Blog Post Holland America Ship
To say that I didn’t want to go would be an understatement. I fought my travel agent bestie, Courtney Fontenot, owner of Breezy Destination, the entire way. “I’ll be the youngest person there”, “there won’t be any Black people”, “it will be cold”, “I won’t have fun”, I whined. Boy am I HAPPY to say that I have never been more wrong (about mostly everything) in my entire life.
I had a blast and Holland America was an entire vibe. The service was outstanding and there were certain touches that made me feel good. Fresh flowers in the restaurants and all over the ship smelled amazing. Turn down service every night with chocolates and news for the next port. Information talks and one-on-one time with experts on wildlife and Alaskan history. Entertainment, including the Orange Party, at the BB King Blues Club. Recognizing my fellow cruisers, everyone was so friendly, and we had an absolute BLAST, regardless of age or color! Free of inhibitions, we DANCED!
Before going on this cruise, I took the time to complete training on the Holland America Cruise line and I learned that this is a company that actively seeks to engage a diverse community of travelers.
Holland America has created a safe and welcoming space for all ages and nationalities. I loved meeting so many of our neighbors to the North from Canada. And I absolutely loved the “girl power” and “gay pride” displayed on the ship and in the activities and in the crew members. It is very important to Glamma Travels that we operate in spaces where everyone is made to feel included and embraced.
The embarkation process was different than I’m used to in Miami or New Orleans as there was a lot of walking up and down to different places to check for different things, such as your Canada visa, passport, bio-metric photograph, luggage drop off, covid test check, etc. and then we were seated in a waiting room until the ship was ready to board everyone. Upon arrival on board the ship has already been cleaned and all the cabins are ready, there is no waiting on the lido deck, which I loved.
I shared an aft (back), port (left) side, verandah (balcony) with my travel agent bestie. We were pleased and happy with the size of the room and the set up. There was a couch. There was plenty of shelf and drawer space and room under the beds (we had 2 twins, but they can be combined for a queen) for our luggage. There were awesome Elemis toiletries (soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion) stocked in our bathroom, which was pleasantly large enough to shower in comfortably. The hot water was perfect. We did have to contact maintenance as our shower was draining slowly but they came up the next morning and fixed it for us with no problem. There was also a desk and chair with a mirror and ample outlets to charge electronics. Our balcony was the perfect size with 2 chairs and a bistro table. Our room came with a refrigerator, mini bar (additional charge), safe, and cute little wool blankets to snuggle into sitting on the balcony watching the amazing Alaska scenery float past.
It would seem as though you have everything you need in your room since 24-hour room service is included at no additional cost (I’m looking at you, cruises that charge to bring chicken wings), but let’s talk about dining and the food on board the Koningsdam.
First, you are served at ALL the stations in the buffet. That means there are no children (or anyone else) putting their hands where they shouldn’t be or touching things and contaminating them. You tell the server what you want, and they put it on a plate and hand it to you. I LOVED this! The food was good in the buffet and we ate there for lunch most days as it’s convenient and quick.
The main dining room serves tasty dishes with Culinary Council (their elite small group of chefs) recommendations that are often tailored to the port that you are visiting or have visited that day. You will enjoy personable service and prompt attention. We enjoyed the main dining room for breakfast when we didn’t order room service to experience on our balcony. A manager or team lead stopped by our table to inquire about our experience at every single restaurant we dined in.
We also dined in Canaletto’s, an Italian restaurant on board that is reasonably priced (less than $20) and provides exceptional service and upgraded dining ambiance. From the servers, the food presentation, the bar tenders, signature drink, to the welcome from the Maître D, everything made me want to dine in this restaurant more than once during my 7-day cruise.
The Tamarind (Indian-Asia fusion) restaurant set the bar even higher. From their signature cocktail to the tastefully elegant pageantry worn by the serving staff, I felt immersed in culture. The plates were artfully arranged, and the dining experience engaged every one of my senses. I was assaulted with fragrant smells, bursting flavors, visual works of art danced before my eyes. The textures and soft sounds encompassed the entire room and for 90 minutes my girlfriend and I just enjoyed our company and the people around us. Food is an important part of my vacation experience.
