Right up front - the best part of this cruise was the crew members we met. Each was pleasant, accommodating and prepared to find a way to say yes. Several greeted us by name. One in particular, a young woman from whom I got coffee each morning, delighted in guessing what I would order each day. The standard answer to our "How are you" seemed to be "Excellent," which may or may not have been true. We never ran into attitude over the six days we were aboard. Never.
Embarkation was orderly, predictable and stretched for about two hours. We were dropped off by friends at Canada Place - chatter in the weeks preceding the cruise suggested a zoo-like atmosphere at the terminal. Our zookeepers had no problems finding a curbside zone where we could jump out, say good byes and get into the building. Signs were clear, a number of individuals posted to direct us in the right direction. We took a number and sat. When our time came security was a breeze - we know the drill, declared our two bottles of wine (which seemed based, in part, on the honor system). We sat some more to clear American Customs, which turned out to be about 40 minutes of sitting and standing, followed by thirty seconds exchanging pleasantries with a very nice ICE officer. Actual check in at the Holland America counter required a passport. Other lines could learn this lesson.
Once aboard we went straight to our cabin. All of the doo dads we'd ordered were there (rum for rum and cokes, coffee cups and beverage cards). We were in a Signature Suite - liked the layout (having two separate desks for two working writers prevented conflict). The large bathroom with two sinks seemed initially appealing but we never really needed the space. A whirlpool tub with shower and a shower stall? The tiny stall was difficult to manage, the curtain imperfectly containing the spray within its confines. We preferred the hard sliders on other lines. As usual, the shampoos and conditioners were institutional in nature. And I don't know how many times I found myself in the dark bathroom only to remember that the light switch was on the wall outside.