We had a great cruise on the Volendam.
So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another.
Juneau and Skagway had very little to offer in themselves but the excursions from there were great. We booked a Harv and Marv whale watching tour in Juneau instead of the Holland America excursion and it was a great choice. The small boat and the excellent staff there had us up close with whales in no time. I definitely recommend the excursion. But Juneau itself didn't have a great deal to see. It was interesting to walk around for an hour or so but after that, we just wanted our whale watching tour to start.
Skagway seemed to exist only to sell tourist tat. It was OK for a little wander but the value in the destination was in the excursions. We opted for a Glacier Expedition with Alaska Excursions and loved it.
Ketchikan was the best of the 3 stops. It was an interesting place to wander about and we ended up hiking the Deer Mountain Trail. Very enjoyable.
Back on-board the ship, the service was excellent. Wherever we went the staff were helpful and welcoming. I was surprised how many staff go to know our names personally. We had a Netpune suite and really enjoyed the extra space it offered. But perhaps the best feature was the excellent concierge staff in the Neptune lounge.
The food in the main dining room was great as was the Pinnacle Grill. But the food on the lido deck was so-so. It wasn't bad...it just wasn't that great either.
Our cabin was great. The location was excellent and it was quiet and comfortable.
The ship entertainment wasn't bad but it was a little cheesy at times.
The thing that let down Holland America was the quality of the on-board activities. Really these were pretty few and far between. The Microsoft computer labs and the cooking lessons were of little interest. If it wasn't for the Explorations Cafe and the games and books there, we would have really struggled. I think it might be more noticeable on an Alaskan cruise as there are more days on the ship. The ship is older but the decorative order was fine. It would have been nice to have a bigger TV in the room and for the ship to offer in-cabin video streaming services rather than a DVD library from the front desk. Maybe this was a feature of the ship rather than Holland America.
Overall a great cruise but there are opportunities for Holland America to improve.
Our Neptune Suite was very nice. It was spacious and the large balcony was incredible especially on the inside passage and Glacier Bay. The decorations are a little dated now but the bed was very comfortable and there was loads of storage space. Our cabin stewards were excellent.
We had a couple of day sin Vancouver before the cruise. We really enjoyed Vancouver but were were very surprised with a amount of drug users on the street. Marijuana has been legalised and it was disappointing to see the affect on some areas of the city. Despite that we really enjoyed Stanley Park, Grenville Island and a visit to Steveston.
The whale watching in Juneau was one of the highlights of the trip. Harv and Marv are highly recommended as an excellent company for this excursion.View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
Another highlight of our trip. This excursion was such fun. There was one glorious photo opp after another.View All 45 Glacier Point Wilderness Safari Reviews
What can I say about Glacier Bay that hasn't already been said. It was just breathtaking.