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10-Day Double Denali: Tour D6l

Amazing food and superb service make Holland America one of the longest running cruise lines.

Thrills, massive hills, and a few chills in America’s 49 th state—that’s the way we do Alaska Cruisetours.

Experience the best of the Last Frontier in quaint Whittier, Alaska. Enjoy the clear water filled with salmon, red snapper and trout along with the freely roaming wildlife, all combining to make Whittier a treat to visit.

  • Noordam - Passenger Capacity: 1,972 (double occupancy) Year Built: 2006 Last Refurbished: 2019

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What to Expect on a Holland America Alaskan Cruise

Eagles, moose and bears—oh my! If you’re looking for an unforgettable Alaskan cruise and land experience, look no further. Holland America Line has 149 years of experience (wowza, that’s a lot!), and offers some of the best things to do in Alaska by land and sea tours.

From Fairbanks to Vancouver, you’ll enjoy breathtaking scenery as you sail through iconic destinations such as the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay, and have plenty of time to explore Alaska’s stunning towns and villages onshore. Plus, with their award-winning service and extensive range of onboard activities, you’re sure to have a vacation you’ll never forget!

Holland America's Alaskan Cruise Fairbanks to Vancouver: The Ship + Best Tours & Excursions

Holland America’s Alaskan Cruise Fairbanks to Vancouver: The Ship + Best Tours & Excursions

The Holland America 11-Day Double Denali cruise and land tour is the perfect way to see Alaska. The itinerary includes stops in Fairbanks, Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, as well as a three-day land tour of Denali National Park.

In Fairbanks, travelers can take the Riverboat Discovery Tour or visit the very chilly ice museum. Glacier Bay National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Alaska and is home to glaciers, mountains, and wildlife. Juneau is the capital of Alaska and offers more than just stunning views – visitors can go whale watching, visit the Alaska State Museum, or take a ride on the Mount Roberts Tramway. Skagway is a quaint town with a rich Gold Rush history. And finally, Ketchikan is known as the “ Salmon Capital of the World” and is home to Creek Street, a historic boardwalk lined with shops and restaurants.

Alaska Cruise Ports

Alaska is a popular destination for tours and cruises, and for good reason! You’ll find several national parks and landmarks which offer scenic views of mountains, glaciers, and forests, as well as the opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Of course, it is not just the landscape that makes Alaska worth visiting. There’s also no shortage of things for visitors to explore and experience in one of its cities, such as their diverse cultures and rich history.

While Fairbanks may conjure images of ice and snow, this vibrant city is actually located in the heart of Alaska’s interior. Despite its secluded location, the city is home to a diverse population and offers a wide range of activities for residents and visitors alike.

The city is situated near numerous waterways, providing ample opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. The city is also home to a number of parks and hiking trails, making it the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. In addition, there are several museums around the city where you can enrich yourself with its history, or if you’re more of an artsy person, ogle at some lovely ice art and sculptures (don’t miss the Fairbanks Ice Museum !).

With its unique mix of urban and rural attractions, there truly is something for everyone at Fairbanks.

Annette in front of an Alaska Street Art at Fairbanks

Riverboat Discovery Tour

One of the most popular things to do in Alaska’s city of Fairbanks is taking the Riverboat Discovery Tour, and it is an excursion choice on your Holland America Alaskan cruise. The tour starts with a Bush Pilot Demonstration, where you can see how pilots fly in the rugged Alaskan terrain and land on the water. Next, you’ll get a peek at Trail Breaker Kennel, where you can see the dogs that help mushers travel through the wilderness. Finally, you’ll stop at Chena Indian Village Living Museum, where you can learn about the history and culture of the Alaskan Native people.

Annette and Peter on a Riverboat Discovery Tour Chena Indian Village

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Alaska. The park is home to Mount Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, and is known for its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife. Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking, camping, wildlife watching, and much more. In recent years, the park has also become a popular destination for winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. No matter what time of year you visit, Denali National Park is sure to impress.

Annette and Peter at Denali National Park McKinley Chalet Resort

Denali Wilderness Tour

Looking to get up close and personal with some of Alaska’s amazing wildlife? Then the Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour is for you. This narrated excursion takes you on a “school” bus ride deep into the heart of Denali National Park, where you’ll have the chance to see grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, and more.

You’ll also get to experience the stunning landscapes of the park, from its towering mountains to its sprawling tundra. Best of all, you’ll be guided by an experienced naturalist who will help you make the most of your experience. So whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a first-time visitor, the Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour is sure to offer an unforgettable experience.

It’s also a good opportunity to check it off our US National Parks Bucket List: 61 Beauties to Visit in America !

Annette and Peter on Denali Wilderness Tour

Denali to Anchorage via McKinley Explorer

The Mckinley Explorer train is one of the best (and easiest!) ways to see Alaska. The train takes you from Denali to Anchorage, and the trip takes just under eight hours. The scenery is incredible, and you get to see some of the most beautiful parts of Alaska.

The train has two levels, and the dome-shaped upper level has big windows so you can really take in the views. The lower level has a dining car, where you can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Annette and Peter on McKinley Explorer

Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, located in the south-central part of the state. And while the average winter temperatures are below freezing, the summers are warm and sunny, with many different outdoor activities to enjoy, such as hiking, biking, fishing, and camping.

Some of the best activities you can do here include hiking (or biking) the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, learning about history in Anchorage Museum (Alaska’s largest museum), and seeing glaciers on a day cruise or flightseeing tour to Portage Valley. If you’re looking to surprise yourself further, you can also walk around the city and discover tons of cool street art.

Annette enjoying the beautiful Street Arts inAnchorage

Alaska Railroad Anchorage to Whittier

The Alaska Railroad is one of the most scenic railways in the world, and the Anchorage to Whittier route is one of its most popular.

The train travels through some of Alaska’s most stunning landscapes, including the Chugach Mountains and the Kenai Peninsula. The journey takes about 2.5 hours, and there are plenty of opportunities to take in the scenery along the way. 

Hubbard Glacier

An Alaskan cruise is not complete without a sailing through Hubbard Glacier. With a height of 600 feet (350 feet visible above water) and stretching over 76 miles long and 7 miles wide, it is one of the largest glaciers in North America. Because of its size, it’s also one of the most active (moving) glaciers in the world, advancing at a rate of 80 feet per year.

