I would love to go back to Alaska some day, but I will have to find a way to do it that doesn't involve Holland America.
While planning the trip, it was extremely difficult to get specific information out of their customer service center. I was a little put off by their stated dress code for dinner, and could not get consistent explanations as to exactly what it was. It turned out that it didn't matter, as it wasn't enforced at all. It was also difficult to get an exact schedule of the cruise from them. If I questioned the answer that they gave me, a different agent would give me a different answer.
We chose to take that HAL bus from Seattle to Vancouver. The bus had windows that rattled and were generally noisy. Not a good way to start the trip. But, the bus did get us to port efficiently.
Check-in was a lot of hurry up and wait in line, but that's to be expected. At least it didn't require dealing with TSA!
Out stateroom was nice, although it appears much bigger on the web site than it actually was. Just the nature of shooting pictures with a wide-angle lens. However, the stateroom was not without its issues. There were several light switches that didn't function or functioned only occasionally. The counter behind the TV in the room (not HD - really!! I wanted to hook my camera up to it to view pictures but there was a compatibility issue with the lack of HDMI) had not been dusted in a long, long time. The hot water temperature was very erratic, making showers fun. But, I didn't really plan on spending much time in the stateroom anyway.
Food - mixed results. The food in the main dining room was very good. However, when I hear people say that there is no better food than that on a cruise I can only suggest a few restaurants on Maui that they might want to check out. I was disappointed in some of the breakfast entrees. One morning, I ordered pancakes, which were pulled out of a warming drawer and put on my plate. Yuck!
Drinks - If you read other reviews that say the mixed drinks are a bit weak, believe them! The prices weren't as bad as I expected for wine and drinks, but we made it a point to hit the bar at happy hour (2 for 1).
Hot tub - The water temperature varied between lukewarm and scalding. I never realized that thermostats were so complicated, but that seems to be the case on the Statendam.
Our excursions, described elsewhere were great.
Then, things started to go wrong. As we were leaving Skagway, an announcement was made that we were skipping Glacier bay and heading to Seward to miss a storm. Major disappointment, but I can understand. We arrived at Seward a day early and were treated to a day at sea in port. We stayed on the ship, as there's nothing much happening in Seward.
That evening, during our early dinner, the ship experienced a total power failure that lasted around three hours. There's a thread elsewhere on this site about that where you can see my full comments on that issue. I don't think it was handled well at all, and HAL was flat out evasive when I asked questions after we returned. This could have been a very serious situation had we been at sea. I was surprised that nobody was injured during this since no elevators were running and there were a lot of people using stairs who shouldn't have been doing so. Not a good end to the trip.
From there, we rode another bus to Denali. HAL's buses are very, very nice as buses go, but it was windy and rainy the whole way there. Still, the scenery was amazing.
The HAL owned lodge at Denali was quite nice.
The bus trip into the park was the highlight of the trip. We were on (literally) the last tour bus heading into the park for the season. We didn't get to go anywhere near as far as we would have been able to earlier in the year (a small detail that HAL didn't disclose up front!!), but it was still a great trips with lots of wildlife and many photo ops.
Leaving Denali, we boarded a HAL train car to take us to Anchorage. Great scenery, but shortly after lunch they notified us that we would be leaving the train at a remote stop due to the possibility of landslides along the tracks. Personally, I think they knew this was going to happen before we got on the train, since the buses were ready and waiting at this very remote train station when we arrived. I felt deceived, and the bus the rest of the way into Anchorage was not very nice or comfortable.
HAL's hotel in Anchorage, the Westmark..... What to say? It needs some renovation. I feel that this renovation could best be accomplished by demolishing the building and starting from scratch. The building was built in the cinder block era and hasn't been updated. The floor in our room wasn't even level.
This was our first cruise, and unless I can be convinced that things are better out there, it will be my last!