Our first cruise to Alaska was 27 years ago on the SS Universe (the ship used for the Semester at Sea program). We were in port with a HAL ship. Not meaning to offend anyone; but the HAL passengers we saw were primarily "little old ladies with blue hair". So we deduced that HAL was for old people. Fast forward 27 years and we have the opportunity to give HAL a try with a one night cruise from Vancouver to Seattle on the Amsterdam. I have read and heard good things about HAL so we booked an inside cabin.
Embarkation--Was a breeze. Canada Place is a great location. It was raining in Vancouver, but the taxi drove to an underground entrance. We stayed dry. We literally walked up to the counter. We were given an upgrade to an outside cabin.
Cabin--We have cruised many times on numerous lines; but this was the largest cabin we have been in. The bathroom had a bathtub! Lots of closet space, a leather love seat. It was wonderful. Ship--The ship was lovely. It holds 1300+ but there were only 700+ passengers on board. So it was not just spacious; it was empty. They had a large pool with 2 hot tubs that were covered with a retractable roof--excellent choice for Alaskan cruises.
Food--We headed up to the buffet for lunch. Buffet was served to us. There was a nice variety offered and the food was delicious. The drinks were cheaper than some other cruise lines. For dinner we made a reservation and sat by the window with a family from Vancouver. It was difficult to make a choice, everything sounded good. I had ribs that were so tender they fell off the bone. Everyone enjoyed their dinner. Breakfast was at the buffet. once again an excellent variety of choices. I especially enjoyed the fresh squeezed orange juice. We heard that the Pinnacle speciality restaurant was amazing. It was a sell-out.
Activities--There were activities: tour the ship, Sail-away party, karaoke, and a late night party. However, there was not a show. A show would have been nice for the first time cruisers to experience. But we did not mind since we were able to eat later and not rush through the meal. Disembarkation--We were able to change our time and literally walk off the ship. We loved our cruise on HAL Amsterdam. Now, we are 27 years older, but I do NOT have blue hair. And the ages of passengers we saw were from babies in strollers to senior citizens with every age represented. We will cruise HAL again.