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mcgahrec

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  1. A review of the 7 night Inside Passage Alaska cruise aboard the MS Volendam 24/07/2019 – 31/07/2019 I found this forum really helpful before we took this cruise so thought that I would compile a review as it might help someone else. I really enjoyed Oakman58’s recent review too and it was just being published before I started this cruise. My husband and I decided to celebrate our honeymoon with 3 nights at the Calgary Stampede, 9 nights driving through the Rockies staying in Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff prior to our final week on the cruise through the inside passage. It was both our first time to Canada and it was amazing. Just fabulous scenery, atmosphere and friendly people. We spent nearly every day in the Rockies hiking of some sort, so the cruise was the rest and relaxation component to the honeymoon. We were first time cruisers. I had a friend here in Perth who had done this exact cruise 2 years previous and loved it so that was the main reason we chose to go with HAL for our first cruise. We decided to go for the Neptune Suite (I know I know quite possibly ruining future cruising experiences!) and had the explore 4 package thing which included $200 on board credit and a Pinnacle grill dinner and the signature beverage package. I looked up this forum for advice on rooms and a lady on Trip Advisor that regularly responds on forum posts about HAL over there. We went with 7028 on the port side. Embarkation day We flew from Calgary to Vancouver and were booked in to stay at the Four Seasons which included “transfers” from the airport and to the ship. All this meant was a woman with a clip board accompanying us from the baggage carousel to the taxi queue and giving us a taxi voucher to get us to the hotel (obviously if we had of known that we would have sorted it ourselves). Once we checked in to the Four Seasons, we were given another taxi voucher to get to the terminal the next day. We were advised to board at our leisure from 10am. That afternoon in Vancouver I raided Sephora for products you can’t get here, and we picked up wine to bring on board and a few other bits we wanted. We then explored Gastown for dinner. The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel (not included in the package) and headed for the cruise terminal for about 11.15AM. The Four Seasons was a nice enough hotel. Very expensive I think it was around the $400 mark, we were booked into a standard room but were upgraded to a high-level corner room with city views when we checked in. The PanPacific was more expensive at the time we booked according to my T.A. I had been advised to not bother boarding until nearer 2pm but we were both excited to get onboard and explore and suss the place out. We had a straightforward boarding process from dropping our bags off to checking in and clearing customs; we were in our room by mid-day. Stateroom 7028 Our first impression of the suite was just WOW its huge. There was a bottle of sparkling wine on ice just above the mini bar which is included in the Neptune suite package. Next to that was the Nespresso machine. The mirrored cabinets had glasses and some crockery for use. The suite just has so much storage and space it was great. There were drawers everywhere. The mini dressing room area with the mirrored wardrobes was great for extra space so as not to clog up the bathroom but we found the bathroom to be of a decent size. The shower was amazing. The bath had jets in it, but it was quite small, we never ended up using it. A tip I had from here was to use the toiletry bags that hang to save on bench space and that was useful but there are three shelves on one side of the sink that can be used to store toiletries and a long shelf beneath the sink to tuck things away. The bathroom was the only place that had good light for doing your makeup. The dressing room area was dark yellow light. In the bedroom the mirrors behind the bed were kind of smoked. The hair dryer supplied was terrible – just the travel size one that is normally thrown in for free when you buy a good hairdryer or hair straightener. That was disappointing. There was one plug point (for normal voltage) in the dressing room area so you could plug in other appliances. The other single plug point was by the bed where the Bose unit was. Again, another tip from here was to bring a power board which we used here. The TV was pretty old school and the picture was never clear, but not that big a deal for us as we weren’t there to watch TV but it’s a bit unusual in this day and age. Might be challenging for those with children. When we went out to the balcony there was still a plate with left over dessert on it.. which indicated to us then that the balcony hadn’t been cleaned at all from the previous passengers that morning. At that point our two stateroom stewards called in to introduce themselves. They were both Balinese, so we got chatting straight away, it’s our go to quick getaway holiday destination here on the west coast