June 2014 - Amsterdam to Alaska - Inside Passage
We have just returned from the 7 Night Alaska Explorer via Holland America's m.s. Amsterdam. My wife and I are both seasoned travelers, but this was our first cruise experience and it was marvelous!. Every detail from check-in to disembarkment was handled flawlessly. Dinner in the main dining room was a new culinary experience each day. Dinners in the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto were the epitome of any five star restaurant in the world. Staterooms were immaculate at all times and our room Steward, Asep, treated us as though we were in the most expensive suite on the ship, while we had travelled at a very reasonable rate for an inside stateroom....entertainment on the ship was outstanding. My wife and I are both professional musicians, so we tend to be critical of a lot of entertainment.....not here! First class, top notch professional musicians of every genre from big band swing to jazz trio and quintet as well as classical musicians. There was something to do every day and every night. Ports were delightful, with stops in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan....by the way, Holland America is the only line to regularly visit Sitka, where you have to be tendered in to port due to the shallow harbor.....that was a fun experience in itself. We took several enjoyable excursions, but booked these at the ports for less than half the price of booking them through the cruise line or other on-line venues.
We are already looking forward to our next cruise with Holland America...oh yes, this line has one huge advantage over the others. They cater to an older clientele, and while there were quite a few families aboard with children, they were barely noticeable, having activities of their own provided by HAL.