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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2019
Visited wifes family in Tacoma and booked Holland to see Sitka and Hubbard Glacier and to see what Holland has to offer compared to other cruise lines. Very little action in pre cruise comments and no interest in a meet and greet. The ... Read More
Visited wifes family in Tacoma and booked Holland to see Sitka and Hubbard Glacier and to see what Holland has to offer compared to other cruise lines. Very little action in pre cruise comments and no interest in a meet and greet. The cruise itself followed this scenario as it was most uneventful and very subdued. The ship design does not appear conducive to a lot of social activity as promenade decks 2 and 3 take you in tunnel fashion through the ship and shops and bars and service locations. There is no central Atrium where things come together on a multi level agenda as we have come used to on Princess. No band playing on top deck as we left Seattle nor at any other time. Except for the Crowsnest there was really no central meeting place to celebrate or converse with new friends. Did visit BB Kings Club one night and the lady singer was great, but never made it to the Mainstage as saw nothing advertised there at night except a magician. Life after dinner was totally subdued as we are not gamblers and had no interest in the casino nor were there any other enticements to our interests. Room and service there was fine and the loading and unloading of the ship was exceptional as we were on and off with no problem. The Port Valet program unique to Seattle is remarkable and should be utilized by all. Food service on Lido deck is a problem as no trays are provided and you have to take one plate at a time to a table and then go back for your other needs. Too much foot traffic. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2019
I chose this itinerary for the Hubbard glacier. My original cruise plans (was planning to sail r/t from Vancouver) got disrupted, so opted for easier Seattle embarkation). I originally booked an aft-facing deck 4 verandah and TA sent an ... Read More
I chose this itinerary for the Hubbard glacier. My original cruise plans (was planning to sail r/t from Vancouver) got disrupted, so opted for easier Seattle embarkation). I originally booked an aft-facing deck 4 verandah and TA sent an upgrade offer about 2 weeks prior to embarkation for a Neptune, which I took. I had taken a very similar itinerary last year on Eurodam in an oceanview, but really wanted to see Hubbard. Hubbard is astounding. Disenchantment Bay is spectacular. Oosterdam managed to be in the best port docks at every port, which made my mobility issues much easier, thus could expend my energy in town rather than all on simply getting from ship to anywhere. Unlike last year (we chose 8pm dinner seating and only managed to get into MDR once as a result, we did Anytime Dining and ate dinner and breakfast in MDR every day, sitting with new delightful people every meal. Having the flexibility to dine at times that suited that day's activities and our hunger level worked very well for us. Only managed to get to 1 mainstage show (Stages) and it was fine (I don't cruise for shows). Oosterdam is beautifully maintained. Overall, the food was excellent. I did find it a little odd there seemed to be much less salmon featured in MDR and Lido (last year, my favorite lunch was a heaping bowl of salad topped with a perfect salmon filet and I never found that salmon at lunch and the salad bowls were smaller, but that is a small quibble). My only concern going forward is how I am going to manage in less than a Neptune LOL Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We took the SoundTransit (light rail to downtown from airport)) 2 blocks from the hotel. The next morning rideshare was 15 mins to pier. Be warned after the Seattle cruise rideshare pickup is way past the regular pickup. Keep walking. ... Read More
We took the SoundTransit (light rail to downtown from airport)) 2 blocks from the hotel. The next morning rideshare was 15 mins to pier. Be warned after the Seattle cruise rideshare pickup is way past the regular pickup. Keep walking. Getting on was smooth and getting off was a pleasure with Port Valet. Thank you Seattle Port Authority. Cabins, Dining, Service, Ship Condition, Entertainment, Activities and Ports were all good to great. Where I felt Holland hit it out of the park was the diversity of offerings on board. We met a couple at dinner and hung out throughout the adventure, each enjoyed very different activities in addition to our shared interests. Cruiser 1 - Thermal Spa, Windows Classes, EXC Port Album Cruiser 2 - ShipFliks, Happy Hour, Movie Theater, Port Tours on TV Cruiser 3 - Stage Shows, Bridge, Vegetarian Dining Cruiser 4 - Library Recliners, Northern Lights, Stage shows and the Movie Theater. Notable food observations: The omelet bar starboard 5 stars, the DiVE IN Mushroom burger was extra special and all 14 days the Soups and Sauces were fabulous. We all loved scenic cruising, seeing whales and bumping into an iceberg. Favorite Excursion...rented a car in Juneau and drove to Mendenhall and the Hatchery. Favorite walkabout... walked to Sitka Raptor Center and took the Historical Park trails back to the Visitor Center, Science Center and then port shopping. Our Advice: need some sort of water bottle filling station and longer Happy Hour :) In Ketchikan early morning we enjoyed watching many float planes take off next to ship. Seriously, given the funding and open calendar, We would have gotten right back on board for another 14 days! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was a great, low key trip to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had cabin 4006. The cabin is at the front of the ship. It was clean and a nice size cabin. No bath tub but we didn't miss the tub at all. The cabin is near the side ... Read More
This was a great, low key trip to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had cabin 4006. The cabin is at the front of the ship. It was clean and a nice size cabin. No bath tub but we didn't miss the tub at all. The cabin is near the side thruster, external door, and main stage. It was generally quiet, but there were times when engines, entertainment, or door drop were very noticable. Food was good across the board, although room service had warm cold items and cold warm items for breakfast. Entertainment was great with the Lincoln Center Stage being wonderful. The BB King Blues Club and Billboard groups were fun as well. If you fly in, make sure to check out the Port of Seattle program for luggage coming and going. Also, we suggest not buying any drinks until you are out of the Washington state area...otherwise you will have to pay 10% sales tax on things like sodas, wine, beer. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. We also suggest using the Navigator phone application so you can see daily events and check your bill. We had a great server in the Lido named Yasmeen. The Pinnacle Grill food was excellent. It is a great first night dinner as you cruise out the Puget Sound. We also picked the night at Victoria for the Pinnacle as the time is quite short in port. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We had an amazing cruise! We missed Ketchikan, which was very sad but we had a full afternoon and evening in Victoria. We traveled with 10 of us ages 9-79. We had 4 staterooms and I personally had an interior and it was large and ... Read More
We had an amazing cruise! We missed Ketchikan, which was very sad but we had a full afternoon and evening in Victoria. We traveled with 10 of us ages 9-79. We had 4 staterooms and I personally had an interior and it was large and comfortable. The show were great, we only got one because of the missed port. Magician and comic were fine but the music walk is AMAZING! Dancing at BB King was so fun and be sure to listen to the billboard piano players. They are amazing. My 9 year old found a friend at the pool and she swam with her everyday instead of the HAL club. She wasn’t much interested in the club. Too many young kids for her. Not too many kids in the club and it would have been fine if she hadn’t found a friend. Food was amazing! We only ate at the Lido and main dining room. Not sure how you couldn’t find enough food at those 2 places. Oh. And we went to tea everyday we could. I read so many conflicting reviews before I left that I wanted to write and say, it’s a beautiful ship, the covered pool is amazing and the staff and food could not be better. If you’re going to have a good time on a cruise, it’s up to you to make it fun. We went to the shows, swam and hot tubbed, tried all the food, danced at the Bb king and sang with the billboard artists. We also took games to play in the crows nest and at the poolside. Thanks HAL staff for taking such good care of us. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose an Alaskan cruise to celebrate husbands 60th birthday with our four adult children. We’ve been regular cruisers on Hal, so very disappointed with some of the changes.. Ship is in great shape and the wait staff and cabin stewards ... Read More
