Vancouver: My adult daughter lives in Olympia, WA so my husband & I flew from Colorado to meet her and then we drove to Vancouver, B.C. The drive was nice until we got to Vancouver - a lot of traffic, but they are gearing up for the Olympics. We parked right at the pier which ended up costing $200! We later learned we could have taken the train from Seattle but, you cannot always count on the train. Check in very fast and efficient and all bags made it to room by sailing time. We chose a cabin with a window near mid-ship on the Rivera deck. We always chose low and midshid as it rides the best, i.e. not much movement. And, a window cabin has a couch/twin bed (a bit hard) for 3rd person rather than a bunk. Fun to watch all of the float planes, barges and other ship coming and going while leaving the port.
Food/Entertainment: We opted for the "Your Time" dining - which was great! We found head waiter, Romeldo - not to be confused with Romualdo - to be the best - lots of personality and service was always faster than any of the other areas where we were seated in. Sometimes we chose to sit with other groups, sometimes alone - never going back to assigned seating if I can help it! My daughter & I enjoyed trying out new fancy foods and deserts every day so we ate in the dining room most of the time while my husband stuck to the buffet. Casual dress, including jeans and tennis shoes was OK, but it was nice to dress up a little or a lot on the 2 formal nights. We also took tea at 3:30 on the days at sea. The shows in Pharoah's lounge were always fun and professional and my daughter went to Karaoke a couple of nights and enjoyed that, too. My husband could be found in the casino most of the time, but the machines were really tight!
Room Stewards: Although there were 3 of us coming and going at all times, they managed to sneak in and make up the room or turn down the beds along with leaving cute towel animals every day. Nice people - we always take time to say hi and see what countries all of these folks are from as we pass in the hallways - they are the backbone of the ship!
Tips: Since there were 3 of us in the cabin, I usually got up early, worked out in the gym, then showered in the larger facilies of the locker room. I loved the thick terry cloth robes that are provided in the cabins and found many other guests running around in them, too - even for breakfast at the buffet!
Also, remember there are laudramats on most of the decks - so to save on luggage, pack for only 4-5 days and do your laundry on one of the days at sea. Cost is $3 for washer and $3 for dryer, bring your own detergent & softener or pay $1 for that, too. Get your quarters from the casino or service desk.
There is a minifridge in the room, along with a table, so you can always load up at the buffet and take your dinner back to the room, or stash a dessert in the fridge for late night snack without leaving the room.
Return: We all enjoyed a nice breakfast in the dining room (you get a larger choice of fruit juices, made to order eggs, etc. than at the buffet) then our turn came to leave at about 8:30 and were on our way out of Vancouver by 9. We were driving back to SEA-TAC for a 5pm flight - we thought we'd have a lot of time to spare, but U.S. customs took a full hour, so we only had time to stop in Ana Cortes for a late lunch - it's a very pretty town on Hidalgo Island - right outside of Mt. Vernon.
Summary: 7 day cruise with only 3 ports was about 1 day too long, especially since it was too cold, windy and/or rainy to do anything top deck. But, Alaska is really beautiful - especially for those who haven't been to the Rocky Mountains and/or lived by seaports.