Holland America Cruise Line
LUXURY GLACIER BAY CRUISE
This luxury cruise to Alaska with Holland America is an experience of a lifetime.
The Holland America Line offers the best 5-star ‘premium’ class cruise experience around, onboard a fleet of stylish, modern ships that are adorned with fine art and fresh flowers. Holland America offers a very high standard of service combined with quality, value and new innovative ideas to enhance your holiday experience.
Named for the Northern compass point, MS Noordam features museum-quality art such as an oil painting of the city of Utrecht painted in 1842, as well as contemporary art like the series of photographs of music greats Dizzy Gillespie and B.B. King.
Enjoy onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops in partnership with America’s Test Kitchen. Learn how to edit, display and share your vacation videos and photographs through our Digital Workshop powered by Windows®. And explore the wonders of our world through exclusive BBC Earth natural history content through onboard activities, concerts and films.
The Greenhouse Spa & Salon offers spa treatments, a thermal pool and lounge and a variety of salon services. Our fully equipped Fitness Centre includes state-of-the-art cardio and weight machines, and offers classes in Yoga, Pilates, indoor cycling and more.
On deck enjoy two outdoor pools, along with basketball and volleyball courts. Club HAL® provides a wide variety of youth and teen-friendly activities for kids ages 3 to 17, supervised by qualified, full-time staff.
MS Noordam’s guests enjoy dazzling entertainment options from their very first night onboard, including B.B. King’s Blues Club. Direct from Beale Street, our B.B. King All-Star band brings the best of Memphis music to sea. From funky and fast to soulful and smooth, the band does it all while you enjoy a signature drink or dance the blues away.
The MS Westerdam received extensive enhancements as part of a $300 million brand initiative. It was given a new bar, entertainment and dining venues, plus completely reimagined suites debuted for the 2017 Europe season.
Enjoy dazzling entertainment from your very first night onboard. As part of the updates, new music venues have been added: Lincoln Centre Stage, featuring world-class musicians performing chamber music, and Billboard Onboard, rocking the house with 50 years of chart-topping hits. These venues join the already popular B.B. King’s Blues Club, completing our new ‘Music Walk’ experience. Be sure to check out the new Explorations Central located high atop the ship; it’s the heartbeat of the Holland America Line destination experience. Plus, MS Westerdam features the exclusive new Rijksmuseum at Sea.
Vancouver – Departs at 1700hrs
If you could watch the history of Vancouver as a time-lapse movie, you’d see the creation of a sawmill and a community that grew up around it, which then became the townsite of Granville. Then comes the railroad, and development of the great natural harbour. Then, a sudden linkage to the Orient, Eastern Canada, and Europe. Immigrants come, business blooms, and the skyscrapers rise up along Burrard Inlet, always with the mountains visible in the spaces between the buildings. Go for the galleries, boutiques, public markets, and restaurants of every flavour. Visit vibrant Chinatown and Stanley Park, with its 1,000 acres of forests, gardens, lakes and lawns in the heart of the city.
Cruising The Inside Passage – Cruising Only
The fabled Inside Passage is one of the most scenic sea-lanes in the world, and one of the few where deep-draft vessels can sail close to steep mountain walls. The scenery is unbelievable, with forests in a hundred shades of green, tumbling turquoise glaciers, and evocative towns loaded with history, culture and adventure. With most of Southeast Alaska accessible only by boat or plane, the Inside Passage is a lifeline to the outside world. All day long it hums with activity.
Alaska’s ‘First City’ of Ketchikan is so named because it’s the first major landfall for most cruisers as they enter the picturesque fjords of the Inside Passage. Here, the town clings to the banks of the Tongass Narrows, flanked by green forests nurtured by abundant rain. Ketchikan has long been an important hub of the salmon-fishing and salmon-packing industries – visitors can try their luck on a sport fishing excursion or simply savour the fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants.
