HAL is tops for Alaska in many ways. I had not cruised HAL in awhile and was a little concerned that I would be disappointed, having seen some negative reviews lately. HAL remains number one for "quiet, unobtrusive" service.
My cabin steward was superior. As a widow, I end up with a variety of seating arrangements. One night, I had a sweetheart of a dining steward with an unpronounceable name (I think it was Wodolowloo?) He made and brought me a little origami bird to be my tablemate. I love that HAL service is not fawning and predictably gracious.
I had been on the Westerdam before, so took this cruise for the itinerary. Really wanted to see Sitka and Glacier Bay. Rough seas put a stop to Sitka. The captain announced it ASAP and all the changes that followed were handled efficiently. Immediate refund of shore excursion, super-quick booking of revised excursions, etc. Despite rough seas and some changes, this cruise is ranked as a favorite. And God gave us a beyond-spectacular day in Glacier Bay! I have cruised more than a dozen times on more than half a dozen cruise lines. Reviews always reflect unmet expectations. And sometimes that is what the negative is all about. Every time I have cruised HAL these expectations have been met and/or exceeded:
Efficient embarkation and debarkation; "quiet, unobtrusive service"; sedate atmosphere, educational ethos. I also truly appreciated the fact that I could bring on fine wines from Seattle on embarkation, and on disembarkation could order room service breakfast to stay out of the crowds.