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Holland America AlaskaAuthor: Nigel (More Trip Reviews by Nigel)
Date of Trip: May 2013
7 day Alaska cruise,Vancouver return.
We are a couple in our early 40's and travelled with another couple in their early 40's also. We booked our flight with air canada, and arrived the day before departure, as recommended, just in case of and delays.
We stayed at the Four Seasons Vancouver and The Fairmont Vancouver before and after the cruise, both were easy to walk to the cruise ship terminal Canada place. And lovely hotels.
Embarkation was great, we walked down from our hotel and was on the ship within an hour. We got down there about 1.30, I heard people got down later and waited longer to get on.
Holland America Statendam was Built in 1992, but recently refurbished in 2010. The ship holds 1,258 Passengers and 580 crew, but you could never tell and there was always areas with no one around. Only the buffet feeding times Was it apparent how many people were on board.
Luggage arrived by 5pm and we headed to the dining room for our first meal. We went for early seating, but I think we will go for anytime seating next time. All the meals we had were great though. Our Waiter Toto, a long serving Holland America employee was great.
The ship had the usual amenities
Internet Center,Health Spa, Movie Theater, Restaurants including 3 that had extra cover charges but the food in the main dining room was excellent so we didn't patronize them, Casino, Library, 2 Outdoor Swimming Pools, one covered so could be used in the cooler Alaskan weather.
We went to a few afternoon teas at 3pm each day, held in the main dining room. The best was the cup cake tea. The worst was the Royal Dutch tea, only as we had to line up and serve ourselves, the other teas we were waited on. The usual selection of finger sandwiches and cakes and of course scones, jam and cream was served.
The buffet food was great too, but as with most buffets you had some people being greedy or pushing in line. They had, what I think is standard now, 48 hours before people could serve themselves to help hinder any germs, but I also think it may be a money saving tactic too as stops people pigging out on first few days lol.
Tried room service once , late one night but was told it would be an hour which turned into 1.45 mins by which time I had fell asleep.
We had breakfast in the cabin most mornings, which was nice, as long as you get the order on your door handle by 2am, which we missed twice as we were having too much fun in the Crows Nest. The Show Host David Gallic was very entertaining and lots of fun and Librarian Rebecca Vogler was lovely too.
Our cabin was great, and even had a bath in the bathroom, And the bathroom was a bit bigger than previous cruises. We had an ocean view cabin. We didn't see the point in having a balcony as the weather was going to be cold, but we actually had quite pleasant weather and didn't need the hat, gloves and scarfs we brought.
We got in late into Juneau so part of our pre purchased excursion was cancelled. We were meant to go Mendahall glacier and whale watching. US$ 164.95 each. So we just had a quick glance of the glacier and went to the whale watching boats. We saw humpback and killer whales and witnessed a beautiful sunset. The trip lasted about 4 hours.
Our next stop Skagway we did the White Pass Rail trip US$124.95 each, which was amazing, This 3 to 3.5 hour, forty mile round trip climbs from tidewater at Skagway to the summit of the White Pass - a 2,865 foot elevation. The fully narrated tour passes through two tunnels, over sky-high trestles and cascading waterfalls, some beautiful views. But we were lucky with the weather too. Skagway is like a Wild West town, lots of souvenir shops and museums.
Ketchikan we were not going to do any tours, but as we got off we saw one offering bear and eagle sightings, totem village and creek street. We didn't see bears and the one eagle we did spot flew off as soon as the bus load walked over. Which was fine. Wildlife is wildlife lol. I would suggest just getting off and getting a taxi to totem village then creek street and then walking back to the ship, it's really not far. And will be a lot cheaper than the $55 each we paid to mostly hear the life history of the driver.
Glacier bay was amazing, we missed some ice falling from the first glacier, but saw lots of icebergs, We saw Reid, Marjorie and Lamplugh glaciers.
Our fellow cruisers were a mixture of ages and we were not surrounded by retired people as expected. Although we did attend the one and only F.O.D get together, and the other 3 gentlemen that came were quite a bit older. We met some nice people to hang out with in the evenings anyway. We travelled with another couple, and they loved the cruise too. And we are plotting another cruise together as soon as possible. Maybe transatlantic next year and then Panama Canal the year after.
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