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Absolutely everything in this two-week cruise was amazing from the moment we entered the cruise terminal in Seattle to the moment we exited the same terminal upon return. We got a last minute, inexpensive upgrade to a Lanai stateroom and were so glad we did! Thoroughly enjoyed the door taking us out to the Lower Promenade deck and allowing us to see out to the ocean and ports we visited as well as the scenery and wildlife. The reserved deck chairs outside our cabin were awesome (although a little hard to get out of) and perfect for the at sea days and drifting through Tracy Arm Fjord and toward Hubbard Glacier. We have decided that we would like to try and always get a Lanai stateroom (five of the HAL ships have them) because it offers the freedom to view what's happening outside and being able to enjoy the fresh air, ocean, and scenery as it goes by without the extra cost of a private veranda. We also very much enjoyed watching people walking by (and knowing they couldn't see inside) and visiting with our Lanai "neighbors". The staff who took care of the room for us were awesome and attentive to our every need and want. Room service was great for the times we didn't feel like heading out to eat and the morning pre-ordered breakfast was nice to take advantage of when desired. Cabin was spacious enough, bed that was supposed to be a queen actually was more in the king-size range and quite comfortable. Laundry service! We can't recommend buying the laundry package enough! Out in the morning, back in the evening and so nicely done. We were across from the laundry room but didn't want to stress over laundry and waste time doing it. The $100 we spent for the service was well worth the price of not having to worry about clean clothes. Pinnacle Grill... wow - what a great restaurant. We loved our experience there and will be doing it again on our next two cruises in 2020. Main Dining Room was very nice, we loved the food, menu selections available, atmosphere, and service. Lido Buffet was where we did most of our meals. Can't express enough how we loved the selections, variety, quality, and non-crowded lines. The wait-staff (especially Monica and Apicha) were fabulous. Never had a bad meal or experience there. We also loved that they had no sugar added dessert selections. Dive In restaurant at the Lido Pool was very good - the taco bar and selections from the grill were great! Crow's Nest Happy Hour and trivia rocked! Can't beat the view from there, either. We loved the ambience of the entire ship - I was amazed and thrilled with the Faberge Egg collection (have wanted for all my adult life to see Faberge in person) as well as the museum quality antiquities on display. Very nice! Music in the lounge areas was nice and not annoying (which is always a plus when you want to just chill and drink). We did not go to any of the shows, but heard the comedian was very good. Simone, the ship's photographer, was amazing and did such a great job taking our photos on one of the gala nights. We were happy to purchase the photo package as our pictures were very professionally done - they will be used for Christmas cards this year. Quality of the excursions was as described. We didn't feel we paid too much for anything. Will definitely use HAL for our excursions on future cruises. Guest services desk had wonderful, very helpful and courteous staff - always ready to provide exactly what was requested. Maybe it's because the Amsterdam was our first cruise ship, but we will always look for HAL cruise itineraries with this ship first when planning future vacations. We are incredibly impressed with Holland America and plan on cruising with this line from now on. Looking into Seabourn now (another Carnival/HAL line), as well. Thank you Holland America and MS Amsterdam for making our first cruise the most memorable vacation we've had up to now!

First cruise - exceeded expectations

Amsterdam Cruise Review by Kelly SS

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Lanai Ocean-View Stateroom
Absolutely everything in this two-week cruise was amazing from the moment we entered the cruise terminal in Seattle to the moment we exited the same terminal upon return.

We got a last minute, inexpensive upgrade to a Lanai stateroom and were so glad we did! Thoroughly enjoyed the door taking us out to the Lower Promenade deck and allowing us to see out to the ocean and ports we visited as well as the scenery and wildlife. The reserved deck chairs outside our cabin were awesome (although a little hard to get out of) and perfect for the at sea days and drifting through Tracy Arm Fjord and toward Hubbard Glacier. We have decided that we would like to try and always get a Lanai stateroom (five of the HAL ships have them) because it offers the freedom to view what's happening outside and being able to enjoy the fresh air, ocean, and scenery as it goes by without the extra cost of a private veranda. We also very much enjoyed watching people walking by (and knowing they couldn't see inside) and visiting with our Lanai "neighbors".

The staff who took care of the room for us were awesome and attentive to our every need and want. Room service was great for the times we didn't feel like heading out to eat and the morning pre-ordered breakfast was nice to take advantage of when desired. Cabin was spacious enough, bed that was supposed to be a queen actually was more in the king-size range and quite comfortable.

