This was my first cruise anywhere and it won't be my last. I enjoyed that much.
My friends and I had flown into Seattle the night before from Tampa (and the time change was a definite shock to our systems). We had flown on AirTran and arrived at the airport in time for a security lockdown and had to wait for our baggage. We were lucky in we had booked private transportation (AirportDirectShuttle.com) from the airport to hotel, hotel to ship, and ship to airport. I would recommend them as a reasonable priced method of transportation in Seattle for cruisers.
We had a large group for this cruise, a combination of friends, and friend's family members. We meshed into a nice group in very short order when we all met at the Georgetown Inn, Seattle the morning of the cruise. The Georgetown Inn was fine, but it's location wasn't very convenient for seeing Seattle's sights before boarding the Vision.
I wasn't sure how the boarding process would go as this was my first cruise, but I found it to be very smooth and orderly. We arrived at the port around 12:45 and only had to wait in line for 20 minutes or so. Then it was off to see my first stateroom. I found my stateroom very easily after circling the Centrum a couple of times so I could get my orientation of bow to stern. I had stateroom 4522 and I feel I had the best stateroom attendant (Steve) on the ship. He was wonderfully helpful on where and when things were happening and things I should try. His team kept the stateroom spotless and fresh. After dropping off my carry-on bag, it was off to the Windjammer for a bite to eat. I love the fruit and vegetable carvings on the counters -- very talented people. I bought the Soda package on my way into the Windjammer and I got plenty of use out of it. The food in the Windjammer was good and they kept it refreshed often. The waiter's in the Windjammer did a good job on providing a good level of service.
Later that night I had my first experience with the Aquarius Dining Room. We ate at the second seating and all I can say is Fantastic. The food experience in the dining room was extraordinary, with a new experience each night (plus the standard alternatives for those who didn't want to try different things.)
Our waiters, Fateh and Mercy were the best in my opinion (we had three -- including me -- at a small 4 person table, next to the large table with the rest of our party). My friend's son is 15, 6'5" and has a large personality to match and he found a friend in the waiter at the large table. Zolton had them all laughing while providing great service. Our Head Waiter, Ryan, is from India and each night provided tidbits of information on our next port, keeping us updated and excited. It was an excellent experience each evening.
For myself, the Vision of the Seas met all my expectations and more, providing me with a wonderful experience. I would cruise with them anyday, especially to Alaska.
Juneau: We did the Juneau excursion to Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake. I loved Mendenhall Glacier (wasn't so sure of the Salmon Bake as it was outside and cold and wet). We exited the ship and waited for about 30 minutes (we left the ship to early for the excursion as we were all excited). We boarded a bus to Mendenhall and had a very well informed bus driver that showed us the sights and highlights of Juneau (including where the whales were seen the day before). Too bad that the whales didn't visit when I was there, but it was still fun. I didn't enjoy the Salmon Bake as much as it had started to rain and the food and seating was outdoors. I also found it a little outputting to see one of the food handlers petting the dog (a husky) with his serving gloves on and then returning to the food.
Skagway: In Skagway, we exited the ship in the morning for some shopping and sightseeing. We returned to the ship before noon in order to have lunch before boarding the White Pass and Yukon Railroad for a trip to Frasier, BC and a return by motorcoach to the Gold Rush Cemetery and Skagway. The White Pass railroad trip was absolutely my favorite excursion and I would have loved to do it again that day, but time didn't allow. I highly recommend it.
Prince Rupert: As I didn't do any shore excursions in this port, I didn't find it that interesting. It had a nice artist gallery in Cow Bay, but not much else in the line of tourism.
Tracy Arm: The Captain wasn't able to go completely in to the Glacier due to thick ice, but even where we went was gorgeous and majestic. I loved it and took many photos.
We choose to do the express checkout. While we waited on Deck 5 Centrum for customs to clear the ship, people said good bye to their newly made friends on the ship. We were told we would debark before 8:30 and they were right on the money. We were off the ship and through customs by 8:20. We were picked up right away by our airport transporter and made our 12:45 flight with time to spare.
Overall this was a fantastic trip.