I was traveling with a large family group, including my parents, my aunt and uncle, grandmother and my sister, brother-in-law and my 15-month old nephew.
We traveled to Vancouver via the train from Everett, WA. After completing customs, we breezed through the embarkation process. I had filled out my Immigration form online and was through the line in about 10 minutes. I strongly recommend filling out your Immigration forms online. The check-in process was very easy.
I shared a large outside cabin on the Main deck with my grandmother. The room was clean and cozy. There was plenty of room for all of our stuff. There are drawers under the foot of the bed, shelves under the desk area, and three closets with shelves that can be moved to customize them for long dresses and such. There were lots of hangers and plenty of room for our stuff. The safe is small but simple to use and quite adequate. There is also plenty of room under the beds to store your luggage.
The ship is decorated in a lot of red and gold but is very pretty. It is also kept extremely clean by an amazing crew. There are fresh flower arrangements all over the ship and the lounges are cozy and comfortable to sit and relax and watch the water go by. The atrium is small by most ship's standards but there is a beautiful crystal seahorse gracing the ceiling. I looked for the wear and tear that I had heard so much about but I really can't say that I saw any. The decor was eclectic but not anything to worry about.
We ate breakfasts and lunches in the Lido. I love all of the different stations that are available. I am incredibly picky and it is nice to have a lot of choices. The pasta is good and the pizza is wonderful, straight out of the oven. MMMMMM! The grill also makes great grilled chicken sandwiches. We ate dinner in the dining room most evenings. The food is presented very well and tastes great. I was not very adventurous but it was all very good. I strongly recommend the chilled fruit soups (they are to die for). Kudos to Executive Chef Christian Carbillet (he also teaches the Culinary Arts classes and demonstrations)!
The entertainment was relatively good. The singers and dancers are a little weak, although Christian, the male lead is very good. The Broadway show was by far the best they did. The magician, James Cielen, was good although in my opinion spent too much time trying to promote his videos and magic kits. Unfortunately, I missed the Indonesian crew show but I heard that it was amazing.
We took my nephew to Club HAL even though he is not old enough to participate in any of the programs. The staff was very friendly and had toys and books that he was able to play with. They even allowed us to borrow a wagon to pull him around on the deck, which he enjoyed. He had a big smile on his face the whole time.
All of the staff and crew were amazing. Markus in the Lido always remembered my name and asked about the family. Everyone was very nice and asked about the baby whenever they saw us. Christian, the Executive Chef made a point of coming over and playing with my nephew whenever he saw us around the ship. Que H., the Cruise Director is the BEST!!!! He is by far the most personable (and cute) cruise director I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The rest of the cruise staff was great as well.
I strongly recommend HAL and Alaska! For a more detailed review, check the boards for a day by day outline.