Laundry service! We can't recommend buying the laundry package enough! Out in the morning, back in the evening and so nicely done. We were across from the laundry room but didn't want to stress over laundry and waste time doing it. The $100 we spent for the service was well worth the price of not having to worry about clean clothes.

Pinnacle Grill... wow - what a great restaurant. We loved our experience there and will be doing it again on our next two cruises in 2020.

Main Dining Room was very nice, we loved the food, menu selections available, atmosphere, and service.

Lido Buffet was where we did most of our meals. Can't express enough how we loved the selections, variety, quality, and non-crowded lines. The wait-staff (especially Monica and Apicha) were fabulous. Never had a bad meal or experience there. We also loved that they had no sugar added dessert selections.

Dive In restaurant at the Lido Pool was very good - the taco bar and selections from the grill were great!

Crow's Nest Happy Hour and trivia rocked! Can't beat the view from there, either.

We loved the ambience of the entire ship - I was amazed and thrilled with the Faberge Egg collection (have wanted for all my adult life to see Faberge in person) as well as the museum quality antiquities on display. Very nice!

Music in the lounge areas was nice and not annoying (which is always a plus when you want to just chill and drink). We did not go to any of the shows, but heard the comedian was very good.

Simone, the ship's photographer, was amazing and did such a great job taking our photos on one of the gala nights. We were happy to purchase the photo package as our pictures were very professionally done - they will be used for Christmas cards this year.

Quality of the excursions was as described. We didn't feel we paid too much for anything. Will definitely use HAL for our excursions on future cruises.

Guest services desk had wonderful, very helpful and courteous staff - always ready to provide exactly what was requested.

Maybe it's because the Amsterdam was our first cruise ship, but we will always look for HAL cruise itineraries with this ship first when planning future vacations. We are incredibly impressed with Holland America and plan on cruising with this line from now on. Looking into Seabourn now (another Carnival/HAL line), as well.

Thank you Holland America and MS Amsterdam for making our first cruise the most memorable vacation we've had up to now!
Kelly SS’s Full Rating Summary
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Anchorage
    Was able to get some great photos, but none of wildlife. They weren't interested in coming out that day! The guide/professional photographer was good and gave some great tips. Would recommend to amateur photographers but not those with advanced experience - the stops for photo-ops were okay, not great.
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  • Homer
    We liked Homer, just walked around and visited shops, got some nice carvings and other items. Not our favorite stop, but very enjoyable nonetheless.
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  • Zip-lining
    My first zipline experience - fantastic, wanted to do it again! Icy Strait Point is, in our opinion, a lovely stop and very much the wild and rural Alaska we wanted to see. The best halibut I've ever had, and I grew up in the Pacific Northwest.
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  • Juneau
    Enjoyed walking around, visiting the shops, eating at Tracy's King Crab restaurant!
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  • Saxman Native Village
    Very nicely done. Nice bus, good presentations. Recommend.
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  • Kodiak
    Took the driving tour of the town and just a little beyond town. Enjoyable, driver/guide was informative and very nice. Sitting in a school bus for us older folk is a bit uncomfortable, but... a good excursion, nonetheless.
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  • Seattle
    We live just two hours away from Seattle, so didn't do anything there other than show up at the cruise terminal! Great check-in experience, really exceeded our expectations and were soooo glad it's not at all the same as checking in with an airline! Efficient, friendly, and stress-free.
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  • City Tour
    Made some nice stops, the old school bus was not comfortable, but the time inside was limited. Loved the Russian Orthodox Church, enjoyed the New Angel Dancers program, the Sheldon Jackson Museum was interesting. The Park Service stop was lovely - nice to sit at the water and walk into the forest, great photo opportunities there. One negative comment: while the driver/guide was nice and did know quite a bit of local history, he got the history on the former Sitka Naval Air Station completely wrong. Those who don't know Naval Aviation history didn't know the difference, but still...
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  • Butchart Gardens
    Living in NW Washington = having been to Victoria and Butchart Gardens numerous times over the years. Was really looking forward to seeing the gardens in the evening hours for a different lighting perspective and photo opportunities. Since it was summer, though, and we left the gardens at 8:30 in the evening, I didn't really get what I thought we would be getting when I booked the tour. Those booking this excursion should be sure that if they want nighttime and lights on the gardens, make sure you do it when it will be either dusk or dark at 8:00pm. Still, it was a nice trip, the guide was very knowledgeable about local history, and we enjoyed seeing Chinatown and the Parliament buildings in the evening with the lights on.
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