Cruise ships often stop at Hubbard Glacier so passengers can get a close-up view of the glacier (but not too close!) and its calving, where chunks of ice break off from the main glacier. While calving icebergs have become increasingly frequent in recent years due to climate change, it seems to have little to no effect on Hubbard Glacier, even growing more in size.

Hubbard Glacier

Glacier National Park

Glacier Bay National Park is home to a staggering 1045 glaciers (50 of which are named). Some of the most beautiful ones include the Lamplugh Glacier and Margerie Glacier.

Lamplugh Glacier is a small but easily accessible glacier located in John Hopkins Inlet (which is also home to several marine life worth seeing like harbor seals). 

Margerie Glacier is another popular destination for cruisers. This glacier is much larger than Lamplugh Glacier and offers breathtaking views of its crevasses and ice sculptures.

Both can be seen from the Holland America Alaskan Cruise.

Glacier Bay National Park Margerie Glacier

Skagway is a historic town located in Alaska’s Inside Passage. The town is best known for being the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, when prospectors flooded into the area in search of gold.

Today, Skagway is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a chance to experience a taste of the old frontier. The town’s main street, Broadway, is lined with quaint shops and restaurants, and there are several historic buildings to explore, including the Red Onion Saloon and the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway Depot.

Skagway is also surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, with towering mountains, pristine forests, and glaciers all within easy reach.

Annette on Skagway

Chilkoot Trail Hike & Float

If you’re looking for an adventure that will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Alaska, the Chilkoot Trail Hike & Rafting Float is definitely for you.

The Chilkoot Trail was once a vital access route used to get through the Coast Mountains into the Yukon goldfields back in the late 1890s. Today, travelers can experience and walk the same path the prospectors and packers used back in the day. You can arrange the full 33-mile hike, but the Holland America cruise excursion only covers a 2-mile portion. 

The hike itself is a bit challenging (lots of uphill in the beginning!) but incredibly rewarding, and the float down the river is the perfect way to relax after a long day on the trail. Plus, you might get to see some fascinating wildlife along the way.

Annette and Peter in Chilkoot Trail

Juneau, Alaska, is a beautiful place to visit. The city is located in the state’s southeastern corner, surrounded by glaciers, mountains, forests, and diverse wildlife such as bears, eagles, and whales. It is also a fantastic place for visitors looking for excursions to Mendenhall Glacier due to its close proximity (just 12 miles from downtown Juneau.)

Visitors to Juneau can enjoy many activities, including hiking, fishing, whale watching, and kayaking. Some of the things you should not miss out on include a tour through the Tracy Arm Fjord , where the stunning twin Sawyer Glaciers await at the end. You can also learn about Alaska’s culture and history in the Alaska State Museum, which houses over 32,000 historical artifacts, art, and specimens.

Annette at Juneau Downtown

Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter & Guided Walk

You probably already knew that you can see A LOT of glaciers in Alaska, but did you know that you could actually walk on one? Yep, it’s true! Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Alaska. With a length of 21.9 km and a width of about 2.4 km, plus reaching elevations of up to almost 5,200 feet, it is definitely a sight to behold for any traveler.

There are quite a few Holland America cruise excursions that will take you from downtown Juneau to Mendenhall Glacier by helicopter, which is located just outside of Juneau. We did the standard guided walk where our copter flew us around the glacier for a birds-eye view, then landed on the ice. We hopped out to WALK ON THE GLACIER!! There was even the option to drink glacier water, which I did!

Annette on Mendenhall Glacier Walk Tour

Ketchikan is a beautiful city located in southeastern Alaska. The city is known for its stunning scenery, waterfront location, and mountainous backdrop. And with five different salmon species coming in droves every July to September, it is known as the Salmon Capital of the World.

Ketchikan is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with its hiking trails and kayaking opportunities. Some of the best excursions include the Totem Bight State Historical Park, home to over 14 totem poles and a chieftain house, and the Misty Fjords, a nature lover’s paradise accessible only by plane or boat, and comprising almost 2.3 million acres of wilderness and is part of the Tongass National Forest .

In addition, the city is home to a variety of cultural attractions, including the Totem Heritage Center and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. And, of course, no visit to Ketchikan would be complete without taking a fishing charter or enjoying some of the fresh seafood.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer Cruise

The Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer Cruise is a great way to see some of Alaska’s most beautiful scenery. The Misty Fjords is part of the Tongass National Forest (the nation’s largest national forest) and is accessible mostly by boat or plane.

The cruise takes you through the Inside Passage, allowing you to see firsthand the stunning waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and pristine waterways that make this state so unique. On the way back, you’ll also have the chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat, including whales, bald eagles, and sea otters.

Misty Fjords in Alaska

Cruising Inside Passage

Alaska’s Inside Passage is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world—and it’s no wonder why. The Passage boasts some of the most stunning scenery on earth, from towering mountains and glaciers to pristine forests and crystal-clear waterways. 

This renowned coastal route takes you through the waters between portions of Washington (Puget Sound), British Columbia, and Alaska (Lynn Canal).

Wildlife is abundant, and there are plenty of opportunities to see orca whales!

Vancouver is a unique city with a fascinating history. The city has always been known for its beautiful scenery, mild climate, and diversity. It also offers many opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, skiing, biking, sailing, and kayaking.

Some of the things you should not miss out on include walking/biking around Stanley Park (be sure to check out the seawall), exploring the art and food scene at the historic Gastown (and its Steam Clock), and the breathtaking views of Vancouver at Queen Elizabeth Park.

Onboard Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam

Dining experience inside holland american’s nieuw amsterdam cruise ship.

There’s no shortage of great places to eat onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. For a taste of the Orient, Tamarind offers a delicious menu of traditional Asian dishes. Or, for Italian cuisine lovers, Canaletto serves up mouth-watering pizzas and pasta dishes (I had a delicious lasagna!). 

And if you’re looking for something light and healthy, the Lido Market buffet is perfect for grabbing a quick bite. Of course, no visit to Nieuw Amsterdam would be complete without trying the famous New York Pizza! 

