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Deb C

Age: 44

Occupation:teacher

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Amsterdam

Sailing Date: 2009-07-15

Itinerary: Alaska

First time on Holland America and to Alaska. The weather and ports were wonderful. Sitka and the Glacier was the best part of the entire trip. The staterooms were as big as they were on the Disney ship which was a plus.

There is not a lot to do on board. Ship activities were more towards the older crowd. We loved the Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest. We spent many evenings watching beautiful mountains go by. The service was great, but didn't see the crew very much. The general crowd was older, retired age to parents with children. Went with my husband alone and we were far and few, but still enjoyed the trip. With a port almost every day, we didn't spend that much time on the ship to care about the other passengers. Service was great, and ship was in great condition.

The food was fine. I read many reviews that said breakfast was the same thing everyday. I guess that was true except there were 50 choices. I just had a different item each morning. We mainly ate on the buffet or by the pool grill so I can't speak about the restaurant much expect dinner. The buffet food had a lot of variety and was good. The grill was grill food. Hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, pizza, fries, etc. Can't go to wrong there. We have had better cruise restaurant food, but it was fine. I wasn't cooking so it was good to me. A lot of seafood choices. Probably the problem for me as I don't eat seafood. My husband thought the seafood was great, especially the salmon and crab legs. Ordered room service just once and that was a cheese plate to nibble on as we were dressing for the formal night. Took about 45mins so order early and the waiter expects a tip. The menu was good enough if you did not get to eat the other 6 times that day and they do offer a limited 24 hour room service menu.
My favorite restaurant was the Italian restaurant that doesn't cost. It is by the buffet on the Lindo deck and you can only see it at dinner time. Otherwise it is buffet dining tables. The food was good and loved the pasta choices.

Our tateroom was wonderful. We booked our cruise 8 days before it sailed as we got a great last minute rate. The only cabins left were the large inside rooms. Never had an inside cabin as I am very claustrophobic. Thought at that price I would sleep in a deck chair if needed. When we arrived to our stateroom I was glad to see curtains with a light behind so it looked like a window. I just did not look behind the curtain the entire time and was fine. Those that stated to wait and get a balcony must not like other people. We got up early went on deck until it was time to dress for dinner. Then went back on deck until it was time to go to bed. The storage was great, except do not take a very large suitcase as the suitcases are to go under the bed and one was to large to do that so we stored it in the life jacket closet. Probably not the best idea for an emergency. There is a small safe in your room for valuables. The bathroom as a medicine cabinet and a shelf under the sink. We had a small couch, foot rest, desk and chair, bed and small table and still had room to walk around. Forgot the his/her closets, the best part.

Onboard activities were almost useless. They have a nice library, yawn. Lots of bars, yeah! Played trivia and met some great people. Played "Name that Tune" and met great people. Watched the outside world go by, best part. Saw lots of sea creatures with help of others on deck. They could really get some help from the other cruise lines on activities. We were getting bored on the sea days.

We took the Bike/Brew excursion in Juneau. It was great. We needed the exercise after sitting on an airplane then ship the last couple of days. Rode 9.5 miles, mostly flat with about 3 stops to a beautiful glacier. We were able to walk around for about an hour, then they took us to the Alaskan Brewery for a tour. It was a very small brewery but it is all the beer you can drink in about 40mins. The different beers were great to try and we can't get Alaskan beer so it was something different. Enjoyed this very much.

My husband took the zip-line excursion in Ketchikan while I shopped. He stated it was well worth the money. If you are afraid of heights this would not be for you. The shopping was good in Ketchikan and I stayed busy and didn't mind shopping alone. The ship docks in front of the stores.

I do not think you need an excursion in Sitka. We did not get one and could walk to many. We walked to the Totem Pole Forest and it was very nice. Then from there (ask a ranger) we walked to the raptor rehabilitation center. It is $12.00 each but knowing that they are saving those beautiful birds with the money was well worth it. You can see Bald Eagles, Hawks and a falcon close up. The staff was very helpful explaining the birds. Then we walked back to town and enjoyed the shops.

Victoria, didn't care for. We got off the ship and took the 6.50 r/t ride on the shuttle bus. Was worth the cost as the walk would have been long and not much to see. The bus takes you right by the Empress Hotel which is beautiful. Then we walked around and went back to the docks. Walked out to the lighthouse which was better then downtown.

We enjoyed the trip very much. The weather was beautiful which didn't hurt to make an excellent trip. Met many great couples on the ship and loved sitting outside talking to everyone. Make sure you eat and drink where you can see the sites. Alaska is a beautiful state. Well worth the money and would like to take my teenage kids next time. Everyone needs to see Alaska and this was a great way to do it. Next time we may try the Princess ship as we were parked next to it in Victoria and it looked more for younger passengers. Which may mean more small children. I did like that their were not that many small children.

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