MS AMSTERDAM 14 Day Alaska - June 15, 2012 - Endless Daylight!

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#1
San Diego, CA USA
670 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
MS Amsterdam 14 day Alaska – June 15-29, 2012

I was going to do a live from thread on board our MS Amsterdam 14 day Alaska cruise but decided against it because of how port intensive this cruise is. I am very happy we were able to go on this cruise since this is the last year of it. Anyone who is still deciding if they can do this trip should do it. I am very disappointed this trip is no longer offered next year as I would do this cruise again and again.

This is my 9th cruise and my 4th on Holland America but my first time on Amsterdam. I am 48 and usually cruise with a friend. We drove to Seattle a few days early and stayed in Port Townsend. We wanted to stay there so we can do some Killer Whale watching with Puget Sound Express before the cruise. We like to get out and do things that have to do with scenery and wildlife as I love to take photos. I used to do all the shows on the ship but this trip had so much port time and scenic viewing we did very little on the ship except eating and sleeping. I also like to read and just relax when I can.

The drive was very nice and we had a great view of Mt Shasta in Northern California.



PORT TOWNSEND

We arrived in Port Townsend, Washington on Wed 6-13-12. It is a beautiful town on the water with lots of small shops and restaurants. We stayed at the Aladdin Motor Inn which was close enough to walk to town but far enough away where it was quiet. We had a room right on the beach and it was nice. Outside our window in the evening a bald eagle was perched on a light post outside our balcony. It was a great start and hoping this eagle would give us good luck. On Thursday we went killer whale watching with Puget Sound Express. It was slightly rainy and cloudy but the boat was comfortable. When we left they told us we are in luck and we would catch up to j-pod which has about 25 killer whales. They were going away from us though and it would take about 2 hours to catch them. We got to them and it was spectacular to finally see a wild killer whale not named Shamu! We saw about 7-8 of the killer whales from j-pod. Since it took so long to get to them the viewing was for a short time but we felt blessed to be able to even get to them. Many other boats were there including the Eagle Wing boat from Victoria that we were thinking about taking.





SEATTLE – PARKING – EMBARKATION

Since we stayed in Port Townsend we really did not do anything in Seattle but I did set up parking before going. We used CruisePark which is located on a National Guard Armory and is very close to the pier. They had a free shuttle to and from the pier so it was very easy. We parked about 11 am and were on the ship in just a short time. I think from the time we parked to actually being on the ship was less than an hour.

More to be posted later.

Nobby
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#2
Sedro-Woolley, Washington
734 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Hi Nobby,

I'm very impressed with your report so far. We stayed at the Aladdin Inn in Port Townsend on Spring Break and enjoyed our stay there. Where did you eat while in Port Townsend? We found the Bayview Restaurant near the ferry dock and loved it.

We're on this cruise in less than a month so I'm looking forward to hearing your views on it. We did it two years ago and loved it. Like you, I'm very disappointed that HAL is not offering it next year.

Karen
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Upcoming:
Ruby Princess - July 14, 2018
Eurodam - July 21, 2018

Completed:
Amsterdam - July 3, 2017
Westerdam - July 9, 2016
Crown Princess - July 2, 2016
Westerdam - July 11, 2015
Crown Princess - July 4, 2015
Amsterdam - June 22, 2014
Oosterdam - June 23, 2013
Amsterdam - July 27, 2012
Westerdam - July 2011
Amsterdam - July 2010
Westerdam - July 2009
Golden Princess - July 2008
Oosterdam - July 2006
#3
Central Valley, CA
877 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
OMG, you drove from San Diego to Port Townsend??? How many days did you allow? In December we drove from Modesto to San Diego and it wiped us out!

Looking forward to the rest of your trip report! We sailed on the Amsterdam two summers ago, loved the ship and itinerary.
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Cheryl (and Fred)
#5
Bethlehem, PA
4,680 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Oh yay, Nobby! Been looking forward to this since your return. Chatting with you and others on your Roll Call prior to your sailing was a lot of fun, and I was anxious to hear your thoughts and observations about this fantastic itinerary. More please!!!!
#6
Orange County, Calif
22,010 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Thanks very much for your review, can't wait for the rest of it. We are going to be on this cruise in August, so am very interested in the reviews about it. Thanks also for your great pictures.
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Melodie

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#7
Naperville, IL
13,361 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Nobby, I agree with everything you say about that 14 Day cruise on the Amsterdam. I hope HAL restores this wonderful cruise some day. I was on it last July and treasured every minute of the voyage. I am most anxious to hear the rest of your report.

