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We arrived in Seattle a few days early to spend some time with my son who is in grad school in Portland and a dear family friend who also lives in Washington. We had lots of fun and the weather was great in Seattle before we left on our cruise. Our hotel dropped us off at the dock. Even though we ended up toting our baggage to the building, it wasn't a big deal. This was nothing like the last cruise I went on via Houston, Texas, where it was wall to wall people and cars and pandemonium. We quickly went through security and dropped off our bags. Very easy! Then walked to the window and got our key cards. We waited for about 45 minutes (there were no chairs available but fortunately I found an extra chair by a wine tasting sign up area with a young couple going on their honeymoon. I hope they had a great time!) I really needed a chair. My knees and legs got inflamed when we got to the airport in Seattle and thought the light rail was close by. Be prepared for a long walk dragging your heavy bags if you decide to use this mode of transportation. It really messed my legs up which gave me mobility issues during the entire cruise and trip. Our group was called and we quickly entered the ship. We found our stateroom (no luggage yet) and then went to the Mariner's Lunch. My sister and brother in law, our cruising companions, had cruised on Carnival and so that entitled them to the Mariner's Lunch. It was no problem for us to join them. It was a lovely lunch and after walking (or me limping) around the deck, we went back to our rooms and our luggage had arrived. We booked the VH category which came with a balcony. Since we had rooms side by side, our steward opened the divider between the balconies so we could enjoy the scenery together. The room was very clean and the view of Seattle was spectacular. We very much loved the balconies. We ate in the MDR for dinner and met our server, Freddie. He was a great server and treated us very well. The food was all very good for the most part. I only had a couple of meals that I didn't care for. For the most part, our group thought the desserts were not that spectacular. Since we were on CST, I changed us to the late dinner seating. That was a big mistake because we couldn't go to any 8 p.m. shows due to the 7:45 dinner seating (and you can't go to the MDR at 5:45, they won't allow you to eat during that time if you have the 7:45 set time). And by 10 p.m., we were too tired to stay up that late. We did go watch Leo the magician's show after reading so many good reviews on CC. We ate the second night (at sea) at the Italian restaurant. My lasagna was dried out and I couldn't eat it. BUT everyone else in our group thought the food was good. We had rough seas that night and so it took me a while to feel back to normal the next day at Glacier Bay. We did go to the Crow's Nest which I had read about on CC, but the first time we went was super crowded. Hubby and I went a second time, enjoyed a happy hour drink special and listened to the guitarist. I regret that we didn't get to see more shows but the time change was a killer for us. Alaska time is an extra HOUR added on so we were three hours off our regular time. We did go watch the Dutton Family (from Branson and Mesa, AZ) who made a special appearance for a cruise group that had organized. That was in the afternoon and we enjoyed watching the very talented family perform. We had terrific weather for the cruise -- only that one rough day. The crew was very welcoming and made each person feel special. We ate in the Lido from time to time. I loved the Asian station. I think those noodles were my favorite. It is kind of pandemonium there and we got tired of it so we ended up eating the rest of our dinners in the MDR. We ordered room service every morning so that we could have coffee in our room. I don't think I would ever go cruising again without that balcony. I LOVED whale watching, dolphin watching, site seeing - everything was so much better being able to have my own balcony. With my mobility issues, it was great that I didn't have to go find a window to look out. Our stateroom bed was FANTASTIC! It was nice not having to bring shampoo, conditioner and soap. There is a blow dryer and we did have a fridge in our room. But nothing else was in there like cotton swabs. We had no issues with any mysterious charges on our bill. The small couch in our room was very uncomfortable as was the worn chair. Definitely needs to be replaced. But the rest of the ship was fine. I didn't see any wear and tear that was super noticeable. All in all it was a great cruise and I have no issues with the ship at all or HAL. I think some folks who post here are super critical or maybe I am just easy to please and happy to be on vacation! I would highly recommend this cruise. The trip to Glacier Bay was the HIGHLIGHT of our cruise. The weather was spectacular and we watched the glaciers calve several times. Bald eagles were flying around it. This is what makes this particular cruise/cruise line so awesome to be able to be up close and personal with a huge glacier! My one caveat is that if you truly want to experience the real Alaska, you won't on this cruise due to the time limitations of the ports. Now for those who do float plane trips, (I don't do little planes!) maybe they have a different opinion. I'll give a port by port review but each ship docks right in the heart of tourist traps. Many of the shops are even owned by the cruise lines and all have the same stuff. I kept asking the local bus driver in Sitka where do the locals go for lunch. She just brushed it off that they don't eat out. My next trip there (if I can walk!) would probably be by plane and then with a car so I could really see and experience the real Alaska.

