First time with Princess and first time to Alaska, and we would recommend this cruise and cruise line. We have only sailed with NCL before, and we found the overall quality of Princess to be at least a half a cut above. This was just the second sailing to Alaska for the season, so the value was great, and we could not have asked for better weather. We enjoyed every port, especially Skagway (the train trip was spectacular!), and the scenic cruising day to Sawyer Glacier was breathtaking!
Our cruise director and the naturalist on board added a lot to the cruise. Both were locals, offering narration, whale and other wildlife sightings and information about ports and local people that we found interesting.
We decided to go with a balcony room and were really glad we spent the extra money. The scenery right outside was so beautiful that we sat on our balcony with binoculars and cameras until the sun went down almost every night, finding this to be far better entertainment than whatever was being offered elsewhere on the ship.
Just a few minor complaints: Yes, the scrambled eggs were awful. Most days they weren't cooked. One day they were overcooked and resembled sawdust. I don't know how you could make bad scrambled eggs, and we are not food snobs, but these were absolutely inedible. The iced tea needed to be watered down by 50%, and the coffee needed to be strengthened by 50%. You "could" get iced tea in the main dining rooms, but it would take up to 20 minutes at times, and the waiters seemed a bit annoyed with the request. However, you could not get lemonade. A man at our table asked for it one day at lunch and was told to go to the buffet and get himself some. We found this a bit odd.
On the other hand, the baked Alaska, lasagna and fettucine alfredo were TO DIE FOR. However, we did experience a moment of unease on baked Alaska night in the main dining room. The lights suddenly went out, and for a few seconds, it was silent. People were looking around nervously--except for those who had sailed with Princess before and seemed to know what was going on. Then an announcement came on, followed by a parade of waiters with flaming desserts. It was fun, but given the recent cruise disasters, we thought it was in poor taste to suddenly cut the lights without immediately explaining what had happened.
The ship was beautiful, overall, and our cabin was nice--save for the tiny shower with curtain that clung to us in the most unfortunate places. Our bed was uncomfortable, but we requested a mattress topper, which our room steward brought immediately, and it solved the problem. This was a fun ship to just wander around and spend time sitting in various locations. We especially loved the disco lounge on the 17th floor with the panoramic views.
We appreciated that the staff weren't constantly pushing us to purchase drinks and other extras. They "offered" plenty of times but were not nearly as aggressive as we had experienced on NCL.
Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze--quickest, easiest disembarkation we have ever experienced! We did the early walk off, had a noon flight and made it to the airport almost TOO early!
Would we cruise with Princess again? Yes. Is Princess the only cruise line we will sail from now on? No. Would we go to Alaska again, following a similar itinerary? Most definitely!