We have been sailing with HAL since 1985 and are 4 star Mariners. We could have been 5 star had we been willing to book cabins without baloneys or amenities we have come to enjoy. Once HAL started offering this outside space, we were hooked. Unfortunately, this comes with a price...fewer cruises.
We booked this trip because it was reasonably, gave us a chance to breakaway from the spring doldrums, was on a ship we hadn't sailed previously, and made one stop in a place we hadn't been before. We have sailed to Alaska many times as it is an enjoyable cruise through the Inside Passage from Vancouver. An FYI for people who cruise to Alaska, departures from Seattle usually take the outside route in the open Pacific to the west of Vancouver Island as they need the speed and shortened distance to meet all their destination obligations. This can be rough at times. The Inside Passage is beautiful, and for the most part, smooth sailing.
Check-in and embarkation was what I can only charitably call a "gong show". We arrived about 45 minutes prior to our designated boarding time of noon. We didn't need to check any bags so went straight to the check-in area. I would like to point out that before we even got to the terminal, HAL insisted that we complete the check-in process on the Navigator app which includes adding basically another passport like photo. Did that, oh, BTW, you need to do the same thing on verifly. Ok did that. Now you arrive for the "priority" check-in, a misnomer if I ever heard one, where wait for it, you need to have your picture (again) taken along with your passport. You are given a tag showing you have priority boarding and you are ushered to what I can only class as the cattle chute that interminable line of people waiting to clear Customs where (again) your picture is taken. We finally got through this and got to the priority boarding area where we were essentially abandoned. On prior cruises we were told when to board and escorted to the exit to the boarding ramp. Nope, everyone for themselves. Now, we were fortunate, we got through the process in about 45 minutes, our travelling companions took nearly 1.5 hours. However, they were lucky. One couple I met onboard said it took them four hours from arriving to getting onboard.
We booked a Neptune suite as did 4 other people we were travelling with. Our suite was what you would expect from a Neptune suite. Large (but not as large as on the Signature Class) with a large bathroom, separate toilet room with sink, a good couch and well placed seating. Our friends, Neptune was a complete disappointment. They usually book a rear facing Neptune suite to take advantage of the rear facing balcony. What a disappointment. It was small ( a signature size at best), poorly laid out, not a great bathroom, a day bed instead of a couch, and a TV on a swing arm so you can adjust it to see it (which is a necessity).
The Museum of Northern BC is a must visit. Only a 5 minute walk from the dock.