We stayed at the Edgewater Hotel for 2 nights before the cruise and experienced very unusual sunny weather for Seattle. Decided to walk to the ship as it was so nice and we were travelling light. There is a lovely walk/cycle path right along the seafront between the hotel and Terminal 91. Unfortunately as we so often find in USA we did have to negotiate a busy road at the entrance to the terminal which was not pedestrian friendly. Once inside there was a marked path to check in. Embarkation was efficient, no longer than 20 minutes. We arrived at 11.30 and there were many passengers already aboard. A sign indicated that staterooms would not be accessible until 3.15, but they were ready long before then. Found our own baggage in the hallway and brought to room by 2 pm. Ship was in good condition. Enjoyed a swim in the covered pool before leaving Seattle. Captain Rob was very witty with his announcements. Very impressed with the way a large group of special needs people were accomodated throughout the cruise, the staff were very good with them, particularly on the dance floor. There was a high proportion of overweight/obese people on the cruise, some with electric wheelchairs, which slowed up movement at times.
First Port of call was Juneau - we took a public bus to the Mendenhall glacier for $2 each, express bus back for $8 each. Visited the State Capitol and had a few pleasant beers in the Red Dog Saloon.
Took the White Pass Railway in Skagway, views spectacular.
Captain took the ship up Endicott Arm Fjord instead of Tracy Arm (Dawes Glacier instead of Sawyer)because there was too much ice in Tracy. Got right up to the glacier, the highlight of our trip, even saw some calving. There was quite a lot of ice in the water.
Ketchikan was a washout and we were glad we hadn't booked any excursions. Made it as far as the Totem Pole Park and salmon hatchery and got drenched.
Entertainment was good, one very good comedian, another not so good, dancers good. Cruise director did an excellent job.
Windjammer was ok, Eidelweiss every night for my time dining, met some interesting people from all over. Could see how so many passengers were obese from their behaviour in the dining room. Did not use speciality dining, though many did and reported favourably. We were quite happy with the inclusive food.
We had prepaid gratuities but this was not acknowledged at any point and gratuity envelopes were left in our room on the last night. Went to the desk about it to be told that the old voucher system was discontinued and we should ignore envelopes. Did not feel comfortable with this. We also felt sometimes that waiting staff were expecting more than the 15% already added on to drink purchases.
Disembarkation was in Vancouver, Canada. We found the Canadian customs staff very rude and not very welcoming. Again it took about 20 minutes to be clear of the terminal. We stayed on in the Vancouver area for a week before returning home.