Peter enjoying the food at Nieuw Amsterdam Onboard Restaurant

Suites & Staterooms Experience Inside Holland American’s Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Ship

Guests have plenty of options when it comes to the rooms inside Nieuw Amsterdam that will surely fit their needs. There are six room types to choose from: Inside (no windows), Ocean View, Verandah, Vista, Signature, and Neptune/Pinnacle. For my trip, I opted for the Verandah room.

The Verandah Cabins on board the Nieuw Amsterdam are some of the largest and most popular staterooms on the ship. Located on decks 4 and 8, these cabins offer amazing views of the ship’s wake and also feature a large bathroom with a tub and shower.

Nieuw Amsterdam Stateroom

Cruise Ship Entertainment

Looking for a place to let loose and have some fun? Then head on over to the Nieuw Amsterdam Mainstage or B.B. Kings Blues Club for some entertainment where each night features a different show. You might see the BBC Earth wildlife documentary paired with live music, a hilarious comedian or entertaining dancers.

Annette and Peter playing Bingo Nieuw Amsterdam Ship Entertainment

Onboard Activities

Looking for something to do onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam? You won’t be disappointed! There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your cruise. One popular option is hitting up the casino to try your luck at the slot machines. Or opt for a game of bingo where there’s potential to win some good money!

If you’re looking to relax, take a dip in one of the pools or enjoy a game of ping pong. There’s also a variety of onboard shops where you can browse for a souvenir insulated mug or piece of artwork.

Nieuw Amsterdam Onboard Activities

Holland America Alaskan Cruises offer travelers a unique opportunity to experience the stunning natural beauty of Alaska while enjoying the amenities of a luxurious cruise ship. While each cruise is slightly different, there are a few things that you can expect on all of their cruises. First and foremost, you can expect Holland America’s trademark attention to detail and outstanding customer service. Holland America takes care of all the details so that you can relax and enjoy your vacation. You can also expect to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Alaska is home to glaciers, mountains, fjords, and wildlife, and Holland America’s cruises give you the chance to see it all. If you’re looking for an unforgettable Alaska cruise, Holland America is the perfect choice.

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6 thoughts on “What to Expect on a Holland America Alaskan Cruise”

Your post is very helpful and informative for all readers and for me also.

Did you pick a side room or back end of the ship? What would you recommend?

My room was towards the front of the ship, which was nice whenever they opened the doors to outside for viewing different nature and wildlife.

Holland America’s Alaskan Cruise from Fairbanks to Vancouver is the perfect way to see the stunning scenery of Alaska.

I could not agree more

awesome post very informative.

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holland america alaska denali cruise

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Is a Holland America Alaska Cruise Worth It? An Honest Review

07/28/2023 by Kristin Addis 6 Comments

Imagine you’re sitting on a balcony, sipping on a freshly made latte while sailing past an electric blue glacier. Suddenly, you spot an eagle resting on a piece of floating ice. Later that day, you see dolphins, whales, and sea otters jumping through the waves as the mist breaks to reveal snowy mountains and tree-coated islets. There doesn’t appear to be anything around for miles, and it feels like it’s all unfolding in perfect harmony. That all happened within one day on my weeklong Alaska cruise while my son napped on the other side of the door, and I will never forget those magical moments.

Now I never thought of myself as a cruise person. Would a big ship really be my ideal way to travel?

When Holland America invited me, my mom and I weren’t sure it was for us. Would it be cheesy, crowded, and lame? We decided if we were to take a cruise, Alaska with its wild beauty would be the ideal place, so we went for it.

I had only been on a couple of cruises prior to this, wich were rather short and felt like a mixture between McDonald’s and a frat party, to be honest. The experience on the Koningsdam sailing the Inside Passage to Alaska via Vancouver was delightfully different. It was mostly families, retirees, and some multigenerational groups like ours.

The food was great, the service was excellent, but best of all, the experience of sailing along the coast of Alaska was breathtaking. Here’s everything to know before you book that cruise :

Table of Contents

Itinerary – 7 Day Alaskan Inside Passage

holland america alaska cruise review

There are many Alaska itineraries to choose from, and they all offer scenic cruising with some variation in the stops they make.

What looked best to me was the departure in and out of Vancouver, which included the Inside Passage as well as Glacier Bay. It ended up being a great decision.

The first evening after departing Vancouver was already beautiful, passing by the islands outside of the city and all along the coast of British Columbia. It was just a taste of the beauty that was to come. 

holland america alaska cruise review

The next day was mostly about getting up to Juneau and was spent at sea. Of all the days on board, this was the least scenic, but I still saw whales from my veranda! 

holland america alaska cruise review

As would be a trend with the towns we visited in Alaska, Juneau had a charm to it, with historic, Wild West–style buildings and gorgeous surroundings. The downtown is mainly bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops, but there’s quite a bit to do in the area. I opted for the helicopter trek of the Mendenhall Glacier, which was a fantastic decision (more on that later). 

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holland america alaska cruise review

The next morning, we arrived in Skagway, another small, charming coastal town, and took the scenic railway as our excursion. Felix squealed with delight at the helicopters taking off right outside of our room on the ship afterwards. 

holland america alaska cruise review

That evening, leaving Skagway was particularly beautiful, as we watched the sunset over the dramatic mountains with waterfalls cascading down. Since we had a baby sleeping inside, most of our evenings were spent on the veranda, which could not have been a better spot from which to experience the beauty of Alaska all throughout the cruise.

Glacier Bay National Park

glacier bay national park

This was a highlight for us, as we spent the day cruising through Glacier Bay National Park. Though I’ve had the pleasure of hiking across part of a glacier in Wrangell St. Elias in Alaska and trekking on a few in Patagonia , this was still more glaciers than I had ever seen in a day.

As we made our way through, the weather kept changing, creating different lighting along the glaciers and providing incredible wildlife-spotting opportunities. I saw dolphins, whales, otters, and an eagle perched on an iceberg, all from our veranda.

