We recently travelled to Juneau and sailed onboard the ACL Constellation with about 150 other passengers. We have been on many previous Alaska cruises, all on much larger ships, and thoroughly enjoyed the benefits of small-ship cruising. With the open seating at smaller round tables in the dining room, we soon got to know the majority of our onboard companions and had lively and fun conversations no matter who we sat with at meals or during the evening reception.
We were warmly welcomed onboard and it was a pleasure to go straight to our room and were amazed at how large it was, especially compared to the usual small staterooms on the big cruise lines. There was plenty of room to stow our belongings and the suitcases disappeared under the bed. (Cruise hint - if your suitcase is a bit large, just open it up and slide it under!). Our vacation began immediately as we sat down for lunch - always a good midday meal, with soups, salads and a choice of entrees. It often works well to share entrees, if one can’t decide, or half-portions can be requested. There is an impressive list of wines available to complement your lunch, plus you know you’re on holidays when you pour over the dessert menu - for lunch! After introductions to crew and an excellent explanation of upcoming excursions, there was a nice amount of time to relax and wander around the ship. There are always comfortable places to sit inside, and lots of protected or sunny seating choices on either of the upper decks.
There is a reception every day in the main lounge at 5:30, with different appetizers available (the seafood ones are the best!) and a well-stocked open bar. People come on a cruise like this because they want to have a good time, and thus we found it easy to chat with others and exchange travel stories. When the weather is dry, it’s pleasant to take your drink outside, especially when the evenings are so long and bright at this time of year in Alaska.