Loved it!

Oosterdam Cruise Review by okiehorselover

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2011
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
We arrived in Seattle a few days early to spend some time with my son who is in grad school in Portland and a dear family friend who also lives in Washington. We had lots of fun and the weather was great in Seattle before we left on our cruise. Our hotel dropped us off at the dock. Even though we ended up toting our baggage to the building, it wasn't a big deal. This was nothing like the last cruise I went on via Houston, Texas, where it was wall to wall people and cars and pandemonium. We quickly went through security and dropped off our bags. Very easy! Then walked to the window and got our key cards. We waited for about 45 minutes (there were no chairs available but fortunately I found an extra chair by a wine tasting sign up area with a young couple going on their honeymoon. I hope they had a great time!) I really needed a chair. My knees and legs got inflamed when we got to the airport in Seattle and thought the light rail was close by. Be prepared for a long walk dragging your heavy bags if you decide to use this mode of transportation. It really messed my legs up which gave me mobility issues during the entire cruise and trip. Our group was called and we quickly entered the ship. We found our stateroom (no luggage yet) and then went to the Mariner's Lunch. My sister and brother in law, our cruising companions, had cruised on Carnival and so that entitled them to the Mariner's Lunch. It was no problem for us to join them. It was a lovely lunch and after walking (or me limping) around the deck, we went back to our rooms and our luggage had arrived. We booked the VH category which came with a balcony. Since we had rooms side by side, our steward opened the divider between the balconies so we could enjoy the scenery together. The room was very clean and the view of Seattle was spectacular. We very much loved the balconies. We ate in the MDR for dinner and met our server, Freddie. He was a great server and treated us very well. The food was all very good for the most part. I only had a couple of meals that I didn't care for. For the most part, our group thought the desserts were not that spectacular. Since we were on CST, I changed us to the late dinner seating. That was a big mistake because we couldn't go to any 8 p.m. shows due to the 7:45 dinner seating (and you can't go to the MDR at 5:45, they won't allow you to eat during that time if you have the 7:45 set time). And by 10 p.m., we were too tired to stay up that late. We did go watch Leo the magician's show after reading so many good reviews on CC. We ate the second night (at sea) at the Italian restaurant. My lasagna was dried out and I couldn't eat it. BUT everyone else in our group thought the food was good. We had rough seas that night and so it took me a while to feel back to normal the next day at Glacier Bay. We did go to the Crow's Nest which I had read about on CC, but the first time we went was super crowded. Hubby and I went a second time, enjoyed a happy hour drink special and listened to the guitarist. I regret that we didn't get to see more shows but the time change was a killer for us. Alaska time is an extra HOUR added on so we were three hours off our regular time. We did go watch the Dutton Family (from Branson and Mesa, AZ) who made a special appearance for a cruise group that had organized. That was in the afternoon and we enjoyed watching the very talented family perform. We had terrific weather for the cruise -- only that one rough day. The crew was very welcoming and made each person feel special. We ate in the Lido from time to time. I loved the Asian station. I think those noodles were my favorite. It is kind of pandemonium there and we got tired of it so we ended up eating the rest of our dinners in the MDR. We ordered room service every morning so that we could have coffee in our room. I don't think I would ever go cruising again without that balcony. I LOVED whale watching, dolphin watching, site seeing - everything was so much better being able to have my own balcony. With my mobility issues, it was great that I didn't have to go find a window to look out. Our stateroom bed was FANTASTIC! It was nice not having to bring shampoo, conditioner and soap. There is a blow dryer and we did have a fridge in our room. But nothing else was in there like cotton swabs. We had no issues with any mysterious charges on our bill. The small couch in our room was very uncomfortable as was the worn chair. Definitely needs to be replaced. But the rest of the ship was fine. I didn't see any wear and tear that was super noticeable. All in all it was a great cruise and I have no issues with the ship at all or HAL. I think some folks who post here are super critical or maybe I am just easy to please and happy to be on vacation! I would highly recommend this cruise.



