My in-laws wanted to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in Alaska. After four successful cruises with Carnival, my DH and I quickly suggested Carnival. A group of 20 sailed from Seattle to Alaska on the Spirit. It was the most expensive cruise we have taken and the least satisfactory.
We ported in Skagway, a very small fishing village with nothing to do except shop. Juneau was larger with more to do on your own, but still pricey. Ketchikan was again small with only a group of shop to occupy our time. We never made it to Victoria BC due to weather. The cruise itself was more than in the past. Excursions were pricey, much more than we had paid in Mexico or the Caribbean. And we found that we had to pay extra on this trip for things that were previously no-charge, ie mini-golf and table tennis. We were allowed to carry on non-alcoholic beverages which we appreciated!
We chose Your Time Dining and quickly discovered we would not do it again. They could not accommodate our group, so we never got to eat all together. We never got the same wait-staff so there was no relationship created. And because we didn't eat at the "normal" times, we missed most of the dinner entertainment, my favorite part.
We completely understand that the majority of this was not Carnival's fault and we would consider sailing with them again. However, we saw two shows that were repeats from previous cruises and although they are fairly talented, the shows aren't as good the second time around. The on-ship activities that we loved in warm weather are pretty limited for Alaska's climate. This was the first time I felt bored on a cruise.
The views from the ship were awesome. I had read previous reviews and knew to get a balcony room. The staff were very friendly and attentive as always. We just think it may be time to try a different cruise line for next year's trip.