, was comfortable. The solo futon type bed needed help though. The staff brought in a permanent new mattress, and that did the trick. The bathroom was sizeable, with a nice whirlpool bath, and nice Elemis amenities. The comforters were great,,... and we had 3 different types of pillows to choose from. The suite and the whole ship was spotless. Thank you Rif and Catur, our room Stewards. We never went to the Main Dining Room, but enjoyed the Pinnacle and the Tamarind.... and really enjoyed the Lido....especially when it wasn't busy. I found the food there to be pretty amazing, and cooked and served on the spot. Be sure and check your daily schedule for restaurant hours, because they change everyday due to being in port or at sea. We also enjoyed the Dive-in hamburger on the Lido, and the New York pizza. We loved the Caprese salad at the Pizza Place. We enjoyed the BB Kings Blues club, and the Singing shows. Not a big stage, but the singers and dancers made good use of it, and I always wonder how they manage to dance while the ship is rolling. Speaking of rolling, The first day at sea is usually on a fast pace to reach Juneau and put some mileage behind us. So usually 20-22 knots speed, no matter the wave conditions. I had brought ginger and herbal medicines... I also saw alot of people with patches. We did rock and roll more than I had anticipated, but the ship puts out its stabilizers and tries to maintain its best.... but it is on the high seas. Just note to be aware. This was the most movement I had ever felt on a cruise so far. I was pretty proud of myself to attend a yoga class while at sea and maintain a pose in that movement, ha. I wish the dueling pianos had more playing time. We attended one of their trivia games and that was pretty cool. We did an exclusive behind the scenes tour that only 6-8 people go on, and it was fantastic! Let me just say that Eurodam and its crew runs a tight, clean ship. Impressive. That tour was one of the highlights of the cruise. Fascination how a Hotel at sea is operated. We did make use of the Neptune Lounge which is one of the reasons I choose Holland. The concierges were great, especially Miss Sarah. However, the lounge did not compare to some of the other cruise lines that I have been on. They have an honors bar (not free drinks), and you are unable to put them on your signature beverage package. They do have a great coffee machine and canapes throughout the day, but they have placed it into the interior of the ship. No view or anything. Plus, there is no priority seating in the theatre. However, I did like the breakfast available to suite guests in the Pinnacle Grill, and we took advantage of that many times. The weather was unfortunately bad in Juneau, (40 mile an hour winds with gusting rain). Luckily, we had pleasant weather in other ports with sunshine. It was colder than I had thought, and glad to have layers and a rain jacket in my luggage. Wished for longer times in port....especially Ketchikan and Victoria. too rushed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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