We cruise several times a year and this was my first time on Holland America. I was told this line catered to a decidedly older age group and was a quieter ship than say a Carnival cruise. We bid to upgrade from our midship inside stateroom, which we typically book because we like the dark for sleep and stable midship inside cabins, to a room with a window due to us cruising Alaska. Embarkation went smoothly as we always choose a late time, so we were able to go directly to our stateroom to drop off our carry on bags.
The cabin "upgrade" was room 3300 located at the very front of the ship and had a partially obstructed view. There is definitely more movement being at the front of the ship, but we have our sea-legs and do not get motion sick. However, shortly into our cruise the room flooded due to a broken pipe and Holland America refused to move us to another cabin claiming the ship was full. We had two days of a very loud industrial fan running in our cabin and were unable to use the cabin except to shut the fan off at night to sleep. The humidity in the cabin was awful and sleeping was difficult.
Beyond the obvious frustration of the large and loud fan, the cabin was just inside the door in the hall leading out to the deck, so there were people constantly going in and out the door which is steel and quite loud. All day people were coming and going just outside the window.
Cabin 3300 is at the very front of the ship and has a partially obstructed view. The door to the deck is just outside the stateroom door and is loud, constantly being opened as people came in and out off the deck. Room amenities were average with a shower/tub and a small couch.
We spent the day at Butchart Gardens. We called a cab to pick us up both from the ship and when we were finished at the gardens. It was a beautiful day and we took our time enjoying all the gardens had to offer. After we went into Vancouver to eat settling for a small sushi place with great people watching views (a little expensive, but worth the experience.) We took a cab back to the port after eating and walking around a bit. All in all a wonderful day.
It was drizzly and warm, which made for comfortable walking. We passed by all the cruise ship crud by the port and walked further into town. We poked around the local shops and enjoyed a browsing in a small local bookstore. We ate lunch in a local Chinese place which had a lovely view.
We watched a glacier cleave and caught it on video. It was eerie to hear the thunder like sounds of the ice as it made its slow crawl toward the ocean. The ship's captain did a great job of getting us a "front row" seat.
We spent the day in the Art Museum and the local WWII museum (a must see) which focusses on Alaska's role in the war effort. Walking around downtown Anchorage, we made sure to get our photo with the giant Yeti. The visitors center passes out post cards free of charge and has maps and other info for visitors.
Homer is a gorgeous place to spend time wandering about. We returned to the ship, got fresh drinks, and went to the deck to watch the sea planes land and take off. Relaxing time with gorgeous scenery.
Kodiak was a friendly town with some lovely shops. Make sure to go see the Russian Orthodox Church. Lookup as well since their are lots of eagles that perch. If you are a quilter there is a lovely shop that caters to quilters.
Gorgeous views. Bring comfortable walking shoes and a light rain coat.