August 2016 - 7 Night Alaska Inside Passage (Vancouver Roundtrip) Cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam
Embarkation: a nightmare with no one giving any direction as to what we were doing and what was supposed to happen next. There was a lot of sitting around and no reason given why. Then, hurry to the next checkpoint. Not great for seniors with mobility issues.
Cabin: Nice, but needs updating and repairs.
Meals: Fair. The chef has a really strange idea of popular desserts. The "Baked Alaska" and "Black Forest Cake" had no resemblance to the real things. The food was average with a few exceptions. The Lido dining area was hectic and crowded.
Christine the Shopping Guide Presentation: We left her "presentation" after about ten minutes. It was really cheesy and not in line with what I'd expect from a fine cruise line. My friend won the so-called "Diamond" Pendant and when it was delivered several days later, one could see it was worthless junk. No wonder it wasn't presented right away.
Service and Staff (in general): Outstanding! Very friendly, courteous and helpful. The great service was a highlight of the trip. Loved free room service, too!
Photography Staff: The staff at the Photo Gallery were incredibly rude. My husband and I were stunned by the bad manners and bad service. There was only one package offered and it was overpriced. $40 per photo, with no discounts for multiple photos. Between the bad prices and rude staff, we ended up with NO photos. This had a negative impact on our whole cruise experience.
Shore Excursions: Tendering was fast and efficient in Juneau. The Sled Dog visit was great. Petting the puppies was so much fun! The Skagway Train & Bike was good. The Skagway Streetcar tour was OK. It was warm and sunny, so there was no mist at the Misty Fjords.
Disembarkation went smoothly and was well organized.
All in all, I would think twice about going on a HAL cruise again. It just wasn't as special as I had hoped.