Just got back today. Having sailed on a number of cruise lines in the past I have to say that our trip aboard the Westerdam was amazing. Ports of call were great, room was great, food was to be expected and I am already planning my next cruise on HAL.
Embarkation in Seattle was a breeze. We stayed at the Fairmont the evening before we left. We put our bag on a bus and then a friend took us to the port. From walking in to being on board it took about 15 minutes (we got there at about noon). Our cabin was ready by about 1:00 and all of our luggage was delivered before we set sail at 5:00. Lifeboat drill went off without a hitch and we were underway.
I enjoyed the expanse of our stateroom. Never used the tub but like having a full sized shower. Our stateroom was kept in an orderly fashion and we had towel animals just about every night. Loved having sheets that were as comfortable as home and towels that completely wrapped around my less then petite body. Had 8:00 pm More
seating (we were part of a group) and enjoyed all of our meals. We bought the 3 bottle wine package and tried several wines that we enjoyed. All in all a completely pleasant experience.
We were with a group that experienced the first ever Great Alaska Maritime Marathon. Over the course of the week we raced 26.2 miles. We did a two mile deck run on the first sea day (did hear a few people complain that the deck was closed from 8:00 to 9:30 but it was wet and cold and we were done quickly). We did 13.1 in Juneau, 5 in Sitka and 6.2 in Ketchikan so our site seeing was mainly on foot! Wouldn't change it for a minute. We saw whales, orcas, eagles and the like! We met a lot of wonderful local people that made our race amazing. However, it didn't leave much time for planned excursions and so I can't comment on that.
My husband did a zip line tour in Juneau and had a ball. I just watched from a distance. We watched the Russian dance presentation in Sitka and were pleasantly surprised by the local women that put the show on.
Our race in Sitka was through the totem pole park. It is a not to be missed easy walk from where the tenders come in. And our small group was graciously treated by HAL. We had a couple of cocktail parties and they had continental breakfast for us every morning. Our morning meetings (race briefings) usually started by 7:00! I certainly didn't sleep in on this vacation! Disembarkation was a breeze as well! Having done Disney and thinking they were great I will say that we were off the ship by 8:15 and at SEATAC by 9:45 (we were Blue 5). Luggage was pretty easy to find and the cabs (28.00) were line up to take us there. My husband was getting antsy but having a full breakfast available in the Lido was a treat.
Didn't go to any shows. Our early morning races put a damper on that. Didn't really miss them. Hubbard Glacier was beautiful. The salmon bake, on deck in Ketchikan was great...didn't go to the casino at all and only played bingo once (one number from a Caribbean cruise for three calls and didn't win - oh well another time!) Had room service breakfast a couple of times. It was early once and on time the other time. Had lunch in the vista dining room once. Only problem was table mates and you can't choose them. Food wasn't bad. Breakfast and lunch in the lido were fine. Plenty to eat and a great variety of choices. Doing a marathon helped from putting on weight this week but it certainly would have been easy to do so.
If you have specific questions I would be happy to answer them but needless to say we had an awesome time! Less