so we have been many times and knew the areas they were from. We mentioned the plate on the balcony, so they were quick to sort that out while we headed off to the Neptune lounge to meet the concierge. The concierge welcomed us in and introduced herself. We got straight onto making reservations for dinner as we had gone with open dining. We asked for a table for two by a window after some discussions around which floor was open dining and fixed. The Gala nights were for the next night and the Sunday the day where we were going to be in Glacier Bay, so we booked in the MDR for 7:45pm for all the sea days and gala nights and the Ketchikan day where we were leaving port at 6pm. She said there was no guarantee of the tables but that they would try to accommodate us. We booked the Pinnacle grill for our last night on the ship. We had a coffee in the lounge – the coffee in there was very good. Finding good coffee in Canada had been a major challenge of our trip thus far so this was great bonus. We decided not to eat anything there at this point. There was a small Bain Marie which had little sandwich rolls, salad plates and sushi and then another sideboard of dessert plates and biscuits. The lounge is fairly small, one dining room size table for six, one for two people and then two sets of couches and chairs. From there we headed off to explore and get our bearings. We went up a deck and found the spa and gym, so we took a tour. My first impression was that the gym was a good size and well equipped with resistance machines as well as cardio equipment. There are probably 6 cross trainers, 3 bikes, 2 rowers and 6 treadmills around the perimeter facing out to sea with weight machines in the centre and a free weights area off to one side. The far side of the room had floor space for the various classes scheduled for the week. The Spa tour went through some of their treatments and specials for the week. We then got to the thermal suite. We had pre-purchased a couples pass for the week. They told us again that they only give away 20 passes for the week, so it won’t be too crowded (more on that later). There are only 5 loungers and one spa pool that would comfortably fit one couple. There is so much wasted floor space in that room where they could have either had more loungers or a much bigger jacuzzi/mineral bath. We booked in for 75minute massage package for the next morning. We then went through different bars and food options on deck 4 and 5. The Lido was serving lunch that day and we hadn’t eaten yet so decided to try it out.. and that was the last time we ate at the lido all week haha. It was chaos. Lots of people don’t know how to queue and the wait staff didn’t appear able to keep up with clearing the tables and resetting them again. There were two sides to the restaurant but appeared to be serving the same food on both sides. I wouldn’t be keen on buffets anyway, but this was hard work. We ate outside where it was quieter. We headed back to the room and the luggage had been delivered, I think this was around 2pm. We unpacked (I was dying to do this after moving around every 3 days prior to this). We headed back to the lido pool area and had a drink there, testing out our signature beverage package cards! The weather was good in Vancouver that day, the sun was out. We explored the rest of that deck and went up another level to the sports courts and walked around the deck. The spa was having a draw for $500 credit at 4.30pm so we decided to go there for that as you had to be present to win. We were out of luck so headed back to the sea view pool to take in leaving Vancouver. It was quite lively out there with music and special cocktails. Everyone taking pictures and chatting. We headed for our own balcony then for awhile to just enjoy the scenery as we sailed out of Vancouver. There was a cocktail party in the Neptune lounge that evening from 6.30pm. Our dinner reservation for the first night was 7pm so we only had a half hour to mingle in the lounge. It was quiet in the half hour we were there with guests from 4 staterooms. We got chatting to a nice couple from Vancouver with 250+ sea days celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary. They gave us a good run down on the ins and outs of the ship to get the best out of it and the Neptune suite so that was cool. There was a bit of a line up at the MDR, but we were at the top in a minute and we were led to our table. We were thrilled we were on a two-top right at the window at the back of the ship. This ended up being the table given to us every night we dined in the MDR just the two of us. The waiter and sommelier were really good and attentive. We found the service in the MDR to be really attentive. I can’t remember now what we had but I know we enjoyed all of our meals in the MDR. Once or twice my husband chose the fish dish and found it to be a bit on the blander side but overall, we would give our evening meals a solid 8/10. We had the signature beverage package and found there were quite a few options for nice wine in the $11 and under price range including a French Cotes de Provence Rose and Chilean Sauv Blanc. We ended up in the Crow’s Nest that night for a few more after dinner but had a relatively early night having had quite a few drinks over the day. When we got back to the room, they had spread rose petals all over the bed and floor and made two swans out of the towels in a love heart. Leaving Canada Place. 