We arrived at the cruise terminal at 12 noon and porters were scarce, so we took our luggage inside the building (and saved $5). Then we waited in line at the bottom of the escalators, again upstairs for security screening, and again for our room keys. We had our son's desktop computer with us and security said they had never seen one go through before, but they didn't have a problem with it. (My other son had his PlayStation with him which hooked up to the flat screen TV with our HDMI cable.)
The whole process probably took about an hour, then we boarded the ship and went straight to our stateroom. We had purchased a balcony guarantee and were given room #8131 on the Navigation Deck. We were happy that the balcony was one of the clear ones (The railings of the first twenty balconies at the front of Deck 4 are made out of metal.) and that it had a bathtub (Category VF doesn't.), but not so happy to be underneath the Lido deck. We could hear chairs and tables scraping above us More
most of the day.
We ate every meal at the Lido Restaurant (buffet) and thought the food was great. For the first 48 hours we weren't allowed to serve ourselves (as a precautionary measure against illness--I'm not sure how) but the lines moved quickly. Both sides of the restaurant have almost the same food stations: drinks, salad bar, made-to-order sandwiches, the bistro (several kinds of meat, rice, potatoes, soups, and vegetables), and desserts. One side had a pasta and pizza station (we thought the pizza was much better than Carnival's) and the other side had an Asian station which served the cuisine of a different nationality each day.
There is a menu posted at both entrances to the Lido that details the food at each of the stations, so you don't have to stand on your tiptoes trying to see over the heads of the people in line. The only thing we didn't like about the Lido was that it was very difficult to know where the beginning of the line was; each individual station had its own line.
Our favorite entertainer was Tom Bennett, a juggler/comedian who performed on the last day. The other comedian and the illusionist were good also and family-friendly. The piano player, Barry from Boston, performed every night and shared lots of facts about the musicians and the songs he played. The Westerdam singers/dancers performed three or four nights.
There was trivia twice daily in the Crow's Nest which has reclining chairs in front of the view windows. There is a coffee shop in the Crow's Nest, but I usually stopped by the Lido for coffee or tea and just carried it in with me.
Alcoholic drinks were $7 (including tip) and there was a 2-for-1 special for the drink-of-the-day. We bought a liter of Canadian Club for $34 through the website before we embarked, which was delivered to our room. We usually drank in our room, but sometimes carried a glass with us to the lounges; nobody seemed to notice or care.
We arrived at all of the ports on time except Victoria, where we were two hours late due to strong winds. The first and last days of the cruise were rougher as we sailed down the west side of Vancouver Island. In Juneau we rented a car from juneaucarrental.com for $50. We walked about half a mile up hill to get to the rental office where they had the car ready and waiting for us. We drove up to the Shrine of St. Therese then headed back to the ship for lunch. We found a parking spot right in front of the ship for $2 per hour. Around 6pm we drove to Mendenhall Glacier and walked the trail to Nugget Falls. There were very few people around by then so we parked in the lot closest to the Falls and had the place almost to ourselves.
Every staff member that we saw on the ship was friendly, hard-working, and helpful. Our room stewards were great and brought us fresh fruit and ice twice a day. The beds were comfortable and everything was super clean. The rooms have DVD players and you can borrow DVD's from the Front Desk (just remember to return them or you'll be charged a $50 fine). The best thing about the rooms is they're very quiet; I never heard my neighbors or people walking down the halls. Even the door close themselves quietly. On our last cruise (Carnival Legend) we heard lots of slamming balcony doors.
The only thing we purchased on the ship was two liters of Crown Royal for $36 in the duty-free shop. My son played Texas Hold'em at the computerized table in the casino every day, but said he was ahead by the end of the week. (The casino took a rake of 15% of each pot with a maximum of $7.00.) The ship organized a few tournaments and there were about ten people who played on a regular basis, so they got to know each other.
We signed up for the latest disembarkation time of 9:30. We walked out of our room, got an elevator right away, and walked right down the gangway--no lines anywhere. Our suitcases, which we had put outside our door at midnight, were waiting for us in the terminal. It was the fastest disembarkation of the seven cruises we've taken. Less