Embarkation at Pier 91 was less than wonderful. It took our driver quite a while to get into the pier and we then had to walk across traffic to get into the building. I think they should have thought that out better and had a raised pedestrian crossing, and more than 2 lanes for the road.
Once we cleared security it was fairly quick to get onto the ship. A quick aside, they looked at our passports 4 times! It was a closed area; I thought that a little silly. Our cabin, E704 was fine. It is an obstructed, but the lifeboat is one of the small ones, so you have a clear view over the top. Our steward was fine, however did not do anything special. The cabin was kept clean but no little things we have had in the past. One example was I changed the toilet paper roll twice. Never had to do that on board before.
Food was good as usual. We ate anytime dining, and my wife is Lactose intolerant so Princess has warned them for us. Jose, the headwaiter took very good care of her and made the trip nice.
The Refit made a nice ship great in my opinion. We spent a fair bit of time in the International Cafe. Nikki even got Lactose free milk for us so my wife could have a latte. The rooms all have a 37" LCD TV now. It s SO much better than the old ones. A hint, the remotes are slow when you first turn the TV on, so just hold the channel button a bit and it will change.
We arrived early and the weather was absolutely beautiful! Actually except for a shower in Ketchikan it was sunny and warm every day. I should have taken more shorts. We took a tour to the Maddenhill glacier and walked all the way to the waterfall. It was stupendous. You could feel the difference in the temp as you got closer. Looked inviting, but I am sure it was a lot colder than refreshing.
Went ashore early and walked into town. It was quiet and got a lot of nice pictures. We got to the end of town and decided to head back and turned around, to face a wall of people heading towards us! We had Diamond Princess, Celebrity Mercury and HAL Amsterdam in as well. There are only 860 people in Skagway and we more than Quadrupled the population. We headed back and spent a "sea day" relaxing by the pool. I am told it was 73F that day.
It was another sunny day. Started out cool and cloudy, but we got great pictures of the ice, shining a translucent blue. Saw a group of bald eagles on an iceberg, and some seals. Half way up we passed Star Princess heading out. She is a sister ship to Golden, and looked very small against the walls. It gave us a good perspective of the scale of the rock walls and glaciers. The passage was full of ice and small bergs at the narrow point and I was sure the Captain would stop, but he took us right up to the edge of the glacier. He spun the ship so we all got great pictures of the glacier and a large colony of Harbor Seals nesting on the ice edge. The Naturalist was commenting the whole trip and gave us some great information. We went for lunch on the way out and enjoyed the walls passing by as we ate.
Docked early and went ashore right away. Shops were open at 6Am. Yes, they have Diamonds International in all the ports. Hired a taxi and did a tour. Not terribly impressed with what we saw for $60.00. I would consider a ships tour if we go again. It started to rain, so we went back aboard and relaxed.
Being born in Vancouver we have been to Victoria before. The Swiftsure Yacht race was there and we enjoyed the yachts. Just walked a bit till the light failed and went back.
It was a ZOO! Cars and people everywhere. The Amsterdam was there as well and it took ages to get our ride back to the airport. Again, the 2 lanes for traffic is NOT a good idea. If you travel through Pier 91, I suggest you do not book an early flight home. I would not consider leaving before 11:00 AM just to be safe.
Overall, it was a great holiday. I left not really caring for the Alaska cruise but looking forward to a holiday. I was pleasantly surprised. Alaska is beautiful and I am very glad we went. I can even see us doing it again in a few years.