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We arrived in Anchorage on May 24, and two-thirds of our 15-day journey was spent in Alaska and the Yukon. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all, despite all the travel (six hotels in 10 days, about 1200 miles). We wish there had been an extra day in Whitehorse. The train ride to Denali was a relaxing day, and the Tundra Wilderness Tour was a good overview of the park. We enjoyed both Dawson City and Whitehorse in the Yukon, despite the former's touristy feel on its main street. We tended to eat at the restaurants in the Westmark hotels we stayed in (usually for convenience). (Westmark is owned by HAL.) The hotel food was usually quite good, although we ate at other restaurants three times during the trip, and especially enjoyed the Aurora Inn restaurant in Dawson City, a short block from the hotel. We enjoyed our last two land days in Skagway, especially the city museum on Seventh Street: it was a gem that would not have been out of place in a big city. We boarded Volendam just before noon on day 11, had lunch in the Lido restaurant, and spent much of the afternoon in our (reserved) deck chairs soaking up the nice weather, having the knowledge we wouldn't have to get on a bus for four more days. The ship is elegant and understated, and it was a real pleasure to arise early, get our coffee in the Explorations Cafe, and sit there watching the world go by. This was an especially nice morning location as we entered Glacier Bay on our second day on board. After breakfast that day, we moved to our deck chairs for the rest of the day. On the third day, we arrived in Ketchikan around 9am in a drizzling rain. My wife went out briefly to find the local museum, but we otherwise stayed on board that day. Our general impression of Ketchikan's main street was that it had cornered much of the world supply of jewelry and souvenir stores. Our last full day sailing was at sea through the Inside Passage and was generally enjoyable. However, a wind came up mid-afternoon, and the ship started rolling a little. This wasn't a problem until I spent about 30 minutes concentrating on a computer monitor around 4pm while trying to check in for our flight home the next day. Because I concentrated too much on the monitor for too long, I felt woozy when I stood up to go back to our cabin. I won't repeat this mistake. I was very disappointed with the ship's Internet service. Since it was based on time rather than how much was downloaded, HAL has no incentive to improve the service. It took about 30 minutes to finish our Alaska Airlines check-in, and ended up costing about $1 per minute. I won't make this mistake again. During our time on board, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido restaurant (with one lunch exception), and all dinners in the upper Main Dining Room. The Lido food was quite good and varied, and I appreciated the opportunity to have some Asian dishes (like congee, an Asian rice porridge breakfast, and a Malaysian stir fry for lunch). We thought the Main Dining Room dinners were exceptional, although the desserts seemed commonplace and merely workmanlike. We attended the tea service one afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of the tea cakes. Disembarking in Vancouver was smooth: we were in the first group off after some of the elevated Mariners (since we had to catch a flight at noon), but we were unhappy that we had to stand in line waiting for a bus to take us to the airport. Had we known about this, I'd have not packed our folding Walkstool to sit on (I have a problematic hip and knee). Overall, it was an enjoyable, fun, and memorable experience, well worth any of the small glitches we encountered.

Y2C Alaska-Yukon-Cruise land+sea review

Volendam Cruise Review by kwb101

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Lanai Ocean-View Stateroom
We arrived in Anchorage on May 24, and two-thirds of our 15-day journey was spent in Alaska and the Yukon. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all, despite all the travel (six hotels in 10 days, about 1200 miles). We wish there had been an extra day in Whitehorse. The train ride to Denali was a relaxing day, and the Tundra Wilderness Tour was a good overview of the park. We enjoyed both Dawson City and Whitehorse in the Yukon, despite the former's touristy feel on its main street.

We tended to eat at the restaurants in the Westmark hotels we stayed in (usually for convenience). (Westmark is owned by HAL.) The hotel food was usually quite good, although we ate at other restaurants three times during the trip, and especially enjoyed the Aurora Inn restaurant in Dawson City, a short block from the hotel.

We enjoyed our last two land days in Skagway, especially the city museum on Seventh Street: it was a gem that would not have been out of place in a big city.

