State of Wonder: Day 3 Aboard Holland America’s Oosterdam

Call of the Wild: the view of Tracy Arm from our veranda. photo by Andrea Guthmann

I’m in a state of awe. Alaska has that affect on you.

From 2pm until darkness fell around 10pm, we were sailing through what must surely be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It’s the most stunning spectacle of nature I’ve ever witnessed. Oosterdam is in Alaska’s famed Inside Passage, sailing through the narrow waterway of Tracy Arm, named after  Civil War General Benjamin Franklin Tracy.

Oosterdam makes its way through the narrow fjord of Alaska’s Tracy Arm. photo by Andrea Guthmann

Both sides of the ship are coming incredibly close to cascading waterfalls, immense snowcapped mountains and pristine forest. These narrow fjords provide breathtaking views of the untouched shoreline, all while the ship navigates its way around enormous blocks of floating ice.

The sky is reflected in enormous blocks of ice floating through the fjords of Tracy Arm. photo by Andrea Guthmann

The ice reflects the sky, making it appear blue, a blue so bright it seems unreal. It’s hard to describe how striking the color is, but it makes the place feels magical.

Crowds of passengers wander about the ship mesmerized by the spectacle before them, trying to experience it from different perspectives.

Getting a front row seat to the scenic beauty of the Tracy Arm fjord aboard Holland America’s Oosterdam. photo by Andrea Guthmann

One of the best spots is up on the observation deck. Just inside, the ship’s travel guide and resident Alaska expert, Cathy, provides play-by-play analysis of the changing natural landscape and where we might spot wildlife. Seal spotted at 11:00— and everyone grabs their binoculars.

Crowds gathered at the Crow’s Nest, two decks above the captain’s bridge, to view the Tracy Arm fjord. photo by Andrea Guthmann
12-year-old Charlie Guthmann admiring the view of Alaska’s fjords. photo by Andrea Guthmann

Tea Party

We put our binoculars and camera down long enough to enjoy an afternoon break steeped in tradition. Holland America offers daily tea service, another example of the understated elegance of this cruise.

Afternoon tea is an elegant affair aboard the Oosterdam. photo by Andrea Guthmann

White gloved servers bring you finger sandwiches, scones and a little something special for the kids as well. Yesterday, I outlined a few of the other kid-friendly options Oosterdam has for families.

A sweet treat during afternoon tea. photo by Andrea Guthmann

It’s a sweet and tasteful indulgence that is worth experiencing at least once during a cruise.

Peak Dining Experience
Most nights on the cruise we dined in the main Vista Dining Room, a stunning setting that honors a gilded age of sailing. Rich red furnishings, brass railings and light fixtures and fine china provide the backdrop for a dignified dining experience.

Enjoying the view inside the Vista Dining Room. photo by Andrea Guthmann

 

What a catch! Enjoying the halibut in the Vista Dining Room. photo by Andrea Guthmann

However, tonight we decided to experience the Pinnacle Grill. The Vista Dining Room is lovely and a great value, since it’s included in the price of your cruise, but the Pinnacle is just that, the peak of fine dining. For an added $25 you can have a dinner that is extraordinary, from the setting to the service to the food.

Oosterdam’s Pinnacle Grill, photo by Holland America Line
Splendor of the Seas: the lobster tail in the Pinnacle Grill, photo by Andrea Guthmann

A great way to end another perfect day aboard the Oosterdam.

Tomorrow we arrive in Juneau. Join us as we embark on a citizen science adventure with Holland America’s innovative volunteer initiative, Cruise with Purpose. We’ll be on the lookout for whales, helping scientists collect data about Alaska’s wildlife.

Curious about this and other voyages aboard Holland America? Make sure and visit their website for complete details on their full 2012-2013 voyage lineup.

Andrea Guthmann is a Midwest Emmy Award-winning broadcast, print and digital journalist. She spent many years as a TV producer for WTTW, the PBS station in Chicago. Her writing’s been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent and on-line travel sites. She’s also the Midwest blogger for TravelingMom.com.

A native Floridian, Andrea’s now a big (windy) city mom of 3, who range in age from tot to teen. She loves sailing Lake Michigan and visiting the world class museums and restaurants in her sweet home Chicago. Being a scenery starved city girl, she loves escaping to the outdoors during vacations. She’s thrilled to be sharing tales of her Alaskan adventure aboard Holland America’s Oosterdamthrough August 5th, 2012, through daily reports on AvidCruiser.com.

Disclosure: Holland America Line is hosting the author and her guest for purposes of this review.

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