25/07/2019 Cruising the Inside Passage We had a couple’s massage book for ~10am. We both woke up pretty dusty after the wines so gratefully hit the Neptune lounge coffee machine for a fix when we woke up. We could have used the machine in the room, but we were only 3 doors down from the lounge and the coffees were so good there. The lounge has food available all day long. They had mini servings of bircher muesli every morning, so I grabbed two of those to enjoy with coffee on the balcony before heading to the Pinnacle Grill. There were pastries, muffins, fruit, yogurt and other light breakfast items in the morning. As part of the Neptune suite you get to have breakfast in the PG between 8am and 9.30am. The menu is huge, and you can order as much or as little as you want. They would start you off with coffee/tea and offer mimosas or juice and then a selection of pastries while you were waiting for the breakfast. This first day I think I had a smoked salmon eggs benedict which was great. Service was pretty good in here as there are a limited number of guests. We went for the couple’s massage then which was 75mins of bliss particularly as we were a bit hungover! We used the thermal suite afterwards and had the jacuzzi to ourselves for 10-15mins and then used the loungers to relax for a while. Later during the day there was a knock at the door and Bagus delivered us a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a note from the cruise director wishing us a happy honeymoon which was a nice gesture. That evening was the first Gala night. Fresh flower corsages were included for us which was nice. The concierge took some pictures for us and we went to the Ocean bar for pre-dinner drinks. The chairs by the window are comfortable here with great views, we liked going here before dinner for a drink. We both dressed up, I was in heels and a cocktail dress and himself had a dinner jacket on. We got quite a few comments – people asking us if we were on honeymoon etc! I think we must have stood out a bit with the corsages and I would say less than 25% of the people I seen that evening were wearing suits or cocktail/evening dresses. The only tuxedo’s I saw were a few gentlemen I recognised from the Neptune suites. We got chatting to the couple we met on the first night and they said that people tend not to dress up for the gala night anymore. We went in for dinner at 7:45pm and were escorted to the table we had the previous evening which we loved. Teddy and the sommelier Ivan were straight over with menus and taking our orders. I can’t remember exactly what was on the menu, but I know we enjoyed it. We were probably closer to 10pm by the time we got up to the Crow’s nest on the top deck. They tended to have a DJ on at that time and happy hour. The place really filled up and the dance floor was busy. We got chatting to two other couples travelling together from NZ and Canada and ended up on the dance floor with them, it was some craic altogether. I don’t think we finished up until near 2am that night. I vaguely remember getting back to the room and there being an elephant on the bed and as it was gala night there were truffle chocolates left out for us with the when and where fold out for the next day. 26/07/2019 Juneau 1pm – 10pm. At about 10am a small boat pulled up alongside to collect passengers heading off on the Tracy Arm Inlet Excursion. We had ordered room service for that morning. Like the day before I grabbed coffees and some small bircher mueslis from the lounge. Room service arrived; everything was still hot. I went with salmon again, but the other half had gone with the steak which was just huge. When we docked our side of the ship was facing out to sea which was nice. There were 3 other ships docked in port. We arrived early about 12pm. We had a small lunch in the Neptune lounge (every day there were several salads, mini sandwich rolls, sushi etc we never had lunch at any of the restaurants other than here) They announced people could get off about 12:45pm. We had booked Harv and Marv’s whale watching tour independently after researching tours online and were due to be collected at 1:30pm so we decided to go have a wander through town. There was nothing appealing about Juneau. Jewellery shop after jewellery shop. We headed off on the tour bus then as planned just after 1:30pm. Only 10 people were on the small boat which was great for being able to see at all times and for taking pictures. We got quite a show and seen 6 whales and some seals. The bus drive on the way back stopped at a bridge with a nice view of the glacier with wildflowers in the foreground. We also seen numerous eagles and stopped for better pictures. We had initially planned to go up on the cable car/gondola for a look out over Juneau and do the walk from the gondola up to the peak but decided against it in the end. Earlier that day we pre ordered room service off the MDR menu to arrive at 6.45pm, to save time having to change for the MDR. Our intention was to eat on board in the room and then head back into town for another walk around and maybe a drink in one of the local bars. As we were quite underwhelmed with Juneau, we enjoyed a lovely 3 course meal on our veranda and the sunset as we departed. Impressive display by the humpback whales on our tour with Harv and Marv. Views from our veranda. 