My grandmother is a seasoned cruiser. This is the second time she decided to take me on a cruise, my first being the Carnival Destiny in 8/04. We flew in from New York on the day of with our group from church. The embarkation process from Seattle was very simple and easy to me. I felt that the lines weren't that long seeing the amount of passengers that were being taken in.
We found the ship to be very clean (cleaner than the Destiny) and even has these convenient motion sensitive hand sanitizer dispensers which the helpful staff encourage you to use while on board.
Room- We found our room very easily after helping some of the elderly ladies from church find theirs. When we found our room we realized that we were "driving the ship" as my grandmother put it. The walk from the room to the elevator is especially long if you use the mid-ship elevators. Everything was quite neat and the room was spacious. The decor is a little blah but ... They provide a shower and toilet but I don't believe they gave us simple products such as toothpaste. Soap and a generic shampoo and conditioner were provided. I've heard others compare it to Herbal Essences product.
Ship- Was very nice. It had an Asian decor from when it was being run as the "Superstar Leo." They have these hidden Karaoke lounges near "the Bund" inside of which you can see autographed pictures from what i guess are famous Asian celebrities. The boat isn't as flashy as Carnivals decor but...
The ship was very clean all the times including breakfast at raffles.
Food & dinning- With the new "freestyle dinning" option you can choose who and when you want to eat and who you want to eat with. The largest of the 2 main and free dining rooms was "Windows" and the smaller being the "Garden Room". The Windows dining room was hard to find but we never ate there anyway and here is why. as it was only me and my grandmother, the Windows dining room caters to bigger parties with less table for two while the Garden Room being smaller had more tables for smaller groups. The process was something like going to restaurant back home like "Olive Garden" or "Red Lobster". You will be asked to swipe your sail and sign card and then you will be seated if there is space available. If not you will be given a beeper and you can go down a flight to the atrium lounge and wait. The food was great nothing to write home about though. I am not a picky eater so I found most everything eatable. Every dining night there was a theme such as The Royal Favorites where each meal was a favorite of a royal person. ex. the Princess Di salad which was served in an avocado with baby shrimp.
My grandmother did not like the waiting for tables and things of that matter.
Breakfast- Was good. I never ate in the dining room and it was usually easy to find a table in the buffet if you don't mind sitting with others. The basic were giving such as pancakes , eggs and meats, etc. The great extras were a toast bar and a make your own omelet station. My favorite was the Waffle bar. The waffles were fresh made and then you were able add toppings like strawberries and whipped cream.
Lunch- Was so-so in the buffet.
There were about four speciality restaurants.
The entertainment was so so but they did have a small movie theatre which played 6-month old movies although the selection was still good. The entertainment overall cannot compete with Carnival. Carnival is called the fun ship for a reason and even though my ship was "ghetto central" (and as an African-American I was disgusted as to how "my people" acted on the Carnival ship") I still had a lot of fun and so did my grandmother. Grandma is not the typical grandmother she likes to party and have fun. This ship really catered to the senior crowd and they played a lot of country music and things of that nature.
Teens- I'm a teen and adults if you want minimum kid interference this is the way to go. There were 100 kids on our ship if not less. We never were extremely loud nor did we travel in groups. The activities they planned were fun and the arcade is huge.
The pool is nice but was barely used. I found this ship to be lacking in extreme excitement. I don't believe it was the ship but the destination. Young people usually travel to the Caribbean or other exotic places.
The ports of call were interesting and Alaska is not that cold. Wonderful experience but Alaska is something you do once and then go back to the norm.