Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: June 3, 2006
We sailed on the Statendam on June 30, 2006. This was our third cruise to Alaska; the second with Holland America. We are recently retired high school teachers, so this cruise was our retirement celebration! We fell in love with Alaska on our first cruise in 2002, went again in 2003, and had to repeat the experience in 2006! There is nothing to compete with the rugged natural beauty of Alaska! And nothing to compare with sailing on one of Holland’s smaller ships, like the Statendam and her sister ships! Don’t go on one of the monster-size ships (2,000-3,000). Less people means getting on and off with ease, enjoying the ship without crowds, basically much less stress. Isn’t that what a cruise is supposed to be?
The transition from flight to ship was smooth and very traveler-friendly. They whisked us from the airplane to a “cruise” room, so we bypassed much of the usual airport headache. Very nice! They transported us immediately from there by bus to the ship. We found the Statendam a lovely ship. The upgraded bedding and room amenities were much appreciated. Both of us wished that we could take the beds and bedding home with us! We never slept so well as we did on this cruise! The staff (room steward and dining room staff) were friendly and very attentive. The ship was beautiful.
We were disappointed in our initial dining room placement (a table in a corner with no view and in the traffic pattern of all the servers), but eventually the maitre d’ gave us a different table and all was well. I noticed that the poor table was not used for the rest of the trip. Since we were returning guests who booked the June cruise in September, we expected a good table in the dining room. Obviously early booking is not a criteria in their seating.
We were impressed that the staff learned our names immediately, and were so social and interactive. One dining room officer developed quite a rapport with us: teasing us and interacting with us all week. The food, by the way, was fantastic! We were lucky enough to be sailing in fresh salmon season, so we chose fresh wild king salmon almost daily. The choices are varied, well presented, and excellently prepared. Yum!
We appreciated Captain Peter Bos and his diligent efforts to keep us healthy. The ship before us had some illness, and he was constant in his efforts to keep a healthy ship. The entire staff went all out in this effort. A couple of ill guests did not cooperate when the Captain quarantined them for 24 hours, and they were put off the ship. And since we remained healthy and happy on our trip, we were glad he was strict in his efforts to maintain a healthy ship.
We were lucky to travel in fair weather, so the Hubbard glacier viewing was spectacular! The glacier was active in calving, so the sights and sounds were incredible. We enjoyed all the ports and our shore excursions. We did a floatplane flight seeing to the Misty Fjords in Ketchikan, a whale watching marine mammal tour in Icy Strait, the gold mine tour and a photo tour in Juneau, and a sea life discovery tour in Sitka. Icy Strait Point is quite small, but beautiful. Take a tour and walk around as well. I know some will say there is nothing to do there, but we liked it a lot. It’s a new port and much smaller and less “touristy” than the others. We were in Juneau on the fourth of July and got to see their fourth of July parade from our balcony. Oh, book a veranda room. One must have a deck on the port side of the ship. Some of our best sights were enjoyed on the veranda deck of our room!
The only sad part of the cruise was when it was over. We met some folks who were sailing the return trip as well, and we were jealous. It was a wonderful adventure, and we’d love to repeat it again sometime. Go, see Alaska, and sail Holland America!