Our October Pacific Coastal adventure started with an overnight stay at the beautiful Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver. Everything at this property met our expectations, including a very nice dinner at the Five Sails Restaurant. Upon checkout, our bags were sent directly from our room to the ship ( which was an unexpected perk )! We proceeded from our room to the elevator which dropped us off at the cruise embarkation area. Embarkation took us about 5 minutes at the most ( checked in about noon ). This was one of the best we have had in the many cruises we have taken. As the rooms were scheduled to be released about 1:30 p.m., we explored the ship and had a quick bite to eat at the buffet. The rooms were actually early and all rooms opened at 1:00, to the delight of those onboard. The ship reminded me of many years ago, being on a transatlantic ocean liner. This is certainly no great megaship, with malls and huge atriums, but did have a wonderful feel to the both of us. The ship had just finished a 10 day retrofit and it certainly showed. New carpets everywhere, fresh paint and very clean! Again, even though this is a large ship in it's class, most of the time we walked the ship, we had a feeling of being alone. Saw very few guests except at meal or showtime. It was wonderful for what we were looking for on this cruise. We were on our own this trip ( left our son with friends ) so we decided to get a deluxe veranda suite. This room was everything that we had wanted; from lots of space with couches and chairs, to DVD, to a large bathroom with whirlpool tub and separate shower! We had so much closet space, it felt like heaven. Our veranda was very comfortable ( and large ) so we spent a good amount of time on it instead of the pool area. We enjoyed our room so much, we stayed a bit more reclusive than we normally would. WE usually spend a lot of time at the pool area, but we enjoyed the tranquility and solitude so much in the room that it just worked for us. The bed was a bit harder than the new beds on Carnival and RCI, but was comfortable none the less. Our cabin steward was extremely friendly and non obtrusive and made sure our needs were taken care of at all times. Fresh fruit in the room made for a nice touch too. The nice part of the "Suite" life, was the Neptune Lounge. This is a small concierge type lounge that was only open to suite guests. Everyday we had a coffee, a few pastries or tea sandwiches in a very quiet and comfortable atmosphere. Another VERY NICE perk was the addition of being able to have an ala carte breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. Although we usually eat breakfast at the buffet, this was very nice as, again, it was not crowded ( usually about 10-12 persons only ) and made for a quiet, relaxing breakfast spot. The staff in this room every morning was superb and they made it a great experience for us each day. Dining on the ship came to us in a few ways. We tried a few meals in the buffet for lunch (nothing special Much better lay out and flow on the megaships. Each meal is served to you and plate covers are put over your food to try to keep it hot. Not sure this really works, as most of the food throughout the ship, was never really hot; lukewarm at best. The Dining Room food was good, but the friendliness of the servers is what really made this a nice experience. Although the staff was not overly polished in the ways of service, their smiles and attitude made up for any of that. Food again, okay, better on Carnival Legend, but better than RCI, who has slipped in their foodservice. A dinner meal in the Pinnacle grill was a very nice treat. I have to say that for the second time now, I have been served a great steak on board a ship ( Carnival Legend and now this ). Both RCI and Princess have steak houses on board, but serve low graded steaks that are not very good. Being in the F&B business, I was happy to pay a little extra to have the Sterling Beef ( which is a proprietary brand ...low prime, high choice meat product ). It was a very nice meal all the way through. Only interjection was that I had hoped the wine list in this restaurant would have been better. We normally take wines with us but, due to new airline restrictions, we don't now. All in all, a wonderful evening not to be missed. Again, part of Suite perks were special invites to captain's parties along with a very nice intimate buffet luncheon. The price value of a suite, combined with the extras, make this a wonderful deal that should not be missed, especially if you want some "alone time". Disembarkation in San Diego was a swift, seamless process. We stayed in our room until our group was called ( now THAT is a wonderful perk...not being herded into lounges )! We walked off the ship, grabbed our bags and were at the airport. This entire process from our room to the airport was less than twenty minutes! The entertainment was good, not great, but still enjoyable. I must say that if our son ( 16 years ) had been on the ship, he would probably been bored to death. Definitely not a ship for the young. As a young early 50's couple, who were looking for quiet and little stress, we loved our time on board. So, as a first timer to Holland America, we can only say that we enjoyed every minute of our ship time and look forward to another time with this line.