We did an Alaska Cruise tour with a balcony for my wife's 50th birthday. Her sister and brother in law traveled with us as well in a balcony room. Our 4 day land tour preceeded our 7 night cruise. We arrived in Anchorage and were met by a princess rep who quickly got us to our hotel (Captain Cook) We stayed in Anchorage 1 night before transferring by bus to the Princess McKinley Lodge. The next day we took a train to the Princess Denali Lodge where we stayed for 2 nights. Finally we left Denali by bus for our cruise ship. Only 30% of the people who visit Alaska see the entire mountain due to clouds and weather. We had 4 cloudless days and saw Mt McKinley all day every day we were there. Guess we won the weather lottery. It was supposed to be in the 50's and 60's with rain during June...Ha! It was in the mid to high 70's and into the 80's all 11 days of our entire trip with no rain. Guess we just got Lucky!
We boarded the ship mid afternoon with no lines and went directly to our suite C408. Wow! What a great room.
We were in suite C408 and it was great. The room itself was at least twice the size of a regular balcony room. The balcony had a table w 4 chairs, plus 2 lounge chairs and a small table. The bathroom had a jacuzzi tub and a separate shower. There were 2 TV's in the suite with DVD player and a DVD library with lots of movies. Our Steward Arlon was great. The mini bar comes filled and is complementary the first time if you want it restocked then you pay for it. The full room service menu was great as well. They come to your room and will set it up inside or on your balcony your choice. You also get a free dinner the first or second night of your cruise in one of the specialty restaurants. Every morning you can go to Sabatini's for breakfast and a free mimosa for suite members only. We went there 3 times and really enjoyed it. There were never more than 10 or 12 people there and the staff was super attentive to our needs always. We used the complimentary laundry and dry cleaning service as well. My wife did visit the lotus spa and the complimentary use of the Thermal suite and really raved about it.
The Diamond Princess was a fun ship to spend a week in Alaska on board. Meals in the dining room were good not great, but the service more than made up for any shortcomings. The buffet was actually pretty good although we only ate there twice. The grill had good burgers and the pizza was also very good.
We had 3 ports, Juneau, SKagway and ketchikan along with cruising 2 days in Hubbard glacier and Glacier Bay. The scenery in Alaska and the inside passage is 2nd to none! The glaciers, fjords, wildlife, humpback whales breaching etc, its right out of National Geographic or Travel Channel. We did the main show most evenings and it was ok. 2 or 3 variety type shows with dancing and singing etc. The comedian "Sarge"was very good. The other venues were solid. We really enjoyed Skywalkers lounge at the back and very top of the ship. It was great to have a ship with a full wrap around promenade deck for strolling around the ship.
This was our 2nd cruise to Alaska and the additional land portion made it all worth it. Princess knows how to do Alaska! Seamless movement from each hotel. Luggage always arrived in a timely manner. You pack one bag the first night and they take it to the ship so you never have to worry about that one. The others travel with you and meet you at the hotel each night. You never check into a room, they just hand you an envelope with you room key and itinerary as you depart the bus or train.
No excursion here..just visited the town. Lots of small shops and stores. Don't miss the area where the boardwalk shops are a few blocks off the mail strip.