Diamond Princess Cruise Review by mbjbride06: Voyage of the Glaciers
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Voyage of the Glaciers
This was our 2nd Princess cruise and we sailed on the Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska cruise in September 2013. While not a true "sister ship" to our previous cruise aboard Caribbean Princess, its layout and interior design was a very close match.
Cabin - We stayed in a balcony cabin, A743, which is starboard aft, only the 2nd cabin in from the back door which leads to the aft pool and then up another short flight of stairs to the aft bar & entrance to the Horizon Court buffet restaurant. We love this convenience. In warmer climes, we love access to the quiet adult-only aft pool, but that was only available for a few hours of sunning ourselves on nicer days during our Alaska journey. The cabin was decent in size and just as expected with the exception of the beds running horizontal from the door perspective to allow access to the balcony. This would be fine except that we had a third passenger in an upper bunk that had to squeeze between the beds to access the ladder. This More would be fine for children but was a slight challenge for an adult to maneuver. I quickly learned the best way to manage this, though.
Dining - We opted, as usual, for the early traditional dining. We love the assigned waiter (we had Roy from the Philippines). On this cruise we did miss 2 dinners in the dining room because we were in port late or attending other activities on the ship (in our case - whale watching). The dining room staff was right on point with food selections & timing, with the exception of the last night where the Baked Alaska on Parade is a highlight, but took too long for our preference and we left before the festivities. The other two nights we could have reserved an "Anytime Dining" time with 24-hours advance notice, but opted for the casual approach of the Horizon Court buffet. On our previous cruise the Horizon Court offered some of the same dishes featured in the main dining room, but that was not the case on this sailing. Regardless, the options were tasty and varied and the service was appropriate for the casual setting. We did not choose any of the specialty restaurants on this cruise, but there is also a steakhouse (located in the far aft section of the Horizon Court) and Sabatini's Italian Restaurant whose aroma was beckoning!
Activities/Entertainment - We only attended one show and were slightly disappointed at the shortened length of only 35 minutes. However, the singing, dancing, and costumes were similar to other Princess performances. We really enjoy the other shipboard activities like the trivia contests and game shows and here the cruise staff excelled, as usual. There were also multiple events for dancing and learning to dance as well as Bingo and casino games, which is typical of most cruises. The highlight for me on this sailing was the addition of the onboard naturalist who sailed not only the entire journey with us, but sailed the whole Alaska season on the Diamond Princess. He provided a variety of talks in the theatre as well as some impromptu get-togethers on deck and dedicated points-of-interest commentary from the bridge. The best was the evening sail through Snow Passage (between Ketchikan and Juneau) where he explained how to see identify whale activity and described sightings of each whale, porpoise, harbor seal, and stellar sea lions. It was an amazing event.
Ports - This sailing left Vancouver and sailed northbound to Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway before ending in Whittier. We also had a full day of scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park where the National Park rangers were brought aboard for a full day of commentary while viewing several major glaciers in the park. These were excellent ports with a wide variety of activities and convenient docking areas. Less
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Cabin review: BDa743 Balcony
Balcony cabin A743Beds going horizontally which made easy access to balcony, but difficult access to upper bunk.Love the aft, starboard location to access aft pool & Horizon court. Ample storage space.
Port and Shore Excursions
loved glacier gardens - this is a must see; hatchery was interesting
The hiking tour was superb! We did about 4.5 miles on trails around the park area surrounding the Mendenhall. Loved getting out in the fresh air on a gorgeous day. Great guide.
amazing...did this in combination with hatchery and gardens, but did glacier last. It would have been better to see earlier in the day when the sun was shining on it.
It was more of a casual walk than a hike, but loved the rainforest area. In addition, visited reindeer farm for opportunity to feed & pet the reindeer. Went to raptor center to see bald eagle & owl. And saw a native Alaskan making a totem pole (where we also saw a black bear at short distance). It was a well-balanced tour.
I have seen a lot of glassblowing demos, but this one was very well done with demo and commentary. We observed the full process of making a large glass bowl, which took about 45 minutes. Seats were provided in a private area for just our tour group.
Jewell Gardens Lunch
Absolutely loved Jewell gardens and great tea-time lunch snack was provided. I highly recommend this gem in Skagway.