We sailed northbound to Seward on Explorer, departing Vancouver. Loved Vancouver as a port; should have done this cruise in opposite direction. The ship is beautiful and well-designed. Pre-cruise package included a night at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which was gorgeous and had excellent food and service. Transfer of luggage to ship worked seamlessly. We were able to begin boarding the ship at 11:30. A few days prior, we received an email extending the option to upgrade to a Seven Seas Suite from our lowest-level concierge suite. The price seemed reasonable and so we did it. That was a solid decision as we loved our Seven seas suite which was in the very front of the ship, deck Seven. It was the best cruise room we have ever had, by far, with a beautiful balcony, however the balcony was essentially unusable due to weather for most of the cruise. The first two nights we dined at Prime 7 and Chartreuse and both the food and service were outstanding. The rest of our dining experiences were uneven at best. We dined four times in the main dining room and found it to be excellent two nights, and just average the other two. La veranda was nothing special at all. We found the variety of foods to be lacking in general. Many times things weren't labeled at the buffets so it was impossible to know what was on offer. The pool grill was strictly mass-cruise level cuisine. Room service breakfast arrived cold on two days. and there were dead zones when no food at all was available except by room service. Also the coffee was weak and bitter except for at coffee connections and in the Illy machines in our suite.
All that being said, it's pretty hard to mess up an Alaska cruise because the scenery speaks for itself. Indeed, we could have sat at our window the entire time and we would have enjoyed it. Our favorite ports were Skagway and Icy Strait Point. Some of the knocks that I have heard on Regent were for the excursions and we didn't find that to be true at all. We loved the excursions, especially the Skagway train ride, with the exception of the seafood feast portion at the end of our whale watching (Icy Strait point) which was beyond disappointing so we left without eating much.
There has obviously been a lot of thought put into the design of this ship. Clearly the cabins are the star. However, there were not as many public areas as on other ships (for example only three main lounges). Importantly, there were no TV's in any public areas of the ship. So when my husband inquired as to where he could watch Monday Night Football, he was flippantly told, "in your stateroom" by reception. This was not helpful as there were no "regular" channels available in the room. Fortunately the wifi was good enough to stream it, so that's what he did.
We loved our front of the ship Seven Seas suite. I read a few reports about wind whistling through the balcony door; we didn't experience that. However, when we boarded some of our cushions were missing from the balcony and most of them were soaking wet. We quickly discovered why when we sat on our balcony for sail away. After we crossed under the Vancouver bridge, wind picked up such that we had to go inside, and there was a lot of sea spray.However, we later were able to use the balcony in port. The cabin interior and bathroom were outstanding. SO MANY DRAWERS! You could sail on a world cruise in this room and you'd have plenty of space. The bathroom was beautiful, loved the double sinks and the separate toilet room. The bed was like a fluffy little cocoon. Even the couch was comfy.
Overall the cabin was pin-drop quiet, with the exception of the 2nd or 3rd night when we hit some rough seas. The captain told us it would be from 12am-3am and indeed, that is how long it lasted. It was good to know that because during that time we experienced the crashing of waves on the hull every 8-10 seconds such that it was impossible to sleep. But we knew it would end by 3:00 so we just stayed up until things quieted down again. I would highly recommend this cabin.
Gorgeous. What a sight! I never imagined it would be so awe-inspiring.
The one port I would skip next time. Lots of tacky t shirt shops and too many ships. However our hiking excursion was quiet and enjoyable.
Still fairly touristy but more upscale than Ketchikan. Worth it for the Mendenhall Glacier tour.
What an amazing, delightful little town. The White Pass Scenic railroad was an excellent excursion. Lunch as Skagway Boeing was very good. Cute shops and authentic old-time Alaska feel.
The whale watching was just astounding! We saw 13 or 14 whales, which even the guides admitted was quite a few. There was a seafood feast attached to the whale watching, I would skip that in the future. There were many activities at this port which we were unaware of until we disembarked. We didn't do enough research in advance and didn't maximize our time here, but we still loved it.