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Holland America reviewed well for our selection with our 2 friends and we wanted to go to Alaska. We booked the Westerdam on the southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver with strops in glacier Bay, Haines/Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. HAL has priority over the vessels to cruise glacier Bay where 2 boats/day are allowed and docking privileges for a once a week ship at Haines. We booked the Neptune Suite and selected the drink package, upgraded restaurant 1 night and shipboard credits. We pre-cruised with 3 days in Anchorage and the pre-cruise train from Anchorage to Seward. Our introduction to HAL was minutes after the easy boarding process and entering our awesome stateroom. Absolutely WOW and a large balcony and enough closet/drawer space form many large luggage pieces. Our service stewards throughout the week gave us many WOW moments, from the afternoon snacks to towel animals greeting us in the afternoon. Service aboard was incredible from our stewards, concierge, bartenders, and dining room staff. Most notable is the Pinnacle Grill which serves breakfast to Neptune guests. The best food we experienced was clearly the Pinnacle Grill and then fooled by our lunching at the Dive-In hot dog and burger bar. Dining room and Lido buffet food was decent but nothing to WOW about and we would give it a C+ with some food much better. Never without an opportunity for food. The shipboard atmosphere was relaxed and only required pants and a collared shirt for men in best dining evenings...So no Tux needed! The wildlife experts aboard and the Crows Nest public area was fun as we constantly spotted some form of wildlife or a notable attraction. We loved the wildlife interaction and the day on glacier Bay was memorable with bears, otters, eagles, etc...and the glacier. Our onshore tours were very good with the Juneau helicopter to the glacier and2 mile sled dog mushing being a real 10+...expensive and worth the money...Our first day in Haines with the fast ferry to Skagway and helicopter to the glacier was interesting although not too exciting with a "wrote" pathway there/back and a limited opportunity on the glacier...at the end of that trip their helicopter service bus dumped us in town and told us to walk back to the fast ferry...poor. The third land tour was a fast boat to Misty Fjords and floatplane ride back...pretty nice. The cruise was everything se expected and more and everything we made it to be. We saw some show, listened to blues at BB King club and danced...and explored the entire ship where allowed. Some issues arose with our final night in the dining room whereby our sommelier ordered drinks and charged us overage for those that had been OK as we had asked/been answered by bar staff throughout the ship...A lively discussion with the beverage Manager was fruitless and not very nice...However one rotten apple....and we loved the cruise. Off-boarding in Vancouver and 2 days of sightseeing was wonderful and a great finally to our memorable cruise on Holland America...We will return.

AWESOME first cruise

Westerdam Cruise Review by fish doctor

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
Holland America reviewed well for our selection with our 2 friends and we wanted to go to Alaska. We booked the Westerdam on the southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver with strops in glacier Bay, Haines/Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. HAL has priority over the vessels to cruise glacier Bay where 2 boats/day are allowed and docking privileges for a once a week ship at Haines. We booked the Neptune Suite and selected the drink package, upgraded restaurant 1 night and shipboard credits. We pre-cruised with 3 days in Anchorage and the pre-cruise train from Anchorage to Seward.

Our introduction to HAL was minutes after the easy boarding process and entering our awesome stateroom. Absolutely WOW and a large balcony and enough closet/drawer space form many large luggage pieces. Our service stewards throughout the week gave us many WOW moments, from the afternoon snacks to towel animals greeting us in the afternoon. Service aboard was incredible from our stewards, concierge, bartenders, and dining room staff. Most notable is the Pinnacle Grill which serves breakfast to Neptune guests. The best food we experienced was clearly the Pinnacle Grill and then fooled by our lunching at the Dive-In hot dog and burger bar. Dining room and Lido buffet food was decent but nothing to WOW about and we would give it a C+ with some food much better. Never without an opportunity for food.

The shipboard atmosphere was relaxed and only required pants and a collared shirt for men in best dining evenings...So no Tux needed!

The wildlife experts aboard and the Crows Nest public area was fun as we constantly spotted some form of wildlife or a notable attraction. We loved the wildlife interaction and the day on glacier Bay was memorable with bears, otters, eagles, etc...and the glacier.

Our onshore tours were very good with the Juneau helicopter to the glacier and2 mile sled dog mushing being a real 10+...expensive and worth the money...Our first day in Haines with the fast ferry to Skagway and helicopter to the glacier was interesting although not too exciting with a "wrote" pathway there/back and a limited opportunity on the glacier...at the end of that trip their helicopter service bus dumped us in town and told us to walk back to the fast ferry...poor. The third land tour was a fast boat to Misty Fjords and floatplane ride back...pretty nice.

The cruise was everything se expected and more and everything we made it to be. We saw some show, listened to blues at BB King club and danced...and explored the entire ship where allowed.

Some issues arose with our final night in the dining room whereby our sommelier ordered drinks and charged us overage for those that had been OK as we had asked/been answered by bar staff throughout the ship...A lively discussion with the beverage Manager was fruitless and not very nice...However one rotten apple....and we loved the cruise.

Off-boarding in Vancouver and 2 days of sightseeing was wonderful and a great finally to our memorable cruise on Holland America...We will return.
fish doctor’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
Cabin SA 7802
As above. Awesome. Hughe suite, balcony, bathroom. Storage cabinets enough for an elephant with young. Very comfortable king bed and couches. We really relaxed and used the cabin as it has large slider glass doors and a large picture size window for view outside. We spent time on the balcony that was about 12 feet long containing a round table with 4 chairs and 2 chaise/foot stool cushioned chairs.
Rotterdam Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Glacier Bay
    An awesome day cruising around the are on our mother ship
    View All 748 Glacier Bay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Glacier Bay Cruise Port Review
  • Haines
    Nice boat ride - lots of wildlife; Helicopter ride was a wrote up/back trip of 20 minutes each way. the glacier was interesting although we had only a free for all 40 minutes to not do much. After return we were dumped in Skagway in the middle of town and told to either walk 10 minutes or take a $2 bus to the ferry landing..Not expected of booking an EXC tour from the ship. We filed complaint.
    View All 13,176 Haines Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Haines Cruise Port Review
  • Dog Sledding
    Cannot say enough ...After having a very nice helicopter ride through some mountainous terrain and looking to wildlife along the way we were dropped onto the glacier in snow where the dog camp was located. We had great commentary on the helicopter and about the dogs and the camp and then had the opportunity to actually mush our own sled dogs. A tandem sled holding 2 couples and the camp leader gave each rider a chance to start and stop the dogs ...the ride alone was fun and we ran against other sleds. By far the best tour on our cruise....One comment...The helicopters stuff 4 adults into the back seat and you do have to hope that everyone shares space...Clearly a 10+ rating and worth the high price.
    View All 147 Dog Sledding Reviews
  • Helicopter Tour
    Part of the sled dog experience. Pilot was a good guide and looked for wildlife and flew different routes up and back so no boredom and did some aerobatics around peaks to allow us to feel the ride. Too cramped in the back seat..There were 3 men and 1 woman...could have used just 3 in back seat.
    View All 125 Helicopter Tour Reviews
  • Misty Fjords Flightseeing
    Boat ride was fun and scenery beautiful. Nice narrative form the crew over speaker system as we went to Misty Fjords. Spectacular geology for the area and..we saw a black bear at the water's edge...The float plane was not really exciting compared to helicopters and visibility fair out the cabin. Flew interesting country and different path from the outbound boat rise, so nice variety.
    View All 154 Misty Fjords Flightseeing Reviews
  • Seward
    We took the Alaska railway from Anchorage - 4 hours; very nice
    View All 186 Seward Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Seward Cruise Port Review