Just returned from August 8th cruise to Alaska. Wife and I had a wonderful time. First time on Princess and was not disappointed.
Embarkation was a breeze. Arrived at 1pm, dropped directly in front of pier and was in cabin before 1:30.
Ship departed on time and we got some great pictures as we cruised past Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. Wife is very sensitive to seasickness but had the patch and had no issues for entire trip.
Arrived in Juneau a couple hours late. Was glad we booked float plane through Princess as they held it for us and we didn't get stuck with cost of missing it. Great view of the "Blue Ice" from the plane.
Took the train in Skagway up to the Klondike trail. Technical marvel and beautiful rough country. Weather was wet and chilly in both Skagway and Juneau. Saw plenty of whales from ship though not close up. Saw an eagle in Skagway.
Cruised Glacier Bay on a beatiful day - clear - 60 degrees. Saw a gigantic calving of one of the glaciers right in front of ship. Caused a mini sunami as the ice hit the bay. Absolutely gorgeous setting. Saw many a whale in bay.
Went to Totem Bight park in Ketchican packaged with a lumberjack show in town. Not overly interesting. Weather in Ketchican was good. Sunshine and 60 degrees. None of these towns would exist without the cruise industry. Besides the ubiquitous t-shirts, diamonds and tanzanite are the big sellers although it is hard to figure why since they are not originated locally.
Food was spectacular. We sat at a table for eight in the late seating. Food was cooked correctly and options were numerous. On some nights, we had two entrees and you could pick multiple soups, appetizers and salads. Desserts were also terrific and again, you could have multiples.
Service in the restaurants was excellent and the wait staff was very attentive yet not overbearing. We took most of our meals in the restaurant but did have a couple of meals at the buffet. Was not overly impressed with buffet. The options were less than I had seen before and the area was considerably smaller. Seating could be a problem during the busy times. We sat at dinner every night with the same pleasant people. Breakfast and lunch brought us new table partners daily but all were pleasant and informative about there cruise plans. Breakfast and lunches were varied and generous. Service was very good.
The Corniche (pizza restaurant) served some wonderful pizza. Open for lunch and dinner and you could order it from room service during those hours ($3 charge for delivery was strange as the rest of room service was free)
Entertainment nightly was generally good, though not spectacular. The piano player was the most popular guy on board and made a big hit with his singalong. He did a showtoon show in the Vista Lounge that was very good. There was a lot of good nature presentations from the rangers and naturalists.
Debarkation was a snap until you are standing in front of the pier fighting the Embarcadero traffic jam. It seems everyone is trying to load there bags in a car in front at the same time. I would allow at least an hour extra and urge a great deal of patience if you want to be picked up in front.
Overall, a very good experience with Princess. No noro virus and the ship, though slightly older, was kept in very good shape.