This was my fifth cruise, and first ever on my own. I'd booked a balcony cabin for my sister and I, and she couldn't get away from her new job, so I elected to pay the difference and go anyway, since I had the vacation time all set.
What a great decision! My apprehension about cruising on my own was alleviated the first night, when I met the gang at the dinner table, more on that later. I'll get all the negatives out of the way first (not many), and it's all praise after that.
Flew into Vancouver from LAX, flight delayed 45 minutes due to Air Force One takeoff, which we watched from the plane! Vancouver customs was a zoo, thanks to embarkation of 4 ships that day from Canada Place, and planes full of cruisers all coming in at the same time, two of which were Royal Carribbean.
Out of customs and onto RCC buses for the slow but interesting journey to the dock. Again a long, long process through security and American customs to get to the cruise checkin. Once at the RCC checkin, all went smoothly, but all the ships sailed somewhat late, including ours. Better traffic management by the dock itself would have helped, it was 4 hours of waiting in lines.
Cabin was lovely, spacious, lots of storage, new decor, no glitches there. Cabin attendant very personable and helpful and his service was perfect. Plenty of options on the flat-screen TV, including free movies, CBS, CNN and a few others. $11.99 per on-demand movie, they need to drop that to about $5 to get a better takeup rate. Wireless rate of $150 for 500 minutes, expensive but bought it, it worked well and I used it all up with my iPAD.
Explored the ship and I could go on and on about how beautiful it is, the decor, and giant floor to ceiling glass everywhere. Surrounded by scenic beauty this whole cruise, and always a good view from all parts of the ship.
Had 8:30 Main Dining Room seating, beautiful table for 8 by the window. Two wonderful couples from Australia traveling together, couple from the Netherlands, and a nice young fellow from Italy were my dinner companions, and we all got on so well that none of us went to the alternate dining during the rest of the cruise. We also stayed together for the disco and met for early drinks during the cruise, too. What we lost for RCC in alternate dining revenue we more than made up for with cocktails!
Breakfast and lunch were either in the main dining room (open seating) or at the buffet or sandwich shop, both good. Buffet had international foods and was well organized, but when the dining room was open for lunch, it had better food.
Shore excursions, I did two whale watching tours through RCC, thought they were both great and different from each other, at Icy Straits Point and at Juneau.
In Ketchikan and Skagway, just explored the towns, very interesting, lots to see. Skagway was cold and slightly snowy though, so skipped the train ride and headed back to the nice warm ship.
Hubbard Glacier was spectacular from the ship, highlight of the trip. Took the scenic train up to Anchorage, beautiful and would recommend. It takes you right the airport. Used RCC's luggage valet on the way back, and that saved no end of hassles others were having. They print your boarding passes and you don't see your luggage again until home airport, no worries, best 20 bucks ever spent!
Go see Alaska, and go on this ship is all I can say. And go on your own if you have to, you'll have a fantastic time.