Absolutely book an Alaska cruise that includes Glacier Bay!

ketchikan alaska

As we made our way back south, we stopped in Ketchikan, which was a nice contrast to the glacial landscape that we had been seeing. This is a great opportunity to explore the fjords, which we did by seaplane as our excursion.

Our Room on the Koningsdam

holland america alaska cruise

One of my concerns was feeling cramped in a tiny room with our stuff everywhere and all of the free space taken up by our travel crib . 

The verandah room was spacious enough, though, with plenty of storage in the closets and drawers, as well as a space under the bed for suitcases . As long as we were good about putting things back in their place, the room was totally fine for the three of us. 

holland america alaska cruise

It also had a pull-out couch to sleep families, though I would imagine that squeezing four into one room would feel tight. 

The balcony was also great and a frequent hangout spot of ours. It was safe for my baby to crawl around and enjoy, and my favorite place from which to spot wildlife. I preferred it to all of the common spaces on the ship since it was so peaceful and felt like my own little retreat.

The room was also serviced twice per day by two incredibly attentive staff members who always left towel animals for Felix. 

Service 

Speaking of the staff, they were amazing. Those in the dining room made a particularly great impression, remembering my son and always saying hi to him and bringing his fruit right away. Considering how many people they were seeing on a daily basis, I was impressed. 

I also found each person we interacted with to be accommodating and patient, even when guests weren’t particularly warm with them. I know from working in hospitality in the past that it’s not an easy job, and they all did it especially well. 

holland america alaska cruise review

I was worried the food might not be great or healthy onboard. I’d encountered a lot of chicken nuggets and subpar burgers in the past on my brief cruise experiences. However, there was plenty of variety, and I was able to eat healthy and find plenty of options for my one-year-old as well (veggies, grilled meats, and fruit were always abundant). 

Although they had a kids’ menu, my son tends to just eat the healthier food that we eat, and we could get other food for him in the restaurant and Lido Market, and share what we ordered in the specialty restaurants.

Rudi’s Sel de Mer

holland america alaska cruise review

This is the highest-end restaurant onboard, with the smallest capacity — and also, of course, my favorite. 

It’s a tranquil seafood restaurant, and the halibut and steak special were both excellent. They also had lobster, crab, and other seafood delicacies available. I loved the apple crumble as well!

Tamarind 

holland america alaska cruise review

This Asian-flavors-inspired restaurant was my second favorite, with satay, curries, a nice tom kha gai , and orange duck. They were also very understanding and accommodating of our nut and soy allergies. Definitely get the yuzu cheesecake for dessert!

holland america alaska cruise review

The Italian restaurant with seating near the windows offers sharing-style Italian dishes. It’s a must-do if you’re looking for higher-end pasta, meatballs, seafood dishes, and desserts.

Pinnacle Grill

This appeared to be the most popular restaurant. It offered surf and turf. If they have the lemongrass soup appetizer when you sail, definitely get it! 

It is also open for lunch, unlike the other paid restaurant upgrades. I thought this was a steal, considering we got a nice steak and appetizers and dessert for only $15 each!

Lido Market

In market hall fashion, this was the place to go for variety, and it became our daily lunch stop. It had everything from a salad bar and roasted meats to sandwiches, sweets, and noodles. It could get a bit busy and overwhelming at times to be honest, probably because it had so much variety in one spot. 

There were other options in the vicinity, including burgers and pizza near the indoor pool, but we didn’t end up having those during our cruise. 

Main Dining 

Even if you don’t upgrade to any of the paid dining options, the main dining room is honestly awesome. It had a different menu each day with plenty to choose from, like roasted chicken, New York steak, a vegan chickpea patty (which was my favorite thing), and plenty of roasted veggies, grilled fish, and chopped fruit for my son. (It also had a kid’s menu with the typical options).

The staff were so great with my little guy, I was always happy to eat there, which we did for most breakfasts and dinners. 

In-room dining

holland america alaska cruise

There’s always room service too! I thought we would take more advantage than we did, but we loved the dining room so much, we went there more often. 

This is the part I was most looking forward to, and my excursions didn’t disappoint. 

Juneau Helicopter and Glacier Trekking

holland america alaska cruise review

Do yourself a favor and book at least one scenic flight during your cruise, whether it’s in Juneau or elsewhere. 

The flight was beautiful, and the ice was wonderful to trek as well. I’ve been fortunate to trek on five glaciers now and take several scenic flights all around the world, but I had never combined the two. It was truly an adventure, which included scenes all around Juneau, crampons, and hiking on the ice for a few glorious hours. The guides were also happy to take pictures, which was helpful, since I did this excursion solo. 

Skagway White Pass Railway

holland america cruise review

There are several options for the historic train, since it’s the most popular thing to do in town. I found it a bit confusing and only ended up booking the excursion that just barely crossed the border into British Columbia before turning around, rather than going all the way into the Yukon Territory. Although my intention had been to go all the way, the trip was still beautiful, and probably long enough, considering we had my one-year-old in tow. 

Many of the other excursions will take you all the way one way on the train and then use a coach for the way back. If you do this, be sure to ride on the left side of the train on your way up as it is the most scenic. We ended up being among the last to board the train, which I worried would mean we’d miss out on good seating, but we actually got to be in the front, and it wasn’t too crowded up there!

The trip is narrated the whole way, and there are also platforms in the front and back of each car that passengers can stand on. I logged most of the trip out there.

Ketchikan Historic Wilderness Sea Plane 

holland america alaska cruise review

This is another splurge but so worth it! In contrast to the glacier flights, Ketchikan is more about the misty fjords and potential to see wildlife. We got lucky with a clear day and a nice, long flight with views of hidden mountain lakes, snowy peaks, and a bear and whale sighting that I wasn’t quick enough to catch on the camera but loved seeing nonetheless. 

Koningsdam : Ship & Amenities 

holland america alaska cruise review

I have to be honest that the size of the ship (2,500 capacity, one of Holland America’s largest) made me hesitate. I know for sure I’m not the kind of person who would enjoy the huge ships that have 5,000+ passengers, those big slides, and bellyflop competitions. But the Koningsdam was classy, with some shared areas we loved, particularly the Crow’s Nest on the 12th floor, with a fantastic view all around the front of the ship, coffee, and couches for Felix to crawl on.

koningsdam pool

There were also two pools to choose from, including an indoor pool that showed movies on the giant screen in the evenings, and the outdoor pool at the back of the ship that was nicely heated and had two hot tubs as well. It wasn’t very crowded, which made it perfect for us!

