Having taken a number of cruises over the last few years in the Med, my wife and I made the decision to stretch our cruise wings and tackle Alaska.
Feeling refreshed after a few days in Seattle recovering from a long haul from the UK, we embarked for the cruise terminal with enthusiasm for the next week. Our expectations were met from the minute our cases were taken as Celebrity moved us seamlessly through the embarkation process, where we went from shore to ship in under 15 minutes and were on-board at 11.00am on day of departure.
We spent a pleasant hour or two learning the ships layout and then made our way to our cabin, which was very well equipped and provided a great balcony and view from the rear of the ship, its also worth noting the weather was exceptionally warm for the time of year, which made sail away even more memorable.
Prior to arriving in Ketchikan the next morning, we have a lovely evening and a nice meal in the main restaurant and took advantage of the dine anytime option. Our first day port ended slightly frustratingly, having been press-ganged into what seemed like the worlds smallest aeroplane by my dear lady (I'm not a great flyer), only to find that closing weather conditions meant we could not land and see the wild bears, however that was simple circumstance and could not be helped. The port itself was pretty false and seemed to have been constructed with the sole purpose of tourism, which gave it a false feel.
Back on board, we continued to enjoy the facilities of the ship, which at no point during the trip failed to meet our expectations, the staff were helpful, courteous and efficient and we never had any cause for compliant with the high customer service.
The Tracyarm fiord in the morning was spectacular with the captain and crew doing everything possible to enhance the experience through ship positioning and running commentary, we even saw the glacier calving and a nesting bald eagle, then on to Juneau which was much more of a real life town and offered lots of options for the day visitor, we chose to walk through the town and visited the salmon hatchery and heritage centre by foot and enjoyed a pleasant half hour back in town at The Red Dog Saloon (not to be missed), then it was on to Skagway.
This port was very much a small town experience, however its very pretty and offers lots of nice photo opportunities, we took the train through the mountains which was spectacular and took a tour bus back, with a very enthusiastic and well informed local guide, again a very nice day, full of great experiences.
As ever the floating hotel at the end of the pier provided our luxurious base and we took the opportunity to visit both the speciality restaurants onboard, they both delivered very memorable experiences, with innovative food and exceptional service, in our option, an option not to miss.
After a day at sea, we arrived in British Victoria, a 30 minute stroll took us around the harbour and into a beautiful and character laden town, with nice shops, bars and restaurants, we would recommend that those visiting this location, spend the night in town and make the most of the opportunity.
So in conclusion, a fabulous trip, great locations with lots to do and variety of options, great onboard service, impressive food and drink, a host of entertainment to meet most needs, for us we underlined our experience by booking the next cruise whilst onboard, what more can I say.....