WOW, what a week! We had a great time on the star, the weather was wonderful, the sea was as calm as could be. This was a wonderful cruise.
We have cruised 5 times prior, but this was our first time to Alaska this was so great. We flew into Seattle the day before and spent the day at Pike's market, saw the new ferris wheel on Saturday evening. We had made reservations at the Moore 6 months ago, and from a review I read on TA where the person showed up and had no reservations, I called ahead to make sure about the reservations and one couple in our party's reservation had been "cancelled" in March....who knows?? Anyway, they were sold out and all other hotels downtown were over our price budget, so we stayed out by the airport at the rodeway inn.....meh. It is kind of a dump, but it is quiet, and it was okay, barely. We rented a car from Alamo because they offer a free shuttle to the pier from the downtown office. HOWEVER, the agent was very rude and pushy about getting additional insurance. We have never been treated this way before, asked what our deductable was, and other questions, in a rude manner. Alamo should not allow their employees to treat customers so rudely. I took several pictures of the car before we even opened the door just to have proof that we didn't ding the car. I have traveled extensively and have never been treated like this. I will not use Alamo again after this trip.
Boarding: No sign of staggered boarding that I saw. We were on the first boarding, so? It all went well. We checked in, easy as a breeze and were on board at 12:10. They do not start boarding at all until 12, so it was quick and easy. We were in Amalfi dining room by 12:45, eating a fantastic lunch.
Stateroom: Interior, on Lido. It was great. I was worried that we would bounce around since it was so far forward, but the sea was so calm. We had a GTY stateroom, so if I had a choice I would probably not pick this area again, but it worked out okay. A week before the cruise we got a move over notice stating the ship was oversold, if we would move our cruise to mid August we would get two passengers for the price of one, a balcony upgrade and also $150 each to change airfare....that would have been sweet if we were able to take the offer. Our room attendant was not that great, but he did promptly change the Duvet and sheets when I pointed out they were soiled. I am not so sure the sheets were changed from the last passenger, which is creepy and gross, but he took care of it with a smile, so that is okay. It did make me wonder if the rest of the room had been cleaned at all, so I recleaned the room myself to make sure.........
Food: All the food I ate was delicious. Every meal. The buffet servers were one of the nicest I have ever experienced on board any ship. Very happy, helpful and good. The dining room waiters were below par. One, named Hugo, was so rude that after we refused to order wine, he would no longer wait on us and had his assistant take the order, deliver it and pretty much do his job the whole night. I actually enjoyed eating in the buffet more than the dining room, which has never been the case.
Entertainment: The cruise director was good, nice, funny. His staff was really good, energetic. The shows were good, bands good, games good. Overall very good.
Ketchikan: We took the city bus ($2 all day pass, catch it right outside the ship) to Totem state park. We were the only ones there and it is beautiful. Since we took the bus, the tour buses were not getting there until we left. It was great. We then did the walking tour; get a free map at visitor's center. That was also fun to see. Went to Creek Street and shopped. Sunny, fun day.
Tracy Arm: Spectacular. The naturalist on board very informative. It was an amazing day to see all the waterfalls, glaciers, ice bergs. Amazing.
Juneau: We rented a car from Alamo since they are on AJ dock where the Star docks( the pier is way out of town )It is actually a little shed at the end of the walkway, no sign. The Alamo attendant here was very nice and kind. We went to Mendenhall Glacier right away. This is a must do. We walked to the falls, outstanding. We then drove to Shrine of St Therese. What a pretty place. We saw 11-12 whales out in the bay. We then drove out to Douglas Island to Sandy beach. Went into town to red dog saloon, too many people, so we just shopped and walked around. Great port, lots to do and we had beautiful weather.
Skagway: Long walk to town. The star was always at the furthest pier from town. We took the free tour of the town, it was really good and our guide was fun. Then we walked to the Gold rush cemetery and Reid falls. It is a very long walk, but it was a nice sunny, hot day. If you do go to the cemetery, walk up to the falls, they are so nice. We sat and enjoyed the falls there for quite awhile. Walked back to town and went to buy some soda and wine at the market in town. Nice day. Not much to do in town, probably the best town to book and excursion.
Victoria: Wow, what a neat place. I could have spent all day here. There was a buskers festival, so we walked to the inner harbor, saw some performers, walked around town. It was too short of a stop (6-11), but I will definitely go back for a longer visit, loved this city!!
Tips: Get maps of the town before you leave home. Get bus schedules if you are using public transportation, it helped so much. Take light sweaters to wear on board and a scarf for the ladies, it was so nice to have something to put on your head or to keep you warm for a short while if walking out doors, or sitting on deck.
Disembarkment: We choose walk off. We had rented from budget on 6th downtown. We called him when we got in and they sent a shuttle for us. Saved us the cab fare and got a good deal on the car. Went to the Fremont Sunday market, locks, Lake Washington, and the space center. Took the car to the airport(cheapest gas at Costco on 4th street on the way to the airport). Our flight was delayed and didn't end up getting home until 3am, a very long day.
We had a wonderful time and can't wait to cruise again.