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415wcl

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam June 8th-15th 2019 Alaska Cruise Review

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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. 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Cruise Critic.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write your review.

 

Glad you enjoyed your cruise.  We have been to Alaska quite a few times and loved it.

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Glad you enjoyed. Thank you for posting. How was your day in Glacier Bay?  

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Welcome to CC and we are glad you enjoyed your cruise. We are sailing to Alaska next month on the Noordam for cruise land tour. Thank you for your review. 

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4 hours ago, LF23 said:

Glad you enjoyed. Thank you for posting. How was your day in Glacier Bay?  

 

Thanks! Glacier Bay was good. While cruising Glacier Bay there was a broadcast over the ship speakers giving background info on it. Apparently the area has been hit hard by global warming and not as grand as it used to be. 😥

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Posted (edited)

We are from San Francisco also and getting on the same boat on Friday! We are always hesitant to fly the day of embarkation so are flying in on Thursday and staying near the terminal. We will be mid-ship deck 6. Appreciate the review and tips about the restaurants gym. 

 

Were you happy with the travel company you picked? Any idea how much you saved on the price? What kind of perks did they offer? (OBC etc.)

Edited by zentraveler

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30 minutes ago, zentraveler said:

We are from San Francisco also and getting on the same boat on Friday! We are always hesitant to fly the day of embarkation so are flying in on Thursday and staying near the terminal. We will be mid-ship deck 6. Appreciate the review and tips about the restaurants gym. 

 

Were you happy with the travel company you picked? Any idea how much you saved on the price? What kind of perks did they offer? (OBC etc.)

 

Costco was okay. We booked a couple months out. Initially we had inside rooms but I was checking back pretty frequently to see if the prices changed. The fare dropped pretty significantly between the time we booked and the departure.  Took two tries (first Costco agent wasn't very helpful)  but we got the room upgrades on the second try. We got the standard onboard credit Costco offers all its customers.

 

If i were to do it again I would book my trip later and only put down a deposit and not pay in full until the last possible moment.

 

Hope you have a nice cruise!

 

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Our friends are currently on the NA this week!  They did a balcony guarantee and lucked out on deck 5 just aft of mid ship and did the happy dance!  

 

Her husband was really looking forward to Skagway.  

 

Thanks for  your review.  We love Alaska cruising but haven’t done it for a few years now. Even then we noticed the difference with global warming from one year to another.  

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2 hours ago, canadianbear said:

Our friends are currently on the NA this week!  They did a balcony guarantee and lucked out on deck 5 just aft of mid ship and did the happy dance!  

 

Her husband was really looking forward to Skagway.  

 

Thanks for  your review.  We love Alaska cruising but haven’t done it for a few years now. Even then we noticed the difference with global warming from one year to another.  

 

Thanks! Skagway and the White Pass Railroad was by far my favorite part of the trip. I would definitely recommend checking it out if they haven't. 

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Thank you for reviewing your cruise.

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic.

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On 6/24/2019 at 9:55 AM, 415wcl said:

 

Costco was okay. We booked a couple months out. Initially we had inside rooms but I was checking back pretty frequently to see if the prices changed. The fare dropped pretty significantly between the time we booked and the departure.  Took two tries (first Costco agent wasn't very helpful)  but we got the room upgrades on the second try. We got the standard onboard credit Costco offers all its customers.

 

If i were to do it again I would book my trip later and only put down a deposit and not pay in full until the last possible moment.

 

Hope you have a nice cruise!

 

 

 Thanks for this information. We got some not very attractive upgrade  offers, but my husband was very dedicated to keeping an inside room so we could sleep well given the light at the time of the year. But really helpful to hear people’s experiences with various booking sites.

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Posted (edited)

Here are some of the pics I took if anyone is interested. 

 

Upside down tree in Juneau:

IMG_0760.thumb.JPG.733ee4f2ada3327a0a5186bdbc1e1425.JPG

 

Juneau from terminal:

IMG_0711.thumb.JPG.187ea6521df40b55fff5c393879a412c.JPG

 

Mendenhall Glacier:

IMG_0888.JPG

 

Nieuw Amsterdam in Skagway:

IMG_0953.JPG

 

White Pass Rail:

IMG_1041.JPG

 

View of Skagway from stateroom:

IMG_1094.JPG

 

Welcome to Ketchikan:

IMG_1350.JPG

 

Creek Street in Ketchikan:

IMG_1337.JPG

 

Edited by 415wcl
added captions

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