However, a huge disappointment on this cruise along Canada's Inside Passage and three Alaska ports, was the absence of a naturalist or wildlife expert. I'd guess that most people on board were there for the scenery and wildlife rather than evening entertainment. The otherwise excellent cruise director seemed to focus largely on the latter. The only onboard lectures were historical and social in content, when what everybody wanted to know was what they would see tomorrow! It didn't help when the captain mentioned that he'd seen some whales earlier in the morning - we'd have loved to share the experience. The cruise cried out for talks every evening so that passengers would know what to look out for and where they were most likely to see it.
Only other criticism was the butler service, which was intrusive and slightly superior - anything other than relaxing. Friends on the same deck had a wonderful butler, so it's just the luck of the draw.
A major compensation was the art collection - an astonishing museum-quality collection featuring Picasso, Chagall, Miro, Modigliani and others: jawdropping stuff. Art dealer and expert Michael Judge gave wonderful art tours every afternoon to provide fascinating insights into these exceptional works of art.
However, another wonderful excursion, this time in a jetboat from Haines along the Chilkat Valley: awesome in the truest sense. The day was hosted dazzlingly and very entertainingly by a young man called Gabriel who should be on TV!
We stayed 3 nights at the Pan Pacific hotel right at the cruise ship terminal. While convenient for embarkation, it's large and impersonal - more of a people-processing plant than a hotel. It's also seriously overpriced for the room size, with very average service.