We chose an Alaskan cruise to celebrate husbands 60th birthday with our four adult children. We’ve been regular cruisers on Hal, so very disappointed with some of the changes.. Ship is in great shape and the wait staff and cabin stewards fantastic as usual. Front desk folks not helpful or friendly...took Many trips to resolve a couple of small issues. Wait staff in Pinacle were surly and unfriendly. New photo policy requires you purchase the digital image for each photo for $29.99 plus an additional $10.00 if you want a print...no option for print only. Pkgs only bring down to $20 each....as i have no intention of reprinting, each print costs $39.99. We used to pay $10 each .... Shore excursion talks were 60 min long infomercials for the diamond gem shops owned by Holland . Total waste of time. The new daily schedule format lacks basic information about activities and length of programs. Most activities were just an opportunity for Hal to sell you something. Shows were poor to mediocre at best. Scheduling was poor... 3:00 bingo ran late into the 4:00 trivia time and left no seats for the Trivia crowd...Catholic mass was in an open room next to Crows Nest bar during Happy Hour..poor priest had to shout over reveling drunks and whirling blenders. Could they have changed Mass tme or move happy hour to a different bar? Not scheduling another Hal cruise any time soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I chose Holland America because the ship size was not so big that I would be lost. My family and I prefer a quieter experience, crowds, crazy dancing and rocking bars not really our thing. Embarkation was a breeze, went on the ship at 2pm, ... Read More
I chose Holland America because the ship size was not so big that I would be lost. My family and I prefer a quieter experience, crowds, crazy dancing and rocking bars not really our thing. Embarkation was a breeze, went on the ship at 2pm, walked right on. Ship, a little dated, 70's like décor mirrors, velvet and geometric shapes but still in decent shape. Our cabin steward was wonderful. Dining in the main dining room eeeh…. it was fine. Dining in specialty restaurants Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind... fantastic! Dining in Lido crazy crowded and grabby people. Dive in burger bar and pizza always a wait of 35 to 40 min, food ok. Alaska is beautiful... cruise excursions helicopter ride to glacier and dogsled in Juneau and zipline in Ketchican (booked our own private whale watch in Sitka for $135 per head - this was not on Holland America excursion menu) all were fabulous. Kids ages 12, 16, 19 actually played board games in the game room on the ship, a lot!! That was awesome.. they all go to their separate corners at home. BBKings blues band was really great and magician and comedian entertaining as well. Overall a great family vaca to Alaska on the Eurodam. If I had to do it again I would do dining room for breakfast and lunch and book specialty restaurants for most nights of the cruise to stay away from crazy Lido, although convenient crowds take relaxation factor way down. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This cruise was the most relaxing and enjoyable of the many vacations we have had. The boat is super clean, easy to get around, lots of things to do and the food was fine. We had a signature suite and the room was spacious, the bathroom ... Read More
This cruise was the most relaxing and enjoyable of the many vacations we have had. The boat is super clean, easy to get around, lots of things to do and the food was fine. We had a signature suite and the room was spacious, the bathroom was large for a cruise ship and the balcony had the best views. We could not do everything on board but we would recommend the Eco talks, BBKing Lounge, Lincoln Center and the Billboard Stage. I did a couple of the sessions of the American Test Kitchen which were simple and OK. The Humanity Show was a highlight. The weather this week was terrific. The day in Glacier Day was magnificent. The crew is extremely helpful and nice. I would take a pass in the spa our massages were not very good and they only wanted to really sell you stuff you don't need, so skip the spa. Pinnacle Grill was a good one night upgrade for steak. For excursions, we did the Bear Walk in Ketchikan and that was amazing and highly recommend that. You are back in plenty of time for more shopping if you need to. We would sail again with Holland America. In Juneau, we went out whale watching and the salmon dinner at the lodge and we must have seen 20 whales that day. Mendenhall Glacier even had some bear sightings. In Sitka, we highly recommend a food truck Captian JuJu's for fish. Fish so fresh that even the fisherman in town were eating there. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This had a very good itinerary, with plenty of time in Anchorage and Victoria. Although, lots of smoke in Anchorage due to nearby fires. The staff on this ship is wonderful. They all seemed to have great attitudes, and were willing ... Read More
This had a very good itinerary, with plenty of time in Anchorage and Victoria. Although, lots of smoke in Anchorage due to nearby fires. The staff on this ship is wonderful. They all seemed to have great attitudes, and were willing to help. The ship still maintains a quiet elegance although it’s scheduled for dry dock next May. The public spaces never seem crowded, and the onboard entertainment on the Main Stage was very good. Three production shows, three comedians/magicians, and a wonderful pianist (Ryan Ahern). Temperatures during the day were in the high 60’s, but I definitely recommend warm clothes for being out on deck. The Hubbard Glacier was a good highlight. We were able to get very close, and their was calving during our visit. We also had a lot of whale sightings off the ship. This was our 4th cruise to Alaska, and I recommend this line for anyone looking for a quiet, and enjoyable experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Past the “sweet spot”..... timing wise, for sailing Alaska, but weather was really good, considering. We’ve been up that way 6+ times. Arrived day early staying at boutique in Queen Anne neighborhood, closer jump off to getting ... Read More
Past the “sweet spot”..... timing wise, for sailing Alaska, but weather was really good, considering. We’ve been up that way 6+ times. Arrived day early staying at boutique in Queen Anne neighborhood, closer jump off to getting to ship next day.... a little hilly, great neighborhood & restaurants. Uber from airport to hotel $38 and the hotel to port $8. Arrived port 11:15am We were sailing Neptune suite so check in easy, they were already boarding group 3, we walked on, drop our bags in room, unpacked, decent closet space, then to dining room for lunch. Ship falls into mid size for Holland. Don’t particularly care for these ships, the layout, stuffy, lounges small, but Holland has done about as good as they could accommodating the newer music venues and ATK. Main show room is ok. MDR is tightly packed, Canelleto part of buffet seating. Pinnacle Grill nicely sized. EXC central (Crows Nest) ok seating, but has lost a little ambiance with the EXC adder. Across ship Disappointed with bars, small cramped, service poor. Had anytime dining, Club Orange.... seated immediately. Food and dining service both MDR and Pinnacle Grill a bit spotty.... quality, missed items, under, over cooked. We only did buffet a few times for breakfast.... nice mix of options. Otherwise can’t comment further. Club Orange needs further development on these size ships. Aside from immediate seating... no seperate dining area, seated with reg passengers with different menu... a bit uncomfortable. Can’t see any other perks..... what am I missing here? As for Suite perks, not competitive with any of the RCL products,even Princess a bit more refined.... I hear larger HAL ships not as big an issue. Main Showroom shows have taken on a more cultural bent, in line with featuring the music venues. Featured a dance company.... excellent.... The EXC lecture presentations were outstanding. More professional done, focused topics to the area sailing. Very impressed America’s Test Kitchen presentations were excellent. Outstanding Chef great chat, meaningful recipes... well attended... shares BB King venue, works out well. All in all a good trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This was my 12th cruise. Fourth to Alaska. First on Holland. We chose this cruise because I love Alaska. The scenery is amazing; the excursions can be great, and, if you get great food, service, entertainment and accommodations, it ... Read More
