We arrived in Seattle the day before and had great weather and ample time to tour the space needle and the restaurants surrounding it. It was our first time in Seattle and our first Alaskan Cruise. We had arranged to stay in a hotel that included transportation to the dock and so we actually got to the dock at around 11:00. We were greeted and assisted by numerous people that never left us wondering where to go next. We arrived before they had started boarding so we were seated along with many other people in a comfortable room that overlooked the water. When they called our group we walked on the ship and could immediately go check out our stateroom. Our bags arrived later in the afternoon. We chose the Lanai Stateroom because we love the outside deck and absolutely loved being able to pop out of the room at any time to get a better look of the scenery. We did not use the deck chairs outside of our room mainly because it was in the low 50s and not conducive to sitting outside. My husband and I are early risers so we would order a full breakfast to eat in our room. They give you a menu to fill out the night before. The 2nd morning we were eating breakfast and a large pod of whales appeared very close to the ship. It was like the water was churning with whales. I was so excited I was immediately out on deck with my video camera. I hope other DAM ships get the Lanai rooms. I just loved being so close to the action. We actually sat in our room and watched them take the life boats down right outside our cabin to be used as shuttles to Sitka.
The scenery was beautiful. My husband and I prefer not dressing to the nines so we actually ate in the Lido Restaurant every evening. We still dressed Smart Casual...but my husband never put on a tie the whole cruise. It made for a more relaxing cruise when he felt very comfortable.
The musical entertainment and the cruise director were great.The comedian/singer was not up to par.
We only went to the large venue at the front of the ship, so we cannot comment on the piano bar etc.
The Lido Restaurant was a more relaxed venue. The food was pretty standard, but that was just fine with us. My husband is a pretty picky eater and it made him comfortable to be able to see what he was getting to eat before he made his decisions.
The Lanai Stateroom was small, but there is a complete wall mirror behind the bed but with the sliding glass door, that we kept the drapes open during the day, it felt spacious enough for us. We thought it was comical and realized our privacy when a couple people tried to open our sliding glass door the first day not knowing where it led. We were sitting right inside the room looking out and they didn't see us at all.
Our cabin was 3350. It was a lanai cabin. It was right in the middle of the ship of the ship on the port side. There is a combination bath tub and shower. When you walk in the bathroom is immediately on the left and storage closets are on the right. Then the bed is pretty much taking up the width of the cabin. Then when you walk around the bed you have a two person couch on the left and your desk on the right with a sliding glass door that opens up to the Lower Promenade Deck. We ordered a small refrigerator for our cabin. It is just a small amount of money, but my husband likes to have cold soft drinks and I could keep my water cold that way too. We asked our cabin steward for a plug in strip so we had enough plug-ins for different things to charge...like camera batteries, shaver, cell phones, etc.... The bed is very comfortable.
When we were planning our cruise we decided we would not arrange for a cruise excursion, we would catch the "Blue Bus" to the Mendenhall Glacier and then take the tram to the top of Mount Roberts. Well, we were uncertain with the weather and decided to take the Catamaran Tour to Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer Glacier. It was a long tour. We actually went over 40 miles south of Juneau and then 26 miles into the Tracy Arm Fjord to get to the Sawyer Glacier. The weather was beautiful. We didn't have time to do any shopping, but we did enjoy the day. We saw many whales on the way to and from the Glacier.
It turned out the weather was beautiful for Hubbard Glacier the next day also...so we were up close and personal with two glaciers in two days.
We didn't actually get off the ship for Hubbard Glacier, but it was a great day. The men from Yakutat and the Park Service were excellent.
We decided to do Sitka on our own. We actually did our souvenir shopping in the morning and went back to the ship for lunch in the Lido and then went onshore again in the afternoon. Being almost the last ship to be in their port there were many good bargains to be had. We felt we got a good feel of the town by doing it that way. We walked by the high-school and the elementary school, visited a museum, walked along the port, and actually visited a grocery store and was able to get a feel of the real Sitka.
We were only in Ketchikan for a short time, so we arranged to go on the shore excursion that went to Saxman Indian Village and the Lumberjack Show. We enjoyed the tour that started with a video, then we walked through the forest on wide paths while our guide explained different trees and plants that were used by the natives for various things. If you needed help with walking they provided a golf cart so no one had to walk a great distance if they had trouble walking. Then we went into a large hall that was built as a replica of the halls that were used in the past. We were presented with wonderful authentic native dancing. Then they directed us to the stand of totem poles. It had started to mist, so after a short presentation they took us to the carving barn where there was a carver and his apprentice there to show us the different stages of carving a totem pole and the tools that they used and still use. By then we had 25 minutes to revisit any area or go to the gift shop. When we got back into Ketchikan we were just in time for the Lumberjack Show. This is a must to see at least once. I am not sure we would go again, but it was fun and entertaining.
We were arriving in the late afternoon and my husband and I decided to take the horse drawn trolley into town for a tour. It was only an hour tour, but it is chilly in the evening so we decided walking would be cold and didn't know what to expect with other tours. The tour on the trolley would have been much nicer about an hour later than we took it. It took us past the government buildings that are all lit up in the evening, which would have been beautiful. The flowers in the park were very pretty....Overall, I was a little disappointed with this tour. It would have been much better to start it after dark when the city would be lit up.