My husband and I are DINKS (dual income no kids) in our late 30s/early 40s. We took his parents on this cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary. They are in their mid- to upper-60s. It was just the four of us. ... Read More
My husband and I are DINKS (dual income no kids) in our late 30s/early 40s. We took his parents on this cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary. They are in their mid- to upper-60s. It was just the four of us. None of us had ever been to Alaska and none of us had ever been on a cruise. We stayed in Kent, WA before and after the cruise to be close to family, and we had our own airport and cruise terminal transportation via family.
Embarkation went relatively smoothly. We arrived at the Pier around 11:15/11:20. We stood in line for less than 30 minutes to drop off our luggage. From there we stood in another line for less than 30 minutes to check in ourselves and get our SeaPass Cards. We were able to board immediately after checking in. They don't give you much information upon boarding. We didn't know where we were or where we were going. They just welcome you with a glass of champagne, wine or mimosa. We found our way to the buffet as it was lunchtime. That was a mistake, and I recommend avoiding it at all costs. We all left completely unsatisfied and frustrated. It was just chaos. We were in our rooms shortly after 1:00. We had all of our luggage received and unpacked prior to the Muster Drill.
The Muster Drill also went surprisingly smoothly. It would have gone more smoothly if all of the passengers had heeded one of the three previous warnings about the Drill instead of deciding to head to their stations after the final announcement when they were supposed to be at their stations. (We can't blame the cruiseline for that.)
Cabins 6058 & 6060
The cabins were slightly larger than I expected with more storage than I anticipated. We didn't bring and we didn't need extra hangers or extra storage. Everything fit in the cabinets, closets, and drawers provided, and we stored our luggage under the bed.
There was some wear and tear showing in our rooms, but they weren't bad. My biggest complaint was the shower. Besides the fact that the shower is tiny, the shower curtain blows in on you the entire time (which is one of my personal pet peeves anyway)...and our shower curtain was black on the bottom - not the cleanest. I couldn't wait to get to a real shower off the boat to feel clean again. It also would have been nice to have some electrical outlets in the bathroom.
Stateroom 6060 had issues with its door lock the entire cruise. It wouldn't lock behind us without many tries and much effort. Our Stateroom Attendant (Robin) witnessed this on the first day and said he'd request that it be fixed. They didn't show up to fix it until the very last day, and I'm not sure it worked very well even after that.
The food was only slightly better than average. We ate only three meals in the main dining room due to excursion schedules and the fact that we skipped formal nights. (I work in a profession where I dress up every day and we attend several charity events a year - so taking such close on vacation seemed like a terrible burden to us.) We did Select Dining for the nights we did eat in the Main Dining Room. It was usually very smooth, but one evening they were running late and didn't have our table ready...so we had to wait in the Martini Bar for an extra 30 minutes. The service was very good, even if it was terribly slow. The Buffet was typical buffet food. We ate at the poolside grill once. It wasn't spectacular.
We did not buy a beverage package. It would not have been economical for us. I drink mostly water and tea anyway, and the free options for both were more than adequate. I really liked having ice and water available in the room at all times.
Brent Nixon really is a great draw. While some of his humor may seem a bit juvenile, some of his audience is juvenile. I thought his talks were very informative and were fun for all ages. We didn't miss one of his talks. The evening entertainment was also very good. We could've done without the magician, but the comedian was great. And the "broadway-type" performers were very talented.
Nice size. Showing some wear and tear. But, we enjoyed it.
This perhaps is the highlight. The staff and crew were exceptional.
We booked all of our shore excursions through Celebrity for a number of reasons. And our plans did not give us much time to shop or explore the ports. We'll just have to go back!
It will probably come as no surprise that it was rainy and chilly in Ketchikan.
• Lighthouse, Totems & Eagles
My MIL and I took this tour, while the boys went fishing. This was a catamaran tour. Enjoyed the staff. Saw lots of Eagles, cruised slowing past Totem Bight State Park. Because of choppy water, we didn't make it close to the lighthouse, but it was a nice tour.
• Knudson Cove Salmon Fishing
Successful! DH and FIL caught 7 salmon. Their boat (of 6 people) caught 12. They thoroughly enjoyed this fishing experience and the people they were with.
Tracy Arm Fjord
Wow! We couldn't have asked for nicer weather to see such a beautiful place. Apparently, the captain got us further in than he'd been able to do all season. We stayed on our verandas, apart from a quick breakfast buffet trip. We did need a jacket and hat and gloves, but it was really a nice, sunny morning. We saw all sorts of wildlife (whales, seals, eagles)...along with the amazing scenery. No picture could ever do this place justice.
Juneau was sunny part of the time, but mostly cloudy with some drizzle.
• Mount Roberts Tramway
I kinda wish we would've saved our money and wandered around town instead. First of all, they cram so many people into the trams that you can't see anything except the back of someone else's head unless you are lucky enough to be squished up against a window. The cultural movie at the top and the gift shop were fine. The view was good even through the drizzle, but not really worth the trip. I wouldn't call it breathtaking.
• Evening Whale Quest
This was the highlight and favorite excursion for all of us. We saw quite a few pods of Orca all around us, including several that were "showing off" for the boat. We also saw several humpback whales bubble net feeding. Even the staff was amazed at how successful this whale watching trip was. There wasn't a dull or quiet moment the entire time. I didn't even taste any of the amazing food or drink that was available as I was outside taking pictures the entire time (even though it was somewhat cool and drizzly)!
It was mostly sunny this day, with small pockets of rain.
• Yukon Exploration & White Pass Scenic Railway
We took the bus up and the train down. I got a lot of conflicting advice on cruisecritic about which side you want to sit on. In this scenario, you want to be on the right side of the bus and the right side of the train (facing forward). If you take the train up and bus down, you'll want to be on the left. I thought this was beautiful. The rest of my party thought it was a little too long. Caribou Crossing was fine. The lunch was okay. We did not go on a dogsled ride. We walked through the very small museum and petted the puppies. I would've been okay spending less time here. We skipped the Yukon sign on the way up, and then didn't stop on the way down either because it was pouring rain. That was a bit disappointing. But, it was fine. We all really enjoyed the train ride. I spent most of my time on the platform taking pictures. It was beautiful.
Freezing cold!!! Extremely windy. They say the temp was in the 50s, what they didn't tell us was the wind chills were in the 30s. They kept saying that it's really windy on the pier but the wind isn't as bad downtown. That is lie.
• Victoria by Horse Drawn Trolley
Even in fleece jackets, hats and a blanket (shared by four people), we were too miserable to enjoy this. There were about 25 people on a trolley pulled by 2 horses. We were in the back and couldn't hear the driver very well at all...especially over the gale-force winds and our shivering teeth. We went straight back to the boat after the tour to thaw out. We didn't enjoy Victoria at all.
This went relatively smoothly. Our station was in the Martini bar. There were not enough chairs for all the people waiting to be called. Once we were called, our bags were spread out all over the place, but we found them and exited quickly.
We spent the weekend in Seattle with family. We did a duck boat tour, which we all loved. We highly recommend this. We walked through the Market. We took the rail to the Space Needle. We didn't go up in it, because we didn't want to wait in line or pay the price. We also spent quite a bit of time just walking around downtown. We loved Seattle, and we're glad we spent some time there.
A lot of cruisecritic members have called this an Inferior Itinerary on an Inferior Ship. Since this was our first cruise, we have nothing to compare it to. But, overall, we were not disappointed. We enjoyed it and would recommend it to others.
I didn't, however, fall in love with cruising on this trip. I think I prefer land vacations. And I will be back to Alaska....to see the interior! Read Less