We are not first time cruisers. We started with Royal Caribbean twenty years ago. We went on a four day to Mexico, with window in cabin. Just to see if we liked cruising. That was for our 25th wedding Anni. Then we went to the Caribbean several times. The Panama Canal. Back to the Caribbean. We went to Canada and this last time to Alaska. We started getting a balcony and we love that now. Regarding this Alaska trip The ship was good. The food in the main dinning room had improved since four years ago.we had good food every night, no complaints. We did go to Chops a specialty rest. they have now, and the steak was exceptional. Sambas, just was too much meat for us, very good but we were so full we wished we had gone back to Chops. The cheese rolls in Sambas were terrific. All the food they gave us before the meat filled us up. We could have just eaten all the h'orderves and those cheese rolls and been happy. Go hungry.
We booked excursions with the cruise ship. They were excellent. The whale watching trip on Icy Strait was second to none, unless you want to spend a lot more money and get a smaller boat with less people on it. We saw Lot's of whales. Smaller boats went to the same place as us. I could have gone kayaking too because I saw them going out as we were eating lunch on Icy Straits. Instead we went over to see the zip liners and then took the bus into town. WE got to see a baby bald eagle in a nest trying to fly. Also a tribe was making a Totem pole and we watched them carve and paint. In Skagway we took a tour on a bus that took us to a tent town, we were given a skit and singing by trained actors, that took us back in time during the gold rush "Klondike". We actually panned for gold. Don't miss the little store they have there, it's very cute. I got a wooden nickel there. Then we drove up the famous White Pass and could see the train on the other side, that we would take down that pass later that day. The train was fun going back. Afterwards we walked the town and went shopping. I bought knife with a dog on handle,in the knife shop. I had to leave it with the people at the ship and they gave it back to me when we left the ship.
In Ketchikan we got a bus for a couple of dollars and went to the Totem Poles. There were groups there with a tour guide but we didn't need it. There is a cute shop at entrance of Potlach Park , the Totems are a short walk from entrance where bus drops you off. The Totems are really something to see. We took our time looked around and took pictures and of course bought things in the little store. Being it was at the end of the season we got a lot of things on sale. Juneau was a place that we could have stayed longer. So many shops. I did get jewelry there. Great prices.I bought "northern light". Aurora Borealis. ear rings for $30.00 and necklace pendant only for $10.00. Not at Diamond international store. Amazing price. I got a book on Alaska's northern lights too. Cloths,(jackets and sweatshirts). Carved stone otter. I did a lot of buying really fun things. I got bedroom slippers that I've been hunting for that are sheepskin and leather. I could have spent more time shopping, but we had our dinner at 6p.m. and we had to get back and get ready.
Tip: take dollars bills with you. We took $100.00 in ones so we could tip bus drivers. tip the guy who brought us our coffee and rolls every morning to our room at 5:30 a.m. Yes you can get room service that early. The menu says 7:00 a.m. but that is if you want more to eat. It was great to have coffee delivered everyday. We later went to breakfast. Regarding our room. We didn't know that the 7th floor has boats below and a white covering is covering them and you cannot see the water below. If that bothers you get up higher. The guy next door smoked his cigar on his balcony, but it's his vacation too and he has a right to enjoy himself, we don't smoke but understand, so if you want no smoking at all go on Celebrity.
We did the post Tour. Royal Caribbean always treat you like kings. They put us up in really nice hotels. These hotels usually have good restaurants in them or close by. TIP.. When you leave the ship back one suite case for the post trip. We each had two suitcases. We left one of the suit cases on the bus and only had one taken into the hotel each night. They delivered our suitcases to our room each night and picked them up for us each morning and put them on the bus.. and it was so easy. They had everything so well planned out. They took us on a riverboat experience the first day.That was fun. We went to a dinner recommended by our tour guide at a great dinner/show. It was August 25th and they celebrated xmas in August that night. They served salmon with all the trimmings including berry pie. The bus trip into Denali was beautiful. It was Autumn there. All the Tundra was changing colors. Fall there is in August. It was beautiful, all the reds, rusts, peaches, oranges yellows. We saw marabou, and elk. The only problem the windows get muddy and they have to stop and wash the windows so you can see out. We got up that day at 5:45, got breakfast and got in line first. We got the first front seat across from driver. We could see fine. It was cold seating there because the driver had her window down and the door let some cold air in. (Wear warm socks and hiking shoes and you won't get cold) Speaking of cloths..Layer. I wore everyday everywhere, shirt, sweater, vest, jacket..lightweight jacket. Sometime a scarf