We were thrilled to finally get the opportunity to vacation in Alaska! We asked our local travel agent to help us since this was our first Cruise-Tour and booked the Vancouver to Seward 7 days/nights cruise and 7 days/nights land tour from Anchorage to Denali and back in July.
We liked it so much we want to go back and see MORE! We especially liked the excellent service, food and attention from all the staff on the Vision of the Seas. The captain kept us informed of the details about the ports and whale sightings. The stateroom attendant Lisette did a fantastic job and surprised us with the creative animal towels. The Aquarius main dining room waiter and assistant waiter, Pascal and Mzrija, were always cheerful, remembered our names and had great suggestions from the menu each evening. We chose the 6 p.m. dining, and had a table next to the window, so we could watch the whales as we ate and sailed.
Dressing up for the two formal dinners was very special. During one of those the waiters surprised us with a small cake and lighted candle to help celebrate our 35th anniversary.
Breakfasts in the Windjammer Cafe were fantastic--the buffet had a wonderful variety of foods and we enjoyed the smoked salmon and fresh fruits.
Our week in July was exceptionally cool, usually in the 50's, and we wore our Columbia jackets most days, especially when walking on the Deck 11 track and when watching whales on an open deck. Each day it rained, then cleared, and even through the rain we got great photos of the changing clouds and enjoyed the covered hot tubs on the open deck.
The Royal Caribbean Singers & Dancers performed an excellent show "Boogie Wonderland" and the Centrum lounge pianist/vocalist Karen was fantastic! It was so relaxing to sit and have a drink of the day, dance and listen to quality music as we cruised.
The pizza, burgers and fries, fresh fruit and cookies at the Solarium Cafe were great--we had two lunches there--the service was fast.
One of the most entertaining evenings was the QUEST Scavenger Hunt hosted by cruise director Simon. Teams of 6 people had to bring their team card numbers and specific items that he called out to show him to receive points. It was hilarious to see people waving false teeth, men's pants, women's bras, socks with a hole and other items. The event ended with a conga line of men dancing around the Enchantment Evening Lounge in their earrings, bras, women's shoes and doubling over with laughter.
Other cruise highlights included the Love and Marriage Game, the Flourescent Light Show, and the Finale Show in the Masquerade Theater. We participated in the country line dancing lessons and watched the Karaoke night for great entertainment. The Knudsen Brothers Show wasn't great--they had good harmony but it just lacked humor and quality music.
The ports of Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Icy Strait Point were historically and environmentally interesting and well worth seeing. We took the Mendenhall Glacier and Rain Forest Gardens excursion at Juneau. The tour guide, a local teacher, was super, and the scenery was spectacular. See the upside down trees and the acres of temperate rain forest if you get to Juneau! The glacier, the falls and the trail were well worth it, too.
The cruise week of our vacation was our very favorite because we felt so relaxed, didn't have to hurry anywhere or have our bags pulled at an early hour, and could eat whenever we wished. We slept so well after being in the fresh air each day, and had no problems with motion sickness.
We enjoyed seeing the Heritage Center on the land tour, Denali Wilderness Tour and the Cabin Night Dinner Theater while in the Denali Cabin Resort, and the quaint town of Talkeetna. We loved the glass-domed Alaska Rail ride, and had eagles fly directly over us with their huge wing spans. We saw moose in the grassy areas along the land tour, and Dall sheep on the hillsides. We saw grizzly bears and caribou while on the Tundra Tour at Denali National Park.
All our accommodations were top notch! Our bus driver Will and tour guide John were fantastic at their jobs.
We would have liked to spend a lot more time at the Denali Park Visitors' Center, and gone on another Denali tour when it wasn't so cold and rainy (the day before and day after our tour were sunny and mild).
Thanks to all the RC crew for our very memorable vacation in Alaska!