m/s Oosterdam Embarkation 5/5/2007
We flew into Seattle a day ahead and visited the space needle and visit Pikes Market. The space needle was great for views and picture taking. If you elect to eat dinner at the restaurant at the top of the space needle, the cost will run about $75.00 per person not including drinks. This was our 4th cruise on Holland America, our friends who traveled with up insisted on this cruise line but I prefer Princess.
Boarding- We stayed at the Comfort Inn on Roy Street offering an excellent free breakfast and an $8.00 shuttle to the ship the next morning. After arriving at the port we started walking in to start the boarding process, we had to stop to prove we had our immigration forms filled out then took a few steps and another person stopped us to make sure we filled out another form showing we are not sick and then stop showing our state ID's. Having to stop and grab and show stop grab show stop grab show and drop and re-gather our luggage every time was nerve racking.
Once on board we have disinfected our hands a few time with that gel we proceeded to our cabin (6022) inside and so small it was scary. There was just enough room to walk to the bed, bathroom and closets but they put a table and chairs in the way so you could jostle around them for the entire cruise. The room was not much bigger then the queen size bed in side. The bathroom was small and the drain was clogged and drained very slowly so our showers had to be in short duration or the water would flood the floors. The toiletries have been upgraded and were very nice, and the bedding was fantastic, comfy, clean, nice sheets...I can't say enough nice things about the bedding.
In typical Holland America fashion we immediately got a bill 1.00 per person for additional port charges that were not charged initially when we booked.
The food: The food in the Lido was not very good, you really know the difference when cooks measure and follow recipes and when they fake it. All of the prepared salads were so salty I had to throw them away. The pasta bar was interesting, they grab the pasta, drop it in boiling water, drain some of the water and then place it on a plate with a few tablespoons of sauce on top....hospital cafeteria food would put the Lido's food to shame. The food at the Vista Lounge was very good, care was taken for quality, taste, and presentation featuring Fillet Mignon, Lobster, and Alaskan king crab. Sterling's Steak House was overpriced and every time I looked it sat empty.
Ports of call: Ketchikan & Juneau had fantastic scenery, the towns were shanties. Sitka was the most breathtaking, bald eagles flying about and snow crusted mountains reaching up to and through the clouds. Beautiful islands dotting the calm inland sea and covered in pine. The town was also very pretty, the people were friendly and took great pride in their town. To really get the most out of this cruise I think people should bring a camera with a zoom lens, and binoculars. I did the Douglas Island Sea Kayaking, (about $120.00) and was told by the tour desk that we would be kayaking around glaciers however there was only one about 10 miles away however the scenery was fantastic & we had an excellent time while also having a surprise visit from a Sea Lion who popped it's head up very near by to see us. The other tours I signed up for were so overpriced they had too few people sign up and were cancelled as a result. The canopy tour was sold out immediately, if you want to do this Canopy tour zipping though the forest on cables then sign up before the cruise or it's too late when you get on board.
The entertainment was ok, the Indonesian crew show was long and pretty bad. The hot tubs were drained and closed a day early to prepare for the next cruise, during the cruise they they were also often covered up so no one could use them, the pool crew seemed to think this was a great way to keep them clean. I learned the trick to using the hot tubs, look and see if their available, run like mad to your room and get into a swimsuit, run like mad back to the hot tub and if it's available and not covered up with nets then you got really lucky.
While not a premium cruise line Holland America advertises my experience was exactly what I expected. Go on board with low expectations and "all in all" you can have a really nice & enjoyable cruise, I know I did.