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This was our 9th cruise, first time on HAL, first time to Alaska. Excellent cruise all around. We spent a day in Seattle the day prior to boarding, Having seen the wine prices listed on HAL online, we decided to bring a case of wine onboard and pay the $18 per bottle corkage fee. We found a nice selection of wines for under $20, 15% discount on a case, at Pike’s Place Market wine store (Pike and Western Wine Shop, 1934 Pike Place). We used Lyft from the airport to our hotel (Homewood Suites Downtown – pretty good), from Pike’s Place to the hotel, from the hotel to the port and from the port to the airport. Very easy. If you are a new customer, look for a Lyft discount code displayed at baggage carousel when you land. Embarkation was super easy. No lines to wait in at noon, and so many smiling faces. One of our party forgot his passport – we were directed to a lovely woman who assured us that the colored copy we had was sufficient! I have carried copies of our passports for years, and this is the first time I had to use it. Disaster averted. Before we went to check in, we were directed to a table where corkage fee was charged to our room and stickers were put on the bottles, assuring that we could drink it anywhere on the boat. We were told at check in that our rooms were ready! So nice to go right to the room and be rid of carry-ons and wine. We were in rooms 6102 (ocean view – front of ship) and 6116 (port side verandah). Good location for ease in getting around ship. Each room had 2 robes, 2 pair slippers, 2 wool throw blankets. The verandah room had binoculars. 6102 had a tub, 6116 had a shower stall. 6102 had a sloped ceiling, which made the room seem smaller, and reduced the closet space somewhat. Both rooms had wonderful views. We really felt the ship movement the first night from Seattle towards Juneau. Other times, we felt movement/vibrations, probably due to the smallness of the ship and the Pacific Ocean. Not a major issue – did not see any seasick people. Room 6102 was above the theater and on some late nights the noise was annoying. The combo of movement, noise, and sloped ceilings would keep me from booking this room again. Weather was mostly cloudy, with highs in the 50’s and 60’s. We did not have any pelting rain while on shore. In Sitka, the sun even came out! For excursions/walking outside decks, layers were key. Two of our party wore long underwear. I wore a long sleeved wicking shirt, then a polartec fleece hooded sweatshirt, a lightweight down jacket and covered it all with a raincoat. Combined with a hat and light gloves, that took care of the coldest day – at the Hubbard Glacier. Low hiking boots were perfect for everywhere. On our kayaking excursion and our jeep/canoe excursion, raincoats/waterproof pants were offered. The interior of the ship was very warm. We were fine in short sleeves, and never needed sweaters or shawls at dinner. The Amsterdam is a lovely ship, with great service from everyone. There is a huge library, lots of public spaces with expansive views, and a card room with playing cards, chess sets, mahjong and many games and puzzles. The staff is very low key – you won’t be pestered to buy anything, or pose for photos. We really appreciated that aspect. The clientele does skew older. There were some children onboard, but mostly as part of large family groups. Our mid-twenties kids were perfectly happy with available activities. The food was very good in the dining room and the Lido. I am a vegetarian and each night at dinner, I was offered both the menu for the next day and the special vegetarian menu so I could choose the next night’s meal. We had second seating but were able to switch to first seating on our last night so we could visit Victoria at the 6 pm docking. We enjoyed the America Test Kitchen demonstrations – it was standing room only most of the time, so arrive early. I booked two of our excursions (Glacier View Kayaking in Juneau and Canoe and Jeep Adventure in Ketchikan) through Costco and the Sitka Marine Adventure directly at their website (sitkawildlifetours.com). We were joined by people from our ship who had booked directly from HAL, and there was no issue about getting back to the ship on time was not an issue. Liked all the excursions, highly recommend the Sitka Marine Adventure! Debarkation was painless and quick. We managed our own bags, and exited about 8 a.m. We made it from the stateroom to the airport in under an hour. Sea-Tac was very busy, with long lines for checking baggage and TSA screening. We had no trouble making our 11:20 a.m. flights. Definitely planning to cruise with HAL again.