The trip to Glacier Bay was the HIGHLIGHT of our cruise. The weather was spectacular and we watched the glaciers calve several times. Bald eagles were flying around it. This is what makes this particular cruise/cruise line so awesome to be able to be up close and personal with a huge glacier!



My one caveat is that if you truly want to experience the real Alaska, you won't on this cruise due to the time limitations of the ports. Now for those who do float plane trips, (I don't do little planes!) maybe they have a different opinion. I'll give a port by port review but each ship docks right in the heart of tourist traps. Many of the shops are even owned by the cruise lines and all have the same stuff. I kept asking the local bus driver in Sitka where do the locals go for lunch. She just brushed it off that they don't eat out. My next trip there (if I can walk!) would probably be by plane and then with a car so I could really see and experience the real Alaska.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Juneau
    We got off the ship and there were several tour companies on site. First we went to Tracey's Crab Shack and had crab bisque. It was SO GOOD! It was cool and overcast (which all burned off). Then we went to the tour companies who had several booths set up and booked a city tour to the Mendenhall Glasier and then a whale watching trip. We loved the tour but when we got to the glasier, we only had 10 minutes (a mixup with the tour company) to view it. So spectacular! We were really sad that we had to leave. Our whale watching trip was AWESOME! We immediately starting seeing humpbacks and were treated with two pods of orcas. SO COOL!!!! Loved our day in Juneau!
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  • Ketchikan
    I saw someone called this "Ketch it if you can" port. It was raining the entire morning we were there. We just piddled around the touristy shops and rode the little trolley around town. It was super overcast and I know a lot of people do float plane tours here. I wonder if they could see anything? We felt like this was also a wasted port. If you can't be there all day, what is the point? Just a few hours in the morning or a few hours in the evening, seems like the cruise ships could plan a better way to do this - eliminate a port for three good days.
    View All 1,787 Ketchikan Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Sitka
    I loved Sitka. This is the only tender port and it was no big deal to catch the tender. Such a charming little town and the view was so cool from the cruise ship. We picked up the all day shuttle bus (I think it was $10 per person to ride it all day) and went to the Raptor Center. It was neat to see the eagles and the birds that are being rehabilitated. There are some nice walking trails (you are supposed to watch for bears) but I had walking issues so I didn't get to enjoy them. We also went to the park and looked at the totem poles. Hubby and BIL walked to the salmon hatchery and enjoyed learning about that. I REALLY wanted fresh crab legs but I refuse to pay $43 for lunch. So I guess I will be eating frozen forever...
    View All 341 Sitka Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Victoria
    Nothing against Victoria it is a beautiful city! However, I call this the cheater port! We didn't arrive until 7:30 p.m. I thought we would get off the ship, meet up with a waiting tour guide and take a city tour. We had to be back on the ship at 11:30 p.m. Well there are three ships docked and there is one shuttle bus company to shuttle all of the cruise people who don't have tours booked back and forth. We had to stand in a long line to board the buses. So that killed at least 30 minutes. Then you are all dumped out next to the Empress Hotel. The weather was perfect and so all of the locals were out. It was crazy! We didn't know what to do. We found the visitor's center that closed at 7:30 p.m. We tried to find out where the horse carriage rides started from, we asked several carriage drivers who just pointed or told us some weird street name that we couldn't find on the map. It was a total waste of time. We were shopped out by then. My advice is...pre plan a tour or just stay on the ship. We could have enjoyed a lovely unhassled evening on the ship which was our last night.
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