We chose this cruise because it was a ten day round trip itinerary that left and returned to Vancouver. It didn't' go to Glacier Bay, but the times in port were good and the ten day itinerary allowed us to visit extra ports. We were also hoping to get some dancing in because we'd found the dance floor on our previous cruise was far too small.
The cruise more than met our expectations. We had some lovely table mates in the main dining room and the food was excellent. We usually ate in the Lido for lunch and tea and very much enjoyed the food there as well. It had some great views . The tea in the Queen's Ballroom was also fantastic.
The ports were great. We did a private tour with Wild Wolf Tours in Ketchikan and very much enjoyed it. In Juno, we took the shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier and were glad we'd chosen the tour that gave us the most time there. In Skagway, we took the train to Bennett Lake and the bus back. It was a great experience, but next time I might go for a smaller tour so that we'd have more flexibility. In Icy Strait, I went whale watching while my husband stayed on shore and watched the whales breaching behind our boat. Luckily we some some on the boat as well as eagles, sea otters, and sea lions.
Our Captain and crew showed their true colours at the Hubbard Glacier because they were able to manouver us very close to the glacier. We had a great view of the glacier calving and the small boat tour didn't get that much closer to the glacier (maybe 200 metres) than we did. The naturalist on board was very impressed with how close we got. In Sitka, we walked around the port by ourselves and found it very easy to do and I particularly enjoyed the walk in the Natural Park with the huge trees. In Vancouver, we took the ships tour to Butchart Gardens, but I found it very rushed and would have preferred longer in the gardens. A private excursion that would let you take as long as you want would have been nicer.
There were a few dance groups on this cruise, so there were some high level dancers. This lead to a packed and intimidating dance floor in the Queen's Ballroom, so we often went up to the yacht club and danced there because it was less intimidating. However, I was able to hold my own during the line dance lessons and we eventually got up the nerve to dance on the floor in the Queen's Ball room and we did fine. We also enjoyed the shows in the theatre. They had a new one every night and we always managed to find a seat if we left our cabin about 15 minutes before the show started.
My biggest disappointment with the cruise was the fact that they cancelled the line dance and ball room lessons on the last sea day because the dance classes are the favourite part of my sea days. But all in all, it was an excellent cruise. They staff seemed happy and pleasant and we really enjoyed our waiters in the Britannia and the dance couple that taught the lessons. We plan to go on another Cunard cruse again because it seems to do the three things we like to do on a cruise very well (dance, read a book (their library was fantastic), and promenade around the deck).
We were the only ship disembarking in Vancouver and I found the process fairly well organized. We waited in the theatre until they called our deck and then proceeded to the gangway where I picked up the ulu knife that had been confiscated after I went shopping in Ketchikan. They showed us to the deck five luggage area and we picked up our bags and got into the taxi lineup. It took us about an hour to get through that lineup, but it was an organized process where we snaked through the lineup corral until we were given a taxi stand to stand at. Anyone needing a handicapped vehicle was sent through a different lineup and I noticed that they did allow someone who I suspect had issues standing jump the taxi lineup corral and go straight to the assigned taxi station just before ours. Our disembark time was 9:10 and I think we got off the ship at 9:25 and we made it to the airport by 11. If a lot of ships were disembarking at once, I would probably consider the ships shuttle instead of the taxi even though it was more expensive. I our case, I knew we'd have time to do the taxi lineup because our flight wasn't due to leave until 1pm.
We were right across from the laundry room but it closed to passengers at 9 pm. The convenience of being close to the laundry room outweighed any "noise" issues. The Captain also opened the forward deck for scenic viewing at times. However, we often found it nice to just view the scenery from our cabin because it was sheltered from the rain by the cabin above. The sofa was also right next to the window so we could sit inside and still see if we wanted to warm up. Being able to make a cup of tea was a bonus.
Our cabin steward Arthur did a great job keeping the cabin clean and tidy and he even noticed that a light had burnt out and sent someone to fix it without our asking.
We flew in two days before and explored Stanley Park, the aquarium, and English Bay Beach on our own.
This was a small group van tour to the "end of the road" in Ketchikan. We really enjoyed Tracy's insights about life on the island and the hike was great even in the pouring rain. She might have had ponchos for those that were unprepared for the rain, but most of us were expecting it and prepared. We stopped off at the clan house on the way to the hike and thus beat the crowds from the other larger tours.View All undefined undefined Reviews
This tour gave us the most time at the glacier. The bus driver was from California and he told corny jokes and gave us a bit of a canned commentary as we toured through town. We ate at the Hanger on the way back because we were starving and it was too late for dinner. Meal was expensive, but acceptable.View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
This tour was our big splurge and we enjoyed riding the train up and seeing all the places mentioned in the Yukon Trail computer game that my kids used to play when they were growing up. the weather was lovely as we explored Bennett Lake and the lunch on the train to Carcross was delicious. We managed to get about 15 minutes of Canadian cellular service in Carcross, but I found the time here was very rushed. One of our tour party members did not get back on the bus and the bus driver waited about 3 minutes for him before calling and leaving which freaked me out just a tad. However, he must have taken another bus down because they asked if we had a no show when we crossed back into Alaska and everyone was onboard when we left port. (I was so glad the Captain announced it).
This tour guide had grown up all over the United States, so she was relying on the canned commentary as well. Her knowledge of Canadian geography seemed to be rather weak because we were quite surprised to hear that the Yukon was a territory withing the province of British Columbia that extended all the way down to Victoria (which is located Vancouver Island) she thought. It wasn't exactly what we'd learnt in school growing up, that's for sure. We did stop a few places on the way down, but another time I think I'd prefer a smaller group that would have a bit more flexibility and more likely to have someone from the area as a guide.View All 41 White Pass Bennett Lake Adventure Reviews
I enjoyed it. I had taken a sea sickness pill before I set out but the boat was fairly large. I found it easy to see out the windows and the captain opened the forward deck once we reached the main viewing area. I wore my winter jacket and hat on this trip and it was the right choice. My husband stayed on shore and noticed a bunch of whales breaching behind us that we never saw. After the tour we explored Icy strait on our own. We had the Halibut fish and chips here (at the Cannery or cookhouse I think) and I preferred them to the ones we had in Juno.View All 161 Whale Watching Reviews
This was a lovely port to explore on your own. It was raining, but we started in the museum where the free shuttle dropped us off and then went to the cathedral, graveyard, and blockhouse before taking the sea walk to the nature park. I loved the huge trees in the Nature Park and it was interesting seeing the site where the fort had been.
My Dad had taken me on a nighttime tour of the gardens the last time I was in Victoria (I wont' say how many years ago but I was too young to rent a car at the time) so I was really looking forward to this trip. I loved seeing everything in the sunshine this time, but felt we really didn't have enough time here. The guide warned us to go to the gift shop first which we did. Then we headed out to the gardens which were lovely but very crowded. Some places were wall to wall people and progress was sometime halted by someone posing for a picture or taking a selfie every five steps. We grabbed a sandwich at the snack bar and ate it as we walked so that we'd see everything before we got back on the bus. We only had about an hour and 15 minutes in the gardens and we'd been under the impression that we would have at least an hour and 45 minutes when we booked. Next time, I'd like to take a tour that allows you to chose how long you get to stay.View All 308 Butchart Gardens Reviews