The entire scenic trip seemed like an epic film rolled out on grand scale on this 1,945-nautical mile trip up and down Alaska's Inside Passage. The 82,000-ton Noordam ship, with its 2,000 guests and 800 crew, may have looked to the humpback whales and orcas like their prehistoric parent as it cruised grandly northward from Vancouver, British Columbia. At 6:30 am on the first morning at sea, as I lounged on my perfectly wonderful veranda, a humpback sounded with a wave of his gigantic tail. I was sure that Holland America had staged it, on cue.
We traveled north by northwest and the natural setting of mountain ranges, sea and islands were draped in layers and tones of dark grey, silver grey and black by the mist and soft cloud cover. It was a day for taking in the vista but also to explore the ship: 11 decks high, two swimming pools, four hot tubs, 14 passenger elevators, 1 Promenade deck for leisurely walks, a Culinary Arts Center, The Destinations Cafe with computer stations (need better and faster connections), library and game rooms, clothing and jewelry shops, casinos, entertainment venues, the ever busy Greenhouse Spa with its myriad body and face treatments (I indulged in the hot stone massage).