The Alaskan Inside Passage cruise aboard the Emerald Princess was chosen as the cruise du jour for the month of August 2017. The weather forecast for August 20 - 27 was for temperatures ranging from 52o to 64o F. for our 20 August ... Read More
The Alaskan Inside Passage cruise aboard the Emerald Princess was chosen as the cruise du jour for the month of August 2017. The weather forecast for August 20 - 27 was for temperatures ranging from 52o to 64o F. for our 20 August departure from the Port of Seattle. On board the Emerald Princess, the atmosphere was bright, cheery and festive in an environment of luxury and cruise ship pampering to die for. It was a good day for cruising.
We were welcomed aboard the Emerald Princess promptly upon our arrival and proceeded to our elegant stateroom on the Aloha, deck 12, that was ready in anticipation of our welcome-back arrival. As is the Princess ‘Captain’s Circle Elite’ travelers perk and tradition, there was a full complimentary bar setup, an upgraded balcony stateroom with an incredible view for those romantic, moonlit evenings when a nice cocktail and a quiet serenity make for special moments.
We are always greeted soon after our arrival in our stateroom by our stateroom steward and this cruise was no exception. ‘Edward’ (from the Philippines) greeted us with a cheery “welcome back” in recognition of our Elite status and our 27th cruise with Princess. Edward assured us that he would serve our every need and then some, during our week-long cruise and we assured him we would graciously accept and enjoy his services.
Having enjoyed the spectacular Emerald Princess on previous cruises (Southern Caribbean (2011) and Western Caribbean (2014)), we were excited to be re-joining the beautiful Emerald Princess for an Alaskan Inside Passage cruise, our 7th cruise to Alaska. It was clear to us that we had a perfect recipe for a fun cruise to ‘sea’ remote Alaskan port stop-overs as we plied the inside passage. Our cruise included stops in Ketchikan, cruising the scenic Tracey Arms Fjord and glacier, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria British Columbia, Canada then back to Seattle, Washington 7 days later.
It was no secret to us that Captain Vicenzo Lubrano and the Emerald Princess staff would provide an incredible variety of entertainment and activities from line dancing and ballroom dancing, the quiet serenity and relaxation of the adults only ‘Sanctuary’ and the old world environment and charm of the breathtakingly elegant piazza with all of the splendor we’ve come to expect from a Princess cruise.
Evenings on a luxury Princess Cruise are always spectacular, and this cruise was no exception. There is an ample population of youthful ‘eye candy’ for the young. The ‘Welcome aboard’ show hosted by the cruise director was punctuated by a ‘Princess Singers and Dancers’ superb production show and summary of all of the activities and adventures we had to look forward to in the next 7-days.
In addition to solo entertainers, Las Vegas style productions are common on Princess Cruises and the Emerald Princess was no exception. Not only have we noticed continued high-quality stage productions, but there is always a refreshing rotation of a variety of entertainers to make every evening, an evening to remember. The Emerald Princess hosted many exciting entertainment venues on this Alaskan Inside Passage cruise. Aside from the always spectacular Princess Singers and Dancers there were cabaret musical duos, magic shows and game shows like ‘Voice of the Sea’ based loosely on the popular TV show ‘The Voice’, to please any entertainment palate.
The entertainment was only beginning! A.J Jamal, comedian, amused us with his special brand of comedy that kept the entire audience in stitches for more than an hour. Then came an array of production shows to rock our ship-world: ‘Magic to Do’, a Disco Tribute – ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ and ‘Motor City’ – a Motown tribute that made you want to stand up and ‘shake that groove thing’.
We found it impossible, after a production show, to leave the Princess Theater without a bounce in our step and a heart full of memories from bygone eras of great music.
After the myriad of cruises that we’ve taken, we’ve learned a few tricks of the trade for cruising like this one:
1. Identify a good travel agent and use him or her religiously; loyalty gleans generous rewards and terrific tips for great vacations.
2. Whether resort vacationing or cruising is your forte, a repeat performance at the same resort or with the same cruise line is generously rewarded with perks - loyalty counts.
3. Luxury resort vacations compete well with luxury cruise ships and may offer all-inclusive pricing that could include round-trip air fare. Our experience is with Barceló Hotels & Resorts and the Grand Mayan, luxury 5-star resorts in prestigious locations. They are all sure to please!
4. You can’t eat all the food made available on a cruise ship; don’t even try.
5. Remaining loyal to Princess Cruises will start paying dividends early but have significant impact beginning at the platinum level – the 5th Princess cruise. It’s well worth it.
6. Make your vacation and air travel commitment early e.g. 6-months before the vacation is to begin, longer if possible. It helps keep budget planning under control and facilitates uncompressed, last minute payment.
7. Check back with the airlines and cruise lines or travel agent frequently in advance of travel; prices change and you could benefit from a substantial refund if they do. Southwest Airlines is good at crediting refunds toward future flights.
8. Many cruise ships accommodate casinos. When possible, consent to player-club tracking. There are many rewards driven by the player-club tracking mechanisms in the form of cash rewards, free canapes, fruit, wine, iced bottles of champagne delivered to your room, stateroom upgrades and complimentary dinners at shipboard upscale specialty restaurants.
9. Don’t over pack. I never think I do but Peggy says that I always do. (I did this cruise, as usual!)
10. Take advantage of the activities and the shore adventures provided. If you leverage the purchase power of Princess Cruises for your reservation, if something goes wrong Princess Cruises will know about it and could delay a departure to accommodate an unexpected Princess Cruises sponsored adventure delay.
11. We always purchase the cruise travel insurance. It’s inexpensive peace of mind for unexpected events.
12. Finally, throughout your travel, the travel services people providing travel comfort along the way and that help make an ordinary vacation an exceptional vacation deserve your tipping generosity commensurate with the service provided. Tip them generously, because they made a difference, from the cab or shuttle driver to the airport, the baggage handler, stateroom steward, the casino ‘umgestalten’ – pit bosses and dealers. It’s important to mention here that in most cases, casino service providers make only $10.00/day. They make their monies on the tips given by the players so tip generously.
A special thanks to Princess Cruises, Explore Cruise & Travel & to my wife, Peggy for another spectacular Princess Cruise – what an outstanding vacation cruise team - you’re the best.
Epilogue: There are few things that I do that give me more enjoyment than reflecting on the life and times of Peggy & I. We do it every day when Peggy calls a ‘Happy Hour’ at 4:30 PM to get me away from whatever I’ve involved myself with throughout the day. At some point in our 37-years+ together, Peggy had an epiphany – if she could identify some event that we could both enjoy together, she would be able to pull me away from whatever I had been focused on and make me focus on just her - the epiphany came when she decided to have a daily cocktail hour and serve one of the 63+ martinis we have collected throughout our many cruises on Princess cruise ships. With 63+ libations at her disposal and at a burn rate of one martini selection per day, by the time day 63 rolls around we wouldn’t be able to remember what martini we enjoyed together on the first day and she could start all over again. It worked! Happy hour is our time together, focused on just us, reminiscing about our 37+ years, 4 children, 10 grandchildren and 27 Princess cruises together. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry and sometimes we just stare into each other’s eyes and remember our special life’s ride together, that we hope will never end. Just like we do for every Princess cruise. Read Less