We have travelled on Carnival three times and loved it! Usually there newest ship, the latest being lasy sept. in the Medditeranean on the Magic.
We chose Princess at our agents reccommendation as they are rated as number one for Alaska cruises.
We booked the land add-on pre-cruise with a night in Anchorage, a night at Mckinley Lodge, and two nights in Denali with a 9 hour train back to Whittier.
The land portion was a highlight! I would suggest if you are going it should be mandatory! Made the rest anti-climatic. Beautiful Lodges, Great views and country and the train dropped us of in front of the ship, you miss a lot by not not doing this!
The Sapphire Princess itself is a nice and somewhat classier ship decor wise than Carnival.
The rooms were much smaller than Carnival, first thing I noticed walking in was the smallness, Carnival has room for a couch and coffee table in all Balcony rooms here you could barely walk around the bed let alone have a sofa at the foot!
Carnival has the convenience of looking at your sail card balances and purchases on your in-room T.V., You can also book last minute tours with a click of the remote and even preview the tour by watching a video of it! On Princess your statement comes the morning you disembark! How do you remember what or when you made a purchase? the only option was to line up at the desk or go to a kiosk and print off a copy ahead of time. Seems small but it was an unexpected inconvenience I assumed all ships hwould have the technology.
Next were the captains announcements, although rooms and baths were wired with speakers, no announcements came over them. Another really dumb and inconvenient decision. If you had the tv on and were lucky enough to think you heard talking in the hall you would run for the door and open it to hear the last part of the announcement, while waving at everyone else in the hall wearing your towell!
Speaking of towells, if you wanted a robe you had to call and order one, they werent provided in the room otherwise.
On Carnival, all three ships, our room stewards knew when we dined and always did the room then, we never seen him it was always done when we returned. On This cruise we were told to put our "please service room" card on the door handle when out. We would go out a couple hours, come back, still not cleaned. It was really not a well run department.
On carnival we would get one free bag of wash done, not so here, although it isnt expected. But when you book a 4 or 5 night pre-cruise package if anytime it would be appreciated it would be now.
The dining room service was very lackluster! and everyone we met agreed so it wasn't just our waiters. I have to say on Carnival if one person asked for oil to dip bread in one bight, every night after it was already on the table when you arrived. On Princess we would order a bottle of white wine with Dinner and every night we would arrive and the half bottle was nowhere to be found, we were asked nightly if we had any leftover, we said yes, then they got it. This was a real dissapointment! Not once, but every night. So much for service.
So overall the cruise itself was a dissapointment. But the land portion was amazing!