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Found 698 results

  1. New to this both HAL, and cruising in general) and am unable to locate answers to a few questions on the HAL website. Hoping people here can help me out... We are booking a September Inside Passage cruise, roundtrip Vancouver. Does anyone know what time the HAL counter, for check-in, actually opens up (as opposed to the time it might state on the travel documents)? Have people had success with turning up much earlier and being able to get through before the crowds show up? We need to make arrangements far in advance for when to arrive at the port, so it'd be very helpful to know what the earliest time people have found they can check-in might be. The other question we have is whether or not we will be allowed to bring bottled water and cans of ginger ale with us, as either carry-on or checked baggage? Thanks!
  2. 🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂
  3. We are spending Christmas week on Niew Amsterdam this year, just my 14 year old (she will turn 14 during the cruise) and myself (34). I have been on a number of Royal Caribbean cruises but have never been on HAL. I’ve also never been on a cruise for the holidays. I’ve heard that HAL is geared towards older passengers, which is okay with me, as we are quiet, laidback vacationers. I do have a few questions though - Can anyone tell me what to expect on HAL in terms of differences from other cruise lines? Are there any major differences with the culture/dress code/activities onboard? Will there be more kids than usual over Christmas week? What can I expect for the holidays onboard? Do they do anything special that I should be aware of? Can I arrange any kind of birthday surprise for my daughter onboard? And one last question from my daughter - we know that pajamas are frowned upon outside of your stateroom, but would they be allowed for breakfast on Christmas morning? Or would be just look ridiculous and receive negative looks? We have an annual matching pj tradition for Christmas and are just wondering if we have to forgo wearing them for breakfast this year 🙂 Thanks in advance!!
  4. Does anyone know from sailing on this ship if there is a happy hour in the Crow's Nest or any bar? If so what are the times and particulars. Thank you.
  5. This picture was in my email today from Pinterest of former Nieuw Amsterdam in Alang. So sad to see her like this- I have many great memories on that ship. Anyone that posts about vibration on the current Nieuw Amsterdam should have sailed on her predecessor. She gave a new meaning to vibrating- in some places a drink would vibrate off of the table. One of the former CD's called her the "Magic Fingers ship" after the units motels used to have next to the beds. She was a beautiful ship with all of her flaws and lived through many challenges. She will be missed.
  6. Exceedingly smooth. Arrived Canada port 10 am and we moved like a Swiss swatch all the way to the first hold up which was an obligatory line for photos - the photos were not obligatory and we skipped them. Then we sat for a few minutes until we boarded. No line for customs - boarded11 am. Bring global entry card — not just passport as we were told by staff. I had mine but DH did not but no line so was OK.
  7. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. The nice weather continues with only a 20% chance of rain and a high of 66F/19C and a low of 49F/9C. Sunrise is at 3:52 am and sunset at 10:09 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  8. Who can remember or knows what penny slot machines are on Nieuw Statendam ...the more the merrier thank you
  9. Friday will be packed in Juneau with five cruise ships in port. Amsterdam will be at the AS dock from 0800-2200 and Volendam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Disney Wonder at the AJ dock from 0645-1645, Star Legend tendering from 1200-2000, and Azamara Quest at the FKL dock from 1330-2300. More good weather for Juneau with a partly cloudy day and a high of 71F/22C and a low of 52F/11C. Sunrise is at 4:51 am and sunset at 9:16 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam on Monday.
