First time Alaska cruise - advice?

My boyfriend and I are considering a cruise. Below is the ship and itinerary we are considering:

HAL Zaandam, Aug 13-20
Seattle, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria

I'm slightly concerned because we would plan on getting a windowless, interior room. This was fine on our only other cruise (Caribbean) but I'm concerned that if it is very/cold, lots of rain, we won't be able to sit on the deck. If that's the case, are there common areas we can read/have a coffee, enjoy the views?

Also, I have to go in August (cannot go earlier/later) but that doesn't seem like a great time. From what I've seen, the weather is a bit worse and there is less wildlife. Is it worth going then? We could also go on another Caribbean cruise for the same price. Our interests lie in scenery/wildlife/history rather than beaches, but I'm concerned about spending 7 days in the rain with nothing much to do.

Advice would be much appreciated!


Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
Welcome to Cruise Addicts.

Zaandam has a covered pool -- midships -- really nice to spend time there -- even if you just lounge by the pool.

Great views from the Crow's Nest.

Hubbard Glacier is great -- you will want to be out on the bow for viewing here.

Take a helicoper tour -- there are lots of great whale watching tours out of Juneau and Sitka. Ketchikan -- you can walk over to Creek Street and see a lot of totem poles on the way.


Forum Manager
Staff member
We have traveled to Alaska inside and outside and enjoyed both options. There are great viewing spots around any ship as it travels and with your Seattle itinerary you won't see much land other than when you are getting close to ports or leaving them. You will be up an about when that happens anyways in all likelihood.

Utilize the ships TV with the bow shot station to figure out if you need to be outside viewing or not :biggrin:

Weather can be good or bad at anytime of the year (it is the north coast after all) so don't worry about it. It will just happen and you can't do anything about it anyways.

A wildlife tour through the ship or private will almost ensure you get to see stuff. They are not in the business of taking people out to see nothing as very soon they wouldn't be a business. On the water or in the air they will find you something to grab your attention.

Juneau would be a good place to whale watch and

Sitka has a good tour on the water also along with an easy walk to a fish hatchery and spawning stream. Their Raptor center is just a bit further through the woods and up a gravel road a bit also. Check it out online.
Good info. Looking to learn about Alaskan cruises myself. Total noob here- haven't even considered a cruise line yet. Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.


Forever Remembered
Welcome to Cruise @ddicts!

Holland America and Princess have been cruising in Alaska the longest, but you'll have quite a few choices of cruise lines in 2011 ranging from mainstream to luxury. Much will depend upon what you enjoy aboard ship and your budget. Whatever your choice and whatever the itinerary, the scenery is spectacular.


Active Member
You will love the cruise. Yes, there are many places indoors to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. You won't spend much time in your cabin, don't worry. We have been on the Inside Passage in May, June, July, and September.The weather can be good or not. You should have lots to do anyway. Go and have a great time!


Awaiting results of mental evaluation
You're going to have the time of your lives! Great choice. HAL 'does' Alaska right! :doubleup:

Have a good fleece vest, windbreaker or jacket. Plenty of places to enjoy scenery views. Pack a set of binoculars each. :camera:Also, extra film (memory cards, etc.). There will be more to take pictures of than you'll have time for.

Plenty of wildlife in August. Ketchikan will have the salmon running and Creek Street will give you great views. Sitka ... Fortress of the Bear and the Raptor Center. Two "don't miss" places. The forward deck, top deck or Crow's Nest for glacier viewing. Bring an appetite ... as the galley crew will be serving Dutch Split Pea Soup and Hot Chocolate in these areas. Juneau for whale watching. Victoria and Vancouver for Orca.


Well-Known Member
The weather in August should be great. We went the first week of August a few years ago and the crew said we had the best weather they had seen all season. It was warm enough in Ketchakan that the girls traveling with us were wearing shorts.

Enjoy :beach: