Let me start by saying we will never book our airfare through Orbitz again. We left on Monday, May 24th from Syracuse, NY. Got into Fairbanks at 12:30 their time, 4:30am Syracuse time, to find one piece of luggage missing and no welcome packet from Princess. Alaskan air was very helpful about the missing luggage, and we were reassured that our welcome packet would be waiting for us at the hotel. We had to wait an hour for transportation to our hotel, which ended up being a 5 minute ride from the airport. When we got to our hotel, we were a bit apprehensive, The Riversedge Resort looked like it had seen it's better days, but was actually quite nice. Beautiful little private cottages that were decorated well and very up-to-date. The staff bent over backwards for us and could not have been more helpful and attentive. But no welcome packet from Princess.
That same morning after we had slept, the Princess rep told us that our packet was missing, nowhere to be found. So we had no tickets for our land excursions, no itinerary, nothing. The printer would not work, so they did manage to make an itinerary for us. We demanded another packet be fed-exed immediately. We did get to go on our pre-booked tours, but had to take the bus driver in with us to vouch for us. Meanwhile, our missing luggage took two days to catch up with us, the one with all of our toiletries. We didn't get it until Wednesday evening, and we were leaving for Denali in the morning. I cannot say enough about the staff at the Riversedge Resort, they were great! And new girl Elise at the Princess Desk went above and beyond to be helpful.
Train ride to Denali was nice. However, the Denali Princess Lodge was very disappointing. Dated, no air-conditioning (it was 86 degrees) limited lunch venues. Had to ask for more linens and pillows from housekeeping staff that spoke very limited English. One of our excursions at Denali was great. The Black Diamond Treasure Hunt with Jason was fabulous. Five of us in an ATV off-roading through the wilderness, what a trip! The natural history tour was long, hot and our tourguide was knowledgeable, but as exciting as watching paint dry.
Rail trip to Whittier was fun, but long 10 1/2 hours! We had sent one of our bags ahead to the ship. When we got to our cabin, only one piece of luggage was there, the one we had sent ahead. We checked out the ship, did the muster drill, then we back to the cabin to unpack before dinner. To our dismay, all of the clothes were wet! It was like someone had set the bag down in a puddle and the clothes had soaked up water from the bottom of the bag up. We contacted our room steward, and the pursers desk. We were extremely displeased with the lack of customer service from the pursers desk. The ships laundry was closed, unless I wanted to do it myself at the laundromat, nothing would be done until the next day. Let me see, all of our formal clothes, shoes, and other freshly laundered items now wet and smelling pretty bad. I spent the next three hours in the laundromat, missing dinner and the welcome aboard activities. The next morning our room steward took the remaining items to have them urgently dry cleaned for the first formal evening that day. The pursers desk wanted to give us complimentary future use of the laundromat. What a joke! My DH raised holy hell and they did credit us the $15 spent in the laundromat.
We have been on many cruises, and we were disappointed with this ship. It was clean and efficient and the staff (for the most part) was great. But the ship itself was nothing special. We didn't take any pictures of places on the ship because they were plain. The theatre wasn't as nice as our hometown high school auditorium. The shows were very amateur, not like some on previous cruise where the entertainment was fabulous. The bands in the bars were pretty much bits and pieces of the orchestra or theatre crew. The meals at the International Dining Room were okay. I personally do not care for seafood, and there was several nights that I wished I had gone somewhere else to eat because of limited choices on the menu. Two nights I got alternate choices which were dry and tasteless. The buffet had good food and we did enjoy eating there most days.
The shore excursions we chose were really enjoyable and we did have a great time on those. Our cabin was nice, and we had a lovely balcony at the back of the ship which was sheltered from the wind. Our room steward, Armando, was great.
There was a large contingent of Asians on this ship. I was appalled at how rude and inconsiderate many of these people were. They would run you down to get in front of you, cut in front when waiting in line, push and shove their way onto a crowded elevator, and walk right in front of a photographer while he or she was trying to take a picture. They thought nothing of talking over a speaker, and would pretend not to understand English when addressed about it. Enough said.
We were issued the wrong luggage tags for disembarkation, and it took waiting in line an hour because only one person with limited hours was available to change them. When we got to Vancouver Airport, one of our bags had been totally destroyed in handling by Princess. The rep had no more baggage forms, and gave us the back copy of someone else's with all of their contact information on it. We had to pay to have it shrink wrapped to send home.
All of our luggage was lost on the trip home, and we had a call on our cell from another airline who had our baggage in Detroit wondering who we were, and why they had our luggage. United was a pain in the patooty about the luggage, but we did manage to have it delivered to our home by midnight on Sunday evening. Halfway home the car broke down and we had to have it towed. It's a really good thing that we enjoyed our trip, because with all this bad luck it could have been a disaster.
Next time we will book airfare through the cruise line, but it won't be with Princess.