We love Alaska. This cruise showed up with a three week itinerary hitting ports we had not seen before, as well as several of our favorites and terrific glacier cruising days. We noticed it was booked as an “In-Depth” cruise, but didn’t really know what that meant. This cruise turned out to be our favorite and totally unique. This is not for everyone. I noticed several reviews complaining of the cruises on Maasdam being “boring” with lack of “entertainment” and poor food. Those cruisers are possibly looking for Broadway shows and five course dinners in a floating luxury hotel?? What the Maasdam offers is exactly what we love: On board were nine “experts” in various fields who provided infirmative educational and entertaining presentations throughout the three week cruise. Sea days and port days had a variety of fantastic lectures. Instead of ten offerings of trivia, bingo, and EXC tour sales pitches, we had geology, oceanography, culture of the Tlingkat people, tales of the Iditarod, Yukon river canoe stories, lectures on bears, whales, professional nature photography, art and craft demonstrations of the Alaskan Native cultures, and detailed information about each port including history and how to get about the port area on your own. And much more. Music, poetry, story-telling, all related to the Alaskan areas we were visiting. Besides all of these great offerings, we found the presenters to be very accessible for in depth personal conversations at meals and between programed activities. We eagerly grabbed our When and Where activities schedule for each day and made decisions about what to attend. For folks who enjoy education, information, and an in-depth look at the culture, history, and environment of places you are visiting, the Maasdam is a gem!
As for the ship, it is older, but we found it to be clean and in great order. Stylish, comfortable, and plenty of outside areas for viewing. Our cabin on Main Deck, ocean-view, was very comfortable, clean, and functional. A with all older ships, you can find discolored grout or patched rust spots, on the Maasdam older TV system. But, as stated, she was clean and everything worked well. She even still has a great library (lacking on the newer ships!), and a self-serve laundry room!
Food worked just fine for us. We are not up-scale diners. We love grazing the Lido buffet, hitting the Dive-In or pizza stations for a change. I am a pescatarian with a milk allergy, and I was able to find good food options for every meal. Plenty of fresh salad material, great fish dishes (mostly incredible salmon options), a variety of dinner side dishes including multiple presentations of rice dishes. Dessert station made sure to have a non-dairy sorbet available most days. Breakfasts included traditional options (eggs, meats, breads, hot cereals, etc) plus rice congee, miso soup, and plenty of fruit.
Comfortable, plenty of room, clean, functional.
Great city, accessible port, easy transportation options.
Many options for exploring on your own. Easy transportation. Nice shops and storefront along creek. Totems and history museums easy to find and public transportation inexpensive. Be prepared for rain.
Great port. Free shuttle into town. Bike rentals, taxis, and Interesting things to explore within walking distance.
Great hike to Grewingk Glacier, across the bay with easy access by water taxi. Check out Makos Water taxi for details. HAL does an excursion, but WAY cheaper on your own and easy to figure out.
Free shuttle to town. Many optional in the area from bike rentals and the Tony Knowles trail, to the Alaska train out to Spencer Lake for river floating or hiking, or the Wildlife Sanctuary, or Portage Glacier, or the Aviation museum near the airport, or the in-town museum. Plenty if great options for the day.
Taxi to Fort Abercrombe park. Fantastic hiking with great beauty all around.
Great options for public transport to Mendenhall Glacier and a simple hike to Nugget Falls. Easy hikes from the top of the Mt Roberts gondola ride. Unfortunately, at times too many cruise ships at once.
Eagle Preserve float was great.
Okay place. Taxi to the Astoria Column which has great views! Hike back into town. Quaint. Farmers/crafts market certain days, worth going.
Interesting and pretty city. Trip out to Buchart Gardens is good option. Public transport acailable, but a little confusing. Large seaside park near port.
Lots of options with Stanley Park close to cruise port, Capilano Suspension Bridge across the bay, beautiful area with easy walking. Capilano provides free bus just outside the cruise port terminal. Amazing place and worth the journey.