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Charles Vassel

Age: 67

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Statendam

Sailing Date: 2010-10-23

Itinerary: Alaska

The cruise was a 10 package, three days on land trips and seven days on the Statendam. From the time we arrived in Anchorage the trip was wonderful. It is the best overall experience my wife and I have experienced. Holland American had every minor detail down pat. The tour bus was always waiting, the Mckinley Explorer was on time and the ship experience was very good. The overall cruise experience I would rate as A+

The food on the ship was the only disappointment during our ten day adventure. On the plane home a lady across the aisle asked my opinion of the food on the ship and I told her. She then said every person in their large group said the food was terrible. I had a few good meals but I'm not hard to please. The food I would rate as a c- on this ship.

We also ate on the Mckinley Explorer and found the food to be nothing special, but they really don't have the facilities to cook on the train - it is prepared. On the first day from Anchorage to Denali National Park my wife had a fish sandwich and I had a salad. We split a desert. The cost with tip was $40. The second day was more expensive. We're not on a budget so the cost was not a concern, but some people may need to pass on the experience. The McKinley Explorer experience I would rate as A + because the seats were comfortable and the view was heavenly.

The stateroom was fantastic. We booked this cruise late and couldn't get a balcony room. Our agent was able to get us a room at the rear of the ship and when our drapes were open we had a panaramic view of the Alaskan scenery. The beds were great, bathroom the same as we've had on other ships, and lots of space for our clothing. I would rate the stateroom as an A+

For a smaller ship (1246 passengers on our cruise) they had outstanding activities. The passengers were mostly mid-age or older and many took advantage of the activities on board. The library area has hundreds of books and DVDs, game tables, puzzles, etc. A lot of music or nightly entertainment was provided. I'd rate the onboard activities A-

Another area was the entertainment on this ship. Compared to other larger ships I'd said this was as good as you will see on any ship. Their main two vocalist, Jordan Miller and Julie Bell, have great voices. On the Friday night show only the two of them performed - it was hands down the best show we've seen on any ship. A+

Do not miss the opportunity to travel on the McKinley Explorer. And the White Pass Rail Road experience is a must. There are too many excursions to list, but my wife and I used Juneau as a down day and took the tram to the top of the mountain - the view was breath taking. At the top they have a Raptor Center Bald Eagle display, very nice restaurant, two gift shops, and a theater with a very nice free movie about Alaska. During our ten days we saw bears, moose, eagles, seals, whales, Dall sheep, to name only a few. Take all the excursions you can afford. Rate these A+

The experience was the best trip we've had on any vacation. We are scheduled for an October 25th trip on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Nova Scotia and back to NY. We've heard so much about that trip I can't wait to judge it versus our Alaskan trip. We have a Christmas crusie planed for the Caribbean, but I've already started making plans to return to Alaska. It is a trip of a lifetime. A+ all the way.

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