May 2016 - Explorer of the Seas to Alaska - Inside Passage
I've never been on a cruise before, and after this experience I probably will wait a long time before doing another cruise. I could only describe it as being stuck with 3000 people in a 2-3 star hotel. Food was less than impressive in both the restaurant and the cafe. All of the food places were closed after 9 PM and multiple times during the day. It took us about 3 hours of standing in line to get on the ship, and once we got on the ship there was no food places available. The staff almost knew English, and it was hard to communicate with many of them, although our room attendant and dining room service was good.
We were surprised to be standing in so many lines during the cruise. There was actually a long line of people who were trying to get off the ship at 6:30 AM (the earliest time we were allowed to leave the ship). Many of the people seemed a bit disgruntled and (like us) wanted to get off the ship as soon as possible. That doesn't seem like the feeling that you're supposed to have after a cruise. There was another Celebrity cruise ship that went to the same destinations as us, and they never seemed to have any issues with lines even though their check-in times were all the same.
For my sister and her family (with two kids both 1 and 3 years old), the cruise was outright miserable. The children programs ended at 5 PM, so they never were able to have a relaxing formal dinner. They had a kid play area, but my sister had to stay with them the entire time they were there.
Alaska was beautiful and I loved visiting the area. The captain and his staff were great, but everything else about the cruise was way less than our expectation.