The cruise itself was very nice, but the state room we had was a real problem for noise and cigarette smoke. I recommend to take this cruise, but stay away from cabin 7504.
I will put in a bit of detail since it was hard to understand the details from the description given on the site.
Vancouver - The cruise starts in Vancouver BC which is a great city with lots of fun stuff to do and tons of restaurants. It tends to be a bit expensive, but you can generally find something for every price range. Suggest spending some time there before the cruise.
Inside Passage - This was pleasant enough, but far less dramatic than I was expecting. Living in the Northwest this was simply typical ocean and river views.
Ketchikan - was not a very interesting place for me. It is a lot of tourist shops with high prices. I thought the people there were not very accommodating compared to other parts of Alaska.
Icy Point Strait - Although there is not a lot to do here, it is a very nice walk from the docks over to Hoonah about 1.5 miles along the water. There is not much in Hoonah, although we did see a whale and a beautiful eagles nest. There was also a great place called the office bar there with fresh Dungeness Crab for $25 which was great.
Juneau - This is where the trip really gets a bit more special. Juneau has lots of great things to do. We took a glacier flight which was spectacular. We also went up on the Mt Roberts Tram which has spectacular views and then took a bus to Mendenhall glacier (riding the blue bus over is much cheaper). Overall this was one of the better stops, but prices can add up quickly as nothing is cheap.
Skagway - This is really a quite small town with nothing in particular to do except to ride the White Pass Train which is nice, but way too expensive in my opinion (may be cheaper to book outside of cruise ships). It has nice views here, but not much more.
Hubbard Glacier - This was definitely a highlight of the trip. The ship spends several hours cruising around the glacier and going in circles so everyone gets a great view. It comes very close to the glacier so you can get some stunning photos. We were also lucky enough to have a bright sunny day while there and there was a lot of calving going on with the glacier which is spectacular to watch up close.
Seward - This was actually a great place with lots of great restaurants and shops as well as a great walk along the shore. There is a very short bus ride to the sea life center which is included in the tour. They give about two hours to see the sea life center, and get some lunch and then leave around noon for Alyeska.
Alyeska - They stopped along the way at exit glacier and gave us 45 minutes which was just enough time to do the .9 mile walk to the glacier and back. We then continued to Alyeska and arrived in the late afternoon. Included is a pass to ride the Alyeska tram which has some nice views. You stay at the Alyeska Lodge which is quite spectacular. It is about a 1.5 mile walk to Girdwood along a scenic trail on which we were just a few yards away from a young Buck Moose. There are a couple of good restaurants in Girdwood, but the hotel restaurants are good as well and highly recommend the Pond Cafe at the hotel for breakfast.
Anchorage - From Alyeska you head out the next morning for Anchorage and they dropped us off at around 10 AM at 3rd and C street by the Saturday market. You get 2 hours to see the market (or whatever you choose) and get some lunch. There are a number of good restaurants in teh area, but you need to watch the time, or you can just munch at the Saturday Market booths.
Denali - From Anchorage they head for Denali and put you up at the Denali Park Villiage for 2 nights. This was by far my least favorite place on the tour. If they put you up there insist that you do not stay in the 800 building as the road noise is terrible. Elsewhere it is OK. Also the prices for everything here are outrageous (sandwich for $9 as an example - lunch basket $16). Fortunately you can head for glitter gulch for a $5/person shuttle and eat there for much less, or walk across to the Thai food trailer. Denali is a spectacular park and they include a history tour for free, but if you look on line you can get the green bus in Denali for just $27.50 that takes you in 53 miles to the Toklat river. there is a free shuttle from the lodge to the WAC where you catch the green bus. We took the history tour which is free and goes in 18 miles, then took the green bus (need to reserve in advance) at 3PM to the Toklat river. Only downside was that the 3PM bus gets back at 9:30PM to the WAC so we had to walk 2.5 miles to glitter gulch to get a shuttle back to the Lodge. Need to do some planning, but this is a fun area.
Talkeetna - The next morning you get up and they take you back to glitter gulch or the Deanli visitor center (your choice) and you can go on a trail or just hang out at the visitor center. You need to get some lunch before you leave there as the next stop at Talkeetna is in the late afternoon, but there are place at glitter gulch or the visitor center to get lunch to go and eat on the bus. Once you arrive at Talkeetna it is a spectacular Lodge (the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge) with beautiful views of mount Denali and spectacular grounds with lots of trails. They have a free shuttle to town, or you can choose to walk the 1.5 miles on a nice path to get there. There are plenty of restaurants and shops in town to look around in the afternoon, but the shuttle back to the lodge ends at around 6PM, so difficult to eat there unless you take a taxi back or do what we did and walk. Overall this was by far and away my favorite place on the cruise and tour and will go back if I get the chance. The next day you take the train back to Anchorage from Talkeetna which is the famous glass dome trains. This means you have most of the day to spend in Talkeetna - we went on a jet boat excursion, but in retrospect I would have rather saved my money and walked around town that spend $70/person to go a couple of miles on the river.
Anchorage - the train to Anchorage is quite nice and they serve a good albeit expensive dinner on the train, but you arrive in the evening, so it is hard to avoid eating on the train. They put you up in the heart of town in Anchorage at the Marriott which is quite nice and an easy walk to see much of the city or take a tour around. The next morning you are free to go at your leisure and they transport you back to the airport irrespective of your flight time. We left at 11:59 PM so that we could see the city on our last day. The Marriott held all of our luggage so we could walk about easlily. Anchorage is a great city with lots of great restaurants and fun stuff to do. Highly recommend you take the opportunity to see everything you can while there.
This was a terrible situation. The crew break area is just below the cabin so there were doors constantly slamming below us and a bunch of noise including waking nearly every morning at 5 AM to someone playing very loud rock and roll directly below our cabin. There was also the constant smell of cigarette smoke in the cabin from the crew smoking directly below us. After 4 days of putting up with this I complained to guest services and they corrected much of it, but I would strongly recommend that you not book this cabin and if you do complain at the first sign of problems.
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