When we boarded the Statendam and went to our room, we immediately felt at home. Having sailed with HAL many times and on this size boat, we like the feel of it and have become quite acquainted with the ship's amenities.
We like the friendly staff who despite long days and sometime demanding pax, always seem in a good mood though the odd one does seem to be self absorbed. It's a difficult life I'm sure. Being gone for months, far away from family and loved ones must take its toll but hey, it's a great living compared to the alternatives.
The captain was always on top of things regarding keeping us well informed about the weather and sea conditions. While his announcements were infrequent, they were timely and informative. He took great pains to avoid rough seas, even going out of the way to give us a 'good ride'. One day however, huge swells couldn't be avoided so we had to enjoy the ups and downs of sailing. The breakfast cooks and bell boys got into the act with Oooooooooooooos and Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaas as the ship went up and over the swells. The staff was very fast and competent at cleaning up the seasickness and in a short three hours, all was back to normal.
The food on HAL is always good. I said good rather than outstanding but on a couple of occasions, they do manage to excel. What impresses me on all of these cruises is the manner in which, from placing one's food selection to delivery right up to dessert, the food is brought to our table. The logistics involved must be staggering. To appreciate this, take a kitchen tour on your next cruise.
Entertainment on this cruise was good also. The ship's dance troupe put on a nice show on two occasions while the humorous magician and another stand up comedian did make us all laugh.
This time we attended two of the ships culinary cooking demonstration. The chef had to read from supplied cue cards to prepare the dish and the accompanying host was annoying with her constant interruptions. I guess she felt she had to keep things moving. More rehearsal is needed here folks.
The star of the cruise was not it destinations, per se, though visits to Juneau, Skagway and Kitchachin were nice, but rather the glaciers. These did not disappoint. Being on a smaller ship allowed the captain to take us in for a close look and right on cue, the thing calved, not once but twice.
This was the first time we've had to request a table change due to incompatibility. There was five of us seated at a table for six and (I do not wish to go into details) when it became apparent that we would need to leave, I asked the gentleman next to me if he'd be insulted were we to leave the table. His reply was 'Only if you don't allow me to go with you." Too bad this had to happen but it did.
The only other thing that really bothered me but not my wife, was the ship's Cruise Director's irritating habit of mispronouncing words ending in 'ing.' Like the noise a bell makes when it rings -DING-, this director simply avoided that and pronounced dining like dinen, sailing like sailen and eating like eaten. Boy was I annoyed by that, even sending off a note to the Hotel Manager and despite having been assured that the matter would be brought to the Cruise Director's attention, she continued that irritating habit. How did she get this far without ever having been corrected of it. Notwithstanding this, she did, however, make great announcements.
We earned our third Mariner Star on this cruise so just another 125 days and we'll get our fourth.
We'd recommend HAL to anyone and suspect that others would also recommend other lines also but, Iike I said earlier, we feel at home on HAL.