I spent 3 weeks on this ship, starting May 13, Glacier Bay cruise. These were cruises 88,89 and 90 for me. So, I am not impressed by any cruise ship, and was very happy on this one. it may be more important of an issue for some people. :) I arrived via a first class flight to Seattle 4 days ahead. Did my usual sight seeing. Used Mike's shuttle service. Seatac hotel pick up to pier 91 for $12 pp, used them for the later return to the airport. Excellent service.
I have been to Alaska about 40 times, so from that perspective, I do have to say this was the most lacking itinerary for Alaska. I had booked the Glacier Bay sailing several months ago and actually was delighted with the Sitka change, some people weren't. These cruises all had 3 open ocean sea days, which is a negative for what the potential routing could be. The 2 Tracy Arm cruises were booked about a week prior at huge price dump rates. So this was a good compromise for me.
Week 1- Glacier Bay was, as usual superb. It is a wildlife jackpot, with the usual sighting of 4 glaciers. I was out at 3:30am and was very rewarded with the ship stalled outside of Glacier Bay and many humpbacks in the area. i prefer the deck 3 open deck and went side to side. Great views, and it was never crowded. Many times, I was out by myself. In Sitka, I chartered a boat tour for just my husband and myself on the Esther G. Loaded with wildlife and a beautiful sunny day. Got my close up views of puffins, which I always enjoy. In Juneau, another beautiful sunny day, and per usual enjoyed a whale watch with Orca Enterprises. Did a combo with a Mendenhall stop. Ketchikan, I like flying Misty Fiords with Southeast Aviation. Always excellent trips, that I never tire of. :) The ship did not make Victoria- no loss for me, but some pretty enraged people on board that just didn't get it. Cruises can and do alter itineraries. I felt sorry for the staff at the screaming end of some of these ranting fools.
Week 2 did same activities in Juneau, along with a nice stop at the Alaskan Hotel for an Alaskan Amber at their historic bar. :) Always my preference over the tourist priority Red Dog. In Skagway, I again, did a combo White Pass RR and Emerald Lake run with Dyea Dave. As usual was an excellent scenic adventure day. Had a great lunch at the Carcross Bakery. A nonstop scenery day. Tracy Arm, my usual routine of taking the add on ship excursion, which I would never consider not taking. FAR superior to any cruise ship transit. The boat tour, got right up to the faces of both the north and south Sawyer glaciers. The cruise ship only had a distant view of the upper portion of the South Sawyer glacier. This was a full scenery sailing day with a lot of humpback sightings. Victoria- I hurried off the ship to my preferred Orca watch vendor, with good sightings. (knew I would be seeing them)
Week 3, Tracy Arm, one week later had the South Sawyer channel, loaded with ice so the add on tour, spent the time at the North Sawyer glacier. A jackpot chance, as a huge wall of ice calved making for one exciting view. :) Got a nice look at a bear on shore. Juneau, I would have gone on another whale watch, but decided to do my shopping and felt it would offer me more to get to Walmart, for some things I needed. Also spent some time in the library catching up on my internet options. (I had another cruise less than a week after I got off this one),
Skagway, I again took a Dyea Dave tour to Emerald Lake with another great lunch at the Carcross Bakery. Had a nice extended view of a bear in Fraser and many Mountain goats at their usual spot, near the "Welcome to the Yukon" sign.
Although people really raved about John Heald, his "jokes" were the same every week. By week three, I got pretty tired of the "Dick Little" comments. :)
This was a very enjoyable sailing. The service on the ship was superb with always engaging staff. In the 21 days we only ate dinner in the dining room twice, breakfast twice and lunch once. Food just is not important to me, and I skipped many meals, eating twice a day, most days. We did have three different cabins, which was no problem, cheap insides. I certainly enjoyed this trip. :)