Shore excursions organized by cruise lines are pricey. My group booked a trip to Mendenhall Glacier and a tour around downtown Juneau aboard a bus. It turned out to be a round trip transfer to Mendenhall Glacier Park with commentaries along the way. The whole transfer took about 3 hours which cost $65 per person. We would have saved $15 if we booked transport at the shore by ourselves. Independent excursion is the way to go. It needs research and planning. I would rather do this to get good value for my money. One just needs to make sure to get to the ship half an hour before it sails so as not to get left behind.
2. Beverage packages are not for mild drinkers.
Holland America has a beverage package for $44.95/day for those who need more drinks than the water, juice, or iced tea offered at main meal times. Hubby and I got the package for free as part of the promotion when we booked our cruise. One can order any beverage with a menu price of $8 or less, up to 15 drinks per day. I’m not much of an alcohol fan, so I mostly had mocktails, coffee, and hot chocolate. The most that I ordered was 5 drinks in a day – coffee or hot chocolate for breakfast, a mocktail for lunch, another one for snack time, and one or two for dinner. The beverage package is not a good value for me, but those who love to drink will probably save with this package. I know one of my brothers-in-law would. 😊
3. On board wifi is absurdly expensive.
A hundred (100) minutes for $55! Holy Moly, no thanks! I was not paying that much just to get wifi access while at sea. I waited to reach our destination ports where there was cellular service to check my emails, Facebook page, Instagram, and WordPress accounts. I had to go through tons each time, but I preferred to spend my dollars on souvenirs rather than wifi service. Wouldn’t you? 😉
4. It’s so easy to let go and consume a gazillion calories a day.
With the numerous dining choices on board a cruise ship, it is so easy for passengers to gain weight. The buffet offers plenty of food to enjoy. It’s unlimited food at the buffet. I preferred the sit down serviced dinners as each course was portion controlled and I loved taking pictures of the food which were nicely presented. Food was available all day from 6am to 1130pm. One can definitely get off the boat 10 lbs heavier!
5. Friendly exchanges with staff results in extra thoughtful service.
One of the things my group enjoyed were the short friendly chats with our room attendants and main dining room servers assigned to our table. We got to know them a little bit. They appreciated our interest in them as persons. We got a bit more attentive service from them. The personnel of Holland America were commendable in general, but I think the personnel who assisted us did an extraordinary job. They contributed to a more enjoyable cruise for my family.
Would I go on another cruise? Based on my first cruise experience, most likely