27/07/2019 Skagway 7am – 9pm. Due to the warm weather early in the season the musher camps were closed the first week of July on the glaciers and the excursions were cancelled. You could still do a helicopter flight seeing trip with a walk around on the glacier. We had both done proper glacier flightseeing and hikes in New Zealand previously so were happy to find something else to do. The appeal was to see the huskies. Instead we hired a car and drove the Klondike highway ourselves. We hired the car through Avis in Skagway. I think it was about $160US for the day including insurance. Most of the cruise ship tours involve getting on the train with a stop at Caribou crossing which is a very fake tourist set up from what we seen (and going by reports from a couple of passengers we spoke to that evening who did the tour, the organised lunch was meant to be awful which I also read on a recent review on here). We went to see Emerald Lake and made a stop at the Yukon suspension bridge just to have a look. I think they charged $20pp person to walk across it. It wasn’t that amazing a feat to see really. Our day of driving was a mixture of overcast rain and minor sunshine, so I don’t think we got to see it at its best. We went off the beaten track a bit though down Tagish road to the Southern Lakes resort and restaurant. I am so glad we did; we were the only people there and had one of the cheapest (during our 3-week trip) but most lovely lunches. There are quite a few walks around there and they have canoes and kayaks for rent. This part is back in the Canadian Yukon. It’s funny it was probably one of the things we liked best about the Alaskan cruise was the day we drove back into Canada. We left Skagway in the car about 9.30am and got back around 4pm. Before leaving that morning on our way to Avis we had a look around town and went to get a coffee in one of the cafes. The wait staff were dressed up in clothes from the mid 1800’s. I don’t understand why that would be appealing to tourists, just seemed very fake to us and unnecessary. We headed up to the spa for a quick dip in the Jacuzzi and then called into the Crow’s nest for a drink before getting ready for dinner. It was meant to be a takeaway drink, but we got chatting to an Australian couple we met in Jasper. The Crow’s nest is a great spot during the day for the views with plenty of seats by the windows, not just for the late-night drinks. We had dinner reserved that night in the MDR for 7:45pm and were still seated when we departed Skagway at 9pm. https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Southern+Lakes+Resort+%26+Restaurant/@60.2796092,-134.6510264,10.54z/data=!4m11!1m2!2m1!1sreastaurants+along+tagish+road!3m7!1s0x0:0xc2ac86414a634f32!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d60.1646571!4d-134.3760967 http://*****/ The suspension bridge Emerald lake Views over southern lakes – down Tagish road Volendam in Skagway 28/07/2019 – Glacier Bay 8am – 6pm We ordered room service breakfast again and by this stage discovered the baked honeyed ham. This was a winner on the breakfast menu for us. We ate breakfast around 9am on the veranda, the temperature hadn’t quite dropped yet as we were only starting into Glacier bay. Fast forward to 10:30am and we had beanies and jackets on. They open the bow of the ship when in Glacier bay. We went down there for a little while and they brought out pea and ham soup for everyone. Really tasty. There is a Glacier bay national park guide on the ship describing the glaciers and points of interest over the tannoy and it was also played through the tv in the room. We headed back to our veranda then as we had just as good views of the glaciers from there and it was less crowded. The when and where had approximate times listed for when we would be passing key glaciers so that was useful to make sure you didn’t miss anything. We used the gym in the afternoon and the thermal suite afterwards. It was quite busy. The spa pool was freezing though. We let one of the staff members know and then a few of them came in and out testing the temperature. It was another 30minutes or so before they said oh its broken, we will have to get someone to look at it. We had afternoon tea ordered to the room for about 3pm. This was a plate of sandwiches, some quiches and then small deserts. It was a nice novelty. They have afternoon tea daily in the MDR too. From about 4pm onwards the Neptune lounge changes over the food to cold entrees, things like crab mayonnaise and bread, chips, dips, olives etc. We got some of these