Let me start by saying that my husband and I have cruised quite a bit both by ourselves, with friends and family. Living in Florida, we taken advantage of the convenience of cruising without much planning or hassle. That being said taking a cruise to Alaska is one of those things that has been on my bucket list. l love to watch National Geographic, Discovery Channel or any thing affiliated with nature. So Alaska and the Glaciers was something that we were really looking forward too. I planned the trip and my husband's brother and sister-in-law met us there from DC. We took the land portion of the cruise first for 6 days starting in Fairbanks, which was wonderful. I would highly recommend if anyone goes all that way, to try and take the land portion with Princess. The scenery, rustic lodging and excursions are well worth the extra money and time. Now on with our cruise. the day before we arrive in Whittier, we heard that they weather may be bad for the 1st day of our cruise. Having been in rough seas before, I was prepared and had my dramamine close by. Winds and a down pour started out our arrival on the ship. We were to take off at 11 the evening and our group was one of the last ones to arrive. I had a feeling that we may be leaving late but when the captain came on and informed us that not only would we be leaving late but we would be staying over another night in Anchorage and would not be leaving until 11 the next night. This seemed pretty strange to me that we would already know the need to leave so late. But it all became clear with the next announcement saying that tours would be offered in Anchorage the following day (who in their right mind would want to go in pouring cold rain) and because we were leaving so late, we would be missing both days (2) of the glaciers. Which meant our Glacier Cruise was now Glacier-less!! I completely understand about safety but to cancel both days for leaving one day late without even giving the weather a chance to clear up irritated me to say the least. And then to make matters worse he made it a point to let us know we would not be missing any of the ports (tourist paying excursions) As it turned out, the sun came out about 3 the next afternoon but since all the passengers had been told they didn't need to be on the ship until 9 p.m. we could not leave and sat at port. I have traveled on Princess many, many times and I really can't remember being so irritated in the "name of safety".
Now for the good news.....we loved our mini-suite. We have always booked a balcony but decided to upgrade to a mini-suite balcony (for those sight seeing glaciers). I don't think the mini-suite is that much bigger than a normal balcony but that extra room really makes a difference. It was clean and the beds were very comfortable!! Our room steward was great as well. It was pretty cold for us Floridians so my husband enjoyed the balcony more than me.
Thank heavens I signed up for excursion or we would have not even seen a small glacier. My favorite excursion was a photo/whale watching trip. The professional photographer helped everyone with their cameras and took so much time with us. The excursion is limited so there were just 12 of us and we saw lots of whales!!
Back to the ship....we had second setting and very much enjoyed our meals and waiter. We had planned on going to a specialty restaurant but never felt the need. I love the speciality coffee and goody area in the center of the ship and love to listen to the musicians. The ship is very clean and someone always is working on something to keep the appearance of the ship up. They work so hard on the ships I give them all the credit for making our week so relaxing and enjoyable. We were so busy once the boat left the dock that we didn't have a lot of time to go to all the activities they offer but if you have never taken a cruise and like to stay busy, this is the vacation for you. Or you can just kick back, read a book and enjoy the quiet.
We arrived in Vancouver and had about 6 hours for our flight so we took a tour of the city which I really enjoyed. I wish that we would have stayed over another night. If we hadn't taken the land tour as well, I think I would have been really upset that our Glacier Cruise was Glacier-less but seeing the beautiful sights on land help a bit. But I will never be convinced that the additional day of missing the Glaciers was not based on economics. We could have easily skipped a port to see a glacier since they were both on the same path!!