- Butter was present on the table in the MDR without asking, at both lunch and dinner
- Several of our waiters had and used crumbers
- Blue bag was in our room at the first night's turndown
- Most people dressed for formal night (Anytime dining). Saw a couple of tuxes but mostly suits. One or two shirtsleeves, but at least one of them was clearly mobility challenged.
Juneau: Helicopter dogsled tour. By far the most expensive, but worth it for the unique experience of mushing on proper sleds. Also, the puppies were too cute for words.
Note that we booked this through Princess because we were scheduled to tender at this port, but for some reason we displaced the Island Princess and got their berth. Poor Island passengers walked off and had to tender back.
Glacier Bay: The highlight of the cruise, and the reason we chose this sailing. By all accounts, a better and longer glacier experience than the other itineraries. Plus, since it's a national park, you get rangers on board. Again, the weather cooperated: it was so clear and sunny that I got a slight sunburn. Margerie glacier was kind enough to calve several times for us.
Haines: Did not see much of Haines because we took the ferry to Skagway for the White Pass train, which was more fun than we expected. Lots of interesting gold rush stories, beautiful scenery, and impressive engineering.
Skagway was very crowded, but we lucked out and hit between the crowds at Olivia's for lunch. Recommend the reindeer sausage.
Had just enough time back in Haines to walk by, but not go in, the Hammer Museum. Cute from the outside.
Ketchikan: We waited until almost too late to book our floatplane trip to Misty Fjords. Had to call around to several companies before we found an opening, but thanks to CC had several recommended companies to choose from. Ended up with Carlin Air, and were very pleased. Particularly enjoyed the stop in the middle where we could enjoy the quiet and the beautiful scenery.
Also want to second all the recommendations for Burger Queen, which was in sight of our berth (3). As Samuel L. Jackson might say, "Mmm, this is a tasty burger!"
Victoria: Butchart Gardens is the must-see, and for good reason. This day was so warm, I was in shorts and a t-shirt.
As for the ship, while it was not the focus of our trip (as obvious from the above, we were all about the ports), we liked it a lot. I generally agree with the other reports I've seen from this sailing, but let me add my two cents on a few points:
Crew: Excellent. We had no bad crew encounters, and several standouts.
Food: Good. I think a lot of it depends on expectations. I go into a cruise expecting the MDR to be good banquet food, and it did not disappoint. On several occasions, there were standout dishes, but generally there was something of interest that we each enjoyed. Note that I'm focusing on dinner in the MDR: Breakfast was utilitarian, and lunch generally okay. We did not use the buffet much except for breakfast, but found it fine when we did. Because of our satisfaction with the MDR, felt no reason to try the specialty restaurants.
Entertainment: We didn't use this much, as we were generally in bed early so we could be up at dawn. (Dawn is early in Alaska!) Saw one comedian, who was amusing but definitely a cruise ship comedian. Naturalist lectures were interesting if a bit quirky. Guest lecturer Libby Riddles (first female iditarod winner) had an interesting story, but it felt like she'd told it too many times. Park Ranger presentation was good.
Ship condition: Good. Compared to some of the reports I've heard, great. We did NOT see: rust, broken doors, leaks, creaks, elevators out of service for unreasonable periods, unacceptable conditions in public restrooms, or any of the other complaints I've seen. There was visible, regular maintenance (painting, cleaning, fixing) and overall conditions seemed good for a ship half her age (in my not-too-expert opinion, this being only my fourth cruise, and first on Princess).
As some have noted, you could sometimes detect smoke from the casino out at the passenger services desk, but on this cruise it was sporadic and mild (and I'm pretty sensitive to smoke). I suspect we may have just had fewer smokers on this trip, by luck of the draw.
In short: Would definitely recommend, though one can't expect the weather to cooperate this well. (Report from a fellow passenger doing a B2B, the previous sailing it rained everywhere so hard you couldn't see the mountains.)
I'm happy to answer questions, to the extent I'm able.