Traveled with my Mom (60) me (35). Arrived in Vancouver the day before the cruise and spent the day sightseeing with a rental car. Vancouver is a beautiful City with lots to see and do. Wish we had a few days here. We stayed at "The Hotel at Terminal City Club" which was right downtown and two blocks from Canada Place. We actually had a room that we could see 1/2 of the cruise terminal from. We were within walking distance to Gastown as well.
The next morning we awoke to see from our hotel room window the Sapphire Princess coming into the harbour. We walked with our luggage in tow the two blocks down to the Canada Place and we found the check in process to be very easy and quick. We found we were on board the Sapphire in no time. We had a balcony room and unlike our other cruises in the Caribbean, we were allowed to go directly to our room as soon as we boarded.
The ship was beautiful and clean the staff were very friendly and courteous. We had the early seating for supper (5:30pm) and actually found that to be a little troublesome as we were still in port at that time most days or there was something going on outside to see. If we did it over again we would either do the late seating or the any time dining. We found the dining room food to be very good and had the most amazing server by the name of Serafin, he alone was worth going to the dining room for. The best server I have had on any of my cruises so far. The food in the buffet was also very good.
Our first port was Ketchikan which we loved unfortunately we ran out of time and wished we had just a few more hours here. We did one of the float plane tours which was amazing. By the time we got back form the tour we only had 1/2 hour before we had to be back on board so we were able to run over and take a walk down Creek Street which was a really neat place but wish we had time to check out the buildings. Our second stop was Juneau. We were suppose to do the helicopter glacier dog sledding tour but they cancelled it due to a low cloud ceiling that day. They instead switched us to a helicopter tour and landing on a glacier which turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. It was amazing to take a helicopter up to this massive glacier and then land on it and get to go out and walk around on it. It was like being on the moon. Words cannot describe it. When we returned we went to the Red Dog Saloon and had a quick bite and then tried to do a bit of shopping but got caught in a downpour. Our last official port was Skagway. We did the White Pass Rail, gold mining and lunch. We took a bus up the Klondike Highway and stopped shortly outside of the townsite to do some gold panning. A little cheesy experience but hey it was fun anyways. We finished our ride on the Klondike Highway just on the other side of Fraser, BC Canada where we were to board the train that would take us back to Skagway. The train run was fun and a little heart pounding at times when you looked over the edge to see that you were just perching on the side of the mountain. Beautiful scenery though. We spent the rest of the time shopping and wondering around the town site and dropped in the Red Onion Saloon for a quick bite and a drink.
The next day we arrived in Glacier Bay which was beautiful. We spent pretty much the entire day out on deck while we transited up and back down the Bay. The glaciers were beautiful and the Marjorie Glacier did not disappoint and it calved several huge chunks of ice while we were there. The captain had the port side facing the glacier for 1/2 an hour and then turned so the starboard side could sit facing the glacier for 1/2 an hour. We saw lots of wildife right off the ship while looking off our balcony or out on deck. We saw humpback whales, sea otters, porpoises, seals, bald eagles and a bear! We found the shows very good but short.
For the trip I found I wore a range of clothing some times it was beautiful and just a light long sleeve shirt and capris were good enough, other days like Glacier Bay I was bundled up with a winter coat, hat and mitts! Our last day we did scenic cruising through the College Fjord. Lots of glaciers to see there and lots of big chunky icebergs that we floated by.
Within a couple of hours after leaving the College Fjord we arrived in Whitter to end our cruise. Can't believe the week went by that fast. We went to bed that night in preparation to leave the ship the next morning. We had arranged a transfer with Princess via bus to the Anchorage Airport where we were to pick up a rental car. When we departed the ship we were pleasantly surprised to learn we didn't have to worry about our luggage. Princess would take our luggage directly to the airport for us and hold it in a room there until as late at 7pm that night for us free of charge! The bus ride from Whitter to Anchorage only took us about 45 minutes and we picked up our rental car.
Anchorage was bigger than I expected. We went to the local Anchorage Farmer's Market downtown which was great! So many neat things to see and so much good food to eat! We then did a few of the touristy stops and did some shopping on their main road downtown. We found the start of the Ididarod dog race marked by a bronze statue of a dog. We headed back to the airport in the evening. The line up at the security check in gets long and it's a little slow so don't leave it too late as we saw a few panicked travelers about to miss their flight! Overall it was an amazing trip and we can't wait to go back and do it again. Alaska is amazing and its so hard to describe unless you see it for yourself. There was so much to see and do I feel we only scratched the surface. I was on the Ruby Princess a few years ago and did not like our cruise and said I wouldn't go back on Princess again. However the Sapphire Princess and her crew completely changed my mind about Princess Cruises. They completely WOW-ed me this time around. If you have any questions I can try and answer them for you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org