Noordam Cruise Review by fishr
- Sail Date: July 2016
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Signature Superior Verandah Suite
We stayed at the McKinley Chalet Resort owned by HA. It's a vast property with great public spaces and decent food. There are a variety of good restaurants across the road from the main entrance to the hotel, as well as extensive and well maintained trails. Unfortunately it's not air conditioned and our room was stifling, even with two fans going.
The next day we got up very early (again-it's a good thing Alaska's three hours behind CDST) to board the seven hour Tundra Wilderness Tour. To be honest I had some trepidation about spending seven hours in a bus in the middle of nowhere but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. The scenery was amazingly pristine and the wildlife viewing was beyond our expectations. The bus makes regular bathroom/stretch your legs stops and we were able to get good, reasonably priced box lunches at the hotel. Again we were lucky to have an entertaining, knowledgeable driver/guide.
Another overnight in Denali then up early (again) for a "10 hour" bus ride to Seward where we would embark. Again I was pleasantly surprised that it actually didn't take quite that long and again the driver/guide did a great job.
Embarkation took much longer than we expected but once we got on board it was fantastic. The stateroom, food and service were top notch. We had Signature Suite which gave us a roomy balcony and an upgraded bathroom (though many people on the ship wouldn't have fit in the shower stall). One obvious sign of the ship's age is that the stateroom's audiovisual amenities are really dated. The TV's are small and poor quality (and poorly positioned). The selection of channels is pathetic. If you want to watch a movie in your stateroom you have to call the "Front Office" and ask someone if the DVD is available to rent. If it is you have to get it (or I think you can ask them to have someone deliver it). An on-demand system would offer a better selection without having to deal with discs.
Generally speaking the service was excellent. Our room was made up twice daily and was supplied with fresh fruit. Bottled water, which my wife consumes in great quantities
is not free and the one problem we had with service was trying to get someone to understand when we wanted more water and when we didn't.
The Alaska scenery was fantastic. In Glacier Bay you sail so close to a glacier that you can hear it groaning and cracking, The entire voyage was quite smooth, suitable to motion-intolerant people.
Port of call were Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan with disembarkation in Vancouver.
The food was generally excellent but I would advise you to skip the Pinnacle Grill. The service was very slow and people all around us were complaining of that and the fact that when the food finally came a lot of it was sent back because it wasn't cooked as ordered (like mine). The manager actually came around to see how everything was and we told her. There was no offer of compensation.
All in all it was a fantastic experience.
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Lots of storage and big balcony.
The audiovisuals need upgrading. High quality tv with on-demand movies? iPod docking sound system? What about a clock?