The one thing that I would change would be the number of late-night dining options. Mostly everything closes around 9pm. You can always find pizza and order room service, but it would be nice to find snacks and ice cream or sweets late at night on the lido deck. The ice cream machine is probably the thing I missed most when comparing cruises, so that says a lot.
Aside from the food, the cultural immersion in Alaska made this a special cruise for me. I enjoyed the EXC Talks that happened on the World Stage before every port or important place we visited. Our Cruise Director, Jamie, was very informative in teaching about the places we were about to visit so that we had a good idea of the local customs and culture. They also had National Park Service Rangers come on board to discuss wildlife and habitat. They spent time individually speaking with families and groups and they were open and honest about the changes that can be seen each year as the habitat changes and what that means for different species. This cruise provided lots of opportunities to learn and especially if you are interested in protecting this pristine piece of the world for further generations.
The Koningsdam is a ship built to showcase music. The music walk included BB King Blues Club (my favorite), Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard, Rolling Stone rock Room, Step One Dance Company, The World Stage, and BBC Earth in Concert. There is truly something for everyone and if you’re like me, more than one something. These shows are phenomenal. If you enjoy live music, you will enjoy spending time on this ship.
The Crow’s Nest was another pleasant surprise for me. I loved walking around and seeing the families putting together puzzles and playing games or curled up on a couch with binoculars. The oohs and ahhs of the collective as a spout was spotted and everyone rushes over to gaze lovingly at the beauty of nature. If we were lucky enough to see a breach, all the better for us! This is an experience that is truly indescribable.
The top of the ship closed, and the lido deck had uncrowded pools and hot tubs plentiful enough for families, friends, and couples to enjoy. The dive in movies at night and the burgers and fries with dive in sauce were tasty enough and seemed to be a big hit with the families that were on board. There were about 200 children sailing with a hair under 2,000 total people on board. It was a perfect ratio. The kids’ clubs seemed to keep all the children entertained and the parents seemed content and relaxed.
Overall, I enjoyed cruising with Holland America so much that I’m doing it again next year. I’m taking Pop-Pop on his first cruise to Alaska on board Holland America MS Eurodam, roundtrip from Seattle, Washington. I’m excited to see Glacier Bay National Park again next year and to see if it has changed much from last week. I’m excited to visit Sitka for the first time, and to spend time in Juneau and Ketchikan again. Mostly, I’m very pleased to be boarding another ship on the Holland America line to experience the surprisingly and amazingly refreshing uncrowded ship! I LOVE not being packed onto a ship and unable to find places to sit together comfortably. I’m looking forward to turn down service every evening and quiet elegance. I’m looking forward to seeing my Canadian friends and making new friends on board.
Now that we have semi-retired, and we have grandchildren, we realize that we worked hard our entire lives to get to this moment. This place in time where not everyone can go. We want unrivaled service and experiences. We are willing to pay a little more to have more space. We want to spend more time in the bay than the other ships are allowed to spend. We want to be able to sit on our balcony as the ship’s captain turns her around 180 degrees so that everyone gets the same amazing views.
Alaska shows us the beauty of death and life. The Glaciers cave and fall into the sea and the ice retreats and life is born. Green trees grow and berries feed the animals that find their way to the newly exposed land. Life keeps on living. Time doesn’t even slow down enough for you to truly grasp what you are experiencing. Realizing time is our most precious commodity and we are all walking towards our eventual demise, don’t you want to check off all of the important places on your list to visit? Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, but we’re going to book the cruise like it is, and you should too.
Glamma Travels to Alaska on Holland America Eurodam roundtrip from Seattle, Washington on Saturday, August 19, 2023. Go to our website Glamma Travels to Alaska to reserve your stateroom (get the balcony) today!