My father had wanted to go to Alaska for some time, and when the prices fell, we decided now was the time to go! We travelled with a group of 8: my parents, my husband and I with our 10 yr old daughter, and our friends with their 12 yr old son. My boss and his parents also came along when I shared my plans with them.
We loved the port of Vancouver and wished we had more time there to spend. We stayed at the Days Inn which was older and small, but very reasonable with a friendly staff. Their shuttle to the port really helped with all of our luggage, and the location is perfect.
The embarkation process was seamless. We got to the port around 12:45, and were on the ship by 1:15. We waited for them to open the doors to the stateroom areas, changed into swimsuits, and were in the hot tub shortly afterwards.
The service on the Spirit was excellent! Our waiters, Noel and Nathaniel, gave the kids special attention. I really like the fixed dining time because you get such personal treatment. Nathaniel had a magic trick for the kids nearly every night. The food was good, not excellent, but completely acceptable.
The cabin steward was also excellent. I would have liked a bit more storage space, but we managed just fine. Our category 7A cabin was great. The lifeboat at the bottom of the balcony was never a true obstruction. Our view was still fabulous.
The ship's naturalist, Michelle, did an exceptional job keeping us informed of points of interest and nearby wildlife.
The shows I thought were not as good as I had hoped. Apparently the ones I missed were much better than the ones I actually saw. The nightlife on the ship is much slower than other cruises due to an older crowd, I think.
The children's programs were excellent! The staff allowed my daughter to go up to the 12-14's to be with her friend, and I couldn't have asked for better staff and programs. They really enjoyed themselves and made friends quickly.
The cruise came to an end all too quickly. Debarkation was smooth, and we were very pleased with the Alaskan Leopard Company who provided our transport to the airport. We stopped at Portage Glacier and got a complimentary beverage and Cinnamon Roll. Then stopped at the Wildlife Reserve in Anchorage. The guide was very funny, friendly, and took great care of us. It was a very good choice.
This was our first cruise since our honeymoon 15 yrs ago and my parents' first. We all wish we were back on the Spirit now enjoying more of beautiful Alaska!
Sitka was our only rainy day, thankfully. We enjoyed our walk through the forest at the National Park. Would have been much better without the rain. But it really is a lovely walk with the totems, and the staff at the park was very helpful.
Afterwards we went to the Raptor Center and enjoyed seeing these amazing birds so close up. Overall, this was my least favorite port. There were some very good stores, though, where we could purchase souvenirs at good prices and different stuff than we'd seen in all the other ports.