ANCHORAGE: First, please be there a day early if you are just doing the cruise. The ship leaves at 8pm, but you have to land at the airport by 4pm to make it thru the (one way every 30 minutes) tunnel. My sister was supposed to land at 1 pm, got delayed and landed at 6pm. She missed the ship and had to meet us 3 days later in Skagway. Now, Princess was wonderful. Helped her every step of the way and refunded her ship days, but plane hopping and hotels were absolutely not in the budget. We had trip insurance, but it doesn't cover mechanical problems with the plane, and the airlines have a 6 hr window before they comp you a hotel. Since she was only 5 hrs late, she had to do everything out of pocket. We are still irked at United for not putting her on a different airline which would have had her in Anchorage in time.
We were able to get there a day early. Stayed at the Captain Cook Hotel and had no complaints. In fact the beds were amazing! The black out shades were sufficient and we didn't need the sleep masks we brought. Dinner was at the Glacier Brewhouse. Highly recommend it! The food was perfect and I fell in love with the Denali Red microbrew. Drank it everyday of the land tour. All the Princess Lodges carry their beer. We also visited the Alaska Museum and enjoyed it very much.
FOOD: not that impressed with the sit down dinner. In fact, our last night we sent the steak back... It was tough, overcooked and had no flavor. The salmon was always good. My favorite was the pizza. In fact I ate it every lunch. The buffet had a good selection, but it was no better than other buffets I've eaten at. Not that impressed with the drink of the day either. Gave up after the second day. I purchased the kids soda card. Best thing ever. Now, I had to drink out of fish themed cup, but it was a double walled tumbler and came in handy. All you can drink soda, all you can drink milkshakes and malts, and all you can drink virgin cocktails which I enjoyed :). My sister purchased a coffee card. Not worth it. You basically got 1 drink free, but you had to drink 2 coffees a day and being in the ports all day, she just didn't drink that. She had 3 coffees left so she actually lost money.ENTERTAINMENT: we enjoyed the shows. Not the best singers, but the dancing was very good. There was a presentation by Shelley Gill on Iditarod dogs, Denali and other stuff. She was hysterical and very informative. Rangers came on board for Glacier Bay, and again.... Very informative.
ROOM: We were in B603. Covered balcony and great views. The beds were decent, but the comforters need to be replaced. We used the 3rd bed that pulls down from the ceiling. It was just as comfortable as the others. Getting up was no problem, getting down the ladder took a while, but by day 3, I had it perfected. Tons of closet space and hangers. The bathroom had 3 shelves so our toiletries fit just fine. The shower is small, and it's tricky keeping the curtain inside. We flooded the bathroom more than once. There is a small shelf that holds 1 body wash and the ships shampoo and conditioner. That's it. The best tip I found on these boards was to bring the shower caddies that suctions to the wall. We needed that! Shaving your legs is tricky, but doable if you turn off the water. We also brought the over the door shoe hanger. We put our gloves and misc. in there, but honestly.... We didn't need it. There were plenty of drawers and desk space. It's mid ship, so we didn't have traffic noise and it was very smooth. We took Dramimine the first day just in case, but didn't need it at all.DISEMBRKMENT: actually, very smooth. Make sure you check your luggage tags the day before. They had us in the wrong group, but it was fixed quickly. Princess people direct you the whole way. We left at 7:30 for an 11am flight and had plenty of time. Picking up your luggage at Vancouver Airport is mass chaos. People directed you every step of the way, but it's just so much luggage and only one way in and out of the room. For the whole cruise, there's no crowds or lines, then boom..... Back to reality. Also make sure you call your credit card company before you travel. Canada is on the list of blocked countries for my Credit Union and I couldn't use that card to pay for my checked bags or anything else at the airports! If you are connecting thru Toronto, you pick up your luggage on the 3rd floor area G. It's right next to customs, which was smooth, but going thru security again took forever.
