Sunday, May 18, 2008

Recap is a day at sea before we dock in San Francisco early tomorrow. This has been a very nice cruise.

We have found that Celebrity has clearly passed HAL in onboard service. Our cabin steward and his asst, our waiter and asst waiter and our butler have offered us better service than we have had for years on many HAL cruises. Notable was the afternoon tea that was delivered daily directly to our cabin by our butler. Celebrity also seemed to have lots more onboard activities to our taste.

In terms of cabin, HAL's concierge level cabins are bigger with a dressing area, double sink and both a whirlpool tub and shower. HAL verandahs are also bigger. The Sky Suite on Celebrity has a cramped bathroom, smaller verandah, single sink, combo tub/shower. The HAL Neptune Lounge is also missing on Celebrity.

In general, it is apples vs oranges when comparing - but, I must say that the higher level of service is very nice. We are already booked on the Celebrity Constellation for Sept and I am sure we will look seriously at Celebrity for the future.

On this cruise, the highlight was clearly Butchart Gardens in Victoria. This is surely a place to which we can return.

In Juneau, we again had good luck on the whale watching excursion - exact same operator as we have done every other time in Juneau. Astoria was an interesting new port for us; but, it is small and probably would handle multiple visits well. Seattle was a nice new stop and we visited Pike Place Market.

Vancouver was "odd". It was an interesting stop; but, they really seemed lacking when handling the crowd. Don't want to think about when they have the Olympics soon. Had we decided to get off the hop-on-hop-off bus at one of the sites, it would clearly have been a long time before we would have been able to get on another bus. Lucky for us we just stayed on the bus for the entire circuit.

The other Alaskan ports were pretty much as expected. The scenery and wildlife are always outstanding in Alaska.

There will probably not be time for an update tomorrow. We simply spend the day disembarking, shuttling and flying home - hopefully, without problems. We aren't scheduled to arrive home until very late.

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