Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 6


We are on the last leg of our trip back through the Inside Passage.  It is a beautiful day meant to sit on the verandah and watch the scenery.  We have seen so much wildlife throughout the cruise and have been able to visit Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.  My favorite of course was Ketchikan.  It had the beautiful walking trail, totem poles and I think the best shopping and probably the only place that we seen Haida art.

The cruise has been great and we have loved the staff on the Westerdam.  I think it is one of the things that set Holland America apart from other cruises.  If you ever get the opportunity to cruise on the Westerdam, look out for Randy in the billboard lounge and I hope that you are lucky enough to have Zam and Moe as your room stewards.   As always there is the endless food and much time spent in the gym trying to work it off.  We really enjoyed the dueling pianos in the billboard lounge with 3 shows every night and BB Kings.  We will dock tomorrow in Vancouver and we are already thinking about coming back to Alaska.  Thank You Holland America for an awesome holiday. 


Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 5


We were already docked in Ketchikan when we woke up this morning and like every other port; we had the best place on the pier, right across from the main street.  The weather is great as we walk across to the Tourist Information and picked up a map with a really great walking tour and away we go.  Ketchikan is by far my favorite port.  Everywhere you look there are totem poles.  We make our way to Creek Street with its old buildings on stilts that look over the water.  This area used to be the red light district back in 1902.   All the buildings are now converted into small stores with all the usual tourist items but what draws us to the area is all the seals that are swimming in the water. They are there because of the salmon.  There are so many salmon swimming around that they don’t have to work for their lunch; it’s more like a buffet.  We leave here and walked up to the Totem Heritage Center which is the highlight for me.  This houses a collection of 19th century totem poles retrieved in 1970 from the Tlingit and Haida villages that were abandoned when the inhabitants moved into Ketchikan and other towns.  There is a small charge to get in but worth it.  We spend quite a bit of time here and decide to walk back to town.

There was a free shuttle if you did not want to walk.  I am so glad that we walked as we were able to see all the salmon as they were coming up the falls.  There is so many of them it looks like pit of snakes.  As we continue to walk down into town, we are following the water fall.  There is a great path that takes us back into Creek Street.  It has been a great day and we walk to the Sourdough Bar for an Alaskan beer before we head back to the ship.


Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 4


Today was the best day so far! We went to the Dawes glacier on Endicott arm. When we woke up at 8:00am we could already see bergy bits which were the first signs of the glacier.

We were travelling down a fjord with high mountain walls on each side. There were so many waterfalls that I stopped taking photos. It took a couple of hours but we got within 1 mile of the iceberg before we had to stop.  The iceberg is such a pretty colour of blue and so many larger pieces are just floating out in front. Here is another reason we are happy to have a balcony as we alternate between being outside on the veranda and then back inside to warm up.

It is really something to see. We are told that this is much nicer than Glacier Bay and we are the only ship out there. We sat for about an hour and a half to watch the iceberg. The ship swings around in 360 so all the balconies can see the glacier.  HAL serves up hot pea soup to those of use outside along with coffee and Baileys. We grabbed a bowl and then returned to our balcony to take in the sites. It’s great to have a warm blanket.   At the end of the day we left the fjord and headed down to Ketchikan; our next stop.

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Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 3

We have been on sailing for a couple of days now and are really enjoying our trip.  So far we have been to both Juneau and Skagway.

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At both places Holland America has had the closest berth to town. Basically, we got off of the ship and in less than 5 mins we are in the towns. Both are like small mining towns with a lot of shopping and restaurants. The beauty of being the last cruise of the season is that everything is on SALE!  Some of the jewelry is at 50 – 70 % off and clothing the same.  In talking to people on the ship the best tour in Juneau was the whale watching and in Skagway it was the train. When in Juneau check out the Alaskan Bar and the Alaskan brewing company. They have a tour to the brewery that we took and it was great. In Skagway we spent the day shopping.

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Next up we’re off to see some glaciers!

Loving what you’re reading?  Take advantage of our exclusive Holland America sale on now to October 3rd, 2019.

Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 2

It is our first day at sea and we have spent time last night deciding what to do.  HAL has the navigator app which I downloaded before I left home and now that I’m on the ship I can’t get the app to work. Has that ever happened to you?  Zam to the rescue again!  He sends me down to the internet desk where they have two people to help me get my app sorted and on my way. Another excellent service here on Holland America’s ship. Usually you have to figure it out on your own or just forget about it.  Having such great room stewards is like having friends that have been to a destination a hundred times and tell you all the things you need to know.  We spend part of the day exploring the ship and it is beautiful.  I can’t get over the attention to detail and the art on every deck.  The entertainment is great.  There is dueling pianos, BB Kings and the Lincoln Arts Center when you are in need of a little classical.  They also have nightly shows and for you late birds they have a casino.  We have also rooted out the vast salad bar on the Lido deck.  Well not so much rooted as Zam told us about it.   It is now our lunch of choice.  There is so much to do we have little down time and are looking forward to our first port Juneau.

If a Holland America cruise sounds like your idea of a great time check out our exclusive sale – on until October 3rd, 2019.

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Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 1

Hello from Vancouver.  My Mom and I are taking a 7 day Alaskan Cruise aboard the Holland America Westerdam. We decided to come to Vancouver the day before to make sure we didn’t miss the cruise.  We stayed at the Listel Hotel which is on Robson.  I like this small hotel as it easy to get around and I love that they have free water; both still and sparkling.  The wine social in the lobby from 5 – 6 also doesn’t hurt.   While at the Listel we got out for a walk to buy water and pop for our trip as it is very expensive on the ship.


I brought an extra bag and luggage tag to carry the water and pop and will leave that at the luggage drop.  It is pouring rain so we took a cab and he droped us in the parking garage right next to the luggage drop.  Because there are 3 ships going out today, it is crazy and took us 2.5 hours to get on the ship.  Once that was all behind us we boarded and made our way to our cabin.  We are in cabin 5163 and it is a beautiful cabin with a balcony. It seems small but has everything you need – Holland America has thought of everything. The room comes with hair dryer, bath robes and a basket of fruit filled daily.   There’s even 24 hour room service! Mom and I plan to have breakfast in our room daily.  There is lots of space and our suitcases fit under the beds.  Our room stewards are Zam and Moe and they came to welcome us on board.  As we are unpacked I realized that I had left my charger at the hotel. A quick call to the hotel and they have mailed it home and I ask Zam if they sell chargers on the ship.  He tells me no problem and 10 mins later comes back with a charger from his cabin mate for me to use for the duration of the cruise. I now start to realize the level of service we can expect with Holland America.  It has been a long day so we are headed up to the Lido buffet for super.  Soon we’ll leave Vancouver and so begins our Alaskan adventure.


December 15, 2018 – Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Our last port of call on this incredible 82 day journey we have been on.  Lahaina is a location that is experienced by two million people, or approximately 80% percent of all of Maui tourism per year. Lahaina has over a thousand years of rich history and was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. From beaches to restaurants, Lahaina has some of the best attractions Maui has to offer.

Lahaina’s Front Street has been ranked one of the “Top Ten Greatest Streets” by the American Planning Association. Enjoy a relaxing stroll, and if rest is needed, please take a break under the massive Banyan tree located in the town square.

Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island. The island beloved for its world-famous beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, views of migrating humpback whales (during winter months), farm-to-table cuisine and the magnificent sunrise and sunset from Haleakala. It’s not surprising Maui has been voted “Best Island in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler readers for more than 20 years.

Maui is also where a recreational investment group we belong to, called Tropica Properties, has a condo!  We typically come to Maui every year, so we have seen most of the worthwhile sights on the island.  Instead, we went to our condo to do an inspection and to measure up our lanai space (patio) as we are going to replace our outdoor furniture soon.

As mentioned before, I lost my driver’s license somewhere in Australia and so Karen had to drive.  Our condo is not far from the car rental station and so it wasn’t too bad for her.

Our condo is unit G106 at Papakea Resort.  If you would like to see pictures of the condo or if you are ever interested in renting it, you can see it at

All is good at the condo and ready for our winter bookings.  We are back to Maui at the end of January, so looking forward to spending more than a day there.

Well, that’s it for our ports of call on the Holland America 82 Day Grand Asia and Pacific Cruise aboard the ms Amsterdam!


It seemed like such a long voyage and now we are just a few sea days from ending back in Los Angeles where we will fly home immediately and give our kids and grandchildren hugs and kisses. While we have had a blast, as Dorothy said…”there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”!  No magic red slippers, just a reliable WestJet flight home.

Thank you so very much for reading our blog!  We hope you have enjoyed it.  Until our next travel blog, in the words of Hans Christian Anderson – “To TRAVEL is to live”.

If a cruise like this sounds like your dream trip, reach out to the team at UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel.  They would love to help get you on your way!