This was our first time on a large ship- Oosterdam has nearly 2000 passengers. The staff were superb and attentive, and the ship facilities extensive. The food was fairly good but not outstanding. The package was at first sight good value, but the cost of optional extras was high: WiFi was extortionately priced, alcoholic drinks were very expensive, as was the spa, and shore excursions (though the ones we did were excellent). Entertainment on board was disappointing - we were hoping for some gentle ballroom dancing, but the dancing was either focussed on their dance competition, or cramped disco style. Talks were either all about on-shore shopping (yuk!) or very dumbed down where they were supposed to be informative. An irritation was lack of tea/coffee facilities around the ship - we had to go all the way to deck 9 for that. The ambience and style of the ship was brash and unimaginative : generally we found we couldn't wait to arrive in a port and get off - altogether a very forgettable experience.
Cabin was on deck 1 with a sea view, perfectly adequate in terms of space and amenity, though did not have a balcony, whereas the vast majority of ocean view cabins on the ship did have a balcony. Our first time on a Holland America ship, and found the terminology misleading - they don't have such a thing as a "cabin", they are all called "staterooms" - bizarre!
Our first time in Vancouver, and it was glorious. The waterfront area is attractive, and the main centre well lit, lively, well organised, and felt very safe even at night, with lots of options for eating. Stanley Park is walkable from the centre and is a large green space well laid out for walkers, joggers, and cyclists, with great views around the bay. There is lots to do in Vancouver, and getting about is easy - the buses and the Skytrain system worked well, and cycle hire is conveniently available. The city has a very cosmopolitan feel, with rich ethnic diversity. We visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and the UBC campus (Museum of Anthropology and Beaty Biodiversity Museum) which were very worthwhile days out. We wished we had more time to explore more.
About 3 hours in all, and an interesting hike in the woods along a river, and by the shore. Our guide was informative. The main attraction was seeing black bears in their natural habitat. There weren't many around which was a bit unlucky.
Lovely little seaboard town and harbour. We took a whale-watching trip day out - Kenai Fjords Boat Tour. This was expensive, but worth it. The catamaran was large and well appointed. We sailed up into Aialik Bay and had great close up views of a Harding Icefield glacier, and watched icebergs calving into the sea. We hoped to spot Orcas, but were out of luck.
We took a 5 hour excursion with Gastineau Guiding: Mendenhall Glacier photo safari and whale watching. Our guide, Cindy Kern, was exceptional, so we learned a lot about what we were seeing as well as getting some useful tips on talking better photos. The whale watching was excellent, with some great close up encounters with humpbacks. Recommended.View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
Lovely hike on Chilcoot Trail, then rafting back down the river for a few miles. Our guide was lively and great fun, and she had to work a bit harder than we expected to keep the raft on course. We saw a bit of birdlife en route, including bald eagles. Worthwhile.View All 33 Rafting Reviews
Interesting trip on an old narrow gauge railway up into the mountains above Skagway, with great scenic views (until we hit the clouds!). Our guide was very informative about the railway construction and the context of the goldrush. Expensive, but worthwhile.View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews