We had a party of 8 for this cruise--6 coming from the Philadelphia area and 2 from Portland. We flew out in the early evening on the day before, but got delayed in Chicago for an additional 2.5 hours, so we didn't get to sleep until 2 am. We stayed near the airport for price since we would not be in Seattle for sightseeing and this worked for us. Good breakfast the next morning and easy ride to port via Seattle Express.
Embarkation was a breeze--would not do FTTF in Seattle as we were on board in less than 20 minutes. We had inside cabins forward on deck 8 which led to excellent access to the Lido deck and gym, but not so great when we had a rough "fun day at sea" on day 2--many people missing from the dining room on captain's night due to the rough seas--I saw many people bring meals with them back to their cabins that night and many women having a very difficult time keeping their balance in heels. Sail-away on the Alaska cruise was pretty quiet compared to my Caribbean sailings. We attended all the shows in the Phantom Theater--"Generations and Ticket to Ride" were the production shows and nicely done. There was a hypnotist as well as a big band singer on other nights. Only got to see one comedian out of 4 and he was ok. We did quite a few trivia sessions and won 2 "ships on a stick". The gym facilities were quite nice as well as the sauna/steam rooms. Our dining room servers Edwin and Juan were fantastic as well as our cabin stewards "K" and Carlos--they went out of their way to provide friendly and excellent service.
In Skagway, we booked Frontier Excursions to do a 6.5 hour Yukon Discovery Tour which included lunch in Carcross--had a wonderfully funny tour guide named Mike. In Juneau, most of our party did the Best of Juneau excursion which included Mendenhall Glacier, a whale watch and lunch at a lodge--the frugal ones in our party (myself included), took the Glacier Express bus ($20 roundtrip) and just hiked for a few hours at Mendenhall to see nature and Nugget Falls then shopped when back in town. Stopped at the Red Dog Saloon, but it was very crowded so just picked up a t shirt for hubby back home. In Victoria, we were delayed getting to port due to a combination of rough seas again on our 2nd "fun day at sea" ( not nearly as bad a day 1) then we hit fog, so a 3 pm arrival time turned more into a 6:30 pm arrival--since we wanted to see Victoria, we did not dine onboard that evening and chose a pub in town ( Darcy's pub--great poutine and craft beers).Easy walk into town from the port with good signage but many cabs available as well.
Overall, we had a great time, albeit some sea-sickness on day 2, and would recommend this cruise to everyone. It was a plus having John Heald as our cruise director as all of his shows were a hoot and I got to see him twice at the gym (he just lost 50 pounds). The food was great as always (especially the warm chocolate melting cake) and the value for your dollar goes a long way on this ship.