I traveled with my 20-something daughter on her first trip to Alaska. Both of us have been on previous cruises. Check-in at the port was smooth. We had our boarding information and passports ready. We arrived just before noon, ate lunch on the Lido deck and proceeded to find our bags already inside our cabin the first time we arrived there.
The ship is pretty, very clean and well laid out. I was disappointed in the condition of our stateroom however. Behind that closed door, we found a different situation than I had seen in the public areas. The Rubbermaid bath mat had quite a bit of black mold on it, as did the lining of the drapes at the sliding glass doors to the veranda. The shower curtain liner kept falling from the hooks. The ice bucket had quite a bit of rust on the outside. The loveseat was worn, not unlike a college apartment piece of furniture. The towel bathmat was ragged. I simply felt the public areas were more important to HAL than the private areas.
Neither my daughter or I were very impressed with the food. I ate lots of salads from the Lido salad bar at lunch. The Italian station had some good choices. My dessert consisted of ice cream because I couldn't find any of the baked goods that were tasty.
Ports of call: We have loved the small Alaska towns in the past. Unfortunately, these are becoming another shopping mecca for cruise ship diamond stores. I'd prefer the local shops, and that is where I headed to spend my money. Overall, we enjoyed the trip. I just wished for better quality from HAL.
7 years ago when visiting, I fell in love with this quaint Alaska town (5+ rating). Last week I found myself terribly disappointed because the small stores have disappeared and in their places are the multiple diamond and port stores that the cruise lines love to promote. I'm wondering just how much profit the cruise lines make from these port stores. But instead of shopping there, we found some local shops off the beaten path and spent our money shopping with locals: a small gift shop on Creek Street, a scrapbook store that was delightful, and a few others. We also visited the salmon ladder, the waterfall, and visited several totems.
Beautiful small city with tons of places to visit within walking distance of the tenders. We visited several local shops, St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church, Bishop's House, and a totem carver's gallery. We actually visited the local library there as well since my daughter is a teacher.