Celebrity Eclipse - 7 Nights
Arriving in Canada for the first time was the perfect opportunity to tick off our bucket list item: an Alaskan Cruise, the inside passage.
We are very loyal cruisers with Celebrity Cruises. We were excited to see they had an inside passage cruise leaving Vancouver in early July, a few days after our arrival, so it slotted in perfectly.
Following is a summary of our unforgettable Inside Passage Alaskan cruise, we were very impressed with the number of port visits and sea days, making it the ideal relaxing cruise, with a few adventurous days. Our cruise was a 7-night cruise that departs from Vancouver, sails through the Inside Passage, stops in Sitka, flows through Hubbard Glacier, and stops in Juneau and Ketchikan before sailing through the Inside Passage again on the way back to Vancouver.
This is the first time we have booked a stateroom at the back of the ship; we have always stayed starboard mid-ship. We booked a Sunset Veranda Stateroom (#7317) and loved being at the back; you are spoilt with magnificent views, perfect for sail-aways, sunsets and relaxing on the balcony.
Day one - Vancouver
Our very first cruise to Alaska! We are so happy to be back cruising after four years, and it feels like home being back on a Celebrity Cruises ship!
We were very impressed with the embarkation process in Vancouver; it was seamless, and within 30 minutes from arrival at the port, we were strolling around the cruise ship enjoying a glass of champagne and could even check in to our stateroom; it was 11 am.
Sushi on five, an a la carte restaurant specialising in Japanese cuisine on Deck 5 was open, and we were seated by the window watching the 2000 guests board the ship, we loved the energy from the crew, welcoming all guests with a song and dance. The vibe was so positive and fun! The food and service at Sushi on Five was exceptional, and we found ourselves dining there every day for lunch. A special thank you to the team Onsa, Dan, Mohamed, Sudar, Ryan and Helena for caring for us during our slow lunches.
Our first dinner was in Le Petite Chef and was quite a fun experience; a first, and we don't want to spoil the fun, so just a couple of pics!
It was a day cruising, a sea day! We woke fresh and enjoyed a slow breakfast in the main dining room. We even saw our first whale breaching while ordering our mid-morning coffees at Cafe Bacio from the energetic and friendly crew.
During the morning, the ship started rocking, so our advice if you suffer from motion sickness is to make your way to Deck 3, mid-ship and sit. The best advice is to avoid the feeling by laying low, not making your way to the front, as you will feel the rocking more. It was over in a few hours once the seas were protected again, and everyone was okay.
We started the evening with unique cocktails at World Class Bar; thank you, Adrian, Nemanja and crew. We then dined in the main dining room, we did have a set dining time of 8.30 pm, but we have to thank our Mary, the lovely Maître d' in the dining room, she always took care of us and found us an earlier dining slot. The food was beyond perfection, and the attentive service was impeccable.
Day three - Sitka
Our Alaskan adventure brings us to our first destination, Sitka, Alaska.
A small island with a population of 8500, but with four cruises docked, it was 20,000! Sitka had a Russian influence due to being part of Russia until 1867.
We explored the town and settled for lunch to try the local halibut, which was delicious and only $50 for a few bites (below)!!
While enjoying our lunch, a young man popped over to say hello; he was sailing on another ship that day in Sitka. Our lovely waiter, Mickey, was from one of our favourite restaurants in Belgrade, Bar Sasa. We were all overwhelmed by coincidence and enjoyed the afternoon reminiscing.
Soon after Mickey left, we started chatting to another group of lovely boys on vacation from Seattle with their 84-year-old Dad; he was an absolute legend, as were Dan and Dave.
It was an extraordinary afternoon on our first day in Alaska, and to top it off, we had magnificent views as we sailed toward the Hubbard Glaciers.
Day four - Hubbard Glacier
We cruised through the inside passage with an incredible view of the Hubbard Glacier. It was the first time we had sailed through waters scattered with ice; it was a special moment.
We had the most fantastic captain; thank you, Captain Leo, who positioned the ship where we could soak up the magnificent glaciers for a few hours. It was mesmerising, and we were fortunate to experience the glacier on a rare clear day to capture the stunning Hubbard glaciers.
We finished the day with a lovely slow lunch at Sushi on Five, enjoying these once-in-a-lifetime views and another dinner in the main dining room.
Day five - Juneau Today, we arrived in Juneau, the capital of Alaska (30,000 population).
We organised a two-hour helicopter flight over the beautiful glaciers and Alaskan terrain. Our Temsco Helicopters pilot, Josiah, was incredible, and we landed on two different glaciers and had the opportunity to walk around Herbert's and Mendenhall glaciers.
It was a magical morning, an experience we never thought possible. The colours of the glaciers were gorgeous, and the spectacular mountain ranges were a sight to see.
We were back on board for the sail away and enjoyed it in the fabulous Tuscan grill with delicious food, wine and service. A special thank you to Julia, our waitress, who understood our dining pace and was a pleasure to have by our side, serving us during the evening. We loved reminiscing with Mohamad from Tunisia, too.
The sail-away views were stunning and reminded us how much we love cruising!
Day six - Ketchikan We visited Ketchikan, the first town in Alaska that describes itself as the "Salmon Capital of the World". Ketchikan is well known for its fishing, beautiful scenery and rich Native culture.
For those who have watched Northern Exposure, it closely aligns.
We loved the colourful buildings, history, scenery and beauty; it was a lovely destination to dock in.
The stories of random catch-ups continue; we met a couple on our flight from Amsterdam to Vancouver in Ketchikan as we walked by in the street. They were cruising on Holland America, a cruise ship also docked for the day.
I had a lovely chat about our life story and met all their friends, including a sweet Greek man who tried to steal me away from hubby!
During dinner that evening, we were also served by a friendly face, Christophe, from our 2017 cruise sailing the South Pacific on the Solstice. The food continued to surprise us, and the duck tonight was mouthwatering.
Our final day was a sea day, where we enjoyed the slow cruising back to Vancouver. We had another slow lunch at our favourite sushi place at five and an afternoon nap as you do on a cruise ship.
During lunch, we were fortunate to watch the pilot board the ship. Kudos to Wayne to get this incredible footage.
The evening arrived, and we were booked into another one of our favourite specialty restaurants, Murano, with world-class French cuisine crafted by a Michelin-starred chef.
We were seated by a lovely couple from Florida, and we quickly became friends and enjoyed lots of banter and trading travel stories. Our friendly sommelier, Tanya, was from Thailand, and we had some fun practising our Thai again and trading Thai travel stories. The dishes were delicious as always; it is one of my favourite restaurants for Dover Sole.
Our magical cruise arrived in Vancouver the following day, and booking this cruise was the best decision. You will not be disappointed. Celebrity Cruises continues to exceed expectations and is world-class in its dining options, service, and crew. We love cruising with Celebrity.
Surprisingly, boarding a ship for a week was cheaper than paying the exorbitant accommodation prices in Vancouver. You would be hard-pressed to find anything less than $500 per night; if you want five-star, you are looking for $650 per night, including your meals, and you have spent $1000 per day.