Age: 31 to 40
Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Itinerary: Alaska 7-Day Inside Passage
My husband, my parents and I just returned from an Alaskan cruise on Celebrity Cruise Line’s Galaxy. This was my parents’ second cruise and my and my husband’s first cruise. I had never considered going on a cruise before because I associated cruising with over-eating, sunburns, shuffleboard and limbo contests. My opinion changed when I began researching a trip to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday. After looking at hundreds of web sites and travel guides, we decided on the 7-day Inside Passage cruise leaving from Vancouver. We knew that the scenery would be fantastic throughout the cruise, the ports of call looked beautiful and Celebrity seemed to be a cruise line that stressed comfortable, elegant cruising without a lot of extra gimmicks. The research paid off because the cruise itinerary and the cruise line were exactly what we wanted.
We flew into Seattle one day before the ship sailed and rented a car to drive into Vancouver. We chose this route for two reasons—the airfare that we could get into Seattle was significantly lower than into Vancouver (a big savings for 4 people) and we visited some friends who live between the two cities. The border crossing between Canada and the U.S. was a piece of cake—no delays. The night before the cruise and for two nights after the cruise we stayed in a B & B in Vancouver—the “O Canada” House. I had never stayed in a B & B before, so I was a little nervous, but I would recommend it to anyone staying in Vancouver. It was beautiful, comfortable and very conveniently located.
Overall, all four of us enjoyed the cruise. The Galaxy is a beautiful, large ship that we found to be well designed. We had a Category 5 cabin with a large window on the 8th deck. My husband wanted to take the bathroom home with us because, although it was very small, everything was organized and convenient to use. We had no problem storing our toiletries without having the bathroom feel cluttered. The cabin itself was also full of usable storage space. We did have one large Pullman suitcase that would not fit under the bed, so our cabin steward stored it for us during the trip.
One area where I will complement Celebrity is in the quality of their employees. Everyone that we encountered on the cruise was very friendly, efficient and extremely hard working. Having done my share of hiring and firing, I respect the ability to build such a large crew of employees who know customer service and are not afraid to work. From the housekeeping staff to the bartenders to the dining room staff, they made the cruise for us.
We were really lucky in our waiter and waiter assistant. At home we dine out frequently and appreciate good food and good service. I’m afraid that I am now spoiled by our excellent dining room service and will be disappointed when we eat out at home. Our waiter, Camilo, and his assistant, Jose, were a great team. Camilo was incredibly efficient and could carry trays with 16 filled plates with seeming ease. Jose was the comedian—he kept us laughing while he never let either our water glasses or our breadbasket empty.
One area that I was not prepared for was the amount of ship movement that I could feel. On the first formal night in particular, the ship was sailing through water that moved the ship side to side in a very noticeable manner. Although I don’t suffer from motion sickness, the amount of movement that I could feel did make me a little nervous. During 3 or 4 periods of the cruise we traveled through waters that did make the ship rock a little uncomfortably. (I think that on my next cruise the rocking won’t bother me as much since I will be ready for it.)
My mother and I both purchased the Silver Spa Package at the AquaSpa. In addition, we added a few treatments during the cruise. The facilities are very comfortable and the personnel are well trained. On the first day, they conducted thorough tours through the spa. These tours were fun, and they certainly encouraged you to sign up for all of the wonderful treatments that were available. My only complaint with the spa is the high-pressure sales pitch after each treatment for the purchase of their line of products. Since I was already paying what I considered a very fair price for the treatments, I didn’t think that the strong product pushing was necessary.
Our ship stopped in Juneau, Skagway, Haines and Ketchikan. Each town was very beautiful, and it was nice to stroll around town. We only took two excursions. My mother and I took a float trip from the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau down the Mendenhall River. This was really fun—not too many rapids and lots of eagles were seen. My husband and father took a fishing trip—this was a disappointment. For $178.00/pp they got on a fishing boat, watched the captain set out some lines and drove around for a couple of hours. No catching fish was O.K., but they felt like they were observing and not fishing.
All in all, we had a great time on our cruise. So much so that we are planning to take another one next year when the Galaxy moves to Europe for a 7-day Northern European cruise.