HIMSELF
#8
North Carolina
4,538 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Hi Nobby Just home from the coast and so happy to see your review...it's hot back here...loving the pictures already They look soooo cool...and beautiful as usual

Cannot wait to read more!!!
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Jane
#9
San Diego, CA USA
670 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by luvteaching
Hi Nobby,

I'm very impressed with your report so far. We stayed at the Aladdin Inn in Port Townsend on Spring Break and enjoyed our stay there. Where did you eat while in Port Townsend? We found the Bayview Restaurant near the ferry dock and loved it.

We're on this cruise in less than a month so I'm looking forward to hearing your views on it. We did it two years ago and loved it. Like you, I'm very disappointed that HAL is not offering it next year.

Karen
Hi Karen, you are so lucky to be going so soon. If you need someone to carry your bags I will accept!

Port Townsend seems to long ago already I forget the names of the places we ate at. I know I saw the Bayview but we did not eat there. We picked up food at teh Co-Op but we also ate in two restaurants. Sorry I can't remember the names but one was on the water but closer to the Aladdin Hotel then town and we also ate in a pub upstairs on the water but in town. Both places were very good.

Nobby
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#10
San Diego, CA USA
670 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by ellbelle
OMG, you drove from San Diego to Port Townsend??? How many days did you allow? In December we drove from Modesto to San Diego and it wiped us out!
We drove and I love driving so it is no big deal. My friend on the other had would have rather flown. We left on Monday after work and got in around noon on Wednesday. Driving home we got off the boat on Friday and was home Saturday about 6 pm... That is a short drive for me...

Nobby
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#11
San Diego, CA USA
670 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by Assateague Island Princes
Oh yay, Nobby! Been looking forward to this since your return. Chatting with you and others on your Roll Call prior to your sailing was a lot of fun, and I was anxious to hear your thoughts and observations about this fantastic itinerary. More please!!!!
I appreciate the info and fun talk before the cruise. Because of you, Vbmom and a few others on here I have been wanting to do this trip for years.

Nobby
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#12
Lake Stevens, WA
7,186 Posts
Joined May 2007
Hi Nobby, so glad to see the beginning of your review. Absolutely love the pictures and am looking forward to hearing more!
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Carolyn





Veendam, Montreal-Fort Lauderdale 2017; Infinity, Pacific Coastal 2017; Koningsdam, Eastern/Western Caribbean 2017;
Infinity, Pacific Coastal 2016; Veendam, Fort Lauderdale-Montreal 2016; Statendam, South America 2015; Westerdam, Pacific Coastal 2014; Eurodam, Baltic Adventure 2014; Infinity, British Isles 2014; Zuiderdam Pacific Coastal 2013; Noordam, Southern Caribbean 2013; Maasdam, Fort Lauderdale-Montreal 2012; Silhouette, Holy Land 2011; Amsterdam, Pacific Coastal 2010; Zaandam, Circle Hawaii 2010; Zuiderdam, Sunfarer Panama Canal 2009; Rotterdam, Med 2008; Volendam, Pacific Coastal 2007; Noordam, Pacific Coastal 2007; Rotterdam, Eastern Med and Egypt 2006; Amsterdam, Alaska 2004
#13
San Diego, CA USA
670 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Thanks everyone for the great comments and those that are going on this cruise this summer are in for a special treat.

Jane - Hope you enjoyed your trip at the beach and I heard about the heatwave hitting you all. Thankfully San Diego is the same ole usual temps of high 60's to mid 70's...

On my first post I talked a little about the Puget Sound Express for whale watching from Port Townsend. This review will be slow but I will try to post daily. Mainly because I am processing photos as I am doing this review and I want to post good shots but there are so many it is hard to choose. So I got to a few of my whale watching shots from this boat so thought I'd post them now.

This is a shot of our boat. It had comfortable seating for all. You can sit out back or on top if you want at anytime. I tried to ride it out on top but it got a little too cold and rainy for me so most of the trip I stayed out back. The trip back almost everyone was falling asleep. Guess it was too much fresh air for us to handle.



Here is the little guy in J-Pod or one of the little ones. We found this pod out by Pender Island.



Here are more in front of the Bluffs at Pender Island.



More later about the ship...

Nobby
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#14
southern CA, Inland Empire
1,882 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Nobbync.... did you have your camera on a zoom for those wonderful pictures or were you really that close??? Outstanding!
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Sailed 9-19-08 Veendam to Alaksa
Sailed 8-29-09 Maasdam -Boston Historic Coast
Sailed 12-05-11 Amsterdam -Full transit Panama Canal
Sailed 12-05-12 Amsterdam- Panama Canal again!
Sailed 6-07-14 Veendam Quebec to Boston
Sailed 5-31-15 Amsterdam roundtrip Seattle - Alaska
#15
San Diego, CA USA
670 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by KNOT2L82SAIL
Nobbync.... did you have your camera on a zoom for those wonderful pictures or were you really that close??? Outstanding!
These were shot with a 120-300 zoom. For Killer Whales you have to stay 200 yards away and even if they come towards you you are supposed to move. You can get lucky and they surface close to you but that is rare but 200 yards on the water is much closer than you think especially with smooth seas. Though there were times they did get much closer on the tour we did later on the cruise in Victoria.

