Boarding was very smooth, but a bit long in Seattle. Our luggage arrived to our room without any issues. Tough to get elevators when you first board because of the elevators being used for baggage movement.
It was perfect having a cabin with french doors so you could open them and get fresh air. It didn't matter that we had an obstructed view by the life boats, as long as we could get fresh air. We had the doors open every night. The cabin AC didn't seem to work well or at all. Room safes are locked by using your sail and sign card. Only problem with this is if there are two of you and one of you uses your sail and sign card to lock it, your spouse or cabinmate can't open it unless you are in the room. Would much prefer a number coded locking system like in most hotels.
The overall food was very good. The dining room food was perfect every night. The choices were plentyfull. The wait staff was great. Not pushy. Not fake. The nightly wait staff show was always entertaining.
All other food choices were good to very good. Some breakfast items were not warm enough and eggs were watery at times, but overall no complaints. There was ice cream and frozen yogart 24/7.
Cabin was always kept clean and neat by Jeffrey!! He also always made sure we had ice in our room. I think they actually cleaned/entered our room 3 times a day.
A very multi-cultural staff was always pleasant and willing to assist you. No matter where you were on the ship.
The spa services were good, a bit pricey I think, but good. I had a message that was good, but aftwords they sold me a bunch of stuff that I didn't really want or understand that it was costing me money until she brought me my receipt to sign. I ended up returning it all the next day and received a full refund.
I went to a "reduce back-pain" seminar. Was surpsised to find out it was an informercial for the Good Feet product. However, I ended up buying a set of Good Feet for $189, which they said was $90 off of the regular retail price. And the kicker, they actually worked at reducing my back pain!!!
The casino is rather small and at times can contain the usual idiots that you will find in any casino. Most of the dealers were nice, some were very difficult to understand due to their language barriers.
It rained almost the entire time on the cruise. BEWARE!!! All of the commercial (not locally owned) stores you will find in every port you go to. There are smart shuttles to take you from the pier to the stores. 2$ each way or 15 minute walk. In the rain, I'm paying the 4$!! Multiple stops in town so you can get off an hop on any where. My reccomondation, get off at the start of the route and get on at the other end of town. Easier to get a shuttle with open seats. We took the Jeep Adventure tour. Not what we expected. The excursion information led us to believe you were 4-wheeling in the back country for 5-5.5 hours. Not the case. You end up driving a highway for about 63 miles. Great views, but its a highway. The stop and let you get out at the half way point and then take you up a mountian road to do some 4-wheeling in an open area. Fun, but thought we would be doing that the entire trip. On our way back, it started snowing. The Jeep did not handle well in the snow. I also don't care for bridges or hieghts. My wife ended up driving a lot. In the Canadian territories the driving was better for me. Some nice commentary over our radios by the lead tour guide, who is not native to Alaska. Overall, I'm glad I went on the excursion, but woulndn't reccomend it if you also take the train ride like we did. The train ride was great.
Juneau was the best shopping place for us. We were the next to last cruise for the season. Most everything in the stores were 30-50% off or MORE!! Kick myself for not buring more in Juneau. Not enough time in port to do excursions and shopping. My wife and I split up. She did the white water rafting tour which was great.
Ketchikan was a nice little port. Smallest of them all, but still not enough time in port to shope and do excursions. We watched the lumberjack show, which I didn't want to see, but it was very good. Great funny guys and great at what they do. Reccomend the show. Still not enough time in port!!!!
Victoria was supposed to be our last port, but we never made it there. The schedule had us in port for 4 hours, which I think is a waste of time. Not much to do in 4 hours at all by the time you figure on debarking and embarking times. As we were coming in to Victoria, we were told that the winds were to strong for us to dock....????????? Found that very intersting. We ended up anchoring in the bay for several hours and then continuing on our way back to Seattle. Now, the problem with this is that as soon as you enter Canadian waters, the shops and casinos have to close.............so, no casino or on-board shopping while we were sitting in the bay. NOT GOOD!! They did add a couple of onboard shows and bingo, but that was it. They should have compensated us monetarily for missing a port. They did reimburse us $17.85 for the taxes and port fees for Victoria, which they didn't have to pay because they didn't dock there. I would strongly reccomend dropping the Victoria port in lieu of adding more time to Ketchikan and Juneau. This was my biggest complaint of the entire cruise and I heard it from a lot of other passengers as well.
Overall, I would give the cruise an 8.5 out of 10. Good and plenty of food. 95% of the staff were great. Bed was fantastic, in fact much better than most hotels I've stayed in. Never woke up when they docked. Drinks are a bit expensive, especially after they add their mandatory 18% gratuity. Average drink (Crown Royal and 7up/Siera Mist) was nearly $8.00. I didn't choose to buy the all you can drink card because I wouldn't have drank enough each day to be worth it.
They need to make this cruise either 8 days instead of 7 and/or drop Victoria from the itinerary. That would make this a much better cruise.