This is my fourth trip on an Alaska cruise. It is a 14 days from Vancouver to Whittier and back to Vancouver. It was a good thing because the first seven days, the weather was mostly overcast and much of sights after Skagway was fog in. On our way back, the sky was clear and we saw most of sights that we missed on the earlier week. By luck, Whittier was sunny when we arrived( the 14th sunny days of the summer). It is one of most beautiful seaport in Alaska. I felt sorry for those who did the seven days from Vancouver and had to leave the ship by 7am in the morning. The ship arrived the port at night and they have to rush out to the bus in morning and did not get to enjoy the sunrise and the port's water surrounding which only available in the evening when the ship leaves. So if you could not do a back to back cruise, chose the one which you embark in Whittier to see its beauty.
For Whittier- one could rent a car for Avis.com or from their rental office which not far from the ship. $100/day and the drive is beautiful to Anchorage. However, in Anchorage, there is not much to see. We did drop by the Costco to buy some wine. Costco is located close to the highway, check for map location online.
Skagway: More or less a street of giant art gallery. It has some nice art works, much better than those in the street of Caribean's. Many people take the train tour or rent a car. We brought a video from the ship called reflection and has a short video of the sights along the train track. No public wi fi. The public library's don't open til 1pm and I heard it does not work well.
Juneau: Because it was a sunny day and clear sky, we took a tram ride to the top of the mountain for $30/person. Beautiful view from the top and a hour of good hiking . A bus ride to Glacier is $16 both way, on a cloudy day, the price come down to $10. The free wi fi is offered in their public library(not far from the ship). The connection is weak, but good enough to send and receives emails.
Ketchikan: Sightseeing mainly located around the creek which on the right side of the town. Further up the creek, there were a lot of salmon in the stream, use polarzier sunglass or lense to get a better view.
You could walk along the creek and come to a park and a fish hatchery. A fairly relax walk and many people fishing along the creek( catch and release). Wi fi in public library don't work well. A coffee place in Main and Mission st. Called Good company coffee offers Wifi with purchases( Hot chocolate, $3.75).
The street offers many art works and t shirts for good price.
All glaciers are beautiful and the ship would stop close to the one in Glacier bay and College Fiord for a hour. It is a good time to catch calfing(chunk of ice fall into the ocean.)
Whale watching: in the ship daily bullet, they would list the time of possible whale sighting, mainly near Glacier bay(Snow pass) between 6-7pm. So be careful of your booking for the dinning room. for Camera shooting, go to the front of deck 7. It could be cold and windy, so dress well.
The food and services is same as in other cruise. DP is a beautiful ship. However, the buffet area is not grand and will take effort to look for a seat in the rush hour.
We dine in Santini restaurant to try out the Sea brass baked in sea salt, it is tasty but the fish is over cooked for my taste. However, it was a wonderful dining experience for $20. One could order more than one entree and appreticers. The steak house's dish is too big(12 0z steak) for me and the steak they serve in anytime dinning is already very good(except for the New York cut, very chewy).
The pineapple was very sweet and I wrap it with a fresh pizza . It was delicious and even more so while I was watching a movie on its giant outdoor screen on a cold night. Their movie showing are fairly recent. Hunger game was a big hit even thought the evening was cold. The seat was all taken. I just moved some seats from the patio and sitting in the front of the Pizza grill. Then that too, got fill up fast.
Embarking and disembarking is very easy. Embarking in Vancouver is tie to when the US custom people show up as they have to finish the airport duty first and then drive to the port for the U S entry duties.
Overall, it was an excellent cruise trip (this one was the most scenic cruising route for me). Like every else in life, lower your expectation and always have a positive attitude; be respectful for other's passingers , the workers and the town's offering. You would have a great time.