  10. Here’s a link to my review of our President’s week Western Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam: http://click.email.cruisecritic.com/?qs=f0cf51dc77b0e9829b7afbfc0adfcb76d0a8bb5e9f2605b28a6393dd2e43fd3dae9a5fd61820deb2751e544dfc4da1b600581223c4a05de1 Two aspects that I forgot to mention in this review were the dress code and the population. Attire: There were two formal nights and I had brought some simple maxi dresses and gold accessories. I have to say that many of the ladies on this ship put me to shame with fancy cocktail dresses and beautiful wraps and jewelry. If you like evening wear, you don’t have to worry about being overdressed on the Nieuw Amsterdam. People put in the effort to look gorgeous. Only some of the men bothered with tuxes, but formal nights saw many suits and jackets. For ladies, if you don’t like getting dressed up, a simple black dress that’s been dressed up or black pants and a sequined top or otherwise embellished top will suffice, but I wouldn’t treat formal night in the dining room like any other night. Population: I know, I know...Holland America is the cruise line for seniors, except this week when it wasn’t. I’m not saying that there weren’t still a fair number of retirees on our sailing, but because it was President’s week, there were certainly many families with children. We met several younger families with small kids on our day at HMC. What I found more surprising was the number of 20-somethings that we saw drinking and dancing and generally enjoying themselves every night at BB King’s. These young ladies and their boyfriends were very well-dresssed and very enthusiastic about dancing to the BB King All-Stars. While I would not say that RCL or Carnival have to worry about HAL stealing this demographic from them, there were definitely more people under 30 than I have seen on past HAL cruises.
  11. Hi 😊 Could anyone who has recently been on the Ms Amsterdam please advise me on the below questions? 💪 How much are the Spinning classes (and if also known, how long do they last and frequency onboard?) 💪 Do they have yoga mats available to use in the gym? 💪 How much are the Yoga classes (and if also known, how long do they last and frequency onboard?) 💪 Do any of the pools make it possible to swim lanes or too small? Thank you!
  12. Here are my impressions of our fabulous time onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam this past week. I will try to add photos as my slow internet allows. We , DH and myself, booked this cruise last year after doing this same exact ship/cruise last May. And the second time around did not disappoint. We live in WA close to the border so AK cruises are easier for us and we normally book late May or June due to work schedules. We have done most of our AK cruises on NCL, Celebrity, and most recently HAL. We have found HAL is a good fit for us - itinerary, price, staff, and food and entertainment. Last year I booked last minute and lucked into an aft cabin and for this cruise booked far out so we could enjoy an aft cabin again. About 6 weeks out after monitoring price drops, I saw an aft corner Neptune suite was available. I called big box TA and did the upgrade for $400 for both of us and got cabin 6164. And I kept it as a secret from DH until we checked IN! That was fun! I have done a suite once before on NCL, and HAL suite amenities are not quite at their level, but I really wanted this cabin for the balcony and space and location. It turned out to be perfect for Glacier Bay viewing and I am so happy I did it. Will take break and review embarkation/disembarking, dining and entertainment, and then ports and excursions.
  13. Hi all! I recently sailed the Nieuw Statendam for 21 nights from June 30th to July 21st on the Voyage of the Midnight Sun in Norway. I figured since I was on HAL's newest ship for a significant amount of time, I'd write up a review. Overall, it was a great experience, and I wouldn't hesitate to sail this ship again! Embarkation: Seriously the easiest embarkation I've ever had! From the time our cab dropped us off to the port until we were in our stateroom was under a half an hour. They've got it down pat at the Amsterdam Cruise Terminal! Food: Being on the ship for 21 days, we went to each specialty restaurant twice, with the exception of Pinnacle Grill, which we only went to once. Rudi's Sel de Mer was by far the best of the specialty restaurants. We all had the grilled seafood platter the first time, and then the second time, my mom and I had the seafood platter again, while my father had the bouillabaisse. Everything was cooked to perfection and flavored well. Canneletto was also very good. The first night we went, my father and I both had the daily special: Osso Bucco, while my mom had the Lasagne. All were excellent. When we went back, we did more of a family style where we got the Lasagne, Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli, and the Veal Saltimbocca. The veal and the lasagne were great, but the