June 2014 - Island Princess to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska
We have never been on a cruise, and never wanted to go on one, but concluded this would be the most effective way of seeing Alaska. Turns out it's really easy to get used to this kind of travel.
Our balcony stateroom was large, clean and very well laid out. The restaurants and common areas were attractive and convenient and the food, at times exquisite, was almost always very good. There were plenty of free programs and activities during "at sea" days and the staff was unfailingly helpful and friendly.
We chose the "anytime dining", and were glad we did. We only had to wait for a table once (best to make a reservation on formal night) and our table companions were almost always congenial and interesting. The food in the Bordeaux Dining room was wonderful and every day there was something new and exciting.
Afternoon tea quickly became a necessity as well: tea, delicious pastries and small sandwiches and a chance to hear about all the exciting things other passengers have been seeing and doing.
The buffet breakfasts, and the special lunches (sushi, seafood, Taste of Alaska) were a different matter, focus being more on quantity than quality, but were still mostly quite good. The coffee, however, was rather awful, and it got less attractive as the cruise wore on. Tea and ice tea were always available, but you had to pay for anything else.
The real star of the show, however, was Alaska. We took an excursion in every port and were glad we did. We experience whales, eagles and glaciers and learned about Native Alaska Culture and Alaska history. Every morning when I opened my eyes, there was Alaska in all it's glory, and every day it only got more splendid.
This was the most expensive trip we have ever taken, and it was worth every penny.