Age: 36 to 45
Number of Cruises: 3 to 5 Cruises
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Jubilee
Sailing Date: June 16th, 1999
Itinerary: Southbound Alaska
Our family of five recently took a seven day southbound Alaska cruise on the Jubilee. On the whole it was great vacation and we all enjoyed it a lot.
We arrived in Anchorage a day before sailing and explored the city on our own.
Embarkation was a breeze. No lines and no wait. The only problem was the fact that we were told you couldn't show up until noon, because of that we didn't get a bus to the ship until 2:30. If we had gone there (Egan Convention Center) first thing in the morning we would have gotten to Seward and the Jubliee much earlier. The bus ride to Seward was okay, but very long. Perhaps the dismal weather is what made it seem so long.
Once on board we were directed to our cabin and our luggage was waiting for us. Our cabin was what we had expected and after moving the lower beds and roll-away around we had quite enough room for the five of us.
The first problem we encountered was the fact that we had been given a late dinner seating. We had specifically requested early. Because of the time change between Michigan and Alaska we knew that the late sitting would be a real pain for us. We went to the maitre-d' and requested a change to main sitting. He said he was sorry but there was nothing he could do, both dining rooms were fully booked for the first sitting. We found out later that the main sitting was filled with the senior citizens on the cruise (we were told for medical reasons they had to eat earlier). So the late sitting was made up of younger passengers and families with children. We were told the only way to guarantee a main sitting was to book a year in advance.
The other problem we ran into was the fact that during the main sitting no entertainments or diversions were planned, during the late sitting lots of activities were going on (i.e. shows, contests in the casino, etc.). About the only thing that occurred after the late sitting was the second show in the lounge and the adult comedy show. When I spoke to the cruise director about this he said they had to cater to the majority of the passengers and they were the ones with the early sitting.
We had a 14 and 17 year old with us and they had been looking forward to the teen program. Because of the late dinner sitting they couldn't participate in many activities and those during the day were few and far between.
The onboard naturalist was great and he did a wonderful job of keeping you informed what we were passing and where you could see wildlife. He also gave several very informative slide show/lectures.
We didn't book any excursions through the ship. In Skagway we took a tour with a Southwest Tours. Our guide was great and it ended up being just the five of us with him. We followed the road across from the White Pass railroad and because of the ability to stop and take pictures felt it was a better value at only $32.00 per person versus the $98.00 the ship wanted for the train excursion. The day was cloudy and those that took the train complained that they couldn't see very much.
In Juneau we booked with MGT. This was a great tour and our guide was very informative. We toured downtown Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier and the University of Alaska. Again we paid $17.00 per person while the ship was asking $40.00 for a similar tour. My husband and 14 year old chose to take the tram. They paid significantly less than the ship was selling tram tickets for.
In Ketchikan, we now wish we had taken the cruise excursion. When we visited the Saxman VIllage we were not allowed to see several parts of the area because the had been booked for the cruise ship tours alone. We did the walking tour of the town by ourselves and enjoyed it very much.
Debarkation at Vancouver was fairly painless. We were in the last group to leave and so finding our luggage was easy. We did have a rude awakening upon trying to get a cab to our hotel. We were told it would be $30.00 but that cabs in Vancouver could only carry four passengers, we would have to take two cabs. We were also told a limo would be $45.00. We ended up taking the limo and finally got to our hotel. We took a Greyline Trolley tour of the city in the afternoon and enjoyed it very much.
Vancouver Airport was a nightmare of construction and it seemed to take forever. Way to many checkpoints.
As I said in the beginning overall it was a great vacation.
We saw lots of beautiful sights, met lots of great people and got to spend lots of time
together. It will be a vacation we will always