Island Princess Cruise Review by debkaysmith: Late Season Alaska
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Late Season Alaska
We boarded Island Princess in Vancouver in an extremely timely manner under cloudy skies. September weather can be iffy up north so our luggage was packed with gloves, mittens, scarves, hats, coats, and the like. Thank goodness!! It was a chilly and rainy week with 60-70 knot winds and rough waters northbound and southbound. We had to veer out into open water and missed much of the beauty of the Inside Passage in both directions. Sad, but true. I refuse to be anything but positive when on a cruise and we certainly had a fun time aboard the Island Princess.
The food was incredibly delicious at every single meal in the main dining room, in the Bayou Cafe, and in the buffet as well. The only exception was the pub lunch offered on the first sea day - skip it. We truly listened to our fabulous waiter (Franco) when he gave us his recommendations. They were spot-on each and every night. I have traveled previously and not followed my waiter's advice and regretted it. The soups, More salads, main courses, and desserts were phenomenal.
We enjoyed a few lovely evenings in Crooner's Martini Bar where the service was extraordinary. The piano player... eh. But he was memorable for sure. We enjoyed the production shows onboard as well, but the dance music and quartet were lackluster in every way. There were not a whole lot of game style events in the evening onboard this ship - perhaps the demographics did not warrant them. We found Bingo and a few other adventures throughout the days at sea. But those rough days caused outdoor events to be cancelled. Huddled under the overhang out at the bar on Deck 14 to watch Sunday NFL was a blast though - huddled with our tartan blankets and gear.
Our cabin steward did not go above and beyond as has been our previous experience - serviceable, but that's the extent of it. We went the entire week with a broken lock on our sliding glass door to the balcony. We mentioned it but it never was repaired. Not sure why. Disembarkation couldn't have been smoother and easier. Thanks Princess! Would I sail Princess again? Yep, you bet I would. Would I sail the Island Princess again? Definitely. Would I sail to Alaska the middle of September? Maybe not. Less
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Cabin review: Island Princess C425
Caribe Deck 425 - This stateroom with balcony is right off the stairwell/elevator area but there was absolutely no noise into our room. Ample closet space with hangers, smallish bathroom with stand-up shower only, and a bed that I would rate "fair." The balcony holds two deck size chairs and a small table and you have an incredible view as this cabin is center of the ship.
Port and Shore Excursions
We wandered into town and did a little shopping here in Juneau. Love the little artisan shops owned by the locals and we did find a few trinkets. We did notice that the bookshop on the corner in Juneau is for sale and we certainly hope that somebody snatches it up and continues to keep it open. We always stop here when visiting Juneau. We also headed down to Taku Salmon to grab a few samples and some canned salmon to take home. Lastly - a trip to Alaskan Brewery. Great service, great beer, and a nice little shuttle to and from. Terrific day.
Aside from the 18-foot incoming tide and the swells, this was hands-down the best excursion ever. We had an incredible guide who pointed out orca, humpback whale, bald eagle, and seals. He had some terrific side stories and we stopped near the totem pole park as well. Really really fun!! We wandered Ketchikan for a bit and stopped into Ketchikandies (always do) and sampled a few bits of their divine chocolate. There are some cute little shops around town to stop into with art and snacks too.
White Pass Scenic Railway
We took the long excursion up to the Yukon by train and back by bus. The train was comfortable and the scenery was gorgeous. They could make a bundle selling hot cocoa on this train though. Up north we switched to our coach and made the trek to the Yukon. We visited a little place with a delicious bbq lunch, a gift shop, museum, and area with sled puppies. (Someone needs to take a better look at the puppies and their facility.) A great stop for us and we continued on to Carcross for a brief respite. We visited the little coffee shop for hot cocoa and stopped into a few local stores. Cute little visit and clean restrooms. We arrived back in town with enough time to visit Skagway Brewing Co. for a quick beer and some snacks. Great service and great beer too - get the spruce tips for a real beer treat.
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