First time Cruiser here, so nothing to compare it to but OMG did this exceed any and all my expectations.
After reading all the nightmares we arrived at the terminal at 1230 worried about what we would be doing until the 2pm boarding time. We arrived to find over a 1000 other guests there already and with a sigh we settled in for the long wait. To my wonder and pleasure within 10 minutes we were through the line, with our ID cards and were sitting waiting for the gangway to open. At 1pm they opened the gangway and allowed us to board. While the staterooms were not ready, they allowed us on-board and free access to all the common rooms, pool deck bars etc. We wandered around in amazement sipping on some rum drink in a take home souvenir glass. We sat on the pool deck and took photos of so many beautiful and wonderful things. Soon they announced the staterooms were ready and my wife and i went to our room.
We entered the room and held each other staring at the gorgeous room, the balcony, the couch, two tables, fruit bowl a bottle of champagne in our room. The attention to details just so amazing. The stateroom exceeded all my hopes and expectations. They included, umbrellas, wine glasses, binoculars, thick comfortable terry cloth robes. (OK pet peeve here. Don't come to breakfast in your flannel PJS, robe and slippers. Give me a break will you.)
We found the buffet to be amazing, wide variety and very attractive. We only used the reserved dining once and decided we like the low key dinging atmosphere better. Each day we had canapes delivered to our room. We had purchased a soda package and a mini bar, the mini bar was to me way overpriced. $79 for a bottle of Jack Daniel and 6 cans of coke seemed expensive. Drinks were $5 for Bud and $6 for bourbon and coke. Wine per glass seemed high running mostly in the $6-$8 range.
On board life was full, activities for everyone including out 16 year old grand daughter. They put on shows in the theater, magicians, comedies, crew performances that just kept you laughing. There were so many amazing musicians playing, i could and did sit for hours listening to the acoustic guitar and voices.
We were a bit adventurous in our excursions, doing a long horseback ride from Skagway that i would highly recommend as it probably will give me more memories than everything else we did. Riding through the rain forest, listening to the stories of the gold rush and histories was awesome. We did whale watching in Juneau and did a 3-4 mile hike to the Mendenhall Glacier. I am sure i am boring everyone by now, but this to me,was a dream come true. I right now cannot imagine a better experience