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   TravelPage.com - Worldwide Travel Directory

Welcome to TravelPage.com's directory of worldwide travel information. Research and book online with over 400 airlines, 300 cruise ships and 50,000 hotels and resorts worldwide.

MS Statendam: Inside Passage Alaska/Canada

TravelPage.com Rating:Four Stars

Statendam One of the best things about this trip is the Statendam herself. She was built in 1993 and while her profile is a bit clunky, her interior and overall atmosphere is more similar to the classic liners of the past than the floating hotels of the present. In fact, boarding the Statendam is like stepping back in time to the days when ships looked like ships, and wood, brass, and friendly service were common place. The Statendam has one of the finest promenades around and real wooden deck chairs really add a nice touch.

This trip on the Statendam is a great way for a family to see the wilderness and beauty of Alaska, especially if you add a few days of exploration on your own before or after the cruise. We recommend taking the Southbound trip from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, BC because 1) the trip home is shorter, and 2) as you move South, the 24-hours of daylight gradually gives way to longer periods of darkness (which makes it easier to sleep).

Getting There
Southbound trips leave from Seward, Alaska. Although transfers from Anchorage are included in your fare, it's really a shame to go all the way to Alaska and then see it from the inside of a bus. We recommend getting there a few days early and renting a car to explore. Northbound trips leave from Vancouver and transfers from the airport are included in your fare.

The Ship
Statendam is 720 feet long and carries 1,266 passengers. She is the fifth Holland America ship to bear the name. Currently, she spends her summers in Alaska, and alternates between Hawaii and Mexico the rest of the year.

Activities Aboard
During the trip you have 2 days at sea/cruising and 5 days in port. During the days at sea there are a number of lectures about the upcoming ports and there is usually a professor or some other wildlife authority onboard to answer questions. The van Gogh Lounge is as beautiful a room you will find at sea and is a great place to listen to music or dance after dinner. There is also a theater, a well stocked library, fitness center and two pools aboard, one large enough to get a few laps in.

Activities Ashore
If you take the southbound trip, we really encourage you to get to Anchorage at least one day prior to the sailing date so that you can adjust to the time difference (especially if you are coming from the East Coast) and take in the beauty of Alaska. Renting a car and driving north is highly recommended since you will see plenty of the southern scenery on the trip to Seward.

Here's a little known fact - Anchorage is also home to one of the best steak restaurants you will find anywhere. We've been around the world and haven't found a better steak. Send us an e-mail and we will tell you how to find this little gem.

From Anchorage, you will take a bus three hours south to Seward. There you will board the ship and over the next week stop at the following: Valdez (Prince William Sound), Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan and Vancouver. Before entering Prince William Sound, the site of the Exxon Valdez accident, you cruise the College Fjord and Columbia Glacier. Depending on the weather conditions you may be able to get close enough to see the ice cascading off the face to form icebergs. The stop in Valdez is usually only for a few hours. Between Valdez and Sitka you cruise Hubbard Glacier, which is the longest tidewater glacier in North America. Sitka is a fishing town with a fair amount of Russian influence. Stack dolls and other Russian artifacts are available and St. Michael's Cathedral is an interesting place to visit.

Juneau is the state capital and has a nice museum that explain the history of Alaska. If you want to get away from the crowds in Juneau, make sure you stop by the Alaskan Hotel & Bar, established in 1913 (167 South Franklin Street) to sample a great local beer or meet a few locals, You can also take a cable car ride straight from the pier to the top of Mt. Roberts (888-461-TRAM) or fly out to the Mendenhall Glacier. On our last trip we went on a whale watching tour with Dolphin Jet Boat Tours (800-770-3422) and got up close and personal with at least four humpback whales.

Ketchikan is an old gold rush town. We had a great time kayaking through town and across the river to see some of the historic sites.

Food and Service

Dinner in the dining room is a bit more formal than most cruise ships and you will find quite a number of people wearing tuxedos on the two formal nights. There are a number of bars and lounges on board, and the Ocean Bar on the Upper Promenade Deck is a great place to visit before dinner because the bartenders are always ready to put on a show for the crowd. The quality of meals on board is very good although service can be inconsistent since a lot of the new employees are trained on Statendam. Although HAL has a "no tipping required" policy we find that most passengers do tip. It varies more than on other lines but the average is $3.00 per passenger per waiter and steward per day.

Statendam has a nice gymnasium with a great ocean view although there are no real weight machines. It is approximately 5.5 laps around the promenade to the mile. As we mentioned earlier, there are also two swimming pools one of which you can actually swim laps in (short laps).

There is usually a counselor on board for children over 5 years old. Baby sitting can be arranged with off-duty staff for the evenings.

The main dining room on the Statendam can seat over 600 passengers at each sitting. Located on Promenade and Upper Promenade Decks, the Rotterdam Dining Room seats passengers on two levels which are connected by a pair of curved staircases. A music ledge on Upper Promenade overlooks the main floor. Windows on three sides provide nice sea views during the day. There are two private dining areas adjacent to the upper dining room-- the King's Room and the Queen's Room -- each seating 44.

We like the late seating because it gives you more time in town when you are in port. There are 5 bars and lounges, of which our favorite are the Ocean Bar and the more intimate Crow's Nest Lounge overlooking the bow. Click here for more details about Statendam.

Stateroom prices range from $1,200 per person to $3,500 per person for the 7 day trip depending on season. All of her cabins are fairly spacious, especially the twenty-eight 563-square foot suites which have wide, long balconies. These prices are brochure prices and you can always get some type of discount off these numbers. Booking early is one way but speak to your travel agent about other ways to save money. Airfare to and from the cruise are not included in these prices.

For additional information contact the TravelPage.com Cruise Desk at 888.700.TRIP or make a request online using Cruise Quote .

Holland America's address is:

Holland America Line
300 Elliott Avenue West
Seattle, Washington 98119

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