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Alaska 7 Day HAL Rotterdam

Author: 50cruiser
Date of Trip: July 2010

I booked a complete trip with tours through HAL {Holland America }To Alaska on the Rotterdam July 24th to aug 1 This was my 30th cruise so im not new at cruising . Hal aranged air which had good seats and convenint air times . We arived in Seattle about 1:30 and smothly went through booking and on to ship. I was invited to eat lunch in dining room as a return Mariner but lunch ended at 1:30 so we headed to the mad house at ledo buffet. Its always the same , a mad stampeed heading to the feed troughs . This was as expected or maybe a little worse . The stations were set close together and the 1st 2 days they dish food for you . Imagine 10 stations set up for 5 to 10 people trying to feed 1200 people . We just grabed some drinks and fruit and headed to our stateroom .

I had two A class balcony Suites for 4 of us . I had orderd ahead of time the bed configeration I wanted but like normal housekeeping never got it . I dont know why they ask what you want on line because it never seems anyone gets the info.But I had great room stewards so they took care of the problems .!st thing I noticed was what seems like a lack of staff . More rooms for less staff. More tables at dinner for less staff . Way less entertainers for eavning shows . FOOD Portions at sit down restrants seem to be geared to older passengers who want small portions . Most meals you have to order double portions to get regular portions . I understand its to cut down on waste but I dont belive it .

Our 1st stop was Juneau AK . We had booked a boat tour to Glacier Tracey Arm . Our boat was broke down so we were delayed 45 min . They called the ship and the ship agreed to wait till our return . Its a 7 hr tour. It was great . We saw lots of Whales, Eagles, sea lions,icebergs, mouintin goats , bears,seals and otters . The tour boat took us right up to a waterfall and the face of the glacier . Great tour . Ship departed as soon as we got up gangplank .

That eavning we tried to book the Grill . I tried to book 5 nights . I went numerous times but was wait listed every time .We went by 3 or 4 times in the eavnings and the dining room was never more than half full . I really liked the specialty restrants on our last 12 cruises . On RCL to europe we ate 12 of 13 nights there . I finally after stoping there to talk to the head waiter got him to tell me that HAL had cut his wait staff to where he couldnt give good service to only half of the tables. I was so mad . If a person wants to pay extra to eat and the ship dont have enough staff why dont they eather not offer it or add tempory help in the eavning meals . Our next stop was Hubbard bay Glacier . Our ship captin got us up close so we could have a great view .Our next stop was Stika AK . Nice little town . We went on a Fortress of the Bear and then an Otter tour by boat.The Fortress tour a TOTAL RIPOFF . The bears are in an old fuel tank about 100 ft . across . They are 2 pet bears 2 of them What a joke , in a tank you view from a small platform . HAL charged us $50 each to see it including a short 7 min ride . The bear entrance fee was $10.I complained to the tour desk upon return and they refunded $20 . We wrote off the $30 as a bad experence . HOWEVER the Otter Tour was great .We saw lots of wildlife including Humpback whales , gray whales, eagles, lots of Otters. They got us right up to them , it was a highly recamended tour .

At Ketchikan we booked a 6 hr fishing trip . Had a great time catchink lots of Salmon . We had a huge killer whale come within 50 ft of boat ,

The eavning entertainment basicly was 2 male and 3 female singers and 2 dancers for all shows the whole week . The Suprano opra singer shouldnt try to sing anything other than opera .She definatly didnt do ABBA . The one female singer tried very hard to sing Elvis and old songs but you cant read and sing and dance at same time .She missed a lot of words and finally just let the band play . The daily activities were slim to none other than bingo, trivia games, and a few lectures . Not like it was even a couple of years ago .The CASINO WAS THE TIGHTEST WE HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED . 4 of us played a lot of the machines and we play a lot on mainland . Nothing like this ship . They didnt let us hardy play without taking our money . We put $150 in a $1 machine and only hit 4 cherries and 1 single bar. not one wheel of fortuine in $150 . Weve seen tight machines but these squiked . Normally you get 1 wheel in each $50 to $75 I play somewhat conservitly and still lost $500. To tell how bad it was after the 2nd night hardly anyone played slots they only played table games where you had a chance .

I really like Princess and Celebrity with Celebrity my favotite , so ill proably just stay with them . Most cruise lines are about the same price so Ill Proably not go back on HAL unless I get a really , really good deal I had herd from our Cruise Critic Group that HAL had really made cuts but I had to see it for myself . CARL

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