7 Night Alaskan Explorer (Seattle Roundtrip) Sail Date: September 16, 2011 Cabin Type: Oceanview Traveled As: Singles/Friends Reviewed: 5 years ago
The Holland America Amsterdam was a nice ship. I think it's trying a little hard for "elegant," but it was clean and well-maintained. There was always something going on, lots of comfortable places to sit and relax, and the staff and crew were always friendly and helpful. I realize this is one of HAL's smaller ships, but it still seemed quite large to me.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
We only ate in the main dining room once because it was so easy to go to the buffet on the Lido Deck and eat what we wanted when we wanted.I thought the food on the Lido deck was very good, many choices to satisfy any palate, and almost always available. The fresh choices of salad bar, fresh fruits, and whole-grain breads were most welcome.
3 out of 5
It seems like there were always options. It would've been nice if some things didn't start so late at night -- the crew show started at 11 p.m., I think -- because we had to be up early for shore excursions. The computer classes were good, enjoyed a couple movies, cooking classes, etc. It's nice to have presented activities like that as well as passive ones during the days at sea.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Except for one snippy woman in one of the on-board shops, the staff were very friendly everywhere. In the dining rooms, in the hallways, on deck, wherever I encountered any of them. I don't know if they truly do enjoy their work, but they all seemed very cheerful and happy to be about.
3 out of 5
The Amsterdam was clean, fairly easy to navigate around inside (there was a bit of confusion between decks 4 & 5), the public areas were kept clean and were well-used by passengers.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
The stateroom was a bit larger than I expected, actually. There was plenty of storage, so both of us could put everything away. If anything was uncomfortable, it was the leather sofa. I realize it was probably there to serve as a third bed, but a couple comfy chairs would've been better. Any time we sat on the couch -- to eat room service, put on shoes and socks, etc. -- we slid off because of the weird shape of the couch and its leather fabric.
I think I would've enjoyed Juneau much more if there hadn't been five or six ships in port and therefore the shops were IMPOSSIBLE to visit. We just gave up on any shopping. We very much enjoyed our "Photo Safari by Land & Sea" by the Gastineau Company. And luckily I have an old friend who lives in Juneau, so he and his wife picked us up, took us up on the tram, then drove us all around Juneau and showed us all the sights away from the cruise-ship tourist strip.
Don't Miss: Photo Safari by Land & Sea
We arrived here later than scheduled, after dark. Very disappointed about that. We bypassed the shuttle bus and hired a pedi-cab and had a great, personalized tour. I would very much like to see Victoria again, by day, with more time to really enjoy the city.
Pros: Seeing Alaska. Unpacking once and visiting several ports.
Cons: My fellow cruisers (not my travelling companion, but other passengers on board).
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