My husband and I really wanted to do something special for our 40th.
We were so glad that we booked the pre trip to Vancouver. The hotel Hyatt Regency was in the perfect location in the center of the downtown area. We upgraded and popped for a room on one of the high floors where we had a gorgeous view of the city even into the harbor. When the Hyatt learned we were celebrating our anniversary they sent up a complementary cheese platter and two glasses and a half bottle of wine. Just a little inside tip, we booked Vancouver foodie tours independently for our 2nd day. Our host Nadia treated us to some of Vancouver's finest dining. We also enjoyed the included City tour with its highlights of Stanley Park, the Lion Gate Bridge and Chinatown. We fell in love with the city and we're so glad that we had an extra two days to explore.
Before I go any further I'd like to mention some tips for packing. I suggest you pack for everything from rainy weather to sunny skies. I can't emphasize enough how important layering is in Alaska. I tend to get cold easily and was grateful that I had brought along a packable lightweight down jacket for the cruise on the Misty fjords.
Embarkation was a nightmare! I don't blame Viking, I believe for safety reasons we didn't embark until late in the afternoon.
We had a deluxe Veranda stateroom which is more spacious than one would guess. We love The Veranda with the table for 2 and there's plenty of storage area in the room under the bed. The bathroom is wonderful! Heated floors great pressure in the shower and no fog mirrors.
Ketchikan: We chose to cruise the Misty fjords as our optional Excursion. I was a little disappointed to be honest. (Spoiled I had sailed the Norwegian fjords just the year before on my Homelands tour.)
Sitka: my husband and I both enjoyed the Alaskan cultural Discovery Excursion. First people dancers and the new Archangel dancers were a nice contrast to each other.
Juneau: Do not miss the taste of Juneau Excursion! We had so much fun. The highlight was a visit to Tracy's King Crab Shack where we enjoyed the sweetest crab we have ever tasted.
Skagway: Our favorite Excursion of the whole trip was the White Pass Summit in the luxury car. It was a lot of money but worth every penny! Gourmet food, excellent commentary in the most comfortable seats that swivel for viewing the scenery.
Icy Strait point: My husband particularly enjoyed the stream fishing Excursion. All of the gear was provided for including the fishing license. My husband was very proud of the cutthroat trout he caught there.
Valdez: My husband and I split up for our excursions here. I did the Columbia Glacier cruise and my husband did the Valdez Glacier by kayak Excursion. We both had a wonderful time.
Seward: We chose the behind-the-scenes at the Alaska sealife Excursion. It was disappointing! We thought we were going to see behind scenes throughout the aquarium. Instead we were parked in a small room with a few fish tanks and a long, sometimes boring lecture. I think we would have enjoyed the included tour more.
Disembarking went smooth. As usual Viking made the transfers seamless.
I encourage everyone to try all of the restaurants on board. Our favorite as foodies was Chef's Table. It was worth paying a little extra for the specialty wine pairings. Manfredi's cooks the best steak anywhere! The Restaurant has an unbelievable selection to choose from every night. One of our favorite places for a simple bite is Mamsen's. The open face salmon sandwiches are delightful! My husband has a sweet tooth and could not resist the wonderful pastries at this Norwegian Deli in the Explorer's Lounge.
My husband and I each had two massages while on board. Best massages ever! The beautiful Spa area it's not to be missed. I was a little hesitant but decided to try the Nordic bathing ritual. Alternating between the heat of the sauna and a quick dip in a cold bath didn't sound appealing. I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised how relaxed I felt afterwards.
All in all I think you will really enjoy your Alaska and the Inside passage Cruise.