A Happy Father/Daughter Cruise: Statendam Cruise Review by 0bnxshs

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A Happy Father/Daughter Cruise

Sail Date: June 2009
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Vancouver
This cruise was planned as an opportunity for my 30 year old daughter and I to enjoy a week together. The cruise was booked in Feb. 2009 for the earliest she would be available to go as she is a middle school teacher. I have used HA before to book and have nothing but good to say about that with HA matching any price offered by any online or independent travel agency. We got an unmentionably low price. One thing I don't like about HA is that you have to prepay your excursions at the time of reservation, unlike Princess and others.

We flew into Vancouver the evening before departure and found getting through customs there was quick and painless. We'd read horror stories about the process on day of departure and decided to avoid that. A cab ride into the city was CAD$35 including generous tip. We stayed at the Marriott Pinnacle and had a lovely room there. The buffet breakfast was rather expensive though at CAD$56 for 2. The city itself is beautiful, clean and safe More feeling. Wish we'd had more time there as many others plan. We easily walked the short 1/2 mile, luggage in tow, to Canada Place for boarding at around noon. The process seemed a bit confusing with luggage dropoff, but once we figured out where to do so, after figuring out we had to enter the parking garage to get to boarding, everything from there was easy and short. No customs issues, no HA issues, quick and simple. I think it pays to be a bit ahead of all the HA arranged airport transfers.

The ship and crew were ready and waiting for us. Our cabin was upgraded to L500 from one of the A deck inside cabins. We found it very roomy with plenty of storage. The TV and video system seems to leave lots to be desired on all HA boats, but I'm not cruising to watch TV, so it basically stayed off the entire cruise.

Service onboard this rather tired looking ship was excellent throughout. We never felt hurried, left-out, neglected or uncared for the entire time. One issue that cropped up on the second or third day was the dreaded virus. This was handled by the ship quickly and efficiently though. Apparently the virus was going through the crew and never seemed to get to us passengers, although it meant that passengers couldn't handle any food or drinks at the buffet, including no salt/pepper shakers anyplace onboard. All crew from the engine room to the bands manned stations in the buffet, which itself was wrapped in plastic wrap, and other food lines, and all cheerily built salads and drinks to order for the remainder of the cruise. We aren't night-life creatures, so we didn't see any shows or movies or spend time in the casino, preferring to spend our evenings on the deck sightseeing or walking the promenade or reading in the library. I found the Microsoft classes crowded but very basic in nature, geared towards those who have never plugged a peripheral device into a computer.

We chose to rent a very expensive car in Seward for the drive to Anchorage, but I'm glad we did. There are so many places to stop and shop, eat, explore and simply stand in awe of along the highway. On the even more expensive train or bus we wouldn't have stopped for brown bears, glaciers, icebergs, campground scouting, lunch, wildlife refuge touring, mating bald eagles and everything else we had at our leisure to enjoy. We arrived in Anchorage several hours later happily exhausted from everything we were able to enjoy on our own. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn closest to the airport and had a great last evening together, leaving Anchorage the next day (again, would loved to spend additional time here, but daughter's time was limited.) Less

Published 10/01/09

Cabin review: L500 Large Interior Stateroom

L500 is in the front of the ship on the main deck. It gets noisy with the thrusters up front but is large and comfortable, being designed for those with movement impairments.

Read All Large Interior Stateroom (L) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Juneau itself is fairly boring. Take an excursion that gets you out of the port area.
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Ketchikan is Alaska's tourist trap. It's a pretty area though and offers many excursions. I did the motorcycle ride that was well led and equipped. Daughter did the zip line forest canopy tour and enjoyed it.
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What Skagway lacks in professional tour operators it makes up in beautiful scenery and range of things to do and see. Skagway seems to run on its own schedule and some of the operators are a bit lackadaisical in promptness and professionalism. We took the Jeep drive into Canada and had a great time despite the inauspicious beginning of a lack of communication between the ship and the tour operator, delaying the start of our excursion by over an hour, which made my daughter quite nervous as she had a later excursion booked as well. However, all ended well and she was able to enjoy both excursions. That's one of the big reasons we book excursions with plenty of time in between them.
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Again I'll say I wish we'd had more time here. If you have time, see Exit Glacier, as you can actually hike up to the foot of this glacier and touch it.
Read 887 Skagway Reviews

We wish we'd had time here as this is a lovely city and province. Friendly people wherever we found ourselves. Be prepared for CAD to be nearly equal to USD
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Member Since 2009
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