"Live" from Westerdam Alaska Sept 21-27, 2013

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#1
Texas
402 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
HOWDY from Hot hot hot Texas!

This time Next week I will be waking up in Seattle and getting ready to board the Westerdam for the LAST Alaska cruise of the season on this ship! I am traveling with my husband and also my father.

As you can see in my signature, my husband and I have been to Alaska many times, but we have never been on this ship. We have been on the first cruise of the Alaska season and we have also been on the last cruise of the Alaska season before.

So?, you think to yourself, what does Sue117 have to say that we haven't heard before? Or Why should you care about this thread?

Well I can't promise that you WILL care about the thread in the least, BUT this thread is different for me because this will be my dad's FIRST cruise ever! AND it's the last state he needs to visit out the 50! So he is an Alaska virgin AND a cruise virgin! On top of that he is _kinda_ a travel/food snob. Whereas me and my husband are not!

So I will give all of my thoughts about the cruise and ship, but also share the adventure through my father's eyes, which should be interesting! My dad is in his mid-70s, he is tall. I mean TALL. 6'7'. We went to the Broadmoor (5 star restaurant in Col Springs) once and he was wearing jeans and he was PISSED they wouldn't let him in! lol He asked if we could eat EVERY meal in the Pinnacle and I told him no. lol

I booked the cruise for us and him and I felt bad when a week ago he asked if I could send him the little map of where we would be and he told me, after seeing it, " I didn't know we were going to Glacier Bay". lol

We have a helicopter trip with glacier walkabout planned for Juneau and a private excursion in Ketchikan. In Sitka we will play it by ear, but my goal is the 2nd oldest geocache in the state (yes, I will probably talk about geocaching again in this thread).

The BEST part (besides being on vacation from my very stressful job at the moment) is that I booked us TWO aft wrap around cabins on the same floor! So me and hubby will be on one corner and my dad will be on the other corner! I figured with his size and potential "Snobbery" and it being his first cruise we would splurge and get the big rooms.

My dad is NOT an early bird, he likes to stay up late and sleep in, so it will be interesting to see how he does on the early days in port. I'm not sure we will care too much about the Neptune Lounge "snacks" and whatnot.

My husband and I fly out next Fri and will spend the night in a hotel in Seattle Fri night. My dad is driving from Virginia to WA and he left 2 days ago. Last night he was in Sioux City, IA, so he will get there way before us. Luckily we have a ride to and from the airport with him though!

I walked him through the website and filling out his pre-cruise info and packing his passport, and making sure he went out to buy a raincoat and directing him to dress in layers. I think it will be kinda fun to see a virgin cruiser and his reactions.

I am interested to see if my husband and I get "singled out" and told that we don't belong in the suite line like we did last Nov when we went to Hawaii. ha. Anyway, stay tuned for the thoughts and pictures from me and to see the adventures of my dad on his "bucket list" trip.

I tried to find a picture of me and my dad so you could see how tall he is, but in most of the pictures we are sitting. So here is a picture of my dad and his grandkids (my niece and nephews). He's taller than the fridge here! lol (he was showing them the "antique" rotary phone...they were amazed at how it worked...that there were no buttons to push to call! ha!)



Anyway, so I might post a thing or two before we go, but I wanted to "warn" everyone that I would be doing a thread. ha.
I tend to ramble so I apologize in advance. If there is anything that you want me to check out, please let me know and I will see what I can do. If you want a picture taken of anything, please let me know.

Tally Ho.
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Grand Circle Cruise Line (Viking)-River Cruise-Christmas Markets Along the Rhine- 10 days- Dec 2014
Holland America Westerdam 7 days Alaska Sept 2013 review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1914651
Holland America Zaandam 14 days Hawaii Nov 2012 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1739500
Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas 4 days Bahamas March 2012 (review at: http://tankhounds.wordpress.com/cate...se-march-2012/)
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#2
in the South
2,402 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
We were on the Westerdam for two weeks (Caribbean) in March. Loved every minute of it. It is a great ship. I look forward to your comments ... and those of your Dad.

Your Dad is driving from Virginia to Seattle? WOW - To me that beats flying!
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Linda & Vern
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#3
85,725 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Can;t wait for your live from reports.
Sounds like you have your Dad all prepped and eager.
I looked at your thread title three times and wondered if I had lost a week somewhere along the way. How could she be writing live from when it's a week away. But your introduction post was great and your thread is sure to be.
Travel safely getting to Seattle. We sailed from there last June and loved it.

