Boarding in Vancouver was very long, more than two hours. The reason was that we shared the same access as the Sapphire Princess. The evacuation drill was required a bit ridiculous because the focus has been to take attendance of all passengers rather than how to do in case of shipwreck.We did not even have to present us with our lifesavers.
Because of the fear of the spread of bacteria, the first two days we had to serve drinks and most food by staff at Lido buffet.For the rest of the trip, we had to ask almost any food at different stations, which was not practical for my wife who did not speak English. As sometimes it was too long to wait in line, she could not afford to wait with me as I finished my turn or vice versa so that we can get together at our table. This would have meant that the two have eaten cold. She could not really enjoy this system, preferring to eat mostly salads or dishes rather simple. We took lunch only once at the Vista dining room because we had to sit necessarily with other passengers did not speak French.For dinner we had booked a table for two at the first service. The food quality was superior to other cruises we've done. However, the time of the first service (5:45 pm) is too early especially if you do excursions. In Juneau, we missed our time, but our server was necessary to get us a table for two.
The worst problem was on the cabin service. In fact, our steward seemed not to know who was responsible for the mini-bar. Result: the filling was not done regularly.When I told him that part, he told me he would take care of it but did nothing. I had to call twice to ask for the number 90 filled mini-bar, the first time, nothing has been done. I had to go twice to complain about this to the reception in addition to completing a written complaint on a form to that effect left by Stewart himself. Everyone seemed to know who was responsible for what.
I found that patches of yellowish fluid were on a pillowcase and bed sheet. I have asked that we replace these items of bedding, completely unacceptable.
For the general atmosphere of the boat, it was pretty quiet because the customer was quite aged. We are in the early sixties and we felt young among the passengers. This was an advantage because the night people slept early and we did not hear any noise from the corridor. Our cabin was also well soundproofed although a bit small, the bed was poorly located and blocked a little passage.
The boat was well maintained and we have not noticed any rust nowhere unlike other comments read on this forum. However, the rather small atrium lacked glamor and atmosphere. An interesting place was the Crow's Nest where you have a panoramic view to the boat without having to go outside when it rained.
Shows the Vista Lounge was good despite the fact that the music was on soundtrack. However, the male singers were pretty ordinary. We thus understand why they are doing shows cruises to earn their living.
We chose our excursions in advance on the website of HAL, it was a good idea, our tickets were waiting for us in our cabin when we arrived. In Juneau, as we did a tour of more than three hours to see the whales and the Mendenhall Glacier, there was not enough time to visit. We saw many whales, but has a respectable distance from our catamaran. They provide us with a pair of binoculars.
The landing was a bit confused when we call color, we find it difficult to understand where we go and nobody was posted on different floors to lead us. Despite all this took place faster than when boarding. We scheduled the tour Big Pink City Tour with a luggage service at the airport. This allowed us to visit Vancouver without our luggage before our return to the airport.
My wife enjoyed this cruise that she found relaxing. For my part, being the only one who spoke English but not fluent, I was creating some problems to be understood by staff. The crew is composed mainly of Asians who have difficulty understanding other accents that North American English accent. Because of the problems related to service in the cabin, I had to adjust downwards the tips automatically charged on our bill.