This was my husband's and my first cruise experience. We know several other couples who have taken the Alaska Cruise. We took the 7 day cruise from Seattle round-trip. We have family who live in the Seattle/Tacoma area, so we drove up and spent a little time with them before and after the cruise. They drove us to the ship and picked us up. As far as we knew, everything went very smoothly for embarkation. Our room was nice--we had been upgraded from the Aloha Deck to the Lido deck with a private covered balcony. I recommend the balcony to anyone taking the Alaskan Cruise, as we stood out there a majority of the time watching for whales and just enjoying the ocean and scenery. My one major complaint with the room was it is right under the gym! So, from morning til' night would be "crash, boom, bang" off and on. The weight lifters would lift weights, then DROP them on the floor. The gym definitely needs to be moved. Our room steward, Geoffrey, was really good-- always had our room clean, and frequently asked if we needed anything. He did make us a dove out of washcloths and sat it on the pillow to greet us one day, and he had chocolates for us every day, too!
The food was great, with a good variety and always tasted good. I loved the coffee and since we were on the Lido deck, we could run right down in the a.m. and grab a cup of coffee, pastries, etc. from the buffet and take it back to our room. Same with the good pizza or hamburgers from the Trident Grill. There was always someone standing at the entrance to the buffet line to make sure hands were sanitized. Children under 12 should not be allowed into the buffet food area, as they are the biggest carriers of germs.
Our cruise had a variety of ages for cruising--from young children, all the way up to 80's+, with many couples around our age group (early 60's).
My one complaint about the ports is that there are too many cruise ships docked at one time in the tiny towns, so the shopping and sight-seeing was not pleasant with elbow-to-elbow people. The cruise lines need to figure out a way to stagger the times/days when the cruise ships stop. One of our ports had four cruise ships docked at once! Figure at least 2,000 passengers per ship and that is A LOT of people trying to see and do in a short amount of time. Plus, there is not enough time to do all one would like to do. I hate to be rushed! We opted to stay on ship at Victoria because we had been there before and can go there again on our bi-annual trips to Washington.
It is less expensive to book the shore excursions on line or directly with the tour. We saved about $50.00 apiece by booking the White Pass Train ride ourselves.
For the most part, we truly enjoyed our whole Alaskan Cruise with the weather cooperating, even in Ketchikan and Glacier Bay--it was partly cloudy with temps around the high 60's, low 70's (except Glacier Bay), which was probably in the mid 40's.
We probably wouldn't go on another Alaskan Cruise, only because we want to drive up sometime and really explore the interior. This cruise gave us a taste and an opportunity to see the Inside Passage and the breathtaking scenery
without having to spend too much time or expense.
It was a wonderful experience. Thank you, Princess!