Embarkation on Saturday was so easy! We arrived at the Port from our overnight hotel around 11:00 AM, and were on-board before noon. It is fabulous that HAL has rooms ready. We were in the Lido and dining al fresco on the aft deck overlooking Seattle, soon after.
Most of our interactions with staff on the ship were stellar. Special kudos should be given to our room stewards, to the young lady who ran the culinary school, and to always smiling Lido staff. The only negative on the entire cruise was the Main Dining Room staff. I am not sure why it happened this way; perhaps HAL has cut back like everyone else, but our MDR service was shockingly substandard. For example, at one point, one of my tablemates was giving her order to the waiter and he simply walked away. At another meal, my water was left empty for most of the meal, while our requests for attention were ignored. And we were the quiet table. Perhaps, it would be better to be a big, boisterous group table and we'd have received better attention.
But enough of that and onto the good stuff! The culinary classes were wonderful! The trivia matches were so much fun! The art onboard the ship is just amazing! Most of the staff go out of their way to make sure we felt welcome and well cared for!
Our cabin was an SS, offered as an upsell from an initial VH guarantee. The room was wonderful. The bedding is extremely comfortable and the stewards are fabulous. The balcony at this level is much more than sufficient for a party of two. The dual sinks were most welcome!
The ports were all fun; however, the highlight of the trip was Glacier Bay. Our captain got us right alongside Margerie Glacier on a clear day and we were treated to many rumbling calvings! It was just amazing! Additionally, we were blessed with many whale sightings on this cruise. The Crows Nest on the ship is a great place to spot cetaceans!
I must note that the food was always outstanding and the Pinnacle Grill experience should be a must for at least one night. I also liked the formal nights! HAL is a bit more fastidious about guests dressing up and it was nice to feel like the night was special! Loved the entertainment, too, especially Jeff the magician and his wonder dog, Indy!
This was cruise #3 for us, following NCL and Carnival trips. We are sold on HAL and figure our dining problems may have been a one-time glitch. In fact, we are booked in an SA cabin for December on the Nieuw Amsterdam to the Eastern Caribbean! HAL appears to be the best fit for this middle-aged, working couple!