We flew into Vancouver on June 1st. We elected the optional airport transportation fee. This is the way to go. The luggage is all handled by RCL and you are whisked through customs and on a bus to the ship. We were taken to the back of the ship to a special check-in area. Only problem you had to walk up several inclines to get inside the terminal. There were no elevators for disabled or handicap people. I have a heart and walking problems. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I reached the top. Several other older people also had problems. There were no seats to rest until you got down to the security area. This needs to be addressed by RCL.
Checkin was fast, although my boarding card wasn't there. Told me to go down to fourth floor to customer service desk. We were on the 6th floor of terminal and walked ramps down to board the ship on the 5th floor. They got me my boarding card and told me to go back to the terminal on the 6th for picture. Told them no way am I walking up two floors of ramps again. They said it was okay and to get my picture when we go ashore.
We had a balcony on the right side of the ship for viewing. The scenery was great and saw lots of whales from our deck. Room was adequate. We asked before we sailed to put the beds together. It wasn't done until we asked our steward. Gave the cabin more room.
We were disappointed that the refrigerator wasn't stocked with beer and that we were unable to buy a bottle of alcohol and take it to the room like we did on Explorer 2 years ago.
Dining we felt had deteriorated when we were on Explorer. We had the late seating and were put in the back room called Breakers. Portions were very small. I guess you called it French style dining. Service was poor. Our waiter rushed us through our courses and took them away before you were finished so he could leave after he brought the desserts. Buffet was good, but lots of specialty foods from around the world. No midnight buffets,except for the Ice Craving Buffet. On Explorer, food was excellent and around the clock.
The casino slots are a joke. The ship is really raking in the money on those. Winning is non-existent. If your lucky, you may walk away with 50 bucks after spinning hundreds. last year on Carnival the slots were very loose. Most people were winning all week. Our friend won $1000. I walked away with over $300. I was in the slot tournament and came in third. They only paid out the top two places unlike the Blackjack tournament that paid 3 places. Both took in the same amount of prize money.
Overall, outside of these few problems, the trip was great. The land tour was even better. Katie, our tour guide and John, our bus driver were fantastic. John made a special stop so we could photography Mt. McKinley on one of the clearest days they had in over 10 years. No clouds and 78 degrees.
We stayed on in Alaska 5 extra days on our own. One thing about Alaska is that the food portions are very large. I ordered coconut chicken fingers and corn Fritters and got 7 chicken breasts and 9 large fritters. At another restaurant got 12 large scallops in my appetizer. Service is very slow. Expect 2 to 3 hours to eat.
Wildlife is scarce too. Thought it would be like Canada where the animals were all over the roads. Saw some moose, 6 grizzly bears, sheep, fox, wolf, the caribou were far away. Lots of bald eagles.
It was a once in a life-time trip and we enjoyed ourselves and lived with the few disappointments of the ship.