Alaska is a beautiful place to visit. We had heard so much about it's beauty and had heard great things about Holland America as well. We've taken 15 cruises and had never been on Holland America. When we saw the 14/day itinerary we were very excited.
There was so much to be disappointed about on this cruise. The service was very poor - especially the first week. We were almost in shock as the crew seemed untrained and unprepared to handle the mealtimes in the Lido and the dining rooms. It took several requests to get a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea. There wasn't adequate staff serving and resulted in very long lines in the Lido and taking as much as 20 minutes to get a sandwich made at lunch or an omelet at breakfast. It took over an hour to get waffles in the dining room for breakfast. The maitre d personally apologized - but we noticed that the dining room attendees became fewer and fewer over the course of the cruise. The Lido served the same meals at dinner that were served in the dining room. This is very different from other cruises we've been on.
The cabin stewards were very personable and professional. However, they appeared to be overworked. Our stewards were responsible for cleaning 30+ cabins. Our cabin was frequently not cleaned before 2:30 and in the evening we came back 9:30 from dinner/show to find them still working on cabins. Several nights when we were ready for bed - we asked that they skip us so we could turn in for the night.
The library/computer area was a favorite location on this ship. The room is adjacent to the coffee bar and is equipped with lots of books, comfy chairs and a great view. The librarian has initiated an impromptu knitting group on days at sea. There was an opportunity to join with others who enjoyed the craft. She has information on great knitting shops we could visit on our port visits. I'd love to see this offered on other ships .
The second week there was noticeable improvement. However, many were not happy or pleased with this cruise and indicated that it was very different from other Holland America cruises they had been on.
Alaska is a beautiful place to visit - however, many of the ports had little to offer and the tours were very over-priced. I think if we had been much older, we may have enjoyed just the cruising and the views which were spectacular. Our favorite was the Hubbard Glacier.