Bill A. Belt
Number of Cruises: 15
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: September 3, 2000
DISCLAIMER (The following views and opinions are those solely of this writer and pertain solely to this cruise. There are hundreds or room, hundreds of passengers and too many deviations to even try to list thus even the same cruise may be viewed differently for another passenger on the very same cruise---enough said).
We had completed a cruise on this very same ship in May of this year and when a last minute cruise became available we once again headed for a Holland America cruise--same ship--same itinerary.
On this cruise we were on the A Deck--the bottom of the ship--with an outside room located almost at the end of the ship. It was not the same amenities as on our previous cruise since we did not have the refrigerator, the outside veranda, etc however the room was large , had fresh fruit each day and was more than adequate. We did find the service somewhat less than the previous cruise and soma days our room was not made up until almost noon, towels were not always completely replenished, tissue was missing for a couple of days, and the cabin steward seemed to be available more in the evening than in the morning. We would have to rate the room very adequate but certainly not of the superior level we had on the previous cruise and the service was somewhat less as well
The food and dining portion of this cruise was very good. Food was about the same as the previous cruise however there always seemed--and this may be just the perception from our vantage point--not enough staff. Service was a little slow and close attention to the service was just not the same as the previous cruise although we would still rate the service as acceptable. We were assigned to the late sitting and ask to be changed to the early sitting. We were advised there were over 200 request for such changes and that we would not likely get our request however about four hours later a note delivered to our cabin reflected the requested change.
"Cashless Society"---We never had one problem or issue with our stateroom charges however a number of other passengers we found were complaining. "A TIP"--On the very first day go to the Front Desk and give them your credit card number so an account can be established. Then on every charge present your cruise card which reflects the correct cabin number. It was not unusual to see passengers wanting to charge something and not knowing their stateroom number.
The entertainment on this cruise was as good as the entertainment on the previous cruise. In fact some of the acts were identical--right down to the same jokes or songs. Don't expect Broadway productions and you won't be disappointed with the entertainment.
In the last review I wrote about "Those
The Casino was a low spot on the first cruise and it was delightful to see new faces in the casino. I saw the staff even taking time to explain to passengers how a particular game was to be played. This was far more patience than we saw on the first cruise. All in all we found the casino staff very pleasant this time.
The photographers were out in number as usual on a cruise ship and sometimes a little too much. On one formal night you had to cross three different photographers at three different locations to get to the dining room. We have found that a polite "no thanks" and just move along is the best way to handle a situation like the three different locations on the same evening. We did purchase several photos and some were great. Caution---if your photo is not exactly like it should be--dust spots, etc.--ask that it be redone and then check carefully to make certain it was reprinted and not just "touched up" with a crayon or ink marker.
The Coffee Cafe , the Library, and the card room are all great little places to get away from the crowds for a little quite time on your own. They are really very nice parts of the ship. Several of the lounges on this cruise were rather crowded at times as some people chose not to go to the outer decks.
The Internet site is now fully operational and I chose the $49.95 unlimited plan and that was a great deal since I used over 300 minutes. Email was a little hard to send and receive at first but with Nicole's help it became a breeze throughout the week. Some internet providers, including mine, wanted to "drop" me from the server at times and then would not let me reconnect until three minutes had passed. Nicole provided the name of another email searcher/connector that worked fine. Connections were excellent and speed is better than a modem but not up to DSL, etc.
On the last evening the subject of "tipping" on a cruise line that has a "no tipping required policy" could be heard being discussed just about anywhere you went on ship. Tips are expected by certain members of the crew and without tips they would not have a lot in wages. Once again we tried to tip according to the level of service for the cabin steward, the waiter and bus boys. Others were tipped at the time of service or it was added as a service charge to your bill.
Bad weather prevented us from stopping at the port in Sitka and this was a great disappointment to a lot of the passengers and I can understand that especially when there are only 3 ports to be visited and one of them get cancelled. The cruise line gave each passenger a $25 credit for the port charges and a glass of champange.At least it was a positive gesture.
The overall cruise in September cannot come close to matching the cruise in May where one finds the snow and ice still in place. We almost didn't recognize some of the glaciers which had lost both the snow on top of them as well as the snow in the surrounding area. The views are much more magnificent in the spring than in the fall.
One final thought and that is the dress on the ship. We were most disappointed in the very casual dress that seems to prevail throughout the travel industry. It was hard to tell the difference between a formal night, an informal dress night and a casual dress night. A tux was rarely seen and even business suits were in short supply. The ladies seemed to dress more for the evening than the men.
For us this was a last minute cruise decision. We purchased the cruise on Friday, caught a flight to Anchorage on Saturday and was aboard the ship on Sunday afternoon. This type of travel is not for everyone but the price was right and we just went for it.
In summary we were well pleased with the cruise and look forward to another cruise on Holland America.