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The Case For/Against Cruises

Kristy and I just got back yesterday from an 8 day cruise on the inside passage to Alaska and back (Seattle, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle).  This was our first cruise and given the option of going to a warmer climate and Alaska, we went with Alaska and it's more moderate temperatures.  I've heard that after your first cruise you are either hooked for life or not; of course I've heard that about a lot of things too (Opera, Symphony, transvestites, NHL, etc...).  So what do I think?

This cruise had some incredible, once in a lifetime type things happen that I am glad I got to witness.  Examples include many close up encounters with a variety of glaciers and to see a 200 foot glacial wall drop off or "calf" was something that I will never forget, salmon so thick in a stream that it appears you can walk across water, grey whales jumping out of the water, many bear/moose/bald eagles, and antique totem poles made by Northwest Natives.  All of these things were incredible!

The cruise itself...well, the entertainment was just okay and certainly suited for an elderly crowd.  If I go on this particular cruise again, I certainly will be more skeptical of the theater shows (think off off OFF broadway).  There was a speaker on board named Mike that basically is a hermit on his own island off the coast of Alaska for much of the year.  He was quite a dramatic speaker and his presentations were very good.  He even got to go up with the captain and whale spot for parts of the trip, announcing which side and where they were.  I did get a little motion sick I think (or it was the food).  Motion bands helped but not 100%.

Speaking of food, I'm told that this cruise had a lot better variety and quality than some of the other companies/locations.  I appreciated what was available but had a hard time finding something that tasted good and settled my stomach.  I'm probably being more critical than I should be.  I did like that there was a little cafe that was open most hours for tiny desserts or panini sandwhiches.  Also it was nice that the wine bar on board would give you *free* tapas or sushi if you ordered wine.

Alcohol on board is expensive.  If you saw my pictures on Facebook you saw that we smuggled gin, vodka, and rum on board.  It worked well putting the liquor in bottles in the middle of our case of water bottles *however* the case wasn't as secure as it could have been and apparently spilled some bottles during boarding.  In the end out of 31 water bottles and 4 liquor bottles, we lost 4 water and 1 liquor (rum).  We'll be ready for next time.

Alaskan Amber is quite delicious and our one excursion that we went on (Bike and Brew Glacier Tour) was very nice.  A 9 mile, flat bike ride up to a glacier then transportation to a local watering hole for *a lot* of Alakan Brewing Company beverages.  Very tastey!

Ports of call, well Juneau was good, Glacier Bay was incredible, Victoria was nice; Skagway and Ketchikan would be easy to pass up again.

Other stuff:  only one shuffleboard court and it was either cold/rainy or in service so we didn't get a chance to play.  Internet cafe seemed okay but we didn't use it.  Theater was nice with comfortable seating.  Rooms were big enough; a balcony was nice on days we were near glaciers/whales.  The basketball court was always in use but it looked like it could use some love.  The pools were nice but full of kids (pass) the hot tubs were nice too but it took some thinking to find one not full of retirees or kids.

Overall I would go on this cruise again but probably not for quite a few years (there are other things that are better for the price).  Princess was a very good cruise line and the ship was very nice.  I've heard the Mexican and Carribean cruises are mostly non-stop drunk parties so I'm not itching to go to either.

Any cruisers out there with different experiences?

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ME! and i will respond later!

Cruising didn't really do anything for me. Not just because I wanted to push my traveling companion of the bow or whatever that part of the boat is called!

The "entertainment" on our boat...I don't think I went to any shows. I went to some silly game show thing and it was dumb. But the "acts" sounded like horrible lounge acts.

I didn't like the food. I don't understand why everyone raves about it. The food in the buffet restaurant was like bad cafeteria food. The food in the dining room was decent but the combinations were weird. Like veal parm came with MACARONI AND CHEESE! People acted like this was some fancy restaurant. All I could think was they had never been in a really nice restaurant if they thought this was great. Our service was horrible and the people I was with were all "oooh we gotta give the waiters extra tips on the last night!"

My boat was a floating trailer park if you ask me. And yes there were "normal" people on there but for the most part I couldn't stand the crowds, the spandex or the girls wearing flip flops with their dresses on "Formal night." The "party" music was non-stop on the lido deck. I just got to where I never wanted to hear marimbas again!

Couldn't get in the pool on our boat either because it was full of kids. Like literally I climbed down the ladder, got in, had just enough room to dunk under and got back out. It was that crowded.

Your take on some of it sounds a lot like mine (the food, entertainment) I just didn't get it. I am not ruling out a cruise ever in the future but I will never get on Carnival again. I know some people like it but I was in hell. If I went on one I would go on a more expensive/exclusive boat. And my cousin said not all cruises were not like mine.

Crap I got carried away (who me?) and my experience wasn't really that different. And I honestly went into it hoping to have a really great time. I would have rather just sat on the beach in Florida.

ETA: But I did enjoy just sitting on the deck and watching the water. I liked that part. And our room was fine.

Edited at 2011-08-09 02:19 am (UTC)

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