1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
First Time Cruise; 40th Anniversary Celebration. With nothing to compare to, these opinions are based on a comparison to the views of others on Cruise Critic, as well as a comparison to the marketing of Holland America itself. Food: ... Read More
First Time Cruise; 40th Anniversary Celebration. With nothing to compare to, these opinions are based on a comparison to the views of others on Cruise Critic, as well as a comparison to the marketing of Holland America itself. Food: C+. Pinnacle Grill was a memorable, and clearly, higher end dining experience. Main Dining Room (Vista) was good quality and selection, but nothing rising to “The Best ___ I Ever Ate” level. LIDO buffet was on par with mid-range Las Vegas buffets; average quality, below expectation deserts and sub-par coffee. In-room service was good. Service: B+. Although the staff exhibited the traditional “smiles all around”, it was clearly part of the Designed Experience. The actual service was good, but the customer service phone line was never answered in less than a two minute on-hold time for the entire voyage. Nightly towel animals were a nice touch. Activities: B-. If the activities were eliminated which promote any kind of additional cost items, not much would be left. The trip included three days at sea, and this meant that they were long days with limited activity available to those who did not want to shop. Communications: A-. The daily activity plan was distributed each night (along with Junk Mail and Advertising). The Cruise Director and Master kept the passengers up to date on the fight against norovirus. Logistics: A-. Embarkation and Disembarkation went surprisingly smoothly. The Anchorage airport representatives were a bit confused as to meeting points and times, but this was resolved by asking better questions to other reps. The pre-printed Cruise Card indicated assigned seating for meals, when Open Seating was booked…this was corrected the first night. Health: D. Norovirus was active from Day 3 until the end. The isolation procedures appeared to favor non-revenue activities, such as the LIDO. The casino never closed or required gloves. The spa demonstration person used the same rubbing device on every customer without any protection or attempt to sanitize. Value: The Explore4 package was offered at booking, and, exclusive of that, the value would have been poor. As it was, considering the restricted view of the stateroom, limited activities offered, the value was “acceptable” at the very best. Experience: The trip was the first cruise, and was to be a Grand Celebration. But, where Acceptable Value meets disappointment (noro), the resulting overall experience was less than expected. Recommendations: Get on the first bus out of Anchorage, and you will arrive on the ship before the land-tour rail arrives, and have the ship, all quiet, and to yourself, for a few hours. Since we flew from the East Coast of the USA, we bookended the trip with overnight stays in Anchorage and Vancouver; which was good for travel fatigue impact. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
My wife and I took our first cruise from Anchorage-Seward, along the Inside Passage to Vancouver. We both loved it. Beautiful glaciers. We chose an inside stateroom and it turned out to be just what we wanted. After all, we took a cruise ... Read More
My wife and I took our first cruise from Anchorage-Seward, along the Inside Passage to Vancouver. We both loved it. Beautiful glaciers. We chose an inside stateroom and it turned out to be just what we wanted. After all, we took a cruise to be outside, not inside. The two gentlemen, Solihin and Nengah from Indonesia, who took care of our stateroom were responsible, careful, and very knowledgeable about their job, and the ship itself. No matter where we were on the ship, if we were lost, or confused, a crewmember of any rank was there to help immediately. There were no problems. We enjoyed the dining area for dinner. The waiters were attentive, and knowledgeable. The buffet area for breakfast and lunch was excellent and had a great variety of food. We did not get a chance to experience the other formal dining areas, but that is on the next voyage. As is stated on many web-sites, our ship the Statendam was more for adults. There were very few children. We will be going again on Holland America. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
I went as a solo traveler on a one-week cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver after taking a one-week, guided group camping trip in Alaska. My open-jaw air ticket from Asia allowed me to land in Anchorage and return from Seattle, so this ... Read More
I went as a solo traveler on a one-week cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver after taking a one-week, guided group camping trip in Alaska. My open-jaw air ticket from Asia allowed me to land in Anchorage and return from Seattle, so this seemed like a fun way to get between the two places. My only other time on a liner was in the early '90s aboard a postal steam along the coast of Norway, which was also fun. At any rate, this trip on NCL far exceeded my expectations. I chose NCL after learning of its "free-style" dining. I didn't want to lug a dinner jacket with me and have to sit at the same table with the same people day after day. Moreover, NCL has a reputation for fitness and entertainment--two activities I enjoy. I got a partial ("obstructed") seaview cabin on the same deck (5 or 7?) as the jogging/promenade track, but it turned out to be the perfect choice. The "partial view" meant only that their was a roof over the deck, but I had a clear view and could see what the weather was like and whether we were passing some spectacular scenery. Then in 15 seconds, I could be outside on the deck, snapping photos or enjoying the fresh air. The ship also closed off the jogging area past cabins from 8pm to 8am so the sound of "hoofs" was never an issue. In fact the ride was extremely quiet and I noticed a barely perceptible rocking of the ship only for part of one night. I chose my cabin on the port side to maximize viewing of the shore, and it was near the bow. The 141 ft2 space was very well designed to maximize closet space, and the circular shape of the bathroom and shower were fine for all but the most obese of passengers. I had one potential concern after having read in a guide book that NCL has a penchant for frequent and loud announcements. However, these were not as common as feared (perhaps because the liner has since then reacted to feedback), and the announcements from cruise director and captain were not at all loud, especially when heard in the room. I was concerned about over-eating, so made a point of taking most of my meals in one of the two dining areas, rather than at the buffets. The food and selection were very good, and I never had to wait for a table or to be seated with others. The southeast and southern Asian wait staff were very attentive and friendly, as was my room attendant, a gal from China. They seemed much friendlier than some of the Western staff on board. I thought the entertainment was super and went to a show every night. I particularly liked the stand-up comic, a guy from New Jersey, whose name I forget, and the dance and musical numbers in the main Stardust lounge. However, the cruise also had terrific singers and musicians performing at all hours in the central Atrium as well. One disappointment was the small size of the pool because I swim regularly, so I took a dip just once. However, the gym was excellent, with free weights, machines, and ellipticals etc with little or no wait to use the equipment. I also shot some hoops for the first time in decades. I didn't book any of the excursions but went off on my own for day hikes or individually arranged visits during the time in port. Having a LonelyPlanet guidebook to Alaska was indispensable for this since it described almost all the ports in detail. I would highly recommend this trip for either solo or group travelers. In fact, I met a number of people who were doing the exact same cruise in both directions because they said it was "cheaper to fly" and so much more enjoyable. I don't like soft drinks and am indifferent to alcohol so the fact that NCL charges for those was fine with me as it meant an exceptionally low base rate for the cruise itself. My deal also included about $100 of on-board credits, so I tried the Teppanyaki and Italian restaurants, which were both fine. The cruise ship also had a nice library and I managed to read half a book on board, Halberstam's "The Fifties", which I finished later on my own. There were, however, so many activities each day from 7am to 11pm that I didn't turn on the TV. A list of the various choices for the following day, along with port description, arrived each night via an easy-to-understand brochure. Alaska last June was unusually warm and sunny, but even so, you should bring a hat, warm gloves, and multiple layers, preferably with a windbreaker and hood. Those enabled me to stay outside on deck when most retreated indoors. Living in a polluted Asian city, I found the fresh air exhilarating, along with Alaska's amazing natural beauty of glaciers, icebergs, mountains, 20+ hour days, occasional whales, and clean water. Read Less

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