July 2015 - Statendam to Alaska
I won't say that we didn't have a good time on our cruise to AK, because we did have fun going to all these new places that we had never been before. We did some great excursions (Dog sledding on land [husky summer training + cuddling puppies], snorkeling in Ketchikan, whale watching in Icy Strait Point/Hoonah). We did a lot of hiking and tide pooling in Homer and Kodiak, and generally had a great time exploring the different cities and towns we went to.
The staff on the ship were really kind and very friendly. Most were extremely helpful and they all worked very hard to keep the ship clean. The other guests were a lot older than us.... so it was definitely a cruise that was more geared towards 50+. I felt like we were some of the only people between 25-35 (who weren't part of a big family group). This played into our experiences with entertainment and onboard activities, which were much more geared to the older generations than to our own. We spent a lot of our free time watching movies in our cabin rather than play bingo or singing songs around the piano from the 50s (not that there is anything wrong with those activities... they just weren't really that interesting to us).
However, I won't lie and say we weren't disappointed with a few aspects that we really expected to be great and unfortunately were sub par. The biggest disappointment was the dining food and experience. The food ranged from average to poor unless we were eating in the extra cost restaurants, which were good. I had always heard that cruise ships had a broad range of dishes and quality dishes, especially in the main dining room. However, we found that they mostly served the same kinds of dishes every day, and while yes the food was much better in the dining room than the lido deck, the wait time between dishes was extremely slow. We were at dinner in the dining room between 1.5 - 2 hours almost everytime we ate there, and we typically only ordered the main and dessert course. It was extremely slow, and the dining room was always at least halfway empty, so I'm not sure why it was so slow. It seemed like we had to wait for our courses with the tables around us... so if the tables next to us ordered 4 courses, and we only ordered 2, we still sat and waited for the surrounding tables to start/finish courses that we hadn't even ordered before getting our own food.
Food on the lido deck, particularly in the evening (when we didn't want to wait 2 hours to finish dinner) was not good at all. The food never seemed to be hot enough, and most of the meats (chicken, pork loin, beef) had sat under the heat lamp too long and were dry and poorly seasoned. At least at lunchtime they had the taco bar and hamburger stand open, so you could get something other than the 6 or 7 things that they cooked everyday, but at dinner, your only choices were the dining room or the lido buffet (or the extra cost dining options).
We might try cruising again in the future, but it probably won't be with HA.