As I was planning our first cruise for my family (wife, three daughters - 11, 8 and 4, and sister-in-law), I focused on price, itinerary (i.e. embarking out of Vancouver and seeing Glacier Bay) and activities. However, once my wife and daughters heard about DCL, all those factors went out the window and DCL was the one. Disregarding what friends who had been on Alaskan cruises told me to do (i.e. get a balcony room) and still trying to hold on to my price priority, I booked two connecting rooms with portholes.
Going through Vancouver security took awhile since the Norweigan Sun was also embarking, but once we got through, the DCL side was smooth. As soon as we got on board, I went to book our Princess Tea. Strangely, after pulling up my name the person from Guest Services asks me to hold on a minute and goes into the back room. She comes back shortly with someone else from Guest Services. They explain that one of our connecting rooms would not be available because of maintenance issues. My heart sank because I knew that was the last connecting room in our class category. In true Disney fashion, Tony from guest services apologized sincerely and gave me two options - 1) keep one of the connecting rooms and use another room a couple doors down, in the hope that the other connecting room would be ready the next night or 2) move my family of five to a verandah room on deck 8 and use the porthole room on deck 2. In addition, Tony said they would provide us room credits. We decided on the balcony room which worked out perfectly as it was the best way to see Alaska. I spent most of my time out seeing the mountains, ocean and wildlife (i.e. whales, bald eagles, seals and orcas). Tony and DCL turned a potentially negative situation into a huge positive. Tony also made sure we were taken care of by calling a couple of times and sending goodies (stuffed animals, a DCL towel, wine and snacks) throughout the cruise.
Everything else was great on the cruise - Palo, kid's club, shows, movies including the premier of Monsters University and steward, Rommel. Rommel made towel animals everything night for us and even took some time to show my family how to make some. He was great!
After seeing the reviews, I had very low expectations of the food. To my surprise the food in the dining rooms were pretty good, not high class cuisine but very tasty. Our waiter, Quintin, was thoughtful enough to bring us a few pieces of the elk on the menu to try as we were interested but didn't want to order the entire entrée and loads of crab on Alaska night. Palo was worth the extra $20 and our waiter, Mladen, was very meticulous in explaining the different items on the menu and his recommendations were spot on.
The cruise exceeded our families expectations and was probably the best vacation we have ever had. The only downside is to my pocketbook as now I'll have to only book DCL cruises in the future.