It is interesting to read reviews by others on the same cruise or ship and find you have two totally different experiences.
First of all this was a wonderful cruise. The staff and officers were so friendly. You could tell people were happy to be on the ship. We love the champagne when you board, which was a quick and easy process followed by a quick bite of lunch while our room was being prepared. I love the towel art and chocolates in our room each night. I love the hot and cold drinks waiting for us when we reboard the ship at the end of the day.
We breakfasted in the Spa in the mornings. Something light and healthy to start the day. When we were on the ship we visited the Island Cafe buffet. I try to eat something different each day. The Indian food, the build your own stir fry, the pizza, the Panini and the salad bar to name a few of mylunches with the stir fry being my favourite. In the Grand Restaurant our waiter Jay and assistant waiter Nemanja were both wonderful and made us feel at home. The meals were varied and there was so much to eat.
The public rooms throughout the ship offered quiet spots to read or play cards as well as spots where you could watch the world go by. The ship is showing some rough edges, but the refit in the spring should take care of that.
We loved the entertainment. Of the big production shows Liverpool Knights was not my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed the Broadway show with the Around the World show close behind. The other show were fun. Chuck Gunter is a very talented and entertaining juggler/comedian. His patter, his skill and his use of audience members is a great package. Bande Artistique was hilarious - a soprano, ballet and juggling. You really have to see it to believe it. Comedian Dave Burleigh was great as was the magician. The dance band King's Parade was alright as were the lounge acts, they just didn't grab me. Aquaudio, a quartet, however were great to listen to.
Alaska is expensive, there is no doubt, so excursions booked off and on the ship are not cheap. However this is the same for any cruise ship coming into Alaska. We booked one excursion, the Tribal Dance, from the ship in Hoonah and enjoyed it, but the best time we had was Kayaking with Sitka Kayaks in Sitka and a private driver in Skagway who met us in Fraser when we got off the White Pass Train.
The activity staff were great. Trivia, Jeopardy, Family Feud, Who's LIne is it Anyway, The Newlywed and Not So Newlywed game, Liar, Polar bear swim, dance classes, a choreographed dance number to support the research for the cure for Breast Cancer. This is only scratching the surface of what is available. Thank you Activity staff Tanika, John, Daniel, Chiko and Greg. Also thank you to all the officers who got involved!! You guys rock. The only complaint is there is not enough time to do everything! Okay, the other complaint they need to resurface their shuffleboard.
Getting on and off the ship was seamless. We had such a great time.