The photo of your Dad and the kids is fabulous!! Thanks for sharing.
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#4
Texas
402 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Linda&Vern
Your Dad is driving from Virginia to Seattle? WOW - To me that beats flying!
Yup, I think because he is so tall he hates flying, and since he's retired he has the time to take to drive out there. He stopped in Indiana the first night, Columbia, MO the second night, Sioux City, IA the third and I'm not sure where he will be tonight. He drives about 5-6 hours each day. Not pushing it, just a leisurely drive each day.
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Holland America Prinsendam 14 days Caribbean Dec 2017
Lindblad/National Geographic Orion 10 days Antarctic Explorer Dec 2016
Holland America Prinsendam 20 days Arctic Explorer Aug 2016
Holland America Eurodam 14 Days Caribbean Dec 2015
Grand Circle Cruise Line (Viking)-River Cruise-Christmas Markets Along the Rhine- 10 days- Dec 2014
Holland America Westerdam 7 days Alaska Sept 2013 review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1914651
Holland America Zaandam 14 days Hawaii Nov 2012 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1739500
Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas 4 days Bahamas March 2012 (review at: http://tankhounds.wordpress.com/cate...se-march-2012/)
Holland America Eurodam 12 Days N. Baltics June 2011
review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1435759&highlight=sue117
Holland America Zuiderdam 7 days Alaska Sept 2009
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#5
Texas
402 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
And since I'm sharing, and actually have some time this weekend, I might as well share my DAD'S adventures driving across the country. He sends a brief blurb each night.

Day 1 Before I could leave Virginia, I had to keep an appointment with my family physician for a routine semi-annual physical exam. All was copacetic, and I got on the road about 10:30. For most of the day I drove on dry pavement and clear skies, but I did run into a couple of heavy downpours, but neither one of them lasted for more than 5 minutes. I travelled in 4 states today, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana. I am staying the night in Corydon, Indiana, which is no more than a convenient place to pull over, once past Louisville.
Love, Dad

Day 2

Today's travels took me across the bottom of Indiana, the bottom of Illinois, and across the Mississippi River at St. Louis. Skies were clear, the traffic was light (except driving through St. Louis).
Tonight I am staying in Columbia, Missouri.
Today's news is full of reports of flooding in Boulder, Colorado, and other communities along the Front Range. My driving route tomorrow takes me to Kansas City, where I turn north toward Sioux City, Iowa, then across South Dakota on I-90. So, I am staying out of Colorado on this trip.
Love, Dad

Day 3

Shortly after leaving Columbia, Missouri, this morning I crossed the Missouri River. Four hundred miles later, I'm spending the night in Sioux City, Iowa, and right me behind the hotel is, YES, the Missouri River. I guess you could say today's travels took me up the Missouri River Valley.
Unlike the torrential rains along the Front Range in Colorado, the weather along today's route was bright, sunny, warm, hardly a cloud in the sky. I can tell you this -- Iowa grows a lot of corn. The fields are full, and I saw many railroad sidings full of empty grain cars, just parked waiting the crops to come in, I suppose.
Love, Dad


Just to keep ya reading, I'll share his driving adventures with all of you, my close and personal cruise critic forum friends too!
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Holland America Prinsendam 14 days Caribbean Dec 2017
Lindblad/National Geographic Orion 10 days Antarctic Explorer Dec 2016
Holland America Prinsendam 20 days Arctic Explorer Aug 2016
Holland America Eurodam 14 Days Caribbean Dec 2015
Grand Circle Cruise Line (Viking)-River Cruise-Christmas Markets Along the Rhine- 10 days- Dec 2014
Holland America Westerdam 7 days Alaska Sept 2013 review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1914651
Holland America Zaandam 14 days Hawaii Nov 2012 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1739500
Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas 4 days Bahamas March 2012 (review at: http://tankhounds.wordpress.com/cate...se-march-2012/)
Holland America Eurodam 12 Days N. Baltics June 2011
review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1435759&highlight=sue117
Holland America Zuiderdam 7 days Alaska Sept 2009
Holland America Oosterdam 7 days Alaska July 2008
Holland America Oosterdam 7 days Alaska May 2005
Holland America Statendam 15 days Hawaii Dec 02-Jan 03
Holland America Statendam 15 days Hawaii Dec 00-Jan 01
Holland America Ryndam 7 days Alaska May 1995

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/authorsusanstoker
#6
Pittsburgh, PA
1,833 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Sue:
Dad looks like a really nice guy. I'm sure he will enjoy Alaska. Looking forward to you and your Dads adventures.

