July 2014 - Oosterdam to Alaska - Inside Passage
We were very excited to begin our cruise to Alaska as we had planned it for over a year. Boarding was easy and with no wait and we were told that our rooms were ready so we went to them to see what they were like. Our room was fine but we were in a Suite but my 86 year old mother and my daughter were in a tiny room the size of a bath. We could not even get her wheelchair in without folding it up. They agreed to try it one night and see if it would work. Our group was in excess of 20 people so we were seated together at four tables in the dining room. We quickly found out that the service was lacking. No one would come to see if we wanted a drink and the wine steward usually showed up when our food did. We frequently did not get something we ordered and the terrible coffee would arrive after the desert. On the second day, we complained about my Mom's room and after arguing with a supervisor, they were moved to a larger room. We went to the show in the theater and the cast was assembled from the crew and nothing was in English and terribly done. We went to other shows later in the cruise and they were better but only lasted barely over 30 minutes. There were very few options each day for activities that did not cost an arm and a leg and the same was true for shore excursions. The menu choices were minimal unless you wanted a sandwich, breakfast or desert. On Wednesday night we were told that the Yukon and White Pass train had derailed and when we hit Skagway, there would be four cruise ships there and over 8,000 people trying to replace this excursion. I believe that the ship tried to take advantage of this by pricing the remaining excursions higher than normal. The train trip was $129 round trip and $199 with a bus tour added. After the derailment, a longer bus tour was priced over $100 instead of less. I left the pier when we arrived at Skagway and was able to get a flight seeing tour for $199 per person where the ship wanted double. I believe that the operators knew that they had a captive group in need of excursions and took advantage of those who booked through them with the scare that if something happened and they missed the ship, the cruise was over, as the next two days were at sea. we were extremely disappointed with our trip that we spent thousands of dollars and a year planning. Needless to say, we will not be on Holland America again.