I took the family on their first cruise doing the Alaska Tracy Arm run. The views were just jaw dropping.
The on board experience was incredible too. We opted for the formal dining our waiter was very attentive and courteous. I was a chef by trade and will say the food was very good if not a "destination meal" but We eat well at home so I'm a very tough critic. The selection was fantastic and I ate everything from sweetbreads to escargot to pheasant, That we don't do at home because it is too "weird" for the kids.
The on board entertainment was very good. Musical shows were varied and fun, the comedian / musician was good but the magician, WOW! I know it's tough to do a show in close quarters on a moving ship but he was definitely on top of his game! He levitated a table the called up someone fo=rom the audience (my daughter) to watch him do it and she could not figure it out. WELL worth watching him and I will look for him in Vegas next time I'm there.My only complaint would be the Jazz quartet in the Piazza,.. They we too loud and the acoustics just made the sound muddy. The string quartet that played acoustic sounded great.
The shore excursions were good, knowledgeable guides and neat stuff to see. I would recommend the train/bus in Skagway with the gourmet lunch at the Skagway Inn. The salad is grown right outside the dining room and something as mundane as a chicken pot pie was made special with spice, flair and a puff pastry bear on top..quite a refreshing surprise. In Juneau Don't miss the Glacier Gardens, The upside down gardens are spectacular and the guides were a hoot. In Ketchikan we went for the Misty Fjords boat tour (630)but only got half way there before the captain turned us around because of rough weather..It wasn't because the boat or crew couldn't handle it, some of the passengers were not happy. I've been on boats my entire life and that catamaran was well equipped to handle anything AK could throw at it, In fact I felt safer with that boat and crew than on some of the rescue boats I was stationed on. The real kicker for me was that even though we were on board for almost an hour, were treated to hot cocoa and some snacks AND got some very cool info on the Ketch area...they gave a full refund of the excursion fare?! Real professionals in my opinion.Victoria was neat but kind of a let down, I would have rather have cruised the AK waters more instead.
The only bad part of the cruise for me was the Spa pricing. It seemed a bit of a gouge. The massages were pricey but not extreme, the acupuncture was expensive and ineffective but the worst was the hair salon. My daughter got a trim and style for the formal night, that cost more than what I paid for three full Paul Mitchell stylings in NYC for a wedding.
My best advice...Bring rain gear and extra batteries for you camera.