After a week in Vancouver that was combination business/vacation, we boarded the Diamond Princess. Embarkation was very easy and went smoothly. We located our room and set out to explore the ship. This was our third cruise and the primary reason for going was to see glaciers and southern Alaska and hopefully some wildlife, especially as an add-on to existing trip to Vancouver.
Ship was in very good shape, although it takes awhile to locate everywhere you need or want to go. Our cabin steward introduced himself and seemed very friendly and helpful (on previous HAL cruise we never met or saw our cabin steward). The only question that I asked him during the course of the cruise he could not answer however and so I did have to ask at the front desk.
Went up to deck for a quick lunch and to see Vancouver from ship. The pizza was terrible along with my husband's hotdog, so we decided to avoid those options for the rest of the cruise, only had salad from the buffet or grilled chicken at the hamburger/hot dog stand. It was raining pretty hard so we headed downstairs to await our luggage and unpack, had our muster drill, relaxed with a drink in our room and went for dinner. We had anytime dining which we really enjoyed although we tended to have dinner at 8 most nights and ended up in the Vivaldi, although we did visit all the other dining rooms. The food was fine, nothing amazing, nothing terrible, seemed to have enough options and we liked that waiter could take drink order as opposed to having a wine steward sent over. We ate breakfast every day in the main dining room, good options, nice to be served and met different people every day. First day at sea, the health club was mobbed and husband said he had to wait 30 minutes to use different equipment but it improved as the week went on.
We spent most of our time lounging around the indoor pool as it was indoor and warm. Went to two shows and to the comedian/magician-comedian shows. They were okay, nothing special. Went to naturalist lecture, Libby Riddles and park ranger lectures in the theater. Also caught up on some movies there-Albert Nobbs,J. Edgar. Library was okay-HAL has the edge on that one for sure. Library has bad location off the Atrium which was noisy as they use for performers during the day. Internet package too expensive-learned that on HAL so did not use.
Did not book any excursions through the ship. In Ketchikan had planned to go to see totems but raining too hard and we had seen many in Vancouver and Victoria, so walked around Creek Street, visited a few shops and one fine gallery and headed back. Still raining in Juneau but went to Mendenhall Glacier which was great and also toured State Capitol which was both dry and free. Skipped Mt. Roberts Tramway because had been to Grouse Mountain in Vancouver.
Skagway-walked around the cute town and then we had booked White Pass Railway through Chilkoot Tours at noon. That was great-really recommend. Next day was Glacier Bay which was awesome-no problem seeing glaciers on deck as we did not have room with balcony. Following day at sea was College Fjord which was also really nice, especially as only day with sun.
Two formal nights and surprisingly people did get dressed up. Disembarkation went well, we had Princess transfer to airport so they did have us off the ship early leaving us with several hours at the airport...but bus to airport is scenic and driver told us a lot of information along the way.
Overall I was pleased. I didn't fall in love with cruising- I was annoyed by all the attempts to sell you stuff but you are a captive audience and I understand the economics of cruising. I think Princess did a fine job and would consider next time an Alaskan land trip on my own followed by a Southbound cruise..