Five-Star Alaskan Explorer Cruise Aboard Ms Oosterdam - Alaska

Holland America’s new ms Oosterdam, the second in this five-star cruise company’s “Vista” class of cruise ships, represents Alaska Inside Passage cruising with all of the bells and whistles of a state-of-the-art cruise liner, backed by the pioneer of Alaska cruising. Departing from downtown Seattle, the Oosterdam visits Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier/Yakutat Bay and Sitka and Victoria, British Columbia as part of its spectacular Alaska cruise itinerary.

The Oosterdam, christened in the summer of 2003, features 85% of its spacious staterooms with ocean views, and 67% of those with private balconies. And, unlike other new ships, the Oosterdam carries the traditions which have been the hallmarks of Holland America Line for more than 130 years. The Oosterdam features world class art and antiques specially procured for her by experts. This ship also features the trademark Indonesian and Filipino hotel staff, who have won dozens of international awards for their quality of personal service.

Holland America Line is the most senior cruise line regularly cruising Alaskan waters and they really know how to make Alaska come alive for her visitors. It might be the little touches like an onboard naturalist, or an in-residence artist, or thick Dutch split pea soup served while watching the Hubbard Glacier calving and sending showers of icebergs into the sea. And, while the Oosterdam is a large vessel (85,000 tons and more than 951 feet long), the passengers can expect a cruise befitting Holland America Line and its worldwide reputation for quality and consistency.

The Alaska Explorer itinerary aboard the Oosterdam includes the following:

Saturday, Seattle Departure 5 P.M.
Sunday, Scenic Cruising of the Inside Passage All Day
Monday, Juneau l-8P.M.
Tuesday, Hubbard Glacier & Yakutat Bay Noon-5 P.M.
Wednesday, Sitka 7 A.M.–6 P.M.
Thursday, Ketchikan 7 A.M.-1 P.M.
Friday, Scenic Cruising of the Inside Passage All Day Victoria, British Columbia 8 P.M.-Midnight
Saturday Seattle, Arrival 7 A.M.

The new Oosterdam allows Holland America the ability to offer more value-priced balcony staterooms than they’ve ever been able to do before. Because the scenery is so close to the ship during this cruise, the balcony feature becomes an ideal locale for fully appreciating the magnificent nature of Alaska and British Columbia’s coastlines. Feedback from passengers who have booked a balcony has been raves.

Because Holland America owns Gray Line of Alaska they are able to offer an enormous number of shore excursions to go along with the cruise. Perhaps a seaplane flight across an ice field bigger than the state of Rhode Island; a fishing trip after the wily king salmon or a monstrous halibut; a helicopter to the top of a glacier; an authentic lumberjack show; or a visit to a hospital where eagles, hawks and owls are nursed back to health before being release back into the wild, the choices of great shore experiences seem to be endless.

Holland America considers itself to be a premium level cruise line. That means they offer larger staterooms, tipping not required, superior service and many of the little extras (like free hot snacks in the bars in the late afternoon) that have traditionally set this cruise line apart from its competitors. And while the architecture of the ship is absolutely magnificent, it’s the Holland America crew that makes the really big difference. With Dutch and British officers and Indonesian and Filipino hotel staff, Holland America Line ships are always ship shape. Room stewards, dining room waiters, bar tenders and everyone else on staff are driven to perform with excellence.

And let’s discuss the food. The Oosterdam features a gorgeous two-level dining room with many windows overlooking the sea. And, if the dining room doesn’t sound appetizing, 24-hour room service is included, the Lido buffet is open most of the day and night, and the Oosterdam features the Pinnacle Grill for special events and the Windstar Coffee House for a latte or a late night cappuccino. Prime rib, salmon, lobster, vegan and special menu choices are all available and offered to guests. Plus, Holland America’s free ice cream bar continues on every ship in the fleet. During the day, pasta and salad bars along with changing ethnic foods are available. The key on a Holland America ship is to ask for what you want and usually it will be delivered if at all possible.

Dress onboard a Holland America Line ship in Alaska is similar to what one might find at a nice resort. During the day everyone dresses in layers and casually and at night some opt to dress up a little for dinner, but it’s certainly not mandatory. Generally folks dress nicely for the dining room, because it’s such a nice restaurant environment. Two nights are always formal which these days means a coat, slacks and tie for the gentleman and a dress or nice pants suit for the ladies.

The key for the Oosterdam, and for that matter, any ship cruising to Alaska is the scenery and the friendly people who cruise. Cruisers love to share memories of their great cruise experience, and many lifetime friendships are made onboard. The summer of 2004 promises to be a special time for those choosing the new ms Oosterdam, or any other great Holland America Line ship.

For the 2004 Alaska season, the ms Oosterdam conducts seven-day cruises departing Seattle every Saturday from May 8th-September 18th. Contact Cruise Holidays of Woodinville for additional information, at 1 866 487 4001 (toll free) or via e-mail at Rich@luxurient.com.

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