Having read some relatively unkind reviews of previous voyages of this cruise I thought I would add my own thoughts to the mix.
Some have found the food to be poor. This was not the opinion of myself or our traveling family. We found the food in the Lido buffet and the Vista Dining Room to be quite good with a nice variety.
Our only complaint related to this cruise and different from our previous HAL Alaska cruise was that the dining room service crew did not seem to have sufficient time to establish much of a relationship with their guests (we had fixed seating and the same wait staff each night). Previously with HAL and on other cruise lines the ability of the waiters to spend a little more time added greatly to the dining experience and to our overall satisfaction with the cruise.
Others have noted this may be related to Carnival taking over HAL. I can't comment on this, but although the servers were helpful and proficient in their jobs something was missing and it seems that there was just too much going on for them to establish a better bond with diners.
This is not to say that we didn't enjoy the service and food, it was just a different level of satisfaction from what has been previously experienced.
Boarding and leaving the ship was seamless. The staterooms were comfortable with good beds and sufficient storage. The stateroom was clean and the room stewards did their normal efficient and professional job.
I thought the public areas looked a little 'tired'. The ship was clean but the decor seemed more old-fashioned and staid than what I remember previous HAL ships presented. Perhaps this just wasn't to my taste. But it did not strike me as a ship which was refurbished only 2 years ago.
I thought the entertainment although OK was not very good. We stayed for the entire performance of only 1 out of 4 shows. The player in the piano bar was did a very nice job as did the piano / violin duo who played classical music in the Explorer's Lounge during the dinner hours.
The views from the Crows Nest are breathtaking. However it is near impossible to get a seat with the great views as people set up camp there and there is little turnover.
All in all we were quite satisfied with this cruise. The decor could have been 'fresher', the entertainment a bit better and the dining staff less busy. We feel only the last item to be much of an issue.