Embarkation was very easy for the ship - we were dropped off and on the ship within an hour. After dropping bags in our (free upgraded) balcony, we began to explore the ship. We started off at the Horizon Buffet which was packed; but because I had read from other CC reviews that this may be the case, we decided to check out the International Cafe on deck 5 which had no wait. Grabbed a few panini sandwiches and some salad which was a perfect snack to get us through until dinner.
Let me first start off by saying we were super fortunate to have ideal, sunny weather during the entire week of the cruise. Starting in Ketichikan (where it rains 300 days a year), we took a seaplane to the Misty Fjords with Sea Plane Aviation. Everything about them was top notch. Our kids said this trip was the highlight of the cruise. We went about 10:30am which gave us plenty of time to walk around Creek Street as well as th other ports near the downtown area. We found some very cute shops in Ketchikan. (One of the shops - it has Pirate in the name - had great inexpensive souvenirs;)
Juneau: We knew we wanted to go to the Mendenhall Glacier but you have to take a $3 bus from the port into the city to catch the $8 blue bus that goes to Mendenhall. For the same price (there were 4 of us), we decided to take a cab to Mendenhall for about $38. It was nice way to get there because we got Juneau commentary along the way. Spent a lot of time at Mendenhall, including a hike to the Nugget Falls (the waterfall which was 3/4 of a mile). You do not have to pay anything unless you go to the Visitor's Center (which we did not). On the way back, we caught the blue bus but he didn't charge us anything. What a bargain! We then did a little shopping and then took the bus back to the port (where we once again didn't have to pay anything).
Skagway: Took the bus up and White Pass railroad train back through Chilkoot Tours which was worth it and then went to the Days of '98 Show. It was about 45 minutes and a cute story of the gold rush. Tickets were $20. Skagway is a cute town and it interested us to know that there were only 2 people in the graduating class this year (total of 87 students from K-12).
Victoria: What a shame we couldn't spend more time here (had only about 4 hours); but, because of the Jones Act, a ship that is not registered in America has to make a port stop in another country if all of the other ports are American ones. We took a cab into the city and walked around (all the way down to Chinatown where I bought a fake pashima shawl that was cheaper than on the ship!)
Like previous members have said, this ship is in need of a serious makeover! We experienced stains on the curtains in the room, stains on the sheets and stains on the shower curtains. The carpet was extremely scary looking and I felt that I needed to wear my flip flops at all times. The ship seemed "short staffed" - not a lot of bar staff walking around asking for drinks and in fact, my husband was told by the casino manager that they couldn't open the Craps table due to staff shortages. REally? You are in your heaviest tourist season and you don't have enough staff? I found our room steward to be mediocre as well as the food in the HOrizon Buffet. The dining room dinners were decent and we were assigned great table mates!
All in all, I probably won't go back on a Princess cruise. Sorry to have betrayed you, Carnival, but I'll be back!