My husband and I travel quite alot...we have only been on one other cruise years ago. Our vacations are always land based and we travel to Hawaii, South Pacific, and the Carribean, so my opinion may leave me less impressed than some.We took this cruise to go with my parents to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. We did the North sailing out of Vancouver going to Ketchikan,Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and the College Fjords. Again we only took one other cruise about 10 years ago with a different cruise line. We really liked Princess alot...we thought the service was really great, the staff very nice and friendly, not to mention they really try to accomadate you any way they can.
We had a balcony room on Dolphin deck (Left side of ship going North), My parents had the other side Starboard? Anyway they had Aloha deck, this room they paid alot more money to choose it it was also a balcony however their was a huge overhang that prevented you from really being able to get the best pictures...we had the better room on the other side....I would say eiether side is about the same certainly not worth paying an additional $700 to $800 to pick a room. Just my opinion. Room was small but we knew that. A balcony is a must. We slept at night with the door open and it was nice to hear the ocean. The Buffet was good enough nothing to write home about but a decent selection of food....we had most breakfasts and lunches there. We had dinner on anytime dining in the formal restraunts...worked out great. Dinners were somewhat long and drawn out...but again it was a more
formal setting. the food was pretty good. We didnt really go to any of the entertainment because we too tired by the end of the day so cant comment on that.
The Ketchikan port we went to creek st on our own nothing was open , saw the salmon jumping which was ok and went to Totem Bight Park, which was ok. In retrospect I now think I would have enjoyed shopping more and could have skipped the totem poles...kinda boring. Not much time at port eiether, had to shop in under an hour because of going to totem p ole park...really good shopping in ketchikan wish I would have had more time.
Juneau pouring rain all day...did a tour thru Princess the Mendhall Glacier with Whale Watching including a photographer who gave photo buffs more photography info, it was a small group. Mendhall was a hike thru the woods not your typical tour, saw a few small streams and small waterfall, no bears, was overcast and raining glacier was nothing special. Went on a whale watch saw only a few whales. The naturalist on board was really "Selling" the whale watch hard, he made it sound like it was unlike anything you had ever seen, mind you we have a vacation home in Hawaii and I am used to whale watching, this wasnt even as good as winter whale watching there, not even close. He specificallys said Hawaii was a joke compared to what we would see in Alaska, didnt happen for us. I was VERY disappointed! Spent over $400 for next to nothing...wouldnt do it again. My parents told me they were selling whale watch trips off the boat at the dock for $90 a person. Next time I would buy one off a vendor off the boat and if it wasnt raining go to Mendhall on my own, or maybe skip it...we also shopped in Juneau , had a nice selction of stores, a few good buys...
Skagway we did the Dyea Dave tour, which was ok. The weather was dreary and overcast so you couldnt reallys see much driving up to the Yukon in Canada. Those who took the train saw nothing I am sure. It did clear up a little. We saw some pretty lakes and stopped at a little town in Carcross. Had a quick lunch and headed back. Again probably would have been a better trip if the weather had been nicer. Shopped in Skagway, didnt like the shopping there, not many stores or much to pick from.
Glacier Bay Ntl Park day we had SUN what luck! Glaciers were pretty cool to see...Best views from your balcony...why fight the crowds....got lots of pictures was quite spectacular. BUT EVEN BETTER was the College Fjords, OMG they were great, tall mountains, waterfalls, pretty sceneray they called them tidewater glaciers I believe. We all agreed they were far better than the Glacier Bay Ntl Park, although that is the one that gets all the attention.
Overall we really did enjoy the cruise and would probably do it again with Princess.Alaska is wide huge and vast and dark and dank as my husband says...We had a few nice days but overall kinda overcast and rain which is what is to be expected.The ports were ok, with mainly shopping and a few activities...nothing all that great. The Glacier Bay and College Fjords were the highlight of the trip. Sailing out of Vancouver under the bridge and the gorgeous coastline views were nice too...So in summary Alaska is definetely worth seeing, parts were gorgeous and it is huge! We did enjoy it but did feel kinda rushed ideally I think I would like to do a two week back to back cruise then it might be alot more relaxing.I would recommend Princess to anyone, they were great!