We chose this cruise because we didn't feel up to going to Europe this year. Never having been to Alaska, we felt that the three-hour flight to Seattle wouldn't be too taxing and then a leisurely, relaxing cruise of seven days with no jet lag would be just the ticket. We opted for Holland America to assign our rooms and when, the week before, we were assigned Room we were at first happy. Back of the ship sounded fun. Hah.
Embarkation at 11:30 a.m. was fine. We arrived at our appointed time and we were on board the ship within half an hour. Staterooms weren't yet ready--understandable since the ship had only docked at 7 a.m. and guests have until 9:30 a.m. to disembark--so we went to the Lido deck where we found a table and had some buffet food. The food was fine, typical restaurant quality. We were in our room an hour and a half later and at first we were thrilled. Room is at the back of the ship, overlooks the wake. Nice sized verandah, good bed, typical sized stateroom, good sized bathroom WITH a bath! We familiarized ourselves with things as we usually do--although this was our first cruise with Holland America, it's our eighth cruise overall--and then sat out on our verandah enjoying the sunny day. Until the persons on the verandah next to us started smoking and the smoke affected my husband quite a bit so he went inside.
And then we cast off, the engines started, the propellers rumbled and, oh no, the NOISE in the room was awful. We shut the verandah door but the floor was vibrating, the ceiling tiles rattling. Maybe it will get better once we are underway we prayed. But it didn't get much better. We spent the night feeling like we were on a transatlantic flight, albeit sleeping in a very comfortable bed.
Deluxe Verandah. Don't book it. Absolutely don't unless you have no other choice. The noise, the noise, the noise.
Absolutely breathtaking. And we really appreciated that the captain gave us so much quiet time, with the ship barely moving yet shifting its position so we got the full 360º view of these beautiful glaciers.
Ketchikan was our third port and by this time we were used to seeing Alaska small towns. There isn't much to see in Ketchikan and I made the mistake of taking a local "wildlife" tour, Trolley, where the bus driver talked mostly about herself and kept the bus moving past places where there "may" have been whales and seals. She did stop at a creek where there are "usually" bear but no bear. I didn't mind that there weren't wildlife but felt the tour was a bit of a waste as she talked mostly about herself.