This was our 6th cruise with our extended family (6 adults & 1 teenager).
Embarkation was easy. I am not sure how long it actually took, but we never stood in a ling too long, so I would guess maybe 30 minutes. We were supposed to get in line at 2p but our hotel only took us at 9a or 12p. So we got there around 12:30p but got in line no problem. SIDE NOTE: We booked with Holiday Inn Express that had a cruise package where they take you to the ship and pick you up after cruise and take you either to hotel or airport- EXCELLENT DEAL
We went straight to our cabin and I cannot say enough how AWESOME this cabin is! It is HUGE! It is the biggest cabin I have ever had and we have had balconies, outside cabins and teeny tiny inside cabins. It is a handicap room that we were assigned almost a year before sail date. Best cabin EVER! It is at the back of the ship so it's a walk to get to anywhere except our dining room was 2 floors down, so that was super convenient. Arnold was our Cabin Steward and he was pretty great. He always said hi to us and always managed to get our room straightened while we were away at breakfast and dinner. He liked him a lot.
What really made our cruise was Jose the Head Waiter! He was amazing! My husband is gluten-free which I had put in his profile online but hadn't followed up any other way- not sure if you are supposed to or not. But at first dinner we mentioned the gluten-free menu, Jose came over and took care of my husband the ENTIRE trip. Everywhere we went, whether it was Tea Time or Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, Jose was there for us! He surprised my husband (and by the end of the trip, the whole table) with dessert every night. He would spend a lot of time talking with us and making us feel special. He really made our trip awesome!
Alaska was really cool! We only booked one excursion through the ship and it wasn't all that. We did a tour with panning for gold in Skagway. Not worth it for the price. Although the tour bus guide was one of the best ones I have had, his name was Shane. He was so informative and funny. I do think it would be worth doing an excursion with every stop as each stop is kinda the same, cute little towns with shops. I would have liked to do other things. Views are amazing though.
There is a scenic cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord. Luckily part of our party had a balcony and we really enjoyed the peaceful and beautiful time through there. Lots of great pictures and SO glad to have a warm room to go into when it got too cold. A balcony would be a good thing to have on this trip. During the scenic cruise there was a narrator that described everything, it showed on the TV so we could hear it in the room too.
Disembarkation was easy enough too. Its hectic, but not that much trouble.