This was our first cruise (wife); I was originally going to book on line, but I decided to go with an agent. I booked this tour in early February for a departure of 3 June for 7 days. I read many of the posts on cruise critic to give me an idea what to expect. We are about 50 miles from pier 91, so we drove up and parked in the provided parking lot for a sum of $177.00. This was a good deal when you consider many of the passengers had to fly in from around the country, and some stayed in hotels before the shipped sailed. I received my room assignment one week before departure. I did not get an upgrade or any offer to upgrade. So, we got our assigned room.
On the day of departure, it was relative easy going through check in and security. We both carried passports. It took about 15-20 minutes for security and check in. We had to wait over an hour in this large room for our number to be called to get on the ship; we were in group nine.
After bordering the ship, we went to our assigned room and put our carryon in the room. My wife luggage was already there. It was about 1330, so we went upstairs to the 9th deck Lido, and we ate in the CANALETTO RESTAURANT and the food was good. After lunch we went back to the room and began touring the ship on our own. I brought 4 cameras with me if you include my cell phone. I had a hand held camcorder, Nikon 9100, and my Nikon 5100 with telephoto lenses; all my cameras are capable of taking still and videos, photography is one of my hobbies. We were assigned to sit at a table of 8, I got that change to a table for two; I could not change my scheduled meal time of 1945, I would have preferred the 1730 time frame, I tried to get this change at the time of booking; I was told it was filled??????
There is a gym on deck 10, my wife loved going there. I preferred the daily and sometime more walks around deck 3. According to the posted sign, 3 times around is a mile; I got plenty of exercise, and with all the good food, I really need the exercise.
The shows were ok - good; however, if you wanted to eat at our scheduled time of 1945, you missed many of the shows. Dinner was over around 2100. We ate most of our meal in the LIDO RESTAURANT. We did do formal night and some other days at our assigned table. The meals were always great at this restaurant located on deck at the rear of the ship called the UPPER VISTA DINING ROOM. We ate at open seating on deck 2 called the Lower VISTA DINING ROOM. Again, the food was always GREAT. They have a grill at pool side on deck 9; hamburgers, fries, tacos; it was good.
Sunday thru Tuesday we were at sea, Tuesday afternoon we began Cruising Tracy Arm; I had my camera the N5100, and I took some really great pictures. We could not go very far into the narrow passage due to floating ice, but the scenery was beautiful. On Wednesday morning we sailed into Juneau. I was up and walking around deck three with my hand held camcorder taking pictures. We docked and we chose to visit Mendenhall Glacier. It cost my wife and me $8.00 for each of us to go and come back for $32.00, the park is beautiful I took my N9100 and took some really great pictures. We walked around town and shopped. On Thursday am we were getting ready to dock in Sitka. As usual I got my hand camcorder and headed to deck 3 for walking and pictures taking. As I was approaching the back of the boat, I noticed the water and saw a whale water spout. I had spotted my first whale. I wish at this point I had brought along my N5100. It is kind of difficulty taking picture of moving, and diving whales looking through a monitor. I saw a total of 7 whales before I could go and get my other camera. We were anchored, and they began to use the life boats to shuttle us to shore. It caused the whales to move much further out. In Sitka we walked to the raptor center (1.5 miles) and visited some stores before it began to rain. So, we headed back to the ship. On Friday, we visited Ketchikan, and as we sailed into the city I took the opportunity to take some pictures using my camcorder. We docked, and we only shopped. We had to be back on the ship at 1230. Late Saturday around 1900, we docked in Victoria. The city provided free bus service to downtown. We had been to Victoria before, so, we just visited a few shops and headed back to the ship. It was rather windy that day. On Sunday at around 0600, we rolled into Seattle, Disembarking was easy since days prior we had elected to use the expedite option. We kept our luggage and we were probably among the first 50 cruisers to depart the ship. As a first time cruiser, we both enjoyed this adventure; our next cruise will be a warm weather (Caribbean). We did over pack.