Just back from an Alaskan cruise: Bryan & Joanne share their adventures!

I interviewed my parents, who just got back from an Alaskan cruise. This article is edited for length; click here to listen to the podcast and click here to watch the video.




Barbara: I am super excited to get to talk to these guests. I've known them my whole life. They are my parents: Bryan and Joanne Weston. I'm really excited to welcome you.


Bryan & Joanne: Hi Barbara. Good to see you!


Barbara: I know people are worried and excited and nervous about returning to cruising. So we're really excited to get to talk to you guys and to hear about your cruise. You went on a round-trip Seattle to Alaska cruise, on Princess Cruise Line.



The planning process

Let’s talk about the planning process. Tell us why you wanted to go, and who you went with.


Bryan & Joanne: We have three other couples, friends and we’ve cruised with before, and we decided we wanted to go on an Alaska trip two years ago. We booked it with an online agency one of our friends found online, and then everything canceled because of Covid. The agency essentially said, Here are your reservation numbers with Princess. We’re done. Good luck. So I thought, Oh, our daughter is a travel agent! I wonder if she could help us with this. So she did, and helped all four couples to be able to go now.


Barbara: We were able to reschedule for the dates that you wanted. And we were able to keep all of the amenities plus out a few more. And we can’t forget about the balcony cabins!


Bryan & Joanne: Yes! We had inside cabins before. And these balconies were all right together, in the middle of the ship; it was a wonderful experience.


Getting there


Barbara: Do you want to tell us anything about the airport or your flights? Of course, masks are required while you’re flying and in the airport.


Bryan & Joanne: We had to get a COVID test within 72 hours before we left. So we carried that, plus our vaccination paper, and our passports, although we didn’t need them because we didn’t stop in Canada. We had that plus our masks, and everything went smoothly. The flight went well. The connection to get on the ship went well. I worried as we started to get on the flight that I hadn’t read very carefully about how to find the cruise transportation. But they were right there and everything went just great.


COVID and cruising


Barbara: Let’s talk a little more about COVID and the ship. All of the crew members are vaccinated, and you talked about how you were vaccinated. Did you notice anything else on the ship? When did you have to wear masks? What other kind of cleaning types of things did you notice, if any?


Bryan & Joanne: Everyone was masked on the ship outside of your own rooms. As we as we went in the elevators and to different productions in the theaters, everyone was masked outside of our own rooms. As we went to eat everyone was masked until you were eating. After we had eaten, the staff cleaned the tables. So we felt that everything was really well covered in terms of any concern about COVID.

I wondered about how the buffet would work. You went along and they put the food on the plate and handed it to you. It worked really well.


Barbara: What about room service? In past cruises, you’d often find a mint on your pillow or towel animals.


Bryan & Joanne: There was none of that, although they watched whenever you left your room in the morning; they would come clean up and provide fresh towels.



The onboard experience


Barbara: Tell us about some other things during the cruise.

Bryan & Joanne: They had some wonderful entertainment, from comics to magic shows to musicals. Everything was very, very nice, done in very appropriate ways. They brought some rangers on and some naturalists to talk about things we would see and history of the area. So we appreciated that.


Barbara: Explain how your balconies were connected.


Bryan & Joanne: There were four of us couples right in a row, and right as we arrived, one of the staff came and asked, “Do you want your balconies connected?” We said we did. So she removed a little wall between them, so all four of us could be outside watching the wales and dolphins and the glaciers. It was just delightful.


Alaska temperatures in September


Barbara: How cold was it?


Bryan & Joanne: As long as we were on the ship, it was jacket weather, even out on the balconies. But when we got into Ketchikan it was raining and cold, so then it was three layers plus a rain poncho!



Excursion


Barbara: What was a favorite excursion that you did?


Bryan & Joanne: We only took one excursion that Princess offered; it was a train ride in Skagway, the gateway to the gold rush fields in 1898. We took the narrow gauge train as far as it went till it got up to where there was a bridge out. And that was just a delightful time. And as we took the train, they told about the history and we thoroughly enjoyed that.


The people in the towns were all so excited and happy to see us! Usually there are three or four ships in each port, but this time it was just us!


Cruise food


Barbara: What about the food? How was it?


Bryan & Joanne: The food was just excellent. Every night, of course, they had a different menu. We were seated at the same table as our friends. We got to know our waiters a little bit and absolutely loved them. The last night they served baked Alaska, and the chef and the whole dining room came out and did a little dance. That was delightful. Our friends, who have been on many cruises, said that this cruise by far had the best meals and food that they’ve ever experienced.



Final thoughts


Barbara: Is there anything else you’d tell people who are thinking about taking a cruise?


Bryan & Joanne: If you're tempted to go on a cruise, just go. And if you think you should wait, don't wait. Just enjoy it. You'll have a delightful time. Choose Princess, and if you’re trying to pick a travel agent, choose Barbara.


Barbara: Thank you so much! It’s been wonderful talking to you!