As a first time Princess cruiser and only 2 nd cruise ever we were very happy with our cruise cabin due to an amazing upgrade. E722 . Having a balcony on this Alaska cruise was a plus for the glacier viewing days even though we did move to the open secret deck and aft for better viewing.
Room is above one of the lounges and could hear some music/noise till around 10 pm on some days. ( Universe Lounge)
We took the Princess cruise bus transfer from Seattle airport at a delayed 10:30 am when it was advised that the first bus would leave at 8:30am there was none at that time.
We were able to pack our refreshments in our carry-on purchased from the 7Eleven up the street from the Hilton Conference center overnight stay.
The bus driver was very knowledgeable and would comment on our way through to Vancouver with one leg stretching stop where there was free coffee.
Once at the port all of our luggage was handled through Princess.
We arrived around 2:30-3pm and got through security quickly and on board.
We loved the cabin and the location-
We did like the walk to the front of the ship.
We walked to the very front of the ship then to the elevator to get to Lido deck Horizon court to avoid the wind on glacier days or in the evening.
Our cabin steward Wichien from Thailand was very pleasant and quick to bring us some extra items. ( a corkscrew, top sheet, bathrobes)
We had anytime dining and called in the morning when we could for a reserved seat without waiting anymore than 5 minutes or less.
I found the food in the MDR delicious and plentiful.
We had room service for early morning coffee/breakfast for port days and then mid morning headed up to Horizon court for more breakfast items during sea days. Service was excellent. Even asked for fruit missing and was replenished.
I booked all port excursions myself with independent tour suppliers.
In Ketchikan we took the public bus to the Saxman Totem Village and explored the area and talked to a guide for about an hour while the bus returned.
The carving area was closed as there was a presentation on going with other tour buses. There was a $5 entry/parking fee even though we came by bus.
After headed to the Eagle Center and Hatchery for a guided tour, watching the salmon swimming upstream was a real treat.
From there the free downtown shuttle took us back downtown were we met SeaWindAviation van to our seaplane tour of the harbour and mountains.
This is a shorter tour of 30 min and only $115 which gave us a good view of the area, mt goats and water. Steve our pilot was excellent and wasn't watching the clock and made our flight a smooth and delightful one.
We boarded by 12:30 to beat the crowd and glad we did since there was a huge line that we could see from the dining room of passengers returning at 1:00pm
In Juneau I booked Orca Enterprises for the shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier and visitor center plus the whale watching tour. We arrived around 9 am and were picked up at 10:30 plenty of time to walk around the trails, visit the visitor center and watch a 20 minute video of the area.
Most of the trails were closed due to bear activity but did see lots of salmon and some remains where a bear was eating.
On our whale tour while waiting for the boat we spotted 2-3 bald eagles perched on a tree and post and one on the shore.
The days we cruised had perfect weather with smooth waters to the whale watching area where we witnessed bubble feeding, breaching and many more humpback whale sightings.
Captain Larry, Jeff and Kelley were great with their narration, snacks and duration out on the water.
We didn't do much shopping but did pick up a freebie here and there using the coupon books at the pier.
We headed to Triangle bar for some Alaskan beer and free use of their Internet, caught up on a Yankees game and walked back to town for photos and some shopping.
For Skagway we booked Chilkoot Charters for the White Pass Mountain and Yukon Territory tour. We 2 were taken up to meet up the train with many numerous stops that Mike did for us and giving us a history of the area we were passing through. Once we picked up the train passengers ( about 12) we passed all the larger buses and headed up to Emerald Lake, then Carcross for lunch and back to Skagway with numerous stops for photos and wildlife sightings.
He took everyone back to where they wanted once in Skagway even back to the ship. We stopped at Skagway Brewery for a sampler which was good.
Glacier days were awesome as we would listen to the naturalist spot wildlife and we witnessed glacier calving too.
The day was spectacular,sunny cool and breezy but we found a sheltered area under the stairs on either side of the horizon court to view the wildlife and glacier.
We both made use of the gym and the promenade deck to walk off the food we had enjoyed the night before.
Entertainment was good too , we enjoyed the comedian a short Irish guy ( self description) on the Bayou and the staff entertainment.
Disembarkation was very well organized as the luggage was tagged according to your destination and plans once off the ship.
I was very happy with this cruise & ship and the staff/crew.
We will be back on another Princess cruise soon since we purchased FCC. :-)