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Old September 22nd, 2011, 12:20 AM
pcclub pcclub is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Southern California
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If destination (more and better scenery) is important to you, HAL Volendam or Zuiderdam is a clear winner. After studying all itineraries of recent years, I found there are four highlights: 1. Glacier Bay, 2. College Fjord, 3. Hobbart Glacier, 4. Tracy Arm Fjord. Most ships take you only to one of the above four places. Some HAL and Princess one-way ships take you to #1 and #2. I, a picky scenery seeker, took it as advised by a senior cruise agent and was truly satisfied (#2 was surprisingly good). But paid more for air tickets. Last time, I organized a group and picked up Volendam, round trip from Vancouver visiting #1 and #4 in early August. Again, a big winner. Tracy Arm is a scenic long narrow fjord. No close look at glaciers but I loved it. All ships have ďAt SeaĒ days, but they are not the same. If you study itinerary maps carefully, youíll find lots of ďAt SeaĒ are actually at ďopen oceanĒ, which means no scenery plus possible rough cruise. A friend took Westerdam from Seattle last May and got bad seasick. I wouldnít take any round trip from Seattle. You save on airfares, but lose more on trip quality. Volendam took true inside passage. It was good everyday except the second day. We only saw lands at distance, but itís OK because the second day is the day to explore the ship. After that, not even one boring day. On our way back, there was another day of At Sea, but it was unusual. We went thru some narrow passages and encountered many whales and bald eagles. HAL and Princess didnít just cruise around the inlet of Glacier Bay; they take you deep inside. Other ships may not do the same due to license restriction. Time wise, July and early August would be the best and thatís why the price is higher. Heavy rain can ruin the cruise. Late June could be a good choice for weather and price. You wonít get disappointed with HAL ships and foods. I think elder people prefer HAL. My only complaint against Volendam was sometimes I felt the engine a little bit when cruising at full speed (I was on lower floor near the front). Or, maybe itís a mid-sized ship. A big cons of mid size is much less people. If you need tips about Skagway, ask me later. Iíll stop here-the more I write, the more I want to go back to Alaska.
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