Island Princess Cruise Review by mforkner: Inside passage on the Island Princess
Member Since 2011
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Inside passage on the Island Princess
We embarked from Vancouver which we found to be an absolutely beautiful city. Canada Place is an excellent facility and the embarkation process was relatively painless considering we were technically foreign nationals. Princess's transportation to the terminal from the airport was fine. We actually came into Vancouver the day before and did a bit of sight seeing - recommend the train pass if you have limited time. We thoroughly enjoyed Vancouver and returned to the airport for transport to Canada Place.
On board we acclimated ourselves with a scavenger hunt (designed by Princess to encourage added spending - as did many of their activities - one of the things I dislike about cruising in general and Princess specifically) and quickly got a good feel for the layout. My wife actually won a certificate to one of the shops form the scavenger hunt so we got off to a good start. Lunch in the Horizon buffet area was good and we settled in to watch the water and mountains.
We More opted for the traditional dining, late seating and, as experienced on other cruises, met some very pleasant people with whom to share meals during the cruise. Our servers were adequate, but not spectacular. The same could be said of the food. Some meals were quite good; some so-so. None was fantastic. We did not try the optional restaurants because nothing on their menus appeared to be worth the added cost.
We enjoyed the two formal nights (except for the excessive and expensive photo offerings.
The comedian, Kevin Hughes, was a true joy - we laughed until tears ran down our cheeks. The musical revue was cheesy, not accurate in its genre and the singers were a weak. We enjoyed the staff talent show - especially Hector, the singing head waiter much more than the paid talent. We chose to avoid the "headliner" based on past experience.
Our steward, German (pronounced Jermaine), was great and totally unobtrusive.
Having reps from the national Park Service on board was a great touch. the hired naturalist tried (but I thought too hard) and was not easily understood while we were out on deck. Overall, I believe Princess did an excellent job, we enjoyed our cabin, food was adequate and acceptable. The scenery was breathtaking and the trip was incredibly enjoyable. I would highly recommend this itinerary. The ship does a reverse routing as well; however, I think going north makes it a bit more spectacular as the mountains and glaciers grow and become more impressive. Glacier bay is a do not miss - College Fjord is nice, but not as overwhelming as Glacier Bay.
Be sure and take warm clothes - we had great weather, but there are places where you are surrounded by ice and moving across the water is a chilly proposition.
I highly recommend you choose a routing that includes Glacier Bay and the addition of national Park Service staff added immensely to our enjoyment of this spectacular site. Seeing icebergs calve is amazing. Less
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Cabin review: Island Princess Oceanview Obstructed Emerald Deck E311
Although view was obstructed, we had a good view and have determined the location with its proximity to elevators and only one flight above the promenade deck was superb. We seemed to have easy access to nearly all the things we wanted to do - which largely consisted of standing on deck and gaping at the fantastic scenery! I booked late and selection was slim. As it turns out we were quite pleased with cabin E311 - if / when we return to Island Princess I will book it or its starboard counterpart.
Port and Shore Excursions
Be sure to check the steeple of the white church just beside the dock location. The First Lutheran Church is the favorite perch for the aptly named Bald Eagle, Luther.
The town had some nice shops, but, once again for a town of about 800, 23 jewelry stores seems like overkill.
Anchorage was good - highly recommend Flattop (watch for moose on the drive up) for viewing and City Diner for eating. We rented a car and drove to Seward - more spectacular scenery and wildlife. we visited Exit Glacier which was interesting and returned to Anchorage for some final shopping and departure home.
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