Well, I tried TWICE to put this on the cruisesonly board only to get to the end to say my session has expired, so I decided to put it on here hoping it might interest or help anyone out.
We left Tuesday morning - a day earlier than sailing due to the fact that the last time we went to Alaska, we almost missed the ship due to the flights being delayed and cancelled! So - for now on, we fly in or drive in a day early just to be safe! It was an uneventful flight and we landed in Anchorage almost 10 hours of FLYING time later. Checked into the Days Inn - which suited us just fine for a one night stay and headed to HUMPY's to eat some great Alaska fish! It was a nice but pricey place to eat recommended by our driver. Took us about a 15 minute walk from the hotel. Weather was beautiful and we were trying to get used to the 3 hour time difference. It didn't get dark until well after 12 pm (I fell asleep) and was pure daylight by 4:30 A.M.!! I'm not exactly sure what time it got daylight..lol
We took the train from Anchorage to Whittier and they had a shuttle from the hotel to the railroad. The train ride was awesome and well worth the money we paid. The scenery was beautiful and we have some beautiful pictures to show! They did have a bar/food area on the train for all to enjoy. The train ride took about 2 hours and we ended up in Whittier where the ship was a few minutes walk to the front door! Being platinium we walked right up, got our sail and sign cards and on to the ship within minutes. However, platinium or not, it wouldn't have taken more than 20 minutes to be on ship!
We were in room 5297 which was an aft balcony cabin and wonderful! We paid about 100 more for the aft cabin I believe, but no regrets here. The cabin, staff, everything about it was exactly what we expected.
We sailed about 9pm after an awesome supper in the dining room which was open seating for the first night. We met some wonderful people and at first I was worried about 'open' seating, but it wasn't bad at all. We ended up only eating in the dining room 3 times! The first night, the last night and the first formal night. ONLY because the ports in Alaska are open until somtimes 11pm! We took advantage of this and stayed ashore to enjoy the time in port.
The first day was a sea day cruising Prince William Sound and College Fjord. It was so breath taking beautiful - you just have to see it to believe it.
Sitka - We booked the excursion Captains Choice wildlife quest and beach walk which didn't start until about 4 hours after we docked. We got off the ship (which was a tender port) and being platinium, we ate a breakfast and got off when we wanted. If you arn't platinium, they gave you numbers to get off on the tenders. All within a timely frame - but we got off and walked and walked and ended up at the salmon hatchery and sitka historic park. If I would have known these things existed (which I am sure by this board I was told before...what can I say) I would have not even booked an excursion as the park itself was so beautiful that I could have spent HOURS walking through the trails. The excursion was a 2 on a scale of 1-5. We saw seals and on the beach (no sand) we only saw starfish. It was enjoyable, but next time I will just walk and enjoy the town of Sitka on my own.
The next day Juneau - OMG - this was the port I spent the most in and enjoyed the most with NO regrets! We first went on the Mt. Roberts skytram and it was so beautiful up there. Hot apple cider and walking amongst the trails and snow was like a fairy tale. After this, we went on the Helitrek Extended glacier trek and was worth every penny we put out for. We took a helicoptor ride to the glacier and treked the glacier and climbed the glacier and words cannot describe the whole experience. The excursion cost like 575 per person and I tell you was WELL WORTH IT! Coming home, we flew over the Juneau ice field and words just cannot explain what it looks like. YOu see it in films, pictures, but to view it in person is a different story. Anyway, we came home and went back on the tram to the skywalk and walked around some more. This was a port that we were not due back on ship until 10:30 and we took advantage of every minute.
Skagway - the next day was the first time I had booked an independant excursion. Don't laugh but I am always scared to miss the ship. We booked the horsebackriding tour to emerald lake with southwesttours.com and once again - words cannot explain. It was a 2 hour ride there with scenery out of this world. The ride itself was 2 hours with WELL FED healthy horses and we trotted, cantered and just enjoyed the mountains up and down by emerald lake. Ended with a snack and a 2 hour ride back. The driver stopped at all the wildlife he could see - bears were grazing at the side of the road. It was a wonderful day.
Ketchikans - was our 'cheap' day lol. WE did the Saxmans village and Lumberjack show. It was actually pretty great! This was the ONE and only day that it rained, yet it always rains in Ketchikans. The show was under a heated area and very enjoyable. After we shopped for the last minute souveniers and headed back to the ship.
The last day was a sea day and a most enjoyable day. The whole cruise was wonderful. My last Alaska cruise I went Glacier Bay, but this one I enjoyed most of all as it was southern bound - we started in Anchorage with glaciers floating in the water, headed south surrounded by the gulf of Alaska ( I like nothing but ocean around me also) and ended up in VAncouver where we took the post tour which stopped at the salmon hatchery, grouse mountain and calipino bridge (did I spell that right). It was a most enjoyable day and this excursion also was well worth the money. Grouse mountain was BEAUTIFUL and I wish we had more time to spend at each area! We stayed at Comfort Suites for the last night to fly home the next a.m. (instead of flying all night long).
I know this is long - and probably boring to most of you - but if you have any questions at all about ship, excursions we went on, etc I will be most happy to answer! I met a friend on this cruisemates board that I also met on ship. She was traveling with her dad and just an awesome person! Even sang at the last night talent show!
If I can answer any questions - please ask!!! Now back to reality and back to work to make more money to go back on another cruise!!
WORK TO CRUISE!! ...
As a polite suggestion, skip a line between paragaraphs. Its much easier on the reader and you can go back to it easily if distracted. I like to read reviews but its tricky on the eyes when its all lumped together. Again, just a future suggestion... thanks..
2008-Valor and Glory
2009-Spirit and Splendor
2010-Freedom of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas
2012-Allure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas