We selected Holland American for our Alaska cruise. One reason we selected Holland American was that they had options to extend your cruise to a stay at Denali. Another reason was that their customers were older than most cruise lines and, since we’re not getting younger, we liked the idea of a fairly quiet cruise.
We had never been on a cruise before and we soon found out that a cruise ship is basically a resort hotel and mall that floats. There were plenty of opportunities to send lots of money- casinos, shops, an art seller, a jeweler, a spa, even an acupuncturist- but we did our best to avoid the temptations. We looked at the cruise ship as another part of an adventure and explored the many areas of the ship.
Holland America is famous for the art aboard their ships. The Noordam had several million dollars worth of art, including several Andy Warhol prints and a Warhol painting of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.
Warhol seems to be a favorite of Holland America. In addition to the prints above and the Queen Juliana portrait, the entrance to the nightclub had a Warhol theme.
There were a lot of really beautiful places on the ship and we spent a lot of time just exploring the spaces. We enjoyed the library and the game room, but one of my favorites was the Ocean Bar, which had a jazz theme.
One of the most grandiose spaces on the Noordam had to be the central staircase, which was three stories high and featured a huge Waterford crystal compass.
Here’s a view of the Waterford compass.
There was artwork everywhere. Ship paintings and models, a bust of King William II, sculptures, antiques, and more. There was always something to catch your eye.
As you would expect with a resort hotel, the service was great. One fun thing was the towel animals we found in our room every day. They even had a towel folding exhibition to show how to make the animals.
But, even with everything there was to do inside the ship we spent a lot of time on deck enjoying the views. The Inside Passage is truly spectacular. The Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains run along the eastern edge of the Inside Passage. To the west are a series of islands including Vancouver Island, Princess Royal Island and Pitt Island.
The weather, other than in rainy Ketchikan, was great and we had plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sites from on deck. We especially enjoyed watching the sun set.
We had expected the ship to be just a way to get to the various ports so we could enjoy the nature and history of Alaska. It turned out that there was plenty to enjoy aboard ship as well and being on ship didn’t keep us from enjoying the natural areas around us.