I've been considering HAL for a future cruise. I like their itinerary. We sailed Princess and RCCL many times. Please let me know how you like the ship.

Thanks,
Carol
#7
Scottsdale, Arizona
2,086 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Sue, we'll be boarding the ship on the day you leave, not that I'm trying to rush things

I so envy you the chance to sail with your dad, I was able to do that for my dad's first and only cruise. You'll have a great time so thanks for sharing it with us!
#8
113,034 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Can't wait to follow your "Live" blog.

Your father is going to love Alaska and want to go back next year -- so brace yourself for that.

As you know, there is so much to see in Alaska and you just can't do it in one cruise.
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#9
Winter Garden, FL
524 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by Carol P.
Sue:
Dad looks like a really nice guy. I'm sure he will enjoy Alaska. Looking forward to you and your Dads adventures.

I've been considering HAL for a future cruise. I like their itinerary. We sailed Princess and RCCL many times. Please let me know how you like the ship.

Thanks,
Carol
We also looking at HAL for next year cruise. Looked at some of their itineraries and love it. My only concerned is I heard its geared towards 'older' cruisers and there is nothing to do at night. We are in our early 40's. not sure how true this is.

Originally posted by Linda&Vern
We were on the Westerdam for two weeks (Caribbean) in March. Loved every minute of it. It is a great ship. I look forward to your comments ... and those of your Dad.

Your Dad is driving from Virginia to Seattle? WOW - To me that beats flying!
[COLOR="rgb(255, 0, 255)"]I 2nd Lindas comment. Kudos to your dad for doing this cross country trip by himself. I look forward to your live report thru your dads eyes. [/color]
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#10
New Brunswick
45,807 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Wow!!! Your dad is something!!! driving all that way!! awesome.

And you two are something taking him along.

Looking forward to the rest of your reports. I have a feeling they are going to be very interesting

Safe travels and Bon Voyage
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#11
Texas
402 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Kfoot
We also looking at HAL for next year cruise. Looked at some of their itineraries and love it. My only concerned is I heard its geared towards 'older' cruisers and there is nothing to do at night. We are in our early 40's. not sure how true this is.
[/color]
I think it's about what YOU make of it. I am 41 and my husband is 43 and we LOVE Holland America. We don't drink and we are hermits for the most part. We bring DVDs to watch at night in our room (for this cruise it's last season's Criminal Minds that we just got in the mail). We like that it's not a "party atmosphere" and there AREN'T a lot of younger people. Sad but true. So I think it's more about YOU and not as much about the ship. I know people will disagree with me, but you could put us on a boat to no where and we would be happy because we are on vacation and on a cruise.

But I will try to give you my observations but keep in mind the above. Not a lot of things bother us. We don't expect people to wait on us hand and foot, we don't get mad when the food isn't perfect, we just shrug and move on. We couldn't care less when our room steward cleans our room, be that 8am or 1pm. Someone smokes on the balcony next to us? Yuck, but whatever, we go inside and wait for them to be done, then go back outside. That's just the way WE are.

I WILL admit that what gets me the most on cruises is the attitudes of other people. The crabby, whiny, mean passengers that yell at the crew and other people. Since we work in customer service it just makes us so sad for the workers.

Anyway, I think if you like a more "mild" time, you will enjoy Holland America. If you want to be entertained at all times with music from "today" and bartenders who dance and throw bottles around at the bar, you might consider another line.
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Holland America Prinsendam 14 days Caribbean Dec 2017
Lindblad/National Geographic Orion 10 days Antarctic Explorer Dec 2016
Holland America Prinsendam 20 days Arctic Explorer Aug 2016
Holland America Eurodam 14 Days Caribbean Dec 2015
Grand Circle Cruise Line (Viking)-River Cruise-Christmas Markets Along the Rhine- 10 days- Dec 2014
Holland America Westerdam 7 days Alaska Sept 2013 review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1914651
Holland America Zaandam 14 days Hawaii Nov 2012 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1739500
Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas 4 days Bahamas March 2012 (review at: http://tankhounds.wordpress.com/cate...se-march-2012/)
Holland America Eurodam 12 Days N. Baltics June 2011
review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1435759&highlight=sue117
Holland America Zuiderdam 7 days Alaska Sept 2009
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#12
Naperville, IL
13,365 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
I will follow your reports most carefully. I will board the Westerdam on Oct. 19th as she heads to the Panama Canal and on to Ft. Lauderdale.
#13
Lehigh Acres, FL
1,440 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
I am excited to read your review. We were on the Westerdam in May, the first Alaska cruise of this year's season, so it will be fun to compare your experience to ours.

