Tag Archives: Alaska & Yukon

At the Guinness Brewery.

At the Guinness Brewery.

On a recent visit to Dublin, Ireland, Rotterdam’s bar team went to the Guinness Brewery and Jameson Distillery to learn more about the beverages they serve onboard. Passengers have the opportunity to visit these places, too, during a call at Dublin on the A Taste of Dublin: The Guinness Experience and the A Taste of Ireland: Whiskey in the Jar tours.

If you’re looking for other ports around the globe that have tours to beverage-making facilities, try cruises that call at these ports: Bridgetown, Barbados, for the Barbados’s Finest Blends: Mount Gay & Four Square Rum Distilleries tour; Mt. Rokko & Sake Brewery at Kobe, Japan; Haines, Alaska, and the A Taste of Haines: Meet the Brewmeister tour, and Zeebrugge, Belgium, for the Bruges & A Taste of Belgian Beer tour.

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A somewhat delayed post this week, mainly due to a change of itinerary and some considerable time on the bridge; this not due to the change, more to do with the weather, insomuch we have experienced reduced visibility on a number of occasions. I’m pleased to say that this did not detract from guests’ enjoyment, as it occurred mainly during our sea-days and not port days in Alaska.

Instead of making our way north to Juneau, we now have a visit to Glacier Bay National Park as our first ‘port’ and as a consequence have had to make good speed from Vancouver northwards.

For the first of our voyages, I chose to take courses to the west, leaving the Queen Charlotte Islands away on our starboard side; however, on the second cruise, my weather models indicated a pronounced swell in that area and instead chose to take the more sheltered route, up through the Hecate Straits and ‘swing’ a left in the Dixon Entrance, this afforded us some lee from the swell and it proved to be a worthwhile decision.

The weather is changing in Alaska and the cloud cover is increasing and with it, some moisture, hence the reduced visibility. Our first call in Glacier Bay was shrouded in mist and showers and our second started that way too, however after some miles north, the sun broke through and our guests were treated to the spectacle of this area at its best.

Guests enjoyin GB

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Multigenerational travel continues to be on the rise, with more families taking cruise vacations together. Parents and kids, grandparents and grandkids, and grandparents, parents and grandkids … and aunts, uncles and cousins!

Journalist Cynthia Boal Janssens recently took a cruise on ms Oosterdam with her family and blogged about it for All Things Cruise. Here are some excerpts from her daily blogs so you can see how Cynthia enjoyed cruising with her family. And if you want to read her blogs on the All Things Cruise site, click HERE.

We are going to Seattle to spend a few days before boarding a Holland America cruise on the ms Oosterdam to Alaska. We will be meeting up with my daughter Jennifer, her husband Steve, and their three children: Vivian, 12, and Dominic and Cynthia, 9-year-old twins.

For several years I have been planning to sail to Alaska when they reached this age…not yet teens, but old enough to venture around the ship on their own and to be awed by the majesty of Alaska.

Multigenerational cruising is all the rage, haven’t you heard? So we are giving it a try. How is it sharing a cabin with a grandchild or two? Will they like the children’s programs as much as I hope they will? Will their parents get some much-needed rest and alone time?

We have some activities planned and are open to other possibilities.

 Jennifer signs Vivian, Cynthia and Dominic up for Club HAL.

Jennifer signs Vivian, Cynthia and Dominic up for Club HAL.

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Every region has cocktails that speak to the experiences and flavors of the area. Here are two drinks that we serve onboard that remind us of Alaska. One is hearty and rich, while the other is light and fruity. Enjoy!


Icy Bourbon Mint

Yield: 1 cocktail

.75 oz White creme de mint
.75 oz Bourbon
.5 oz Dark Chocolate Sauce
.5 oz Sugar Syrup

Pour contents into a cold cup with ice and top with a shot of Torrefazione Espresso.

And for a fruitier cocktail …

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Statendam’s Hotel Director Bert van Mackelenbergh is an avid photographer, and his photos are stunners. If you want to learn how to take photos like Bert, Holland America Line offers informative Digital Workshops powered by Windows on board. Guests can take classes such as “Understanding the basics of your digital camera,” “Edit your cruise photos,” “Turn your cruise photos and videos into a slide show,” “Getting your photos out of the camera and into the computer,” “Advanced editing of your cruise photos” and “Sharing your cruise photos via email and the Internet.”

For photographers who want to go out on tour and learn first-hand how to take professional photos, Holland America Line features the Guide’s Choice Photography Discovery tours in Haines or Skagway where a local, professional photographer will select their favorite locations and discuss issues such as exposure, use of flash and depth of field.

Here are some of Bert’s beautiful photos so you can see the potential of your images on an Alaska cruise.



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We can’t go through Alaska week without mentioning one of our favorite ports, Skagway. Skagua means windy place, but there is a lot more to this scenic Alaskan borough. One of the more popular attractions is the historic White Pass Railway. Also known as “the Scenic Railway of the World,” beauty awaits on this journey up and over the White Pass Summit. Waterfalls, rushing rivers, trestles and tunnels provide picturesque landscapes as guests learn about the Klondike’s rich history. This is a breathtaking ride on a narrow-gauge track on a route carved out of the rugged Coastal mountains.

There are a variety of different tours featuring the White Pass Railway paired with other adventures. Guests can combine the train ride with a Yukon Expedition, Klondike Gold Dredge, Heli-Hike (a helicopter flight and hike), Glacier Lake Kayak or Alpine Snow Shoe.

If you take the White Pass Railway, here’s is just a glimpse of the stunning scenery you’ll see.



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Aug 2013

When you cruise to Alaska, there are a lot of fun opportunities to become immersed in the Alaska culture beyond glacier trekking and flightseeing. For guests who really want to see what it’s like to be an Alaskan, Holland America Line offers a diverse selection of active and interesting shore excursions that include adventures such as going to a musher’s camp, panning for gold and seeing what it’s like to be a lumberjack.

On a recent call at Ketchikan, guests got to watch a special version of The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show tour where several of Zaandam’s crew got to participate with the world’s best lumberjacks, after training with them several weeks in advance, to go head-to-head in more than a dozen exciting events such as chopping, sawing, relay races, axe throwing, log rolling and a 50-foot speed climb.

What would you like to do in Alaska that would give you the feeling of being a local?


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Holland America Line has launched a new “Amazing Alaska” Pinterest sweepstakes that will award five randomly selected winners an American Express gift card valued at $500.

Participants can visit the Pinterest Sweepstakes tab on Holland America Line’s Facebook page and choose their favorite Alaska excursion photo from a selection of six beautiful images. Entrants then provide the required information and click submit, which will pin the image to one of their personal Pinterest boards. In order to be eligible to win, entrants must also follow Holland America Line’s Pinterest Board (www.pinterest.com/halcruises).

Entries are limited to legal residents of the United States (excluding Colorado) and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 years of age or older. The sweepstakes runs through September 20, 2013. Good luck to all of our blog fans!

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