This was a cruise my wife and I took from Vancouver to Seward. We took a five day Carnival cruise 3 weeks ago so I'll make some comparisons.
In most ways, this cruise was superior to the Carnival cruise which was a five day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville on the Elation. The service, food, embarkation, and ports were all preferred over Carnival. However, this was a cruise clearly meant for an older crowd. We are in our 40's and felt that most others cruising with us were older.
First impressions weren't great as the word ZAANDAM on the outside of the ship needed painting. However, we didn't note any other areas where the ship showed wear, so it really was in great shape.
Food was consistently very good to outstanding. Every meal was well prepared and presented with top notch service. There were hardly ever any lines at any time in Lido or the main dining room. Lunch was where this ship shined over the Carnival. Here lunch was very good every day. Lunch was typically so-so on Carnival so there was a big difference here.
Our inside cabin was much larger than Carnival with room for a couch where there was not room for one in the Carnival room. HAL also included a make-up mirror which my wife appreciated.
Service was consistently good for the cabin, dining, and other areas where needed.
Embarkation was very good with few lines and waiting. We were on board and eating before noon. We even enjoyed a swim on the warm Vancouver afternoon.
We went on a land tour following the cruise and it was well run and organized every step of the way. This made the whole trip worthwhile although we really enjoyed the cruise portion as well.
We did not do any cruise operated shore excursions so we can't speak to those.
Wife went to one of the cooking demonstrations but didn't like it enough to attend any others. They were very crowded so you need to arrive early to get a seat.
The live music was good but I prefer at least one choice that plays something more modern and hip. Live entertainment was good but nothing edgy here.
The main downfall was the degree to which this cruise catered to the more seasoned folks. There were few "fun" activities and those that were presented weren't well done. For example, there is a night club area but it was not open every evening. The music played was almost exclusively 30 or more years old so it lacked the pizazz needed to make it truly enjoyable. I appreciated the live band that played a few nights, but they played songs mostly from the 1970's. Again, play some newer music. Even older folks can like newer tunes.
All that said, we still thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would recommend it to anyone, especially those who aren't looking for fun but more a gracious cruising experience.
Inside cabin was nice, no complaints. Good to have room for a couch.
We enjoyed our time in Vancouver, recommend you spend a day here.
We visited the SE Alaska Museum and it was worth the $5 admission. Enjoyable movies plus walked the museum was informative about the native Alaskans.
Enjoyed walking Juneau but really enjoyed the whale watching boat tour. Had 50+ whale sightings in our 80 minutes in the bay, plus saw a sea lion. Highly recommend Juneau ToursView All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
Great mini-bus tour to the Yukon border. Great sights but saw little wildlife. Recommend. Booked through Juneau Tours and they gave us a free upgrade when no one else booked our tour.View All 137 Yukon Van Tour Reviews
Cool to see the bay and glaciers. Saw otters and seals in the bay.