We boarded Volendam just before noon on day 11, had lunch in the Lido restaurant, and spent much of the afternoon in our (reserved) deck chairs soaking up the nice weather, having the knowledge we wouldn't have to get on a bus for four more days.

The ship is elegant and understated, and it was a real pleasure to arise early, get our coffee in the Explorations Cafe, and sit there watching the world go by. This was an especially nice morning location as we entered Glacier Bay on our second day on board. After breakfast that day, we moved to our deck chairs for the rest of the day.

On the third day, we arrived in Ketchikan around 9am in a drizzling rain. My wife went out briefly to find the local museum, but we otherwise stayed on board that day. Our general impression of Ketchikan's main street was that it had cornered much of the world supply of jewelry and souvenir stores.

Our last full day sailing was at sea through the Inside Passage and was generally enjoyable. However, a wind came up mid-afternoon, and the ship started rolling a little. This wasn't a problem until I spent about 30 minutes concentrating on a computer monitor around 4pm while trying to check in for our flight home the next day. Because I concentrated too much on the monitor for too long, I felt woozy when I stood up to go back to our cabin. I won't repeat this mistake.

I was very disappointed with the ship's Internet service. Since it was based on time rather than how much was downloaded, HAL has no incentive to improve the service. It took about 30 minutes to finish our Alaska Airlines check-in, and ended up costing about $1 per minute. I won't make this mistake again.

During our time on board, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido restaurant (with one lunch exception), and all dinners in the upper Main Dining Room. The Lido food was quite good and varied, and I appreciated the opportunity to have some Asian dishes (like congee, an Asian rice porridge breakfast, and a Malaysian stir fry for lunch). We thought the Main Dining Room dinners were exceptional, although the desserts seemed commonplace and merely workmanlike. We attended the tea service one afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of the tea cakes.

Disembarking in Vancouver was smooth: we were in the first group off after some of the elevated Mariners (since we had to catch a flight at noon), but we were unhappy that we had to stand in line waiting for a bus to take us to the airport. Had we known about this, I'd have not packed our folding Walkstool to sit on (I have a problematic hip and knee).

Overall, it was an enjoyable, fun, and memorable experience, well worth any of the small glitches we encountered.
kwb101’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Lanai Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin CA 3357
We loved the cabin's large window and glass door, its ready access to the Lower Promenade deck, and the reserved deck chairs. Although the weather was cool, my wife found a bin of heavy wool blankets to wrap herself in, and we both spent many hours over four days enjoying the views.

The large shower in the bathroom was a surprise: there was a small step-over, but the shower floor was the same tile as the rest of the bathroom, so there was no difficulty in access.

The bed was comfortable, no complaints. The lights took a bit of getting used to, since there were essentially two settings, one over the window and closet/bathroom hallway, and the other over the loveseat and beds. Each side of the bed had reading lamps that were largely useless, since they didn't produce enough light to read by.

The cabin was quiet: we didn't hear anything from the deck, the hallway, above us, or from either side. Overall, it looked new (and was apparently re-done in late 2014 when the ship was in drydock). It wasn't big, but we thought it was cozy and worked well for us, save that the love seat was quite snug (we're tall). On the positive side, the loveseat was next to the window, so when there was too much wind or rain, we took turns sitting there watching the water.

We brought DVDs, understanding that the cabins had appropriate players. Our cabin didn't have a player, so I called the front desk to request one. An engineer came by a few minutes later with one. He set it on the desk, and ran a heavy multi-conductor cable to the flat-screen TV on the wall next to the desk (that faced the bed). He explained that lanai cabins didn't have a place for the player to be, so they were installed as requested. It turned out the player was strictly standard definition, so picture and sound quality would have been quite low. We decided not to use it for those reasons.

Overall, the deck access, reserved deck chairs, and newness of the cabin fittings (especially the shower) made the bump-up in price from an ocean-view cabin well worth it.
Lower Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

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