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Holland America Amsterdam
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From Trip From Seattle, Alaska, United States
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Two Newbies at Cruising Felt at Home.
March 12, 2012
Best of IgoUgo
We selected our cruise because we wanted to round trip from Seattle were we could leave our car. This cruise lasted 14 days and there wasn't a bad day the whole trip.When we boarded we were directed to our stateroom deck and our steward Bambang met ...
We selected our cruise because we wanted to round trip from Seattle were we could leave our car. This cruise lasted 14 days and there wasn't a bad day the whole trip.
When we boarded we were directed to our stateroom deck and our steward Bambang met us and guided us through the newness of on-board living. His partner Nanang became a reliable friend also throughout our cruise. The fun part of their 24/7- 11 month long work schedule was the towel animals. We had a new animal each night waiting on the bed when we came home for the night.
The room was long and narrow. Very limited walkway at the foot of the bed. The bed itself was large and very comfortable.The bathroom was well equiped and well stocked. Use caution with adjusting the shower water heat setting. I know of some tourists who showered cold for most of the trip. Ask the steward for help! A small couch with coffee table in the sittingroom served us well, especially when we ordered room service. On the other side of the room was a desk-dresser combination. We had a TV, that had varing degrees of reception. My husband really was captivated by the station that showed a map with indications of where we were, how deep the water was and ETA. We both highly recommend you pony up for a balcony room. We spent lots of time out there. Enjoyed watching docking and embarkation from there, enjoyed views of the Midnight sun, looked for whales, dolphins, icebergs, eagles and glaciers from there. Well worth the extra money.
Down the hall from us I found a laundry, very handy. A word of warning, everyone on board considers at sea days to be laundry days. I would do mine early or late on in port days. Another convience is on-board medical staff. We didn't need them but I saw lots of folks with behind the ear motion-sickness patches.
Shops on board are limited. We wanted to buy snacks, but found that limited to Pringles. Other shops had logo wear, diamonds, high ticket jewelry and objects of art. And we learned the hard way, they are not open when the cruise ship is in port.
By the way, we did have a lifeboat drill before leaving the port of Seattle. We knew where to go, how to get there and where to pick up life vests on the way. There are vests in our stateroom, but you don't want to go back there during an emergency, so figure out where the general stash is.
Entertainment is varied. The singers and dancers were professional and presented good shows. We didn't seek out the bar musicians, trivia contests or the cooking demonstrations. I did attend a couple of movies, and my advice there is to go early. There were some presentations on the history and geography of the area that were worth attending. I will never go to another shopping seminar. All they told you about were the high end jewelry stores that are usually located within walking distance of the pier. We walked by those and found native art stores, bookstores and general tourist shops.
We were assigned seating in the large dining room. We ate there twice and than retreated to the Lido deck and pool side grill for our remaining meals. The dining room had 3 formal nights...tux or suits for guys and sequins and bugle beads for ladies. We avoided those but lot of people like that. What we didn't like in the formal dining room was: too much food, and you are trapped at the table through all courses even if you only want the main course. Also sharing a table with strangers that were as boring as we are. Very akward. On the Lido Deck we may share a table with others, but for only short periods of time and at the small tables they seem more casual and share information about on shore activities. We felt at home there. The Lido food is buffet style and I was able to hop from station to station picking up just what I needed. I had a choice of selections and quantity. The only station that was lack-luster was the desert counter. I suspect we were getting the leftovers from the main room. Either that or Holland America just has blah desserts. The poolside grill offered burgers, taco fixings, pizza, and salad bar. All the food is free, but booze and pop and bottled water is not. We spent a lot of money on bottled water in two weeks. Be prepared.
Front desk staff were very helpful...we had room keys that got demagnitized. On-shore excursion desk staff were helpful, but not always staffed. There was a photography gallery were you could select photos of yourself to buy....or not.
When we were in port we left the ship by gang plank, either to a tender or to a dock. If it was a dock, the gang placement changed throughout the day. In some ports the tide caused a 30 foot difference. The crew had to scramble to change the gang to accomodate. At times it was very steep. If you are mobility impaired, seek out help to get you up the steep grades.
I really liked Holland America and now have a gold standard to compare other cruiselines.
Alaska: US's 49th and 49th for us.
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