Alaska Cruise (Sep. 2019)


This page details information about the cruise we took on Holland America Line (HAL) from 09/15/19 to 09/22/19 for 7 days using the seaport in Seattle, Washington. This cruise is known as there 7 Day Alaskan Explorer.

The cruising season for Alaska is from the beginning of May to the end of September, so the best deals for Alaska cruises WILL ALWAYS be found for the months of May & September which are considered the shoulder months. June, July, & August are considered the prime time, summer vacation months, so prices WILL ALWAYS be higher priced then.

We opted for a balcony/veranda cabin and purchased the cruise the last 90 days before the sail date. I found the cheapest publicized price on, and then I put in a request for the lowest unpublished price offers using We ended up accepting the lowest bid from Atlas Travel Vacations & Cruises in Marlborough, MA (Travel Agent Carmen Perez). You can often save an additional $100.00 per person by doing this two step method to find the absolute lowest current price for any cruise that is out there. To get these rock bottom prices, you must pay for the cruise, in-full, on the day of booking, with a no refund policy, and no changing of dates allowed, so you better be sure you will be going. The only change you can make is a cabin upgrade or downgrade (if available). We were lucky to get this cruise for $2,070.40 TOTAL COST FOR TWO ADULTS (including cruise, taxes, fees, & port expenses). The advertised price for this cabin in the HAL brochure was $1,499.00 PER PERSON (not including any of the add on charges). During the last 90 days or so before a cruise sets sail, you can often get a cruise at about 50% to 80% off of the brochure rate. So it can pay off in big ways if you can hang on for the huge sales that occur during the last 3 months before a particular sail date. It was important to us to find two back-to-back cruises using the same port so we could get the best RV storage deal, and to only take the round-trip ferry to Seattle one time.

Since our RV was placed in storage at a friend's property for free, we ended up driving our SUV to the cruise terminal. We utilized Seattle CruisePark for parking our SUV. Their normal price is $157.00 for a 7 night cruise & $199.91 for a 14 night cruise. I contacted this company, told them I am doing two back-to-back 7 night cruises and they created a special 14 night parking pass for the two cruise combo for $200.00 which saved us $114.00 on the cruise parking fees.

We booked back-to-back 7 day cruises out of Seattle, WA. We did a 7 day cruise from 09/15/19 to 09/22/19 on Holland America, then transferred our luggage for another 7 day cruise from 09/22/19 to 09/29/19 on Princess. We did not have to move the car from one long-term parking lot to another, because I had them make us the special two 7 night cruise combo parking pass. The returning cruise ship arrived at port at 8:00 AM and the departing cruise ship left port at 4:00 PM. Also take note, the Princess Star Princess went on a 7 day cruise to Alaska during 09/15/19 to 09/22/19, and it would have been very convenient to book that cruise ship for both cruises, and then to leave our luggage on the same ship for the second cruise; however; the Princess cruise to Alaska was $500.00 more expensive than Holland America for the same cruise with the same number of days. I even purchased these two cruises from different brokers to save $40.00, so you know I would never pay $500.00 more for the convenience of having our luggage remain on the same ship.

I called Princess Cruise Line directly to compare the price for this cruise, and the absolute lowest price PCL could give me was more than $400.00 per person more expensive, and I get these same kinds of results each & every time I try to book a cruise directly from a cruise line. You would think you could save money by cutting out the middle man, but you will ALWAYS pay much more doing so. I also want to tell all timeshare owners, NEVER EVER buy cruises or airline tickets by using timeshare points & credits, no matter how convenient it may be for you, because you will ALWAYS pay double or triple price for anything you purchase that way. So as you can see, there are many ways to get deeper & deeper discounts on cruises by learning the game & then playing to win.

Our retirement goal is to take one or two cruises per year. Anytime we are near a cruise port, we plan on trying to capture some last minute deals. We love cruising and want to go on many of them while retired. Cruises we have been on in the past (before taking this cruise) include Alaska, Hawaii, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, and twice to the Mexican Riviera. We are more than happy to go to the same cruise areas numerous times. We feel that cruising, especially at a discount, is one of the best bangs for the buck since cruises include your room, meals, entertainment, and most soft drinks. The only thing not included in a regular cruise package is alcohol, soda, day tours, and specialty restaurants. If you have never been on a cruise, you absolutely need to go on one. As full-time RVers, cruising makes for a great vacation destination that you really should take advantage of. You should be able to acquire most cruises at the lowest possible prices.

