First time cruiser tips!
Two friends (who were arriving from different city) and I arrived in Seattle night before cruise. We stayed at The Arctic Club Hotel, which we all really enjoyed. NOT a cookie cutter hotel, the service was amazing and the hotel had a lot of history to it. Great service and unique rooms.
We pre-arranged a car to pick us up at Sea-_tac. I would HIGHLY recommend A PLUS TOWN Car service. Tehir rates were so reasonable, less than a cab. The driver was prompt, courteous and knowledgable about the area. They also picked us up at Pier 91 after the cruise to take us back to the airport.
Keep in mind, I have NO basis of comparison to other cruise lines. Three of us (all adults) booked a Superior Veranda Suite (SY) and we were all amazed by the size of it!! DO NOT take a cruise to Alaska in a cabin without a balcony! It is amazing to sit on the veranda and watch and the beautiful scenery pass by. The cabin had 2 twin beds and a sofa which converted to a single bed.. all very comfortable. The balcony was huge!! Enough room for a small table with 2 chairs and 2 other lounge chairs with matching ottomans. The room had a flat panel TV on a large table, with a chair and window above it. There was another desk/vanity with lighted nake up mirror. I was surprised to see 3 closets, more than enough room. The bathroom had a long vanity with double sinks and 2 medicine cabinets. There was a whirlpool tub and a separate shower.
DO NOT OVER PACK, as I did!! You can get by on far less clothes than you think you will need. Formal night in the dining room was not that formal! I wore dressier black slacks and a dressy top; that was fine. The other days on board were casual. In ports, a long sleeved top, vest, light jacket were enough.
I was not overly thrilled with the food. I heard that food on board was fantastic........it was average. Lido dining was sometimes filled with long lines, and the food was not always that warm. The pastries were my favorites! Other than room service, food is NOT available 24/7. Food int he dining room was much better, Room service was ok, especially for breakfasts on morning you have an early port call.
We did a whale watching tour with Harv and Marv in Juneau. Our caption was great, and we did see whales; however, the boats are NOT allowed to get that close to them. Being that I did that once, I would not do it again. Roberts Tramway was something we lookind forward to doing, however, it was so foggy, 2 of the locals said it would not be worth it.
I enjoyed Stika, an old Russian village. But I did not know until we got there that we would all have to be tendered to the pier....that means we all had to take life boats to get there!!! They were very efficient though and it did not take all that long.
In Ketchikan, we took a Duck boat tour; we all enjoyed that, as it gave us a tour of the city and then time in the water. We saw so many bald eagles. There are SO many shops in Ketchikan, mainly jewelry stores where they are really all pretty high pressure. I bought nothing!
The Westerdam had a nice, though small casino. The shows were limited, but enjoyable. We did not try any of the other restaurants that charged a surcharge,
The Crows Nest and the Observation Deck on the 10th floor was a nice way to spend time. Many comfortable chairs all facing the spectacular views.
The day we sailed through Glacier Bay was one of my favorites. We heard what sounded like an explosion and it weas an avalanche; you could see the huge pieces of ice in the sea.
All in all, it was amazing...scenery too beautiful to be real.