One of the things I love about HAL, is the Neptune lounge, so I usually opt for the suite.. It's expensive-- about a thousand Cnd a day-- but worth it..
So this cruise, you couldn't have asked for nicer weather, and smooth seas.. It has been 9 years since I took my last cruise (a 7 day HAL Mexican on the Veendam), and I've noticed a few changes.. The boarding and departing has improved-- especially the departing.. Alas.. Still major line ups, and the security is worse now, than after 9-11.. But I guess it's over-kill everywhere today.. The first thing different, was now you go to the lifeboat drill, without putting on the life jacket.. Not the best idea, as even before, half the people had put the jacket on wrong, that their demise would have been expedited, should they needed to take a dip.. I still think the jackets should be slapped on, for the drill..
The cruise was pretty good, although I was surprised there was no departure on deck BBQ.. Actually, there were very few planned events.. I had my evening meals delivered to my room, as I was travelling single.. That worked out great, but most of the meals were cold.. However, they were good, nevertheless.. Especially, the Pinacle ones that I had to pay extra for..
I normally prefer a warmer climate, but I love the smaller ships-- Veendam, Ryndam, Stattendam etc. Thus.. when I saw this cruise was on the smaller Volendam, I jumped at it.. The staff were great-- as usual..
The entertainment sucked.. I miss the singers and dancers, along with the ship band. A Chilean quartet in the Ocean Bar, were very good.
I'm really disappointed to see the end of the classy nights.. Most nights were smart casual, but the one formal night, I swear I was the only male passenger on board wearing a tuxedo.. I would say half the passengers were wearing T shirts and jeans, on this particular night.. The only time I saw the people dress up, was the smart casual Mother's day dinner.. OK.. It might be Alaska, and we all packed our plaid shirts and jeans, but it's still nice to dress up in the evening..
I was a little disappointed in the lido food, but times have changed.. I'd say almost a third to half the passengers were Asian, so I guess noodles were the norm for them.. I'm a lover of roast beef, but only had it once for dinner..
The itinerary was great.. I love Juneau.. I've eaten a lot of King crab, but never had it freshly cooked before.. Delicious !! The crab shack and the tram in Juneau, was the highlight of the cruise for me.. I enjoyed Skagway, but got tired of seeing the same old "made in China" authentic Alaskan souvenirs, in every store..
Overall;.. I would do the cruise again-- in a minute.. I'd like to see a little more fancy appetizers in the Neptune, such as the shrimp cocktail.. A Dungeness crab salad would have been great.. But nothing but smoked salmon-- everyday..
I couldn't believe the weather, as living my first 30 years on the Queen Charlottes (Haida Gwaii), I am well aware of the weather that one can normally expect in this area.. But even up in Glacier Bay, when the shipped turned, and my balcony was bathed in Sun, it was almost too hot to sit outdoors.. It was pretty sad to hear of the mid air plane crash in Ketchican, killing a number of people from a Princess ship.. This happened, about 3 hours after we arrived in Ketchican.. ..It was also great to be able to take this cruise on the smaller ship, as opposed to the Oosterdam, which I don't like..
No. 1.. Although I missed just the shower, that I had on the Veendam, in addition to the tub.