It was our first cruise the my wife and I have been on. We were worried about a number of things, but really we had nothing to worry at all. Let me say first off that the service was 1st class all the way, the staff were fantastic, I just can't say enough about the staff.
My wife is disabled and she hired a scooter for the boat and Port stops which never missed a beat, we were very happy with our room and the shower and toilet were very good for a disabled person. Having a balcony was well worth it as there was nothing better than seeing the sun rise and seeing the water while lying in bed. We were blessed with fine weather for the whole cruise which we hear cruising Alaska you can often get wet weather, but I tried to imagine it in the rain and I'm sure it still would of been nice.
Some of our concerns were the coffee as we heard the coffee wasn't that great, we actually bought a coffee machine from wal-mart and took it aboard with our own ground coffee as my wife needs about 4 coffee's to get her started for the day. Having the coffee machine was handy for us as we didn't have to leave to room for it. She did order some coffee on occasions via room service at no cost, the coffee was drinkable, but not great, getting a coffee card was the way to go and you can order nice coffee's like Latte's which were pretty good. The coffee around the buffet was hit and miss. We've decided America doesn't know about quality coffee. American Starbucks is average to Starbucks in Australia. Quality coffee should be creamy and smooth with a rich flavour, American coffee was bland and often weak and not creamy, there was no crema. I failed to see any decent coffee in any shops or stores, what was there was crap to say the least, no wonder American's aren't big coffee drinkers, if you don't have quality to start with, it's hard to convert people. The ground coffee I found there wasn't fine enough and as a result you'd never get a decent crema. The rest of the coffee was like instant rubbish. We were able to get milk delivered to our room via room service, we ordered 4 half pints at a time. We found it was cheaper to buy drinks and bring them aboard from each Port. $7 a day for a soda card was probably a bit much for me as I would only have 1 or 2, but for those who drink more sodas it was well worth it.
When we arrived on the boat, I went up and ordered a cheese burger and chicken sandwich for my wife from the Trident Grill, they came with fries and were quite nice, we tried a few things there and were happy with everything there. I had pizza from Prego Pizzeria which I believe is like the New York type Pizzas, very large and offer by the slice. It was nice to eat, different from Australian Pizzas which have more toppings and are smaller, but still nice to eat. The Lido Buffet was ok, we ate there on our first night, there was a reasonable selection of things, but buffets aren't my ideal ways to eat. We had breakfast there a couple of times which was ok. The Sundaes Ice Cream Bar was nice for an Ice Cream on a few occasions which I had vanilla, choc/vanilla and chocolate. The Sterling Grill was great, I had the largest steak which was very nice and for $20 was well worth it. We had main meals in the different dining rooms which was always very nice. I was disappointed once when we were offered sparkling water or bottle water, I chose bottle and had to pay, after a few sips out of my glass a waiter came around and topped my drink with tap water and ice. If I was aware I could of had tap water and ice I would of ordered that, which I did on further occasions. One of the good things was you could by a bottle of drink as a cheaper option to a glass and the next meal at another dining room they would get your bottle of drink on request which was nice. I enjoyed all meals and breads served as starters.
One of the regrets was not doing more activities, there were plenty to choose from, but I was enjoying my time doing other things. I went to the gym a couple of times which was good, being to look at a tv screen or out the window was nice, the equipment was in good order. The pools were great, but I never had a swim, the water felt nice. The Internet Cafe was a good size, the prices were a bit expensive, but you have to understand it's using satellite and it's going to be a little slow, but it wasn't as slow as I expected. I got the $55 for 100 mins deal, If I were to do it again I would choose $75 for 150 mins, the last day they had a deal I think it was 30 mins for $12. Just to be able to stay in touch and send emails was very convenient via the Internet, we took our laptop and typed up emails before sending them and connecting to the net. I was able to upload photos of the day so as friends and family woke up, they had an email waiting. The Laundry was great $1 for soap, $1 for washer and $1 for dryer was good value all took 4 quarters and worked really well. I was really impressed with the quality of the ship, I'd heard it was going to be refurbished and was thinking some parts maybe run down, it was in perfect condition and it was hard to find a flaw anywhere on the ship. I wish we got to mingle with more people and find out about them, we seemed to get seats for the two of us most times and didn't get to meet many others.