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Alaska by Roisin

I was so happy to be picked for this trip as Alaska is a destination I’ve always loved to see and one I do sell a lot so to experience it was going to a be a dream. From start to finish I was in awe of the destination and the ship itself – the Emerald Princess.

Our Norwegian Air flight was fantastic. I was pleasantly surprised at the room onboard the Dreamliner and the décor and lighting made it feel very open and modern. The onboard entertainment was great, the food was yummy and the staff very friendly.

Our first stop was Seattle where we spent 2 nights at the Radisson Airport hotel. Lovely hotel very conveniently located close to the airport and only 30 mins away from Seattle city centre. This can be reached by the light rail which is only $3 each way. As we had been delayed and queued at immigration for 2 hours, the first evening consisted of a meal next door at Gregory's Grill and an early night.

Next morning we were picked up by BeeLine tours for our trip to Redondo Beach where we ate brunch at the famous Salty's restaurant. It’s an all you can eat buffet including a massive array of seafood, breakfast food and desserts. Very tasty! Next stop was the Seattle Chocolate factory where we had a lesson on how chocolate is made and a tour of the factory. They are sampling new flavours all the time and my favourite was the Bohorat which is a bar of chocolate infused with Indian spices. I liked it that much I bought 2 to take home as souvenirs. After the chocolate sampling, we met Jay at the Seattle Brewing Co where he took us to a few local breweries to sample some beer. We left with a free t-shirt and beer and had some free time to enjoy Seattle itself. It’s a very hip and relaxed city, one I can see myself enjoying for longer than 2 nights. The Space Needle area is lovely to walk around as well as the Waterfront area where we stopped for lunch and watched the ferries sail in and out of the port.

We boarded the Emerald Princess the next day to start our 7 Night Alaska Inside Passage cruise. Check-in was flawless – hardly any queues and we were through security and on the ship in no longer than 30 minutes. Very impressive. We found our bearings and headed up on deck to have a cocktail and relax before we explored the ship a little before the sailaway.

Good tip: Head to Outrigger Bar at the back of the ship for Sailaway. You can enjoy a cocktail or 2 whilst watching the amazing views of the Seattle skyline slowly fade away as you head out to sea. (great photo opportunity.)

The first 2 days were at sea so it gave us a real opportunity to explore the ship. Another good tip: Take part in the Treasure Hunt which involves getting a stamp at various locations around the ship on the first day and it helps with finding your way around the ship. You never know, you might be lucky and win a prize for doing so.

One of the first things that stood out on the ship to me was that even though the ship was full you could always find a nice quiet area if you needed some downtime to enjoy a glass of wine or read a book. Another stand out on the ship was the food – both in the main dining room and in the specialist restaurants. The burger in Salty Dogs was one of the best I have ever tasted. They don’t call it the best burger at sea for nothing. My highlight was Share – the Curtis Stone restaurant which takes you through a 6-course culinary journey. Simply amazing. Each dish was perfection and the décor inside was done to a high standard you felt like you really were somewhere fancy. The cover charge is only $39 and definitely worth it.

We took part in as many activities as we could on the ship to try and experience it in full – pub quizzes, line dancing, movies under the stars, nightclubs, wildlife lectures and theatre shows. One of my favourite moments is the morning of sailing into Tracy Arm Fjord. We were booked into The Sanctuary which is a space you can book on the ship to relax and unwind in comfortable loungers/cabanas above the spa area. Princess charges $20 for a half-day and $40 for a full day. We woke up to a nice clear blue sky that morning but it was freezing cold. The Sanctuary provided us with blankets, ear-warmers, hot nibbles and hot drinks along with mimosas and whiskeys if required. The area is sheltered too so keeps out the wind. It is situated at the front of the ship so we had great views of the fjords, waterfalls and icebergs that surrounded us. The scenery was breathtaking and a day I will never forget.

The ports of call are quite small and they are easy to walk around straight from the ship. It’s like walking back into a western film with saloons and old-style building. I would recommend doing an excursion in each port as you can walk around the towns in no time at all.

This really was a very memorable trip and I cannot wait to tell all my customers about the destination and Princess cruises.

Ports of call highlights and recommendations:

Skagway
Victoria
Ketchikan
Juneau

Skagway

We didn’t do an excursion here but if I ever go back to Skagway I would to the White Pass Train and bus tour for sure. The old train pulls right in to the centre of town which is a 5 minute walk from ship.

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