We had our first cruise 2 years ago on the Emerald Princess and thoroughly enjoyed a 10 day Caribbean Medley. This Alaskan cruise was organized as a surprise Christmas present from my husband, as Alaska had been on my wish list for 30 years. He chose Holland America primarily as it had a Culinary Arts program on board. This, coupled with a good price and full day in Glacier Bay made the Westerdam the ship of choice. Initially a Superior Veranda was booked for ourselves and our daughter, but a couple of weeks before departure we were offered an upgrade to a Deluxe at a very good price, so took advantage of the offer as this was really our trip of a lifetime. Two days before sailing, we flew into Seattle and stayed at the Fairmont Olympic, for yet another memorable part of the vacation. This hotel is very beautiful, service was superb, and we enjoyed our stay here and also walking around Seattle, especially enjoying Pike's Market early morning and watching all the fish and flowers being set up for sale. Finally, the big day was here and we set off by taxi to the port where embarkation was so organized that we didn't even have time to complete their forms before being in line for boarding. Should also add how friendly the port staff were, certainly putting you in the holiday mood.
We had pre ordered soda and beverage cards via Holland America directly, and aside from the savings in so doing, we also found it a good way of keeping tabs of our expenses as it was prepaid.
We chose anytime dining which worked out well with either no wait times or 5 minutes tops. We didn't eat at the Pinnacle except for breakfast, nor Canaletto, but enjoyed dinners in The Main Dining Room or the Lido. The latter had the advantage of same food as MDR but you could mix your side dishes and there were additional foods if you so chose. The service was good in both. Should also add that I tried out the Indonesian food in the Lido, which was really nice.