The Dancing with the Stars television sensation now takes to the seas on Holland America Line with complimentary dance classes and the line’s very own dance competition, but only on a few select cruises are the professional dancers and celebrities personally sailing onboard. The Oosterdam will host two of only four such remaining theme cruises, and Popular Cruising will be reporting live from the Alaskan July 7, 2013 sailing to share the experience.

The Ship

The Oosterdam is a ship that we have sailed on twice before, back in 2005 and 2007, roundtrip from San Diego to the Mexican Riviera, but this will mark the first Live Cruise Review that we will publish from onboard the ship. She is a favorite of ours and one of the line’s Panamax Vista-class vessels – designed to fit within the current maximum dimensions of the Panama Canal – like her elegant sister ships, the Westerdam and the Zuiderdam, that we have filmed for our video ship tours previously.


Pinnacle Grill
(Copyright © Holland America Line)

We are particularly fond of the Pinnacle Grill, Oosterdam‘s specialty steakhouse, where we recall enjoying some of the best ever meat at sea. In fact, as you might expect, fantastic food is one of the many facets that defines the line’s Signature of Excellence, and it is additionally featured and taught onboard at the Culinary Arts Center, presented by none other than Food & Wine Magazine.


Oosterdam‘s Wake

Another classic cruise ship touch that makes the Oosterdam a fine choice for Alaskan sightseers is the presence of an unobstructed wraparound observation lounge at the top and very front of the vessel. Views are thus clear in all directions including eastern, the very cardinal point for which the ship is named. Most of all, it simply remains the bountiful comforts and luxuries available to Oosterdam‘s 1,916 passengers that call to them and to us.

The Itinerary

Our Alaskan itinerary will conveniently begin and end in Seattle, Washington – home to the famous Space Needle, punk rock, Starbucks and a legendary supply of liquid sunshine. As much as we also adore Vancouver, B.C., it’s just not nearly as easy – for US residents at least – to fly to and from for roundtrip cruises. Our Alaskan ports of call will include the staples of Ketchikan and Juneau and the less frequented Sitka, plus Victoria, B.C. and the immersive landscapes and seascapes in between.


The Alaskan Route
(Copyright © Holland America Line)

Despite cruising to Alaska over a dozen times now, we have rarely embarked on a shore excursion over the past several years. So, it will be a nice change of pace to enjoy some on this journey. We’ve decided to partake in an Alaskan classic as well as one literally off the beaten path. In Juneau, a floatplane ride to and a salmon feast at the Taku Glacier Lodge await. This timeless Alaskan cruise tradition and trek into the wilderness was one of the first excursions I ever took as a wee lad, and it will be a fun one to revisit and compare to my memories.


The Itinerary
(Copyright © Holland America Line)

On the more extreme side, our kart expedition in Ketchikan will be the time to let loose and kick up some mud as we traverse the back woods in open air 4x4s. Let’s just say, I willingly plan on dirtying up a set of clothes for the sake of the sights and thrills to come. (It’s all done for you folks.) From onboard luxuries to offboard adventures, this is what our Alaskan cruise on the Oosterdam will be all about – oh, that and of course Dancing with the Stars.

The Entertainment: Dancing with the Stars

The featured entertainment and activities onboard will focus on the excitement of Dancing with the Stars: At Sea. Sailing with us will be professional dancers – Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus – and stars – Carson Kressley, Shawn Johnson and Sabrina Bryan – from the hit television production. According to Holland America, “events [will] include dance lessons; a chance to meet the dancers, ask questions and take photos; and a dazzling production starring the celebrities and dance pros, complete with glamorous costumes and routines from the TV show.”


Vista Lounge
(Copyright © Holland America Line)

In fact, the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea competition – available on the line’s 15 ships through the fall season – invites cruise guests to strut their stuff for the chance to win passage to the Caribbean on the Champions Cruise, where 15 finalists – the highest scorer from each ship – will perform to crown a single victor. They will “dance for the coveted mirror ball trophy and title of Holland America Line’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Grand Champion,” says the cruise line. See what’s all in store in the video below…


(Copyright © Holland America Line)

As always, we invite you to join us onboard Holland America Line’s Oosterdam for our latest Live Cruise Review. Do you have any questions about this itinerary or ship? Feel free to ask away in the comments section below, and we’ll be happy to answer your queries. Also for more information on the Oosterdam, visit Holland America Line‘s website here.

Continue on to Live Cruise Review: Brand Impressions

HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: HOLLAND AMERICA LINE

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