June 2016 - Explorer of the Seas to Alaska - Inside Passage
First, I’d like to say Alaska was beautiful! Every crew member on the ship that I interacted with was wonderful! From my room steward, Nitesh Zaraonkar, to the dining room staff, Ethel DeLeon, Frederick Lanuza, Virgil Eereira, and Juilo Pineda my every request was taken care of quickly and professionally. We were a party of seven with two of us sitting in motorized wheelchairs. With me using a knee-shooter but, able to walk a little. We dined using MY Time dinning at the 8pm seating each night. The first night we were seated too far back in the dining room for the wheelchairs but were moved to a table closer to the entrance of the dining room for the next night. This table was way too small to seat all seven of us comfortably. On the third night we were again moved. This table was perfect! This is where we were seated for the rest of our trip. The trip was a birthday celebration for my son’s 21st. The third night was his birthday and the cake (Chocolate/Chocolate) was fantastic! The last curse I was on was also a birthday celebration and on that curse the cake was not so good.
The food on this curse was a bit underwhelming. In the Windjammer, I found the food to be cold not hot. The chicken always seemed to be dry. In the main dining room, the food was not as good as I remember it to be. Everything needed more seasoning not just salt and pepper either. Every night the same broccoli, carrots and baked potato for the vegetables. On the last night, turkey was on the menu with brussel sprouts, some of us ordered it for the brussel sprouts but they didn’t make it onto the ship. This was not the first time in the week that something didn’t make it onto the ship. Overall the food was good but as I said a bit underwhelming. My son would tell you that my taste buds live at a different level because I am a Chef but, I had expected to be wowed a bit more. It was like you were cooking for the older crowd which have lost their ability to taste. Foodie people like myself take pictures of their food. I took none this time.
The room. When I made the reservation I didn’t know I would be using a knee-shooter. I had always thought it would be neat to have a window to the promenade so a booked this room turning down the room next to my parent’s that would have been handicapped accessible like theirs. They are the two that are in the motorized wheelchairs. I felt like, I’m not handicapped, and I just didn’t want to take a room away from someone that was. Little did I know that the room I booked would be so small and I would be using a knee-shooter and therefore would be somewhat handicapped. There was less than 12” from the foot of the beds to the wall. My shooter could not be moved around the beds. I would park it in the closet when I was going to be in the room for a while, not the easiest thing to do either since the first bed came across the entrance hallway just past the closet. I would leave it in the hall if I was just popping in for a minute or two. My son is 6’6” tall and weighs just over 300 pounds. The room was a bit claustrophobic for him; especially the shower. The beds, were as hard as rocks! Any longer than the seven nights and I don’t think I would have recovered from the bed. As it was it took two nights at home to feel like I got a full night of restful sleep. I don’t know if there is anything you can do about this except provide addition padding on request. You actually may provide it; I never asked.
Excursions were fun. My son and I went whale watching in Juneau. We saw lots of wildlife including whales. Then we went to see the Mendenhall Glacier! What a sight to see! The tour guides were great and informative. In Skagway, we went dog sledding. This was also lots of fun. The guides here met the bus with a smaller vehicle so I didn’t need to walk or try to use my knee-shooter which would have impossible. We got to be pulled in a “sled” and pet and hold the pups. In Victoria, we didn’t do an excursion. I had been to Victoria before and was planning to just take a Harbour Ferry Tour from the pier but, they were not running from the pier near the curse ship. There was a bus to get to downtown for $10 but to do anything there would have been an additional charge. So we turned around and got back on the ship. It was a shame; Victoria is such a beautiful city. I think the curse line should have had a free shuttle to downtown since the curse ship pier is so far from downtown. Because of ice we sailed for the Dawes Glacier reaching it at about 5am. At about 7am we had gotten as close to it as we were going to and the Captain let everyone know we were there. All I can say is WOW! We were about ½ mile away from its base and the Captain started his 580-degree spin. I’m not sure which was more impressive the glacier or the spin.