My father had wanted to go to Alaska for some time, and when the prices fell, we decided now was the time to go! We travelled with a group of 8: my parents, my husband and I with our 10 yr old daughter, and our friends with their 12 yr old son. My boss and his parents also came along when I shared my plans with them.We loved the port of Vancouver and wished we had more time there to spend. We stayed at the Days Inn which was older and small, but very reasonable with a friendly staff. Their shuttle to the port really helped with all of our luggage, and the location is perfect.The embarkation process was seamless. We got to the port around 12:45, and were on the ship by 1:15. We waited for them to open the doors to the stateroom areas, changed into swimsuits, and were in the hot tub shortly afterwards.The service on the Spirit was excellent! Our waiters, Noel and Nathaniel, gave the kids special attention. I really like the fixed dining time because you get such personal treatment. Nathaniel had a magic trick for the kids nearly every night. The food was good, not excellent, but completely acceptable.The cabin steward was also excellent. I would have liked a bit more storage space, but we managed just fine. Our category 7A cabin was great. The lifeboat at the bottom of the balcony was never a true obstruction. Our view was still fabulous.The ship's naturalist, Michelle, did an exceptional job keeping us informed of points of interest and nearby wildlife.The shows I thought were not as good as I had hoped. Apparently the ones I missed were much better than the ones I actually saw. The nightlife on the ship is much slower than other cruises due to an older crowd, I think.The children's programs were excellent! The staff allowed my daughter to go up to the 12-14's to be with her friend, and I couldn't have asked for better staff and programs. They really enjoyed themselves and made friends quickly.The cruise came to an end all too quickly. Debarkation was smooth, and we were very pleased with the Alaskan Leopard Company who provided our transport to the airport. We stopped at Portage Glacier and got a complimentary beverage and Cinnamon Roll. Then stopped at the Wildlife Reserve in Anchorage. The guide was very funny, friendly, and took great care of us. It was a very good choice.This was our first cruise since our honeymoon 15 yrs ago and my parents' first. We all wish we were back on the Spirit now enjoying more of beautiful Alaska!
Very good location. Convenient to elevators, close to the middle of the ship. No noise, balcony view good despite lifeboat.
Ketchikan was probably my favorite port. The Tongass stores had great, inexpensive souvenirs. But my favorite part was Creek Street and the stores there with more authentic Alaskan items available. The town has a lovely feel to it.We took the Allen Marine Misty Fjords Tour booked through the cruise line. We all so enjoyed this excursion. The staff was courteous and professional, the naturalist from our home state of NC was very good and helpful. The snacks they served were all quite good, and the Misty Fjords were just breathtaking.Our weather was really good - mild, a little overcast, and only cold out on the boat deck when we were on the move.
We did Juneau on our own due to budgetary restrictions. We, especially the kids, enjoyed shopping in the stores. They collected the free coins and charms offered at all of our ports which was like a scavenger hunt for them.We ate at Tracy's Crab Shack which did not disappoint. The crab legs were enormous, and the crab bisque to die for.Later we all took the Blue Bus Glacier Express to Mendenhall Glacier. I was a bit disappointed that the last bus left the glacier at 5:30, so we only had about 2 hours at the glacier itself. We were lucky to spot a bear right on the main path off of the parking lot. The park rangers did a good job managing the bear siting. We hiked down almost to the waterfall and got some lovely shots of the glacier and the falls. I would have really enjoyed more time to explore. The glacier itself is breathtaking. We were very fortunate with mild, sunny weather. We ended up carrying the coats most of the day.When we returned to town, we took the Mt. Robers Tramway and ate some appetizers at their restaurant. The view was lovely, and they had a good jazz duet playing. The service, however, was just plain non-existent.
We were all excited for our trip with Chilkoot Charters. We did the 7.5 hr tour with the train ride up, then the bus ride into the Yukon and back to Skagway.The train ride was very scenic, and the staff did a good job letting us know when points of interest were ahead. It was very enjoyable, and the kids really liked standing out on the platform with their dads going through the tunnels. The trip into the Yukon was just amazing. Our guide with Chilkoot was superb - very thoughtful of all of us. We went to Caribou Crossing where the BBQ Chicken was utterly delicious. The kids, and the adults as well, really enjoyed playing with the sled dog puppies. I have never seen so many mosquitoes in my life!The sites in the Yukon were amazing. Emerald Lake, the mountains, all were too beautiful for words. We were fortunate to pass two bears along the side of the road on our return to Skagway. Our driver stopped so we could all get some great shots.
Sitka was our only rainy day, thankfully. We enjoyed our walk through the forest at the National Park. Would have been much better without the rain. But it really is a lovely walk with the totems, and the staff at the park was very helpful.Afterwards we went to the Raptor Center and enjoyed seeing these amazing birds so close up. Overall, this was my least favorite port. There were some very good stores, though, where we could purchase souvenirs at good prices and different stuff than we'd seen in all the other ports.