We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity.
We like the small-medium ship scale of the Holland America fleet, and love that most staterooms have a bathtub, (great to relax weary bodies after a busy day ashore).
Our Holland America itinerary was the perfect balance of ports and places to visit.
Our cabin in June 2018 was looking particularly tired. It was spotlessly clean, but in need of a decor refurbishment.
We organised our own private Bergen by Segway tour which was the most marvellous way to truly see Bergen. My husband is 74, I am 58 with arthritic knees and it was a wonderful way to get around! We saw so much more than we might have by car, bus or walking tour. I highly recommend seeing Bergen by Segway.
We took an independent Hop on Hop off tour of Alesund. It was great.
We simply walked around town.. Isafjord is an unpolished diamond.. it is not over commercialised to take advantage of tourists. It is what it is. I felt that it was a privilege to be able to simply walk around this interesting village. There is free WiFi in the village centre pastry/bakery shop. The food is excellent! Highly recommend that if one wants to catch up with one's emails that one takes to time enjoy this wonderful bakery.
We did the HAL - RIB Safari, inflatable tour. Instructions provided prior to the cruise indicated that we would need our "own waterproof shoes, trousers, and coats." We complied with the tour suggestions, but need not have bothered, as the 'RIB Safari,' tour provided waterproof jumpsuits in a good variety of sizes. It was a little awkward & undignified getting from the small jetty down into the RIB, but everyone managed with much laughter. Perhaps consideration should be given to providing some sort of temporary step stool, just to help with embarkation and disembarkation. It was truely wonderful to speed across the beautiful waters to circumvent the small islands off the coast and spy the local seals, puffins and other birds. After our tour we wandered around the delightful town centre and then caught the free hop on hop off city tourism board provided bus.
KITTYWAKE TOURS! That is all you need to know about what to do in gorgeous Lerwick! We booked privately with 'Kittywake Tours,' and were absolutely mind-blown by our experience. To provide context; Lerwick, was day 23 of a 24 day cruise. 11 months earlier, we had 26 days cruising and touring the Eastern Med (also with HAL). In the previous 12 months we had met many tour guides and visited many magnificent sites. Kitty Corbett, from 'Kittywake Tours,' left every other tour we had been on in her wake.. Kitty totally exceeded our expectations. Kitty was very responsive to our first-contact emails, providing suggestions based on our preferences. We disembarked our cruise ship an hour earlier than we intended, to have a little wander around the port and use the nearby cash machine. We got chatting to some of the locals on the dock whose faces actually lit up when we told them we were doing a Lerwick, tour with Kitty. Everyone knew Kitty and obviously loved her! Kitty greeted us like we were long lost family and immediately made us feel enthusiastic and excited about our day. Our tour of Lerwick and South Shetland with 'Kittywake Tours,' was the absolute highlight of our entire cruise. We shared our tour with another couple from the ship; but on reflection, next time, we would pay the small additional fee to have Kitty to ourselves. Kitty is enchanting, charming, very intelligent, thoughtful and kind! It is obvious that Kitty loves where she lives and loves sharing her insights and incredible local knowledge with awestruck visitors. Our tour was incredibly comprehensive - Kitty managed to fit in an amazing number of breathtaking stops.. we saw Puffins up close, fed Shetland ponies, sat by a smokey peat fire in a historic stone cottage and had a yarn with an elderly local, wandered through an abandoned croft, drove across an active runway, visited a specular lighthouse, toured the most amazing pre-historic to medieval site, visited craft wool shops, visited the 'Shetland,' television sites, visited the best 'Fish & Chippy,' on the Island, and sipped hot chocolate and ate biscuits [UK], cookies [USA], while gazing down on the most magnificent white sandy beaches.
We highly recommend 'Kittywake Tours,' for anyone lucky enough to visit beautiful Lerwick.
We walked across the road from the ship, and caught a Rostock tour bus. The excellent English speaking tour guides were wonderful.
We simply walked around the town centre.