about 6pm while we were getting ready for dinner. The second gala night was scheduled for that evening. New passengers boarded in Skagway the day before. The concierge in the lounge gave us corsages again (apparently you get them for just one of your gala nights and because there were new passengers on board there were corsages ordered for them and she had some spare). We went for pre-dinner drinks in the ocean bar and were seated at our usual table in the MDR. That night during dinner we seen humpback whales which was a real treat. Dinner was fabulous, surf and turf sort of affair. After the dessert they brought out cake for us with Happy Anniversary written on it (I guess they meant honeymoon ha) and a few of the waiters gathered round to sing while they presented it, it was a nice touch, but we were mildly embarrassed! We met our new friends again later that night in the Crow’s Nest for after dinner drinks. When we got back to our room two truffles were left with the when and where for the next day. The seagulls came so close to the balconies and clearly were used to getting food. There was a family 2 doors down from us who were annoyingly letting their children feed them from their hands! 29/07/2019 – Ketchikan 10am – 6pm We had breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill and organised to join our friends for dinner that evening in the MDR. The instant messenger on the navigator app was handy for messaging people without needing the paid internet so we were able to communicate with our friends for dinner plans or meeting for a drink. We had planned to do the Deer Mountain Trail, but it was really overcast and spitting rain, so we were not overly enthused. On a clear day you can get amazing views apparently. We caught the local bus instead to the Totem Bight national park. The bus service is hourly. There is a guide map to the meaning of the Totem poles but even taking your time to read them all and stop at each one you are done in 30mins max. We walked around the shoreline a little and then got the bus back to town, which was an experience in itself in terms of people watching. We hopped back on board to grab some lunch in the lounge and then went off again for a wander to see the salmon trying to get upstream and a wander through Creek Street. It was nice to see this, and it is quite a colourful town but still quite touristy. Probably our favourite port of the 3 stops. We seen Bagus during the day (our stateroom steward) and cheekily asked where do we get more of those delicious truffles? He said he would take care of it. That evening we were a party of 6 for dinner and were seated by the window in the same area we had been all week just one table back from our usual one. It was good having the same sommelier and waiters. After dinner we headed to the Crow’s Nest for happy hour and the music. Happy Hour didn’t mean much to us with the SBP but for the others it was good. We were actually able to order them drinks some of the time. If the waiters thought it was odd how many drinks we were ordering they never said 😊 When we got back to the room that night there was a white chocolate bowl filled with all sorts of different truffles left out for us! Eagle we came across, watching the salmon Creek street 30/07/2019 – Cruising the inside passage We had breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. The bircher muesli is really good as are all the egg benedict options, the omelettes and the “hearty skillets. Everything is customisable and there appears no limit to the sides you order. It was a relatively overcast day until the afternoon where we could appreciate the scenery more and wrap up to sit outside on the veranda. In the Neptune lounge they offered us the use of the internet complimentary if we wanted to check in online for flights. All luggage was to be placed outside your room by midnight. We were given colour tags to put on the bags and advised we could depart at our leisure by 9.30am at the latest. We booked another round of massages and used the gym and the thermal suite where we were assured the spa pool was repaired. It was so busy though and with the spa pool really only big enough for 2 people it’s just awkward when other couples get in while you are there. I don’t believe they only give out 20 passes. After Skagway the thermal lounge was always busy. Although with only 5 loungers that is not hard. Before dinner we seen humpback whales again. Such an amazing sight to see. A dinner at the Pinnacle Grill was included in our package and we saved it for the last night. It was probably our most disappointing meal. Judging by a large party seated next to us they were unimpressed. For us it was just that the starters came out cold and it took forever for them to come over to take our order. My husband had ordered the lobster bisque, I think I had a tart of some sort. They apologised profusely topped up our wine and went to make new starters for us. The service was slow the whole evening. The large party next to us while seated at the same time, were only served their starters as we were finishing our mains. We