I hope it is not too long, We drove to Vancouver the night before and stay at the Pan Pacific at Canada Place. It was the best hotel I'd had ever stayed in. I want to cruise out of Vancouver everytime just to stay there. They rooms were amazing and spacious, The service was impeccable. Being able to take the elevators down to the cruise-ship terminal and board the ship with little or no wait, The bellman took all our checked luggage for us and it was in our cabins when we boarded. We also got a deal on parking which is also at cruise terminal level with elevator to hotel bookde directly the Vinci which is $23 vs the hotel $40 a night.
Embarkation went smoothly, we were a party of 13 with 5 cabins and 2 people on scooters. We all got on and since we were all mariners or had at least one marnier in each room we got on the ship about 11:30-11:45 went to the main dining room for a wonderful lunch and avoided the rat race at the lido.
I am partial to HAL but also have high expectations because of the service I have received in past. I can honestly say this crew was the best. The food in the Lido was fine for breakfast and lunch, but my son(13) and nephew (15) soon found it was worth dressing up and eating in the dining room with us. Our dining roon staff had my double esspresso brought to me before the dessert menu after the first night. So you get the picture food and service exceeded my expectations.
I took more classes this time than ever before and really enjoyed the Techspert. I also participated in a few cooking demos. All were great. Did the wine tasting with Ingo very entertaining but Ingo needs to branch out and try some of our Eastern Washington wineries.
We had 3 kids with us and the 3 year old loved HAL's club, it was a struggle getting him out each evening.
A few of our group broke even after 6 days of Casino play.
The entertainment was very good, one of the dancers broke her foot or sprained her ankle and they had to revamp a couple of their shows at the last minute but did very well. The best entertainment was the comedian Derrick Cameron, he was sooooo funny and truthful about things on the ship, it made me think was he talking about me????
Cabins were fine. We opt for the inside ecause I love to take pictures and love to go where the action is. Some had outside no verandah, I have other things I would rather spend that extra $3000 on.
I am amazed when I read some of the reviews that there wasn't enough to do on HAL or it closes up early. We were up in the Crow's nest late and we had fun.
I felt the people around us were having fun,too.
The one complaint I have is too much smoking, I wish they would designate a room away from everyone and let em smoke. I think it should be enclosed with a filtration system to get it circulating in that one area. (just a dream)
Ports were Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. We were in port with fewer ships which was great. In Juneau we were the only ship. Boys did Robert's Tram and a hike to the cross, a few others whale watching. Skagway I love just walking around there and did the Red Onion of course. Ketchikan did the lumberjack show which was good, then the trolley to Totem Park and it wasn't great.
In a nutshell we had a great time, we traveled with great people. Oh yes and the weather could not have been better no rain and sunshine even at Glacier Bay. Disembarktion was smooth and they put a color chart up so if you didn't have that color you waited your turn..they sent a few people back which I think is great, you don't pick 9:00 to get off then think you can go at 8:00 because you were ready earlier and act like you don't speak English when you know you can read and it's all color coded...If you lasted this long and want more specifics email me.