Flight: Newark NJ to St. Paul Minneapolis to Fairbanks AK was 8 1/2 hours. Fairbanks airport was small, easy. Went to baggage area, met rep, tagged luggage, boarded bus off to hotel. Sophie Station, Beautiful huge suite, clean, full bathroom amenities, ironing board, hairdryer. Fast food in walking distance, great restaurant, Zacks with large portions. Received luggage, tagged what was to be stored and what we wanted to keep.
Fairbanks,Riverboat Discovery: Great cruise, views, informative and fun. El Dorado God Mine: Huge gift shop, fun and delicious free cookies. Pump House restaurant was $13.00 each way by taxi, food was delicious and atmosphere was worth it. Denali: Wilderness Express Train, beautiful views, comfortable, good breakfast, $9.00 ea. Denali Wilderness Bus tour: Old school bus, rough ride but worth it for the scenery. Give you a snack box. Stop for bathroom every 90 minutes. Bring binoculars, good zoom on camera. Highlight of trip to Alaska, "A must Do". McKinley Village Lodge in Denali, log cabin like units, clean, comfortable, good food. Beer battered Halibut was the best ever eaten. Denali: Husky Homestead Tour: Jeff King's Iditarod Dog Sled Camp, informative, fun, good value for the money, held a 9 day old puppy. Talkeetna, small lovely town with great little stores, best pizza at Mountain High Pizza owned and operated by a guy from Pittsburgh Pa. Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is beautiful. Breathtaking views from rear of Mt. McKinley. Could stayed there forever. Saw McKinley best at 7am with no clouds at all. Mahay's Jet Boat: informative, great views,saw eagles and beaver activity, nice nature walk. Anchorage: Stopped 2 hours here for lunch. Ate at the food court in the mall. Great stores for authentic Alaskan handmade purchases. Bought a beautiful doll and had it shipped home from store. Seward was just a port only town, so we boarded the ship directly.
People ask if CC class is worth the extra money and upon boarding it was worth every cent as there were hundreds in line and because we had CC class we were directed into a CC line and we were number 3 in line to check in. It was great. CC Cabin 6143 was great. It was a little bigger then the other CC cabins especially the balcony area. Champagne and fresh flowers and fruit were waiting for us. Cabin was clean, had hair dryer and all bathroom amenities including sewing kit, shampoo, lotion, soap and hair cap. Snacks each day at 4 were nice. With CC class you also get priority tendering. You are directed to Michaels Club where you are served coffee, tea and pastries until your tender is ready. Then you are directed to the tender and board with no waiting in any lines. Same method is used at disembarking of the ship. So CC class is really worth the value for the stress free lines. Ship was beautiful, easy to find everything, fast elevators. I saw no wear problems, performance was perfect, no delays on any arrivals and no missed ports. Service was perfect in all areas, all service areas were ready to help with anything you needed. They were pleasant and always ready to assist you.
Normandie Restaurant is worth the extra charge. The service and pampering you receive over dinner is wonderful and the food is delicious. Our friend forgot their reading glasses in her cabin but they brought her a box and opened it and it had every power of reading glasses you could need.
Entertainment: We only saw one show as we cruise alot and the show we saw was like all the others with the broadway singers and dancers. Celebrity does need to do more work in this area to kick up their entertainment a notch from all the rest and make it more exciting with better headlines and better acts other then singing and dancing. Juneau: Great Shopping port, Alaska T-Shirt Factory is a great place to buy souvenirs. Bus to town is $1.50 roundtrip and a short distance. Easy to get to Roberts Tramway. We did the Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier Tour. To do it again, we would probably book with a private Whale watching group as there were so many people on board through the ship that it was difficult to see the sightings when one did occur because someone would be in your way. Better to go with a private tour with less people. Mendenhall Glacier was good but again with a tour, you have to go at their schedule, and it was not enough time to be there. We would have liked to stay and watch the movie, but we did not have time to do that.
Hubbard Glacier: beautiful, need binoculars, rain gear, and good zoom on camera. We had heavy icy flow in the water and could not get very close to it at all. We were very far away. It was cold so dress warm. We wore t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt, windbreaker hat and gloves.
Skagway: Great town with nice store for shopping. White Pass Yukon Expedition: We went up by bus and back by train. Another highlight of cruise and "A must Do". Sights were beautiful. Stopped at Caribou Crossing in Carcross for lunch. Was delicious and fun. You can eat in a covered wagon. Wildlife Museum was beautiful. We had extra time so we were taken to Emerald Lake. A "must see" view. Beautiful and breathtaking.
Icy Strait: tendered, zip line is available here, small port area with little shopping and museum. Can take bus into town. We did whale watching tour and again there was alot of people but sightings were better here then Juneau. Ketchikan: Great port again for shopping and souvenirs at the Outlet Store at Salmon Landing. We did the Duck tour. It rained all day, but we put on our rain gear and did not let it dampen our spirits. We ate at Steamers. We had King Crab and dungeness crab. It was delicious. Inside Passage was very scenic and relaxing. We used our balcony mostly for viewing only. It was too cold on all of the days to just sit out.
Vancouver: Waited in private lounge area till color was called, loaded onto a bus and taken to airport. Get a cart when you go into airport, they are free. Pick up your luggage, go through check in, then customs, unload your luggage on conveyor belt and go to your gate.
Summary: Celebrity was perfect throughout the vacation. We had no problems anywhere at anytime. Everything went like clockwork. The important thing to remember is don't overpack. Alaska is jeans and t-shirt territory. Leave the dress clothes at home. You will have your coat on most of the time and no one will even know what you have on under your coat. So lighten your load. Dress in layers. T-shirt, hoodie and windbreaker and rain gear like a poncho. Take a good set of binoculars and make sure your camera has a good zoom ability. If you have a digital camera, take extra cards with you to hold more shots as you will take more pictures on this cruise then you did on any other cruise you have been on. We ended up with 1200 photos. Take something to waterproof your camera also as you will hit rain at some point along the way. The Must Do's and See's: A land tour before the cruise to see the interior of Alaska. White Pass Railway. Denali Wilderness Tour. Emerald Lake. A private Whale Tour.