This was my first time going on a cruise. I must admit, I had done so much research, I thought I knew exactly what I had in store for me. Boy, was I wrong! First of all, I was not prepared by the size of the ship. Pulling up to the pier was so exciting. The embarkation process was very easy and quick. We got on the ship in around 15 minutes or so, and immediately went to The Windjammer for lunch. By the time we had finished eating, our luggage was already in our waiting rooms. My sister and I shared an interior room, and my mom, uncle and other sister shared a room at the back with a balcony. While the balcony was wonderful to visit, I loved my inside room. It was bigger than I expected, and was so nice to sleep in because of the total darkness. I found the beds to be very comfortable and the room to be very clean. I was impressed.
I thought this cruise was a lot of fun. I loved the activities on the ship. Anna, and her activities assistants, did an amazing job. We enjoyed trivia daily, karaoke twice, and each game show. The Quest game was so much fun! I didn't get to every show at night, like I expected to. I did enjoy Milt Abel and David Morgan, the comedians. They were very funny. The Drifters performed one night and they were awesome. Young or old, the audience loved their timeless show. I didn't bother with the production shows featuring the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. I thought they were sub-par, and found other entertainment on those nights. The 50s, 60s, and 70s themed dance parties in the Centrum were a great time too! There was a lot to do, and I do wish I had taken advantage of more of it.
I am used to vacationing at Disney World, so I am used to good service. I was not disappointed here. Our steward, Sandy, was wonderful. Not only did he do a great job in the room, but he made great towel animals and was so friendly and polite. The other room that my family stayed in also had a steward named Sandy, who they were pleased with.
The best service was in the Edelweiss dining room. We had a wonderful waiter, Norberto. He was on top of everything! Our head waiter, Serdar, and assistant waiter, Maria, were exceptional, as well. They made each dining experience a great time. I must admit, I am a picky eater. Even though at times, I may have preferred to do dinner at The Windjammer, I never skipped the main dining because we looked forward to seeing our wait staff each night. They were friendly, attentive, funny, and weren't phased by some of our orders. (Although I think ordering off the kids menu one night gave them a laugh!)Norberto even made a point of stopping to visit us at breakfast each morning too- even though he was never our waiter there. Speaking of breakfast- the granola/fruit bar was a big hit with my family. I had never eaten granola before and was hooked from the first day! Overall, I thought the food was very good at each meal.
As happy as we were with the dining, it is also one of my only complaints. Late at night, there should have been more options. I know room service was 24 hours, but I didn't want to eat in my room. The Park Cafe was the only place open. While the pizza and nachos were good, and I loved Kebin and Josh who worked there, there needed to be a bigger changing selection if that was going to be the only place open.
Alright- now that the ship has been reviewed- on to the ports...
JUNEAU was great. We booked a whale watch with Harv and Marv. There were only 4 passengers on our small boat and we saw a lot of whales. The driver even surprised us with a stop at Mendenhall Glacier. I would recommend this tour to anyone.
SKAGWAY was our favorite stop. It was touristy, but I loved the feel and look of the town. We took a Klondike Tour that followed along the railroad. It was awesome. Our driver, Boston Joe, was funny and informative. We made so many stops for pictures along the route. For only $40, I'm sure this was just as good as the railroad.
TRACY ARM FJORD was the most amazing scenery I've ever seen in my life. The color of the water, the floating ice, the seals playing in the water, and the Sawyer Glacier were spectacular. We were able to get very close to the glacier. It was well worth waking up at 4:30 a.m. and dealing with the freezing temperatures.
VICTORIA was a wasted port, in my opinion. We took the Hop On/Hop Off bus and it was a waste. The route was running slow, so they weren't making stops as frequently as they had promised. In fact, we only got off near the Empress and walked around for a few hours before heading back to the ship. We should have just shuttled in. We expected to visit the castle, but they didn't take you right to it, and we were afraid it would be too long of a wait to catch another bus. I regret that we didn't book another whale watching excursion.
Finally, disembarkation was just as smooth as getting on the ship. We waited until our group was called, found our luggage easily, and waited for our ride. It was fast. In fact, it went too fast for me since I never wanted to get off the boat!
I would recommend this cruise to anyone. In fact, I can't wait to do it again.