EXCURSIONS: My only complaint is you don't know your excursion is cancelled till you go to check in. We had a 10 am tour that was cancelled, so we didn't have enough time to do another before our 1 pm tour. The tour director was there where you meet and was very helpful in getting us situated. We were never charged for the tours that were cancelled or the ones we cancelled so we could do the main one we wanted. So, have a back up plan :)
Wonderfully view. Covered balcony was nice in the rain. I am so happy we got this room with the balcony. Beds were pretty comfortable, but the comforters need to be replaced. We used the third bed that pulled down from the ceiling. It was just as comfortable as the other beds but my pillows kept sliding thru the gap between the bed and wall. Getting up was no problem. Getting down the ladder took some practice, but by day 3 I was a pro. Tons of closet space for three people and enough hangers to go around. There were 3 shelves in the bathroom so our toiletries fit just fine. Luggage fit under the beds and in the closet. The shower is small. The curtain kept flipping out and we flooded the bathroom more than once. There is also 1 tiny shower shelf that will fit 1 body wash and the ships small shampoo and conditioner. Best tip I got was to bring the shower baskets that suction to the wall. And shaving your legs was challenging but doable if you turned the water off. Other than flooding the bathroom, LOVED IT! It's mid ship, so we had no traffic noise. Smooth sailing also. We didn't need the Dramamine we brought.
Our glacier landing and dog sledding tour was cancelled. My one complaint is that you don't know things are cancelled till you go to check in. We had 2 excursions planned, went to check in at 10:00 and found the weather was to bad to land on the glacier. Because of the departure times we now had to choose between a different dog sledding or the White pass Summit that we had already booked. Princess has a tour coordinator hanging out there and he was wonderful helping us. We were not charged for the White Pass tour.
Soooo, the dog sledding was a blast. Great guides and mushers, tons of puppies to hold and cuddle. Free hot chocolate also :). All in all, we had a really good time. Nice thing about having only 1 excursion is we got to walk around Skagway, shop and drink Spruce Tip beer at the Brewing Company. This was my favorite town and I could have stayed there another day! The ship actually has a presentation on how to shop in Skagway, it's very informative. I guess I'll have to go back someday and do the other excursions :). Oh, and pay the $2 for the town shuttle, well worth it in the rain.View All 163 Dog Sledding Reviews
There is a waterfall at the base of Mendenhall Glacier. It's an easy walk and about 45 minutes round trip. It's awe inspiring. Please go if you can. To see the force and volume of water is amazing. There were trails, but we only had an hour so we didn't get to explore any of them. You can leave all your stuff on the bus while you treck around if you want. There were so many things we wanted to do in Juneau, but the tour we took was all day. I don't regret choosing that one at all!View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
We did the whale watching, salmon bake and Mendenhall glacier tour. Highly recommend this. We saw 6 humpback whales, 2 that were pretty close and gave us great pictures of them fluking. It was cold( 40 degrees). And raining ... And the best place to be is on the top deck which has no cover. So definitely bring the rain gear and a jacket. Dress in layers... Warm layers. The barbecued salmon was delicious. Caught that morning...so moist and such a great flavor that you will be glad it's all you can eat. Cute gift shop at Orca Point Lodge.View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
I love rain forests and enjoyed this one very much. We did not see bears, but did see tons of eagles. There is an area where you can feed and pet reindeer, they're awesome. If you go to the gift shop, buy the canned salmon. We got samples and it was wonderful! And of course bought some.
We took the trolley tour... Just ok. We enjoyed Saxon Village very much, but Creek Street was a bust. If i could do it over, I'd go to Saxon Village, or even Totum Pole Park, but skip the trolly. Ended up just walking back to the dock area and shopping. We bought tons of souvenirs there.... They had jackets on sale for $25. We had already bought long underwear in Skagway or I would have been all over that! Really decent deals.View All 104 Rainforest Hike Reviews