Well we were booked originally on DIAMOND PRINCESS from Tianjin to Vancouver. Due to company's policy I could not transfer vacation days from 2012 to 2013. So we decided to shorten to the Alaska portion. Princess did not allow us to shorten the cruise and we had to cancel and book again. We booked with Cruise Brothers. They arranged the transfer of deposit and get us on waitlist No. 1 for the land portion.
We flied to Montreal and saw cruisemates we knew from NORWEGIAN SUN last year and a former concierge of Celebrity. We continued to fly to Calgary, rented a car and went via Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. The last portion we took "The Canadian" through the Rockies and we arrived at the day of embarkation in Vancouver.
When we arrived there was a giant queue for two ships. So we decided to let our bags stored and met a Asst. Maitre of NORWEGIAN SUN to have lunch. After we finished all queue was gone and it took few minutes to get through US-immegration on board.
Our cabin was great. Around the corner location at the aft. So we had a 270 view from our cabin.
The food was great. Most of our cruises we did with NCL but we could taste the difference. Especially the alternative dining venues were great. Sorry to hear that Bayou Grill will be demolished after the next dry-dock stay. Sabatinis food was great but we liked more the previous style.
Maurizio was a great Maitre in the MDR while Ion was really a great host in Sabatinis.
Disappointing was the senior officers. Even with a reception: max. 5 minutes for all guests. Especially they did not respond you a greeting of a guest: On a Buenos Sera from a Senior Officer with many many stripes on his shoulders you get nothing back.
So we felt 1/3 of the crew was not responding to any greeting of a guest. 1/3 when you greeted first and 1/3 greeted first.
Entertainment incl. show was great. Especially the lector was wonderful.
Transfer from ship to train was well organised.
But Princess own cars were terrible. Too narrow for 9 hours! No space for handbags. The bad: they had also one car from Alaska Railroad which had everything you need for 9 hours train ride: legroom, space, storage room, upstairs outside platform.
In the lodges it was difference night and day between ship and land. Crew was not very helpful as many staff members were first season and did not know anything when you asked.
In Denali they did not sell anything for breakfast which you can eat if you have diabetes. In the buffet restaurant they REFUSED to give you a bag that you can have a sandwich with you. And they do not refill - only if you request mulitiple time.
And dinner in Pizza... they had problems with printer so everyone was waiting endless.
Another problem: we requested a twin configuration but they could only offer an option after one night nightmare sleep.
Next day a great driver took me to Wilderness Access Center to buy same sandwiches.
In Mt. McKinley they forgot to arrange our pre-booked and pre-paid tours: reason: we came too early in the season and they had no occassion enough to exercise.
Pictures of the tour could be found here:
There are all details of the cruise.
Best experience was College Fjord. Glacier Bay National Park we booked The Sanctuary for special experience but it was too cold to have a great experience. Juneau o.k., Ketchikan not my favourite, Skagway and White Pass and Yukon rail was great.