shrimp and lobster ravioli had a flavor that none of us cared for. There was nothing wrong with them, just not our personal preference. Tamarind - We went here for both a meal off of their regular menu and for the Indonesian Rjistafel. The food from their regular menu was very good. We had the eggplant massaman curry, the lamb chops, and the shrimp and lobster stir fry. The Rjistafel was where our opinions differed. I loved it, my father thought it was just ok, and my mom hated it. The spices and flavorings in Indonesian food are quite different than other Asian styles, so I think it's one of those things either you like it or you don't. Pinnacle was our least favorite, hence we only went once. We usually love Pinnacle, but the food there was just off on this trip. I had the crab legs, which were ok. My mom had the scallops, which were undercooked for her taste, and my dad had the lamb chops, which were huge, but he said were just ho-hum and he had had better. Main Dining Room: Fantastic to Good. I never had a bad meal. Some were better than others. The Weiner Schnitzel and Orange Duck were clear winners for me. I also had some great fish meals. Something to add since this was a back to back for us - the first cruise's Gala Night Surf and Turf included lobster. On the second cruise, lobster was not offered, and it was prawns with the filet. Grand Dutch Cafe: Nice selection of Dutch sandwiches and quick bites for free. They also have a great selection of Dutch beers and liquors for a fee. You can also get specialty coffees here. I especially enjoyed the Croquettes and the La Trappe Dubbel Beer. Dive In Burgers and Dogs - Another great venue on the ship for a quick service meal, by the Lido Pool. Burgers and Dogs were fantastic. New York Pizza and Deli - We only ate here once, and weren't impressed with the pizza. We've had this on the Rotterdam, and it was much better on that ship. The pizza lacked flavor. Lido Market: I love HAL's "buffet." They always have great, fresh selections. I love that you don't serve yourself, and that there are many stations to create your own pastas, Asian foods, and salads. ***Hidden Food Station*** At Billboard On Board, they have a selection of hot and cold snacks available from around 9pm until around 11pm. Great for post drink munchies! More to come!
  14. Hi All, This forum has been very informative and I wanted to share my experience with you all on my recent cruise. Background: This was our first cruise so it was a learning experience figuring everything out. We booked our trip through Costco Travel. Getting There: We had a 6 am flight from SFO to Vancouver. We took a taxi from the airport to 999 Canada Place. It was $35 flat rate for 4 people. The taxis up to 4 people in addition to the driver and have a pretty large trunk that can fit 3-4 large suitcases. Definitely recommend this for larger groups since the cost relatively to public transit will be roughly the same. We got to the cruise terminal at around 10. Checking in and customs took a while. On our departure date there was one other cruise ship at the terminal. We were able to board around 11:30 at which time lunch was being served. Where were went: June 8th 2019 - Vancouver June 9th 2019 - Inside Passage June 10th 2019 - Juneau June 11th 2019 - Skagway June 12th 2019 - Glacier Bay June 13th 2019 - Ketchikan June 14th 2019 - Inside Passage June 15th 2019 - Disembark Rooms: Our group was 4 people in two rooms. 1) Balcony (parents/boomers) - This was mid ship on 5th floor. The view out of the balcony was beautiful and unobstructed. We notice this room was had much less motion than the other room we had. If you think you may get seasick definitely get a room lower down mid ship. 2) Oceanview (Sister and I/millennial) - This was on the 10th floor at the very front of the boat. This room was all the way up front and had a great view of exactly where the ship was heading. This room was much bigger than the other stateroom. But motion was definitely more noticeable even when the seas appear relatively calm. Excursions: We took two excisions on are cruise which were: 1) The Grand Tour of Juneau bus tour. This took us to Glacier Gardens park, a Salmon hatchery, and Mendenhall Glacier. We had a great guide (Bryan Wilson) who was both entertaining and very informative. The Salmon hatchery was slightly disappointing because the only salmon we saw were little hatchlings in holding tanks from a distance. 2) White Pass Summit Railroad in Skagway. This was by far my favorite thing whole trip. Very scenic and great photo ops. This was 2.75hrs round trip. Our guide Tyler was very informative and pointed out all the highlights so we could have our cameras ready. Entertainment: 1) Live music: The options were very good. They cover many genres. The Billboard Onboard in particular had good audience engagement. 