We sailed from Seattle on the Hubbard Glacier cruise, with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria. We booked this ship because Conde Naste rated it one of the Ten Best. This ship, while not a disaster by any means, is certainly nothing to write home about.
The decor is not only stylistically dated, but also showing its chronological age. Blonde woodwork, salmon and teal furnishings right out of a 1995 Holiday Inn show the need for a drydocking. The public areas are a blend of mismatched furnishings. It shows a lot of rust and decay.
On the good side, our cabin attendant, Santana, was excellent. He went above and beyond to create a good experience. Way to go, dude! The remainder of the crew "represents 59 nationalities" as they like to tell you. However, many of the nationalities don't appear to like some of the other nationalities, with the result that you can often hear disagreements among the staff.
The food in the U.S.S. United States specialty restaurant was superb. Equal to any dining experience anywhere. There is a 7-course dinner with 5 wine flights for $87 that is worth every penny. They do not skimp on the wine. The service is confusing as there are at least 5 waitstaff plus the Maitre De Hotel, the Sommelier, and the manager who all come around the table. However, no one seems to have responsibility for any specific task, so you have to find the specific bread, water, wine person, etc. Other than that, it is well worth the $30 cover.
The food in the buffet is abysmal. I cannot believe that they serve such crusty-hard fish and sausages, greasy corned beef hash, and stale bread. I would have sent it back at Hometown Buffet.
Our main dining room waiter was from Bali. Nice enough guy, but spoke so little English that any questions about the food were followed by a session of International Charades. And I don't want a hug from all the waitstaff on the last night. How about I leave a good tip and a hearty 'Thank You.' The main dining room has an excellent menu, but the food actually served bears little resemblance to its written description. One evening I ordered a New York steak. When it came, I tried to tell the waiter that I had gotten the wrong order, but again, he did not understand me. He just nodded and said "Yes, New York." It looked like a thin slice of the prime rib from two nights previous. I passed it around the table, and no one could correctly identify it. The 'loaded baked potato' had three [yes three!] shreds of grated cheese and a few bits of crumbled bacon. At least I hope it was bacon. Many dishes were just plain salty. The desserts were OK, nothing to write home about. The coffee was very good.
The in-room service, at least for us in Concierge Class, was good, and prompt as well.
This was our fifth cruise: Two on RCL, one on Holland America, and two on Celebrity. Everything has always been great before this. I do not know why the food was so bad except maybe that the head chef is British. You would think he would come out once in a while and see what his people are serving.
There is plenty to do on the ship. The lectures by the naturalist were great. The shows were decent: one night there was an illusionist who was excellent. There is an excellent coffee bar, and plenty of places to hang out during the day.