Tag Archives: Alaska & Yukon


Holland America Line to Sail 124 Alaska Voyages in 2015

ms Noordam to reposition for roundtrip Vancouver cruises and ms Statendam to cruise roundtrip from Seattle on 14-day itineraries

Seattle, Wash., March 9, 2015 — Holland America Line is making exciting changes to its 2015 Alaska cruise season, including moving ms Noordam to the region and positioning ms Statendam exclusively on 14-day itineraries roundtrip from Seattle. From May through September 2015 seven ships in the fleet will sail a total of 124 Alaska voyages that stretch from the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay and beyond.

With ms Statendam shifting to longer voyages, Holland America Line is moving ms Zaandam to Gulf of Alaska itineraries. The other ships offering seven- and 14-day Alaska cruises are ms Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Volendam and ms Westerdam.

“Alaska is a timeless destination that has a great deal to offer — stunning scenery, interesting history and unique culture — which is why we continue to elevate the experience and enhance the itineraries each year,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Because of its grandeur, Alaska attracts the largest number of first-time cruisers so it also becomes a wonderful introduction to a cruise vacation and Holland America Line.”

14-day Alaska Explorer Cruises Roundtrip from Seattle
Moving to 14-day roundtrip Seattle cruises in 2015 makes Statendam the only ship in Alaska to include highlights such as Icy Strait Point, Homer and Kodiak, Alaska; and scenic cruising in Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm — all in one itinerary. The ship will sail nine departures and also call at Ketchikan, Juneau, Anchorage and Sitka, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, and scenic cruising around Vancouver Island.

Seven-day Alaska Explorer Cruises Roundtrip from Seattle
Starting in May, Westerdam (21 Saturday departures) and Amsterdam (17 Sunday departures) will offer seven-day Alaskan Explorer voyages sailing roundtrip from Seattle. The itinerary features calls at Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, and a scenic cruising experience at Tracy Arm/Twin Sawyer Glaciers or Glacier Bay National Park.

Seven-day Inside Passage Cruises Roundtrip from Vancouver
Three Holland America Line ships will sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a series of seven-day Inside Passage voyages. In addition to the two September departures offered by Oosterdam, Volendam (19 Wednesday departures) and Noordam (20 Saturday departures) sail May to September. During those voyages guests will visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, the Inside Passage, Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay.

Seven-Day Glacier Discovery Cruises Between Vancouver and Seward
In 2015, Oosterdam and Zaandam sail the Gulf of Alaska together on cruises between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage). Departing Sundays from May through September, the itinerary features calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway/Haines, a day at sea in the Gulf of Alaska and scenic cruising through the Inside Passage. Each ship will sail 18 voyages and include a visit to Glacier Bay National Park.

Alaska’s Unique Cuisine Comes to Life on Sip and Savor Cruises
On three Alaska voyages, guests can sail with special chefs and local vintners to savor local fare — from the freshest salmon to local vegetables and fruits — all paired with select wines from Northwest vintners and brews from Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing Co. During a “What’s in the Bag?” competition, the guest chefs will go head to head, preparing chowder from mystery ingredients. Exciting shore excursions with a special Sip and Savor focus will be available to complete the memorable experience.

Westerdam’s May 2 seven-day departure will feature Jeff Maxfield, executive chef at the acclaimed SkyCity Restaurant, a revolving dining room atop the Space Needle in Seattle, and Drew Johnson, executive chef at Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, Alaska. Wendy Stuckey of Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, located outside of Seattle, will be onboard to impart her knowledge during several presentations.

On Statendam’s July 13 cruise, Executive Chef Perry Mascitti of Tulalip Resort Casino near Seattle, and Al Levinsohn, chef and owner of Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, will be onboard the 14-day voyage, along with Bob Betz, founder and winemaker at Betz Family Winery.
The Aug. 16 Alaska cruise on Amsterdam features Kirsten and Mandy Dixon, chefs at both Tutka Bay and Winterlake lodges in Alaska, along with Chef Roy Breiman, culinary director at Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle. Along with the chefs, Matt Oakley, winemaker at Long Shadows Vintners, will present a special collection of premium wines during the seven-day cruise.

Park Rangers on All Glacier Bay Cruises
On all Glacier Bay sailings, a park ranger and native Huna interpreters board the ships to share information about the area’s natural history and the origins of their tribe and cultural traditions. During embarkation for the Seattle voyages, a ranger from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park will be available to talk to guests about the Klondike parks and other national parks located throughout the Inside Passage.

Land+Sea Journeys and Shore Adventures Provide More Alaska Discoveries
Holland America Line’s award-winning Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior. Offering up to three days at Denali National Park for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, Land+Sea Journeys are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history.
Holland America Line offers more than 250 optional shore excursions in conjunction with its Alaska cruises. While in port, guests can optimize their Alaskan experience with excursions that involve everything from adventure and wildlife watching to history, art and cuisine. Guests can enjoy active excursions such as sea kayaking, fly or sport fishing, dog sledding and viewing eagles, sea otters and whales. Other exciting excursions feature such attractions as the White Pass Summit Scenic Railway from Skagway, Russian heritage in Sitka, a Mendenhall Glacier by Helicopter & Guided Walk tour in Juneau and crab fishing on the Aleutian Ballad from Discovery Channel’s award-winning TV series “Deadliest Catch.”

Seven-day Alaska Inside Passage cruises from Seattle, Wash., or Vancouver, British Columbia, start at $599 per person; the 14-day Alaskan Explorer voyages begin at $1,699 per person, double occupancy.

For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

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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