2) In suite entertainment: -TV: There were only a few channels but had most based covered (Fox, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, ESPN) Got lots of coverage on NBA finals even though my local team the Warriors lost.... -Movies: The movie selection was very good. It had a lot of the newer Marvel movies including Captain Marvel, which was just very recently released on digital release/Blu-ray. Food: - Lido: We ate all our breakfast, lunch, and some dinners here. Breakfast being my least favorite since selection was limited and pretty much the same every day. Best described as a continental breakfast I found a lot of the items particularly the meats to be excessively oily. The lunch and dinner menu were also roughly the same through the entire trip with minor variations throughout. Overall food quality and selection was good but not great. - Main Dining: Had 3 dinners here including a gala night that had the surf and turf. For the most part the menu is not that different from the Lido Market. Service was good and friendly but a bit slow. I felt they were slightly pushy about upselling bottle water, alcohol, and other drinks. - NY Pizza: You could select a pizza (various ones named after NY boroughs) or build your own. You could also get them box so you could bring it back to your room or wherever else to eat. Pretty quality was okay. Pizzas are only one size (roughly a small) - Dive In: Good burgers here. I particularly liked the hotdogs. Hours were a bit limited I think 11:30 - 5:30 most days. The fries and dipping sauce were also very good. Fitness: - The fitness room is a good sized. It has free weights, weight machines, and cardio machines. The free weight section is limited to dumbbells and I think they maxed out at 70lbs. Machine selection is good you can get a good upper body and lower body workout. I normally went in the evening around 8pm (it closes at 9pm) so it was never packed. I assume its busier during the day but on random times I stopped by it was never crowded. Overall I'm very pleased with the cruise and look forward to doing it again some day. If you were on my cruise hit your boy and exchange pictures/stories! Also feel free to ask if you have any questions I can help answer about your cruise.
  15. Is there any place other than the one forward on Deck 11 where I can get a Cappuccino in the morning. Or can I order it from Room Service? I am on oxygen and that's a long way to go from my cabin on deck 4. I will have the Drinks package, is a cappuccino included in that?
  16. We are on the Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day Alaska out of Vancouver at the end of June. A short 2 weeks from now 😎! It is our first HAL cruise. so of course, I am spending time reading up on all the wisdom from the pros here. Is the coffee on these ships really that bad? And does it matter which boat you are on, or is this system wide? I realize I keep stumbling into many comments here and there in more general HAL reviews about how bad the coffee is. My experience is that coffee quality has a decent margin or error (i.e. most people not big connoisseurs and are fine with mostly what they get), which makes me think that it must be bad enough to stick in people's minds. Or HAL cruisers are real coffee connoisseurs. Since I appreciate my 1-2 cups in the morning a lot should I be prepared to switch to tea? Are there better places than others on NA to get a good early morning coffee? (since I am paying for the food/beverage part of the trip would prefer not to have to buy it, but also fine) I also often travel with mini-moos because I truly hate artificial coffee "whitener" or coffee-mate. (I buy them for $10 for 128 through a big box retailer and they are truly handy for traveling.) Do I need to bring a few of those?
  17. Hi, Is it normal for HAL to switch a cruise by weeks? Our cruise switched from April 15th to April 4th. It's a TA from Florida to Barcelona
  18. Y4L – Alaska, Yukon, Double Denali May 27 – June 8, 2019 Nieuw Amsterdam Ship May 26 - Anchorage Arrived in Anchorage a day before our trip began. It was around 7:00 when we arrived and the Westmark is an easy cab ride from the airport. We checked in and headed across the street to the Glacier Brewhouse for a beer and a small bite before turning in for the evening. May 27 - Anchorage We woke up early as we were still on east coast time. We walked a few blocks to the Snow City Café as we read they had great breakfast food. Arrived ahead of the crowd and had a delicious breakfast served by a very pleasant waitress. We came back to our hotel and walked over to the visitor center. The combination of early season plus Memorial Day meant that there was not an early shuttle to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Instead, we walked a few blocks to the Anchorage Museum and waited for them to open. It was a great way to spend the morning. We learned about the native Alaskans at the Smithsonian exhibit – crafts, life stories, every day items, etc. The art gallery wing was also wonderful with some beautiful oils of Denali. In the afternoon we took the Flattop Mountain Shuttle from Downtown