This was my 12th cruise. Fourth to Alaska. First on Holland. We chose this cruise because I love Alaska. The scenery is amazing; the excursions can be great, and, if you get great food, service, entertainment and accommodations, it can be blissful. There were things I really like about this cruise that lift it to an overall rating of 3 stars. There were things that were poor, which brought the overall experience down. We stayed in a Neptune Suite -- 6109. There were 3 of us, and we needed the space. Let me begin by saying embarkation and disembarkation were flawless -- probably the best I ever experienced. Our Suite. The room and verandah are wonderful. The room was clean. We had space to roam and enjoy the sights from inside the suite or out on the balcony. Our room attendants, Heru and Tri were excellent. They represent HAL so well and did a great job for us all week. The suite, however, was tired. The carpet and couch were tattered and worn. The furniture was old and in need of replacement. . Some of the wood was chipped or scraped. At the price of a suite, I did not expect that.Despite that, Heru and Tri were great and keeping our room feeling fresh and tidy. One major complaint was the sofa bed. On the first night, after the bed was open, I sat on it. The mattress was completely worn and you felt springs on your bottom, on your back, every where. No one could reasonably be expected to sleep or even rest on that uncomfortable mess.If you are going to charge for a suite you should deliver a suite. Fortunately, that night I ran into Heru and asked for a mattress pad. fortunately, he installed it when we were at dinner. Meals. As suite customers we were able to eat breakfast at the Pinacle. The staff there was awesome and we had the best service there and the best dining experience there bar none. We ate there 6 mornings. They were fantastic. We felt special. Dining in the Main Dining Room and in the Lido Buffet are another story. The MDR is noisy, chaotic, rushed, and the food is not that great. They seemed under staffed.The portions are smaller than I would like. Salads were scarce. They rushed around. They some times rushed us. Every dinner we had there was not served hot. Every meal was warm or cool. They are disorganized and it should be better. Even though we purchased three drink packages, we struggled to get a wine steward to get us a glass of wine or even a drink from the bar before we were being hawked by the waiters to give our order -- and this was before we got to examine the menu. This happened every night. it made me feel they wanted us in and out of the MDR as fast as possible We took a shore excursion in Juneau that was outstanding. We got back late, dropped our belongings in the room, went to the rest room and got to the MDR at 9:05 pm. The maitre'd would not seat us. He said it was closed. There were plenty of diners still eating. We explained we just got back from the excursion (it was a HAL excursion) and could they please seat us. He told us they close at 9 PM We were denied and told to go to the Lido. The stations in the Lido were mostly closed. The one small portion that was still open had a line of about 50 people and it was moving slowly. Very frustrating. I noticed a few items in the Lido market. I put 4 pieces of cold poached salmon on my plate and went to the back deck to eat it. My wife joined me and our adult daughter went back to the room and went to bed with no dinner. When I sat to eat, I discovered that all 4 pieces of salmon were RAW, disgusting and inedible.I had no choice but to push them away. My wife and I then waited 45 minutes to be served a pizza. This was such a bad experience -- to be denied seating -- then to be directed to an over crowded understocked location that served RAW fish was just incredible on a premium cruise line. nothing like this ever happened on my other cruises where it seems the staff cannot do enough for you. One more note on the Lido. It is jammed packed all the time. The lines are long and the aisles are not clear. It is bumper cars with your fellow passengers. We never once found seating all week in the Lido. When chairs were empty, the tables were not been bussed and were messy and probably full of germs. we occasionally bussed and wiped our own table after 2 PM when things calmed a bit -- all while carrying our plates. One time they ran out of an item I wanted at that time. Lido is chaotic and messy. I felt like cattle Two nights after we were denied service in the MDR, the maitre'd in the Club Orange (not the one who would not seat us) just happened to ask us how the cruise was going. I told him how disappointing the night in Juneau was. He was great. Highly professional and apologetic. For me, dining is such a big part of a cruise and HAL fell way short of my expectations. The concierge in the Neptune room as great Glacier Bay was fantastic and the park ranger(s) were amazing. The comedian and magician were good too, I really liked the Lincoln Center and BB King rooms at night although there was very little variety -- same stuff every night -- but they were good. Dueling pianos were boring and the first dance show was disjointed so I walked out after 15 minutes. The gym was well equipped and clean. Used it 5 times. The kayak excursion in Ketchikan from the ship was good. I would have loved another hour in the water. I am not sure I would give HAL another try given the experience this time and the experiences I have had elsewhere Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Eurodam 7 day to Alaska August 10, 2019 My wife and I decided to take a cruise for our 15th anniversary leaving the kids with grandparents for the week. This is our story. Before the Cruise We had initially booked and fully paid ... Read More
Eurodam 7 day to Alaska August 10, 2019 My wife and I decided to take a cruise for our 15th anniversary leaving the kids with grandparents for the week. This is our story. Before the Cruise We had initially booked and fully paid almost a year ago for an N interior room at $699/ea. By the time two months before sailing rolled around I saw prices had dropped significantly for the trip so I called up the booking company and managed to get upgraded first to a HH then to an E outside stateroom. I almost had the chance for a guarantee verandah for $50 but the best deal that I could actually get an offer on was $80 for a Guarantee Verandah. I decided the room we had was fine. If we didn’t need to have everything set up for kids it would have been $200 cheaper to book about a month out than what we ended up with. Something to know for the future. Arrival, embarkation We arrived at 10:30 am dropped off by my inlaws and our bags were promptly picked up by a porter. We wandered over to the terminal where there was a huge line that almost reached to the outside of the terminal. It turns out this was the line for dropping off luggage, which we avoided by having tags made ahead of time and using the porter outside. We went up to the desk and got all squared away in under 20 minutes from showing up at the terminal to being at the gate. We were in boarding group C and we didn't start boarding until 11:30 so we had a bit of a wait but once boarding started we were on the ship by 11:40 and our rooms were ready at 11:45. Our First Room The outside view room we were assigned was 1126 which seemed perfectly fine. Generally speaking the room had everything we needed. The window was totally sufficient for looking out and viewing the whales that passed by the early on the second morning. I'd have had no problem staying in the room assuming everything worked as expected. There was a little wear on the wood coverings on the desk and tables which made everything feel a little dated but there were plenty lots of outlets (all located at the desk) and USB plugs on the nightstands and on the desk, most of which worked. The room is shower only which is actually pretty nice as the bathroom feels bigger than shower bath combos and we didn't have any plans to use the bath. The Problem I had read a post from 2015 saying that the air conditioning in the room didn't work. I'd figured that through dry docks and several years passing this wouldn't be a problem. I was wrong. It was still broken. Now this is on a Holland America ship and the vast majority of passengers would likely not have a problem with a room that could only cool down to 72.5F. But this was the lowest possible temperature after several adjustments. We initially reported it the first night. They checked it and gave us a fan. The fan really did help the second night and the room was workable at that point but the next day we were in the BB King Blues area and the AC there was in full swing and we were suddenly comfortable. This made me realize that the issues we were having in our room weren't just a matter of cruise ships being hot in general (which it was) so I continued to bring this up with guest services. Eventually, after bringing down one of the technical managers who determined that they couldn't fix it we were offered a change in rooms. When I walked into the new room it was actually a comfortable temperature which felt like a godsend at that point. Our Second Stateroom We got upgraded to a VB 4045 which was an extended balcony verandah. Considering we had paid rock bottom prices the upgrade was amazing. Still the best feature of this room for us was working AC but being able to watch the glaciers in Glacier Bay from the verandah was nice. Otherwise the room was incredibly similar to the old room. I did have to ask guest services to push the beds together which they did promptly, however, while doing so they also turned up the heat in the room all the way. I caught it pretty quick because I was only out of the room for about 30 minutes while this was going on. More funny than anything else. The