There was also a gym that had regular classes and plenty of machines to choose from. It was never too crowded, even though the ship was fully booked. There’s also a spa, shopping, casino, a few live music venues, and a large theater.

holland america alaska cruise review

We also enjoyed the jogging track on the 11th floor for panoramic views. It was a great spot to get some exercise and take Felix for his beloved stroller walks with the ever-changing scenery.

holland america alaska cruise review

As I understand is common on cruise ships, there are some extras, like internet and drinks, that you can opt to pay for as a package. The Quench package included espresso drinks, smoothies, and water cans. Tea, tap water, and regular coffee are free.

To upgrade to the package that includes alcohol runs $55/day, or $60 for top shelf. I don’t drink, so that didn’t tempt me, though it could be a meaningful expense to add onto the trip, as is Wi-Fi, which was $229 for four devices and high speed for the week.

One could just use one’s cell signal in port and disconnect elsewhere, and it’s possible to get an eSIM especially for cruises!

Cleanliness 

With so many people on board, this was another factor that I was a little worried about. Would it really be super clean? However, the guest-to-staff ratio seems to be about 2:1, which is pretty incredible. Everything always looked pretty well taken care of, and things were obviously being cleaned constantly. I regularly saw people servicing the bathrooms, our room got cleaned twice a day, and the pool was regularly serviced. It seemed like there was quite a lot of effort being put into everything feeling spotless.

Final Thoughts: Is it Worth It?

holland america alaska cruise review

There was definitely a time in my life when I was all about taking small ships , cargo ferries, and local buses, and avoiding experiences like cruises. However, now with a young child, it ended up being such an easy, beautiful way to take a vacation. We didn’t have to worry about logistics, food, cleaning up after meals (which can be messy with a one-year-old), or having things to do while he napped. Each time my son went down for his nap, sneaking out to the veranda with the baby monitor ended up being so lovely, with plenty of wildlife and scenery to take in.

The care that the staff put into making sure our boy was well looked after at our meals was above and beyond. People were always trying to make him smile, and the guests were nice to be around, as well. It wasn’t a party atmosphere (although there may have been some of that in the evenings, which I missed since that was bedtime for my son), but rather a mix of people who were there to enjoy the scenery of Alaska.

holland america alaska cruise review

The only times things felt a bit busy to me were at the Lido Market at lunchtime and in the Crow’s Nest when we were cruising Glacier Bay. I ended up really feeling that our veranda was the best place to view it all from, and I can’t imagine taking a scenic cruise without one.

Maximizing your time by booking excursions in the ports is also important. That does make things cost a bit more, but it really does make this a bucket-list trip. I think with a veranda, excursions, and some of the higher-end dining, as well as making use of the ship amenities that appeal most to you, will make for a wonderful experience. Although I might never be the type to cruise-hop in the Caribbean, I have a feeling this won’t be my last scenic cruise in some of the more mountainous, glacier-topped destinations.

You can book your experience with Holland America here!

*Thanks to Holland America for inviting me to experience this cruise. All thoughts on the amazing staff, beautiful Alaska, and delicious food are my own. Some links in this post are affiliate links that support us at no extra cost to you when you purchase through them. We only recommend products we love and use ourselves. Your trust always comes first!

About Kristin Addis

Kristin Addis is the founder and CEO of Be My Travel Muse, a resource for female travelers all around the world since 2012. She's traveled solo to over 65 countries and has brought over 150 women on her all-female adventure tours from Botswana to the Alaskan tundra.

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Tillie says

08/30/2023 at 3:47 pm

AMEN!!! I’ve been blessed to shaparone elders on this cruise. They loved it. The medical staff is also attending to chronic conditions that would prevent an elder to vacation with emotional security in a different setting. Their bed goes with then, so that when they feel well, they are back to wonder.

Lisa Cochran says

09/01/2023 at 5:08 pm

My sister and I just went on a cruise on the Valdomara to Alaska. It was just as perfect as you described. I will go again! We had an excellent time!

Kathleen Curell says

09/06/2023 at 9:01 am

What month did you do this Alaskan cruise?

Kristin says

09/08/2023 at 5:58 am

end of July

Shelly Palczewski says

04/24/2024 at 6:49 am

Wonderful article. Very helpful and honest. Thanks. What side of the ship were you on?

Kristin Addis says

05/10/2024 at 9:09 am

Starboard, but when you’re in glacier bay the ship will rotate so both sides see everything 🙂

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Alaska cruises have surged in popularity in recent years, and demand to see America's last unspoiled frontier continues to grow. If you decide to cruise Alaska you can see snowcapped peaks, mighty glaciers, steep fjords and such wildlife as whales, black bears, brown bears, bald eagles, sea otters and seals. You'll also find historic gold rush towns, Native American art and culture, Russian heritage and plenty of outdoor adventure. Because of this region's popularity and short season, the per-diem prices for Alaska cruises are among the highest in the cruise industry.

Alaska cruises are generally divided into two types, Inside Passage cruises and Gulf of Alaska cruises. The Inside Passage has been the traditional way to cruise Alaska, with most ships sailing round-trip from Vancouver or Seattle, through glacier country as far north as Skagway or Juneau. Gulf of Alaska cruises cover more territory as they travel from Vancouver through the Inside Passage and up to Seward/Anchorage (or the reverse). Airfare for a Gulf of Alaska cruise is generally more expensive because Anchorage is so far north.

