The ms Noordam is headed to Alaska as part of a series of changes by Holland America Line to its itineraries in the "Last Frontier" for the 2015 season.
In addition to moving ms Noordam to the region, the line is positioning ms Statendam exclusively on 14-day itineraries roundtrip from Seattle. From May through September 2015 seven ships in the fleet will sail a total of 124 Alaska voyages that stretch from the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay and beyond.
With ms Statendam shifting to longer voyages, Holland America Line is moving ms Zaandam to Gulf of Alaska itineraries. The other ships offering seven- and 14-day Alaska cruises are ms Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Volendam and ms Westerdam.
“Because of its grandeur, Alaska attracts the largest number of first-time cruisers so it also becomes a wonderful introduction to a cruise vacation and Holland America Line,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line.
- 14-day Alaska Explorer Cruises Roundtrip From Seattle: Moving to 14-day roundtrip Seattle cruises in 2015 allows Statendam to include highlights such as Icy Strait Point, Homer and Kodiak, Alaska; and scenic cruising in Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm, all in one itinerary. The ship will sail nine departures and also call at Ketchikan, Juneau, Anchorage and Sitka, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, and scenic cruising around Vancouver Island.
- Seven-day Alaska Explorer Cruises Roundtrip From Seattle: Starting in May, Westerdam (21 Saturday departures) and Amsterdam (17 Sunday departures) will offer seven-day Alaskan Explorer voyages sailing roundtrip from Seattle. The itinerary calls at Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, and offers a scenic cruising experience at Tracy Arm / Twin Sawyer Glaciers or Glacier Bay National Park.
- Seven-day Inside Passage Cruises Roundtrip From Vancouver: Three Holland America Line ships will sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a series of seven-day Inside Passage voyages. In addition to the two September departures offered by Oosterdam, Volendam (19 Wednesday departures) and Noordam (20 Saturday departures) sail May to September. During those voyages guests will visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, the Inside Passage, Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay.
- Seven-Day Glacier Discovery Cruises Between Vancouver and Seward: In 2015, Oosterdam and Zaandam sail the Gulf of Alaska together on cruises between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage). Departing Sundays from May through September, the itinerary calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway/Haines, a day at sea in the Gulf of Alaska and scenic cruising through the Inside Passage. Each ship will sail 18 voyages and include a visit to Glacier Bay National Park.
- Alaska’s Unique Cuisine Comes to Life on Sip and Savor Cruises: On three Alaska voyages, guests can sail with special chefs and local vintners to sample local cuisine — from the freshest salmon to local vegetables and fruits — all paired with wines from Northwest vintners and brews from Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing Co. During a "What's in the Bag?" competition, the guest chefs will go head to head, preparing chowder from mystery ingredients. Shore excursions with a "Sip and Savor" focus will also be available.
Westerdam’s May 2 seven-day departure will have Jeff Maxfield, executive chef at the SkyCity Restaurant, a revolving dining room atop the Space Needle in Seattle, and Drew Johnson, executive chef at Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, Alaska. Wendy Stuckey of Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, located outside of Seattle, will be onboard to impart her knowledge during several presentations.
On Statendam’s July 13 cruise, Executive Chef Perry Mascitti of Tulalip Resort Casino near Seattle, and Al Levinsohn, chef and owner of Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, will be onboard the 14-day voyage, along with Bob Betz, founder and winemaker at Betz Family Winery.
The August 16 Alaska cruise on Amsterdam features Kirsten and Mandy Dixon, chefs at both Tutka Bay and Winterlake lodges in Alaska, along with Chef Roy Breiman, culinary director at Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle. Along with the chefs, Matt Oakley, winemaker at Long Shadows Vintners, will present a special collection of premium wines during the seven-day cruise.
- Park Rangers on All Glacier Bay Cruises: On all Glacier Bay sailings, a park ranger and native Huna interpreters board the ships to share information about the area’s natural history and the origins of their tribe and cultural traditions. During embarkation for the Seattle voyages, a ranger from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park will be available to talk to guests about the Klondike parks and other national parks located throughout the Inside Passage.
- Land+Sea Journeys and Shore Adventures: Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior. Offering up to three days at Denali National Park for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, Land+Sea Journeys are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history.
Holland America Line offers more than 250 optional shore excursions in conjunction with its Alaska cruises. Guests can enjoy active excursions such as sea kayaking, fly or sport fishing, dog sledding and viewing eagles, sea otters and whales. Other excursions visit such attractions as the White Pass Summit Scenic Railway from Skagway, Russian heritage in Sitka, a Mendenhall Glacier by Helicopter & Guided Walk tour in Juneau and crab fishing on the Aleutian Ballad from Discovery Channel’s award-winning TV series “Deadliest Catch.”
Seven-day Alaska Inside Passage cruises from Seattle, WA, or Vancouver, British Columbia, start at $599 per person; the 14-day Alaskan Explorer voyages begin at $1,699 per person, double occupancy.