Bicycle Rental. Pete gave us a narrated tour of Anchorage as he drove us to the mountain. We had 3 hours to hike Flattop Mountain which is the most hiked trail in Alaska. Still some snow on parts of the trail and the last 20 feet at the steep summit. Wonderful views of the city and Chugach Mountains. Highly recommend even if you don’t go all the way to the top. Not too crowded in late May but still lots of people and dogs. After our hike we returned to our hotel to meet our Journey Host Kaylyn. She gave us packets with information for the next day, had us take care of some paperwork and we were on our own until the next morning. We left the hotel and took a short walk along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail before dinner. Lots of bikes, walkers, skateboarders, families and leashed dogs. Pretty views and an easy way to get some exercise. Lots of bike rental shops in Anchorage if you prefer biking. A very nice meal at Orso which was across the street from the hotel. Same owners as Glacier Brewhouse. Recommend both. Had read some negative reviews about the hotel. A little old fashioned but the room was comfortable and clean. What more can you ask for? Tuesday May 28 - Anchorage to Denali Bags were out early and we met at 8:15 to transfer to the Alaska Railroad. Our trip to Denali was as pleasant as any 8 hour train trip could be. Comfortable seats, big windows, and the opportunity to move around. We had decided in advance that we would eat both breakfast and lunch on the train as it would give us an opportunity to leave our seats. Meal seating is in shifts in the bottom level and viewing and general travel in the top of the glass domed car. Both breakfast and lunch were quite good. The scenery in the beginning of the trip as we left Anchorage was interesting. In the middle hours there was not as much to see and the trip was starting to feel long BUT then we arrived at Hurricane Gulch and the views became more and more interesting and made the entire trip worthwhile. We were enchanted all the way to Denali. We were picked up at the Denali Train Depot and on the way to our hotel a moose decided to slowly cross the road in front of our bus and linger to munch grass at the side of the road. It was a prime picture taking opportunity and the perfect welcome to Denali. We checked in at our lodge and were out the door to grab a quick meal before heading out almost immediately to our shuttle to visit the Husky Homestead. As we got off the shuttle, we were handed two-week old puppies! Who on earth can resist such sweetness. We learned a lot about raising and training dogs, and preparing them to race. Jeff King was even more engaging then his staff and told us all about the Iditarod and his experiences with the dogs. It was a very interesting and fun evening. Denali was off to a great start! Wednesday May 29 - Denali TWT Wilderness Tour #9 with Glenn at approximately 8:30. Glenn was a wonderful engaging driver who shared lots of information about the park. We went to mile 53 at Toklat before turning around. Seven hours in the bus was plenty for us. We saw Denali from multiple locations and got some beautiful pictures. We also saw moose, bear, caribou and Dall sheep. As we started our tour, the driver realized the bus camera was not working, but it did not matter. The scenery in the park changes at every turn. It was just magnificent. After our tour we asked to be dropped off at the Visitors Center where we picked up the trail to Mt. Healy. We were worried about making the last shuttle back to our hotel but no need to have worried. We were up and down the mountain in about 2:40 which left us plenty of time to get back to our cabin. Great views. Nice hike. We had dinner (and breakfast both days) at Karstens on the property. Food was good and reasonably priced. Our room at Denali was M106. It was a two-story townhouse. We were on the first floor. We had a small bedroom and sitting area. Nice bathroom. Only issue, and one we could live with, was foot noise from upstairs and the whosh of the flush but honestly, location, cleanliness, décor was all good. I note this because I’ve noticed lots of complaints about hotels on land. Nothing to complain about. Would stay here again. Thursday May 30 - Denali to Fairbanks Woke up and said goodbye to Denali. It would have been nice to have an extra day for another hike or two. Boarded the bus for the 3 hour ride to Fairbanks. We did have a rest stop with a gift shop on the way. This was our first bus ride. Our driver not only transported us safely, he gave us information about the places we passed and about Alaska in general. Little did we know that every bus ride would provide learning opportunities to find out about where we were and where we would go. Arrived in Fairbanks at noon. Most of our group took their hour to eat lunch but we walked to the Fairbanks Visitor Center. To our surprise, it had a little museum like area that was extremely interesting and we spent 45 minutes there. We learned our planned walk at Creamer Fields was about 2 miles from our hotel and found information on how to travel there. We met up with the group and were off to Gold Dredge 8. It was a planned group excursion and was much more fun than we expected. First, we had a view of, and short talk about the Alaska pipeline. Then we got on a small train that took us to the area where we would pan for gold. But first, as we traveled by train, we learned about how gold was mined in Fairbanks. My bag of dirt yielded $24 of gold and my husband got $6 in gold flakes. Yes, we succumbed and bought a charm to put the gold flakes in as a memento of our visit. Too much shopping time at the mine for us, although many of our companions did a fair amount of shopping and seemed to enjoy the stop before we headed to our hotel. We checked into the Westmark Room 632 which was a very nice clean, modern room with a kitchen area. We were off to visit a local art gallery a few blocks from the hotel and then found a local distillery where we had a vodka cocktail before heading back to the hotel. We were feeling lazy so we had dinner at the Red Lantern restaurant at the hotel. It was just ok but no complaints as we were ready to turn in early. Friday May 31 – Fairbanks to Dawson City Had time for a nice breakfast before heading on our bus to the airport and on to Dawson City on an 11:00 a.m. flight. The airport in Dawson recently had its runway paved which was big news. Smooth flight and we were at our hotel early afternoon. We were on our own. There were some sprinkles and it was cloudy so we changed our plans to hike the Midnight Dome and instead walked the 9th Avenue trail which went around the city and continued around the water. There are a number of other trails in this area. An easy walk and fun way to stretch our legs. We went to the Visitors Center as well to get maps, schedules, and walked around town peering visiting some of the shops. Dinner at the Drunken Goat Taverna. Food was excellent. Laid back place. Highly recommend. After dinner we caught the show at Diamond Tooth Gerties. Your $15 season pass is good all year. They have 3 shows an evening with singing and dancing. Shows were excellent. There is also food and gambling. A number of our group left after the first show and went to The Downtown Hotel and became members of the Sour Toe Cocktail Club by drinking a shot with a preserved toe that touched their lips. A good time was had by all. Then the partying group was back to Gerties for the remaining 2 shows and last call. Saturday June 1 – Dawson City Woke up and it was still a light rain but we weren’t going to let that get us down. We had breakfast at the hotel and were off to explore. We found out that the Robert Service cabin would not have a presentation that day as the town folk and visitors were invited to the Commissioner’s Tea from 2:00 – 4:00. This is an annual event that we did attend. Late morning, we went to the Jack London cabin and were treated to an excellent hour-long presentation about Jack London that included his time in Alaska and Dawson City and how that time influenced his writing. Highly recommend. With the rain starting to come down harder, we went to the Dawson City Museum and learned more about the local gold rush and the city of Dawson before heading to tea. Our Klondike Spirit Cruise had been moved to 6:00 p.m. so we grabbed a delicious sandwich in the hotel pub before heading to the boat. The delayed start time for the boat worked in our favor as the skies cleared and we had beautiful weather for our ride. Once again, we learned more about Dawson City and the First Nation inhabitants of the Yukon so it was more than just a ride around the river. We found the Westmark in Dawson City to be charming. Rooms were clean and comfortable. Wifi only in the lobby and not in your room. We did not use our phones in the Yukon and I could live for 2 days without wifi. Sunday June 2 – Dawson City to Whitehorse This was a full day on the motor coach. We had a number of opportunities to stop and stretch our legs and see a few historic sites. Lunch was provided – the only land day this happened – in Minto. It was a simple and delicious lunch of soup, salad and homemade bread in a nice clean lodge. After lunch we were back on the bus to Whitehorse until our arrival at approximately 5:00 p.m. Our driver Trevor was amazing. No other word. For the entire trip he gave us Gold Rush History, and information about the glaciers and the valleys they formed. He told us about the white river ash from a long ago volcanic eruption and even recited some Robert Service poetry as he drove. The hours flew by. Scenery was beautiful. When we arrived in Whitehorse I told our Journey Host that it could be viewed in two ways. HAL could have you fly straight from Dawson to Whitehorse and get you to Skagway in a day. It took us 8 hours to travel the road but it made us better appreciate the journeys of the men (and women) that got themselves and their provisions over