This was our first cruise and it turned out to be the vacation of a life time. We flew to Seattle (via Alaska Airlines which were a bit rough on our luggage) a couple of days early and rented a car. We took in a couple of the usual sites in Seattle: Space Needle and Boeing's Museum of Flight. The Museum of Flight was very impressive and our tour book was correct in recommending 3 hours to see it. We only had 2.5 hrs and didn't get to see everything. We drove to Mt St Helens on our second Seattle day. It was a fantastic experience. I had been there before but was still amazed at the site and especially enjoyed the visitor centers. One of which is, unfortunately, closing permanently and the other will only be open in the summers.
Our Cruise began on Friday. One note to anyone renting from Thrifty Car rental. We were told that we could pick up the car at the airport and then drop it at Pier 66 to get on the ship. We drove by Pier 66 atleast 5 times and couldn't find a Thrifty dropoff. Finally went to pier 48 and there was one there. THey told us the internet (as well as talking to Thrifty people on the phone) are incorrect in telling people that they can drop a car off at pier 66. You have to pick up or drop off at pier 48 then catch the shuttle to 66. After we knew what was going on it was simple. We arrived at the pier 66 terminal at 10:30 am and we were on board by 11am without any hassles. Had lunch in the Windjammer and wandered around the ship until after 1pm when we were told we could get into our room. We had a stateroom on deck 2 with a window. It was quaint and cozy. Plenty of room for two of us, bed was very comfortable, soft linens, we were very pleased. Our stateroom attendant brought our luggage by 3 pm. He, Mervyn, was great. The room was always clean, we had plenty of towels, towel animals, and mints.
Our first full day was cruising up to Juneau. The seas were only slightly rough. I am prone to motion sickness. I only took one Bonine the whole trip, and that was the first day. After getting used to the motion I was fine. We arrived in Juneau bright and early. We had to tender in to town but since we were on an excursion (whale watching and Mendenhall glacier) we were taken off first. Getting all of the excursion people together on the ship was a bit disorganized but it all was straightened out and next thing you know we were on a bus to Auke Bay. We boarded a smaller boat and set out to whale watch. It was fantastic. We were lucky and saw a huge pod (maybe 2 merged pods) of Orcas. They were even breaching. Even the tour guides were excited and amazed. Next we saw a group of 3 humpbacks feeding and then some sea lions. Back on shore we were bussed to Mendenhall glacier. We were a bit rushed here since the ship was only in port half of the day. We only got to spend an hour at the glacier. We hurried through the visitor center and to the view point of the glacier were we could take pictures. We were then bussed back to town where we only had a little bit of time to visit some of the shops and see the Red Dog Saloon. I would have liked more time in Juneau. There were many things that I would have liked to see but didn't have the time. Our Next stop was Skagway. This town was crowded with atleast 4 other cruise ships. I didn't care for it much...too many people, too many jewelry shops. Just a tourist town. In hindsight we probably should have taken one of the excursions out of town. This itinerary also took us to cruise Tracy Arm Fjord. The trip up the fjord was breathtaking. We were lucky in that we had wonderful weather, not a cloud in the sky. We were able to get fairly close to the glacier but not close enough to see any ice calving. We were a little disappointed in that. Maybe next trip we'll try Glacier Bay. Our last port of call was Prince Rupert. I had read that there wasn't anything to do there and that was correct. Although, we didn't mind it much. It was the only day we had rain, and there were few people out and about the town. It was really quite pleasant and peaceful. We liked just getting off the ship and walking around. This would be a good place to do an excursion if you saw something that interested you. We decided just to investigate the town and relax on the ship. The last day of the cruise was in the Inside Passage. It turned out to be one of my favorite days on board. THe scenery was beautiful, we saw more whales (Orcas and Humpbacks) and a huge group of porpoises. Disembarking from the ship was uneventful. We were renting a car, again, and didn't have to rush off so ended up being one of the last groups called. It was a bit boring waiting in the theatre for our color to be called but the good news was that it was easy to find our luggage when we finally got off the ship. One note on the entertainment on the ship. We weren't too excited about some of the musical shows. Just wasn't our type of show/music. We enjoyed the comedians immensely. We also enjoyed all of the live music on board at the different venues. Food was just fine. We liked all the choices at the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. We ate breakfast in the dining room once, but preferred the Windjammer. We had some snacks in the Solarium and they were good too. Dining room experience was wonderful. We especially enjoyed our table mates. Whomever decides how to seat people did a great job matching us. We all became friends and did things together throughout the entire cruise. Overall. We loved the Vision of the Seas. It is a wonderful ship. It might not have all the bells and whistles of a newer ship and it might be a bit worn, but we found it quite comfortable. The crew was extremely friendly and helpful. We met some wonderful people on board, passengers and crew.