Holland America Amsterdam – Alaska Chapter 1

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My reviews are loaded with fun times, great pictures and as always an unbiased point of view.
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Introduction

Hello again, well it has been a while since our last cruise. I’ve been mostly busy with school, and rotations. But thankfully we both been healthy and all seems to be following a good path. 

Cruise Details

All my life I have said, that when I do Alaska it would be on a small ship. I wanted the experience to be intimate, and as close to the water as possible. This is where the HAL Amsterdam comes into play. This is the smallest ship that I have done a 7 day cruise on, and let me tell you something, it was probably the best decision I made when booking this cruise.

The itinerary of this ship was incredible! It was the only one that fit our busy life, and  went all the way up to Hubbard Glacier. The only downfall to the itinerary was that it did not stop in Skagway, and that is one port that I actually wanted to go to, but you can’t win them all. All in all, a good itinerary.

 

Welcome aboard the Holland America Amsterdam!

My Camera Equipment

Main Camera

My main camera is a Sony Alpha A6000. Overall a great performer, with tons of bells and whistles. I have had multiple cameras throughout my blogging career, and this one is the first camera to fully satisfy my cravings for perfection in picture quality. Furthermore, having those results out of a relatively compact camera is the icing on the cake.

These are my lenses I own:

The Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar 24mm F1.8. What can I say about this lens? It is great for low light situations and produces very sharp pictures with great contrast. This is a true quality piece of glass that I use often during my cruises, due to a lot of low situations that I find myself in. It is just not very flexible with a fixed focal range.

The Sony Zeiss Sel1670 is a great versatile lens. I usually take most of the pictures with this lens. The lens yields Sharp results, with absolutely astounding vibrant colors.

The Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 is my only zoom lens. It is a pretty basic lens and nothing really special to write about here. As long as there is enough light it performs pretty well, however, it does tend to struggle when light becomes scarce. Hopefully, Sony will soon release a faster zoom lens, but until then I am very pleased with this one!

The Rokinon 8mm F2.8 Fisheye lens is just a really fun toy to work with. I am a fan of fisheye pictures and this lens produces very sharp results.

Software & Image Hosting

For most of my picture editing, I use Lightroom, like I said I am not a pro. I use this software for some light color correction and sharpening. It is also great at compressing 7mb files into 300kb files with minimal quality loss.

All these images are hosted by Photobucket, I have the 20gb account and pay $3 a month, I don’t really need the 20gb, but I do however need the unlimited bandwidth as I use a lot of it.

Budgeting

Wifi

We got the midrange WiFi package that goes for $100. It was descent, with mostly a stable slow connection. You’re limited to 250mb a day, but we never reached that. Mom pretty much stayed connected 24/7. There were a few times that it was extremely slow, but the vast majority of the time she was happy with it.

Shore Excursions

This is the first time that we book excursions through the ship. I was glad we did so. More on this as I go on with the review.

Day 1 – Seattle

We flew into Seattle the day before and had a short, but fun day sightseeing the touristy spots. You know the usual, the bay, Pike market, ferris wheel, space needle, etc. We actually were supposed a half day in Seattle, but our flight got diverted to Dallas due to a medical emergency and that ended up adding almost 3 hours to our total flight time. I have never been diverted over a medical emergency, the issue is that refueling the plane takes for ever, not to mention that we needed to wait in line to take off and all.  But it’s ok, they person got off the plane safely in Dallas.

Here are a few pics from that day.

Our hotel on the Bay

The Bliss was docked right in front of our room. We also had dinner in that restaurant on the right of the picture.

Pike market.

You all know my love for architecture.

Here is Bliss leaving the dock.

Museum of Pop Culture.

 

Finally, the day that we have been waiting for had arrived. It was also a good reward for me for completing the last didactic semester of my degree. Our hotel was a short drive from the pier so we took an Uber there, we pretty much just did Uber everywhere in Seattle. Oh I forgot to mention that the day before we spent looking for a battery charger for my camera, since for some odd reason mine decided to stop working, very annoying. I managed to find an universal one at Target.

We woke up to the Pearl right outside of our Hotel, it would have been a short walk to that pier had our ship docked there, lol. Oh, almost forgot, my husband got us that hotel room =)

We got to port around 11:00am and boarded the ship soon after that. It was really easy and simple, low crowds made it even better.

That was our first view of the ship, it was just like I expected her to be.

I loved all the open space that she had to offer, that would come in handy throughout our cruise in Alaska.

She was exactly what I was looking for, a small gorgeous ship. After we boarded the ship we had lunch in the MDR which I forgot to take pics of, and then we went for a walk. The lunch menu that day was very basic, salmon, burger, stuff like that, but it was tasty and relaxing.

This actual working clock is the center piece of the atrium, and it is absolutely stunning!

She rings every so often.

The casino, nothing special. Then again, I dont do casinos, so could not really comment here. Yes, it was small, and a little smoky. But its a small ship, I never saw it full.

Plenty of places to relax around the ship.

Love the art work

The ship had undergone renovations a few months before, and she was looking nice and refreshed. I personally enjoyed how easy it was to navigate her, and just the overall feel of the ship.

Really neat art work.

The library (behind that art piece) has a full library. I know this was something that some people worried would be gone when they were renovating her. This is really important for those doing the annual world cruise on her.

The lido deck is really cute, and the retractable roof was a must for Alaska (another reason I chose this ship in particular =)). They had it closed for most of the cruise, I think they opened it Sitka when it reached 75 degrees.

The burger joint was really great. I usually got the Cannonball, and I think that is the reason why I gained 5 lbs on that cruise, lol. That burger was to die for, I think realistically I ate about 6 of them. The fries were also pretty good, some kids would just eat fries all day long. The venue is right by the pool, I have pictures later on.

We took a little tour of the Spa, it was actually quite large for a ship that size. They try their little sales pitch during the tour.

Emerald was docked next to us. Look at how comfy those lounges are?

 

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