Alaska Journals

Shipping to Alaska Aboard the Ryndam

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A September 2001 trip to Alaska by sasha1

Ryndam Verandah Photo, Stowe, Vermont More Photos
Quote: The intent of this Alaska journal is to focus on the SS Ryndam and our cruise to Alaska. After reading a few journals I realized that Alaska may be someone's first cruise so decided to dedicate a journal just to the cruising experience good and bad.

Shipping to Alaska Aboard the Ryndam

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Overview

View from the Crow's Nest Photo, Alaska, United States
Quote:
Unlike some other cruises our main goal was to see as much of Alaska as possible at all times so we chose to pay more for a verandah mini-suite. This decision was well worth the added premium especially as the weather was quite chilly and rainy at times. We were able to duck into the warm cabin and out on the verandah at will. There is so much to do onboard ship that no one should ever be bored. From dining to gambling, duty free shopping to facials, dancing to exercise, naturalists and native talks to art auctions there's something to appeal to everyone. One of the best parts of a cruise is getting to know others and the best place to do that for me is at dinner. Although some ch...Read More

SS Ryndam

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Hotel

Ryndam Verandah Photo, Stowe, Vermont
Quote:
Choosing a verandah mini suite was one of the best decisions we made. We also insisted on a starboard suite which allowed us a view of most towns during our stay and first viewing up close of sights along the way. Our suite had a very comfortable queen size bed (request an extra blanket if you''re the chilly sort) and a small sitting area. The bathroom included a jacuzzi tub (read minitub and the jets in all the wrong places). Water onboard is conserved but the shower was miserly just the same. Directions were lacking regarding how to use the bath''s many dials and knobs and required experimentation. One very nice touch were the bathrobes provided with the cabin. One less thing to t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 23, 2001

SS Ryndam- Lido Deck

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Restaurant

Quote:
The Lido deck had a large cafeteria style dining room open most of the day for those who choose not to "dress up". Aside from the dining room, a hot dog/taco stand was also available. We visited several times particularly when we touched base back at the ship between adventures in port. The Lido also has tables and chairs around the perimeter (shielded from the wind) and one of the two swimming pools on the ship so it was a natural place for people to congregate and relax during the day. During the rough seas the kids literally could body surf in the pool while parents relaxed. Overall we had excellent experiences at the Lido dining room despite carrying trays around. The food was fr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 24, 2001

Quote:
When you need to be on deck and ready to go early in the morning, indulge in room service for breakfast. The Alaska cruise wasn't made for late sleepers if you plan to get out there and see the sights. Be sure to fill out the request/menu card left in your room the night before. Breakfast was on time, hot and allowed us to start the day relaxed and with nice big pots of coffee and tea at our leisure. No crowds and plenty of time to share the bathroom without rushing. The portions are more than adequate. After the first day we learned to share one omelette and order of fresh fruit and it was plenty. The pots of coffee and tea were jealously guarded however, there is only so much sh...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 24, 2001

SS Ryndam -Rotterdam Room

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Restaurant

SS Ryndam Photo, Alaska, United States
Quote:
I never had a bad meal aboard the Ryndam but I never had an excellent one either. Considering the practicalities of serving so many people on a ship I'm not critical and think they did a good job. If you are expecting a five star experience it won't happen. Although the menu choices are inviting you have to accept the limitations of the task. Think of it as the Disney World of gourmet dining. But this is the chance to experiment and order foods you may have hesitated to order before. Caviar?- Enjoy but keep in mind that if you think you like it you may want to try it again in another environment. The waitstaff are willing to accomodate your wishes, as for one of our table mates...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 23, 2001

Quote:
Classes are offered for those who want instruction about the various gaming opportunities. I usually play blackjack but after a few go rounds decided to stick to the machines. ($.25-$5.00) What can I say? I really felt uncomfortable with the table dealers. Overall they appeared to be disinterested and it just took away from the usual give and take of table games interaction. One of the great things about being aboard ship is you quickly meet people and we camped out at the slot machines. The video poker had really bad odds. All progressive machines I don't remember anyone doing well. Located the "Spin Til You Win" types of video slot machines and exchanged tips with fello...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 23, 2001

Dance the Night Away Photo, Alaska, United States
Quote:
There are eight bars and lounges on the Ryndam with live music from country to classical. The best place for dancing was the Crow's Nest which had a nightly live band playing various types of dance music and has plenty of comfortable seating for those who just want to relax with friends. The band sticks mostly with old standards from the 60's and 70's but detoured into country line dancing and even a couple polkas and salsa. The band wasn't the best but we had a lot of fun. Before and after dinner our favorite place was the Piano Bar near the Rotterdam Restaurant. A nightly ensemble played wonderful classical music. The cello player was truly gifted and the lounge became more and m...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 25, 2001

Oh It Feels So Good!

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Oh my. Not my usual thing. I was urged, coerced, and gentled into going to the ship spa for a massage. I don't participate in this kind of thing- but ok. Grudgingly I trudged to the beauty salon and announced I wanted to make an appointment. I was told the best deal was to take advantage of "port days" because many people would be off ship and specials would be offered. Reprieved I trudged back and made an agreement that I would make an attempt to relax in this most uncomfortable mode at the next opportunity. The time came. Best of the Spa Sampler. Keeping my agreement and less than enthusiastic I set an appointment after our hiking tour. Oh my. Oh my. A Co...Read More
Debarking  Photo, Alaska, United States
Quote:
Okay - this is just me speaking here, (on the other hand - this is my soapbox) I have no idea why I have to be subjected to photo taking while embarking, disembarking or otherwise. Yes, I realize this is a rhetorical statement but please, please make this optional without making me push over the poor person stuffed into the wet eagle suit. They can't possibly enjoy this any more than I - stop this! Or at least make it optional for those more tolerant or wind resistant. Provide a by-pass lane for weary, worn and wrinkled travelers who are not at their best. I am not at my best after flying twelve hours cross country and standing in lines for a couple more. I am not happy - I am tired. My fea...Read More
Quote:
I had never been aboard the HAL before so I was really impressed with the "No Tips" policy. Tipping aboard ship is always rather tricky. Who do I tip and how much and if I only use the service of the wine steward once but I eat dinner in the Rotterdam room every night what do I tip? Forget about it. At our last dinner we sat with our tablemates with varying experience from 3 to over 17 cruises and tried to come up with an appropriate tipping policy - because regardless of what the HAL promotions tell you, there is a lot of pressure to tip. The ongoing phrase now is "although the HAL has a no tipping policy the people who have served you have gone above and beyond just because they like you so ...Read More