Embarkation was pretty seamless. We had about 400 people on our train, so we were all in line to get through security and embark on the ship. We were the second to last train to embark, but the only line we really had to wait in was to get through security. Once we got on the ship, the crew had it down to a science, getting pictures taken for cruise card, getting embarkation pictures, and herding everyone to the appropriate elevators. The funniest thing was that there was a crewmember manning the elevator to help us get to the right decks. We were all crammed in there and another couple got on and the woman went to press the button for their deck and the crewmember snarkily replied "Please do not touch my buttons!" I wondered if this was her job every day and she was just protective of her turf, but of course, I never saw another elevator attendant again! I had to laugh that she was taking her job so seriously.
We were on the Caribe Deck in a Oceanside Balcony. We were starboard in the last room of the foreward bumpout. The room was what we expected and we enjoyed the balcony very much. Although, being the last room on the foreward bumpout, we could pretty much look back and see every balcony behind us. No one could see into our room, but we could see others on their balconies. However, during the glacier days, everyone was nice and it was fun to join into different conversations. Although, I sometimes felt like by us standing at the railing of our balcony, we were blocking the view for the people not on the bumpout. Our room steward, Nelson, was super nice and was easy to track down. We did have problems with our room key, but he was able to open the door with no problem. There were no towel animals each night, but I was prepared for that from CC. We did get chocolate on our pillows every evening, so I was pleasantly surprised since I had read on CC that some cruisers did not get them.
We were scheduled for the 5:30 dinner seating in the Main Dining Room (MDR). I really don't like eating dinner really late, but still wanted to sit with the same tablemates each night. Since this was an Alaska cruise, we missed a lot of scenery by going to dinner each night so early. When we do it again, we will either pick Anytime dining or the later sitting. The food was good, but not always spectacular. I tried not to get the items that were offered every day, but sometimes nothing else on the menu appealed to me. The desserts were all delicious, but not very big portions. The other issue we had with the MDR was that it seemed that they had overbooked our table with an extra couple. Fortunately, not all 10 people showed up each night, so there were no confrontations, but it was most awkward for us each night wondering what would transpire.
The Horizon Court is where we had breakfast every morning. We tried to get there before 8 and it did seem to be less crowded then, even on port days. I did partake on the dessert buffet the one afternoon and it was amazing!
The pizza bar and ice cream bar were good for quick meals/snacks, but sometimes had long lines, so we had to plan out those stops carefully.
General Ship Comments
The MUTS was awesome, but some of the listed movies were not played and I missed a couple of movies that I wanted to see, since it was not listed accurately in the daily Patter. For the most part, it was not crowded, but that also meant that there were no attendants around. I did not see the cookie/milk cart until the last day of the cruise. I was able to bundle up and enjoy this perk when others did not want to brave the chilly weather. I did use the pool and hot tub outside, but just on the last day of the cruise.
We only went to see the comedian for the evening entertainment. I believe it was Mike Wilson. He replaced Sarge on the ship, who I only heard rave reviews about. Mike was funny, but it was short and a lot of his jokes did not make it to the older generation for some reason.
I did utilize the laundromat on the ship on the first full day and then another day. I brought the Purell 3 in 1 sheets and was very glad that I had read that tip on CC. They were very convenient and much better than using the soap machine on the ship.
We also got up to the "hidden" viewing deck on the Caribe deck, but by the time we had gotten up there to see the Hubbard glacier, there were already a lot of people up there. Since I am short and there was no one willing to let me get some pictures, we decided to go back to our balcony. We did get up there at other points during the cruise and there was hardly anyone there at all.
I missed the walking deck completely until the last day on the ship. On our previous cruise, it was up top, so I never thought that it would be on one of the lower decks. I wish I would have found that deck earlier! The fitness center was nice, but there were a few treadmills that were broken down the entire trip and were not marked as broken. I got in there early and it seemed to fill up fast throughout the week. As soon as I would get off a machine, someone was taking it without me even having time to wipe it down.
Yakutat Bay and Glacier Bay National Park
These two days on the ship have merged together at this point. We saw all the major glaciers and, according to the naturalist on board, were able to get the closest to the Hubbard Glacier that the Coral Princess had ever gotten to it in its history in Alaska! These two days were one of the big highlights of our trip, but it was hard to know where the best place on the ship to be was. I was kind of surprised that they had opened the ceiling over the indoor pool for the Glacier Bay day, since there was no good enclosed place to easily view both sides of the ship and it was chilly. I was prepared for this, but I still could not get warm up there and we ended up moving around the ship a lot.
After previously having trouble with another cruise line, disembarkation, and missing our flight home, I was very apprehensive about the whole process. I considered self-disembarking, but I knew we would not be able to handle all of our luggage on our own. However, all of my worries were for naught. We got off the ship easily, found our luggage, and got on the bus. They tried to fill our bus with just domestic flights, but ended up with some International flights, so we had to make an extra stop at the airport. The bus driver was jokingly rude at the beginning, which I thought was going to make it a long ride to the airport, but it turns out that he was a really good tour guide through Vancouver. He definitely planted the seed for us to want to come back and spend more time in Vancouver!