the Chilkoot Trail and then had to build a boat and ferry themselves down an unforgiving river to get to Dawson. I am glad I was able to experience that journey. The unspoiled landscape was pretty special too. After leaving our bags at the Westmark Whitehorse (the only hotel we felt was not satisfactory) we took a walk with some of our new friends on the Millenium Trail, a 5km paved trail that loops around the water in downtown Whitehorse. It was a very pleasant way to get some exercise before a fantastic dinner at Klondike Kate’s. Restaurant was across the street from our hotel so could not have been more convenient. Clearly popular and crowded so we put our name in ahead of our walk and our table was ready when we returned. Food and atmosphere were fantastic. Highly recommend if you stop in Whitehorse. Monday June 3 – Whitehorse to Skagway Breakfast at the hotel and then we were back on the bus with Trevor who showed us Miles Canyon, Emerald Lake, Carcross Desert and Carcross as we journeyed to Fraser to board the Whitepass Rail that would take us to Skagway. All interesting stops that we were grateful to see along the way. Our train journey was interesting as we thought about those that had braved the mountains by foot (before the train was constructed) as they dreamt of the gold waiting for them in Dawson City. The mountains had some sad tales to tell, but it was a lovely way to return to Alaska with some magnificent views along the way. Once we arrived at the train station, we went to our hotel and grabbed an extra jacket before heading off to hike Upper Dewey Lake at around 2:00p.m. There were excursions offered by HAL and a lovely town to walk around, but we wanted to hike. We passed the Lower Dewey Lake trail in favor of the 6 mile roundtrip steady climb – vertical rise was 3000 feet in 3 miles – to Upper Dewey Lake. We were not disappointed. The lake was beautiful and the views as we headed back down were spectacular as well. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. Trail information says roundtrip takes about 6 hours but we were able to do it in around 5. We were motivated to be down before it got to be too late! Dinner at the Skagway Brewing Company was adequate but I wish we had stuck with our plans to go to the Red Onion Saloon – a former brothel. We heard food was good and atmosphere was great. Our room in Skagway was clean and comfortable and right in the middle of everything. In the morning we had breakfast at the hotel and were able to shop before transferring to the ship. We liked the town but were ready to get on and stay on the boat by late morning. Hated to say goodbye to our Journey Host Kaylyn. She kept us organized, gave us tips on where to visit and eat. She went above and beyond every minute of every day and we are convinced that is one reason our trip was so wonderful. A Few Thoughts I felt compelled to comment on the hotels. With the exception of Whitehorse we had no complaints. They were all clean and the staff was helpful and cheerful wherever we were. So many negative comments on line that it made me wonder what to expect. If you are expecting the Westin downtown you may be disappointed, but the hotels were in character with their location. Perhaps if we had come off the ship we might have found the transition jarring but we would stay at any of the locations again. We chose to eat a number of meals – all but one breakfast and a few dinners on hotel property out of convenience. There were many choices in each location. We had a couple pricier dinners but found the food to be fairly priced (this is Alaska) and for the most part quite good. Our fellow travelers were all very nice and we got to know many of them on land and some even better on our sea days. Everyone was happy to be on the trip and the people we spent the most time with were also beyond impressed with our Journey Host. We all hated to say goodbye to her when we boarded the ship. Nieuw Amsterdam – June 4 to June 8 This was our first cruise. We had an opportunity to upgrade to a Signature Suite from a Veranda and glad we did. This put us in room 6072 in the middle of the ship. We had a larger bathroom and room to spread out. The veranda was a wonderful place to view the glaciers on our day in Glacier Bay. We ate at the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch all days. It was easy to go at any time and there was a huge variety of food choices. I particularly liked the omelet station for breakfast. Easy to be healthy and easy to indulge for all meals. We had dinner at the Dining Room. We had open seating and for 3 of our 4 nights were seated with other people. Again, we found the food to be delicious with plenty of choices. One evening my husband asked for extra steak when he ordered and they were more than happy to oblige. We were there for a Gala Night and we dressed up and enjoyed a special dinner. Service was great. Entertainment on the boat was outstanding. We went to BB Kings every night, the Billboard pianists