This is a summary of our trip; an extended version with LOTS AND LOTS of photos can be found here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1461935
Our family consists of my husband's 70-something parents who enjoy cruising often, and his 43 year old brother. We are middle aged couple from Texas with two daughters, 11 and 14 years old. We arrived two days early in Fairbanks for our Cruise Tour. We stayed two nights at Pikes Landing Lodge (booked on our own) and two nights at the Princess Riverside Lodge. We rented a car for the first few days which gave us the freedom to drive around the area. We visted Chena Hot Springs, the Museum of the North, and North Pole. We enjoyed the Discovery Riverboat and especially the recreated Native Alaskan village.
Our bus ride to Denali seemed to go very quickly as we enjoyed the scenery. We did the included Natural History Tour -- for us, the 5 hour trip was just about right and we enjoyed the tour driver and the interpretive rangers. The Lodge is beautiful and flowers are abundant everywhere. We did the Music of Denali Theater -- plentiful family style food and corny humor. (Small children would probably find this tedious and not understand the storyline.)
The train to McKinley was a double decker with seats facing forward on the top and a dining car below. And yes, a bar.
The mountain was hiding in the mist and fog the day we arrived but shining in the sun the next day, all day. We enjoyed looking at the mountain and playing puzzles and games. It gave us time to meet our other passengers.
The train to Whittier was one level with tables so half ride forward and half ride backward. This didn't bother us. We were free to walk around and talk to our new friends. The Princess rep came aboard at Anchorage and checked our passports and we were checked in.
On board, it was good to be back on the Island where we had sailed on the Panama Canal in Dec. 2009. We saw Dan Horn, the ventriloquist; James Michael the magician (really more of a comedian and calls his show PG-13); and Jim McDonald the comedian. I liked the Princess's own talent, especially the singer Joe Sackenheim.
Glacier Bay was beautiful, we happened to have a very sunny day. Skagway -- too many jewelry shops for my tastes but again, a gorgeous day for the White Pass train ride. Juneau -- saw the Mendenhall Glacier on a rainy and chilly day but it was nice to get up closer. We walked around Ketchikan and just soaked up the ambiance.
It was a wonderful trip -- Please check out my photos at the link above.