Alaska Cruise Holland America

Suzanne Barney on 06 August 2022
I was one of the lucky winners that won a cruise to Alaska courtesy of Holland America Cruise lien who are celebrating 75 years in the industry this year They are the Alaska experts . So I booked to go from Vancouver on the 6th August 2022

I could take another person with me but they had to pay for their own flights so I invited my friend to come with me and we split the costs of the flights we also added excursions, upgraded our cabin to balcony and upgraded to the 'have it all' package

The have it all is a no brainer For £40per day ** it includes 15 drinks a day ( impossible to drink that much ) ** $100 towards excursions ** Internet ** 1 x speciality restaurant entrance

We booked Bear watching at Neets bay , The White pass train & Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier walk

We squeezed every ounce out of our trip adn walked abut 6 miles a day ! The friend I travelled with is a tour manager so she was putting me through my paces

The ‘have it all ‘ package was a no brainer Worth every penny – the internet was great never had any issues so was able to post on social media . The $100 credit was used towards the whale watching trip and the speciality dining at Tamarind was a hi-light . Plus of course not worrying about drinks as they averaged $9 a drink was a real bonus We didn’t drink our 15 drinks a day …but it was nice to have a coffee or drink and not have to worry about the cost and it paid for it self

We paid for an upgrade to Balcony cabin our phrase was ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ So much better to be able to sit on balcony and take in the glacier & island scenery views though being at the back of the ship added to our mileage. Our cabin 8191 was close to the Lido Market on deck 9 and also there was a pool and bar at the back of the ship too. We had lovely dressing gowns to slump in and plenty of cupboard space with the bonus of Elemis products in the bathroom

Weather was pretty good – sunny for most of the cruise with two dull days in Glacier Bay & Juneau So didn’t need my jumpers and polo necks! Though I wore my ‘big’ waterproof jacket and thermal socks whale watching . I even caught the sun at Ketchikan as we cruised in with some impressive t-shirt marks Glacier Bay was one of the overcast days we saw a few sea otters . We braved the outside and listened to the Alaska Native Voices narration of what we were seeing around us which was very atmospheric. With binoculars at the ready just in case

We had pre booked a couple of excursions our first was Juneau – where we went whale watching there was about 100 of us on the boat ( more than I anticipated) We managed to spot a few whales though you had to be quick as they disappeared under the water as quick as they surfaced

FOOD I thought all the dining venues we visited were excellent We did as many as we could in 7 days Twice in the Lido Market – because of the stunning views as we left port. I normally wouldn’t touch the buffet but the food was really good and it didn’t feel ‘canteenish’ like some ships Once in speciality Tamarin which was exceptional . My friend has lived in Japan and was in ore of everything we ate . We had afternoon tea once which was lovely at the start of the trip which was very personal so big tick For lunch we tried the Dive in , New York Deli & Pizza , Lido Market and Dining room I enjoyed them all – probably the dining room was my favourite as we had the best seat in the house right at the back of the ship with a sea view. I thought the menu was excellent for lunch quite light options rather than full dinner I liked the idea that we didn’t have to queue – so if we turned up anywhere we weren’t hanging around The food was really healthy and I never felt ‘stodged out’ though that might be down to the walking we did! I haven’t put on an ounce

Entertainment We didn’t do that much in the evening as we packed so much in the day .We did make the shows at the World Stage which were excellent . Saw the band a couple of times but because we ate at 8pm we always seemed to miss them – our fault I think in hindsight we should have ate earlier . Being August there were a few ‘teens’ on board who kind of took it over so when we passed by it wasn’t a place we wanted to go for a quiet drink The band were excellent and got everyone up dancing when we did make it Found the Crow’s Nest the at the end of the stay not easy to find – and the EXC lounge – it was the other end of the boat to where we were . So I didn’t really experience the EXC lounge – so. Found this a lot smarter and the waiters were really attentive wish we had found it earlier The Dutch café was also a nice place to hang out We attended a couple of talks – The Iditarod , and also the wonders of Glacier Bay,and Alaska Native Voices program which were really interesting . Plus of course the scenic narration at Glacier bay which was quite hypnotic!. This immersed us more in the culture of Alaska . I wish I had attended more but we tried to do different things whilst on the ship like quiz’s , excursion talks etc and taking in the stunning scenery looking for whales binoculars ready.

My preconception of Holland America was it was a little bit more serious and maybe leaning towards stuffy. But I actually enjoyed the ambience and found the staff and atmosphere quite friendly and relaxing . I felt at home straight away . I liked the design of the ship and the feeling there was plenty of space. The furnishings around the pool were comfortable and all the lounges were tastefully done The Food was excellent in all venues we visited. Staff were lovely . Entertainment a little different with the different live music to choose from , and classical music I would definitely go again on a Holland America ship and . We found that we engaged in conversation with lots of people on board .