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14 Princess Island Princess Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Alaska

This was my first cruise, I had no idea what to expect. Princess was recommended to me by several family members, was told I got a great deal, no if you ask me. From the start, the entire check-in process seemed so disorderly, a total ... Read More
This was my first cruise, I had no idea what to expect. Princess was recommended to me by several family members, was told I got a great deal, no if you ask me. From the start, the entire check-in process seemed so disorderly, a total hurry up and wait process. HUrry to get here, wait in line for a half hour or more.....finally got on board, our cabin was nice, smaller than a hotel room, but, just enough, nonetheless. Bed was so-so, wife needed extra pillows for her back, they were very obliging. One thing I will say, their customer service was awesome! Food was all rich gourmet foods in the main dining rooms. How many times can you eat filet, they aso had a cafeteria style eatery, it was okay, seemed like there wasn't much variety there either, there is a pizzaria onboard, fairly good, also an ice cream parlor, both of these close early though. Not being a gambler, or a big bar person, I found the cruise borderline boring. Checked out two comedians (I think they were), they were pretty bad. Not into broadway type shows, so did not ttend any of them. Good thing I had my Kindle loaded with books. The ship had some newer movies, a fw interested me, so I went to see them. They had in room streaming TV channels. Reruns of favorites, Big Bang Theory, etc, movies also streamed in rooms. I felt nickle and dimed to death. Was fed al these gourmet foods and charged $2.00 for a can fo soda?!!! REALLY? I know many cruiselines do this and I am not a big soda drinker anyway, but, that is not the point. They have drink packages for this and that, there is also a beer package for some subpar watery American beers, Bud, etc. Not worht the money. Drinks usually run around $10.00/mixed drink, I was told. I felt that the cruise could have been much mich better if there were no hidden charges, charges me a few more dollars for the cruise, do away with the soda package, serve some more normal fare rather than rich (indigestion brewing) gourmet fare that is only okay. The rooms are clean. Princess offered excursions when in port, I was very dissapointed to see that they tunred Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway in giant shopping toilets, with jewelry stores owned by the cruiselines. YOU WILL FIND NO DEALS HERE, hese stores are way overpriced, tax free or not!!! I will not be going on another cruise unless I go to a super upscale line with no hidden charges, including excursions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
The Island Princess is an older, but well-maintained ship. The only problem with our mid-ship balcony stateroom (Baja deck) was the EXTREMELY uncomfortable bed--hard, looked almost like a camp cot--on a metal frame with one thin mattress! ... Read More
The Island Princess is an older, but well-maintained ship. The only problem with our mid-ship balcony stateroom (Baja deck) was the EXTREMELY uncomfortable bed--hard, looked almost like a camp cot--on a metal frame with one thin mattress! We did not complain, so we don't know if could have been switched or not. Surprising for a ship of this stature. Shower was tiny, very tiny. Anytime dining worked out ok, but you still needed a reservation to eat at your desired time window--nothing was ever available as a "walk-in" in the 6-7:30 range, so we generally had dinner at 9 following the shows, and sat for a table for 2( which at times was uncomfortable because other tables for 2 would be set up right next to you within just a couple of inches! It would then not be certain as to whether to engage those next to you in conversation or whether they would like to be alone, so uncomfortable to say the least. Food (Bordeaux room) was very good and beautifully presented with the exception of the shrimp cocktails--always tasted like defrosted frozen shrimp, small unappetizing. Everything was imaginative and delicious. The buffet food, although it was repetitive at times, was always nicely presented, colorful, for the most part very tasty, and plentiful. We liked the song/dance shows very much. The first night show was sort of a warm-up lesser show with comedy and some singing dancing. I was disappointed in getting a "reduced" performance just because it was the first night. Is this true of other cruise lines? I felt that for a highly rated cruise line, all performances should be top-notch. This was again true of the combination comedian/guitarist who changed up the lyrics and called it comedy. Really? Not at all a high quality performance. We did not bother to attend his second performance. Did not like being charged for sodas. We thought the price of the photos was excessive . The port shots should have been offered in the 8-10 dollar range; we would have bought all of them thus spending more total money. Also charged for hot chocolate which was ridiculous. We were standing outside on deck at Glacier Bay. It was freezing and raining. A waiter came by with hot chocolate which would have been wonderful to warm us up only to find out there was a charge for it! We didn't have our cruise cards with us to view the glaciers so were denied the hot chocolate! Some wanted liquor in theirs, and I can understand charging for that, but really, Princess??? Also felt as if they were ALWAYS trying to sell us something--seminars on shopping?The bar cocktails were varied, reasonably priced, and beautifully made,but they had little if any alcohol, so we only had 3 or 4 total for the entire cruise. Be sure to take the allowable wine/per person with you on board. All servers, waiters, staff, etc. were always polite, friendly, helpful, funny, and professional. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Since we had never cruised before, didn't know what to expect except what we had read. It was certainly better than expected! The staff of Princess Cruises love to help out the first time cruisers. Never felt so taken care of and ... Read More
