My first cruise was to Alaska and I loved it (and cruising). It was time to go again on a different itinerary, round-trip Seattle with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria.
Booked everything through Princess, including transfers. Princess booked us into the Seattle Westin, which was very nice and in a good location. We walked to Pike's Place for dinner and ate at the yummy Steelhead Diner (get the Poutine!).
The transfer was typical and we were onboard by noon after a short wait at the cruise terminal.
Cabin: This was our first Lido cabin and it was pretty convenient. I was worried that we'd hear noise from the gym above but it was pretty quiet. We spend a lot of time at the Lotus adult pool and the cabin was very close to the spa. We purchased the thermal suite passes and it's awesome in a cold climate.
Ship: The Star is in good condition and is what we were expecting for a Grand Class ship. We did appreciate the updated Horizon Court (buffet) layout, Princess needs to roll this enhancement to the rest of the fleet. On the Star, the bakery items are in a new station across the aisle from the buffet. The new station really improves the traffic flow.
Ports: Enjoyed the ports as always. Ketchikan - The Lumberjack show was fun and Totem Bight park was beautiful. Juneau - Did just the Mendenhall glacier and it is spectacular as usual. Skagway - The railroad was beyond spectacular. It's expensive but totally worth it. Victoria - Only there a few hours, we walked to the gift shop at the end of the pier, that's it. Would be nice if they got us there a little sooner to spend more time in Victoria.
Tracy Arm Fjord - Wow, truly amazing. Got there just before sunrise. I opened the curtains and there were friggin' whales just a few yards from the ship. That's a sight I'll NEVER forget. Amazing day, if a little cold. We spent the morning huddled on the balcony. This was the first time we'd ever used room service and now I'm hooked.
We lucked out on the weather on this trip! After weeks of rain the last cruise of the season was mostly sunny.
Saw just one show in the theater, it was typical cruise quality. The food was very good in the MDR. We had any time dining but ended up requesting the same servers (Richard and Maria) all week. Thank you for making the dinners special!
We tried the new service where you put your bags out the last night and you don't see them again until you get to your home. Probably won't do that again. We were shuttled off the ship WAY early (9am for a 3pm flight) and changed flights when we got to the airport, but our bags were already checked through so we had to come back to the airport a few hours after we got home to fetch them.
Note to Princess: You close the self-service laundries while in Alaskan waters (I get it, that's the law). BUT, you need more that a little blurb in the Patter about that. Fortunately I read it so we got some laundry done just before the laundries shut down.
Overall, a wonderful cruise! We've already been on another Princess cruise and have booked two more.