This was our first Alaska cruise and was a special occasion for my wife retiring from 46 years of teaching public school in Massachusetts and Florida. It was a wonderful diversion for her because she was really missing going back to school after all those years.
Overall we had an awesome experience. It was our honeymoon and we enjoyed the atmosphere of the ship and lots of beautiful stops. We were the only couple younger than 50. So the majority of activities on board are for the older people. As the weather is rather cold you cannot use the swimming pool. And be sure to bring beautiful dresses for dinners, it is really amazing.
14 day Alaskan cruise with many different ports on a smaller ship that allows entry to places larger ships cannot go. The service, friendly staff and incredible food all combine to make the Holland America experience a big part of an amazing vacation. The views of mountains and glaciers as well as lots of wildlife sightings doesn't hurt either.
I won't say that we didn't have a good time on our cruise to AK, because we did have fun going to all these new places that we had never been before. We did some great excursions (Dog sledding on land [husky summer training + cuddling puppies], snorkeling in Ketchikan, whale watching in Icy Strait Point/Hoonah). We did a lot of hiking and tide pooling in Homer and Kodiak, and generally had a great time exploring the different cities and towns we went to.
The staff on the ship were really kind and very friendly. Most were extremely helpful and they all worked very hard to keep the ship clean. The other guests were a lot older than us.... so it was definitely a cruise that was more geared towards 50+. I felt like we were some of the only people between 25-35 (who weren't part of a big family group). This played into our experiences with entertainment and onboard activities, which were much more geared to the older generations than to our own. We spent a lot of our free time watching movies in our cabin rather than play bingo or singing songs around the piano from the 50s (not that there is anything wrong with those activities... they just weren't really that interesting to us).
However, I won't lie and say we weren't disappointed with a few aspects that we really expected to be great and unfortunately were sub par. The biggest disappointment was the dining food and experience. The food ranged from average to poor unless we were eating in the extra cost restaurants, which were good. I had always heard that cruise ships had a broad range of dishes and quality dishes, especially in the main dining room. However, we found that they mostly served the same kinds of dishes every day, and while yes the food was much better in the dining room than the lido deck, the wait time between dishes was extremely slow. We were at dinner in the dining room between 1.5 - 2 hours almost everytime we ate there, and we typically only ordered the main and dessert course. It was extremely slow, and the dining room was always at least halfway empty, so I'm not sure why it was so slow. It seemed like we had to wait for our courses with the tables around us... so if the tables next to us ordered 4 courses, and we only ordered 2, we still sat and waited for the surrounding tables to start/finish courses that we hadn't even ordered before getting our own food.
Food on the lido deck, particularly in the evening (when we didn't want to wait 2 hours to finish dinner) was not good at all. The food never seemed to be hot enough, and most of the meats (chicken, pork loin, beef) had sat under the heat lamp too long and were dry and poorly seasoned. At least at lunchtime they had the taco bar and hamburger stand open, so you could get something other than the 6 or 7 things that they cooked everyday, but at dinner, your only choices were the dining room or the lido buffet (or the extra cost dining options).
We might try cruising again in the future, but it probably won't be with HA.
My overall experience was very good. All of the ports were great but I wish there was more time in them except Anchorage. I would like less time there or more excursions. HAL needs to have flying excursions to see the bears exclusively. All of our excursions were good.
Things I suggest for HAL: free bottled water in the rooms & everywhere onboard the ship, free Wi-Fi internet service, a department to help with shipping items home, a clock in the bathroom & room, provide free transportation to all port cities shopping areas, rent good high powered binoculars (way for HAL to make more money – don’t charge too much), free 800 calls, coffee makers in room, more common food – not so fancy – biscuits & gravy, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, Chinese food, Mexican food, Italian food etc., more electrical plugs, plugs that work – my cell phone would not charge & my sisters charger was fried.
I had a very big problem with HAL & the way they billed my credit card (cc). Since they bill the cc daily it creates pending charges that look duplicate. I gave them permission to charge a different cc with a certain amount. HAL billed my entire bill to this different cc. It created a billing nightmare for me. It took several days & calls for me to straighten out the mess they made & I’m not sure it’s fixed yet.
