My wife and I wanted to go to Alaska on a cruise for our honeymoon. We chose Royal Caribbean Int. as the line to use. All in all, the cruise was fun, and the scenery we caw was breathtaking, but as the title stated, cruising is not for us.
A description of us is that I am 38 years old and my wife is 36. We have no kids together. We enjoy life and like to have fun. We are young and younger at heart. So on with the cruise. We flew in to Seattle the day before and we stayed at an old but wonderful hotel downtown about a block from the "market." The manager put us in a "Space Needle view room" and the room, and hotel was very well kept. Took the wife out on the town as I have been to Seattle in the past and showed her the big sites down by the water/pier ending with a huge and fun crab dinner where all they gave you to eat was a small fork and a hammer! I recommend getting there a day early. It just makes the next day that much better to not have to be rushing, traveling and worrying about getting to the ship on time.
Next morning we took Shuttle Express down to the pier. They are a good deal and picked us up, on time, right at the hotel. When we got to the pier we were dropped off and started our checking in process. The check in process was long but not too painful. First you check your bags in then yourself after going upstairs. We got there about 30 minutes after they opened and it was already packed. The lines moved, slowly, but patience was key as everyone just wanted to get on the ship. Once through the check in line where they give you all your documents to include your on board "credit card" you are shown to the ship. Boarding was easy and they photograph EVERYONE going on the ship for security reasons.
Once on board we found our cabin, and all but one of our bags were already delivered. The other bag was found a short time later after we had changed, be the cabin steward, and started to explore the ship. The ship is very nice, but small from what we are told. But this is a GOOD THING as if it was any larger, the Captain could not do what he did getting us into Tracy Arm Fiord, but that is later on in my story. Our cabin was in an interior stateroom with no window, which is EXACTLY what we ordered. We like to sleep, and sleep in, so with no window, some mornings we would wake up at 9-10am and have to find the clock to see what time it was, perfect for us! Cabin was small, had issues with the toilet not flushing after day three, but maintenance quickly would come and fix it. Shower always worked. Beds were two singles put together to make a full. Had a crack in the middle of the bed, but all in all the bed was ok, not good but ok.
First couple of days were at sea. Weather was typical Pacific Northwest: Cool/Cold and drizzle/rain. Outside views were not really there but the inside activities were ok. Here is where I will make my point about why cruising, at least to Alaska, will not be anything we do again. If you are not in port, or seeing truly spectacular views of Alaska, life on the ship is kind of boring. Further, they nickel and dime you for everything. My wife and I, while on vacation, like to drink. Have drinks and just have fun. Well when drinks are 8-12 dollars apiece, things can get pricy quick. Further, with the weather being bad, on deck pool was not fun. There was an indoor pool for adults, which was nice, but it just dint allure to us as there was no sun, for previously mentioned weather. Though when the boat was rocking, it made waves in the pool that were fun to swim in.
Speaking of rocking, the boat on the first couple of days was rocking pretty well for a first time cruiser as me. By the morning of the second day there was vomit bags placed on the stairwells and at strategic locations throughout the ship. Talking to the crew, they said it was not bad, and the Captain even said he did not deploy the ship stabilizers, but for me and my wife, it was rocking. I never got sick, but there was one hour on the second day where I thought I would get sick, but it passed. My wife got sick to her stomach and had to go lie down in the room, but then after a quick nap, we were back up and moving. Most memorable experience for sea sickness was the morning of day two while in the Wind Jammer restaurant (which is in the front of the ship which makes for a worse rocking motion) when a small boy while waiting in line for the buffet, violently vomited all over the place and boy did it stink! His mother was no help as she panicked and just stood there yelling for someone to help her. All the while the kid just stood there, vomit all over himself, crying. It was a mess. Other than that, I talked to other people aboard the ship and they were experienced cruisers and they said that the sea sickness was worse on this trip than ever before. If you plan to take Dramamine, remember you need to take it 24 hours PRIOR to getting on the ship! If you take it after you start to feel ill, it's too late and will make you 10x sicker.
The boat stopped in Juneau, which that morning of port was the most beautiful morning ever, even the crew stated it was the best morning they had seen. We saw so many whales, seals, bald eagles, etc out in the channel. Docking in Juneau, we chose to walk to the city (1.2 miles away) and shop. We did so, stopping for a drink at a local bar off of the strip. Had some good crab bites there too. We then made it back to the ship and went whale watching. The whales were awesome, and we saw a school of 10+ whales hunting tot ether then some were breaching! The guide with us said this is unheard of in Alaska and even the crew was in awe of the whales. It was awesome. Highly recommended.
Next stop was Skagway which is cool little old mining town now supported by cruise ships. We took the White Pass Railroad trip into Canada (you need a passport) and then at the top, we did a kayak tour of a glacial lake near the Yukon Territory. That was the best excursion we did and was simply breathtaking. The crew of the trip while kayaking was the best; young and full of energy. Great crew! Upon returning to Skagway via a bus, we hit the town, and ended up in a local bar which we met some local folks and had a few drinks. It was a good time.
In between Skagway and Victoria, Canada was a stop in Tracy Arm Fiord. The Captain was a master, basically parking the big boat, at the end of the fiord and letting all of us see the amazing glacier and ice burgs which were so colorful! It was a special part of the trip, and one we will never forget. It was absolutely breathtaking. This alone made the cruise and the Captain got kudos from all around when he came out on deck as to his skill to get us so close in there.
Back on the boat, we headed for Victoria, Canada which I have to say was the most beautiful city I think I've seen. So clean and the flowers are EVERYWHERE. We toured the "Castle" which was just a big old house, but cool all the same. Then bummed around the city and chose to walk back to the ship to take in the view. It was about 3 miles but it was worth it. The pier by where you dock was nice as well. Very pretty and we saw some volcano tops, but are unsure of which mountains they were.
We then headed back to Seattle for debarkation. The Shop is fin but can get boring fast. We did some of the activities and went to the casino a couple times, but spent a lot of time in the Schooner Bar, or the pool. Only go to use the outdoor pool on the last day after walking around Victoria. Weather just was not cooperating. Food on the boat was excellent in the main dining room, and ok to good in the buffet (Breakfast and lunch). Everything on board cost extra. Everything. We bout gifts for ourselves and for others, drank our fill, and did the excursions. Here was the breakdown for the final bill at the end of the trip which you need to settle the night prior to debarkation: Gifts: 500.00, Excursions: 1200.00, Spa/shopping: 350.00, Drinks: 390.00.
I am used to going to all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. I will be going back there too. Alaska cruise was great to see the awesome sites of Alaska on a quick tour. But the prices on a cruise, plus all of the "extras" put a bad taste in my mouth. If you don't ship, don't drink, and do not plan on getting off of the boat/doing any excursions, the cost seems right for the tickets, but not in my book. The trip was nice, the ship was nice, and I had a good time. It is just not for me and my wife. Most people on the boat were quite a bit older than us, but that didn't mean we didn't meet some really nice people in the Schooner Bar playing trivia! Two couples from Canada ended up kind of being our sailing buddies and we got to know them and that made the trip nice. We did go to the night club in the evening to dance and have a good time, and it was not crowded much. There were a few couples younger than us, but just like us, seemed like they were out of place. Cruising is an acquired taste, and my first cruise didn't seal it for me. I'm not totally ruling it out for the future, but just not in the immediate future.