both ordered steaks with a couple of sides. They were cooked as we requested but we had steaks as nice in the MDR on the previous gala night. The table next to us (they were so loud and wanted everyone to hear obviously) complained that 3 of the steaks were not cooked the way that they wished them to be and 2 of them were the wrong cuts, rib eye instead of fillet or something. The waitress (the same ones who work there at breakfast) was apologising for her mistake in recording the order, but they were really annoyed and didn’t want to wait for new ones to be ordered. The maître D came down about 10minutes later (he should have been over straight away) to try diffuse the situation but they were just so riled up at that point demanding a refund of the $39pp to dine at the PG. The desert we chose was a deconstructed Bomb Alaska and it was delicious. We headed off then to meet our friends for a quiet farewell drinks in the Crow’s Nest. By this stage we were over all the food and drink so wanted to take it easy knowing we had a full day of travel the next day. That evening in the Crow’s Nest there were a lot of the officers which we hadn’t seen really at all during the week. As we moved into the open waters around 10pm it became a lot rockier and the fog was thick, so the foghorn was going every 5 minutes or so through the night. As with the previous night when we got back to the room Bagus had left all sorts of chocolate treats out for us. Earlier that day we made sure to tip him and his assistant for looking after us all week. 31/07/2019 Arrive in Vancouver at 7am. We had our last breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill around 8am. They were already starting to announce which group colours could depart. We said goodbye to Fritz in the lounge and the two room stewards Bagus and Adi and headed off with our hand luggage about 9:15am. It was a quick process through immigration and our bags were waiting for us in the terminal. We got a taxi with the suitcases back up to the four seasons and asked the concierge if he would take our bags for the day which he did. We walked down to Stanley park for a few hours and had lunch before heading to the airport to make our way back to Australia. And that is pretty much our cruise review. We really enjoyed the cruise experience and were happy that we chose Holland America. I will summarise the main points again; Neptune lounge So handy for coffees and light meals throughout the day instead of having to make your way to the Lido or the MDR or one of the cafes. They change the food around 3 times from breakfast to lunch from 11am to canapes and Hors D’Oeuvres after 3pm. The concierges are great for reservations and any queries on your account or general information. Main Dining room Thoroughly enjoyed all our meals in the MDR. We were on level 4 on table 124 by the window at the stern. We tipped the sommelier and waiter well after our first meal. They looked after us well all week. We also tipped the maître D on the second last day to thank him for giving us the same table all week. The Pinnacle Grill Breakfast and dinner Breakfasts were good. It’s a massive menu with so much choice and no limits. Table service is good. As mentioned earlier it was nice to try it for dinner, but the service was slower than in the MDR and our starters were cold which didn’t happen any other evening in the MDR. The sommelier was also much slower getting around the PG than in the MDR. The Lido Based on our one visit I would describe it as chaotic. The one lunch we had was nice, but I cannot fairly comment on the food quality and choice over the week. Signature Beverage Package As I have seen other people here say, do the math before and work out if you think it is likely to drink 15 drinks per person. As was explained to me the speciality coffees were unlimited and not a part of the 15drinks. Bottled 500ml waters were also not limited. We got this as part of a full package through our TA. Being inexperienced we followed our TA’s advice and she encouraged us down this path. I don’t think we got anywhere near the value of it. Probably the first night we had about 9 drinks each over the day but for the other day/nights it was <6 so we offered to “buy” drinks for our friends here and there. Typically, if you just have 1 drink pre dinner and split a bottle of wine over dinner it might work out cheaper to just buy as you go. Thermal Suite pass I imagine on the bigger ships the thermal lounge is a much better experience as the mineral spa looks to be more of a swimming pool than a jacuzzi. Pre cruise it cost $139 per couple and onboard it was $159, I think. We had one of the days where the jacuzzi was too cold, another day where it was completely full and we couldn’t use it at all and on two of the other occasions we felt under pressure to only use the jacuzzi for 5-10mins as there were other people waiting to get in. The loungers are really relaxing, and we enjoyed using them but there are no guarantees you will get one at the time you go. Like I mentioned before there is loads of wasted floor space in there, they could have