  • The Alaska cruise season lasts from May through September.
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  • You can find the most affordable Alaska cruise rates in May and September, the off-peak periods.
  • Nearly half of all passengers add a land tour to their Alaska cruise. Denali National Park, the Yukon gold rush country and the Canadian Rockies are among options.
  • Alaska experiences long hours of daylight during summer, lasting up to 23 hours a day in June.
  • In addition to popular sightseeing tours via train and motorcoach, cruise lines have added more adventurous shore excursions to Alaska itineraries, such as sea kayaking, mountain hiking and salmon fishing.
  • If you have frequent-flier miles, this may be a good time to use a free ticket to fly round trip to Vancouver, the main port of departure for Inside Passage cruises.
  • Because in most cases you'll need to fly a long distance to reach your port of departure, we suggest that you arrive at the port city at least one or two days in advance of your cruise. This will give you time to rest and get oriented before boarding the ship. Most cruise lines offer pre-cruise hotel packages.

holland america alaska denali cruise

Holland America,18 day Yukon/Triple Denali?

By Harrylinden , August 23, 2020 in Alaska

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Harrylinden

Thinking about doing this land/cruise tour.Has anyone done it and if so,how was it? 

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PRPLE

It was AMAZING!  our first land plus cruise... after lots of reading we did land first and glad we did it that way... we also did the last cruise of the season on purpose as my husband wanted a chance to see the Northern Lights... we were able yo see them in Dawson as well as Fairbanks.  HAL did a amazing job with all us.. we had two bus loads each with their our land tour guide who traveled with us.  They really looked out for us as we went.  We did a combination of Hal excursions and some we booked our own after lots of reading... and some we just winged it... in general you want to book things beforehand as excursions did sell out.    

Weather was getting cold and we had some rain... so you gotta pack in layers.  We did do laundry in Denali. Plus once we got on the ship we sent things out as we had free laundry with our cabin... 

on food we did not prebuy for the land... mainly as we didn’t want to be locked into the hotels although we did ate at some of the places.. yes food is expensive but we did better paying as we went.  I did use some of my luggage space to pack with my husbands favorite chocolate bars and other snack stuff as we are munchers. Our bus had water for us and occasional a snack item... a couple of meals are included in the land portion and they are listed on your documentation. As we decided to splurge we booked a aft Neptune suite which was fabulous!

i would so do this trip again!!!!!!  

  • 8 months later...

Alphen

On 8/23/2020 at 11:01 PM, PRPLE said: It was AMAZING!  our first land plus cruise... after lots of reading we did land first and glad we did it that way... we also did the last cruise of the season on purpose as my husband wanted a chance to see the Northern Lights... we were able yo see them in Dawson as well as Fairbanks.  HAL did a amazing job with all us.. we had two bus loads each with their our land tour guide who traveled with us.  They really looked out for us as we went.  We did a combination of Hal excursions and some we booked our own after lots of reading... and some we just winged it... in general you want to book things beforehand as excursions did sell out.     Weather was getting cold and we had some rain... so you gotta pack in layers.  We did do laundry in Denali. Plus once we got on the ship we sent things out as we had free laundry with our cabin...    on food we did not prebuy for the land... mainly as we didn’t want to be locked into the hotels although we did ate at some of the places.. yes food is expensive but we did better paying as we went.  I did use some of my luggage space to pack with my husbands favorite chocolate bars and other snack stuff as we are munchers. Our bus had water for us and occasional a snack item... a couple of meals are included in the land portion and they are listed on your documentation. As we decided to splurge we booked a aft Neptune suite which was fabulous!   i would so do this trip again!!!!!!  

We are also looking at this one; would you care to share if it was easy to find dining options around the HAL hotels along your land tour?

rsldonk

The nice thing with 3 nights in Denali is you have a really good chance of getting a clear enough day to see the mountain, plus enough time to take the shuttle all the way out to Eielson visitor center. 

oaktreerb

On 5/22/2021 at 12:48 AM, Alphen said: We are also looking at this one; would you care to share if it was easy to find dining options around the HAL hotels along your land tour?

We have done the Yukon itineraries several times.  There are plenty of great dining options near the hotels at every location.  Whitehorse has a great place right across the street from the Westmark called Klondike Rib and Salmon.  Dawson City has several options since the whole town is walkable.  Fairbanks is a bigger city but has eateries within walking distance like Lavelle’s Bistro at the Marriott.  Denali has both the Princess and the McKinley Chalets which both have excellent food and there is Glitter Gulch across the highway.  The food on the train and at the hotels is excellent.  You may find it’s easier to grab the buffets for breakfast, especially in Fairbanks.  If you eat a lot, like desserts, and don’t want to be out and about you might enjoy the meal package.  Otherwise, explore your local options for dining at each stop.

5 hours ago, oaktreerb said: We have done the Yukon itineraries several times.  There are plenty of great dining options near the hotels at every location.  Whitehorse has a great place right across the street from the Westmark called Klondike Rib and Salmon.  Dawson City has several options since the whole town is walkable.  Fairbanks is a bigger city but has eateries within walking distance like Lavelle’s Bistro at the Marriott.  Denali has both the Princess and the McKinley Chalets which both have excellent food and there is Glitter Gulch across the highway.  The food on the train and at the hotels is excellent.  You may find it’s easier to grab the buffets for breakfast, especially in Fairbanks.  If you eat a lot, like desserts, and don’t want to be out and about you might enjoy the meal package.  Otherwise, explore your local options for dining at each stop.

Many thanks for these insights, indeed, did some research on google regarding venues around hotels. Just hoping they will still be in business next year after life hopefully returns to normal  😉

Like

They put us in the Grande Denali Lodge.  The on site restaurant was good for the food, but pretty horrible for the service.  They only allowed seating in like half the restaurant, blaming a lack of menus (way before covid in 2018).  We waited like 45 minutes to be seated, despite half the tables being empty.  The food was slow coming out, but when it finally did, it was excellent.  The room was nice, but I was less than impressed with the restaurant.  We did not have dining included, but we were tired and didn't want to get on the shuttle to go somewhere else.

2 minutes ago, rsldonk said: They put us in the Grande Denali Lodge.  The on site restaurant was good for the food, but pretty horrible for the service.  They only allowed seating in like half the restaurant, blaming a lack of menus (way before covid in 2018).  We waited like 45 minutes to be seated, despite half the tables being empty.  The food was slow coming out, but when it finally did, it was excellent.  The room was nice, but I was less than impressed with the restaurant.  We did not have dining included, but we were tired and didn't want to get on the shuttle to go somewhere else.