were fabulous, and we went to an afternoon performance at Lincoln Center Stage. Very talented musicians who worked hard to entertain the crowd. We did not see any of the stage shows in the evening. We were too busy enjoying the music! We also used the health club. Plenty of treadmills, bikes, ergs and machines. Some free weights too. It was not crowded and we were able to use the equipment we wanted. The treadmills were placed at the windows in the bow which my husband enjoyed. I liked working out without looking out to sea so something for everyone. Our third day on the boat we stopped at Ketchican. We planned to hike Deer Mountain at this stop and since the weather was good we stuck with our plan. We grabbed a cab when we came off the ship that took us to the trailhead. Glad we did. It was an uphill walk and the cab knew exactly where we were going. We walked back into town after the hike and had some time to poke into the shops before boarding the ship. By our last day we felt we knew our way around. There is a daily schedule of activities so always something going on if you were looking for something to do. A little sad to say goodbye but the four days on the ship were a great way to relax after the busier pace on land. It was an older crowd for the most part on land and on the ship. We had a couple on their honeymoon on the land tour and there were some young families on the ship. If you are looking for the big shows and non-stop entertainment this might not be your cruise/cruisetour but it was just perfect for us. Been back for 2 days and already thinking about going back to Alaska!
  19. We are booking a cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and have a cabin question. Does the cabin VB4143 (or VB4145 or VB4149) have a sofa? Any pictures would be appreciated!
  20. Booked for a Nov 2020 10 day Nieuw Statendam cruise and after reviewing HAL's site, it sounds like the typical crew-performed main theater shows we're accustomed to on the Vista-class boats aren't what's going to be on-board the NS. Several things NOT mentioned on HAL's site are comedy, magic, and the Indonesian culture-themed crew shows. Site seems to emphasize only classical music and ballroom dancing type shows? Has anyone sailed her recently that could shed any light on this? I'm fine with classical music and ballroom dancing, but the DW is NOT going to be thrilled with that type of show. Need to find out, if possible, so I can plan other ways to entertain her. Thanks for any input you can offer.
  21. Hi all, We are currently booked on the Nieuw Statendam March 15, 2020 cruise. This will be our first time sailing with Holland America. I had been checking the Holland America website to see if there were any pricing changes. As of the beginning of last week, there were still a lot of cabins available, however, at the end of the week, there were no cabins available. The sailing has now been removed from their website. I called Holland America and was advised that it is not sold out, however, they are in process of modifying something. They weren’t able to say what but said it may be the itinerary or the pricing. This was a week ago. My reservation is still showing on line. I was wondering if anyone has had the same experience in the past. I am concerned that they may end up canceling it to charter it or do repairs etc as I have seen that happen with other cruise lines. Thank you very much.
  22. Just returned form a 1-week Alaska cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. As always, we enjoyed our cruise very much. The Alaska cruise was our 3rd time on the Nieuw Amsterdam (all Alaska cruises). The one thing that did bother me was the room smelled a little stuffy and the duvet had quite a few stains on it when I look at the bedding. Does anyone know if HAL will be modernizing the bedding some time in the near future?
  23. We are sailing at the end of June and we deliberately did something we have never done - booked an inside room. Ordinarily we book verandas, but at that time of the year it is light almost all night and we wanted a dark room for sleep. This means I will be spending more time outside our cabin reading or just watching the scenery. Where is your favorite spot to sit and quietly read? Is there a library or place to lounge that is relatively quiet. I am usually up early and go read the paper and have coffee until my spouse gets up. Have never been on this ship and it is a short cruise (7 days) and I thought I could ask this experienced crowd so I don't find some great spot on the last day :-).
  24. I am looking for information as to which days of the week the 2 formal nights take place on the Nieuw Amsterdam during the 7 nt. R/T Alaska journey. Thanks in advance.
  25. Hello Just wondering if the experts could give me an indication which cabin to choose. J cabins 148 sq feet 1017 1059 1063 1064 1073 K cabins 171 sq feet 1115 1116 1119 I cabins 185 sq feet 5074 Thank you
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