Safe travels!
#14
Georgia
149 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
We just got off the Westerdam on Aug 24 on our 2nd trip to Alaska. I wish my Dad were still alive to have gone on that cruise with us. I know you will all have a wonderful time. The ship is beautiful and Alaska is always awesome. It is always great to see a place through someone the eyes of someone else. We took my brother and his wife on their first cruise ever in August and he told me after the cruise, that with all the video, pics and conversations ....NOTHING can compare to being there. He was awestruck for sure. I suppose he will be cruising again for sure.
Again, have a wonderful time....and in the MDR if you run across the steward we had, Den Bagus....let me know. He is wonderful and will keep you laughing.
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#15
Rochester, NY
1,785 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Enjoy your time with your Dad - because one day they aren't there anymore. My Dad and Mom took us on our first cruise back in 1990 and got us hooked for life. Sadly, we never got to go together again. But Dad lives on with us in many aspects when we cruise - as in "wouldn't Dad have loved this?" While we have never made it to Alaska Mom and Dad did and it was their trip of a lifetime. Hoping you have a wonderful time together and enjoy the beautiful Westerdam!
#16
Texas
402 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Just to keep entertaining you, as I'm not on the cruise yet, here is my dad's Day 4 report of his drive from Virginia to Washington.

Day 4: Sioux City, IA to Rapid City, SD

In an essay in “The Desert Year,” Joseph Wood Krutch poses the question of where the west begins. He was most interested in the southwest, and he answered his question on a route that took him west from Amarillo. For him, the answer was a place about 40 miles west of Amarillo, where the road (now I-40) leaves the high western Texas plains, and dips down into a new land marked by rough hills and mesas.
There was such a place I encountered today, about 40 miles east of Rapid City. To the east were high plains with fields of corn and sorghum. Then the road comes to a downgrade and the terrain is marked by rough, dry hills.



I'm attaching a picture, but it isn't very good. The smudge in the picture is exactly that; it's a spot on the windshield where a bug splattered.[editorial note, I am attaching the picture here so you can see it...see below]



I'm in the west.


As you probably recall, when Konrad Wolfle [editorial note from Sue117...Konrad Wolfle is one of my ancestors] and family first arrived in the United States in the 1870s, they settled in a community south of Yankton, SD. Driving the route today, it was windy. In eastern South Dakota the wind was blowing from the south at 20 mph. By the time I got to Rapid City, it was blowing from the north at 30 mph. Driving in the cross winds at the speed limit of 75 mph was sometimes tricky, particularly when there were tumble weeds (aka Russian thistle) blowing across the highway that I had to dodge. There were signs on the highway "Highway Closed When Lights Flashing," and barriers that were ready to come down across the highway to prevent people from progressing. They were there in case of blizzards, I suppose. No blizzards today, but it doesn't surprise me that Konrad moved on to Oregon after a few winters in South Dakota.

It was also near Yankton that I saw a bald eagle, sitting on a fence post by the side of the highway. I drove by too quickly to get a picture, but it was amazing to see the majestic bird just sitting there. [Another editorial note from Sue117...can't wait until my dad sees all the bald eagles in Alaska if he thought THIS one was impressive....just wait! ]



After many miles of driving across flat plains, tonight I am in sight of the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Love, Dad


#18
113,034 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
I like that you are going to let us know how your father is making out each day in his journey across the country.
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Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#20
Winter Garden, FL
524 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Sue thx for post 11. I'm in customer service also, so trust me when I say it irks me also when I see some passengers expecting to be waited on by the crew. I appreciate your views about HAL. We are very laid back also, not much of a drinker. So I will look some more into this line.
So looking fwd to your adventure with your dad.
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