* Background Information - first Alaska cruise, and I've heard so many rave reviews that I was expecting to be really wowed, but wasn't.
* Hotel Info - Best Western Pioneer Square in Seattle was a pleasant surprise. While warned about homeless and less desirable location, we were very happy with the neighborhood. Included breakfast was terrific. 1 block from ferry, 1 mile from pier 66, 3 blocks from Light rail service, route 99 free tourist bus stopped right outside.
* Ship Info - they need to pay attention to the sound system - the volume in the Atrium, at the pool, and in the entertainment venues was so loud that it was actually painful.
There is no Quiet Zone except outside - not ideal in cool damp weather. The small library was the only indoor seating that was supposed to be quiet.
* Activities - pretty standard and what I expect on a cruise - no issues
* Service - our room steward always said hello, but he tended to start at one end of the block of rooms and work to the other. The result was that just about every evening he came to turn down our room very late(for us). I realize that very few people get up at 5 or 6am, and return to the room early and go to bed at 9:30 or 10pm., After the second night, despite telling him we were not attending nightly functions, he came to turn down the room after we returned for the night. We asked him to come earlier but he consistently showed up around 9 or 930. We actually didn't receive evening services since he was later than we wanted.
Dining room services were good. Our last night we had a fantastic waiter - wish we had met him first!
* Port & Shore Excursions - this was the most disappointing part - while excursions were good, if you weren't doing an excursion there is nothing to do in most ports except walk through rows of jewelry stores and genuine souvenirs made in China, Honduras, Korea, Pakistan, etc. It is so hard to find anything made in America.
Seattle - loved it. Very walkable city with great transportation options, and lots to do independently. Loved the views from the Bank of America Building (Columbia Building). Highest in Seattle and the great view includes the Space needle.
Ketchikan - easy to get public bus ($2) to Totem Bight Park. After about an hour there we returned to town and walked around.
Juneau - several buses take you from the port to Mendenhall for $16 round trip. Some nice trails to walk there. Saw eagles, bear, and lots of salmon. This port met my high expectations
Skaguay - I loved the White Pass Railroad. I stood outside most of the trip and got some great photos of spectacular scenery. They tell you that both sides are good for scenery - you change sides at the top of the pass. However, the trip up is much slower so the left side of the train definitely has a better view. Unfortunately our train broke down and we sat on the track for about an hour - I booked through the cruise line for this one because the reservation I could get was cutting it close to cruise on board time. We were an hour late getting back. With several hundred missing passengers they waited for us.
Unfortunately the morning spent in town was a bit boring - not much to do or see.
Prince Rupert - the only thing I wanted to do there was hike the Butze Rapids trail, but in a steady rain I opted to stay on the ship at this port. The town has nothing much to offer. My friend did go in to look around but came back in an hour after walking the entire town. The only thing she commented on was the cow -printed trash cans in Cow Bay.
* Summary - My expectations were probably unrealistic, but I had hopes of being able to explore more on foot and without taking an expensive tour.
If I return I think I need to consider a different itinerary with Denali and Vancouver as starting and end points.
* Stateroom - standard interior cabin - exactly what we expected
* Dining - much better food than I expected. I love Celebrity's dining, but on my only other NCL cruise I didn't think food was too good. I thought both of the dining rooms (Versailles and Aqua), the Tex -Mex specialty restaurant, and the Market Place cafe were all very good with lots of variety and decent quality. The luncheon menu in the dining rooms was the same ever day, but other than that I was very pleased.
* Entertainment - I'm not a fan of comedians, hypnotists or circus acts, and that was the vast majority of shows. I also hated the sound level, and the lighting director should be fired - the bright lights were rotated directly in the faces of the audience. I had a migraine from the strobe light effect.
* Disembarkation - we got in to port and cleared an hour early. Painless and easy self-disembarking got us to the airport an hour earlier than expected.