Carnival will not send pre-cruise documentation and forces all passengers to print their own boarding paper luggage tags and secure them with a stapler or tape. We got a notice from the ship saying that many passengers had not received their luggage in their stateroom. We're all cutting costs, but this seemed silly.
The steakhouse is $30/pp and worth it for one night.
As stated earlier, make sure your "luggage tags" are well secured. It's so easy to imagine them getting ripped, being made of paper, and I can't imagine losing luggage due to Carnival's cheapness. Elimination of the Captain's welcome aboard champagne party in favor of $1 off champagnes in the atrium made for the lousiest welcome aboard scenario we have ever seen in 20 cruises. Sad to see Carnival falling off so much. We valued $8 worth of champagne much more than the $15 of complementary 5 blade razors we'll never actually purchase (there are free toiletries in your stateroom bathroom). We'll forget about the free toiletries long before we'd forget about the absence of the captain's party. We're not huge drinkers, but the absence of a champagne party was just confusing and somewhat waters down the magic and experience of a cruise.
Food in main dining room was always good. Buffet was average. Work out room was impressive, but half the treadmills were broken. Service in general was good. Overall the cruise was a good value, but the ports made this mediocre cruise line's experience just awesome.
If money is no option, just book everything through the cruiseship for ease. We saved money by going our own route and booking directly-our recommendations below.
Tracy Arm Fjord
Awesome beauty. Spend as much of the afternoon on the top deck marveling at this experience w/ binoculars and a camera. Just marvelous. No excursions needed to get closer to the glacier-you'll be able to snap awesome pics on deck.
We saved money by booking the WP Yukon Railway directly. It was an easy walk to the station from the ship, and a slam dunk of an excursion. I'd recommend doing the earliest possible 3-4 hour train ride and then spend the afternoon just exploring Skagway. Marvelous, rustic town w/ neat history.
It was $16/rt to take the shuttle that runs every 30 minutes to Mendenhall Glacier. The bus driver will point out the local sights along the way. It's a no-brainer of an excursion and was raining all day...didn't matter: this is one of the most magnificent sights on the planet, even in bad weather. Marvelous pics.
We got a cabbie to drive us around for 30-45 minutes for $40. Recommended. You'll also see some totem poles in town which are cool. Afterward, stroll along Creek Street. Scenic waterway/shopping.
Don't waste money on the shuttle, which sounds like a decent deal to take you to town for $7/pp. We paid $10 for 4 of us each way in a taxi. Take a horse drawn carriage ride and some pics of the Empress hotel and Parliament building. We had such little time here at night anyway.
Overall, fantastic cruise, even in spite of Carnival's newly displayed cheap feeling. We would recommend it, as long as your expectations are post 2010. Being forced to do everything online may be how all cruise lines are now doing it.