room is right by the forward elevators which had more traffic than our room down in the back but nothing problematic. Just more likely to hear stateroom doors opening and closing at some points. Having had a verandah I'm not sure that I would need one in the future assuming we had working AC but having a window that you can open and close seemed useful after our AC challenge. Entertainment Overall most of the entertainment was fine but in no way outstanding. Vince, the Travel director, was really good onstage. It took us multiple shows to realize that he had a teleprompter since he felt so natural. The Captain's Toast which came with free champagne, was interesting and fun as was the kitchen tour where I got to meet the executive chef and get an advance peek at the upcoming dinner menu. I was hoping to be able to do the America's Test Kitchen classes, the ones that cost extra, but only one was offered all week, there was a waiting list which was reserved for 5 star mariners for the first 24 hours and it was an Egg class which I wasn't at all interested in. The actual onboard cooking sessions weren't great. We decided we'd stop by for the recipe cards and watch old episodes of the show in our state room, which we did plenty. The mainstage entertainment wasn't anything special. The BBC Alaska that we thought was the symphony was just an audio track which was really just an unimpressive discovery channel special. The dancers putting on a show called Humanity had a cool gimmick but it wasn't executed to the level that it was exciting to watch for the entire 45 minutes. Their second show Stages was really fun, as was the Crew Show. The comedian was good fun for both of his sessions. Instead of many of the onboard options we spent time in our room watching movies like Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Crimes of Grindewald, Rampage, and Jurassic World 3. We ended up skipping the magic show due to a two and a half hour dinner at Tamarind (more on that below). Food We had dinner in the main dining room every night, except for one, which was always great. Little tip: if you can wait until after 7pm the crowd dies down significantly and it's way more chill. We had one server named Jeffery who was awesome. He even found us in the morning on the lido and had a table for us in the Canaletto area. Food there was solid everytime we had it. Some requested customizations never happened but nothing that was too significant. Every time we ate there we left feeling pleasantly satiated without being stuffed which was a great experience for a three course meal. The Lido was frequently crowded for breakfast at around 8:30-9am but was generally pretty empty by 9:30 and wasn't as bad at 8am either. We decided to try to avoid the busy time there. Busy times for lunch were unpredictable due to schedule of events and docking times but we had to make multiple trips to find a seat after viewing the Margerie Glacier. Afternoon tea was a bit of a cattle call with no customization and very little attention paid to each guest. After going once we decided to avoid it for the future. Though several of the little bites there were great, having tea seemed unnecessary when the entire Lido was still open. Fine Dining We had one meal at Tamarind which was incredibly disappointing. Several of the dishes were great but even with the restaurant half empty it took two and a half hours to get through the meal, our water glasses ran empty multiple times, and we never really seemed to get service. They totally drenched the lobster roll I ordered in Mayo which wasn't even listed as an ingredient on the menu and I brought it up with 3 servers who never did anything but apologize. No offers to take it away or get something else. My wife ended up eating most of it but about half was taken away at the end untouched. I never leave sushi on the plate. This has pretty much turned me off of specialty dining entirely. I wouldn't have been happy paying $50 for that dinner and service in a restaurant under regular circumstances. The fact that I had to pay extra for lower quality service and in some cases worse food than the Lido is unacceptable. In the future I'm perfectly happy with the MDR. Service was also incredibly slow. Ports We didn't plan any excursions at port as we were hoping to explore on our own. This may have been a mistake. Juneau was heavily inundated with Cruise Port jewelry shops, places with locations in major cruise ports in Alaska and the Carribbean with locally themed swag. If you weren't looking for jewelry or something with the words ALASKA on it, you were probably out of luck. The entire area by the port is a big tourist trap with a number of the rudest sales reps I’ve ever met. I did manage to walk far enough to get to some local shops, local artists, and local native wears, but it was a few blocks back away from the main drag. Sitka was a pretty cool small town that reminded us of Friday Harbor in the San Juans. Having more time helped but we managed to hit the entire downtown in just a couple hours. I don’t have any particular drive to return to Sitka but it was pleasant being there. Kechikan seemed like a town I could spend more time in. The Creek Street area is super cool and I’d love to have time to hang out for coffee there. I really feel we didn’t have time to explore the area very well. As it was we spent a good 3+ hours wandering around there and came back at almost noon for a 12:30 departure. I wouldn't mind a fuller day there but the stop was pretty short. Victoria is a beautiful town that was somewhere I’ll definitely visit again, but our stop from 6 to 11 was too short to do much of anything. We walked to chinatown which looked like a cool place to eat but had nowhere to shop at 8pm. I’d love to explore the town more but there’s only so much still open at 7pm. I’d prefer to spend a long weekend in Victoria than a cruise stop. If I had another 5 hour stop there I probably wouldn’t get off the ship. In the end we decided we enjoyed our time cruising much more than our time in port. Watching the world go by outside of your window while relaxing, reading, and having access to unlimited food is pretty nice. Each of the stops didn’t really give us a chance to get more than a brief view of the town and we never stopped to eat or shop for local food since everything was free on the ship. If you really want to know what a place is like, cruising isn’t the best way to see it. In the future I think I’ll care less where the cruise stops and think about what I’d be seeing from the ship. Navigator App The Navigator App is a good development that hasn't really come together yet. First thing, don't register on it until you are on board. It just confuses the poor thing. Second, be careful because it doesn't update as quickly as you'd hope. I was still getting alerts in Seattle time while we were in Alaska for a few days and we still had the previous day’s menu until after dinner the next day. It's also fairly slow to load. That said, it's a pretty cool feature compared to nothing so I'd get it and use it onboard. Overall Cruising was a fun experience and pretty good for a couples getaway. Imaging the differences with kids takes away a lot of the potential relaxation that was present. The fact that ports are tourist traps makes it difficult to use cruising as a method of experiencing specific locations you might be interested in. Previously I had a lot of interest in a carribbean cruise where you got to see several eastern carribbean island but I feel like it would be difficult to get much more than a casual glance at each one and that view would be heavily skewed by the scenes that existed at port. I feel like cruises where a lot of the point was what goes on outside of your window would be more exciting. So in the future things like a Panama Canal, fall New England/Canada or European River cruise seems really interesting to me but I’m not sure that paying $300 more for a flight is worth the change in scenery. Excursions also don't really interest me as I don't generally want a curated experience. This means that the ports are less vital than the route. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was a very last minute cruise booked within one week of travel. Got a decent price for a partially obstructed stateroom, which was actually larger than I expected. Having just gotten off RCL's Mariner of the Seas one week ... Read More
