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Maasdam Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
594 Reviews

In-Depth EXC cruise is unique

Maasdam Cruise Review by JanDay

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom

We love Alaska. This cruise showed up with a three week itinerary hitting ports we had not seen before, as well as several of our favorites and terrific glacier cruising days. We noticed it was booked as an “In-Depth” cruise, but didn’t really know what that meant. This cruise turned out to be our favorite and totally unique. This is not for everyone. I noticed several reviews complaining of the cruises on Maasdam being “boring” with lack of “entertainment” and poor food. Those cruisers are possibly looking for Broadway shows and five course dinners in a floating luxury hotel?? What the Maasdam offers is exactly what we love: On board were nine “experts” in various fields who provided infirmative educational and entertaining presentations throughout the three week cruise. Sea days and port days had a variety of fantastic lectures. Instead of ten offerings of trivia, bingo, and EXC tour sales pitches, we had geology, oceanography, culture of the Tlingkat people, tales of the Iditarod, Yukon river canoe stories, lectures on bears, whales, professional nature photography, art and craft demonstrations of the Alaskan Native cultures, and detailed information about each port including history and how to get about the port area on your own. And much more. Music, poetry, story-telling, all related to the Alaskan areas we were visiting. Besides all of these great offerings, we found the presenters to be very accessible for in depth personal conversations at meals and between programed activities. We eagerly grabbed our When and Where activities schedule for each day and made decisions about what to attend. For folks who enjoy education, information, and an in-depth look at the culture, history, and environment of places you are visiting, the Maasdam is a gem!

As for the ship, it is older, but we found it to be clean and in great order. Stylish, comfortable, and plenty of outside areas for viewing. Our cabin on Main Deck, ocean-view, was very comfortable, clean, and functional. A with all older ships, you can find discolored grout or patched rust spots, on the Maasdam older TV system. But, as stated, she was clean and everything worked well. She even still has a great library (lacking on the newer ships!), and a self-serve laundry room!

Food worked just fine for us. We are not up-scale diners. We love grazing the Lido buffet, hitting the Dive-In or pizza stations for a change. I am a pescatarian with a milk allergy, and I was able to find good food options for every meal. Plenty of fresh salad material, great fish dishes (mostly incredible salmon options), a variety of dinner side dishes including multiple presentations of rice dishes. Dessert station made sure to have a non-dairy sorbet available most days. Breakfasts included traditional options (eggs, meats, breads, hot cereals, etc) plus rice congee, miso soup, and plenty of fruit.

You will not find Broadway productions, but there were multiple excellent entertainment options including magicians, comedians, singers, musicians. You will not find waterslides, rock climbing walls, outdoor movie screens, or other theme-park type experiences. You will find a solid comfortable ship, great outdoor areas for viewing the majesty of nature, and a wealth of intelligent in-depth education. Perfect for us! We’re booked on another Maasdam adventure, coming up soon.


JanDay's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom

Comfortable, plenty of room, clean, functional.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

San Francisco

Great city, accessible port, easy transportation options.

Ketchikan

Many options for exploring on your own. Easy transportation. Nice shops and storefront along creek. Totems and history museums easy to find and public transportation inexpensive. Be prepared for rain.

Sitka

Great port. Free shuttle into town. Bike rentals, taxis, and Interesting things to explore within walking distance.

Homer

Great hike to Grewingk Glacier, across the bay with easy access by water taxi. Check out Makos Water taxi for details. HAL does an excursion, but WAY cheaper on your own and easy to figure out.

Anchorage

Free shuttle to town. Many optional in the area from bike rentals and the Tony Knowles trail, to the Alaska train out to Spencer Lake for river floating or hiking, or the Wildlife Sanctuary, or Portage Glacier, or the Aviation museum near the airport, or the in-town museum. Plenty if great options for the day.

Kodiak

Taxi to Fort Abercrombe park. Fantastic hiking with great beauty all around.

Juneau

Great options for public transport to Mendenhall Glacier and a simple hike to Nugget Falls. Easy hikes from the top of the Mt Roberts gondola ride. Unfortunately, at times too many cruise ships at once.

Bald Eagle Preserve

Great river float through the Eagle preserve. A little pricey, but worth it at least once. Beautiful scenery and love the eagles.

View All 11 Bald Eagle Preserve Reviews
Kayaking

Beautiful setting at Chilkoot Lake. Kayaking, as always, great fun. Only complaint was too short of time on the lake and expensive even when done independently.

View All 2 Kayaking Reviews
Astoria, Oregon

Okay place. Taxi to the Astoria Column which has great views! Hike back into town. Quaint. Farmers/crafts market certain days, worth going.

Victoria

Interesting and pretty city. Trip out to Buchart Gardens is good option. Public transport acailable, but a little confusing. Large seaside park near port.

Vancouver

Lots of options with Stanley Park close to cruise port, Capilano Suspension Bridge across the bay, beautiful area with easy walking. Capilano provides free bus just outside the cruise port terminal. Amazing place and worth the journey.


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JanDay
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