CAUTION TO PEOPLE THAT SPEND A LOT IN THE JEWELRY SHOPS!!! When we left the ship I had to go to the customs office for a one on one with a customs officer. I’m 73 & this was quite disturbing for me. I didn’t know what was going on. They wanted to know if all the items I bought were made in the USA. I didn’t know. The shops tell you that everything you buy is tax & duty free but do not say anything as to whether it’s made in the USA. The customs officer said I should have kept my receipts & certificates of authenticity with me to show them. No one in the jewelry stores told me I needed to do this. THIS SHOULD BE MENTIONED BY THE JEWELRY PERSONNEL. I packed them in my checked bag & used Luggage Direct to take them from the ship to the airport. I did not have access to my checked bag. Thankfully the customs officer had pity on an uninformed little old lady & didn’t make me pay anything or put me in jail.
The cruise was good but the ship need a maintenance and the people on board are not well organized missing some information and not deliver what they offer . we where treated like would be the first time on HAL which is not true,since we have been on HAL several times .
This ship was very old and had very little to offer. Very little variety in the casino machines and allowed smoking everywhere in the casino. First room we were in was very hot. Next room vibrated so bad we had a hard time sleeping. You could not sit in the theater seats without sliding forward.
On the plus side, the crew was very good and the food and entertainment was good. The crew did everything they could to try to make us happy. This ship was being sold and a new ship will take it's place. This ship gave us a very bad taste for cruising Holland America. We will not cruise on Holland America again.
I would recommend this cruise overall. This ship is one of HA's smaller ships which is good, but it is also older and showing a little wear and tear. My wife and I have been on an earlier cruise with HA from Vancouver to Glacier Bay and back. The staff - both cabin stewards and wait staff were wonderful as was the rest of the crew! The food was great, and most of the cruise was a lot of fun.
Of the two cruises, we liked our first one better because on this one, we sailed west across the open water of the ocean once we left Glacier Bay and the weather was really rough. Lots of wind, rain, and the ship's rocking made it hard to sleep during the night.
We didn't travel on to Denali like a lot of the passengers so there wasn't a need to go on to Anchorage, which is where we flew home. The bus ride from Seward to Anchorage was enjoyable but the city of Anchorage is modern and not much to see or do while there. Don't get me wrong - there are some great restaurants in Anchorage, but unless you are a hiker or fisherman, there isn't anything to do in town.
My family and I sailed on the Statendam from Vancouver to Vancouver by taking the north and southbound trips back-to-back on June 29. We've cruised with Holland America many times, and they've traditionally been one of our favorite lines because of the professional, warm service they provide. But this ship isn't well-maintained.
There were some high spots. Haines and Seward were terrific ports; they remain relatively unspoiled and let us enjoy some of Alaska's natural beauty. The room and dining stewards embodied the high standards of service that have long characterized HAL.
But there were too many low spots. The ship is plagued with plumbing problems. Some of the public restrooms were frequently out of order, but the bathrooms on our hall (Main Deck, 5) were out of commission for significant periods of time (4-6 hours) at least 4 days. The air conditioning didn't cool the room, either. While stewards provided extra ice and a fan, but the a/c was frequently turned off while we were docked, and some nights there was little to no air circulation. Remember, this was in Alaska--I'd hate to see it in a warmer climate. Repairs were made multiple times, but there were so many problems that it seemed that the overwhelmed crew was playing whack-a-mole. No sooner was one issue solved than another came up.
If it had just been our cabins, that would've been unlucky but manageable. It seemed that some of the elegance that had characterized the line has faded. It's lots of little things. The windows in public areas were badly smeared and sprinkled with paint on the exterior (you notice these things during multiple sea days), so it was harder to enjoy the scenery; bar service was inconsistent--sometimes we'd wait over half an hour just to order a drink, and it wasn't unusual to see uncleared tables; and it feels like cost cutting (no more hor'dourves in the bars; worn furniture in the public areas; fewer middle level managers supervising staff; no special music on formal nights) has taken its toll.
