This cruise was our 2nd cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Our first cruise was 5 years ago on Royal Caribbean to the Caribbean.
We went to Vancouver for 3 days prior to sailing to see the city. We took a day tour to Victoria and Butchart Gardens and we consider this the best thing we did on the entire vacation. We stayed at the Metropolitan in Vancouver.
We arrived at the terminal on embarkation day at 12:15 pm and it was so smooth. We were in our stateroom within 45-50 minutes. We were on the Baja deck with a balcony room. Nicely laid out and room for everything.
We chose Anytime Dining and the first night we ate in the Savoy Dining Room. It was the only meal we had that was sub-par for rest of the cruise. For dinner, we ate in the Santa Fe Dining Room 3 nights, The Pacific Moon 1 night (only night with a surly server) and one night we ate at Sabatini's--excellent service but food was no better than the other dining rooms, in our opinions. We ate breakfast the first few mornings in the dining room then tried the Horizon Buffet and really preferred it for the rest of the breakfasts. Nice selection and less time. All things considered, we thought the food was very good. Our favorite bar was the Wheelhouse Bar. It was cozy and quiet, never crowded.
Ketchican and Juneau were cold rainy days and not enjoyable for this southern woman. Skagway, however, was more fun than I expected. We took a private tour by small bus to the Snow Pass and we made several stops along the way and we really felt like we got a feel for what it was like during the era of the Gold Rush. We didn't do any Princess tours as they were all much more expensive than the private tours waiting right outside the dock.
All in all, it was OK. But I was truly sickened this time by the constant sales pitches going on. I was glad someone had warned that even the drink they offer you on deck for the sail away isn't free, which you don't know till you have it in your hand and they ask for your card to charge it to. Fortunately, as soon as my husband picked up the drink I said, "Do you want to PAY for that?" (It's not that we didn't want to pay for alcoholic beverages, it's just that I knew my husband would rather have a martini in the bar.)
Our steward, Allan, was wonderful. We met several nice couples who we enjoyed talking to.
I just feel blah about cruising now. There isn't enough time in ports to really get out and get to see a lot. I was a little disappointed with Glacier Bay--I just thought it would be more magnificent, but that's just me...
Glad I got to see the Humpbacks and Killer whales and a big moose.
By the way, we bought a new camera before the cruise at Sam's Club for $199 and they had the exact camera on sale on the ship for $450. Buyers, beware. I got sick a few days into the trip and the Robitussin cost $19 and the Sudafed was $18 on the ship! So pack as many medications as you think you might need.
I wouldn't consider doing this cruise without a balcony room. Too cold and windy on the rails for all those who chose to go on deck during the whale watching.
The shows were all ok, nothing wonderful.
Very smooth debarkation in Whittier. We scheduled our own transfer to the Anchorage airport through Alaska Cruise Transfers and it was very easy and cheaper. As soon as we entered the terminal we grabbed our bags and rolled them over to the table clearly marked and were told which bus to go to. We stopped at a wildlife reserve on the way to the airport.
Anyway, I guess I am glad we went, but I wouldn't do it again. Obviously there are lots of people out there who LOVE cruising and do it over and over, but I don't get it.