Arrived at dock at 2:00 in the afternoon because we had missed our original flight. Shuttle Express took us there first when driver heard we had been up since 4 am (2 am Seattle time) and really wanted to get there. Before we left, I had prebooked and paid for 2 seats to cruise terminal. Embarkation was smooth and the women from Seattle that the cruiseline hires to expedite the process are super friendly. Checked out our cabin first. Ample storage space in closets, under bed, and in bath. We never used it all. Our veranda room slept 3 but there was just 2 of us. There was a step up into the bathroom. After jamming my foot once, I kept the rubber bathmat there until I had become accustomed to the step.
Lifeboat drill was very disorganized even though they told us to leave lifejackets in room. Did not instill confidence that things would go smoothly in event of evacuation.
Wish I'd brought a warmer jacket because while the ship is cruising, the wind really increases and More
it gets COLD! We had rain on and off while in Alaska, therefore; going outside while the ship was moving required gloves and often substantial raingear. Layering worked very well while on land.
Food was mostly very good. If you're an adventurous eater and love fish, you will be happy. Taco bar had wonderful guacamole. Breakfasts were very good, especially the perfect poached eggs and made-to-order omelets. Avoid the scrambled eggs; they are baked in a large pan and have a weird consistency and are tasteless. Bacon was very greasy. The desserts were truly the only thing that I found disappointing: not enough chocolate anything (cake, pie, brownies) and the filling and toppings too gummy on the fruity desserts. My husband thought they were satisfactory. Lido was often crowded. Finding an empty table usually required a hunt, then finding crew to clean it off or a hunt for silverware. MDR service was very good. We had open seating on Deck 2. No wait ever.
Each night there was a wine selection which was decent & bargain-priced. Margaritas & other specialty drinks were very reasonably priced and tasty. The ship had Alaska Ale on tap every day in the Lido or pool area. Hubbie had to hunt for it because the location changed daily. Only bad experience we had with crew was wine steward who got almost hostile when we refused to purchase a bottle of wine - we wanted single glasses. Our dining companions said she told them it was a good deal because they save the leftover bottle for next meal and you could get 6 pours - which isn't true (it's 5)- and because she's constantly refilling your glasses; thus, bottle empties quickly.
All entertainment we saw was very good. Magician with dog was lots of fun. If you like acoustic guitar check out David in the Crows Nest. Very important to get to all venues early if you want a good seat or sometimes a seat at all, especially Queen's Lounge. Concur with other reviewers that public areas are inadequate. When it's raining, very few people are on observation decks so at times there can be no seating ANYWHERE except in the bars. Get a veranda if you can - you will use & enjoy it. We sat on the veranda under the lap blankets they provide and read or just watched the gorgeous scenery. Perfect place for afternoon coffee.
We didn't book any of the ship's shore excursions because we like to be able to set our own hours and stay as little or as long as we like. And, for some outings, there is a substantial price reduction when compared to what the ship charges. New cruisers should know that the ship doesn't run the shore excursions they offer. They just tell you what time to leave the ship and make sure someone is there to meet you. You can often find the same or better tours at substantially lower prices by going online and booking it yourself. Also, many ports have tours available for walk-ins right on the dock.
Glacier Bay: Awesome!!!
Debarkation was smooth. Luggage easy to find even though we forgot to tear off tags. Walked out terminal, down to Shuttle Express desk, paid fare, driver took our luggage, and we boarded bus. There was a cooler of water bottles which we appreciated because it took about ten minutes to fill the bus. Less
3-person cabin with plenty of storage for 3 people. Veranda door whistled on several nights when sailing because of wind. Veranda is completely covered by above veranda so very little rain and less wind. Quiet and comfortable. Sofa bed was a little tired-looking.
Quaint little town. Very walkable. Very pretty. Russian dancers are all-female and not Russian but are amazing! Loved all the totems. Salmon hatchery had a great touch pool with anemones and sea stars. If you have kids, don't do a tour so you can spend extra time with the critters. Little shop/restaurant next door has good chowder and bread.
Victoria's weather was beautiful. Loved the friendly folks on the pier who helped with advice on best brewpubs & best route to walk to town. The walk into downtown is charming. We got to see some of the city's lovely rehabed homes & infill & pretty landscaping. Pubs are easy to find. If you like craft beer, visit Swan's - hubbie and I tried 7 tasty beers. A sampler of 6 was $10(Canadian) & bartender threw in an extra. Locals friendly. Lots of street entertainment. People sell native crafts along the Inner Harbor. Food prices reasonable. Great for people watching. Shops are more downtown city shopping rather than touristy.