I chose this cruise because I wanted a quieter, more mature cruise. It was a Seattle to Seattle cruise with a 2 day Denali Land Tour add on. We booked the Signature Suite which was quite nice. Lots of extra room, great bathroom with double vanity, shower and a bathtub. Beautiful veranda and the bed was quite comfortable. Our Room Steward was great! I've only sailed on small ships so this was a "big" midsize ship for me and we were testing it out. The staff and crew were wonderful, helpful, nice and friendly. My problem was with the cruise set up and the old and worn ship, definetly in need of a refurbish. The cruise before ours had an outbreak of Norovirus so a strict safety protocol was instituted. I have no problem with safety, I certainly don't want to get sick, but what I do have a problem with is the lack of enough staff to serve the guests. Nowhere was this blatantly apparent but on the Lido deck buffet. We had to wait in line for 10-15 min just to get one cup of coffee. We were not allowed to serve ourselves which is where the lack of staff came in. The lines were horribly long and the portions served very small. If you wanted more you had to wait in that line again and the food was mediocre. After a few days the safety protocols were slackened but we had another outbreak so back to the lines we went. By the end of the cruise we felt like cattle being herded here and there. I do have to say that the Pinnacle Grill was fabulous.
On a good note, the weather was amazing, not one day of rain which is unusual I'm told. The ports were interesting and fun as were the excursions. The captain did a great job cruising Glacier Bay making sure everyone on each side of the ship got to see it all.
Next we were loaded into motorcoaches for the drive to Denai. It was an 8 hour drive with rest stops and lunch along the way. It was a very long day and th buses were not that comfortable and dirty. Some guests upgraded to the train, which would have been nice to know. The Denali tour was indeed worth seeing, beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. We stayed at McKinley Chalet which we enjoyed very much. Our room was nice except that there was no air conditioning which made it extremely uncomfortable as it was very warm. Even the fan they provided gave little relief. With the prices you pay for an Alaskan Cruise you'd think they could put in at least a wall unit.
The cabin was extremely comfortable. It was nice and spacious and very clean. The bathroom was quite large with a double vanity, tub and separate shower. There was ample storage for everything. Multiple sets of drawers, 3 closets, stocked no host mini fridge and room safe. Also included was shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion and a hair dryer. Our Room Steward was extremely efficient, courteous, friendly and nice. We had a couple of issues that he took care of immediately. We ordered the 12 liter bottled water package which came in very handy. It was waiting for us when we boarded.
We had a late embarkation for the entire ship as it was being disinfected. As a result the Lido Deck Buffet, the only dining available, was a mad house. Huge lines and good luck finding a table. The whole process to get on the ship was smooth and efficient.
This was a fabulous day! The weather was perfect, warm and sunny. The bay was like glass the whole cruise up and back. We got some great photos. The scenery was breathtaking. We even got to see a glacier calving. The captain did a great job of making sure both side of the ship got to see everything. One of our most enjoyable days!
Disembarked here for the motorcoach ride to Denali. It went very smoothly. I must say I loved how they handles the luggage, what we needed went to Denali and the rest met us in Anchorage. Nice not to have to worry about our bags. It was all handled for us! The bus ride was long, 8 hours. Rest stops and lunch breaks were included, however, we were highly discouraged from using the motorcoach restroom. Not a fan of that. We found out later that you can upgrade to the train instead. Would have been nice to know ahead of time. We were not given that option. We would have taken the train for comforts sake.
The McKinley Chalet Resort was charming, loved the woodsy cabin look. The restaurants were good. The rooms were spacious and clean. The only downside is it was quite warm and there was no air conditioning. The fan they provided brought little relief. I would recommend they add wall unit air conditioners for such times. It was extremely uncomfortable. The Denali Land Tour was fabulous with breath taking scenery and abundant wild life. I highly recommend it. The modified school buses were not as bad as I had envisioned. There were enough rest stops as there are no rest rooms on the bus.
We arrived from the fabulous train, McKinley Explorer, around 6pm. There was a huge line, again, to get to the room. The Westmark hotel felt dirty, old and way past its prime, a 2 star at best. I would have thought Holland would do better than this especially since we were in a suite. If you are assigned this hotel I would recommend you try and change it.