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Marcella Caselton

Age: 41

Occupation:assistant executive head housekeeper

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Westerdam

Sailing Date: 2013-05-11

Itinerary: inside passage

This was my first cruise experience. I have always wanted to go to Alaska since I was a child so decided to do that first time on a cruise to be able to see a lot of the landscape. Overall the cruise experience was very positive. We felt looked after and things ran smoothly. One negatvie comment is that on the first day of our cruise after embarkation we went to explore the facilites and it felt a little bit like a sales tour as everywhere we went we were being offered 'special packages' (i.e. if you want to use the hydroterapy pool you can purchase our special package today of $300) and the second negative comment which will have an impact on my future bookings is regarding how much time we had to explore the town/city we were visiting. It seemed that with the trip the only place we had a decent time to explore the port was Juneau, after that the time window became less and less. It was very frustating when in Ketchikan which turned out to be my favorite place, after our shore excursion I had only 20 minutes to walk through town before we had to leave. And the worst was in Victoria, Canada: we were supposed to arrive at 6pm and our shore excursion would leave at 6.35pm. Bearing in mind, everyone had to be on board again at 11.30pm that did not give enough time, but that was only made worse by the fact that Canadian Immigration took ages to process everyone so by the time we went out of the ship it was 7.30pm! A little bit late for sightseeing.

Food was amazing, however there were times where we had difficulty finding a place to sit down and eat. At other times, when for example a barbecue was taken place we had to give up the idea because the queue was absolutely huge!

I imagine the all the cruise ships have small cabins, so even though we were in a suite it still felt small, but having a balcony was surely a plus as we were able to spot several whales from our stateroom!

I did not participate in a lot of them as did not think they were very interesting.

Juneau - photo safari was well worth it as we were able to see the beautiful scenery of Medenhall Glacier and spot some whales and sea lions

Sitka - raptor center is a must as you get face to face with beautiful eagles and other majestic birds; bear sanctuary was nice as this was our only opportunity to see bears up close but the place makes you a little bit sad for the bears and it looks a little bit of a dump. Salmon hatchery was also interesting.

Ketchikan - miss the excursions and explore this lovely town by yourself otherwise you are left with almost no time to do it and it is a shame!

Victoria - Visiting the city is worth but skip the so called castle as it is not a castle at all and it is not that interesting

I have always wanted to visit Alaska since I was a child as the landscape is just amazing. This is a huge state and also so beautiful that you will find yourself thinking you are in some type of post card experiment all the time! Beautiful place, nice people, amazing views and wildlife!

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