2013 Labor Day Week Cruise to Alaska & Beyond
If need be, you can skip all this rhetoric and just view the silly youtube video I just posted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htDVfoe4Trc Mostly just made with cheap camcorders for friends/family viewing only but there are a few nice shots in the Yukon.
We had not cruised in eons. So, when 8 of us were looking for an adventure besides RVing, we (except me " I was holding out for a Trip to Ireland) - we (they) chose this winning ticket out of the bucket list’. Was not disappointed though! All arranged by smart daughter of one who had been in the travel business and picked out the best-flight/cruise-on-a-budget for us all.
Did read all the Golden Princess CC Reviews and happy that one previous traveler was quite pleased with his choice of one of the few forward Emerald Deck balcony rooms. So were we! Got the only 4 on the starboard side with adjoining outside balcony open doors. Only trade-off was the long walk to the rear dining rooms (but the exercise did help keep the food poundage off). They were the least expensive balcony staterooms but we decided to hold on and not go for any upgrades so that we wouldn’t be split up. The biggest selling point was the full size, deeply covered balconies which we enjoyed consistently in all weather and all 6 of us fit comfortably in any one (the other couple had to bail out due to health issues). We even ordered an extra folding table so we all could sit out in the middle one and play dominoes or enjoy cocktails and dining.
We were quite pleased with the ship, weather, passengers, crew, entertainment, tours, service, and great food. Never felt excessively hit on to buy something at all. People in previously negative reviews must have been real picky or just boringly spoiled cause we experienced no real glitches (just hated the long pre-noon embarkation lines " as we just should have arrived later as told). But military experiences makes one more appreciative of anything handed to you that doesn’t blow up in your face.
So glad a CruiseCritic Blog Roll Call Meet & Mingle had been arranged, Got to meet a couple of ship’s officers and some nice fellow bloggers and hang-out up high in the SkyWalker Lounge. Our group (the non-bloggers) was impressed
The PORTS & TOURS:
SEATTLE ~ After overnighting at the nice Hampton Inn on Int'l Blvd, we got an unexpected bus tour of downtown Seattle on our pre-paid Princess shuttle from the airport to Pier 91 due to driver needing to kill time to avoid the backup at pier drop-off point.
KETCHIKAN ~ A foggy morning turned into a sunny warm day. We did the enjoyable duck boat city & harbor tour and then I went on a walk-about on my own, since the free city shuttle was running late. Had to buy some Alaska Harley shirts for my buds and a couple of pints of no-no fortifications. Everybody else went souvenir shopping right next to the boat.
TRACY ARM FJORD ~ Our cozy balcony was the place to be for that scenic pass by beauty. Even though we live in a very lovely area of the nearby Smoky Mountains with lush greenery, sparkling lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, etc., this place was mouth opening awesome. Cruised right up to the South Sawyer Glacier.
JUNEAU ~ Dock was so far out that required a $3 bus ride just to get to the start of town. Only place where we had constant misty rain all day. Therefore we opted out of the tram ride up Mt. Roberts and caught a pre-arranged shuttle to the Alaskan Brewery. Nice city van tour getting there. Large operation " small tour facilities " lots of tasting though. Some of our group went on a drenching whale watching quest instead and wish they didn’t as we saw multiple pods of whales while heading toward Victoria a few days later along side the ship.
SKAGWAY ~ Another nice day for an excursion and that’s what we did right off the ship " a 65 mile trek to the real beauty of the Yukon. Got to play with the Husky puppies at the Carcross Iditarod Sled Dog Training Camp and ate some tasteless rubber chicken there too. Only had a few moments to spend in town after the 6 hour trip. Just had to sample some Spruce Tip Ale at the Skagway Brewing Co. that I heard so much about before making a mad dash back to the ship.
VICTORIA ~ Such a nice, pretty, little city on Vancouver Island. Would love to live there (in a big lottery delusional dream win). Took the 90 minute twilight double-decker, herky-jerky city bus tour all about. Would liked it if we had more time there, but since a foreign port docking is a requirement for all foreign flagged cruise ships and as there were no port-side cruise line owned gold/jewelry stores, it’s just a quick courtesy call for them.
SEATTLE ~ Back in the USSA! Disembarkation was a whole lot smoother and organized than getting on. Shuttle bus was waiting on us and straight to the Sea-Tac airport and back to Nashville and on to East TN (with a flat tire sendoff).
We liked the Princess experience and are ready to go again and so glad I could take advantage of all the Golden Princess CruiseCritic reviews to plan our daily adventures on and off the ship.