It is also one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Centre and Totem Bight State Park, while the attractions of Saxman Village just outside of Ketchikan offers the chance to see Tlingit culture in action, with working carvers and a dance show in the clan house.
Leave time to explore the sights in the town itself, including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk built over the Ketchikan Creek, where you can shop for souvenirs, smoked salmon and local art, while exploring gold rush-era tourist attractions like Dolly’s House Museum.
Juneau, Alaska may well be the most remote, most beautiful and strangest state capital in the United States. Surrounded by water, forest and mountain sights, visitors seeking things to do in Juneau indoors and outdoors can hike up a glacier, eat freshly-caught fish on a seaside patio and tour a grand capitol building all in one day.
The city itself is pleasant, but the real highlight of a visit to Juneau is tracking down some wildlife. You can hike up Mount Roberts to chance upon wild deer and bald eagles. Most sightseeing and whale-watching tours head north to Auke Bay – bring a good pair of binoculars to get the best view of these majestic and surprisingly graceful creatures. If you prefer land mammals, catch a floatplane to a nearby wildlife reserve such as Chichagof or Admiralty Island to spy some bears lolling around. The sleepy, misty city of around 32,000 – mostly fishermen and small-business owners – has a frontier town vibe, but welcomes more than a million visitors each summer to its natural attractions, cementing Juneau as Alaska’s number-one tourist destination.
At the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, the port town of Skagway served as the primary gateway to the legendary gold fields, and quickly grew into Alaska’s largest settlement. It was then a raucous frontier hub packed with trading posts, saloons and guesthouses. As the gold rush faded into the 1900s, so did Skagway – but today it has been reinvigorated as a gateway for a new kind of visitor: those looking to explore Alaska’s colourful history, pristine wildlife and unrivalled natural beauty.
At every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in gold rush lore, from the infamous Red Onion Saloon that still keeps a pistol that Wyatt Earp left behind en route to the Klondike, to the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, a classic narrow-gauge railway that traverses rugged mountains and passes cascading waterfalls and towering glaciers as it connects Skagway to Whitehorse deep in the Yukon.
Much of the town has been preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, where rangers offer free walking tours around the historic district. Here you’ll also find a vibrant local community, home to a rich collection of local galleries, curio shops and restaurants serving seafood plucked fresh from nearby waters.
Glacier Bay – Cruising Only
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Glacier Bay ostentatious for the way it flaunts its ice. The glaciers practically terminate in your lap. A cruise to Glacier Bay National Park with Holland America Line will show you a UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects a unique ecosystem of plants and animals living in concert with an ever-changing glacial landscape. When a monumental chunk of ice splits off a glacier and thunders into the sea, the impact shoots water hundreds of feet into the air. You hold your breath as you catch the moment on film. Then you wait for it all to happen again. And it does: Glacier Bay has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than anyplace else in the world.
Today is a full day cruising at sea where you can enjoy the amenities and activities offered aboard your Holland America Cruise Line ship. The MS Westerdam also features the new Explorations Central (EXC) ‘home base’ at the top of the ship, with EXC Guides, interactive touch screens, and more to help you plan your time ashore.
Arrival in Seward – End of Cruise (Arrives at 0600hrs)
This morning your Glacier Bay Cruise comes to an end as you arrive in Seward. One of Southcentral Alaska’s oldest communities, Seward is ground zero for the Klondike Gold Rush’s Iditarod National Historic Trail, a dogsled route that connected the Kenai Peninsula’s ice-free port with Nome during frontier-era winters. Though the modern race makes a ceremonial start in Anchorage, it’s inspired by the famous run of 1925, which dashed along parts of this older path. Today this mellow town welcomes visitors to Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park, not to mention the 204-km (127-mile) Seward Highway – honoured as an All-American Road – stretching north to Anchorage. In town, favourite stops remain the Alaska SeaLife Centre, a research aquarium open to the public, and the steep, stony 920-metre (3,018-foot) Mount Marathon, which hosts one of America’s oldest footraces each Fourth of July.