Additional Information:

Carnival Corporation Shareholder Benefit Program (.Pdf) Fast Deal #23805

HAL Oosterdam Ship Tour (Video)

HAL Oosterdam Underway (Video)

HAL Oosterdam Food Menus For Alaska Cruises During Summer 2019 (Video)

Ship Stats for Holland America Oosterdam (for additional info about this cruise ship on Cruise Critic, click here: Holland America Oosterdam)
Crew: 812
Launched: 2003
Decks: 11
Tonnage: 82,000
Passengers: 1,964
Registry: The Netherlands
Ship's Star Rating (1 star lowest/6 stars highest): 4.0


Holland America Oosterdam

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Holland America Oosterdam

Click above photo for larger view!


Itinerary for this cruise:






Sun., Sep. 15

Seattle, WA


4:00 p.m.

Mon., Sep. 15

Puget Sound, WA (Cruising At Sea)



Mon., Sep. 16

Cruising At Sea



Tues., Sep. 17 Stephens Passage, WA (Cruising At Sea)    
Tues., Sep. 17 Juneau, AK 1:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m.
Weds., Sep. 18 Hubbard Glacier, AK (Cruising At Sea) 2:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.
Thurs., Sep. 19 Sitka, AK 8:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

Fri., Sep. 20

Ketchikan, AK

7:00 a.m.

1:00 p.m.

Sat., Sep. 21

Victoria, BC, Canada

6:00 p.m.

11:30 p.m.

Sun., Sep. 22

Seattle, WA

8:00 a.m.



Some of the wonderful destinations during this cruise:



Seattle, Washington:

The bustling Washington port known as the "The Emerald City" is both a culturally rich metropolis and a gateway to beautiful natural attractions. In the shadows of the widely recognized Space Needle, the Seattle Center is home to the city's sports arena and many museums and theaters. The lively Pike Place Market and the mammoth "Hammering Man" sculpture are downtown must-sees. Visitors also flock to the waterfront for fresh seafood, the Harbor Steps park or to board a ferry bound for Puget Sound. Seattle is served by both the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal and Terminal 91.

Puget Sound, Washington (Cruising At Sea):

Puget Sound is an ocean inlet in the state of Washington, stretching from Olympia to the Pacific Ocean. It is generally accepted as the beginning of the Inside Passage, the coastal route for ships along British Columbia and Alaska. Visitors to the area should watch for orcas, humpbacks and gray whales, as well as sea lions.



Stephens Passage, Alaska (Cruising At Sea):

Stephens Passage is a channel that runs through the southeastern region of the Alexander Archipelago in Alaska. Named in 1794 by George Vancouver, Stephens Passage was also first charted in that same year by Joseph Whidbey during his 1791-1795 expeditions. At approximately 105 miles long, the passage stretches from Admirality Island over to Douglas Island. One of the most notable experiences for travelers is the opportunity for whale watching. Two of the main species seen breeching near Juno are the Orca and the Humpback whales.



Juneau, Alaska:

Alaska's capital city of Juneau is a dramatic sight with a backdrop of lush green mountains. Visitors here can drive, float, paddle or take a helicopter to the monumental Mendenhall Glacier. Other popular excursions include cruising along the straits and sounds of the Tongass National Forest, prospecting for gold at the original site of gold discovery or visiting the Alaska State Museum and the Alaska Brewing Company.



Hubbard Glacier (Cruising At Sea), Alaska:

Hubbard Glacier is the one glacier in the world that does not move at a glacial pace. Quite the opposite. In fact, in 1986, Hubbard Glacier -- the largest tidewater glacier on the North American continent -- moved an average of just under 5.5 feet per hour. Keep a watchful eye as you sail through Yakutat Bay; you may be a witness to geological history.

Sitka, Alaska:

Just across the water from snowcapped Mount Edgecumbe, Sitka displays its brilliant history. Tourists will find the onion-domed Russian Orthodox cathedral reminiscent of its czarist past. The charming town is known for its picturesque views and thriving fishing industry. Shore excursions are plentiful, including wildlife viewing, sea kayaking, sportfishing and cruising Silver Bay, but the city also lends itself to adventures by foot or bike.



Ketchikan, Alaska:

A traveler's first view of this Inside Passage port town may be of a boat-filled harbor enveloped in snowcapped mountains. The rustic city of Ketchikan has been called the totem pole capital of the world. Tours show off the city's streets, restored from the pioneer days; the harbor's salmon canneries; and the world's oldest collection of totem poles at the Totem Heritage Center. Sportfishing, kayaking, hiking, bear watching and Misty Fjords seaplane excursions are also popular.



Victoria, British Columbia, Canada:

Victoria revels in its English essence at the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island. Afternoon teas, double-decker buses and English inns, gardens and pubs are common in this capital city. The most popular attraction is the world-famous Butchart Gardens, flaunting 50 acres of floral magnificence. Other must-sees include the historic Empress Hotel, the Scottish-style Craigdarroch Castle and the Royal British Columbia Museum, where tourists will find a reconstruction of a turn-of-the-century street.

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