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My husband and I enjoyed our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a cruise on the Rotterdam to Alaska. Being new to cruising we were grateful for all the ideas we received by cruising cruise critic first. I can't imagine embarking on a cruise without it. We opted to use the Park, Stay, and Sail aweigh package with the Bellevue Hilton. It was well worth it to us to have someone else take care of the driving, etc. The cost was less than paying for a hotel room and parking for a week at the pier. We had zero hassle embarking - the hotel had a driver drop us off, a porter grabbed our stuff, and we were inside before we knew it. We arrived at 11:15 am and were on the ship by 11:30! We explored the ship, had lunch at the Lido, and enjoyed people watching until the rooms opened up about 2PM. With only one or two exceptions the public rooms were spotless. Service in the main dining room was exemplary - with our server learning our names and preferences on our first night and remembering them throughout the cruise. We found the food at the Lido to be average - it was not up to the same standards as buffets in our home town. Also - it would have been nice to have roaming waiters offer water and ice tea instead of just alcoholic beverages. Our room was well cared for. Our steward kept us supplied with animal towels and ice. We did have problems with the toilet twice, but both times someone was in to fix it before we went back to our room. We had a verandah room and I would recommend it for anyone on an Alaskan cruise.

Rotterdam - Alaska

Rotterdam Cruise Review by Firemans_Flame

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2010
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
My husband and I enjoyed our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a cruise on the Rotterdam to Alaska. Being new to cruising we were grateful for all the ideas we received by cruising cruise critic first. I can't imagine embarking on a cruise without it.
We opted to use the Park, Stay, and Sail aweigh package with the Bellevue Hilton. It was well worth it to us to have someone else take care of the driving, etc. The cost was less than paying for a hotel room and parking for a week at the pier. We had zero hassle embarking - the hotel had a driver drop us off, a porter grabbed our stuff, and we were inside before we knew it. We arrived at 11:15 am and were on the ship by 11:30! We explored the ship, had lunch at the Lido, and enjoyed people watching until the rooms opened up about 2PM.
With only one or two exceptions the public rooms were spotless. Service in the main dining room was exemplary - with our server learning our names and preferences on our first night and remembering them throughout the cruise.
We found the food at the Lido to be average - it was not up to the same standards as buffets in our home town. Also - it would have been nice to have roaming waiters offer water and ice tea instead of just alcoholic beverages.
Our room was well cared for. Our steward kept us supplied with animal towels and ice. We did have problems with the toilet twice, but both times someone was in to fix it before we went back to our room. We had a verandah room and I would recommend it for anyone on an Alaskan cruise.
Firemans_Flame’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Verandah
Cabin B 6195
A6195 - although we did have problems with the toilet twice, everything else about this cabin was great. There is plenty of storage. The rooms were well insulated - the only times we heard the neighbors was when we were all out on the balcony. The room is located close to the stairs and elevators - but we did not receive any hallway noise as a result. In fact it was very convenient - just one floor down to the MDR and the Explorations Cafe.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Juneau
    We went whale-watching with Harv (of Harv and Marv whale watching). We saw oodles of whales feeding, sea lions, and eagles. Great scenery. Jay's brother (Jeff) was an excellent tour guide for the ride to the whale watching and up to the medenhall glacier. He had notebooks with photos showing what we were passing and had an ongoing dialogue about the history of the area. Very knowledgeable. My only regret is that we chose to leave after a half hour at the glacier - it would have been nice to hike up there. Others that hiked up there raved about the experience.
    By the time we returned to town we found the stores over run by shoppers and chose to return to the ship.
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  • Ketchikan
    At Ketchikan the guys did the Rain Forest zip line excursion and absolutely loved it.
    Warning - We went into the "Visitor's Center" at the dock and were overwhelmed by the vendors hawking their excursions! We anticipated a sweet little volunteer that would give us maps of the town etc. Instead we heard "Hey lady - want to see a bear? We have the best...." "we are the cheapest"...from all sides. It wasn't much better on the outside. Much of the town had that type of atmosphere. Especially jewelry stores - it was hard to even pause and look in a window without someone insisting you just had to come inside.
    My sister and I shopped - it was our last Alaskan shopping opportunity! There is a free shoppers shuttle that does a twenty minute loop from the docks up to Creek St and over to West Ketchikan. I would highly recommend it. The driver was very informative and pointed out interesting things to do that wouldn't break the bank.
    There is a pub on the front street with live music, excellent clam chowder, and beer samplers at a reasonable price.
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  • Sitka
    At Sitka we toured on our own and caught the Russian dancers and the totem poles at the National Park. We fell in love with the architecture and rich history of this little town. It was fun to explore - but we had enough time here - I think we would have enjoyed a wildlife excursion more. We had an expensive, greasy lunch at Victoria's. Maybe it just seemed that way because we had gotten used to the food and the service on the boat.
    They have a little drug store near the dock with a very helpful pharmacist and a lot of sundry supplies. They also make the best milk shakes in town!
    The wait for the tenders back to the ship was long.
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  • Victoria
    We did the grayline excursion to Butchart Gardens in Victoria. I loved the gardens and they were great to explore. It did become very dark in the gardens before it was time to go. If I were to do it again I would choose a different bus company. The bus driver spent more time gripping about industry, homeland security, and other drivers and spent very little time discussing the sights.
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