Nobby
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#16
San Diego, CA USA
670 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
THE SHIP

This was the best ship we have been on. The ship is very clean and the crew is superb. I know some people do not care for the slower pace of a Holland America ship but I prefer it but even if you like to stay busy there is a lot to do on this ship. BTW, I have never had a bad cruise and I try not to let worn carpets and basic maintenance bother me. As they say Ship Happens. There were places where I think the carpet needed replacing but just a few areas.

When I board a ship I usually have more bags I carry then I check in. I usually check in one bag and then I carry on two camera bags and I also carry my wedge pillow. I can’t sleep lying flat due to health problems so I carry a large wedge pillow. This is my first cruise where I boarded and crew grabbed my bags and took us down to our room. I usually am lugging all these things and am sweating by the time I get to my room. Not this time and it made for a great start. We booked the cheapest inside guarantee on this cruise and we ended up with a small upgrade. Instead of being on deck one all the way in the front we were on deck 2 close to the front but not all the way up there. Nice size room and much bigger than most of the other rooms we have stayed in including a couple balcony cabins we had. Since we were going with the very long daylight hours having an inside was a blessing as anytime we wanted to sleep we turned out the lights and it was pitch black. I like the inside cabins for this reason for Alaska.

Our room stewards Dodi and Sene were wonderful and wish I really could bring them home. I rented a tux so I did not have to carry an extra bag and that was a blessing also. The tux was waiting in our room and no issues with it. We also got the laundry package which was $98 for the 14 days for the cabin. We put in one or two bags every day. Only one did not come back the same day. All the clothes were folded nice and ironed. My t-shirts for the first time in their lives saw an iron! We even sent one load in the night before going into Victoria and got it back that morning. We usually do our laundry onboard but I believe we will be doing this all the time. Nice to come home with clean clothes.

The food was overall very good to outstanding. I know food is subjective but I for one enjoyed the food. The lido deck a lot of food is actually cooked up there so that made things nice and fresh. Even veggies they cooked up there so they were still crisp and not soggy like typical buffet veggies. We had a good selection of fresh fruit all the way through the 14 days. Last year another line ran out of almost all fresh fruit and that was only a 10 day cruise. Not a big selection of desserts on here like other lines we have been on but what they did have was delicious! For any of you that do not handle dairy well the lido has about 5 different nondairy milks for you. If anyone is going to be on this cruise soon please say hi to Moul who was at the water and juice counter in the Lido. Good guy that just got on the ship for his long tour of duty.

The dining room was also nice though we only ate there a few times. Since this cruise had a lot of port days or scenic viewing we were too tired most of the time to clean up for dinner but when we did eat there it was good. One of the formal nights with filet mignon and lobster tail, it was really good. The filet was cooked just right and could be cut with a fork. The tail was good size and not over cooked. We also used room service for dinner and it showed up on time and was hot.

I like the Explorations Café and lounge. The seats there are really comfortable and a great place to read. We did not see any shows but went to qite a few movies. I was disappointed that after 10 days they started repeating the movies. They also have a list of 1000 DVD’s you can order anytime you want. Just call the front desk and if they have it you drop by and pick it up. We watched a few this way before bed.

If anyone has any questions about the ship feel free to ask and I will try to answer if I know.

Nobby
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#17
9,614 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Thank you so much for posting your trip report. I am anxiously awaiting to hear more.

It is a big disappointment this itinerary is being dropped. Princess had also tried a 14 day AK itinerary, but they too discontinued it.
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HAL Volendam Alaska June 15, 2008
NCL POA Hawaii May 22, 2010
HAL Amsterdam Alaska August 5, 2011
#18
1,968 Posts
Joined May 2008
Hi Nobby: We're following you July 27. I'm especially interested in how the Adventure Bound trip worked out for you and whether you had too much of Tracy Arm with 2 days in a row.
#19
San Diego, CA USA
670 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by epixx
Hi Nobby: We're following you July 27. I'm especially interested in how the Adventure Bound trip worked out for you and whether you had too much of Tracy Arm with 2 days in a row.
Tracy Arm was awesome both days but the Adventure Bound trip was one of the best tours I had ever been on. I will be positing about that later in my review... Tomorrow will be Ketchikan...

Nobby
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