I understand the views are great from the Grand Denali Lodge but I like being where the action is!   Holland America now owns the McKinley Chalets Resort and have added more cabins and suites since they bought it.  They also partner with Princess which has a nearby hotel property.  I’m reasonably sure that the longer Yukon tour groups will be in the Chalets.   The HAL property is huge and they have continually running shuttle busses throughout the property.  They also provide direct bus access from the Chalets to the park visitor’s center and the included Tundra Wilderness Tour.

20,000+ Club

20 hours ago, oaktreerb said:  Holland America now owns the McKinley Chalets Resort and have added more cabins and suites since they bought it.  They also partner with Princess which has a nearby hotel property.

No experience with the Princess resort at Denali, but, as an independent traveler in 2019, my Nephew and I did dine at the HAL resort.  The food, the service, and the pricing for a hotel restaurant were all very acceptable.  We enjoyed our experience.  

With the Canada border still closed I would not be surprised to see Canada part of tour package changed in many ways.  

21 minutes ago, SightCRR said: With the Canada border still closed I would not be surprised to see Canada part of tour package changed in many ways.  

Yukon cruise tours will not resume until 2022. Hopefully Canada will be ready to welcome visitors by then.

In fact, HAL cancelled all Alaska cruise tours for 2021.  In 2021 you can still fly to Alaska and take a Gray Line Tour in which you can enjoy travel on the Alaska railroad, stay in HAL and Princess lodges, and enjoy added excursions ..... which is the land equivalent of the cruise tours.

On 5/24/2021 at 2:17 AM, oaktreerb said: We have done the Yukon itineraries several times.  There are plenty of great dining options near the hotels at every location.  Whitehorse has a great place right across the street from the Westmark called Klondike Rib and Salmon.  Dawson City has several options since the whole town is walkable.  Fairbanks is a bigger city but has eateries within walking distance like Lavelle’s Bistro at the Marriott.  Denali has both the Princess and the McKinley Chalets which both have excellent food and there is Glitter Gulch across the highway.  The food on the train and at the hotels is excellent.  You may find it’s easier to grab the buffets for breakfast, especially in Fairbanks.  If you eat a lot, like desserts, and don’t want to be out and about you might enjoy the meal package.  Otherwise, explore your local options for dining at each stop.

For anybody who has done the 18 day Yukon/Triple Denali Y1; we have a " Klondike Spirit Cruise" on our second day in Dawson, but this is not in our itinerary, in the Alaska brochure, it is mentioned as an "upgrade". Anybody know how this works?

Brochure info.jpg

We had the Klondike Spirit as part of our itinerary in Dawson City.  We boarded the paddle wheeler and enjoyed a narrated cruise down the Yukon River just past Moosehide (a native village) and then back past Dawson City to the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike rivers.  We were cruising slowly along and everybody got kind of quiet as we tried to figure out what was in the river ahead of us.  It was a moose swimming from one side of the river to the other….a first for our guide!

HAL makes changes to its Yukon tours from year to year.  It looks like they may have added the Taste of the Yukon in Whitehorse and made the Klondike Spirit an upgrade(?).  I don’t see it in excursions and I have no experience with these upgrade items.  Maybe somebody at HAL can explain the process.  I wonder if this is something you have to add to your booking in advance.  

You already have included the Riverboat Discovery in Fairbanks.  Whitehorse needed to add an experience  since their riverboat attraction closed a few years ago.  Whitehorse is the weak link in the itinerary because the time there is so short.  

Dawson City is my favorite place on this itinerary.  Parks Canada has some wonderful tours and programs.

6 hours ago, oaktreerb said: We had the Klondike Spirit as part of our itinerary in Dawson City.  We boarded the paddle wheeler and enjoyed a narrated cruise down the Yukon River just past Moosehide (a native village) and then back past Dawson City to the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike rivers.  We were cruising slowly along and everybody got kind of quiet as we tried to figure out what was in the river ahead of us.  It was a moose swimming from one side of the river to the other….a first for our guide!   HAL makes changes to its Yukon tours from year to year.  It looks like they may have added the Taste of the Yukon in Whitehorse and made the Klondike Spirit an upgrade(?).  I don’t see it in excursions and I have no experience with these upgrade items.  Maybe somebody at HAL can explain the process.  I wonder if this is something you have to add to your booking in advance.     You already have included the Riverboat Discovery in Fairbanks.  Whitehorse needed to add an experience  since their riverboat attraction closed a few years ago.  Whitehorse is the weak link in the itinerary because the time there is so short.     Dawson City is my favorite place on this itinerary.  Parks Canada has some wonderful tours and programs.    

Tnx for the info, also put down the question to HAL, the office in Rotterdam did not know the answer, they have forwarded it to Seattle, hope they can inform us about the upgrade.

On 5/22/2021 at 3:48 AM, Alphen said: We are also looking at this one; would you care to share if it was easy to find dining options around the HAL hotels along your land tour?

We had no problems… I researched using Yelp and sources like here to find what was available…  of course it’s now post pandemic so double check what’s open now and if reservations needed (thinking Denali as I remembered doing some ahead of time) … also with the travel between points thought ahead so we carried refillable water bottles (Holland had water for us on the bus) and I packed snickers (hubbies fav) and periodically bought things for snacking so we would have if needed. It was a amazing trip!!!

10 hours ago, PRPLE said: We had no problems… I researched using Yelp and sources like here to find what was available…  of course it’s now post pandemic so double check what’s open now and if reservations needed (thinking Denali as I remembered doing some ahead of time) … also with the travel between points thought ahead so we carried refillable water bottles (Holland had water for us on the bus) and I packed snickers (hubbies fav) and periodically bought things for snacking so we would have if needed. It was a amazing trip!!!

Thanks for the tip, we are indeed hoping that the food options we find on internet, will still be there after the pandemic smoke is lifting, time will tell.

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  1. Denali National Park, Alaska

    Holland America Line is also the only cruise line to include the Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park on all 2- and 3-night Denali cruisetour itineraries. On this expertly guided 6- to 8-hour adventure, you'll likely spot some combination of Alaska's Big Five : grizzly bears, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, and wolves.

