My wife and I arrived at the Vancouver Airport at 11am. Were met and welcomed by a HAL rep who arranged for a cab to the Pan Pacific. The Pan Pacific allowed us to check in immediately and our luggage was taken to our room. Nice accommodations and we had the afternoon to explore Vancouver and Stanley Park. Enjoyed a dinner and drinks overlooking the Lions Gate Bridge and Bay. The next morning we headed to Victoria BC and two nights at the Empress Hotel. Great location and they provided a complimentary larger room on the 2nd floor. Buchart Gardens, Dragon Boat Festival, Harbor, Irish Pubs, BC Museum, and Fisherman's Wharf made for a great weekend in Victoria.
Arrived back in Vancouver about noon on the 16th and boarding was painless and fast. Some folks seemed confused going through customs, etc. but HAL reps were there to assist. Found our luggage in our cabin, explored the ship and found a lounge for a relaxing drink while everyone else seemed to head immediately to the Lido deck for lunch. We were very impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of the HAL staff. The organization of the trip and receiving a packet with keys, etc. was perfect throughout our two week trip. The variety of entertainment venues and activities on the cruise provided for just about any interest. We enjoyed a few shows in the Vista Lounge especially the Marriage Game where the Cruise Director and an elderly couple celebrating 64 yrs. of marriage provided a very inspirational show for all in attendance.
Alaska speaks for itself. While on the cruise portion of our trip we enjoyed the Navigation Deck, the Pinnacle Lounge and the Piano Bar where three talented fellow travelers provided some wonderful music with the pianist. Enjoyed dining in the Vista Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill and room service. Also enjoyed a Salmon Bake on the Lido Deck. Open dining allowed us to meet and dine with fellow travelers from around the world.
The coach trip to Denali was long as we had expected but well worth the trip. Some great stops along the way to see Beluga Whales, Iditarod Headquarters and the Veteran's Memorial broke up the long trip. Enjoyed Denali Tundra Tour and our stay at the McKinley Chalet in the Cottonwood. We had purchased meal vouchers as part of the land / cruise package and enjoyed the McKinley Chalet restaurants and the McKinley Explorer. Ended our trip at the Anchorage Hilton which was ok for Anchorage but when we went to the Hilton's restaurant we were given a Holland America Voucher Menu that was a lunch type menu. Luckily we had a very good waitress who spoke with her manager and we were then given a Dinner Menu.
When I purchased the dinner package HAL assured me there were no menu restrictions. I expect fellow travelers found this to be an issue and would suggest HAL speak with Anchorage Hilton management. Other than this small issue we had great weather and a excellent trip to BC / Alaska. Also, the Alaskan Summer Ale was superb.
Our verandah cabin size was satisfactory for the two of us. Service was excellent and the location was perfect for going to the Vista Lounge and the Navigation Deck. Verandah is a must do for Alaska Cruise.
Coach ride to Denali was long as expected but stops to view Beluga Whales, Iditarod Headquarters and sled dogs, very nice lunch stop in Wasilla and the Alaska Veteran's Memorial made for a great day. Our stay at the McKinley Chalet and the Tundra Tour was excellent also.
Glacier Bay was awesome but did not see any sea animals as we had expected. Glad we took the whale watch in Juneau.
Great walking tour provided by National Park Rangers for free.View All 23 Historical Tour Reviews
Great scenery and the clouds lifted for our afternoon trip. Learning about the history of the gold rush was interesting.View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
Taking the Glacier Shuttle and using our National Park pass cost 50% of a booked tour and was very enjoyable plus we could stay as long as we wished to view the glacier, sockeye salmon and visitor centerView All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
The Discovery Tour even though basic science was enjoyable due to the captain and tour leader. Seeing Humpback Whales bubble feeding was awesome.View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
Enjoyed shopping on Creek Street and the National Park Discovery Center.
Hop and Ride trolley was very infrequent and waited a long time for next trolley. Not worth the cost.View All 47 Stanley Park Reviews