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rbalge87

New Cruiser to Alaska

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Hello, I apologize if this has been asked before,.

 

We are looking to cruise Holland Westerdam in June to Alaska on a Denali Cruisetour.  I am hoping to get feedback on Observation deck verandah's (Deck 10)Would you recommend Deck 5? :noise above/below and around, will we feel a ton of movement/seasick, any major cons?  Also, in addition if you have done a simliar cruisetour with Holland can you offer advice.  I am trying to research as much as possible, but I would love to hear from those who are well versed in cruising.  We are a very quiet family and this is why we chose Holland, we don't want a crazy night life.

 

Thank you!

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Lots of good feedback on the HAL Alaska cruise tours so you are off to a good start. I'll let others who know the Westerdam answer your other questions. Overall, we have found the other Vista class ships, like the Westerdam, to be very smooth riding ships but the rule of thumb is picking a cabin that is central and lower for the easiest ride.

 

 Keeping in mind any Alaska cruises that leave from Seattle do have a rough patch across open water to get to their first Alaska stop. Which is why leaving from Vancouver and going up the Inland Passage is the recommended first cruise choice to "test the waters". Hope you have a wonderful cruise and you enjoy HAL's enviable quieter atmosphere, on her wonderful smaller and older ships.

Edited by OlsSalt

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Just got off Oosterdam, a sister ship and DW and I were talking about how nice of a setup the forward glass lounge on 10 would be for an Alaskan cruise (we did AK in 2017 on Coral Princess, which has a forward facing glassed in dining room) since the lounge could fit a healthy number of people and would make for good scenic viewing.  We were on Deck 6, aft in room 6144 (On sister ship Oosterdam) and had great views from the balcony and felt it was a comfortable sized balcony on our recent Caribbean sailing.  I think there were also a nice amount of viewing areas relative to the pax count onboard, and the promenade walking area runs the entire circumference of the ship (with nice exterior views).

 

I didn't pull the Westerdam itin's for AK, but agree with OlsSalt's comment that sailing from Vancouver vs Seattle shortens the distance spent in open ocean (generally more motion).  Vancouver is also a pretty destination port in its own right too, we spent an extra day there and had a great time!

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7 hours ago, rbalge87 said:

Hello, I apologize if this has been asked before,.

 

We are looking to cruise Holland Westerdam in June to Alaska on a Denali Cruisetour.  I am hoping to get feedback on Observation deck verandah's (Deck 10)Would you recommend Deck 5? :noise above/below and around, will we feel a ton of movement/seasick, any major cons?  Also, in addition if you have done a simliar cruisetour with Holland can you offer advice.  I am trying to research as much as possible, but I would love to hear from those who are well versed in cruising.  We are a very quiet family and this is why we chose Holland, we don't want a crazy night life.

 

Thank you!

 

Welcome to CC and this forum.  I was on this cruisetour in 2017  and will be repeating it again this June.  Unlike many others, I opt for a Deck 5 aft stateroom that is fully covered and allows you to be outside in the rain, eat on your balcony without any wind, and have photo amazing views of both sides of the ship.

 

There will be many different Denali itineraries on the same ship so be careful when discussing the tour portion or you will get misleading information.

 

Skip the addional Meal Plan as there are many cheaper alternatives in Denali.  and

 

Here are some helpful links:

 

Westerdam photo review:  http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/photo-reviews/ms-westerdam-2

 

Daily Westerdam activities When & Where examples:  http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/on-locations-specific-cruises/alaska-2017-noordam-when-where-daily-activities

 

Land portion of cruisetour:  http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/place/alaska-2/denali

 

Hope this helps in your planning.

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17 hours ago, Crew News said:

 

 

Skip the addional Meal Plan as there are many cheaper alternatives in Denali.  and

 

I actually have a different opinion.    I'm "thrifty" and my wife is "cheap."  😉    We are not big spenders.

 

We've done two cruisetours... one with the meal plan (Princess) and one without (HAL).      If you take Denali out of the mix, the other lodges (hotels) are in more remote areas.    You are stuck with eating at the cruise line owned hotel restaurants.    The menu prices are expensive.    It made our experience so much more enjoyable to "ignore" the menu prices when we were on the meal plan.   We were able to order "anything" we wanted.     Honestly, if I was looking at the menu prices, I would have order the least expensive items (seriously, the prices are outrageous).       We found the food at the Princess lodges far superior to the food on the ship!     The food was truly excellent.       By the way, the Princess and HAL lodges are right next to each other at Denali and you can use your meal credits at either location.    

 

Extra bonus opinion: 

- We liked the ship experience better with HAL

- We liked the land experience better with Princess

 

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20 hours ago, Crew News said:

Skip the addional Meal Plan as there are many cheaper alternatives in Denali.

I agree do not buy the HAL land tour meal plan  package, it is a huge ripoff unless you plan to eat the most expensive item on the menu at every restaurant. We were quoted $1295 for the 3 of us for the 4 nights we are on land that's a lot of food. We are on a Double Denali cruise on the Noordam next July with our grandson. There are plenty of good restaurants, pubs and fast food places more reasonably priced in Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks within walking distance to the HAL hotels, these are not big cities. We are in a Signature Suite on the 6th deck mid ship that was recommended to us as a good deck to be, I would think the 5th deck will be just as good.

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As far as stateroom (verandah in your case) location on the ship goes; I wouldn't get a room on deck 5 that is located in the narrow, middle of the ship. Lifeboats are right below you, obscuring some of your views. Get a stateroom on the wider fore and aft parts of the ship; nothing below to obscure your view. You can see this on websites displaying photos of staterooms.

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Thank you all for your wisdom.  I appreciate it so much. Each comment makes me more excited to go on our first cruise, it seems it will be an amazing memory. 

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14 minutes ago, rbalge87 said:

I just had this thought, but is there a certain side of ship that is better? 

 

No.  If you are going to Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier, when stopped the ship will turn 360° so all sides can see, but you will want to be out and about all around to get the full views.  On the inside passage, the land is on both sides. Have a wonderful trip!

~Nancy

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Alaska can be its best when it is felt and smelled, simply by being out in the bracing air - no matter which side of the ship you find yourself on. Dress in sheddable warm layers, even in the summer. Love those Alaska white nights in the main dining room, when there is so much light even 8pm dinner has views and some wonderful sunsets.  We  also found some of the best on board viewing from the glass-domed Lido pool area.

Edited by OlsSalt

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9 hours ago, OlsSalt said:

 Dress in sheddable warm layers, even in the summer. 

 

Second this.  Weather there can be unpredictable - we did a cruise end of May into early June '17, we had 70's in Juneau but temps hovered around freezing on the glacier.  While in Skagway it was low 40 and rainy for a stretch.  Also for College Fjords it was near freezing close to the glacier but probably low-40's further out in the bay.

 

I'm a big fan of a fleece mid-layer and and a rain coat as a hard shell outer layer.  Rain coat will cut wind very well, obviously works well in rain, and the fleece layer provides lots of warmth per oz - just be prepared to vent the rain coat as most don't breath well.  Also a hat and some thin gloves will go a long way towards staying warm if you're on deck or weather turns chilly.  Even hat and a sweatshirt can be pretty solid in cool weather (or if I insist on keeping the balcony door partially open so I could hear the narration while still outside).

 

 

18922804_10158801485235608_6904463255883908040_o.jpg

Glacier Bay Attire.JPG

Edited by jb008

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2 hours ago, jb008 said:

 

Second this.  Weather there can be unpredictable - we did a cruise end of May into early June '17, we had 70's in Juneau but temps hovered around freezing on the glacier.  While in Skagway it was low 40 and rainy for a stretch.  Also for College Fjords it was near freezing close to the glacier but probably low-40's further out in the bay.

 

I'm a big fan of a fleece mid-layer and and a rain coat as a hard shell outer layer.  Rain coat will cut wind very well, obviously works well in rain, and the fleece layer provides lots of warmth per oz - just be prepared to vent the rain coat as most don't breath well.  Also a hat and some thin gloves will go a long way towards staying warm if you're on deck or weather turns chilly.  Even hat and a sweatshirt can be pretty solid in cool weather

 

   .......(edited) (or if I insist on keeping the balcony door partially open so I could hear the narration while still outside).

 

 

18922804_10158801485235608_6904463255883908040_o.jpg

Glacier Bay Attire.JPG

 

 

Tip: as a courtesy to your fellow passengers, do not recommend leaving your balcony doors open as this will affect the HACV systems on the same circuit as your own.  I believe the onboard TV channel runs the narration if you are remaining in your cabin.

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4 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

Tip: as a courtesy to your fellow passengers, do not recommend leaving your balcony doors open as this will affect the HACV systems on the same circuit as your own.  I believe the onboard TV channel runs the narration if you are remaining in your cabin.

 

Thanks - Yeah I turned down the thermostat in the room while I had the door partially open (only a few inches) so I could hear the narration.  It was the reverse problem, they didn't have exterior speakers on/loud enough - so I was using the room TV narration to get an idea what was going on.  The extend of the "chilliness" in the room may have been exaggerated a little for humorous photography purposes.  😉

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We did the Amsterdam back in 2002 and found raining weather and VERY rough seas going North. Coming back to Seattle the same rough seas were riding much smoother. This next trip, we're going from Vancouver and doing the Yukon then Denali portion 1st and then sailing South back to Vancouver.

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4 hours ago, jb008 said:

Thanks - Yeah I turned down the thermostat in the room while I had the door partially open (only a few inches)

That doesn't make a difference to the cabins where the HVAC has been cut off, though. They still get no air movement when a balcony door is open.

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