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  6. 9-Day Denali: Tour D8l

    9-Day Denali: Tour D8l. Direct to Denali for an overnight stay at this national treasure. Cruise majestic Glacier Bay and explore Alaska's famed Inside Passage.

  7. 10 Reasons to Love a Holland America Alaska Land and Sea Cruise

    4. You like to travel to lesser known destinations. Alaska Land+Sea programs include unexpected highlights such as Dawson City, the Yukon Territory's original capital. Located in the heart of the ...

  8. Holland America Alaska Cruise Tours: 10 Must-Know Tips

    Check out our 10 been-there, done-that tips for Holland America Alaska cruise tours. 1. Choose Land First on Holland America Alaska Cruise Tours. Alaska Cruisetours: 6 Things You Need to Know ...

  9. 14-Day Double Denali: Tour D4l sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam

    1.800.377.9383. QUICK. FREE. EASY. Personal Quote. Itinerary for Nieuw Amsterdam: 14-Day Double Denali: Tour D4l from Whittier, Alaska to Alaska Cruisetours with Holland America Line. View deals, rates and port information.

  10. 10-Day Double Denali: Tour D6l sailing on the Noordam

    1.800.377.9383. QUICK. FREE. EASY. Itinerary for Noordam: 10-Day Double Denali: Tour D6l from Whittier, Alaska to Alaska Cruisetours with Holland America Line. View deals, rates and port information.

  11. What to Expect on a Holland America Alaskan Cruise

    The Holland America 11-Day Double Denali cruise and land tour is the perfect way to see Alaska. The itinerary includes stops in Fairbanks, Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, as well as a three-day land tour of Denali National Park.

  12. Is a Holland America Alaska Cruise Worth It? An Honest Review

    This is the highest-end restaurant onboard, with the smallest capacity — and also, of course, my favorite. It's a tranquil seafood restaurant, and the halibut and steak special were both excellent. They also had lobster, crab, and other seafood delicacies available. I loved the apple crumble as well!

  13. Discover Alaska with Holland America Line

    Holland America offers an ideal balance of intimacy and amenities. Six of the 11-strong fleet of HAL ships will visit Alaska in 2024, typically accommodating between 1,400-2,600 guests, allowing ...

  14. McKinley Chalet Resort in Denali, Alaska

    During the 2.5-year period following Holland America's purchase of the 483-room resort, Carnival Corp. -- which also oversees the neighboring Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge -- rearranged the ...

  15. 10-Day Double Denali: Tour D6L

    Nieuw Amsterdam. JUL 18 - JUL 28, 2024. Change Date. DEPARTS : Anchorage, Alaska, US. ARRIVES : Vancouver, B.C., CA. Direct to Denali for a two night stay. Go deeper on an included Tundra Wilderness Tour. Cruise majestic Glacier Bay and explore Alaska's famed Inside Passage.

  16. Holland America Line Alaska Cruise Reviews

    1-10 of 1,969 Holland America Line Alaska Cruise Reviews. Anxiety Inducing Vacation Gone Wrong. Review for aAlaska Cruise on Westerdam. Redrow. 2-5 Cruises • Age 40s.

  17. Start Planning Your Perfect Alaska Cruisetour

    Find Your Perfect Alaska Cruisetour. Combine your cruise with a train trip and up to 3 nights at Denali National Park or go into the Yukon with a guide. Start. C. Cookie Policy. Glaciers, mountains, gold rush. Experience everything Alaska on a cruisetour - an ocean cruise with a trip to Denali and the Yukon. Find your cruisetour now.

  18. Holland America Alaska Cruise Tour 9 Night Denali

    Low rates on Holland America Alaska Cruise Tour 9 Night Denali - Tour D8C from Vancouver on the Nieuw Amsterdam from Vancouver sailing May 19, 2024. Book this cruise tour on AlaskaCruises.com or call 1-800-201-6937. ... 7 Nt Cruise + 1 Nt Denali + 1 Nt Fairbanks Direction: Northbound from Vancouver to Fairbanks . Cruise Segment of Itinerary ...

  19. Holland America vs. Princess in Alaska

    Alaska Cruise Pricing on Holland America and Princess. Pricing for round trip seven-night cruises, either from Seattle or Vancouver, are similar for the two lines. Peak-season prices start at a ...

  20. 10 Night Double Denali D6Z on Holland America Line

    Day. 11. Anchorage, Alaska. Your cruisetour concludes this morning in Anchorage. How To Book This Cruise. 1-800-201-6937. Expert travel agents are ready to assist you. Please reference Tour Number D6Z . What's Included.

  21. Holland America Destinations: Alaska

    The Alaska cruise season lasts from May through September. Cruises to Alaska are 7 to 12 nights in length. You can find the most affordable Alaska cruise rates in May and September, the off-peak periods. Nearly half of all passengers add a land tour to their Alaska cruise. Denali National Park, the Yukon gold rush country and the Canadian ...

  22. Questions about Denali land tour

    Posted August 19, 2021. Ronsie, there was a problem on our 2015 Denali land tour. We took all of our own luggage from the land portion to the ship. People who used the HAL luggage transport did not get their bags for a few days. I seem to remember that the luggage truck sat somewhere and the ship left without the bags.

  23. Holland America,18 day Yukon/Triple Denali?

    Rare. 4.3k. December 2, 2010. #13. Posted June 5, 2021. For anybody who has done the 18 day Yukon/Triple Denali Y1; we have a " Klondike Spirit Cruise" on our second day in Dawson, but this is not in our itinerary, in the Alaska brochure, it is mentioned as an "upgrade".

  24. Careers

    Every day, thousands of guests board our ships. There are hundreds of job titles at Holland America Line, but all of us have the same goal — to be the world's best hosts. ... Alaska Cruises. All Alaska Cruises; 6-8 Days; 9-16 Days; Alaska Cruisetours. Learn About Cruisetours ... Cross Denali off your bucket list. View Cruisetours. Ship Life ...

  25. Holland America Koningsdam Cruise: Expert Review (2023)

    5.0. Excellent. Overall. Adam Coulter. U.K. Executive Editor. "Koning" means "king" in Dutch, and this ship is aptly named: when it debuted in 2016, the ship was the biggest, most technologically ...