We just completed our first ever cruising experience with the last Alaska cruise for the Coral Princess this season in Sept 2013. We also booked the Princess pre-cruise land package to Mt. McKinley & Denali Nat'l Park.
1. Pre-cruise tour was very good, saw some of Alaska in the shortest time possible but you spend more time in transportation then enjoying the destinations. We will want to cruise Alaska again but next time we will book our own land hotel & train arrangements & spend more time in Denali, Fairbanks etc.
2. We choose this southbound inside passage cruise as it visited both Hubbard Glacier & Glacier Bay whereas many cruises only see Glacier Bay. Hubbard was well worth it!
3. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise experience on Princess and would sail them again. Service was excellent everywhere except one shipboard amenity below. Overall a wonderful cruise.
4. Food was very good, tasty, well prepared and well presented especially in the main dinning rooms. However, the dinner menus were selected with very cost conscious budgets in mind. Prime rib was on the menu the first night but after a day of travel I didn't want a heavy meal so I thought I'd enjoy it another night. Wrong! Prime rib never appeared again. Same with Lobster night, ditto steak night; 1 night only and gone if you please. And the steak was well prepared but I'm sure was "Select" grade, not Choice or Prime cuts. There are 2 sections to the sit down menu, "Chef's Specials" and "Always Available". Go for the specials as we tried 2 every day items and they were very mediocre. There was a dedicated hamburger & hot dog grill open for lunch every day and I wanted a hamburger but it was fatty and stringy so never went again. For us food isn't the most important priority but if you want top notch dinning find a more upscale cruise line.
5. The only real issue for us was the Spa service. The front desk girls were courteous but not friendly and the entire spa crew must work on commissions as there was never ending pressure to up sell you. Whatever spa service you booked they'd try & tell you that you really needed a more expensive package. And once inside the spa the service girls were relentless on trying to get you to buy their products. We'll either never set foot in a Princess Spa again or at least talk to other passengers first to get their read on the particular spa crew before trying.