Our cruise started in Seattle, overcast and humid not what we are used to coming from Phoenix. Transport from the airport to the ship was a very long confused wait. Once we got to the embarkation point things went quite smoothly. This was my first cruise on a vista class ship, our party consisted of my mother, my daughter and her husband (his first cruise ever).
I was awoken early the first morning by being rocked about in my bed, I opened the curtains and looked out and the first thing I thought of was the opening credits from the TV program of the 60's "Victory at Sea". It was rough, a double dramamine morning, breakfast forget it. Toward afternoon the captain announced we were altering our course and taking the inside passage which would add about 3 hours more to our sailing time but would be much smother, you could hear the cheer from the passengers, and the rest of the cruise was smooth sailing.
We had requested the early seating at dinner but got the LATE seating, I found out you have a better chance of getting a private meeting with the pope then getting your seating changed. Due to the fact that there were 4 of us I was surprised to find we were sharing a table with another couple. Very nice couple from Minnesota taking a cruise for their 20th anniversary. Probably because we had the late seating service was quite slow and often inattentive. The food was quite good not 5 star french but this is a cruise ship not a 5 star french restaurant, though sometimes they were out of some items usually a desert that was popular with the earlier seating.
I do have a complaint about being nickeled and dimed, in 1998 and 2001 we cruised with Hollandamerica and the Cappuccino and hot chocolate and muffins were free now you have to pay for them, it was not starbucks prices but come on, I could get the same muffins on the lido deck for free and the Cappuccino at dinner for free.
The activities on the ship were good, you actually could not do all of them in a day there were so many. I really liked the culinary arts center. The tours were very good though the lack of wild life disappointed me, it appears you must take the 14 day cruise and tour through the national park to see more then 4 eagles and the tail of a whale as it swam away.
With the exception of trying to get our plane in Seattle after the cruise (4 cruise ships disembarking at the same time) made it a nightmare! Over all the cruise was quite enjoyable. My son-in-law is sold on cruising, he packed on about 20 extra pounds. BUT the one thing I find unacceptable with the new vista class ships is there is NO self serve launderette. When I was on the Rotterdam in 1998 for 16 days with 3 children, wife and mother-in-law the launderette was invaluable. I was on a cruise with NCL around Hawaii in 2002, I was on the lido deck one day and over heard a couple who were aghast at the cost to send their and their 2 children's cloths to the ship laundry. Now that I am retired when I look for a cruise of more than 7 days (like the 12 day one I took in 2007 to the Baltic on the Rotterdam), if the Hollandamerica ship does not have a self serve launderette I look for another cruise line that does.