Background: This cruise was for our 10 year anniversary and my wife really wanted to see Alaska. We have sailed multiple times on Royal Caribbean and once on Disney.
We booked our cruise through Royal Caribbean and the whole process was fairly straight forward with no major issues.
Embarkation: We flew into Seattle the day of the cruise and took the paid transfer from the airport to the ship. Once we arrived at the terminal (around noon), it took around an hour to complete the embarkation process. Out of all the cruises I have been, this was by far the longest we had to wait to get onto the ship. However, windjammers was open and we managed to get lunch on board before heading to our stateroom.
Ship: The interior of the ship was to be expected for a ship of her age, but it was newly remodeled and the additional features were nice. I did like the fact that they added a big screen TV on the upper deck for viewing, but the weather did not cooperate enough for us More
to enjoy it. I also enjoyed that they had a Starbucks, and it was nice to get a decent cup of Joe each morning.
Crew: The crew was very courteous and helpful and I did not run into any issues of rude staff during this cruise.
Stateroom: We booked a balcony with an "obstructed view". Fortunately for us, the obstructed view was the end of the ship coming down blocking about 30% of our view. This actually was helpful during days at sea, because it blocked some of the rind and rain and allowed us to use the balcony. The room was the largest we have had during the cruise, and the room was in great condition. The only issue we found in our room was that the pot to boil water in your room was full of water and mold. We contacted our stateroom attendant and he quickly replaced it. Our stateroom attendant was very helpful and did a great job cleaning each day.
Main dining: A very big disappointment! Our first night (8:30 dining time) we waited over an hour and still did not receive any food. Everyone else was on their main dish and some were even on dessert! We did not receive any food until someone walked over and complained to the dining manager and they then quickly served us our appetizer. We did not finish dinner until at least 10:30! The manager told us that the food elevator was broken and that that was why we had to wait so long. The following two nights we decided to eat at windjammers instead. We then got a call from the dining manager and asked us why we did not come to the dining room and I explained to him our reasons, He said the issue was fixed and that we should try again. We gave them another shot and the service was better, but still very slow!!! At this time we both gave up and decided to keep to windjammers for dinner.
Windjammers: I am not a big fan of cruise buffets, but this was surprisingly good. We ate both breakfast and dinner there and I really had no issues. I really enjoyed the omelet and stir fry bars!
Central Park Cafe: Good soups and sandwiches, great spot to catch lunch!
Casino: Played slots for about an hour, doubled my money then walked away. I heard many complaints from other cruisers that the payouts were not that good!
Onboard Activities: Another disappointment! This cruise seemed geared for a certain audience, and did not have many activities for the 30 and younger crowd. This was very much a different vibe compared to the festive feel of a Caribbean cruise.
Ports of Call: This was what the whole trip was about and they were amazing!
Juneau, Alaska: Beautiful weather (80 and sunny). We did the Mendenhall choice guide hike and it was amazing. Stella our guide was very knowledgeable about the area and she guided us on an amazing hike though the forest!
Skagway, Alaska: Gloomy weather (50 and cloudy). We took the White Pass Railroad from Skagway to Frasier, Canada through the White Pass Mountains. This trip was amazing and well worth the money we spent! We saw numerous waterfalls and a black bear walking the tracks. We also booked the Yukon suspension bridge and gold dredge with the train ride. The suspension bridge was amazing and you get a good view of the Yukon. The gold dredge was cheesy, but panning for gold and the salmon bake afterwards made up for the cheesiness.
Victoria, British Columbia: My wife really wanted to do the afternoon tea, and I decided (reluctantly) to go give it a try. I heard it was expensive, but I was in quite a shock once I received the bill. Total was $137, not including tip. However, my wife really enjoyed it and it would probably been as expensive whale watching, so this was our excursion.
Debarkation: We did the valet luggage service and this was the easiest debarkation I have seen on a cruise (from leaving the ship to the bus >10 mins). We quickly go to our transfer and before we knew it we were at the airport.
Overall: I want to start and say that the ports of call were amazing and were by far the best I have been to! However, the cruise portion was something less to be desired, considering how much money we paid for the cruise. For the first time, I feel like I kind of gotten ripped off by Royal Caribbean and most likely will not sail with them again. Less