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suralottie

First time cruiser-trip report Noordam.

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Thanks to everyone on the cruise critic for answering my many questions prior to our cruise. I've been trying to get my husband to go on a cruise for many years and he finally agreed this year when I reassured him there would be veggie options and the cruise would take us to places in Alaska he'd otherwise have to fly too. We both loved it and I'm already planning on another cruise. Count me in as a convert.

 

 

Cruise portion of the trip-7 days

July 21st and July 22nd-We took a taxi to Canada Place in Vancouver from our  B&B and began the Alaskan portion of our vacation. I was incredibly excited about taking both my first cruise and my first trip to Alaska. Despite reading about cruises and talking to friends who had taken them I was still filled with romantic ideas of what a cruise would be like. Although it was quite different from the trans Atlantic voyages depicted in old movies of the 30’s it was a joy.  I never knew a trip could be so stress free and relaxing! The checking in process went smoothly and although there were lines, people were cheerful and the lines moved fast. The vacation atmosphere was infectious. We were able to board several hours earlier than our scheduled boarding time and had lunch on the ship. We sailed on Holland America’s Noordam.

 

The state room was larger than I expected and our fully obstructed view actually was only partially obstructed-over half the window sported a clear view. At night I simply changed my position so that I lay with the clear view ahead of me 🙂. Next cruise I am treating us to a veranda. I loved how everything was arranged to maximize space. The rest of the day I explored the ship, found an exceptional history book in the library that I loved reading,wrapped up in a blanket on a chaise and watched the  beautiful scenery pass by. My husband had lots of vegetarian options to choose from and there was an additional vegetarian menu as well from which he could order ahead. I loved how families played board games and put together puzzles in the library-reminded me of our earlier family life, we are now 64 and 71 with two grown daughters. I would love to take a family cruise sometime when my toddler grandson is older. 

 

Day two-Inside passage- we walked several miles on the promenade, watched the scenery pass by, spotted a few whales, enjoyed happy hour in the crows nest and listened to Lincoln Cente which really impressed me. We ended up listening to them every evening for the rest of the trip as well as seeing the BB King group and the comedians on several different nights. I loved the ease of it. There were plenty of quiet places to sit and interesting people to talk to when we felt sociable.  One older couple after raising 11 children have been cruising around the world, including Antarctica. This is something (Antartica) that we are now considering a few years down the line but I understand from another post that HAL may no longer be sailing there then.  

 

July 23rd-Day 3-Ketchikan-We left the ship, hiked the Rainbow Trail which offered  nice views, a walk through the rainforest and is an easy walk from port to the trailhead. Afterwards we strolled leisurely through town and visited the Totem Heritage Center which was wonderful and the salmon hatchery/ladder. We discovered happy hour where you could order the second drink for $2.00 and although we didn't always take advantage of it-I enjoyed our happy hours, especially in the Crows Nest or simply taking our drinks out to the promenade. 

 

July 24-Day 4-Juneau-As we had a 1:30 reservation with Harv and Marv for whale watching, we decided to do something close to the ship in the morning. We walked over to the newly remodeled Alaska State Museum and were very impressed. It is a beautiful museum and full of cleverly arranged exhibits mixing media, new and old artwork/items and presentations. We learned a lot about Alaskan history and also enjoyed the cruisin the fossil coastline exhibit. 

 

Went back to the ship for lunch and got picked up right at our dock for the whale watching trip. The bus driver is a local who gave a great running commentary. The trip was fantastic. It was a small boat with six passengers and our captain gave us plenty of time to see whales and was clearly enthusiastic about her job. We saw whales bubbling and a mother and calf swam not far from our boat. Heartily recommend Harv and Mar. Hope that our fellow traveler on the boat sends us the pictures she took of the whales as my videos could make you sea sick. I evidently cannot record properly and watch whales at the same time-have wonderful memories though. 

 

July 25th-Day 5-Skagway-took out our hiking poles and hiked Lower Dewey, Reid falls and Sturgil’s Landing. Lower Dewey was pretty with a small flowering meadow by the lake. My husband who is very interested in tree and plant identification, got excited over something he saw and fell over a tree root. Unfortunately he hurt his wrist which luckily healed well over the next week. We made the mistake of taking an old trail back thinking it was a short cut (it wasn’t-instead it was a steep rock filled slippery adventure). It was then my turn to fall. Deciding that was it for the days hiking we went into town, got my husband a wrist brace, had lunch and explored the town, visiting shops and the local historical museum. It was a small town and there was no need to use the public bus. 

