As Amsterdam pulled away to begin my seven-night cruise to Alaska, there was no better place to watch the downtown Seattle skyline fade away than from the comfort of one of the ship's classic teak lounge chairs, glass of Champagne in hand.
From a perch on the lower promenade deck, as some of the more ambitious fellow passengers walk pre-dinner laps on the open-air deck, it was obvious that HAL's long-standing oceangoing traditions have been blended with modern amenities and services. Size-wise, Amsterdam, which spends summers in Alaska and the remainder of the year sailing a world cruise and extended journeys in Australia and the South Pacific, is solidly in the middle of the Holland America fleet.
Amsterdam continues to get small upgrades but is not, at this point, in line to receive the whole Signature of Excellence package.
On a recent seven-night Alaska Explorer cruise, the majority of passengers were in the 50-plus range. Attire during the day is casual, and on a recent cruise to Alaska, jeans and khaki pants were standard. The automatic tip for passengers staying in interior, oceanview and verandah cabins is $12.50 per person, per day. The service and food is amazing on this cruise line.Every crew member was helpful and inviting.
A Holland America Line cruise ship rescued passengers off a sightseeing vessel that began taking on water in Alaska’s Glacier Bay after striking a rock, this according to the AP. The 79-foot vessel Baranof  Wind began taking on water at 11am (local time) and notified the USGC.
None of the passengers on board the vessel were seriously hurt and four crew members remained with the vessel to start pumping water, according to the USCG. The Baranof Wind Glacier Tour is an eight hour cruise aboard a 149 passenger high-speed catamaran managed by Glacier Bay Lodges & Tours.

Glacier Bay is located in Southeast Alaska and a popular tourist destination filled with natural sights and wildlife.
After all, isn't sailing on Holland America, and Amsterdam to boot, all about reveling in the storied traditions of cruising? As part of its Signature of Excellence program, Holland America has committed to pouring more than a half a billion dollars into its fleet of 13 ships since 2003, upgrading staterooms, public spaces and shore excursions. Passengers on Holland America still have the option for a set-seating dining, though open-seating is also available. Built in 2000, it's smaller than the line's Vista and Signature classes of ships and carries 700 fewer passengers than Eurodam, the largest ship in the lineup.
So, while it recently received Canaletto, Holland America's take on a casual Italian eatery, it will not be outfitted with spa cabins, an adults-only pool area or a new bar concept called Mix. There were also a smattering of young families with small children as well as multi-generational groups of grown children traveling with one or both parents. We ate at all of the dining venues and was pleased with the quality and variety of each restaurant.
It was a wonderful experience, we visited 46 different ports, in several places staying more than one night.
Holland America Line’s 1,432-guest ms Volendam was in the area and assisted in the rescue operation, taking on 70-sightseers.
A pre-dinner drink in the Explorer's Lounge, made all the more sweet by the music of a classical quartet, can cap an afternoon spent getting a 75-minute hot stone massage at the Greenhouse Spa or watching a cooking demonstration at the Culinary Arts Center.
The ship maintains the tradition of serving mugs of warm Dutch pea soup on deck to bundled-up, glacier-gazing travelers.

Even on a full cruise, the ship rarely feels crowded, except for the lunch rush at the casual Lido Restaurant on sea days and the occasional, fast-moving line in the La Fontaine main dining room.
According to a Holland American spokesman, passengers on Alaska cruises skew older than those on Caribbean itineraries. Two evenings were designated formal, and while some passengers donned cocktail dresses, gowns, tuxedos and suits, others chose to opt out of the evening code altogether and stick to jeans or khakis. The Sea View pool, aft of the Lido Deck, is a quiet retreat that feels like a private oasis.
An ornate clock in the three-level atrium is as much a towering piece of art as it is a way to get the current time around the world. Sure, you won't exactly find swimsuit weather en route to Juneau, but staffers graciously offer the perfect Alaska sunbathing accessory: a red wool blanket.
It's one of the first features you'll glimpse on the ship, and as you pass by it during your trip, it's a reminder that Holland America hasn't forgotten its roots. Passengers in the Pinnacle Grill and main dining room abided by the guidelines, but more casual attire was seen in the Lido restaurant and Canaletto.

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