Holland America Southeast Alaska Review + Cruise News (podcast)

In this episode of Cruise Radio, Doug Parker and Richard Simms discuss concerns about the safety of bottled water on cruise ships, new regulations in Juneau to limit the number of daily cruise passengers, and an electrical fire incident on the MSC Armonia.

They also address mixed feedback about Disney Cruise Line’s new destination, changes to Carnival Cruise Line’s loyalty program and operational challenges during the Margaritaville at Sea Islander preview cruise.

We also get a review of Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam in Southeast Alaska.

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Koningsdam Inner Passage
(Photo courtesy of Cruise Radio)


  • Concerns about drinking water on cruise ships (00:01:12): Discussion on the safety of bottled water on cruise ships and the potential risks associated with tampering.
  • Regulations in Juneau (00:04:44): Starting in 2026, new rules will limit the number of daily cruise passengers allowed to visit Juneau.
  • Fire incident on MSC Armonia (00:07:52) The ship’s crew quickly extinguished a small electrical fire on the MSC Armonia.
  • Feedback on Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point (00:09:39): Initial guest feedback on the new experience offered by Disney in Nassau, including concerns about the long walk from the pier and reports of flies in the dining area.
  • Carnival Cruise Line Loyalty Program Changes (00:13:23): Discussion of changes to the loyalty program, including the removal of certain benefits and possible future changes to the program.
  • Margaritaville Preview Cruise at Sea Islander (00:18:12): Feedback on Sea Islander’s Margaritaville preview cruise, including issues with a leaky atrium, non-functional restrooms, and intermittent Wi-Fi.
  • Feedback on canceled cruise incident (00:20:31): Received feedback from listeners on a story about a woman whose cruise was canceled by an unknown person.
  • Carnival Cruise Scam Controversy (00:21:03): Discussion on the controversy surrounding a canceled cruise scam and its possible consequences.
  • Preparing for Alaska Cruise (00:25:43): Discussion about the importance of arriving a day early for an Alaska cruise and the experience of preparing for the trip.
  • Embarkation experience in Vancouver (00:26:57): Doug Parker shares his experiences with boarding at the Port of Vancouver and the customs clearance process.
  • First impressions and atrium layout (00:30:12): Doug describes his first impressions of boarding the Holland America cruise ship and the layout of the atrium.
  • Passenger demographics and children’s activities (00:31:24): Discussion on passenger age demographics and the availability of children’s activities during the cruise.
  • Features and tips of the hut (00:32:58): Description of stateroom features, including electrical outlets and the use of an ottoman for space optimization.
  • Itinerary and weather conditions for Alaska (00:37:19): Doug shares the itinerary and weather conditions experienced during the Alaska cruise, including visits to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan.
  • Glacier Viewing and Balcony Experience (00:38:35): He describes the experience of viewing glaciers from the balcony and witnessing calving phenomena.
  • Balcony Benefits for Alaska Cruise (00:39:47): Discussion about the benefits of a balcony for an Alaska cruise and the preference for a quieter environment.
  • Observation lounge and balcony cabin tips (00:39:51): Recommendations for experiencing scenic views on Holland America ships and the value of balcony cabins in Alaska.
  • Premium bookings and bucket list experiences (00:40:53): Discussion about paying a premium for specific experiences and excursions to get the most out of an Alaska cruise.
  • Port highlights and concerns about overtourism (00:42:25): Insights into port experiences, including the impact of overtourism in Alaska and its effect on cruise passengers.
  • Juneau and Ketchikan Port Experiences (00:42:35): Experiences and observations while visiting Juneau and Ketchikan, including crowd levels and local attractions.
  • Scenic Cruising in Glacier Bay (00:48:17): Detailed description of the scenic cruise experience in Glacier Bay National Park, focusing on the natural beauty and wildlife encounters.
  • Daylight and Sea Day Activities in Alaska (00:51:16): Discussion about daylight hours in Alaska and the availability of sea day activities during the cruise.
  • Fresh Seafood and Specialty Restaurants Initiative (00:55:15): Exploration of Holland America’s fresh seafood initiative and dining experiences at specialty restaurants onboard.
  • Tamarind bar and music walk (00:58:37): Discuss the little-known Tamarind bar and the ship’s popular Music Walk.
  • Entertainment locations (00:59:19): Description of the various music venues on the ship, including BB King’s Blues Club, Billboard on Board and the Rolling Stone Lounge.
  • Changes in music programs (01:00:24): Discuss changes to the ship’s music programs, including reducing the Lincoln Center partnership.
  • Casino and disembarkation (01:01:39): Information about the casino facilities and a smooth disembarkation process in Vancouver.
  • Packing tips and excursion booking (01:02:34): Tips on packing, excursions and the importance of booking early for popular activities.
  • Book excursions in Alaska (01:03:59): Further emphasis on early booking of Alaska excursions due to limited capacity and high demand.