We travelled from the UK to go on this cruise and were not disappointed.
The Westerdam is beautiful. I'm a bit funny about cheese-tastic decor but this was totally fine, touches of modern, touches of old-cruise-glamour. Maybe one or two lurid rooms (Northern Lights disco comes to mind) but I wanted to feel like I was on a ship, not in a sterile hotel, if people want that look then they should go and stay in a chain hotel, in my opinion!
The Alaska route was just great. Unfortunately there was a big storm and we had to miss Sitka but that meant we had longer in Ketchikan and Victoria. The night we escaped the storm was seriously rough seas but other than that it was plain sailing. And the rough bits were exciting anyway, we're lucky not to suffer from travel sickness so it all added to the experience and gave all the passengers something to talk about in the lift!
We only actually ate in the restaraunt once, opting for the convenience and speed of the Lido most of the time. It was such good quality we didn't eat anywhere off-shore except for in Juneau I got some crab from Tracey's. I did not expect that to be the case. Well done HAL.
The staff on board are just amazing. They are so much fun and service is second to none. We had a Verandah room 4021 and it was great - plenty space, good shower, massive bed, was like sleeping on a big pillow. And Abdul and Tri kept us in luxury, always managing to notice the times we had popped out to go in and service the room and leave nice touches like chocolates and towel animals. Sounds a bit twee but it's nice to think they make so much effort.
We're first-timers but found everything much more reasonably priced than we expected - the only thing I was a bit annoyed at was, having looked hard and failed to find a discounted/unlimited beverage package before we left, we bought a pre-paid beverage card only to be offered unlimited drinks for a set fee per day once we boarded. Nothing major, just if you are likely to drink 8 or more specialty coffees/beers/cocktails per day this would be well worth your while. It sounds a lot but we had 3 sea days and I easily got through an average of 2 coffees, 3 cocktails and probably about 5 bottles of beer throughout the day. You might think you wouldn't but between the bars, meals, casino and restaraunt - it doesn't take much. But that's picking, it didn't bear negatively and as I said we were surprised the drinks weren't more expensive. On HAL the cocktails are mainly $6.50 and we usually bought our beers in an ice bucket of 5 for $25 (or 10 for $30 in happy hour - they only open them as you go so you can take them to the room for other days).
We weren't sure if we would like cruising, but we weren't even home before we were speculatively checking out some other routes... now just to recover the bank balance and decide where to!