The following post was written by Lori in our Marketing Department and is a review of her experience aboard Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam to Alaska. Departing September 21, 2019 from Seattle, WA, the ship made stops in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, AL and Victoria, B.C.
“And she gazed at the sky, the sea, the land,
The waves and the caves and the golden sand.
She gazed and gazed, amazed by it all,
And she said to the whale, “I feel so small.”
This is one of my favorite pages from a children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and perfectly sums up my Alaskan adventure. I will try my hardest to describe the majesty of Alaska, the beauty of sailing with Holland America Line on board ms Eurodam and the memories made with my mother — and I’m hoping at the end, you will want to experience it all for yourself as well.
ms Eurodam is Holland America Line’s first Signature-class ship with a capacity of 2,104 guests. Noted for a full Music Walk experience, including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Billboard Onboard, the talent on board is truly breathtaking. My favorite was B.B King’s Blues Club. The singers and band wowed the crowd with favorite blues from the 1960’s and beyond. The crowd was engaged and couples danced the night away — which was so sweet to watch.
There were additional performances onboard showcasing comedy, dance and more daily at the Mainstage. My favorite was the comedian David Crowe. His skits were light-hearted and side splitting funny. Equally as entertaining was an illusionist onboard. He wowed the crowd with illusions that had you wondering “How’d he do that?” for days. And if you are sitting next to someone who has their hand raised to help with a skit, you may just get pulled up on stage (me!). I’m still not quite sure where he put the blades he swallowed and later pulled back out of his mouth — eek.
Love America’s Test Kitchen? You’re in luck. Holland America Line has a test-kitchen right onboard. Another favorite of mine, I enjoyed learning new tips and tricks to use in the kitchen. On the menu for the day was adult grilled cheese (cheddar and brie spread, yum!) and creamy tomato soup without dairy. An added bonus, they give a unique URL of all current recipes from America’s Test Kitchen to everyone that sails with Holland America to use in their own home. So far I’ve tried a couple different recipes at home and they turned out great! Also, the demonstrator gave recommendations on places to eat in port and proved to be on-point (Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau, yum!)
Dining onboard is another notable experience. Complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in the Lido Market (buffet). Every day they served up fresh and delicious cuisines. You can also grab a NY style pizza at New York Pizza or a hamburger, hot dog and fries at Dive-In, all located on the same deck as the market. You can also choose to dine in the main Dining Room (complimentary table service) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We loved their lunchtime fish and chips meal and the surf and turf served during one of the two gala nights onboard. Also, the afternoon tea served at the Dining Room was a favorite and served the most delicious small plate sandwiches and desserts.
If you enjoy meeting new people onboard, ask to share a table when you go to the Dining Room. We met people from all over the United States and loved seeing them throughout the ship and staying up to date on their adventures as well as sharing our own. You may even meet a couple from the famous Punxsutawney, PA.
Additional photos from onboard:
Insider tip: If you are flying on certain airlines, take advantage of Port Valet (offered by the Port of Seattle). It is a complimentary luggage service that takes your luggage the night before disembarkation, delivers it to the aiport, makes sure it gets on your plane for arrival at the airport when you arrive home. Port Valet will also provide you with your boarding pass (although some airlines you’ll have to get your boarding pass at the airport). It is an extremely easy process and the benefits of not having to lug your luggage to the airport is worth the 2-minutes to fill out the paperwork onboard.
Alaska, also given the nickname as the final frontier, is packed with staggering mountains, breathtaking glaciers that are continuing to shape the land, wildlife, lively cities, unique culture and is on the top 3 of many peoples bucket-lists. With many cities only being accessible by boat/ship or plane, the people of Alaska adapt to the demands of the ever changing weather as a way of life. The Alaskan people truly adore where they live and can be felt by the warm welcome felt while touring this beautiful state.
Port 1 – Juneau, Alaska
Juneau is the capital of Alaska. Although it is not the largest city in Alaska, the town is bustling with shops, restaurants, a tram ride to the top of Mount Roberts, art and culture, excursions to experience fishing, kayaking, and the beautiful Mendenhall Glacier and visitors center. We chose the latter as our excursion at this port of call and was one of our favorites. After about a 20-minute bus ride filled with local history provided by the tour director, you arrive at the glacier with 2-hours to explore. An easy 1-mile walk up and back on Nugget Falls Trail got you up close and personal with the glacier and the Nugget Falls Waterfall.
Insider tip: For some extra fun, bring rain boots to get super close to the waterfall.
We had some time before our excursion to explore so I ventured off in search of a new addition to Juneau. A 20-minute walk got me to the interactive lifesize statue of a baby humpback whale. It was worth the walk for the pictures alone and most cruisers aren’t aware of this piece of art yet.
Cruising Glacier Bay
This was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE day out of the whole trip. Holland America Line brings a park ranger onboard this day to narrate the changing landscapes, the wildlife you see passing by and the magnificent Margerie Glacier.
Port 2 – Sitka, Alaska
In Sitka, we chose to do the Bird, Bears and Barnacles excursion hosted by Holland America Line. We visited the Raptor Center and saw injured raptors recovering in real-life environments, bears enjoying their time and a fish hatchery and science museum.
Port 3 – Ketchikan, Alaska
This was by far my favorite port of call. I chose to explore on my own today and did a self-guided walking tour of the town and surrounding landscapes including a hike on the popular Rainbird Hiking Trail. We were in Alaska at the end of the salmon season so I got to see them swimming up the river to lay their eggs and eventually the end of their life (a bit stinky but worth it).
Port 4 – Victoria, British Columbia
This port was the one I researched the least and was the one I was most pleasantly surprised at. We enjoyed sitting down at a local pub and enjoying some beer and bangers and mash before exploring the grounds of the parliament building, the famous Empress hotel and some local shops.
I’m so thankful that I was able to visit Alaska and to experience it with Holland America Line. I can most definitely see why they are noted as the leader in cruises to Alaska from the easy online check-in prior to sailing, the daily turndown, important information and port excursion recommendations being delivered directly to your stateroom daily, the entertainment and activities onboard and the EXCEPTIONAL service and dining. I hope you are able to experience Alaska for yourself one day and you come away as humbled as I am in the presence of such beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery.
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