This was our second Alaskan cruise and our second time on the Westerdam. We enjoyed the cruise immensely and would recommend it as an introductory cruise to Alaska. We previously did a 14-day land/sea tour with Princess in Alaska and would recommend including the land portion to those interested in really learning about the state.
Embarkation in Seattle was super smooth. The new policy of having your cabins immediately available is a tremendous plus. No issues here.
On the negative side, HAL has decided to help prevent viral spread (at least on this cruise) by preventing passengers from helping themselves to anything at the Lido buffet for the first 48 hours. This policy, although for the greater good, causes massive traffic jams at the Lido. The ship does not have the staff to service the breakfast and lunch rush under this policy. They either need to staff up or change the policy which affects nearly 30% of the food service on the cruise.
The food itself was average HAL fare made for the average palate in general. Asian and Italian alternatives were available at the Lido as well as the grill.
Our cabin was a VA aft cabin and was a five-star choice. On level 5 the aft cabins are covered and huge, allowing us to sit outside in all of the fickle Alaska weather. Highly recommended.
Service with one or two exceptions was consistently positive and friendly. The ship was immaculate and a pleasure to sail on.
Entertainment and the cruise director were a bit below average and the shows were not well attended. The exception was the Joel Mason Elton John Show. We were disappointed that his Eagles show was not included on our sailing. We would have preferred to see that over the on board singers and dancers' shows.
Ports are reviewed separately but we would recommend not committing to shore excursions in Victoria as the time is really inadequate to enjoy the city. The ship was late to arrive. Some excursions were cancelled and some were rushed leaving a bad taste in some passengers mouths on the night before disembarkation.
We took advantage of the Luggage Direct walk-off policy for disembarkation and this could not have gone more smoothly. We recommend this too.
We had a wonderful week with few exceptions and would recommend this cruise and the Westerdam to anyone interested.