We just returned from cruising the inside passage to Alaska with stops @ Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Prince Rupert, BC. We cruised to Alaska two years ago on the Pearl and loved it so returning was never in question. We selected the Star this trip because it offered a slightly different itinerary. We sailed into Tracy Fjords @ 4 PM and arrived for our very brief, glacier glimpse @ 630 PM. Oh so disappointing. It was nothing compared to our previous trip on the Pearl which arrived @ 8AM and stopped directly in front the of the glacier for quite awhile. The pictures from that trip were stunning.
We were happy that we had chosen an excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau because that was an up close and personal experience.
The second disappointing part was Prince Rupert, BC. The people were friendly and helpful but there is little to see or do in the town. We arrived @ 4 and stayed til 10 PM. Most everyone returned to the ship within an hour and most definitely dined aboard ship as the town only had 2 restaurants that we noted. We are puzzled as to why the Star chose this stop. On our Pearl cruised we stopped in Victoria, BC which was a lovely location with plenty to see and do.
That said, the Star was fantastic. The staff were very service oriented and friendly. We stayed in a suite because we like the space, the butler and concierge service and the private dining options for breakfast and lunch. We also uitilized the specialty restaurants and can say that we had excellent food @ both Cagney's and Le Bistro. Our main dining room experiences were good but did not qualify as great. The Spa was fair.
The weather for our trip was very cold and rainy. If you are heading out soon, take along a good rainjacket, a layer for warmth such as a fleece vest, sensible, waterproof footwear and gloves/neckscarf just in case you need them.
Mendenhall Glacier and Gardens was our chosen excursion. The day was cold, windy and rainy. We were picked up @ the ship in a bus (no bathrooms on board) and driven for about 30 min to the park. Mendenhall Glacier was breathtaking. There is a tourist center and bathrooms available there. You can walk about the park and take pictures although the waterfall trail was closed due to recent flooding. We really loved this stop. The second half of this excursion was less than great. The Glacier Gardens are privately owned and entail little gardens. We walked through mud, yes mud, to board golf carts which took us up 3000 ft on a narrow, steep trail to get a view of the airport and Douglas Island. It was OK but the weather was so miserable. We were forced to wait in the windy, cold rain for the 18 passenger gold cart to fill before being transported back to the gift shop where we had to wait on our bus to return for pick up. Thankfully, they sold hot coffee and chocolate which was greatly needed.
We took the Magnificent Misty Fjords seaplane tour and it was truly magnificent. We loved it! The view was gorgeous. Water take off and landing were so smooth.
We also did the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. This was a fun and entertaining event for both children and adults.
We did not do an excursion here. There is little to see or do in the town. It is unbelievable that 2000 people are dumped into this small community. Just don't get this stop.
We selected the White Pass Scenic Railway tour which is about 4 hr in totality. The view was awesome. The engineering feat of building this railway is amazing. We very much enjoyed learning the history as told by our onboard narrator. She was excellent. The train does move slowly and it can be a bit tedious when they are switching engine positions, etc. There are bathrooms in each car and free bottled water. The afternoon train was late which caused the ship to delay its port exit by about 20 min.