We had cruised previously with HAL on a 12 day cruisetour and had issues with HAL but thought we would give it one more try. This itinerary was the one we wanted and we got a good price. The Westerdam is a much better ship than the Volendam was 2 years ago. (Hopefully they have read the reviews on the Volendam and have updated it!)
Embarkation: late, we were told as Mariner members to come around 11:00 we could embark at 11:30. The passengers in group 1 to embark did so after 12 noon. We were in group 5. Our room was ready so we could put up our carry-on items and freshen up a bit since we had been waiting over an hour in a room full of passengers for 2 cruise lines! We went to the Mariners lunch that was supposed to begin at noon in the dining room and were told "there were problems with the kitchen and it wouldn't be ready for another 30-45 minutes". It was almost 1:00 pm then. We went to the Lido and the lines were horrendous - a 20 minute wait just to get to the serving part of the line. The BBQ dinner on the lido deck was good.
Day at sea: not a lot of activities to choose from unless you wanted spa treatments, and not much to see. Did see a couple of whales from the ship. It was raining. The formal dinner was good but service was really slow - at least at our table.
Juneau: rain, but it always rains in Juneau. Did some shopping and took the Whale Watch and Wildlife Quest tour. See comments below. It was quite crowded in Juneau since 4 ships were in during this time. Hamburgers for lunch and dining room for dinner - all good but nothing special.
Glacier Bay: very cold going in but the sun came out while we were there, got some amazing pictures, it was unbelievable (and these weren't our first glaciers) This is not to be missed. Lido buffet for lunch and dining room for dinner - again, nothing special.
Sitka: very overcast and rainy, walked around town early so that we could see Sitka before our tour. Took the Sealife by Sub tour. See comments below.
Formal dinner tonight - filet mignon and lobster was very good. Service was better.
Ketchikan: cold and rainy. Not enough time here if you are taking a tour. The stay is really short and they should consider a longer stop. Took the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's tour - see below. Lido buffet for lunch and dining room for dinner - nothing special.
Victoria - nice weather. Took the Butchart Gardens tour. They were wonderful. Open after hours for cruise lines so somewhat crowded but had 2 hours to see them. Really not enough time. Would recommend this tour highly. Lido buffet for lunch and dinner since the dining room would not be open due to the stop.
Disembarkation: very smooth. Our shuttle to our hotel never showed so the company put us on another one and he didn't know where our hotel was located.
Rooms were nice and we had much better stewards than the previous trip. We participated in the Breast Cancer walk and several of the digital workshops. Tony was very knowledgeable with his technology. Would recommend.
The HAL singers and dancers are wonderful. Made all of their shows. Didn't go to the comedians or magician shows.