We started our trip with the airline losing half our luggage so my travel partner ended up having no clothes for the cruise. Once found the airline was unwilling to send the bag to Juneau for the ship to bring on board for us. I can also say the staff at the airport was not as helpful as the staff at the 888 number when calling the airline. The staff at the airport said sorry but tough luck. The call in number at least advised us on how to get clothes for the cruise and how to claim the receipts.
Instead of a free style, it appeared more like a free for all. It did move quickly and we were able to drop what bags we had at the x-ray machine. I did feel sorry for the one individual who was lifting them all onto the machine. The line broke into three lines and he was certainly hustling to get them all through. Since we did not stay until the bags had gone through the x-ray machine, I wondered why we could not just hand them to an attendant and then they take them and feed them through the machine as is done by Holland America. It just seemed to be an extra line to stand in.
I do have to commend the staff at the desk as they made every effort to get our lost bag for us, and did quite a bit to make our first days as manageable as possible. They were very understanding and gracious in their attitude and assistance.
Our cabin steward was equally helpful and did all he could to turn what clothes she had to the laundry and back to minimize the amount of clothes we ended up buying on the cruise.
Overall, the staff was professional and courteous, although I did not see many smiling. Having worked in the hospitality industry I do feel for them as they all work hard with 10-hour days 7 days a week. Yes, there was always someone selling something, and they did a great job of checking back every so often without being pushy.
After the first day, we stayed away from the buffet as much as possible, although it was busy most of the time. Staging was an issue, as they would run out of an item and there was a significant period between restocking. In the end, we did the first day and two breakfasts in the buffet due to scheduling issues on our part.
We ate primarily in the Versailles dining room. We had a great waiter on our first night (port side aft) that was smiling and very efficient. We made every attempt we could thereafter sit in his section. For three meals, we sat in a section (forward starboard side) that took twice as long to get our food. One time there was no one there to take our order for 10 or 15 minutes. The maitre de did visit with us, but offered no apology and just wanted to know if we wanted a drink. I never did figure out the issue, as there were five people for 15 tables to provide service yet once we waited 10 minutes just to get a glass of water. No other section seemed to have this problem.
Chocolate Buffet was another interesting adventure, as there was only one entrance and we walked in a long line. However when we got to the side with the chocolate we noticed there were two lines, one for each section. The staff at the door did not tell anyone that there were two serving areas which would have cut the line significantly.
Our cabin was on deck 5 (5137) being the last inside cabin aft on the port side. It was somewhat noisy with the dining room and kitchen areas being above us. The walls were thin and we could hear those in the cabin next to us and behind us pretty clearly.
Our excursions were very good and we did the duck tour in Ketchikan, self-tour of the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, bus tour to Cross Car from Skagway and the lighthouse wild life tour in Prince Rupert.
Only thing I would do different is to tell the bus driver on the Skagway trip to stop in some places so we could get pictures. Other than that, we saw several animals on both land and sea during one or more of these tours.
Overall, the trip was enjoyable and the onboard entertainment was more than I could image with excellent performances. Everyone did a great job, from the guitar player to the main show ensemble.
We will pack differently on the next adventure just in case the airlines decide to lose some of our luggage again.
We will probably cruise a line that is less for families; not that I am anti kids, but we experienced kids playing tag and climbing on chairs in the dining room next to our table while their parents visited. We also watched kids run through the buffet area playing tag.