We picked Princess because a number of friends had enjoyed the line. We enjoyed a day before and a day after in Vancouver which is a lovely small/large city. Embarkation was very organized and moved along quickly. We found our stateroom and appreciated the fact that it was immediately available. The rooms are smaller than other lines but perfectly adequate for 2 people. The closet/bathroom space I thought was generous and well organized. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the MDR and then explored the ship. our luggage was in our room when we returned from exploring. We thought the inside was tasteful and like the compact three story atrium. We seemed to gravitate there in the late afternoon every day to enjoy food, drink, music and people watching.
I appreciated the cruise line's policy of allowing passenger's to bring a couple bottles of wine on board at embarkation and at ports as we could spend time on our balcony watching the world go by and sipping wine.
The smoking policy is fairly rigid and my husband never did find out where he could relax and smoke his vacation cigar so it went back home with him. I think he missed being able to sit on the balcony after dinner mid-cruise, watch the wake and enjoy that once a year cigar.
The only downside to September Alaska trips, we found, was the early sunset. Leaving Vancouver you miss most all of the inland passage to Charlotte Sound because of the darkness.
We arrived in Juneau at 1:00 and leaving the ship was painless, quick and easy. We had adequate time to get out to Mendenhall and hike plus hit a store or two with several hours to spare. The other two ports we arrived early and left around the early dinner time.
We rented a car in Skagway and enjoyed the fall color out to Emerald Lake and back. We had plenty of time to walk up and down the Skagway business district.
We spent all day in Glacier Bay. The bridge was very informative the entire day with several naturalists on board.
Our weather was quite good. With the exception of Glacier Bay we had beautiful sunrises and rain, when it came, was at the end of the day and didn't interfere with our port time. Glacier Bay was overcast but fortunately that is the light you want to see the beautiful color in the glaciers. That was the only day I would call "cold", all the other days were typical fall 50 degree days.
We tried all the dining rooms and our wine bottles seemed to follow us with no problems. We also were able to have a table for two most often by a window which we loved. Only once did we wait and it was easy to walk next door and order a glass of wine while we were waiting. Alcohol seemed to be priced fairly and we didn't feel gouged. We did not find the quality of the food in the specialty restaurants measurably better from the other dining rooms but the cost is low it was not a concern. The wait staff in each restaurant always made recommendations for the evening food and we tended to follow their recommendations. We enjoyed the International Cafe immediately after coming ashore for a quick pick me up bite. We loved how the buffet was organized, how they had waitstaff to help you find a table, help you with your beverage and give you silverware. The pizza restaurant was a nice change of pace one night from the dining rooms and rich food.
Since this trip was in late September there were few children aboard. Most of the passengers were in our age group and the ship was quiet after midnight and lively in the morning with runners, joggers and people getting breakfast and coffee. There was also a nice mix of nationalities among the passengers.
Again the last night heading back to Vancouver you are in darkness during a beautiful part of the trip, but the moon was full and we sat outside finishing our dinner bottle of wine quite late.
Leaving the ship was very organized in the morning and we never felt we were in a cattle herd. We were assigned a "spot" in one of the bars and they had coffee which was a pleasant way to spend the half hour before you left the ship.
All in all, we were very pleased with the ship and the service and look forward to another trip with Princess.