We traveled on Princess again, after having a wonderful cruise to Hawaii for Christmas and New Year. We have always wanted to do an Alaska cruise, and were glad that there was a sailing from our home port of San Francisco. It was convenient to get to the port, and the day was spectacular. We wondered why more ships don't sail from SF, as the departure rivaled a trip we had out of NY Harbor.
Check in was efficient. The porters grabbed our luggage immediately and the bags were up at our room in less than two hours. When we arrived in our room, our first impression is that it was tight. Princess had very few cabins that could accommodate more than two people, compared to our Carnival and Cunard cruises where most rooms had both a queen bed and a sofa bed. Our room had two singles and our teenager had to sleep in a pull down bed. It was tight.
Princess generally puts all its family rooms together, which meant our entire hall (we were on the Plaza deck) were packed with families (three to four to a room) who were very noisy; we had children running down the halls, and conversations that were shouted from room to room. I was constantly being woken up, and forget about having a peaceful nap during the day! I wouldn't recommend this line for a family cruise. With that said, our teenager had a great time!
We also chose Princess as on our last trip (on the Golden Princess), even though the ship was a sold out holiday cruise, there were plenty of public spaces and we never felt crowded. This was not the case on the Sea Princess. The brochure said that the ship holds 1,970 passengers, but they crammed nearly 2,300 onto the ship. The public areas were few and small. There was really an available seat at the Horizon Court buffet, there were long lines for the Anytime Dining dining, and the ship had a very crowded feel to it...it almost felt like the cruise line was taking advice from the airlines. I would recommend doing research...the Island and Coral Princess ships hold the same number of passengers, but you will see that the ship is much larger.
I echo the other reviews regarding a constant sewer smell to the ship. Besides that, the public areas were clean and well maintained.
Our itinerary had four stops: Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Straight Point, and Victoria. We also did a scenic cruise one day. We didn't get to go to Glacier Bay or Skagway, as the other sailings did. Icy Straight Point was a bit of a waste, and we couldn't sail far enough inland on the scenic cruise to get a good view of the glaciers (due to ice).
There was no entertainment by the pool...just movies under the stars, which was irritating when we were trying to read. Fitness room was small and mostly crowded.
Although my comments are generally not positive, in the end we had a nice time. I probably would do another Princess cruise, but I wouldn't do it in this class of ship (I think the Sun and the Dawn are similar). It is just too small for the number of passengers and if they are sailing at more than capacity (like on our cruise) it really gets tight (you'll notice it from the moment you step on the ship and wait ten minutes for an elevator).