I Took an Alaska Cruise — Surprising Things About the Trip + Photos
I sailed the Celebrity Millennium for eight days.
My family of six took a cruise to Alaska celebrity millennialswhich takes us to places like Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway and Hubbard Glacier.
Although I’ve done five cruises with my family, the first since the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, there are some things I didn’t expect about the overall experience.
Although it’s summer, it’s still cold and sometimes foggy and you can’t see anything.
When most people book cruises in the summer, they imagine days lounging by the pool, sipping frozen margaritas, and wearing shorts.
The ports we visited in Alaska were all warm, but the days at sea were cold. It is often windy and cannot enjoy any outdoor activities, such as watching a movie at the outdoor cinema or playing games on the pool deck.
We were also looking forward to sailing through Alaska’s picturesque Inner Passage, but it was too foggy to see anything.
Blanket stations all over the pool deck – I also grabbed some to keep warm on my stateroom balcony – during our very chilly Hubbard Glacier trip the staff handed out hot chocolate to everyone outside .
I think there will be more food choices throughout the day.
While there were plenty of specials for dinner and a sumptuous buffet on the pool deck, we occasionally got tired and hungry from a short trip and then realized there was no unique place to eat until our set meal time.
The buffet is closed between lunch and dinner, with the exception of the pizza bar. Not even the burger station on the pool deck is available.
I’m glad I slept with the blindfold on.
In Alaska, the sun rises as early as 3am and sets as late as 10pm
With the sun out so late, I didn’t feel tired, but wearing an eye patch helped me maintain a regular sleep schedule.
I definitely recommend packing one, especially if you’re a light sleeper like me.
Although hand sanitizer and masks are provided on board, I don’t see many guests using them.
Since this is my first voyage since the pandemic, I’m curious what health protocols, if any, will be implemented. E.g, Guests are required to have a negative COVID-19 test boarding.
I haven’t noticed any social distancing measures on board, but I’ve seen staff wipe down buttons, tables and other frequently touched surfaces. Also, hand sanitizer is available near the dining area.
I also appreciate that they provide guests with reusable face masks with celebrity branding, but I rarely see anyone wearing them. However, every staff member I saw was wearing a mask.
The onboarding process and security briefing are straightforward.
Unlike many other cruise ships I’ve been on, Celebrity only requires us to watch a video and check in at the meet up station as part of our mandatory safety briefing.
We checked in with the staff there as soon as we stepped on board and were free to roam and head to our cabin, the fastest briefing I’ve ever had.
Since our cabin is part of a concierge class, we can also enjoy Exclusive lunch in the main dining room. Overall, this was by far the smoothest boarding process I’ve ever experienced.
We used the phone more than I expected.
Passengers can book meals, view daily itineraries, and even view dinner menus in advance through Celebrity’s app.
General cruise fares include a basic Wi-Fi package that works almost exclusively with the app.
We use messaging to keep in touch, set up group chats, let each other know where to meet on the boat, and send reminders about dinner reservations or tour times.
It’s important to keep your phone charged to keep in touch with your family and easily understand what’s going on on board.
We drink a lot of coffee.
Celebrity offers passengers a basic beverage package as part of the original fare.
my family insists Classic Drink Package, which includes any drink up to $9. If we want to buy a drink that is not part of our fare, such as a premium cocktail, we only pay the difference.
I don’t drink much, but luckily there’s a coffee shop on board, and I have it in my package. All-you-can-eat iced lattes and specialty hot teas are a highlight.
People dress casually in the main dining room.
While there are signs of not wearing flip-flops or shorts in restaurants, that definitely didn’t stop anyone.
I noticed that many guests were not following the dress code at dinner but were still allowed into the restaurant.
Also, formal nights call for “evening chic,” which Celebrity Description As a “modern look”, take cocktail dresses and designer jeans for example.
Some passengers wear dresses and heels, but I can opt for sandals and sundresses, which are more comfortable.
I can order almost any meal to my cabin through room service, even the main dining room.
One night I started feeling bloated with the food we had been eating and didn’t dine in the main room.
My parents told me that our server asked me if I wanted to bring me food.
I can order anything from the main dining room – even a plate of Beef Wellington – and have it delivered to my cabin.
By the sixth day, we started to have nothing to do.
Since this is an Alaska trip and it’s usually too cold to lounge or swim on the pool deck, we were surprised by the lack of onboard activity – especially on days at sea.
We had quite a few trivia sessions, as well as silent disco nights, but would have enjoyed more options like bingo or mini golf.
Le Petit Chef is a lovely specialty dining experience that feels good value for money.
Normally, my parents insisted on having dinner at the main restaurant rather than the specialty restaurant, but when we found out little chef — An immersive 3D dining show featuring “The World’s Smallest Chef” — was available on board, and we booked a spot right away.
The dining experience costs about $55 per person and includes a cartoon chef projected onto the table and plates.
Unexpectedly heartwarming and the food was delicious, especially after watching the little animated chef cook in front of us.