We had sailed on the Emerald Princess two years ago in the Baltic, so we were familiar with the ship. (See previous post “A Wonderful Ship but a Disappointing Itinerary” from July 2016). There have been few major changes, so I will only repeat that the Emerald is beautiful ship and is being maintained reasonably well.
We had cruised to Alaska about 10 years ago and wanted to do it again. We had a very narrow window of time in which we could travel and, of the available options sailing from Seattle, we chose this ship primarily for its competitive pricing.
Embarkation in Seattle was one of the easiest we have ever experienced, certainly the best from any US port. Our hats are off to the Seattle ground crew who were efficient, organized, and professional. It took only an hour from the time we caught an Uber at our hotel in downtown Seattle to be fully checked in, on the ship, and seated in the main dining room with cocktails in hand and lunch ordered. And we do not yet have priority boarding!
Because we booked late, this was the best available cabin. It was clean and comfortable; there is refrigerator and a desk. There is an extra chair, but no couch. The bathroom décor is uninspired and, like many cruise bathrooms, really small! We had 2 chairs and a small round table on the balcony, which is smaller than we would have liked, but no footstools. We had to beg the steward for blankets to use on the balcony. All in all, the cabin was okay for a week, but we would hesitate before booking it for a longer cruise.
The Seattle ground crew was great; professional, organized and efficient. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy and stress-free.
On a prior trip to Juneau, we had done the glacier walk via helicopter and taken the tram, so we felt we had seen the major attractions. We did some shopping at the House of Russia and had a pleasant stroll through the port area; we were again blessed with a sunny day. We then had a wonderful dinner at the “Alaska Fish and Chip Company at the Flight Deck.” They served the best halibut fried fish we have ever eaten anywhere! And it was fun to relax on the pier with a view of our ship and the seaplanes taking off from Juneau. If you are willing to pay for a meal off the ship, this is the place.
We had done the White Pass Railroad previously, so we felt no need to do it again. We took a walk into town, (which is very easy to do from the Pier) shopped for souvenirs, and had lunch at the Skagway Brewing Company. (Good local beers but the fish and chips were not as good as in Juneau). Because we again had a beautiful sunny day, we spent the afternoon on our balcony enjoying the cool, crisp Alaska air.
We had recently been in Victoria, so did not get off the ship. Because it is a night call, there really was very little of interest.