For our fourth anniversary, my wife and I booked a cabin on the 7-day roundtrip Alaska cruise on the ms Volendam. For my wife, this was her first cruise to Alaska, and the first on Holland America. On the other hand, I am a veteran on more than 20 cruises, four of which have been to Alaska and four on Holland America. In fact, Holland America had gradually become my cruise line of choice - my previous cruises had been great (and I am a little biased, being part Dutch). She already has a cruise line preference - and it's a good one - but I told her that Holland America was better and that she would love it. This cruise sailed from Vancouver, calling at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, in addition to cruising through Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay.
Alaska did not disappoint. It is spectacular, and the 900+ photos and videos we took during our trip really do not do justice to it. You have to experience it for yourself. Even though I have now done five cruises to Alaska, some of them covering the same territory, the weather, sea conditions, seasons and times of day sailing through different areas make each cruise very distinct to me. My wife spent much of the cruise out on deck, looking for whales, orcas, dolphins, bears and eagles, all of which were plentiful.
Holland America, on the other hand, was a mixed bag on this cruise. Some things were very good. Others were a big disappointment, and at this time I am not sure what the future holds as far as our cruise plans are concerned.
Cabin #6102: non-standard layout for this cabin grade (a little weird), two windows instead of one, good access to exposed observation deck, not useful in very windy or rainy weather, somewhat noisy in good weather when many other passengers use this exit, forward view but no bow view, traffic in front of window when other passengers use outdoor deck. We were happy, but for ease of access to outdoor decks Lower Promenade Deck cabins might be at least as good.
Consider one of the shuttles to Mendenhall Glacier. Also, the Mount Roberts tramway is excellent and can be done multiple times on the same ticket. Finally, enjoy an Alaska brew somewhere downtown.
Do the White Pass and Yukon Railway, at least to the Summit and back. Stand outside on the platform of your railcar and enjoy the breeze - be ready to get a picture of a bear by the tracks.
Walk up Creek Street, then follow the trail up to the Cape Fox Lodge. After a cup of coffee, follow the trail down the other side of the hill to the Salmon Hatchery and Eagle enclosure. Say hello to Chaak and Aurora.