I am not going to spend much time reviewing the ship, it is classic Carnival. We had cabin 5236, partially obstructed with a very long balcony. To be honest, the weather was nice enough in the Tracy Arm and on sea days that we rarely spent much time on our balcony. I always prefer to head to the top decks and experience the 360 degree views that are awe inspiring.
There are a loads of bars, which are empty most of the time because people are on the Alaska cruise to take excursions and enjoy some quiet time looking out the windows in the search for whales. The ship is well maintained and most of the spaces are enjoyable. The dining room would easily win the award for the ugliest dining room at sea, Carnival would be well advised to strip it out start over again. Carnival is offering a new alcohol package for XX dollars per day, most of the people we met on the package did not drink enough on this particular cruise to justify the cost. You have to sign up for the drink package on the cruise, it cannot be pre-purchased. A couple bars are running pre dinner drinks at a reduced cost. "Classic" cocktails now come with $5 table play in the casino. The Long Island Iced Teas are nice for around $9 and you only need a couple, plus you get the $5 table play for each one. We enjoyed the food in the dining room, we reserved the buffet just for an occasional salad.
Tracy Arm Fjord - breathtaking!!! Carnival actually has 2-three hours excursion while the ship is sailing in the fjord. A smaller ship will come up to the Miracle and take a smaller group further into the fjord for an up and personal experience. This excursion is not well advertised and they were still selling space the morning of the excursion. It is a pricey excursion, but it was absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! I have the most amazing photos from this excursion. If you are a photographer, do not hesitate and book it now!!!
Skagway - We rented a car to take a roadtrip along the White Pass. It was ok, we would recommend just taking the train instead. Check out the brewery in town if you enjoy a local brew.
Juneau - This is where all of the cruise ship sponsored shops are located. There are a lot of local shops and they have signs in their windows to identify themselves as a local family. Do them a favor and support the locals during the few months when cruise ships are in town. We did not plan an excursion in Juneau, we decided it would be the place where we would enjoy some King Crab and shop a bit. We went to Tracy's, which is a famous crab shack that left us disappointed for the $$$. If ever in town again, we will check out Twisted Fish, which is an indoor restaurant very close to the ship.
Ketchikan - NO words can describe our excursion. We pre-booked a float plane on our own off the ship because I wanted to know about the pilot and plane I would be flying on. We booked directly with the pilot and plane owner, Randy, at Mountain Air Service (mtair.biz). The plane hold 6 guests and is an incredibly restored deHavilland Beaver. Landing in a float plane is shockingly smooth and the experience was absolutely AWE inspiring!!! The tour is 2 hours and worth every penny. I would not hesitate 1 minute to immediately contact Randy and book with him again. He is a Ketchikan local and has a lot pride in his hometown and home state of Alaska. There are no words I can offer to describe the experience, just do it!!!
Victoria - We hesitated to get off the ship, but we decided to take a walk and enjoyed an absolutely beautiful waterfront. The city has their arms wide open to cruise guests and roundtrip shuttles run for $10. We simply left the ship and took their map of the walking tour, which was around the waterfront to downtown and back through some nice neighborhoods.
Embarking and Debarking the ship in Seattle was incredibly easy We literally walked onto the ship at about 1:30 and did not wait in a single line.
Most of all, plan on spending some money for excursions and take advantage of this cruise while you are on it. We could not believe how many people just got off at ports to go shopping for cheap trinkets. Alaska was by far the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life. This cruise is not about the actual ship, it is about the magical land it is transporting you into. Take advantage of the opportunity now, it may never pass you again.