First, I must say that DH and I choose the itinerary first, which this June 19-July 3 cruise was to Alaska from Seattle round trip. The round trip appealed to us a lot and this itinerary takes you to a few ports none of the other Alaska itineraries do.
Boarding process was very easy and everyone was friendly and helpful. The staterooms were ready for us when we boarded so dropping off our carry-ons there was greatly appreciated. We were celebrating our 40th anniversary with our family and they surprised us with balloons at our door to welcome us (also came in handy during the cruise to mark our cabin when we weren't sure where we were!) Then there was a bouquet of flowers that were so fresh they lasted the entire cruise. The room was huge in comparison to others we've had; lots of storage; even the bathroom! We were in cabin 2658 with an ocean view.
I can't say enough about the crew; our room stewards were there to greet us and make sure we had everything we needed. They kept our cabins clean (the best we've had on past 14 cruises!) and somehow did that without us seeing them! The one thing I really liked was that they kept mostly all of their 'equipment' out of halls so we could walk by easily. Every crew member would greet you and had a smile to brighten your day no matter where you passed them. Lido Cafe, dining room stewards, bar personnel - they were all great!
The ship's decor was pleasing being more traditional. Don't expect a grand entrance way or multi-tiered elevator lobby. But for what it is, it is pleasant. Very similar to the Maasdam layout but I enjoyed this decor better overall. There were lots of areas to relax, music usually played (CD during the day and live music started at 5 PM). Great cardroom on this ship next to the library, which was also large and had a few comfy couches and overstuffed chairs to relax. Both had an ocean view which made the rooms seem larger and let in natural light (and in Alaska it's all day and night!) Lots of lounges/bars to choose from. Ocean bar had free appetizers (Crow's Nest did too) which were nice addition during their happy hour!
I don't gamble, but they have a few tables and slots (didn't seem as large an area as on other ships). They do allow smoking at times which I hate but understand for those who 'need a smoke'. The smell drifting to the other areas nearby is what 'stinks'. A nice addition is their Culinary kitchen/movie theater room. Both were good. Also in this room, HAL is the only line I know of that offers a mass/non-denominational services/sabbath services-a plus!
The art work is pretty to pass by but sea days had it in the Ocean bar area which took away from a nice relaxing spot on the ship. Shopping was available; expensive; and now they take it to the Lido deck for sales which are always crowded (and still overpriced!).
The Lido deck does have an enclosed pool where they did open the roof at times when it got warm; a nice place to relax or eat a burger/hot dog/have a drink. The food was good and enjoy trying different dishes, but I have to say that the cruise industry foods have gone downhill over the years. Room service for breakfast was a nice surprise with everything being served hot and on time!
The shows are okay. It's not like you can duplicate broadway on a ship, just keep that in mind. The Queens lounge is smaller than some but the seating (couches and chairs) is nice although some of them need replaced (worn-down cushions or broken).Wish I would have remembered to let HAL know that!
But overall a clean ship with a great crew that kept us safe, comfortable and definitely fed well.
This cabin (not sure of the category) had an ocean view and was huge in comparison to others we've had; lots of storage; even the bathroom! It is a connecting room but the doors will not open if the beds are kept as 2 singles against the outside wall.
I can't say enough about the crew; our room stewards were there to greet us and make sure we had everything we needed. They kept our cabins clean (the best we've had on past 14 cruises!) and somehow did that without us seeing them! The one thing I really liked was that they kept mostly all of their 'equipment' out of halls so we could walk by easily.
This was our 2nd time on this excursion and it was just as good as the first time! Terrence did a great job getting the eagles to come close to the boat for photos. The crab is so good; the beer and cheesecake (if you can save room) are great as well!View All 129 Wilderness Tour & Crab Feast Reviews
We were excited to learn that whales had been in the area but unfortunately we didn't get to see any. Floyd did a great job navigating us around the waters to see some wildlife and then they promptly refunded our money when we returned as they promised.View All 161 Whale Watching Reviews
Went into their store in town and saw that they offered shuttles to their brewery. Sign up if you're a beer enthusiast! The beers are amazing and the 'taste glasses' are a good size. May want to take some snacks with you; don't drink them on an empty stomach!View All undefined undefined Reviews
Lovely city to explore by walking or tours.
A fun city with lots to see and do.
The city is nice and clean. Lots of shops to find souvenirs. Visitor's center is nice. Going out away from the town is very scenic.
A unique port, as are all of Alaskan ports, this one has what they call 'The Spit'. It's a great place to walk, get a bite to eat, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and of course shop. There are some tours that go into town and a lot of fishing. A huge marina is near the dock.
This is my least favorite port on the 14-day cruise. Not much to do here. Not scenic unless you go out of the area, which I never did.
This boat ride takes you all over the island-area; it's just breathtaking. See whales, seals, otters, Puffins, eagles, salmon fishing, and maybe deer! My favorite port on the 14-day cruise! Also have done the Raptor Center (excellent as well); and the Fortress of the Bears (only go if you want to see a bear-there's nothing else here).View All 75 Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest Reviews