We were a party of four (my wife and I and my brother and his wife, all late 60’s early 70’s) and we booked Neptune suites on either side (port and starboard) of the Neptune Lounge entrance. That way you don’t miss any views and one side always gets the sun. However, if you have to pick one side starboard is better as you spend more time on the veranda coming back.
The weather was mostly very good, some rain but sun when it was important.
We booked 6 months early got a free beverage and no gratuities perk, and the price was less than brochure.
The cruise – If you enjoy cruising then you must do this one at least once. Ours was the end of season seven-day Alaskan cruise. Average age 65+; few children (who seemed to have a good time.) I suspect the ship was not sold out and other than the Lido buffet things were pretty quiet.
Smoking section is outside aft of the lido and was a sensible solution – heard no complaints and there were quite a few older smokers.
Clothing – For excursions and on the boat deck during Glacier Bay - I read everything in Cruise Critic (advice varied) and planned accordingly and was very cold the first day as I did not have any fleece or wool layers. Bought a sweater in Juneau for the rest of the trip. My recommendation –
• thin long sleeve thermal undershirt(UNIQLO heatex),
• light to medium wool sweater with high neck – zip up was best,
• cotton hoodie
• unlined rain jacket (NorthFace),
• light scarf
• light wool gloves
These layers were pared down according to condition. Fully dressed in the 45° rain on one of the whale boats on their outside decks.
Extras – You don’t need:
• Binoculars – the ship has them (in the suite) and all the tours have good ones as well.
• Bug spray – never saw a mosquito
• Sun block – you welcome any sun
There were two ‘formal’ nights and most folks dressed up – some in suits and a few in tuxes – for the main dining rooms. I brought a jacket and tie and black slacks.
Embarkation – we arrived at 11:15 and they opened the gate at 11:45 and we were in our room shortly after. We snacked in the Neptune Lounge and had salads in the Lido.
The stateroom – Neptune suites are really gorgeous – this was our 4th time and they have only gotten better appointed. Very spacious and a large balcony, although this was only used on sunny days when we had them. Free laundry and binoculars. We have gotten used to booking suites which means we cruise less but cruise better. Our favorite is the Haven suites on Norwegian but Holland is our favorite after that. Both offer some dining advantages especially breakfast and sometimes lunch.
Entertainment – we did not partake except to listen to the classical ensemble. Typically we retire after a late dinner
Neptune Lounge – This lounge area is a really nice respite from the rest of the ship, offering a quiet escape and great snacks and beverages throughout the day. Plus there is a concierge on duty to assist with any kind of planning. Having it across the hall made it real easy to grab coffee (one of those wonderful cappuccino machines) and get back to the room.
Wifi – standard package (day and capacity based) was fine for email and news – 89$ for the week.
What we did –
• Juneau – 50° - mixed rain and cloudy - we took the whale watch catamaran and Mendenhall Glacier package - about 5 hours. Saw 10 whales, some see lions and a few eagles – and then a bus ride to the glacier. Good guides throughout. I would recommend just doing the whales and skipping the glacier – not much of it left and you miss Juneau. Or if you can afford it – do the float plan tour of the glacier. Saw a little of Juneau at beginning and end of trip.
• Sitka – 47° - Mixed rain and sun - we took the another catamaran and saw plenty of otters. Then a bus ride to a raptor sanctuary and bear sanctuary. Missed seeing Sitka.
• Glacier Bay – 45-50° - Mostly sunny – This is why you do this cruise – Seeing whales and sea otters is fun, but this part of the trip makes the whole trip worth it. It consumes most of the day and the scenery is visible from many venues on deck, even from your staterooms. Really spectacular landscape and great narration by park rangers. We saw bears, mountain goats, eagles, a whale or two and many glaciers – even caught a double ‘calving’ at one.
• Katchican – 42° heavy Rain and then sun - we took the another catamaran. Aside from a 45-minute tour of the beautiful Misty Fjords, most of this 4.5 hour trip is getting there and back. And you have zero time in Katchican, the best ‘town experience’ on this trip. If I did it again I would do the float plane tour of the fjords, otherwise skip it.
• At sea to Vancouver – 50° sunny – we arrived at 6 so we never left the ship.
• Lido – better than I remember – really good curries.
• Main dining room – Ate there four times –always good - the gala night was the best menu.
• Pinnacle – Beautiful space. The rib eye and NY strips were tough and either under or over cooked. The 7 oz filets were perfect, as where all the sides and the service was just great.
• Rudi’s Seafood dinner night at the Pinnacle was well worth it – best meal of the trip - we had the dover sole on the frame (skillfully filleted in front of you). My wife had perfect rack of lamb. Big portions. Sides and desserts were really good.
• Tamarind – had a really good experience there – We felt that the food and venue (and service) are underrated. I had excellent sashimi and the others had a combo of Asian appetizers and a filet. Great appetizers and sides as well.
• Room service – didn’t have any – My sister in law loved it.
Overall – I give this cruise B+ that with a few tweaks (regarding excursions) it would have been an A.
Gorgeous and spacious room with a great balcony. Plenty of closets and a huge bathroom.
too late to appreciate it,View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
Saw a lot of whalesView All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
This is why you take an Alaskan cruise - truly magnificent.
Magnificent! Best part of the trip.
Stayed on the ship
Most of the time is getting there and back.View All 113 Misty Fjords Wilderness Cruise Reviews