This was my 5th and my wife's 6th cruise. We have done 3 with Celebrity and never been disappointed. We spent 2 days in Seattle before the cruise and it is a great place to visit. Pike Place Market is wonderful spot and there are lots of interesting places on the adjoining streets. We had brunch at Cafe Champagne, a charming French Bistro. Don't miss the Chihuly Glass Museum at the Needle. We had an excellent dinner at Elliot's on the water.
The embark and disembark were flawless. We had to wait for our town car because I expected delays getting off. They have a new program where if you are flying, you can check your bags on the ship (and get boarding passes) and never see them until baggage claim at your final destination (select airlines). WOW!
Our cabin was pretty standard. My wife thought the storage was excellent and the bathroom was bigger than last cruise. We had a nice little veranda, comfortable, reclining mesh chairs, and a cocktail table. We also had a small fridge, but don't eat/drink the stuff in it. No one does. It's not free like room service by your steward.
The ship was about as big a ship as I am interested in ~ 2800 passengers. There were parts of the ship we never got to. Our cabin was near the aft elevator bank and it was an easy trip to dining (both the large open dining and the dinner seatings). The specialty restaurants were back there too and we celebrated a friend's birthday on the 4th of July in the Tuscan Grill. Excellent food, and superb service. I had a 9 oz. filet and a terrific short rib ragout pasta dish. i went down to deck 5 in the mornings for Lattes and Americanos for the wife and I. Open at 6:30 AM. Who gets up before that on a ship?
The entertainment was a step above prior trips. Very talented performers and very high energy. Great choreography. My only criticism of the musical shows would be that despite the talent level, the energy, and the choreography, the show lacked cohesion or maybe vision woould be a better word. Lots of singing and dancing but no story.
However, both comedians, Robbie Printz and Phil Tag were fantastic!
Service was excellent and sooooo friendly. The bartenders remember what you drink. the barristas remember your coffee order. Our steward was terrific.
I want to specially mention the Captain and the Cruise Director. Captain Tazos was wonderful. He is Greek and he makes sure you know he is Greek. He is a very funny guy, and very accessible. It's not easy to be funny in a non-native language, but he is. I seldom listened to Captain's announcements on prior cruises, but I listened to every one of his. Cruise Director Steve was everywhere and he told us every day to stop and say Hi. You couldn't miss him or his constant enthusiasm.
We had great weather in Seattle prior to the cruise and in Victoria on the last leg. Alaska was cold and wet the whole time but that is the chance you take. A friend took the same cruise last year and had 80 degrees and sun all day, every day. You pay your money and take your chance.
Ketchikan is small, but has a part of town (to the right of the berth) that we didn't have time to see because we had to prepare for our excursion. We took the Seafeast and Alaska Lodge tour. Good tour. We bussed about 15 miles and caught small boat. Before the boat left, the operator threw some fish in the water and a half dozen or so bald eagles swooped down from the trees to pluck them about 20 feet from you. Then we saw a seal rookery on a small island. Then we went to the island Silver Salmon lodge where we had a nature walk on a boardwalk into the rainforest and saw the small black tail deer that swim to the island to fawn because there are no bears of wolves on the island. They will pose for pictures for you. Than we had a sea feast of fresh clams, mussels, crab, corn and potatoes. What a pig out! So fresh!
Next was the Tracy Arm of the fjord to the Sawyer Glacier. Fortunately/unfortunately there was so much ice due to an earthquake, rain or other natural event that 15 miles away we had to turn around due to the sheer ice volume. There was no danger. We could have gone 1/2 knot and gotten to the glacier after 30 hours but that would have destroyed the trip timeline. I was beautiful but disappointing. Juneau (same day) was OK but the featured historic place, the Red Dog, was so crowded we didn't bother.
Of the Alaskan ports, we liked Skagway the best. They had the most charming 4th of July Parade with Pipers, RCMP marchers, pick up trucks, fire engines, vintage cars, and a kazoo band. The instant the parade ended, I ran to the "featured' historic spot, the Red Onion Saloon, and got a table. Good food, limited menu due to fire regulations - no open flames and no deep fryer - because the town is so old, a fire would destroy it in minutes.
Victoria, BC is the bomb. This was our second visit here and we are in love. Butchart Gardens is one of the premier gardens in the world. Let me just say that my wife loved the shopping and let it go at that. We went to the Bard and Banker Pub and I think that may be the most beautiful pub I have ever been in. The Empress Hotel has High Tea. Do not miss Victoria!