This was a last minute cruise for us - we wanted to get away for a few days so we were looking for something with a short flight to get there and then be able to relax. There were great prices on this 7 day Alaska cruise on the Noordam so we grabbed it. We usually cruise on HAL, so we knew pretty much what to expect - and we enjoy what Holland has. We did fly in to Vancouver the day before just to be safe.
I had been reading about difficult embarkation in Vancouver (long lines, luggage problems, etc), so we went down to the terminal about 10:30 AM. Our taxi dropped us off at the luggage drop off, and we went right thru that, then up to the HAL check in, thru US Customs (yes, US because we were cruising to the US), and then we were done - took maybe 10 minutes! We were on the ship by 11:30, so I've got to say the embarkation was about perfect! We enjoyed lunch in the MDR then took time to wander and explore the ship. The Noordam is a sister ship to the Zuiderdam, which we've cruised on several times, so no surprises there.
Our cabin stewards were excellent and took care of our every need. The concierges in the Neptune Lounge were very helpful to answer questions and help solve anything that came up.
We love the Neptune Suites and all of the little perks it offers, particularly the free laundry and breakfasts in the Pinnacle Grill. Although a bit out of date, our suite was in great shape - the bed was very comfortable, TONS of closet and drawer space, a comfortable sofa and chairs and a large balcony. We enjoyed the balcony, especially going thru the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay. The ship provided blankets on the Promanade deck to wrap around yourself as you enjoyed the scenery - we enjoyed they on our balcony.
We've been to Glacier Bay, and it interesting to see how it's changed over the years. I especially enjoyed having two National Park Service Park Rangers on board. They gave great commentary on each glacier, knew when to keep quiet (and encouraged others on the public decks to do the same) and were available to answer questions.
Our experience in Seward was the motor coach to the Anchorage airport. It's a 90-120 minute ride so it was nice to have a driver who pointed out things along the way and made the trip very interesting.