Exploring the Romantic “Last Frontier” on Holland America

Getting There

We’ve had the pleasure of taking many romantic cruises over the years but one of our favorites of all time was aboard Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam to Alaska. It’s Alaska cruising season again so pack your bags and delight in one of the most spectacular cruise itineraries in existence.

We started out our unforgettable voyage by flying from Sacramento to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. The night before our sailing we enjoyed staying at the gorgeous Pan Pacific Vancouver with a breathtaking view of the port and the bay. A delightful pool and spectacular food at the Cafe Pacifica, only add to the overall exceptional quality of this property.

We loved the excitement of waking up in the morning and seeing our ship waiting for embarkation.

What To Do? What To Do?

In addition to all the usual outstanding shows and exercise classes, pools, dance classes, high teas, spa. and Bingo, we enjoyed daily trivia challenges and contests, the frequent casino tournaments and the beautiful on board spa. Thermal suites and hydro-therapy pool, beauty salon, massages, and manicure & pedicure area provide even more options for romantic pampering in peace and luxury.

Another Holland American specialty are the Digital Workshops offered on board where newbies to the technical world can learn in a fun, low-key, and non-intimidating way, how to share digital memories through email, blogging, and social networking. This allows cruisers a way to share their newly learned technological tricks so that friends and family can catch a glimpse of where they’ve been on their cruise, long before they even return home. Microsoft trained “techsperts” show even novice camera and computer users how to take better vacation photos and create scrapbooks.

“Guests have given the workshops rave reviews since we began offering them,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs.

All that computer training may make you hungry and Holland America has that base covered, and covered nicely.

An Endless Buffet of Options

Our favorites on the Zuiderdam included Grilled Lamb Chops, Lobster Bisque, Apricot Glazed Salmon, Fillet Mignon, and of course The Gold Rush Baked Alaska and Chocolate Decadence Cake.

We often enjoyed ordering free room service where we could take some down time to relax in our cabin watching a movie or just enjoying the views as they appeared off the cabin balcony. Sometimes room service fit the bill nicely for a respite between activities.

All Ashore Who’s Going Ashore

Our wonderful Alaska cruise itinerary aboard the Zuiderdam began with scenic cruising through the inside passage and Tracy Arm and on to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier National Park, Ketchikan, finally returning back to Vancouver.

What we liked best about the Zuiderdam was that being a mid-sized ship with an excellent passenger to space ratio, we were able to have alone time as a couple as much or as little as we wished. Many times we’d find our own little private spot to sit in awe of the calving glaciers and abundant wildlife. It was spectacular, literally, to enjoy the comforts of the Zuiderdam while watching whales breach, bears frolicking on beaches, and orcas swimming alongside. An on board naturalist pointing out the various species, really added to the enjoyment and educational factor.

Holland America offers the best shore excursions in the industry with well over a hundred different possibilities. Everything from adrenaline junkie fare, to tame shopping tours and everything in between insure that you can see any side of Alaska that you wish. Glacier tours, dog sledding, float plane tours, helicopter adventures, rafting, kayaking, bicycling, canoeing, zip lining, Jeep tours, you name it…they have you covered. There are, literally, road trips of every kind to pick from. We decided to try the Chilkoot Trail Hike and Float for one of our shore excursions and could not have been more pleased with our decision. Hiking the gorgeous historic trail and then floating on a raft down the gentle Taiya river with our excellent guide, proved to be a fascinating and educational experience that gave us a glimpse into the wilds of Alaska. The ultimate road trip!

In our opinion, the pinnacle of the trip was taking the Neets Bay Bear Watch by Float plane adventure where we were flown out to a remote location. There we loved watching dozens of bears up close as they played and fed at a salmon hatchery. It was one of the most unforgettable shore excursions we have ever had the pleasure to experience.

Going Green

Although Holland America is known for its exemplary cruise experience, it is gaining respect for its Environmental Commitment. Waste reduction, recycling, and cleaner-burning propulsion technology meets and in most cases exceeds the international regulations and industry standards. With environmental awards too long to list, they are setting the stage and the standard for other lines.

It’s Alaska cruise season and it’s certainly time to start planning that romantic cruise vacation that the two of you will never forget. Holland America is the perfect way in which to explore the Last Frontier in comfort, safety, and luxury.