August in Alaska - Seattle Roundtrip 7 day

Amsterdam Cruise Review by mbrophy5

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
This was our 9th cruise, first time on HAL, first time to Alaska. Excellent cruise all around.

We spent a day in Seattle the day prior to boarding, Having seen the wine prices listed on HAL online, we decided to bring a case of wine onboard and pay the $18 per bottle corkage fee. We found a nice selection of wines for under $20, 15% discount on a case, at Pike’s Place Market wine store (Pike and Western Wine Shop, 1934 Pike Place).

We used Lyft from the airport to our hotel (Homewood Suites Downtown – pretty good), from Pike’s Place to the hotel, from the hotel to the port and from the port to the airport. Very easy. If you are a new customer, look for a Lyft discount code displayed at baggage carousel when you land.

Embarkation was super easy. No lines to wait in at noon, and so many smiling faces. One of our party forgot his passport – we were directed to a lovely woman who assured us that the colored copy we had was sufficient! I have carried copies of our passports for years, and this is the first time I had to use it. Disaster averted.

Before we went to check in, we were directed to a table where corkage fee was charged to our room and stickers were put on the bottles, assuring that we could drink it anywhere on the boat.

We were told at check in that our rooms were ready! So nice to go right to the room and be rid of carry-ons and wine.

We were in rooms 6102 (ocean view – front of ship) and 6116 (port side verandah). Good location for ease in getting around ship. Each room had 2 robes, 2 pair slippers, 2 wool throw blankets. The verandah room had binoculars. 6102 had a tub, 6116 had a shower stall. 6102 had a sloped ceiling, which made the room seem smaller, and reduced the closet space somewhat. Both rooms had wonderful views.

We really felt the ship movement the first night from Seattle towards Juneau. Other times, we felt movement/vibrations, probably due to the smallness of the ship and the Pacific Ocean. Not a major issue – did not see any seasick people.

Room 6102 was above the theater and on some late nights the noise was annoying. The combo of movement, noise, and sloped ceilings would keep me from booking this room again.

Weather was mostly cloudy, with highs in the 50’s and 60’s. We did not have any pelting rain while on shore. In Sitka, the sun even came out!

For excursions/walking outside decks, layers were key. Two of our party wore long underwear. I wore a long sleeved wicking shirt, then a polartec fleece hooded sweatshirt, a lightweight down jacket and covered it all with a raincoat. Combined with a hat and light gloves, that took care of the coldest day – at the Hubbard Glacier. Low hiking boots were perfect for everywhere.

On our kayaking excursion and our jeep/canoe excursion, raincoats/waterproof pants were offered.

The interior of the ship was very warm. We were fine in short sleeves, and never needed sweaters or shawls at dinner.

The Amsterdam is a lovely ship, with great service from everyone. There is a huge library, lots of public spaces with expansive views, and a card room with playing cards, chess sets, mahjong and many games and puzzles. The staff is very low key – you won’t be pestered to buy anything, or pose for photos. We really appreciated that aspect.

The clientele does skew older. There were some children onboard, but mostly as part of large family groups. Our mid-twenties kids were perfectly happy with available activities.

The food was very good in the dining room and the Lido. I am a vegetarian and each night at dinner, I was offered both the menu for the next day and the special vegetarian menu so I could choose the next night’s meal. We had second seating but were able to switch to first seating on our last night so we could visit Victoria at the 6 pm docking.

We enjoyed the America Test Kitchen demonstrations – it was standing room only most of the time, so arrive early.

I booked two of our excursions (Glacier View Kayaking in Juneau and Canoe and Jeep Adventure in Ketchikan) through Costco and the Sitka Marine Adventure directly at their website (sitkawildlifetours.com). We were joined by people from our ship who had booked directly from HAL, and there was no issue about getting back to the ship on time was not an issue. Liked all the excursions, highly recommend the Sitka Marine Adventure!

Debarkation was painless and quick. We managed our own bags, and exited about 8 a.m. We made it from the stateroom to the airport in under an hour. Sea-Tac was very busy, with long lines for checking baggage and TSA screening. We had no trouble making our 11:20 a.m. flights.

Definitely planning to cruise with HAL again.
mbrophy5’s Full Rating Summary
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