This trip was a year of planning in the making and of course CC played a major role and was a huge help in just about every aspect of our planning. This was my third cruise, hubby’s fifth and the IL’s first, and a first for all of us on Princess and to Alaska. As this was a special occasion, we had two Vista suites on the Dolphin deck (D703 and 704) which we chose specifically for the covered balcony. Best.Decision.Ever. I mean, I guess there must be a reason to choose an uncovered balcony on an Alaskan cruise, but I for one don’t know what that reason would be. Having a covered balcony was awesomesauce. We chose two suites directly across from one another so we could alternate sides of the ship depending on who had the better view. Hubby and I had never cruised in a suite before and I for one could not wait for my Sabatini’s breakfast, thermal spa pass, and afternoon tea in our room.
We debated itineraries and the pros and cons of each (I won’t bore everyone with those discussions) before deciding on the one-way Northbound "Voyage of the Glaciers" from Vancouver with two days in Seattle prior to the cruise and three nights in Alaska in Seward after the cruise. We originally considered Holland America as well as Princess but at the time, HAL allowed smoking on balconies (that policy has now changed) so that caused us to settle on Princess in the end. We ended up on the Coral specifically due to dates—we chose this cruise because it began on my IL’s actual anniversary. Once I found out how much everyone loved the Coral, I was so happy that it had all worked out this way.
So with the cruise picked, it was on to plan the details which I tackled with great abandon. For me, the planning is as much fun as the vacation itself and I poured over excursions, travel guides, restaurant choices, binocular reviews, what to pack and “Is the Serenity worth it?” discussions, and read every trip report and Alaska blog I could find. Since I am the planner, at any moment of “What do we do now?” during the vacation, all eyes were going to turn to me and I wanted to be ready. I would not let my family down, I tell you!
I did have one huge post-cruise vacation planning fail that I worried about for months but we’ll get to that much later. First up, getting to Seattle from Dallas.