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Amsterdam - Alaska - June/July 2004

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:) Amsterdam Alaska-


We had a really good time, just returned June/July 2004. Very nice ship, we had a verandah, and it was wonderful. Especially great when watching the glaciers and we actually saw a gigantic piece of ice fall from a glacier in Glacier Bay. Actually we saw two. On one of our excursions we saw two kinds of whales, lots of them, and eagles. This was the first time for Sitka and we loved it, also Ketchikan is fun to tour. At Juneau we took a whale and wildlife quest; At Sitka a submersible and it wasn't worth much; Ketchikan we took a horse and buggy tour of the city and a Duck Boat tour which featured another city tour and then went out into the water for a waterfront tour. There is so much to see at Ketchikan and so little time. And finally, at Victoria visited Butchart Gardens for the first time. This was in the evening and featured fireworks. I had never seen Butchart Gardens and agree with the world that they are lovely. There were four cruise ships docked at Victoria and a million people at Butchart. Wish we had more time at Ketchikan and Victoria.


The ship - Amsterdam: I have cruised twice before with HAL and at those times the level of service was outstanding. I was disappointed this time with the dining room service, I wish we had had the early/upper, however early/lower did give us time to get to the showroom before the crowds. The level of service in the dining room at lunchtime was not so great. Overall the food wasn't as good as I thought it should have been. My lobster seemed to be undone, first time ever I have noticed this. The ship felt crowded even though it held lesser people. Our room steward (veranda suite) was adequate. We chose HAL because we expected fewer of the younger set. Many teens, toddlers and infants. Infants! I don't understand taking an infant and a toddler to a Las Vegas show and sit in the front row. Very noisy with all of those youngen's. On one of our bus tours the toddler screamed for half an hour, so loudly it was impossible to hear the narration. A nine year old won the BINGO jackpot of almost $3,900.00. Ouch! Isn't that illegal? We didn't mind the tip surcharge, we thought it fair. We gave an additional, small amount, to our room steward and dining room waiter.


One plus, and we saw Princess doing this as well. In order to disembark we chose the Express (X), and were able to walk off of the ship, with our luggage in tow, at 7:20 A.M.


We are trying HAL again, next year. If we don't find the "difference" we will probably go back to Princess, with whom we have already cruised ten times, and with that a Platinum reward, and that means free Internet (not so with HAL). Or back to NCL, a line we found to be very nice, and not quite as expensive. HOLLAND AMERICA ARE YOU READING THIS!

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