First I would like to thank CruiseCritc.com. My husband and I had never been on a cruise and I really wasn't sure what we were getting into! I read many reviews on CruiseCritic.com, and they really helped me to understand what to expect.
We set sail on our grand tour of Alaska's Inside Passage on May 1, 2012. Embarkation was very easy and we were in our cabin rather quickly. Bagus, our steward, was wonderful. He was there when we wanted or needed him, but wasn't overbearing in any way. He always referred to us by name! We were so impressed with the look and feel of the ship. Something that really stood out was the cleanliness of the ship. From the hand sanitizing stations all around, to the tissues placed on the back of bathroom doors for use with the handle, Carnival really felt clean. My husband works for the health department and he took the Galley tour, nervous of what he would see. He was very impressed by everything he saw, and by the answers he received from the crew members giving the tour. Good Job, Carnival!!
Ports: We traveled to Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. In Juneau, we took the Blue Bus to Mendenhall Glacier. This was a great deal--$7 each way! We enjoyed hiking the trails to Nugget Falls, the magnificent waterfall next to Mendenhall Glacier. This is a beautiful place, just 30 minutes outside of town. Afterwards, we wandered through Juneau, visiting the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church and then went shopping. Skagway was our next stop, and my favorite port. This is a cute town with an "old west" feel. The board walk sidewalks and wooden buildings reminded me of Tombstone, AZ. We took the White Pass and Yukon Railway 3 hour roundtrip train trip. This was a beautiful excursion up into the snow. At points, we traveled through 15 foot tall snow drifts. The scenery is magnificent and shouldn't be missed. Ketchikan was our final port. On this day, the weather was terrible---strong winds and rain. Many people never even left the ship and most of the tours were cancelled. We did explore the port and enjoyed the Totem Heritage Site and the Bald Eagle center next to it. We had fun walking the trails up to the Totem Heritage site behind Creek Street. I was really surprised by the number of tourist "junk shops" lining the ports--mostly in Juneau and Ketchikan. You really have to search off the main drag to find actual items "Made in Alaska." Most of the shops carry the same cheap items that were made in China. I will admit, these stores are great for when you have to bring a lot of souvenirs back to co-workers!
We loved our cabin. It was very spacious. We were in an 8K category on level 7 Veranda Deck. The closet space is large and well positioned. The bathroom had 6 shelves on either side of the sink---quite a lot! The shower was great. The bed was very comfortable and the sitting area was just the right amount to write postcards and place our day packs until the next adventure. We had the extended balcony and I highly recommend it! We spent a lot of time there drinking coffee and watching porpoise, orca, and humpback whales!
Ketchikan is a cute town, though the weather was terrible the day we visited. We did not let the wind and rain stop us, though it stopped many people. We visited the Totem Heritage Site and it is very interesting and worth the visit if you are into history. Next to it was a small Eagle Preserve. We were able to go into the aviary with two injured, unreleasable bald eagles and see them just feet away, without any bars between us! Creek Street is very pretty and a visit to Dolly's House, the former brothel, is entertaining and educational.