This was our fourth Inside Passage cruise in the past 20 years and our first cruise with Viking. We loved the ship and service. The Viking Orion is well designed with plenty of space. You never feel crowded. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and for the ship. Our favorite ports were Seward where the cruise started, Sitka, Icy Straight Point and Juneau. These ports best reflect Alaska. Ketchikan is crowded and touristy with cheap souvenir shops selling "Made in China". Skagway has a lot of history, but the main attraction is the White Pass Railway. Our excursions focused on wildlife, primarily whales. We have never had much luck on cruise excursions for bear or moose.
The food was excellent on this cruise. The quality of food at the buffet is as good as the restaurant. We also enjoyed the Italian restaurant, Manfredi's. Our cabin was a PS3-Junior Suite. The perks that come with this cabin are worth the splurge. I prefer small ships, and the Viking Orion is the perfect size. The only drawback to a small ship is that you feel the motion in rough waters much more so than a larger ship. We also took the cruise pre-excursion from Fairbanks. If you are going to the expense and time to visit Alaska, you need to visit the interior. Lodging on the pre-excursion can be a little spartan, but this is Alaska. Service is outstanding. Something new on this ship is their 3-D theater in the Explorer Lounge. Be sure to check it out. Viking is oriented toward adults which suits me fine.
The cabin is excellent. The only difference in a PS1, PS2 or PS3 is the location on the ship. Otherwise, all are the same. The cabins are spacious and well designed. The walk-in shower in the bathroom is especially nice.
Our second time to visit Icy Straight Point. Whale watching is the best excursion. If you have time, walk to the cannery. This port has the best whale watching opportunities.
Sitka is unspoiled and great for the history. Our excursion included the Alaska Raptor Center and Bear Fortress. This time we did not have an opportunity to walk in the town, but walk the town if you have the chance.
Juneau is another port with great whale watching opportunities. We have seen Killer and Humpback whales in June, but by August it is primarily Humpback whales. A walk through the rain forest and Mendenhall glacier are great excursions.
The principle attraction in Skagway is the White Pass Railway. The National Park Service museum has an interesting video on the history of Skagway and the Klondike Gold Rush. Walkable town.
Ketchikan is overcrowded and touristy. When we first visited 20+ years ago, Ketchikan still had many locally owned stores with native craftsmanship. Now, it is full of cheap souvenir shops with everything "Made in China". The main attraction is Creek Street.