This was a very last minute cruise booked within one week of travel. Got a decent price for a partially obstructed stateroom, which was actually larger than I expected. Having just gotten off RCL's Mariner of the Seas one week earlier, I was worried that the Eurodam was going to be boring by comparison. But our experience was better than I expected. For this cruise, it was just my 6 yo & me (late30s). We normally travel as a family of 4 (my husband & our 9 yo), plus grandparents. In complete honesty, this ship would probably have bored my 9yo who has become accustomed to our previous cruises' "bells & whistles" from the likes of Disney, Norwegian, and Royal. But my 6yo & I enjoyed the slower, more relaxed pace. I think the more "chill" vibe was very fitting for the serenity of Alaska. Compared to our most recent cruise on the Mariner, Eurodam 's food at the Lido & MDR was much better, although HAL needs to have more vegetarian options. Service in Lido was hit or miss. I often had to get my own drink or clear my own table. I appreciated that servers served portions, versus allowing guests to handle the tongs. Entertainment was good, especially the magician show as well as BB Kings. I do think HAL needs to up their entertainment options, compared to their rivals, who have more lively entertainment often. Fitness Center was sufficient and I even saw whales a couple times while I was using the elliptical. My 6yo enjoyed the kids club, but compared to Disney, Royal, & Norwegian, I thought HAL could do a better job with kiddie activities, playroom, and hours. Excursion & Guest Services did a good job addressing my questions and I appreciated being able to use Port Valet service. Overall, I recommend the Eurodam for an Alaskan itinerary. I'd consider cruising HAL again given the right itinerary and price. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This is our 4th HAL cruise. We've been in Alaska few years ago and we loved the scenery. We booked the balcony so we could enjoy the beautiful view, but it was a BIG mistake because we never enjoyed it because of a strong smell of ... Read More
This is our 4th HAL cruise. We've been in Alaska few years ago and we loved the scenery. We booked the balcony so we could enjoy the beautiful view, but it was a BIG mistake because we never enjoyed it because of a strong smell of smoke. We reported it few times at the costumer service but they never did anything. They keep telling us they will investigate ( whoever smokes at the balcony), NEVER solved the problem and it just gets worse everyday. The buffet was always crowded and I often heard people complaining about lack of space. Food was ok .The other complimentary restaurants had about the same food as buffet just fewer choices and service was not good there either.The dinners were just ok. We spent an hour and a half waiting on courses to be served. The positives side of this trip were the staff, they were great and friendly.. except the staff at the costumer service whose not very helpful. Front desk folks not helpful or friendly...took us many trips to report a problem and NEVER solved. Lack of activities as well. Most activities were just an opportunity for Holland to sell you something. This time I was in some ways disappointed. I remember our previous cruises with HAL was always great.. Not this time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
My review of the Holland America MS Oosterdam 08/04/19-08/11/19 We flew out of Kansas City International on Sunday morning, the 4th of August on an Alaskan Air flight leaving at 6 AM. The flight was very crowded and apparently sold ... Read More
My review of the Holland America MS Oosterdam 08/04/19-08/11/19 We flew out of Kansas City International on Sunday morning, the 4th of August on an Alaskan Air flight leaving at 6 AM. The flight was very crowded and apparently sold out so I was glad we got there at 4 AM. As we were descending into Seattle we saw our ship, so that was very exciting! There were four of us cruising together, I am 54, my roommate on the cruise Elsie who is in her mid 80’s, and our friends Jim and Anne who were celebrating their 75th birthdays on the cruise. We were on the Oosterdam in Signature Staterooms 8091 and 8093. We flew in to Seattle and got some scrumptious Macarons there at the airport (Lady Yum!! YUMMY!!!!) We found the HAL people by the luggage area just as we were told and checked in our luggage at the little desk so we no longer had to carry that around and had lunch at Starbucks. Then we went to the area where they told us to wait for the bus. This was a long walk and not for anyone with bad legs. Got there and found seats over in the NCL area I think it was. Waited forever it seemed but they finally had us come over to a specific area and stand there a while then we were on the bus and on our way to the ship. Once we got to the terminal, it seemed as though it took forever but we were in groups F and G to board, F boarded and they called G at 11:30 AM and told us then that our rooms were ready so we went right to our rooms and set our stuff down, then ate at the Lido deck looking out on a gorgeous marina and boats sailing in the Puget Sound (I think). While in the terminal we heard that the Blue Angels would be flying at 3:30 so as we were mustering we were welcomed by an Angel fly by. They got closer as it got closer to time for us to sail. We watched from the back of the ship and suddenly the ropes were dropped and we were off on our way to Alaska! We had anytime seating for dinner and we went to the dining room a little late that night, I am the world’s pickiest eater and nothing on the menu sounded good so I ordered steak and fries. My fries tasted a little funny, kind of sweet even…I asked one of the ladies to try them and she said they were sweet so we called the Maître D (Sekan) over and he tasted one and scrunched up his nose and busted out laughing. Turns out there was someone new in the kitchen that got the sugar and salt confused and I was forever known as the sugar fry lady! All the waiters heard about it and it caused a lot of laughter through the whole trip. Monday was a sea day and if I remember it right it was really foggy at first and the ship horn blew every couple minutes but that didn’t bother any of us. We slept in and had breakfast delivered to the room and just explored the ship all day. We got to tour a little of the kitchen that day, that was fun and got a couple of samples of appetizers. We lost a little money in the casino and just had a great day. That evening was the gala dinner and it was yummy! Then we went to bed a little early once again to be ready for Juneau the next day! Tuesday we woke up nice and early – 5:30 AM or so and got coffee and tea from the Lido deck then watched the sunrise from our balcony. It was beautiful! We had breakfast that morning in the dining room and met a really great couple from Walla Walla Washington, but the food was just ok. I loved Juneau! We went gold panning, so fun! Did a little shopping and then did the evening whale watching with Gastineau Guiding and it was wonderful! I didn’t get any good pictures of whales but we saw two, and were able to identify them. I am not sure what the one’s name was but the second one we saw was Sasha! But I did get ok pics of Sea lions, eagles, a jelly fish and we saw seals too. It was an incredible excursion and I recommend anyone take it! It was so much fun. There were only 20 of us on the boat and Dan Michrowski was our guide and he was very knowledgeable. The next day we were in Sitka and it was my favorite of all the stops we made! We didn’t have anything planned so we rode into town and looked around a little, went back to the port and did a little shopping and enjoyed sitting on our balcony watching the world go by. Then we got to do the behind the scenes tour of the Bridge, that was great fun. There were only four of us on the tour and the assistant cruise director made it so much fun. The next day there were 6 of us on the other part where we saw the engine room, the laundry, kitchen, and storage areas. It was well worth the $150 I think it was that it cost! Ketchikan we had no plans either so we got a tour of the city we bought on the pier and we made several stops looking at the Salmon and looking for bears but never saw any. Did a little more shopping and enjoyed the view of Ketchikan from our balcony once again. Later that evening we played in the casino and I won $614! Victoria we just went into town and back again and the funnest part for me was singing O Canada on my balcony while in Canada. (I have sung it a few times for a local baseball team when they play a Canadian team.) I attended the past guest party and enjoyed it at lunch. And we sadly packed. We also saw a glacier on one day, apparently that did not make that much of an impression on me as I don’t even remember what day we did it. The ship was fabulous, our room stewards went above and beyond every day! The food was ok. I am just too picky. Our rooms had adjoining doors and our balconies were open before we even got there so that was nice! Our beds were supposed to be two twins and they were not but that only took about 10 minutes after we talked to our steward to be fixed. I had purchased the Thalassotherapy pool pass and only used it twice. There was just too much other stuff going on. It was a great trip and I would HIGHLY recommend the Oosterdam! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I travel extensively and this was the most expensive and one of the worst trips I’ve ever taken. We upgraded to a suite and executive lounge. The lounge service was good but the food stale, pedestrian and you had to pay for liquor. ... Read More
