MS Amsterdam to Alaska in July-August

Mar 4th, 2019, 06:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,846
MS Amsterdam to Alaska in July-August

At the ripe age of 77, I'm doing my very first cruise on the Amsterdam 14 days to Alaska starting and ending in Seattle. I'm searching this forum, you tube, and other outlets for info but do any of you have any tips or cautions for me?
dwooddon is offline  
Mar 4th, 2019, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Don't know what you are asking. It is a nice ship. Assume it is Holland American. They do a nice job. Food is very good. HA still has a couple of dressy nights -- called Festive Attire. Many do and some don't. Not a big deal either way.
fmpden is offline  
Mar 4th, 2019, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Sign up on cruise critic and search through the boards for the Holland America line.
Once you have a room assignment, you can join the "Roll Call" for your ship. Some passengers will get to know each other ahead of sailing, arrange to meet and greet, sometimes join together for a separate tour.
gbelle1 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2019, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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You Tube and Cruise Critic are both good resources for first time cruisers. My one tip is bring a large insulated mug since the standard issue coffee cups are too tiny for a "togo" mug.

I'm not familiar with that ship, but I hope it has one of the nice HAL libraries and the coffee bar with free snacks (things like tiny macarons or sandwiches).

For Holland America, if you don't feel like going to the dining room, take advantage of their policy that allows you to order anything from the main dining room menu for the first hour during dinner at no charge.

Also, don't eat dessert on the last "Gala" night, if they are still advertising the Chocolate Surprise. Just be sure to check your itinerary for what the when and where of that event (assuming you like chocolate).

I avoid the teas, found them sort of a waste of time. The pea soup on deck tradition during Glacier Bay is fun.... I do hope you will visit Glacier Bay.

The other tip is that it really isn't necessary to use the ship's excursions. The days in port are usually long enough that you can DIY even renting a car if you want.

No you don't need to bring anything formal, even for Gala night, if you don't want to. There will be information sent to you ahead of time about things like dress codes.
mlgb is offline  
Mar 4th, 2019, 03:34 PM
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If the budget allows, book a balcony cabin. Much easier to sit on your balcony and watch the scenery in comfort. Don't think that you will miss something on the other side of the ship as it usually gently revolves so that everyone gets the views.
marg is offline  
Mar 5th, 2019, 06:28 AM
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Thank you all. I'll head for Cruise Critic.
dwooddon is offline  
Mar 5th, 2019, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I looked it up and Amsterdam is the same class as Zaandam, which I took on my first AK cruise. Nice mid sized ship. You can probably find You Tube video walk thrus without much difficulty.

I don't like to spend hours at dinner so avoid the giant tables of 6 or 8 people. Even with the Anytime Dining (or whatever they call it) you can make a reservation for dinner time for a 2-top table. If you find a waiter that you like, book their table for every night. I found the later times worked well for me, since the port days were so long. If I was hungry I'd grab a few appetizers when I got back on board from the cafeteria. The appetizers and soups are often the same in both locations, but I found the food in the Main Dining Room (or room service) better for the mains and things that shouldn't sit around. And yes, you can order anything you want in any order and modify it..instead of surf and turf I substituted fish for the steak, for example. Or order a half portion or double portion or two appetizers. Or none.

I always had breakfast in the cafeteria, sometimes supplemented with early room service coffee. I like that HAL always has smoked fish at breakfast in the cafeteria. The room service menu for breakfast was a bit limited IIRC. As I said I don't know the Amsterdam and don't remember that much about Zaandam but the larger HAL ships have refrigerators in the rooms. You should get an empty fruit basket in your room which I kept stocked.

Depending on your mobiliity I recommend walking laps on the covered decks and using the stairs (check out the art in the stairwells and public hallways). Helps to avoid weight gain as well as catching germs from the "moving petrie dish". It really isn't the stomach issues that are a problem especially if you are good hand washer (and use your knuckles on the elevator buttons), it's the respiratory things that tend to circulate. When I start to hear the coughing increase, I avoid the large entertainment venues but they aren't my cup of tea anyways.

Lectures are replayed on the in room TV. I enjoyed the Blues entertainers onboard, but not the comedians. YMMV.

I did a trip report on my most recent cruise, which you may have already seen. May not be much help as it was a different class of ship but some things should translate.

Alaska Seward to Vancouver June 2018 Noordam
mlgb is offline  
Mar 5th, 2019, 09:21 AM
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If you're not sure about sea legs, pack some crystallized ginger or OTC seasickness meds just in case you're on bumpy water on the first and next to last days. Ships from Seattle travel to the west of Vancouver Island on open ocean, unlike round trips from Vancouver which are on sheltered "Inside Passage" waters to the east side of the island. Hopefully you won't require them, but being prepared won't hurt.
Gardyloo is offline  
Mar 7th, 2019, 08:26 AM
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Thank you all. I did not realize the trip does not use the inside passage up or back. I'll follow your advice about the sea sick medication even though that has never been a problem for me in the much shorter prior trips on smaller craft.
dwooddon is offline  
Mar 8th, 2019, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 32
Holland America is "testing" a $10 charge for a second entrée. Previously, on most ships you can order extra appetizers, entrees & desserts in the MDR.
The Cruise Critic boards are buzzing.
gbelle1 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2019, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,547
Thanks for that news. It isn't on all ships, though. And will be "evaluated" at the end of the month.
mlgb is offline  
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