We loved our stateroom and our steward, Simon. The staff onboard were wonderful. The food was only okay, mostly overcooked and under-flavored, with few choices. I think they serve mediocre food so you'll pay extra for the specialty restaurants, which we didn't try because it cost more. We sometimes ate on the Lido deck because the food was about the same there, but oftentimes there were no clean tables to sit at and tables with dirty dishes and half-eaten food sat uncleaned.We saw lots of whales and seagulls while on board. One of the best expeditions was an independent one with a young man with a small boat who took 6 of us out in the bay. We saw lots of sea otters, many mothers holding little babies and one group of them with at least 50 otters. We saw a grey whale with lots of barnacles so close we could have touched it and it swam under our boat, rolled over underneath the boat and came out the other side. Amazing! My husband booked an independent fishing expedition and caught 4 salmon, now fileted and in our freezer. But...the itinerary for Sitka said that we would be there at 9 o'clock so we paid for reservations for the small boat cruise for 10. However, unless you had booked your expedition through Holland America (at a very premium price), because Sitka is a tender situation, you were not allowed off the ship until 10:30. So we had to cancel that reservation and quickly make another with someone we weren't familiar with. There was a couple onboard that had family waiting and they were not allowed to disembark early either. Holland America should explain about the tender and furnish the time you are actually going to be on land.We brought our laptop, believing we could keep in touch with our family by emails. We paid over $50 for 100 minutes - no free wifi anywhere on board - at least not for those of us that paid only for verandahs and not suites. The first time we tried to get online, it took about 5 minutes to get to the web and we spent about 5 more minutes checking emails. When we logged off, we had been charged for far more than 10 minutes. Most of the time we could not even get online in our stateroom. The woman in the computer area on the ship said that nothing was guaranteed. She, of course, didn't tell me that until after I paid and complained, but she used that phrase, "it is not guaranteed" a total of 12 times when I did complain. She said that I could use the computers in the computer area, but they were just as slow and used up minutes quickly. For over $50, we got to send 2 emails and receive 3. Holland America should suggest that you not bring a laptop - a total waste of time - and that if you must bring one, they should tell you which staterooms actually get service.
Comfortable bed, GREAT GREAT SERVICE, large-enough balcony, close to everything.
We went to the glacier, taken there by some scientists we met in a coffee shop that were at the glacier doing glaciology research. We went up the gondola and saw a bald eagle that had been injured so that it was not able to survive in the wild - about as close as you'll ever see a live eagle.