I planned this AK cruise for over six months using every bit of info i could find on Cruise Critic and other boards ... still got some surprises.
Here goes my/our review!
We arrived in Vancouver BC on 6/27/11 after our long flights from Tucson. Temp was 108 when we left AZ!
Spent 2 nights in Vancouver b4 our embarkation. We like walking around Vancouver. We had been in Vancouver in 2010 while on vacation . In 2010 we enjoyed a late lunch at the Boat House at English Bay. In 2011, not so good. Food was still pretty good but service was slow for no apparent reason. A new restaurant is being constructed between this restaurant and the bay . The view of the bay will be lost from the first floor dining area.
Now for the ship. Our minisuite suite with balcony was fine. Did not spend alot of time on balcony because weather was a bit wet and sometimes cold. Balcony was great for Glacier Bay and College Fyord days.
Our steward, Morvin, was very attentive. We tipped him $40 cash for his efforts.
I found communications from Princess to be lacking starting with embarkation. We accidentally carried our luggage( heavy) through all the embarkation/security checkpoints. We had intended to check the luggage and carry our 4 bottles of wine on board. Unintentionally, we ended carrying everything to our mini suite.
We chose anytime dining. We ate one dinner in Bordeaux dining room. Food was just OK and we are not foodies. Portions were small but service was very good.
We ate most of our meals at Horizon Court or rather took Horizon Court to our mini suite. Watching people over eat on Horizon Court was a bit of a putoff. We also ate lunch each day at the Grill or Pizza place . Grill food was very good pizza was just OK but very convenient.
Back to Bordeaux.. my wife's breakfast was very good.Service was very good. I took coffee from coffee bar( La Patt.... something each day) into Bordeaux. We like good coffee . Stumbled across coffee bar card by accident the first morning. Card costs $30 and for us was a good deal.
We had intended to eat at least one night at Bayou Cafe and one night do the Ultimate Balcony Dinner. Neither Bayou or Ultimate worked out.
We brought on nice outfit( nice by our standards... not nice enough by formal night) with us . I wore dark slacks and a very expensive Callaway golf shirt. Bayou Cafe staff, on formal night, did not appreciate our dress and tried to put us back in the corner even though there only one other table occupied in the restaurant . My wife got upset so we left without eating.
The menu for Ultimate Balcony Dining did not appeal to us . We knew it was going to cost $100 plus a good tip so after reviewing the menu we skipped Ultimate Balcony Dining. The weather was iffy on the balcony most days anyway!
We are both very fit 60 year old people who either workout, play tennis or golf every day home in AZ. We used the ships gym each day when we were not in port!
Ketchikan, weather was very wet. We visited Totem Pole center. $10 each it was interesting. Took free shuttle bus from downtown.
Juneau, weather was OK. Took Tram to top of peak. Took Mendenhall bus shuttle to the glacier. Both excursions were fine. We booked excursions ourselves after we docked. Pretty easy . Not sure why Juneau is the capital of AK when you compare to Anchorage??!
Skagway, Why bother stopping here. 800 residents...40 jewelry stores and one liquor store?
Formal night was a big deal for Princess and some people. Not for us!For us it made zero sense to carry formal clothes for one night during our 2+ week AK vacation. The AK people we saw and met wear blue jeans.