I travel extensively and this was the most expensive and one of the worst trips I’ve ever taken. We upgraded to a suite and executive lounge. The lounge service was good but the food stale, pedestrian and you had to pay for liquor. Dining Room and Lido deck food lacked quality, taste and freshness. We ate burgers and hotdogs because they cooked to order. The only free beverage was lemonade and tea. A coke was $2.50, latte $3.50 + tax, tip. We brought 2 bottles of wine and they charge $18 corkage fee at the restaurant! After spending $7000 (2 people) for this 7 day trip Holland America Eurodam continued to have unexpected costs. The better restaurants cost more to get in and if your wanted a good steak there was an up-charge! The excursions on average cost $150 a person. $30 per person to play Bingo. I’ve been to many around the world the cost for what you did was exorbitant. Also frustrating was the daily schedule was placed in your room the night before. They constantly changed the restaurant open and closed times. We missed breakfast because they close at 8:30am. This was confusing for many people. The most frustrating was the big day to see the Glaciers. They limited the amount of chairs on the top deck, did not offer to set out more and left many of us standing for hours or had to sit inside and only have partial views. The Ranger talk was at 7:30am. We missed it. The day was so unproductive and unorganized because we did not have a central place for the family to enjoy this spectacular event. I was beyond disappointed! I would not recommend this for big family groups or handicapped person. It was difficult to keep organized, most tables only had 2-4 tops that you can’t move. Limited seats for the classical music nights, shows were set at 7:30 or 9:30 which were on top of dinner timelines. Not much activity during the day unless you want spa and workout time. Overall, not worth the money and I would highly recommend NOT using Holland America Eurodam to see Alaska. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
I had cruised with Holland America to Alaska with my father ~10 years ago. I wanted to now share the experience with my son and my wife, so I picked Holland America again. My expectations were high, especially for the food. When I ... Read More
I had cruised with Holland America to Alaska with my father ~10 years ago. I wanted to now share the experience with my son and my wife, so I picked Holland America again. My expectations were high, especially for the food. When I cruised with HAL before, the food was fantastic. Every meal at the MDR was excellent. Unfortunately, the food was the most disappointing aspect of this cruise. MDR food quality was exactly the same as buffet quality (the MDR selections were also available from the Lido). Both were average for the most part. It appears they are looking to force people to eat at the specialty dining restaurants to get high quality food and have let MDR food quality devolve. Lido was ok as a buffet, but food quality was also just average. And the lines! Be prepared. The hours of Lido were limited, so be prepared for lots of lines and lots of waiting. It wasn't unusual for us to take 20-30 minutes or more to get all the food after stopping and waiting at multiple stations. The Dive In had good food, but it closes at 530? Why??? And the minimum order time for food was 25 minutes, at one point got up to 45 minutes. For a burger. Pizza was good, but again, be prepared for waiting. Most times wait for a pizza was 25 minutes, and it closes at 1130. So if you're looking for a late night snack options become limited, and lines and waiting are likely. Entertainment was great - i enjoyed the Billboard pianists, the mainstage acts (magician and comedian), and the blues club. I wish they would bring the movie theater back, the mainstage setup for movies isn't great. Crow's nest is beautiful - make sure you spend time there. Gym machines were ok - many treadmills don't work. On one treadmill the machine just stopped while i was running, luckily i didn't fall. My family and i had cruised on Princess last year. I was telling them how much better this cruise would be, in particular the food, having cruised with HAL before, but it appears that my expectations were set too high. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
First time sailing Holland America. We a frequent Celebrity and RCCL cruisers, but liked the HA Alaska itinerary, plus there were some pricing specials that made this cruise very affordable. We booked a category VD balcony cabin ... Read More
First time sailing Holland America. We a frequent Celebrity and RCCL cruisers, but liked the HA Alaska itinerary, plus there were some pricing specials that made this cruise very affordable. We booked a category VD balcony cabin (guarantee), and we were assigned our cabin 10 days before sailing. Location was pretty good....all of the VD cabins are either in the front or towards the rear of the ship. We had a cabin towards the front of the ship. Long walk to the dining venues (as they were on the other end of the ship), but we got used to it. The pros.....spacious cabin, quiet, large shower/bathtub combo, nice balcony. Service was first class and very friendly. Embarkation and disembarkation was so incredibly fast....HA blew away their competition on this aspect of the cruise. A nice choice of shore excursions, but pricey (as all Alaskan shore excursions tend to be). The highlight for us was the Tracy Arm Fjord/Sawyer Glacier excursion in Juneau. A long day (7 hour excursion), but well worth the time and money (tour is run by Allen Marine...wonderful tour folks). The one day we were cruising Glacier bay was an experience Holland America does best. This was the main reason we chose this cruise and HA did not disappoint. Had several other shore excursions which were ok....fortunately we got into Victoria before nightfall and got to Bourchart Gardens while it was still light. Had about 2 hours to visit and by the second hour it was nighttime. You cannot get the beauty of these gardens if you only have the night time to visit...so if you can't see the gardens during some daylight time, it is not worth going to (in my opinion, if you are a first time visitor). The not so good stuff had to do with the food and entertainment. The Lido restaurant is where the buffet is and we found the food selection and quality adequate, but nothing compared to the quality and selection you find on RCCL and Celebrity. We ate in the main dining room twice and the good was good in that venue (the gala night surf and turf was excellent.....probably the best we have had on any cruise ship). Service was fine. No quick way to get a slice of pizza or a quick hamburger/hotdog. HA does not do this part of their food routine very well. Also deserts were so so; cookies were lousy. Not much in the way of entertainment, but HA is not known for their big productions that RCCL and Celebrity have. We booked the premium wifi package ahead of time, as it was priced attractively but it was somewhat slow (but expected), and stopped working completely on our Apple devices that had IOS software under 10.0 (because of an HA wifi upgrade while we were at sea). So if your IOS software is not 10.0 or higher, their wifi will not work on those devices (primarily older Ipads). Very easy to catch a taxi from the cruise terminal back to the airport. They all charge a flat fee of $42. Lots of taxi's available despite two large cruise ships arriving at about the same time. Hope this info is helpful to any of you taking the Alaska inside passage cruise on HA. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We wanted a cruise that our daughter and son-in-law wanted to take, and they liked the idea of taking their first Alaskan cruise. We had been once, and had bad weather in the Northern stops. This time, the weather was reversed, with ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that our daughter and son-in-law wanted to take, and they liked the idea of taking their first Alaskan cruise. We had been once, and had bad weather in the Northern stops. This time, the weather was reversed, with great weather in Juneau, Glacier Bay, and Sitka, and rain and cold in Ketchikan and Victoria (B.C.). The ship itself has been recently refurbished, with nice new furniture in the suites (and elsewhere), and large flat-screen TVs with free movies. The service has always been exceptional, and this cruise was even better. We also enjoyed the Lincoln Center string quintet, with excellent young musicians playing a wide range of lovely music from Baroque through Broadway, tangos, and jazz. The main dining room's food was the best we've experienced, with great choices and lovely presentation. Free room service, with a good selection of choices throughout the day, was a nice touch as well. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl ... Read More
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl (Miraki(Sp?)-from Japan but living in Manilla). Our room was beautiful and the gentlemen that serviced it were quick and efficient. The ship was clean and everything was top notch. The entertainment was great! I can't rave about it enough. The spa package was awesome. Seaweed wrap a must. The girls in the spa were lovely and informative. Mary our morning dining room person was so nice and helpful. She helped us start our day with JOY! The BBKing review was great. We enjoyed the special music provided by WayFM every night. The wine tastings we attended were very informative. Everyone was fabulous! A TRIP FOR THE MEMORIES!!! I am recommending Holland-America to everyone I tell about our trip and I will book again.*** Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances ... Read More
