Subject: Alaskan Cruise on Holland America
My wife and I took an Alaskan cruise at the end of August last year on the Westerdam. We are both in our late forties and you would fit right in (age wise) on a Holland America boat. You should know that most of Holland America's boats that do Alaska are older and of the old ocean liner type ship rather than the new snazzy atrium fun ships that Carnival and Royal Carib are sailing. They are longer but smaller.

We can say that the service was fantastic. I have never felt so pampered. If I have a complaint about the line it was that the furnishings in the staterooms were very dated. Still that is a little thing. Also the food (for our tastes) was pretty bland, but we are into hot, hot, Mexican and Thai.

The one thing you will have to contend with in September is RAIN. Even in late August (in fact the people in Juneau and Skagway told us from July 4 on) there is nothing but rain. It rained our entire trip. Constantly. But we are from Seattle so it didn't bother us that much. And if you are from a hot climate it may be a welcome change come September.

If you do the round trip out of Vancouver you will probably stop in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchican. In Juneau we took the wildlife boat cruise to see whales, seals, sea lions and the like. All of those who signed up for anything that had to do with flying got cancelled due to weather and ended up spending the day just walking around Juneau in the rain. Not the best place to shop or eat.

Skagway is wonderful on the other hand. We took the train to the top of White Pass. It was incredible and the narrator/tour guide is outstanding. Make sure to do this. The town is wonderful and we can recommend it shopping and food here.

Ketchikan was OK but wouldn't go there again. Seen it once is enough. Check out the bird refuge. The eagles are super.

Holland America's shows and on board entertainment are kind of cheesy but fun. If you like to have fun, you will.

I would say the average age of the folks we cruised with was about 55-60. We were seated at a table for four at dinner (there were a bunch of those) with a couple in their seventies that were younger at heart than we are. We still keep in touch with them. (Just so you know--There are two dress-up nights on a seven day cruise.)

Hope you have a great time. Feel free to drop us a line for any other info.

Jim in Redmond WA