The Island Princess is an older, but well-maintained ship. The only problem with our mid-ship balcony stateroom (Baja deck) was the EXTREMELY uncomfortable bed--hard, looked almost like a camp cot--on a metal frame with one thin mattress! We did not complain, so we don't know if could have been switched or not. Surprising for a ship of this stature. Shower was tiny, very tiny.
Anytime dining worked out ok, but you still needed a reservation to eat at your desired time window--nothing was ever available as a "walk-in" in the 6-7:30 range, so we generally had dinner at 9 following the shows, and sat for a table for 2( which at times was uncomfortable because other tables for 2 would be set up right next to you within just a couple of inches! It would then not be certain as to whether to engage those next to you in conversation or whether they would like to be alone, so uncomfortable to say the least. Food (Bordeaux room) was very good and beautifully presented with the exception of the shrimp cocktails--always tasted like defrosted frozen shrimp, small unappetizing. Everything was imaginative and delicious. The buffet food, although it was repetitive at times, was always nicely presented, colorful, for the most part very tasty, and plentiful.
We liked the song/dance shows very much. The first night show was sort of a warm-up lesser show with comedy and some singing dancing. I was disappointed in getting a "reduced" performance just because it was the first night. Is this true of other cruise lines? I felt that for a highly rated cruise line, all performances should be top-notch. This was again true of the combination comedian/guitarist who changed up the lyrics and called it comedy. Really? Not at all a high quality performance. We did not bother to attend his second performance.
Did not like being charged for sodas. We thought the price of the photos was excessive . The port shots should have been offered in the 8-10 dollar range; we would have bought all of them thus spending more total money. Also charged for hot chocolate which was ridiculous. We were standing outside on deck at Glacier Bay. It was freezing and raining. A waiter came by with hot chocolate which would have been wonderful to warm us up only to find out there was a charge for it! We didn't have our cruise cards with us to view the glaciers so were denied the hot chocolate! Some wanted liquor in theirs, and I can understand charging for that, but really, Princess??? Also felt as if they were ALWAYS trying to sell us something--seminars on shopping?
The bar cocktails were varied, reasonably priced, and beautifully made,but they had little if any alcohol, so we only had 3 or 4 total for the entire cruise. Be sure to take the allowable wine/per person with you on board.
All servers, waiters, staff, etc. were always polite, friendly, helpful, funny, and professional.
Did not lake Anchorage. The Captain Cook, while a good hotel is very dark and seems like something out of the 70's. The rooms are very nicely updated, but the overall atmosphere is very dated. Staff were friendly, helpful, and service for the most part not bad considering how many cruisers were coming and going. Always crowded with cruisers--we stayed 2 nights due to flight schedules. People were soliciting cruisers on the streets for money and we detected smell of marijuana on the streets. We couldn't find a lot to do even after visiting the information booths, etc. We rented a car and drove up the beautiful Seward Highway to the town of Seward. Good decision. Beautiful drive along the water the whole way, lovely scenery. In Seward is a marine life center and a beautiful bay. Restaurants were very expensive. ($19 for a hamburger and $24 for a plate of fish and French fries).