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances and flew to Seattle the day of the cruise. We arrived before noon and our shared shuttle driver had us to the pier in no time. Check in was fast and our cabin was ready for us. Muster drill was held outdoors. We had a Vista suite and it was similar to what Norwegian calls a mini suite. There was nothing special about the cabin. No butler, sparking wine or afternoon treats. We had a walk in shower instead of a tub and we were grateful for that. Except for the lack of water pressure! The cabin was tight for two. A larger person would have to walk sideways to get around the bed. We had a sofa, glass top coffee table and and end table. The lamp on the end table had a single USB port. The lamp can be switched on and off from a wall switch. More than once, the wall switch was off and our device didn't charge. The refrigerator was inside the end table. It functioned but was completely iced over. The desk area held the 32" tv, DVD player, ice bucket, a make up mirror that once lit up and more drawers than we could use. A handheld hair dryer and another mirror were in one of the drawers. The tv had horrible resolution and more often than not, no satellite reception. The ship does have an extensive DVD library for just this very reason. The balcony held 2 chairs and ottomans along with a tiny end table. We sometimes brought the ottomans inside the cabin so we could watch a movie a little more comfortably. The room darkening drapes were a necessity in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Also, one person could sleep while the other watched tv, with the additional drape adjacent to the bed pulled closed. Food is always subjective but after 50+ cruises, I wasn't impressed. Food was often cold. How can pancakes be cold and hard when you are one of the first guests served in the dining room? Buffet food was not at all appetizing. I did appreciate buffet items being served to you but the selections were very limited as were the times the Lido was open. Don't expect to stop for a snack after attending a show in the theater as the Lido is closed from 8pm til 10:30pm. If the show on the main stage isn't your cup of tea, a movie is shown nightly in the much smaller Wajang theater. America's Test Kitchen shared this space. If you want a seat for ATK get there 45 minutes before the program starts. It is one of the few activities available on sea days. Other activities included Microsoft and photography workshops and several EXC pesentations. Mahjongg was offered every afternoon but at strange times. The casino is small but was never crowded. As a non-smoker, it did not seem smoky. The shops were constantly trying to sell old stock from the 2019 World Cruise. We had been to Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait, Sitka and Victoria on previous cruises. Weather was not on our side so our rain gear came in handy. One morning, I did a load of laundry before we went ashore. $2 to wash and the dryer was free. Best deal on board the ship. They even provide the detergent. We enjoyed walking around Anchorage and Kodiak Island. Our friends have a summer home in the Homer area so we spent the day with them. A highlight was visiting the Kilcher homestead from the Discover program Alaska: The Last Frontier. We also cruised Dawes and Hubbard Glaciers. Amazing! We purchased the Victoria shuttle through Holland. We could've purchased the exact shuttle from the provider at 2/3rds of the cost. We should've known better. We do enjoy cruising Holland America but the Amsterdam was too small for us. My husband was quite bored, especially during the day time hours. Our past experience was on the Eurodam, so we'll stick with a similar size ship in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Chose it for the length, route and price. As usual, embarkation was smooth in Seattle. Cabin was standard ocean view and clean but showing age on chair arms, window frame rust and tile/plastic bathroom walls and sink. Chose ... Read More
Chose it for the length, route and price. As usual, embarkation was smooth in Seattle. Cabin was standard ocean view and clean but showing age on chair arms, window frame rust and tile/plastic bathroom walls and sink. Chose any-time dining and booked same table for entire trip. Wait staff fantastic and food excellent most of the time. (Cream soups seem to be the same plain cream poured over a handful of different ingredients each meal.) Onion soup, offered on every menu was usually excellent except a couple of times when it was way too salty. Rudy's Sel de Mer was a total three-course mess at a ridiculously high price. It began with a half-cooked scallop as an amuse-bouche. Next came a seafood tower for me - routine salad bar popcorn shrimp salad, less than a teaspoon of crab meat and I passed on the octopus. My entree was a really tough whole Dover sole which had more in common with the shoe variety than the seafood type. A friend had the Maine lobster which amounted to two baby critters smaller than prawns. (I didn't know things that small were even legal to harvest.) Other friend raved about rack of lamb. Desert was supposed to be Crepes Suzette. Again, very disappointing. Crepe was very tough, smeared with what seemed to be orange marmalade and served lukewarm with half melted ice cream. No way close to being Crepe Suzettes. Friends profiteroles were standard issue from the Lido. To complete the evening, the wine steward never bothered to return and refill wine glasses and overall service was excruciatingly slow. As standard these days, all land excursions were very expensive and on-board entertainment reduced to the minimum with old BBC videos and house band filling in a couple of times. Favorite locales remain Icy Strait Point, Hubbard glacier viewing and Homer. Other ports/sights are okay but tend to be similar to each other and offer the usual search for wildlife/birds, some totem poles and a church here and there. Cruising remains a bargain if you can ignore a lot of the overpriced things on offer but it seems the day of inclusive pricing is about over. Cruise lines have adopted the airline pricing model - quote a cheap fare, and then add port fees/taxes and a $14.50 a day service charge per passenger called a tip, and then charge exorbitant fees for everything else. I expect to see all menus with à la carte pricing within a year or two. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We are a couple in our early 60’s. We traveled with another couple. We stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown. We took an Uber to the port which was very close to the port at around 10:00 AM. We were on the ship by 11:45. We were ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60’s. We traveled with another couple. We stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown. We took an Uber to the port which was very close to the port at around 10:00 AM. We were on the ship by 11:45. We were able to go straight to our rooms. We had a nice quiet lunch in the main dining room. The Amsterdam is an amazing ship! Very clean and nicely decorated! Smaller ship but easy to get around. Since our cabin was on the 3rd floor it was very easy to get to the main dining room which was one floor up. Love being in the back of the ship. Dining: We went to the Pinnacle Grill three times. Love the menu and the waiters and waitresses. Lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, lobster tail and filet were all so amazing! Also had the scallops, candy bacon and porterhouse! All were amazing. Wahyu and Kay were so amazing in the Pinnacle. We also went to the Canalleto one night. Liked their menu also. Mira and Carla were amazing and always friendly and nice when ever we saw them! The main dining room was great. We ate most of our meals there including a couple of lunches and breakfast. Amazing Amin, was one of our favorite waiters! Always had a smile on his face. The last at sea day they served surf and turf and shrimp cocktail in the dining room. Very good! The Lido serves an awesome breakfast. Lots of different juices. Egg making station, pancakes etc station. Lunch they have a great salad station. Ports: Awesome itinerary! Picked this cruise for all the amazing ports! Ketchikan: Bering Sea Fisherman Tour was excellent. We did this tour 11 years ago and couldn’t wait to go back. It was rainy and cold but they provided raincoats and they had heaters on the boat. We watched them catch fish and crabs in the pots. You could hold rock crabs etc. They threw herring and we watched the eagles fly down and catch them . An awesome shore excursion not to be missed! The boat docks right in town. Lots of nice shops etc. Sawyer Glacier at Tracy Arm was beautiful. Nice relaxing day. Juneau: We took the Jeep Wrangler 4 Door Jeep tour. We booked through the ship. We went on our own to the Mendenhall glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. So nice to take our time and explore at our own pace. We also went to Saint Therese Chapel which was beautiful location in the woods. Amazing