I'm not at all a cruise person. I generally travel with no plan and float from place to place. I only went on one because I was the companion of my elderly grandfather. There were times I felt a bit too much like I was part of a cattle heard. I also wish I'd gotten to see more of the less commercial parts of Alaska.
Despite the above though there were parts I liked. The staff were all, with few exceptions, really great people who seemed to care that the passengers were having a good experience (or at least faked it convincingly).
As odd as it might sound some of the best parts of my experience came due to starting off with an injured back. I went to an acupuncture consult with low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised to find the professional working there, Justus Verre, was incredibly skilled, in addition to being personable and dedicated to helping his clients. I did 5 sessions with him, which included learning stretches and exercises for home. I felt they were worth every penny. My only regret is that I won't be able to continue seeing him for treatment off ship.
He recommended I use the thermal spa and I did daily. It has a mineral soak, steam room, and heated ceramic lounge chairs (with great views). It both helped my back and turned into my favorite place to relax.
Another thing I found particularly enjoyable was the art gallery and events. I wasn't a collector when I went on and honestly attended the first event for free champagne. I stayed because the auctioneer, (I think her name was Heather) and her assistants were welcoming and made learning about art fun. While I didn't purchase on board, I am seriously considering starting to collect and will remember my first experience with Park West as positive thanks to them.
The photographers also did a great job, were friendly and fun. One of the best pictures I have with my grandfather is from the ship.
I'm a bit of a foodie and my grandfather preferred the more casual dining option. I found the meals good but not exceptional. Our one meal at the lido was also good. The service everywhere was GREAT!
I took a fun mixology class, but was disappointed that there weren't more people there.
Our steward, Riyadi was also wonderful. My grandfather infrequently left the cabin and wasn't the easiest to deal with but Riyadi worked hard to make sure he stayed happy. He also taught me to make a towel monkey!!
The entertainment was good but I found it a bit corny at times... I don't think it was aimed at my demographic. I particularly enjoyed the guitarist in the crow's nest.
The nature programs were very good and Kelly (?) who did excursions really seemed to know her stuff (I'm jealous of her life/range of experiences).
I also used the library often and appreciated the place where you could take/leave paperbacks.
We did multiple excursions which all met our expectations.
Downsides included feeling like many of the activities were either at an additional cost or seemed designed to sell you something.
The front desk staff must have a very challenging job but I found them the least friendly and least helpful.
We had an issue with the drain in our cabin the first night. Our steward looked at it and tried to fix it and couldn't. He said he'd call maintenance. I followed up twice with the desk before they sent someone to look at it (14 hours later). When I went to let them know about it, I felt like my bringing up the problem was an inconvenience for them. I don't recall them ever saying they were sorry for the inconvenience to us.
Traveling with my grandfather who has lower mobility, I was surprised at how little was done for accommodating those with challenges. It was particularly an issue during the life boat drill when he couldn't get positioned where he could hear or read lips. We also weren't able to locate an option for him to both see and hear the presentation at Glacier Bay (which was a particular disappointment). They did have servers who helped him get and bring his meal back to the table though which was great.
Overall it was the best options for the two of us to see multiple destinations in Alaska. Were I traveling with him again I might do something similar, it isn't what I'd pick on my own.