Spent the 1st week of the HAL organised tour on land, touring from Anchorage, through the Yukon, to Skagway for a 4 night sail thru Glacier Bay etc to Vancouver. A few hits, a few misses on the land portion of the tour (eg - bus load of ... Read More
Spent the 1st week of the HAL organised tour on land, touring from Anchorage, through the Yukon, to Skagway for a 4 night sail thru Glacier Bay etc to Vancouver. A few hits, a few misses on the land portion of the tour (eg - bus load of hungry travellers arriving for lunch at destination spot - except HAL hadn't told them we were coming - oops. Booked a quad bike tour [with others] just outside Denali National Park - they had no record of us coming - oops). Get to Skagway anticipating going straight to our HAL booked excursion for the afternoon (which we booked/paid for months earlier) - nope. After much uming and ahing - find out its oversubscribed so we were offered a trip later that afternoon. OK except that prevented us for doing any town visit. Oh well.
On board - the cabins are fine, the attendants are wonderful (sling them a few bucks as you arrive [not at the end], then sit back and enjoy the service). Embarkation OK but as we (and hundreds others) boarded mid trip as it were, there was not great intro to the ship, facilities, no welcoming words - bit more of a 'help yourself'.
Dining is OK - one large dining room (2 levels) at rear of ship for dinner. 'Could we have that table by the window?' No, sorry. So it remains vacant from when we arrive till when we leave ! Alternatives to the main dining room are a) paying for a specialty restaurant - "its only $10 or so". Really? - what about the thousands I paid which included food in the first place? If you want to do lunch at the dining room - be quick - its only open for an hour. How about the buffet ? Careful with that. My two biggest issues with the buffet are: a) you dont get a say in the size of your portion thats slopped onto your plate. Want steak? - you get 2. Want spuds - you get half a plate full. Want spinach? - you get a kilograms worth; and b) No self service here - its strictly 'American school canteen' style. Why wasnt this ever mentioned? Other cruise lines have self serve and it works perfectly... Ooh - and make sure you get to the food half an hour before closing time - cause that when they start closing everything down. The only food available 'out of hours' is pizza and to be kind, I wont comment on the quality.
On the up side, the scenery around this part of Alaska is just breathtaking. I suggest you take this cruise, ignore most of the food (and the activities), find a nice spot on one of the decks (or your verandah) and enjoy the view. You have plenty of time to do it - its only dark for a couple of hours a day..... Read Less