 

July 26th -Day 6-Glacier Bay. This was my husband’s favorite part of the trip. Both National park rangers and a cultural interpreter from the Hoonah Indian Association arrived on the ship and gave both formal presentations in the ship’s auditorium and commentary on the top deck. One of the Rangers gave a wonderful, informative running commentary as we cruised Margery glacier. We were really happy we brought a great pair of binoculars for our trip. The close ups of the glacier were beautiful.

 

July 27th-Day 7 was a full day at sea and very relaxing. We slept late, walked the promenade, read and enjoyed ship activities. We never used the pool or hot tubs or even played shuffle board which we had joked about playing. Yet we absolutely loved it. We met lots of interesting people, had too much ice cream and appreciated the long port days so that we didn't feel rushed. The staff was wonderful and accomodating.  Couldn't have asked for a better week. 

 

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So glad you enjoyed it!  Alaska is a great cruise.

 

Harv & Marv are a great company.  Hope you are both fully recovered from your falls. 

 

Thanks for taking the the time to report back.  Be careful-cruising is addictive! 

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Hi suralottie.

Sounds like you had a great time on your first cruise and loved alaska. We are 4 Aussies coming to vancouver and doing the inside passage cruise next June. Going on the volendam and can't wait. Bucket list trip for us 

Great review. 

Cheers Bob 

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Thanks for your review.  So glad you loved the trip and HAL.  They've had a presence in Alaska for decades, long before Alaskan cruises became so popular.  I had to smile when you mentioned falling, as my son claims I cannot go anywhere without falling.  Thankfully, the last several trips have been accident-free.  To me, few accidents are more embarrassing than tripping over my own feet, which occurs more frequently than I could wish.  

 

When are you cruising again?  And to where?  Again, thanks for posting.

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Thank you for your review. Alaska is beautiful and as others have said, HAL does it well. Unless you want to do a lot of research about ferries or have your own plane, a cruise is the most convenient way to see Alaska, so clever of you to use that as a way to get your husband on a cruise. 

 

I had to smile at your comment about old movies. Many of my favorite old films involve ship travel--Now Voyager, Affair to Remember, Shall We Dance (Fred & Ginger), The Lady Eve...

 

Cruising is addictive. I don't think many people cruise only twice. Some sail once and don't like it--people I know who were one and done were those who MUST have golf and/or tennis in a vacation. Others love it and sail as often as time and money permit. 

 

Noordam is one of HAL's four "Vista" class ship and those are my favorites, a perfect size. The newest ships have more bells and whistles, but they are larger than I like. The smallest ships are very special in their own way, but don't have the spa amenities that are my indulgence on a cruise. As you look ahead to booking another cruise, take time to look at the different classes of ships and their amenities (under "experience" on the HAL site) so you can know what to expect on your cruise. 

 

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Wonderful review! I hope you are now hooked on HAL and cruising and will have many more happy adventures.  

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts of your Alaska cruise. It sounds like you made a good choice in ships and itineraries. Hopefully you will have many more cruises in your future.

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Thank you for reviewing your Noordam cruise, sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed the experience, apart from falling.

Alaska is a special place to visit.

Hope you have many more super cruises.

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We were fortunate to be on the inaugural cruise for the Noordam and still have the special things that are part of a new ship first sailings.  We fell in love with her almost immediately and look forward to being on her again.  Thanks for a wonderful review.

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Thanks for your reveiw.  Glad you enjoyed your cruise and with many Alaska visitors, you will probably be planning another Alaskan adventure.

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Our first cruise was also Alaska, also HAL (Statendam), honeymoon holiday. We've been on several since, best holiday there is.

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Thank you for taking the time to write your review.

 

Glad you enjoyed your cruise so much that you are thinking about doing another one.

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On 8/12/2019 at 8:51 PM, colonialinnkeeper said:

We were fortunate to be on the inaugural cruise for the Noordam and still have the special things that are part of a new ship first sailings.  We fell in love with her almost immediately and look forward to being on her again.  Thanks for a wonderful review.

We were on the Noordam for it's first cruise through the Panama Canal.  There was a lady at our dinner table that had been on the inaugural cruise and they treated her like a queen!!  I would love to do an inaugural cruise of a ship some day.

 

St. Louis Sal

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Wow what a detailed wonderful report! I am so glad you had a great cruise in Alaska! I am always amazed with our CCers who take the time to write  reports for us!

Thank you so much!

Appreciate your time

Denise😊 

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