While repairmen were frequently dispatched (for us and throughout the ship), we never received an acknowledgement of our concerns from the hotel manager, and that added to our frustration. We knew not to expect all the bells and whistles that the newest ships provide, but we've sailed on ships that were older, and we've never experienced such inconsistency or so many maintenance issues.
This cruise was the best. The accommodations were excellent, and the meals were elegant. The small size of the ship was perfect for viewing the magnificent vistas that surrounded us. And there was always some activity of interest for all age groups - We were a family of 3 generations.
Service was poor on all levels, not as we have come to expect on other cruise lines. Food was fair. Buffet food is the same as what is served in the dining room. Major lack of activities on the ship, especially at sea days, mostly classes or lectures offered. Very little enthusiasm among the staff, not like we have experienced on other cruise lines.
The service was really outstanding, I've traveled on other cruises and embarking and disembarking was fast and smooth. Be sure to attach the ship Id tag to your luggage, in Vancouver two ships were loading and at least one couple didn't do that and just dropped their bags off and they went to the wrong ship. Some people in other posts didn't seen to like the food but it was fantastic esp in the dinning room.we were three in a inside room and had plenty of room for all our things. The outside cabins seem to have bathtubs. Do bring a extension cord as there is only one plug on the desk. For us the weather was wonderful nearly everyday sunshine. The ship is extremely clean and if you wander around in the wee hours you'll see the crew wipping down railing and disaffecting all touch surface's. Would recommend this to everyone, as we didn't have children with us don't know how it would be for children. Not many on board also no drunk teenagers running around. The average age was in the 50's plus but very active with many bike and mountain bike riders. The entertainment was fun and the dancers and singers were very engertic and very kind, dancing with older passengers after the show.
Was disappointed in not going to Half Moon Cay and then understandaly being diverted to Chiapas, MX. The 2 ports were my planned "beach" time. Weather was wonderful and thoroughly interested in the day through the canal locks. Yes, would recommend this cruise to a friend.
The service and sanitation were excellent; however, we hoped that there would be more live, Latin dance music in the evenings and more live music during the day - especially for those who do not or cannot leave the ship when in port.
Cruising is the life of luxury. We enjoyed seven days of easy living; good food, seeing Alaska, entertainment, and really friendly staff. My favorite part was the food service, lots of choices, open most all the time, and already paid for.
Older / smaller ship with friendly staff. For the price paid the cabins were adequate if you're not picky.
The ammenties were like the ping pong table, basketball court, and tennis courts were all in really bad condition. There were two ping pong tables that were both damaged (net was broken),and there were plenty of paddles, but 95% were damaged. At the basketball court, there were two baskets. One of the backboards was completely deteriorated (destroyed), the other one was half there. They had two basketball balls that were coming apart at the seams...literally.
Food...poor to fair.
Buffets on the Lido deck were nice but the portions served were extremely small and the variety of main courses were limited. The best part of the buffet on the Lido deck was without a doubt the dessets.
The Rotterdam restaraunt was very nice but without a planned seating assignment or reservation host was a bit rude. The menu and food were very good. Their surf & turf (Sirlion & Lobster) was awesome.
There were two other restaraunts onboard which we didn't use since you needed to pay extra to make a reseveration at either one. You would expect this to be included in the price of the cruise...or at least disclosed before you purchase.
The price of the drinks onboard was a bit expensive...no surprise considering since they were charging $2.95 for soft drinks. At least the coffee and tea were free.
The most impressive night was when they did their dessert extravaganza on the Lido deck at 11 pm.
The casino for a cruise ship was small and non-impressive...it would take about five seconds to walk from one side to the other.
They did have plenty of good windows computer classes that were very informative.
Although their internet connectivity was a complete rip-off. Don't waste your time or money on this. Very expensive rates for less than dial up speeds, that would not work half the time.
Cabin staff was very nice and did a great job cleaning.
The port of calls were all very nice just wish were could have spent more time in some and less in others.
The sum our cruise...we had a great time and would definetly do it again, although not on this ship and probably not on HA.
Mostly a good cruise. Comfortable room. Good food. Pleasant dining companions.
Good staff. Liked the excursions.
Major negative - our stateroom flooded when a pipe burst somewhere down the line. We were out of our stateroom for a 1 1/2 days.
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