Published on October 27th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor

If It’s Not On Your Bucket List It Should Be.

The day had finally arrived – we were about to depart on a 7 day cruise to Alaska. I don’t know who was more excited – my husband or me.  Someone who certainly wasn’t was Rocky, our adorable Boxer. He was off to my in-law’s and we were off to a place that had been on our bucket list for years.

We were joined by our good friends onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam and they had a balcony cabin next door to us. Our Cabin Steward opened the divider between the 2 balconies and we had one big outdoor area to sit, relax and take in the amazing scenery.  And we couldn’t have got comfortable at a better time as cruising under the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver was just amazing.  If this is how fantastic our voyage was going to be then we were in for a treat.

As we got acclimatized to the ship, we started to discover just how much there was to enjoy.

Let’s start with the cuisine.
Food was plentiful. We chose “as you wish dining”   Holland America Cruise Line allows passengers to book a reservation up to 3 days in advance – so you could book your time on Monday morning for the next 3 days.There was a host of dining options, from steak and seafood to Pan-Asian cuisine to Italian and burgers and hot dogs.Happy Hour every day – each bar had different happy hour times – Buy one drink and get the 2nd for $ 1.00.  There were 12 bars in total – including the Exploration Café, where you could purchase signature coffees and teas.

As for the activities, well where do I begin?
There was wine tasting, cooking shows, movies, Blues club, Big Band easy listening music, casino, spa services, outdoor activities and tournaments. The list goes on but I will leave that for you to discover when you take this wonderful journey.

Once we were on land, there was much to discover and enjoy.
In Juneau, we opted for the Mendenhall Glacier tour in the afternoon.  We walked 4 km’s down to the Waterfall and Glacier. We went up Mt Roberts Tramway – this took us 1800 feet onto Mount Roberts for a bird’s eye view of Alaska’s Capital.  Once up there you can hike a trail, shop, visit the Movie theater or enjoy a Pint in the Timberline Bar.  Don’t forget to visit the Red Dog Saloon – this famous tourist attraction was founded in the mid-20th century and has sawdust floors and relics covering its walls.

View of Douglas Island and Gastineau Channel

We took the tram into town in the morning explored picturesque Skagway. We enjoyed a play in the local Theatre about the Gold Rush, then headed back to ship for Lunch. After Lunch we boarded the Train (comes right to the Pier), for our White Pass Summit Railroad tour – well worth the money.  An unforgettable, scenic round trip journey on the Historic railway climbing 2,865 feet to the summit of white Pass.  This is a Narrow railroad, and passes thru two tunnels, over sky-high trestles & remote valley – this is an International Preserved Civil engineering Landmark


The highlight of our trip was when the ship anchored in Glacier Bay. The engines were shut down and all of a sudden there was silence.  This was the most amazing experience listening to the glacier crack – ice fall, birds flying around and Ice caps floating in the pristine waters of the Glacier.

The Park Ranger came on board for a few hours and gave commentary during our trip in to the mesmerizing bay – comprised of 3.3 million acres of mountains.  Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a highlight of the Inside Passage and Part of a 25-million acre World Heritage site, which is one of the world’s largest protected natural areas—designated by UNESCO.


Alaska is beautiful in so many ways and you can only truly experience it by actually being there.

This is definitely a trip of a life time that can be enjoyed by any age group.  So much history, scenery and wildlife to keep you amused and yearning for more.

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