Other than the 'little glitch' at embarkation, the absolutely AWFUL art auctioneer, the poorly performed "British Invasion" and the illusionist (who was more concerned with including rather than entertaining the audience), this was a great cruise =]
But, you know, it's hard to go wrong with a cruise to Alaska!
This was our 15th cruise (2nd to Alaska), and 90-minutes to board (from terminal door to ship door) is simply not acceptable. Can only place the blame for that on Princess having two (or maybe even gasp! four) 'facial recognition' security photographers at the gangway.
Never once was there any "progressive check-in" mentioned. And we definitely could have boarded with more than one bottle of wine per person (but we voluntarily approached a table with a sign related to that to declare our wine....since no one asked). The humor offered by the line workers was so bad it was really only irritating (ahem: Princess, please take note).
Check-in behind us, pretty much the rest of the cruise was at least OK.
Oh, except our CC meet & greet location wasn't ready. Got a letter from the onboard services coordinator at embarkation saying we were set. Met with her later in the afternoon on departure day and was assured we were good to go. Got to the meeting place the next day only to find a sign for another group on one end of the lounge with nothing for us (no lights, no servers, no snacks). The Food & Beverage Director arrived and got things taken care of, but we almost left...after almost crashing the other group.
Really was great once started though! Had the naturalist, illusionist (much better with a small group), captain, F&B director, hotel maitr d and senior physician spend time with us. Then visited with other CC members and enjoyed that a lot!
Weather was good enough: rained only in Ketchikan (which should be expected) and had enough "at sea" fog to enjoy the blast of the fog horn almost daily. Tracy Arm cruising was chilly, but clear and bright....and absolutely gorgeous!!!
Food was excellent. Willy & Victor, our servers (traditional, early seating), were more than enjoyable in the Canaletto dining room (professional, friendly and entertaining!).
Cabin steward (Dolphin deck aft) was PERFECT!! And though we're not fond of the Princess balcony design (with most balconies viewable from above), our mini suite was nice (especially the tub!).
We enjoyed the Motor City show, and Carlos Oscar (comedian) was hilarious, but thought the Culinary Demonstration (with Joel Directo and Jean Paul Musiu) was the best. Kathy Slamp definitely has a history with AK, but (as others have said) spent too much time on her own stories. Will say though that she made learning easy...can now name five salmon varieties and know the value of fireweed.
Skagway was our new port on this cruise, and we chose to drive to Emerald Lake from there. Glad we did since the town was a disappointment (basically stores that were not original). Also thought Red Dog (in Juneau) had lost some of its enticement, but we saw a bear cross the road on our return from the Alaska Brewery tour, so that was fun. Ketchikan is by far the best port on this cruise...and this time we saw the salmon spawning! Amazing critters, just wonder how many would return if they understood how they were pre-programmed for it (and the result).
In the end, all is good. Can't get enough of Alaska on a visit!! And though I'll never get the chance to live there, I'm pretty sure I would if I could.
Am open to questions....and have all of our Patters...so email hubert101 at hotmail dot com if you need info. We pre-purchased a soda package, a beer package, the coffee card and internet service if I can answer questions about that.