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We sailed on the Amsterdam out of Seattle on May 31. It was raining in Seattle. Our first port was Ketchikan where it was also raining! We always pack for rain. Jeans, Fleece jacket, lightweight rain jacket, rain pants, and waterproof shoes. REI gave us good advice about what to buy for our first Alaska trip five years ago! Not many ships were in port and I suspect a lot of people stayed on the ship so we had a wonderful time wandering through Creek Street, up the funicular to the Cape Fox Lodge, walked around town a bit and started our collection of coins and charms from the tour book we got as we boarded the ship in Seattle. Sitka was a beautiful day. We did the Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest and saw sea otters, whales, seals, and eagles. Nice tour. Next we wandered around on a local tour of scenic and historic places. Also bought a Russian nesting doll. It was cold and I was again wearing my raingear for warmth. This is a tender port so you need to be prepared for anything when you go ashore. We had a wonderful Halibut sandwich at Van Winkle and Sons upstairs and overlooking the harbor. They have a chair to transport handicapped people up the staircase. That was interesting! Skagway we rented a car from Avis and had printed our just updated Murray's Guide before we left home. We drove to Dyea to see the beginning of the Chilkoot Trail and then took off on the road to Carcross. The scenery was fantastic, and the guide was better than having a real tour guide. We could stop where we wanted to and we stopped a lot. We even saw a black bear eating dandelions by the side of the road! Murray even had that possibility in his guide! We got back to Skagway early enough to go to the Gold Rush Cemetery and hike up to the nearby falls. Juneau nice in a.m. for self guided town tour but it started raining around 1:00. Don't bother with Mt. Roberts if it is raining. You can't see a thing. We finished up our coin and charm quest here on the return leg of the cruise. Anchorage we bought the culture pass. First go to the Alaska Native Heritage Center first and then the Rasmussen Center due to the free shuttle schedule. Both are excellent. Homer was wonderful. The shuttle will take you to three stops. We got off at stop 2 and walked to stop 3. Pratt Museum is at stop 2. There is a wonderful Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center (free) and a nearby Two Sisters Bakery. As we wandered back to our bus we saw a Moose and two babies munching their way through backyards in the town. Who says you have to spend a lot of money to see wildlife??? Kodiak was sunny. The fishermen asked us if we brought the sun! It's a good walk through the port to town but worth the walk. Start at the visitors center. Again we took advantage of our National Park Service to visit the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center. We wandered around the port and took lots of pictures. A Coast Guard helicopter flew low over our ship as we departed. What a thrill! Glaciers were exciting and the Amsterdam got us as close as they could being respectful of the seals on the icebergs. This was our first balcony on an Alaska cruise and it was nice to have for a 14 day trip. The scenery is what you go to Alaska for. The Amsterdam was very nice, the crew was eager to please. Most of the passengers were HAL Mariners who love the medium size ships and the HAL style of cruising.

Best Alaska Cruise Yet

Amsterdam Cruise Review by oaktreerb

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2010
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
We sailed on the Amsterdam out of Seattle on May 31. It was raining in Seattle. Our first port was Ketchikan where it was also raining! We always pack for rain. Jeans, Fleece jacket, lightweight rain jacket, rain pants, and waterproof shoes. REI gave us good advice about what to buy for our first Alaska trip five years ago!
Not many ships were in port and I suspect a lot of people stayed on the ship so we had a wonderful time wandering through Creek Street, up the funicular to the Cape Fox Lodge, walked around town a bit and started our collection of coins and charms from the tour book we got as we boarded the ship in Seattle.
Sitka was a beautiful day. We did the Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest and saw sea otters, whales, seals, and eagles. Nice tour. Next we wandered around on a local tour of scenic and historic places. Also bought a Russian nesting doll. It was cold and I was again wearing my raingear for warmth. This is a tender port so you need to be prepared for anything when you go ashore. We had a wonderful Halibut sandwich at Van Winkle and Sons upstairs and overlooking the harbor. They have a chair to transport handicapped people up the staircase. That was interesting!
Skagway we rented a car from Avis and had printed our just updated Murray's Guide before we left home. We drove to Dyea to see the beginning of the Chilkoot Trail and then took off on the road to Carcross. The scenery was fantastic, and the guide was better than having a real tour guide. We could stop where we wanted to and we stopped a lot. We even saw a black bear eating dandelions by the side of the road! Murray even had that possibility in his guide! We got back to Skagway early enough to go to the Gold Rush Cemetery and hike up to the nearby falls.
Juneau nice in a.m. for self guided town tour but it started raining around 1:00. Don't bother with Mt. Roberts if it is raining. You can't see a thing. We finished up our coin and charm quest here on the return leg of the cruise.
Anchorage we bought the culture pass. First go to the Alaska Native Heritage Center first and then the Rasmussen Center due to the free shuttle schedule. Both are excellent.
Homer was wonderful. The shuttle will take you to three stops. We got off at stop 2 and walked to stop 3. Pratt Museum is at stop 2. There is a wonderful Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center (free) and a nearby Two Sisters Bakery. As we wandered back to our bus we saw a Moose and two babies munching their way through backyards in the town. Who says you have to spend a lot of money to see wildlife??? Kodiak was sunny. The fishermen asked us if we brought the sun! It's a good walk through the port to town but worth the walk. Start at the visitors center. Again we took advantage of our National Park Service to visit the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center. We wandered around the port and took lots of pictures. A Coast Guard helicopter flew low over our ship as we departed. What a thrill!
Glaciers were exciting and the Amsterdam got us as close as they could being respectful of the seals on the icebergs.
This was our first balcony on an Alaska cruise and it was nice to have for a 14 day trip. The scenery is what you go to Alaska for. The Amsterdam was very nice, the crew was eager to please. Most of the passengers were HAL Mariners who love the medium size ships and the HAL style of cruising.
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Verandah
Cabin B B6185
Lots of closet space. Full size couch. Quiet location, Nice covered balcony. Lots of mirrors. Flat screen TV. DVD player. Robes. Bathtub and shower. Easy to get to Lido and Dining Room via stairway.
Verandah Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews