For the first time, Holland America Line's flagship ms Rotterdam will sail from Seattle to Alaska in 2010, featuring seven-day, roundtrip cruises. The Rotterdam will offer a total of 18 Alaskan Explorer sailings departing Saturdays from May 15 through September 11.
The Alaskan Explorer itinerary highlights the scenic Inside Passage and immense Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay, North America's largest tidewater glacier. Hubbard Glacier is one of only eight glaciers in Alaska that is currently advancing instead of retreating. First mapped in 1895, the Hubbard's huge open face is more than five miles wide and actively calves icebergs as large as 10-story buildings.
"Next May the Rotterdam will have Holland America's latest Signature of Excellence enhancements, including a new category of lanai staterooms," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs. "These and the ship's verandah suites increase guests' opportunities for viewing Hubbard Glacier and Inside Passage as they cruise."
Under Holland America's $525-million Signature of Excellence program, the Rotterdam gains 39 new lanai staterooms, created by replacing existing stateroom windows (on Lower Promenade Deck 6) with lanai doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade. The ship also adds 23 new spa staterooms, featuring a variety of enhanced spa amenities, on its Verandah Deck. All staterooms and bathrooms will receive complete new decor and furnishings.
Public areas will add The Retreat, a resort pool feature; the Showroom at Sea, a glamorous nightclub; and Mix, a new concept with three separate bars: Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. Canaletto, Holland America Line's complimentary casual Italian restaurant, will also be added to the ship.
The Rotterdam's Alaskan Explorer cruises call at the ports of Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, and Victoria in British Columbia, and feature scenic cruising of the Inside Passage and Vancouver Island. In Alaska's capital of Juneau, guests can visit the Alaska State Museum or opt for an active adventure such as kayaking, rafting, whale-watching or flight-seeing over the Mendenhall Glacier.
In Sitka, guests can learn about Alaska's Russian heritage at onion-domed St. Michael's Cathedral, visit the renowned Raptor Center, or see otters, whales and seabird rookeries up close by day boat or kayak. In Ketchikan, they can enjoy its colorful Creek Street, Totem Bight State Park and Saxman Native Village or opt for a floatplane flightseeing trip to Misty Fjords National Monument. Cruise-only fares start at $649, per person, double occupancy, for a seven-day Alaskan Explorer cruise on the Rotterdam.