This itinerary is exceptional among all of the Alaskan choices from any of the cruise lines and it is unfortunate that it is not being offered in 2014!! We visited nine ports and cruised over 3500 miles .... inside & outside passages and all the way to Kodiak and back. Some of the greatest small, seacoast towns and villages that can be had. ONLY AVAILABLE IN A SMALL SHIP!
We reserved a concierge,verandah (balcony) on the Oceania Regatta and though small, it was "as advertised" and more than adequate! The concierge levels start off a welcome bottle of iced champagne and it only gets better from there. The noon boarding in Seattle was as quick and as easy as can be had. It took a couple of hours for our luggage to arrive, but it was what we expected after an early boarding. And we had time for lunch and champagne and to explore the ship!!
The in the MDR was good and service excellent, though slow paced. We have cruised Princess and we both agree that the MDR food quality was just slightly better on the Regatta. Service shipwide is generally excellent as it should be with under 700 passengers. We have to agree with other reviews, that the Toscana Italian themed venue had the best food onboard.
It was too cool the first week in June to use the outdoor pool and warmtub (not hottub). The weather was nearly perfect for the entire cruise, but when out at sea, a jacket or more was usual.
The shore excursions....of course we wanted the "good" ones, meaning they were the ones NOT included in the fare....were expensive even with the upgraded packages. BUT they were mostly small groups, very personal, and very successful....so, we were glad that we splurged for them. It's a personal decision and, for us, we made a good call....helicopter to the glacier, dog sledding and all!
OK ....all of that said....would we do it again? We might do it again just to get the itinerary, but the Regatta is too small for us. It's a different, more subdued atmosphere on the Regatta. The days at sea, MANY of the passengers spent reading in the library or wherever they could find a seat....even by the pool covered with a blanket. And even though we are in our 60's, most of the passengers were too old for us!!! Some not in age, but certainly in attitude!!
We would opt for one of the Oceania's newer, larger ships IF it had the right itinerary. The Princess-Coral Princess and its sister ship a better size for us.
We had a fantastic "bucket list" experience and we want to emphasize that feeling. The Regatta was a big part of the experience and we want to compliment the crew and the Company for the experience. We will never forget Alaska and its wonderful people seen this way. "THANKS"
If you are considering a small, luxury ship and have only cruised on the larger ships, just be sure to consider your "attitude" toward a little quieter, slower paced, very pampered experience. Or,if you just love cruising and have already been there and have seen that (no excursions necessary), just stay onboard and enjoy! And, oh, no kid's programs on Oceania, so know and consider that going in!!!
More good cruising ahead.......