Holland America Line offers most glacier, wildlife and wilderness viewing opportunities in Alaska

The riches of the wilderness take center stage on Holland America Line’s Alaska cruises as the region’s natural wonders and rugged beauty unfold. With the most visits to Alaska’s glaciers and more ways to see wildlife and wilderness on a shore excursion than any other cruise line, Holland America Line is weaving more than 75 years of Alaska expertise into every facet of the experience.

holland america line alaska

Holland America Line is building on the top reasons travelers choose an Alaska cruise – to see glaciers and wildlife – by offering the most Glacier Bay permits in the cruise industry, the most glacier viewing experiences and the most opportunities to see the animals of Alaska with nearly 180 shore excursions that take guests on a wildlife and wilderness encounter.

“Guests choose an Alaska cruise because they want to see a glacier up close and whales in the wild, and we’re proud to be number-one in these areas by offering our guests more ways to experience glaciers, wildlife and wilderness than any other cruise line,” said Beth Bodensteiner, chief commercial officer, Holland America Line.

From April through October 2025, guests can embark on Holland America Line’s cruises to Alaska aboard Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zaandam. Departures are roundtrip from Seattle, Washington; roundtrip from Vancouver, Canada; or in either direction between Vancouver and Whittier, Alaska.

More glaciers for viewing and visiting

Every Alaska cruise includes a scenic visit to one or more of Alaska’s iconic glaciers where the ships sail up to the face of the ice formations and rotate for a 360-degree view. Holland America Line has more permits to visit Glacier Bay National Park than any cruise line, and the ships also visits several others along the journey: College Fjord, Dawes Glacier, Hubbard Glacier and Twin Sawyer Glaciers of Tracy Arm.

During Glacier Bay scenic cruising, Glacier Bay National Park Rangers visit Holland America Line ships for the day to engage with guests and talk about Alaska’s most famous national park.

In addition to scenic glacier viewing from the ship, guests can get up close to glaciers on a shore excursion, including the Excursions by Catamaran: Hubbard Glacier & Enchanting Disenchantment Bay in Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Inlet and Glacier Explorer to Sawyer Glacier, both boarded directly from the ship; Helicopter Glacier Trek in Juneau where guest land on a glacier or the Five Glaciers Seaplane tour over section of the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Ice Field; and the Wilderness, Wildlife and Glacier Experience in Anchorage.

Whales, bears, eagles and more

With the most shore excursions featuring a wildlife and wilderness encounter, Holland America Line offers nearly 180 tours to see species of all kinds, including: whale watching in Juneau; Sea Otter Quest and Alaska Raptor Center and Fortress of the Bear in Sitka; Wilderness Zodiac Quest in Ketchikan to go in search of bears, eagles and seals; Spasski River Wildlife and Bear Search in Icy Strait Point; Glacier Point Wilderness Safari showcasing whales, sealions and seals, and Haines Eagle Preserve Float and Wildlife Quest to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, both from Skagway. 

Wildlife experts lead spotting

A wildlife expert on board helps guests witness the majestic animals found in Alaska. Guests can be on the lookout for humpback whales, orcas, bald eagles, moose, sea otters, caribou, black and grizzly bears, Dall’s porpoise and more. The daily program highlights designated times to meet the wildlife expert on deck to go in search of the animals in their natural environment.

Holland America Line’s Wildlife Spotting Guide points out the native animals found along the cruise route and includes a map with the best places to see each species. Between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., wildlife sightings are announced for guest viewing.

All cruises on Westerdam roundtrip from Seattle feature a presentation by The Alaska Raptor Center at Sitka. Hosted by the wildlife expert, one of the center’s Avian Care Specialists comes aboard with a raptor (eagle, hawk, owl, etc.) to share insights about Alaska’s majestic birds in World Stage.

‘Alaska Up Close’ immerses guests in the local culture

Holland America Line’s ‘Alaska Up Close‘ deeply immerses guests in the local culture with authentic onboard programming, cruise activities and award-winning shore excursions. The exclusive experiences are delivered through experts leading workshops and lectures from those who know Alaska best, EXC Talks exploring the stories of real Alaskans, tours highlighting the best of each destination and fine dining events showcasing the culinary traditions of the region.

On all Alaska cruises, a Huna Native Interpreter in historical dress comes on board during the evening stay at Juneau to introduce guests to the history of the Tlingit people with ‘Native Voices: Stories of the Tlingit People.’ On the culinary side, guests will find cocktails featuring real glacier ice, an Alaska-themed brunch, Gold Rush dinner, seafood boils, salmon bakes and themed stations in Lido Market.

Serving only the freshest sustainable seafood

In 2022, Holland America Line was awarded Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification, making it the first cruise line to achieve this distinguished credential by serving only fresh, certified sustainable and traceable wild Alaska seafood. On any Alaska cruise, the line serves more than 2,000 pounds of Alaska salmon, 1,000 pounds of Alaska cod, 800 pounds of Alaska halibut, 500 pounds of Alaska rockfish and more. All menus highlight ‘Taste Alaska’ by calling out region-specific dishes and fresh fish.

Highlights for 2025 Alaska cruises
  • Following an exceptionally popular debut itinerary created for 2024, the 28-day “Alaska Arctic Circle Solstice” cruise aboard Westerdam returns in 2025. Departing June 8 in time for the Summer Solstice, the voyage sails roundtrip from Seattle to the Bering Sea and into the Arctic Circle. Alaskan ports include Anchorage (overnight), Dutch Harbor, Haines (Skagway), Homer, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Nome, Seward, Sitka, Valdez and Wrangell, along with Prince Rupert, in Canada. Scenic cruising includes Glacier Bay, Inside Passage, Tracy Arm, College Fjord, Little Diomede Island, Prince William Sound and Hubbard Glacier.
  • The 14-day “Great Alaskan Explorer” itinerary offers an in-depth adventure with eight Alaska ports. Departures are roundtrip from Vancouver.
    • Nieuw Amsterdam(May 4): Anchorage, Homer, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Skagway, Valdez and Wrangell, with Endicott Arm/Dawes Glacier.
    • Noordam(Sept. 14), Anchorage, Homer, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Prince Rupert, Skagway, Sitka and Valdez, with Glacier Bay.
  • Seven-day “Northbound Glacier Discovery” and “Southbound Glacier Discovery” itineraries cruise between Whittier (Anchorage) and Vancouver aboard Nieuw Amsterdam and Noordam. Ports include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.
  • Seven-day “Alaska Inside Passage” cruises sail roundtrip from Vancouver on Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Zaandam. Ports include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.
  • Seven-day “Alaskan Explorer” cruises sail roundtrip from Seattle aboard Eurodam and Westerdam, and include calls at Victoria, British Columbia (evening visit); and Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka. Eurodam also includes Alaska’s Icy Strait Point and Glacier Bay; Westerdam explores Dawes Glacier.

Have It All early booking bonus

For a limited time, when guests book 2025 Alaska cruises with the Have It All premium package, the standard package amenities of shore excursions, specialty dining, a Signature Beverage Package and Surf Wi-Fi are included – plus the added perk of free prepaid Crew Appreciation, along with free upgrades to the Elite Beverage Package and Premium Wi-Fi.

Guests also can take advantage of Holland America Line’s Exclusive Mariner Society Early Booking Bonus. Mariner Society loyalty members can enjoy up to $400 onboard credit per stateroom when these cruises open for sale. Guests must book these cruises by Oct. 4, 2023, to receive the Exclusive Mariner Society Early Booking Bonus.

Contact us for more information or to book your Alaska cruise with Holland America Line.

Also read: Cunard launches 2024 Event Voyages program

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