Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: May 17th, 2003
We set sail out of Seattle for Alaska on a beautiful evening on the Amsterdam, a ship from Holland America. This was my first cruise however my companion has taken two others and is monitoring this review. We left one hour late due to holdups on the Canadian border for 4 buses filled with Australians. The Captain kept us informed constantly, it was not a problem whatsoever for any onboard the ship. The embarkation in Seattle was professional, seamless and smooth. We were served juice and water while waiting for our number to be called to embark. Once onboard we found our bags had arrived before us, the room was spotless and much bigger than I had imagined. We had gone to the Holland America website to view 360 degree videos of everything on the ship beforehand.
Our room steward was attentive the entire time and the service from him and all other staff was remarkable. We were not out of the room more than 5 minutes any given time and the room was made up or tidied for us. The two of us had more than enough room for all the clothes that we had packed; actually we had shelves left over. The bathroom was spacious and the small things like great water pressure in the shower was appreciated all week long. My companion and I were able to both be in the bathroom in the morning side by side to get ready for the day without feeling cramped. Same with the room. More than enough room to maneuver and enjoy any and all time spent there. We had food ready for us in the Lido Buffet the moment we embarked on Saturday afternoon.
The food both in the Lido and the Formal Dining Room where we took our evening meals each night was superb. The only problem we saw was that the Lido closed at 730 pm each night and there was no place to get food after that time unless you were in the second seating of the Dining Room.
The weather was perfect (for Alaska!) and we visited Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria and finally back to Seattle in our week of cruising. I have no need to speak about the individual ports, you can get all that information at various places which would help each of you to decide what you wished to do in your limited time there ( shopping, nature, additional excursions). We didn’t do any of the excursions in any port finding that they were too expensive for our budget, however we did enjoy each port of call by walking and visiting pre determined sites I had researched beforehand. The ship is small compared to some of the Mega Ships we saw in the ports alongside us (Princess lines) but we were never crowded, I have no idea where the other 1200 people were but we seemed to be alone so much of the time on the decks or at the bow. We spent a lot of time in the Crows Nest watching the world go by and the attention for drinks and snacks was incredible each and every day. The attention of the entire service staff was not pushy or subservient, always attentive without hovering.
Holland Amercia has a “no tipping required” policy and we never felt like we were being pressured by any of the staff to remember them at the end of the cruise. We heard from other passengers who had traveled other lines that they never felt more relaxed and without pressure from the staff than on this cruise or any cruise on Holland America. We are already looking forward to sailing again and Holland America will be our first choice. The small things that bothered me were the lack of meals after 730 pm (we had overslept one afternoon and didn’t feel like dressing up for the Dining Room), the movies in the theatre were not the latest, the library was closed at 5 pm each night and I felt it should be open till 11 pm for cards and games. If these are the worst things that I can say about the cruise than understand that we had a perfectly wonderful time and would not hesitate to go onto this ship or any ship in the Holland America line in the future.