Alaskan Cruise Trip Report

We are now a few days post DCL Wonder Alaskan cruise and I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that we had to get off the boat and come home. I’m going to try to do a post-trip trip report based on memory alone.

This was our second DCL cruise, with the first one in April 2019 on the Dream to Bahamas. We were set to sail again in April 2020, but we all know how that turned out.

The cruisers were myself, DW and DS16 and DS11. We booked sort of late, so there weren’t a ton of options on rooms, so we opted for two connecting rooms and got the last two on the boat, which happened to be on Deck 2. We just did oceanview as my wife still has a fear that one of the kids is going to fall off the balcony from our room.

We flew into Vancouver on Saturday night and had two nights at a Hampton Inn for nearly $500 a night US. In retrospect, I wish I had just splurged and stayed at the Pan Pacific or Fairmont and we could have walked to the cruise terminal.

Had a good time in Vancouver, My older son and I got out the door Sunday morning for a 5 mile run to Stanley Park and back. It was gloriously cool that morning! We then walked around the city. We started down by the cruise ships and then got a cab to Granville Island. Our cab driver was one of the highlights of the trip, as he was absolutely hilarious. A bit inappropriate, but that is A-OK in our household. I looked in the back and all three of them were laughing hysterically at his stories about other tourists and such.

Granville Island was very cool. We then took a little boat to the area by the Olympic Village. It was recommended that we check that area out, but it was a bit underwhelming. Did some more shopping/exploring. Had dinner and went to bed.

Monday morning, I got up and ran 6 miles along the waterfront by Granville Island, as DS16 wanted to sleep in and said he would run on the boat later. Again, gloriously 52 degrees when back home it would have been in the 70s or 80s already. We were boarding group 8 with an 11:30 port arrival time. We got to the cruise port a little after 11 and breezed through check-in, but then had to wait in a holding area until close to noon until we were called.

Once we got on board, we made a beeline to the Port Adventures desk to book the Capilano Bridge debarkation excursion, which can only be made on the boat. While waiting, we all came up with inappropriate family names that we should have told them to use when we were introduced on the boat. Don’t worry, I won’t repeat any of the suggestions here!

We did some general exploring of the boat and tried to go to Animator’s Palate for lunch, but there was a wait, so we head to Cabanas. We checked out the spa and fitness center, and DW made a spa appointment for Tuesday. We took the kids to their respective kids clubs and also checked out the Oceaneer Club, as DS11 was sad that he couldn’t go there on this trip. DS16 was underwhelmed with Vibe and probably spent a total of 30 minutes there the entire week.

We got into our room at 2:30 but our luggage didn’t arrive until nearly 6 pm. DS16 got his stuff and ran on the track and everyone just chilled out until our dining at 8:15. As to be expected, our serving staff was great!

Tuesday was a sea day and it was a bit of a rough one. The boat was rocking a fair bit, enough that DS16 and I kept postponing our run as we were worried about falling. We finally ran around 4 pm as the seas subsided. Running on the track isn’t awful, but there are so many people who don’t pay attention. And the photographers were out taking pictures and they were some of the worst offenders. I think we only ended up running 3 on the track and then went to the fitness center to finish up, but it was a bit warm in there and no air circulating, so it is just a sweat bath to run fast on the treadmills.

Wednesday we did the glacier viewing on one of the smaller boats. It was pretty cool. We got fairly close and saw some decent chunks falling off. The glacierita with ice from the glacier was a nice touch on the boat, and they made them fairly strong, so that was good.

Thursday was an Icy Strait day. DS16 and I had breakfast and then ran at 11, but his stomach was bothering him from breakfast, so we only ran 4 miles to the town and back. Thursday was our whale watching and seafood combo excursion. We saw a pod of whales, but didn’t get as close as I hoped, although some other boats did. The seafood feast was pretty good and reminded me more of a crawfish boil, which I love. We also did some exploring around Icy Strait and took the gondola up to the top of the mountain. One of the things I promised myself was that we wouldn’t spend the money on the boat’s wifi in hopes of relaxing more, but I forgot to load my Kindle and was rolling through books. So we found a good wifi spot in port and downloaded some more books and DS16 was downloading some shows to watch on his phone on the boat. I would definitely have done the zipline, too, if I had known that we had time to do both that AND the whale watching.

Friday was Juneau and our sled dog excursion. DS16 and I wanted to do the helicopter one, but the other two were afraid of the helicopter, so we did the normal land one, which was very cool. Good thing we did, though, as we learned at the airport on the way home from another family that the helicopter one got cancelled due to fog. The sled dogs were awesome and the puppies at the end are worth the wait.

We got back to port and DS16 and I did a fabulous 6 miler around Juneau while the others shopped. It was a little cooler today and was sprinkling. I probably overdressed on the run and was a little hot by the time we got back, but it is really cool to get a little further from port on these runs and see parts of the towns that most don’t have time to get to.

Saturday was Ketchikan. We were originally supposed to do the Misty Fjords excursion, but we cancelled that before we got on the ship, as I hadn’t seen the part that it was 5 hours, and I figured the kids would get bored. Plus, the name sounded like a female exotic dancer!

DS16 and I got up and went for another 6 mile run (shocker, I know) and then we explored the port as a family. Had a cool lunch at a restaurant overlooking the town. After lunch, the kids went back to the boat and DW and I did some more exploring. It was really cool to have a port day without an excursion to just relax.

Sunday was our last sea day. We didn’t do too much, but did play music trivia at Crown and Fin Pub. Some of those people are either cheating or just music savants. We did well, but didn’t win. DW and I did win a general trivia in Azure, but there weren’t that many people. Three of us also watched Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes in the movie theater.