fit another jacuzzi or two more loungers in. The Spa – Services The two massages we had were great and incredibly relaxing. Both times we took up offers where they reduced the prices to try and encourage passengers to use the spa so I would say wait until you are on board to book. While using the spa and the thermal suite they give you towelled robes and slippers/pool shoes. There are showers and saunas in the women’s change room area and mirrors with a hair dryer. The gym Lots of cardio equipment and weights through the centre. The gym was surprisingly busy any time we used it no matter what time it was. The cardio equipment was the most used from what I observed. They run several classes a day from spinning to yoga etc for an extra cost. There was also a personal trainer available too, again for an extra cost. Entertainment The main shows are on at 7pm and again at 9pm most nights. We looked in once or twice, but nothing really appealed to us. Just the way our dinner reservations where we weren’t going to be able to make a full show. We didn’t feel we had that much free time to fill either that we wanted to get to one of the shows. With having such a nice room and veranda we were happy entertaining ourselves there or using the thermal suite and then listening to the live music at the Mix bar or Ocean bar pre dinner and the DJ up in the Crow’s nest after dinner. Talking to others on the cruise it didn’t sound like the entertainment was that great. The pianist though that played in the Mix bar I think it was attracted a good crowd each evening. The casino we just passed through – not our scene. Stateroom 7028 Massive room, very spacious and comfortable bed and pillows. Lighting in the dressing room could be improved and a decent hairdryer would not go amiss. Location is good for being near the lounge and not too close or far from the stairs. The main downside is directly opposite is as service room/lift for the staff. Early morning (like ~ 6AM) I would wake up to the rattle of cups and cutlery and hear that door open and close. If you are light sleeper, I would bear this in mind, there wasn’t a morning where I didn’t hear them. Otherwise though we couldn’t hear our neighbours through the wall. The balcony is huge and also very private from your neighbour although you can still have chats if you wish across the balcony! Laundry This was included with the suite and was so useful. Even just for ironing shirts and dresses. They usually returned the clothes the same day if they were collected in the morning. Thank you for reading!
  2. Thank you everyone! We are currently enjoying lunch at Trappers bar up at sunshine village near Banff. The rockies have been incredible. the weather a little unpredictable but ya get that🤷‍♀️
  3. EEEk so excited! looks class
  4. I haven't done this cruise yet but will be in glacier bay on the 27th I think it is and plan to maybe have lunch or afternoon tea delivered and we might save one of our bottles of champagne or wine we bring on board for that day. The ship will be in the bay all day so no harm planning a nice meal and drinks on your verandah as well as going up to the other decks for the full 360. We can fit it all in surely :)
  5. We call them SPOT devices here. Its a personal gps tracker. If you have a fall or get lost there are different buttons you can press to send for help. There is an option to push a button that tracks you the whole time so if you fell off a cliff and didnt return at the time you said you would they can look up the gps info sent from the device and find you. i just read that the visitor centre signed them out to people for use on hikes. we use them all the time for work in the outback here - not sure how necessary it is for this hike but its an option anyway of additional safety measures
  6. yeah i reckon its a good idea to save time to get the taxi. i read elsewhere people getting a taxi called for them from the visitor centre when they picked up a free tracker device
  7. Mosquitoes love me 😩 We have packed Deet anyway as we had heard that ticks and mossies are bad in the Canadian Rockies too where we will be for two weeks prior to the cruise.
  8. Interesting as the menus posted on that rojer jett website with the menus for the Alaska 2019 cruises has that written in small print on each of the pages for the pinnacle
  9. 😎 looks like a beautiful location too
  10. And the bugs ... ive seen these mentioned a lot online. Are we talking mosquitoes, ticks ?
  11. Thanks syesmar - i am in the process of downloading the trail on the alltrails app to use offline. We are heading overseas Wenesday. But we can call into the centre when we get to Ketchikan
  12. If you dont have a mobile phone is there a taxi rank or something where we could arrange the lift up to the beginning of the trail head ? we wont have a US mobile phone, just wifi if we can get it free anywhere and then could uber.
  13. Cool thanks for that, I was looking up pictures of the seaview pool area on the Volendam.
  14. This is right up our street ! thank you for posting
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