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  1. #1
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    Matthew, can you tell us more about the Alaska cruise?

    Was there any lecture about the landscape, flora and fauna of the region?

    How were the excursions?

    How many evacuation drills and at what time of day?

    Was the cruise noisy(shows, clubs, late pool parties...) or more sedate?

    Is there any way to skip the formal(s) dinner(s)?

    Were the viewing decks and elevators in convenient places and properly maintained?


    If anyone on the forum has taken an Alaska's cruise? Please share your experience, as well.
    Last edited by backpack; 12-20-2019 at 10:34 PM.

  2. #2
    TB Crew (we work here) MatthewR's Avatar
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    Okay, so, full disclosure my wife works for Holland America and I took a Holland America cruise, so take from that what you will.

    We took the 7 day cruise to Alaska late in the season (in fact it was the last one of the season that year) that went to Glacier Bay, Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC (not in that order). It was our first time going.

    To me, the real great thing about the Alaska Cruise was Glacier Bay. It's a beautiful piece of wilderness to just leasurely float through (I bought some binoculars for the trip and they were well worth it) and they brought a park ranger aboard that they broadcast via the ship's loudspeakers outside and via one of their audio channels via their entertainment system to speak about the areas we were sailing through and generally about the park. Before the ranger gave the tour they also had a great program in their hall about the indiginous people of the area that was given by a representative from the Huna Tlingit tribe as well as the aforementioned park ranger.

    There were definitely other presentations, they had a WildEarth presentations as well and they have presentations about each stopping point on the evening or morning prior to arrival though I never went to those so I'm not sure what exactly they cover and can't speak to them though I expect that they tend to lean more toward what there is to do while in town.

    I only took one excursion as it's not really what the cruise was about for me (I wanted to mostly relax and secondarily to see nature) and their costs can add up quickly but I liked the one I took and I heard others are good from friends (mostly also HAL personelle so again, take what you will). I specifically took the Whale Watching one, I believe out of Juneau, as we had never been whale watching before. Lots of whales seen as well as seals and sea lions on my trip as well as a little bit of history of the area. Otherwise I just explored the destinations on my own a little bit after researching what I wanted to go do before I boarded (since internet aboard is preventitively costly).

    I only recall 2 drills including the one at the beginning of the first day, and they were just after boarding and mid-morning (around 9 or 10 if I remember correctly) respectively.

    I didn't find the cruise noisy at all. The cruise I was on wasn't full though because it was later in the season and also Holland America tends to lean more on the older side with its demographics, so late pool parties and general rowdiness were not the norm. There are definitely areas that have later shows, I attended the BB King Club a couple of times later in the evening because the house band they had was just great. On the other hand I personally have hated Billboard On Board every time I've been aboard a HAL ship so I avoid it like the plague but YMMV.

    You can definitely skip formal dinners by not dining in the main dining area at night and just go to the buffet or order room service in but most dinners in the main dining room I just wore closed-toe shoes, a button-up shirt, and jeans so the requirements aren't super strict there, just a little less leasurely than the rest -- mostly just not flip-flops and board shorts. I definitely had dinner in the buffet area or got room service instead on a couple occassions but I was partial to the main dining hall's menu selection so I went there more than I expected to. I'm also a fan of the Tamarind restaurant on board speaking of dining, though you do have to make reservations and pay for that one (it's fairly reasonable though, I think like $15). Regarding the actual Formal Night (on a 7 day, there is only one formal night, haven't been on a longer but I think there's more or less one per week) you are required to wear nicer clothes when in public areas but not like a tuxedo or anything crazy. I wore a pair of slacks and a blazer and my wife wore a dress she sometimes wears to work events or parties with a couple of accessories to the dinner.

    I found the elevators and viewing decks convenient and there wasn't a time that I thought any area of the ship wasn't clean enough, it seemed well-maintained to me. During the Glacier Bay tour they opened up an area at the bow/front of the ship to customers to go out and take a closer look (it's otherwise closed off to all but staff), otherwise there's are good viewing areas near the bow but a few floors up where the outdoor pool is, at the stern/rear in and above the bar in the back (the Crow's Nest is what it's called and I think that's consistent on all HAL ships). There also public outdoor areas on both sides of the ship on a couple floors. If you have anything but an interior or obstructed room, you have a private balcony with a view as well and I more time aboard there than anywhere else if I'm being perfectly honest.

  3. #3
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    Thanks so much Matthew, all the info are really helpful!

    Is there a way to skip formal night by staying in the cabin and order room service?

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