Monday was our debarkation and Capilano Bridge excursion. That park was really cool, but everyone was pretty disappointed that the excursion was over and we were dropped at the airport at 11:30. The excursion description said that it would last nearly 5 hours (4:45). We were supposed to be in D Lounge at 7:45. We didn’t get off the boat until 8:30 and got to the park around 9:20. We had until 10:30 at the park and then we pretty much drove straight to the airport. I’m no math wizard, but 4 hours and 45 minutes, even from 7:45, would have been 12:30, so everyone felt we got shorted a bit. Everyone had late flights and was trying to kill time.

When we got to the airport, we paid to check luggage at a luggage babysitting service and took the free tram to the outlet mall nearby. We had lunch and shopped, but still were done by about 3 pm, so we headed back to the airport. We were flying American, but their ticket counter wasn’t going to open until 7 pm since they only had late flights, so we had to stay outside of security, which has fewer dining options. The flight back to Charlotte was smooth and landed about 30 minutes early.


Overall, it was a great cruise. Below are some additional bullet point thoughts:

  • The excursions were all very good. None of them were over the top WOW, but worth the money. And unlike some other excursions, they didn’t focus on the tip at the end. When I did tip, they generally seemed surprised and thankful that we were tipping.

  • The food was great. It did seem like some of the portions at dinner were smaller than I remembered, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  • Finding a place to get a drink during the day was sometimes difficult. Staffing in the lounges wasn’t great. I sat in Cove Cafe reading one day for 45 minutes and no one ever came to ask me if I wanted a drink, so I went to the Signals bar. The drinks are never that strong, especially the drink of the day, so I started ordering Jack and Coke and made it a double for a few dollars more, and that seemed to be well worth the money.

  • DS11 liked going to Edge, but probably would have liked Oceaneer Club better. It seemed like all they really did in Edge was video games. He still talks about the fact that he was undefeated playing FIFA on the boat. I’m sure they had activities, but he wasn’t into arts and crafts or the trivia. He did get lost on the boat on the first sea day and cried a little (he’s our emotional kid), but after that he was great navigating the boat by himself. One of our nicknames for him is Barnacle because he always wants to be with us, but the level of independence on the boat was great that he could wander around safely and go to the clubs or get ice cream as he saw fit.

  • Getting two rooms was key! It only cost us about $800 more since the kids had to pay adult rates, but having more beds and an extra bathroom was fantastic.

I’ll try to think of anything else later.


This sounds amazing.

I’ll bet the scenery was beautiful on this cruise!


That does sound disappointing. Just looking, the bridge is beautiful. I wonder what part they skipped that made it so short.


I find great strangers make trips memorable.

Our kids have never wanted to stay in any of the kids clubs despite our urging, lol. They liked to be attached at the hip 90% of the time.

Was it seasoned like a crawfish boil? From cajun country here and I always find seafood boils bland. We are considering an Alaskan cruise next year and would be interested in this.

Hopefully you sent an email or made a phone call. I would want a partial refund.

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Yes, it was seasoned similar to a crawfish boil. It had the potatoes and corn on the cob, and then shrimp and crab legs and some andoullie sausage. Very tasty.

Not sure what they cut out of the Capilano excursion. I haven’t sent an email or anything. I doubt anything would come of it, so not worth the hassle at this point. One of the things that it said we would do is drive through Chinatown, but I know we skipped that. It wasn’t a huge deal, but I was just trying to cut out some of the time spent in the airport. In retrospect, maybe we should have stored bags near the port and done more in the city, but it’s all good. Considering that was the only thing that wasn’t stellar, I can’t really complain.

Now I wait 79 days to my first WDW solo trip!


Excellent! It will be here before you know it.


I am in the process of planning an Alaskan cruise for our family (although probably not DCL) so thanks for your recap!

This is the rub about flying to the east coast after the cruise! I am wondering if it’s worth another night in Vancouver on the way home.

Did you actually go on a sled ride on this excursion? Or just see the camp and the dogs, etc.?

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We went on a sled that is more like a wagon and got pulled by the dogs for about 1.5 miles, or maybe 10-15 minutes.

One thing that I didn’t know about flying out of Vancouver is that you actually go through US Customs in Vancouver. I think there were some earlier flights that had a connection that we could have done, but I assumed that if we had a connection, we would have to go through Customs there, so the connections were too tight. But since you go through Customs in Vancouver, you can probably make any regular connection like it is a domestic flight. Based on that, you might be able to find a flight around noon or 1 pm that you could make. I wish I had known that.


Same. What lines are you considering?

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I am pretty set on Princess! Norwegian was my second choice.

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We did an Alaskan cruise on Princess a few years back. It was great! Golden Princess, one week from Vancouver to Anchorage then a few days at two of their lodges in the interior near Denali. Took the train from the ship to the first lodge and then bused back to Anchorage before flying out.


Awesome! That is very similar to what we are thinking about. I’m still debating northbound or southbound. I am not so patiently waiting for the ships to come out hopefully in August! I believe they are sending one of the newer ones for 2026 but it probably will not do the Inside Passage. SO many choices in Alaska!


If you’re thinikng of doing the land package I would try to do a northbound cruise so that you can end with that. I think it’s also worth doing the inside passage. You get such amazing views of the shore.

Whichever you decide, definitely book a cabin that will be facing land for the majority of the journey (starboard for north, port for south). And I highly recommend a balcony. I remember watching porpoises and seeing whales spray from our balcony as we sailed!


I was looking heavily at this line too. I’m interested in the Enclave Spa and they have very decent rates for jr suites.


Thanks! I have more questions and will start a new thread so as not to impose on this trip report.