area! Then onto the Fish hatchery. Very cool to see that many fish! Icy Strait Point: TOK River Outfitters is a company we found on line. They were awesome! We went halibut fishing! Between the six of us we caught about 25 halibut! The boat was in pristine shape and Nick the captain and Tammy were so amazing! They baited our lines and released all our catches for us. They went out of their way to make our day so awesome! It was a rainy and cold day but we were having so much fun catching fish we didn’t even notice the weather. Anchorage: There is a free shuttle to town. We booked the Glacier Quest Cruise through Phillips 26 Glacier Cruises on line. We actually called direct and got a AAA discount for the cruise. We booked the motor coach for transportation to Whittier which is where the tour begins. The glaciers we visited were beautiful! The lunch was great! This excursion takes all day but it was so amazing to get up so close to the glaciers. We chose the glacier quest which was a shorter cruise because we worried we would not have enough time for the longer 26 glacier cruise. As it turned out though, there was just enough time for the time we had at port to take either cruise. Homer: We took the free shuttle to the Spit. Nice area for souvenir shopping for some unusual things. We booked a private tour through Bay Excursions for a Marine Wildlife Tour. The tour was right down by the water at the spit. We saw puffins and otters and eagles. Very Knowledgeable guys on board our boat. The captain was great! Kodiak: We took the free shuttle to town. The guys booked a Bear Viewing tour through Island Air Service. Expensive but the best tour! Up close to see bears in the wild. They flew them to Fraser Lake in float planes and you are very near where the salmon are. The bears were very close to where they stood and watched them. My friend and I booked a floatplane tour with Andrews Air. We were so close to the mountain peaks that I felt like I could touch them. The take off and landing on the water was so smooth. We highly recommend either place, which were next door to each other, for floatplane trips. Hubbard Glacier: Amazing day to see the Hubbard Glacier up close. The ship offers an excursion to get off the ship to go see the glacier even closer. We didn’t do it though since we had been very close to glaciers in Whittier when we were there. The scenery is just undesirable at the passage into the glacier. Sitka: We took the shuttle to town. We booked a tour on our own with Captain Gary’s Sitka Adventures for a Whale watch. Gary met us in town and took us out on his pristine boat. It was just the four of us. Gary was amazing! We saw so many whales. We saw otters. Beautiful area! Gary was the best! Victoria: The shuttle offered by the ship is $15.95/pp to town. We took a taxi directly to the Butchart Gardens on our own. Way cheaper. The Gardens are about 40 minutes from where the shuttle drops you off at the Empress Hotel in town. The gardens are the most amazing gardens we have ever seen. Highly recommend going there. Embarkation: The Port Valet offered by SEA/TAC is an awesome way to go. Put your bags out at midnight and you don’t have to deal with them until you get to your baggage claim at your final destination. FREE too!!! This itinerary was so awesome! We hoped to go to these same ports next year but they changed them. No Kodiak or Sitka! We hope they bring them back. This was our 16 cruise. 6th cruise with Holland America. We really love Holland!! One big plus for us is that Holland America Line has a priest on board for all their cruises. We really love that they do this! All in all, we can’t say enough how wonderful this cruise was. Alaska is an awesome place to visit! So much untouched amazingly beautiful scenery!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a charter cruise so most of the standards don't apply. Overall it was nice. I just wish the bow was open all the time not just for special occasions. The buffet was ok nothing to brag about and the staff were very nice ... Read More
This was a charter cruise so most of the standards don't apply. Overall it was nice. I just wish the bow was open all the time not just for special occasions. The buffet was ok nothing to brag about and the staff were very nice and always accommodated us. The ship was clean and reasonably well maintained, but the cherry on top was the cloth towels in the public bathrooms. Each bathroom had individual cloth towels for your hand as well as paper to open the door but 90% of the time I could use the cloth and drop in the towel receptacle. The best part of the trip was the cabin. It was very roomy and comfortable and the staff took care of my request to empty the mini fridge so I could put my own soda in it. It was also nice to have USB charging ports on the desk and night stands for electronics. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My partner and I, 55 and 58 gay men, decided pretty last minute to do this Alaska Explorer 7 night charter. We were able to get a good deal booking with the charter as we are alumni with many past cruises with them, and there were many ... Read More
My partner and I, 55 and 58 gay men, decided pretty last minute to do this Alaska Explorer 7 night charter. We were able to get a good deal booking with the charter as we are alumni with many past cruises with them, and there were many cabins to fill.....our luck. Also, we had never cruised with Holland American Line before and have wanted to for years, so a win-win all around! We flew in to Seattle arriving around 1pm for a 3pm at the lasted boarding time. We had thought we would simply grab an Uber or Lift to the pier, but after getting our bags, time was running out, and we discovered HAL had a service to transfer us by bus to the terminal....so we used that (both ways as it turned out).... Check in was easy as we were getting they later in the day and most had already boarded. Our veranda cabin on the 8th floor starboard was decent. Definitely could use an upgrade as there were repaired holes and such in the bathroom. The deck really needed to be washed, as it was all a mess and dirty. The beds were quite comfortable, slept well all 7 nights. The TV served up some good movies OD, a few TV channels, access to the bridge cams.....nice. I liked how the closets had shelves that could be swung up to make more room for hanging clothes....every cruise line should have this great idea. Cabin steward was efficient and did not see much of him. As for dining, we ate most meals in the main dining room and had mostly above average luck with our meals. We are mostly Celebrity Cruisers so that is what we are comparing to....I think Celebrity does food better, my partner thinks HAL is just a bit better. The Lido Market is not a bad place for snacks and small meal. Overall, the service onboard is wonderful. The staff seems to enjoy what they are doing and we enjoyed having one waiter all week who treated us great. I would say the general overall service seems a bit warmer on HAL that Celebrity. Also, the Oosterdam has a warmer feel to it than most of the Celebrity ships. The design is obviously night and day, with Celebrity more modern and HAL a bit traditional. I like the change and the size of the ship. As a charter ship, the on board entertainment was quite good. A few let downs, but over all some great comedy, music and dancing were well done. The ships own dancers did an awesome job the night I saw them, using the huge screens on stage to interact with....something new to me and fun to watch! Something else HAL does is the Lincoln Center Stage, with a string quintet and pianist play a huge variety throughout the cruise. I wish I was able to see more of them, but what I did hear was top-notch..... OK, the internet! I thought I would take advantage of buying a weekly package before boarding as I would save about $50 for the 'Premier' package and be able to stream shows if I would like. Well, the internet on the Oosterdam is a joke. I was never able to stream....downloading pictures from Facebook took many seconds, and often,,,,very often, the whole thing stopped and needed to be restarted.....not fun....the front desk passed on my concerns.....but while I was there at the front desk,(and every time I was there, btw) other passengers were also complaining and some were rather irate. I just put down my iPad and did not let it bother me. But just don't expect much in terms internet on the Oosterdam. We had been to Alaska a few times before, so did not do many excursions, but LOVE seeing Hubbard Glacier....always my favorite part of an Alaska cruise! We would certainly consider HAL again....we like the 1900 pax load. Not too small, not too big. The food was good and service great. While this review was a little boring, the ship was not! I would suggest this to those who like music, relaxed atmosphere and a ship not geared up with bells and whistles of all the newer ships like RCL and Norwegian and Carnival. I almost forgot my favorite place on the ship, the Crows Nest on the top deck.....great place to sit and stare out watching the world go by with the panoramic windows....and a bar and coffeeshop..... Read Less
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