We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. As with most HAL cruises, it was port intensive. On board were a geologist, naturalist, a chief of the Tlingit people, an indigenous wood carver and a couple who shared their music, stories and experiences living in Alaska. We were able to learn from these presenters and interact with them daily. In addition, there was evening entertainment, including, singers, comedians and magicians.
This cruise was an opportunity to visit small ports that were more authentic, without the multitude of jewelry shops lining the sidewalks. We were able to support local businesses and speak with the people who lived in these communities.
Of particular interest and enjoyment was Port Alberni, British Columbia. We sailed up the Alberni Inlet and were received with the warmest welcome that we have ever had in another port. To begin with, a group of indigenous people canoed to our ship (which was tendered) and sang a welcome song. On shore, the local people were there to greet us and assist us in any way. The Book Club participants dressed in period costumes, the indigenous peoples did a welcoming dance, volunteers offered rides to see local attractions. As it was a Saturday, there was a wonderful Craft Market on the Quay. There were offers of free local tours.
The cabin, located on deck 5, was spacious and provided us with a lovely view. It was quiet with a short walk to the stairs or elevator.