We are from the Greater Seattle area so this was our 6th trip to Alaska. We got an e-mail from Princess indicating some great discounted prices on balcony staterooms. The price was right $499 plus $150 in fees. With vacation time coming up we tried to book on the internet. This would not work so we called Princess and got a very helpful man who booked us but we had to wait several days to get our cabin number. My girl friend is a Princess Platinum member. She got a personal phone call from a hostess who gave us the room details and arranged for our friend ( who drove us to the ship ) to have a ship tour on embarkation day. We parked in the very large parking area and soon caught the shuttle to the terminal. Very straight forward, left our luggage with a bag guy and up the stairs to clear security. Being with a platinum member we went right to the platinum check in, and were on the ship shortly. Our friend got his own card and a special badge. He had to be off the ship by 3pm. Since this was our third straight trip on the Star Princess we showed him around and then took him to the buffet. Once he left we had the muster drill and sailed away under cloudy and cool Seattle weather.
I had been checking the weather and was optimistic that we would be seeing some Alaskan Sun. All of our other cruises have been in August and once in September. Since cloudy and showers is the normal summer weather in SE Alaska you can only hope for the best. We sailed on Sat. 5/18 and arrived in sunny Juneau on Monday 5/20. We had no shore excursions planned so walked north thru downtown towards the capitol. We found a nice coffee shop and ordered our lattes. We then headed to the State capital building. After our tour we head up the hill to the house of Wickersham for a free tour. We made our way down the west slope of the hill and ended up at the Governors mansion. The weather was gorgeous and spring blooms were in full force. Lots of snow still on the surrounding mountains.
The next day Tues. 5/21 we arrived in Sunny but cool Skagway. Again no excursions. We walked into town and found another local latte shop. I then found a bakery that had $1 day old cupcakes.
Wed. 5/22 found us in Sunny Tracy arms. Tons of ice in the water so we could not get too close to the glaciers. Waterfalls were going crazy with all the melting snow.
Thurs 5/23 found us in Ketchikan on a very rare sunny day. We walked to Creek Street and the back to town to do some trinket shopping. We left mid afternoon. Lots of people on deck to enjoy the sun and marvel at the scenery.
Friday evening found us in Victoria B.C. Under partly cloudy skies and cool weather we walked into town to take some photos.
Saturday was back in Seattle under of course Cloudy skies. Disembarkation went smoothly but initially I could not find our bags. Next time I will use some big colorful ribbons. I carried off 2 bottles of liquor but could have bought more as there is not one to check your purchases.
Our stateroom B702 was in a perfect location. Near the stairs but not noisy. Just 2 decks below the buffet. The room was very quiet and of course we loved the balcony and I remembered to bring my binoculars. All rooms and balconies are now non-smoking. However I could smell smoke on several occasions when on the balcony. Hard to tell where it was coming from, though. Parts of the casino were too smoky and it tends drift into the Princess Theater.
We had first seating in the Amalfi dining room. Our table mates were from Texas and we had a wonderful time with them. Service was good, however on a couple nights the entrees were somewhat slow in arriving. Also, the serving sizes seemed a tad smaller than previous years. That being said you could order extra anything and get it with a smile.
You can check your folio charges on stand alone printers. I would do this daily as one drink charge did not show up until 3 days later. I do keep a notepad on what I order so there are no surprises. Everything I spent was either beverages or the nightly room fees. We did no excursions this trip and no Spa trips for my girl friend.
In summary, this last minute trip was the most relaxing with the best weather yet. I will definitely be watching for those Princess specials!
Juneau is an easy town to walk around, especially if your ship is moored there. Our Texas friends had a great crab meal at one of the food stands by the Library.
Creek street is an easy walk from the ship. We bought candy at the Ketchikan candy company.
Very walkable town. My girl friend found the public restrooms to be crowded and dirty. Skagway needs to address this.