Since we had never cruised before, didn't know what to expect except what we had read. It was certainly better than expected! The staff of Princess Cruises love to help out the first time cruisers. Never felt so taken care of and didn't want for anything. The cruise tour started off with freezing weather because the day before we got there it had gotten colder than it had been since 1928. It's Alaska, never know what to expect. Fairbanks riverboat and tour was wonderful even though it was freezing, there is coffee and donuts. In Denali had to switch rooms because of frozen pipes but Princess gave us each $25 vouchers for our trouble. Luggage was transported from spot to spot although a little late coming sometimes. Went on tour by Princess into park and saw a couple of Moose. Was beautiful and informative. In McKinley, the lodge and the mountain was beautiful. They say only 30% see it, it usually has a ring of clouds around it but not on the day we were there. For about an hour, it was clear.Took a bus to the train to get to the ship in Whittier, our float trip was cancelled because the river was frozen.Boarding ship was a breeze and so exciting for us. The weather turned out to be beautiful the whole trip. Cabin was great, steward friendly and helpful as were all of the staff. Danced until we couldn't dance anymore. Had great luncheon on deck when we went to glaciers. All Alaskan food! Ports we stopped in were interesting, but a lot of shopping. Our favorite was the the helicopter ride and a stop to walk on a glacier in Juneau or maybe it was the Whitepass railway in Skagway. Too many favorites to count!Disembarking in Vancouver went very smoothly because Princess was there to direct us all the way.Food was very good on the buffet but in the Anytime dining room, it was delicious. No problems eating at 6:00pm every evening, I even lost 5lbs eating fish every night while hubby gained 8lbs. We really enjoyed the wait staff and their great smiles.We would do this trip again in a flash. And we are planning our next cruise to the Panama Canal on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I have long since wanted to do an Alaskan Cruise and we finally did it for my birthday! We flew into Vancouver from Australia the day before the cruise started and stayed at the St Regis. I highly recommend this hotel - everything is ... Read More
I have long since wanted to do an Alaskan Cruise and we finally did it for my birthday! We flew into Vancouver from Australia the day before the cruise started and stayed at the St Regis. I highly recommend this hotel - everything is included, breakfast, WIFI and even phone calls back to Australia. On the day of the cruise we took a taxi to the port. Customs and check-in went fairly smooth, there were lots of people there as there were two ships leaving that day. But we didn't wait too long at customs and the cruise line check in was very fast. Stateroom: We had a mini-suite on the Caribe deck aft. The suite was beautiful and clean. Lots of room to move around. The bathroom was beautiful and large, no problem having two people in the bathroom at the same time. The balcony was 2/3 covered with four chairs, two of them half reclining and a small table. Service: The cabin steward did a brilliant job every day. I celebrated my birthday on the cruise and on the day, there was a sign on the door wishing me a happy birthday, 3 balloons and a card. I was also given another card to take to the dining room on my birthday to pass onto the head waiter. At dessert time, 3 waiters came with a gorgeous little birthday cake and sang happy birthday. What a way to celebrate. We had different dining room staff each day, but they all did a brilliant job. Dining: We had any-time dining which was a good choice as it allowed us to go to dinner when we wanted to. We ate most meals in the main dining room as the Horizon cafe did not appeal to us. The meals in the main dining room were superb! Entertainment: We went to all the shows and they were all very good. "On the Bayou" is recommended. We also saw two comedians with one of them being a bit funnier than the other one. We also attended a couple of lectures on Alaska and thoroughly enjoyed that. Disembarkation: We disembarked in Whittier. That went very smooth. The cruise-line gave us a set time which was predetermined on what our plans where regarding tours and transfers. We had booked our own transfer over the Internet and pick up was smooth. It rained the day we arrived, but there was lots of undercover area for everyone who had to wait for their tour bus. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
ANCHORAGE: First, please be there a day early if you are just doing the cruise. The ship leaves at 8pm, but you have to land at the airport by 4pm to make it thru the (one way every 30 minutes) tunnel. My sister was supposed to land at ... Read More
ANCHORAGE: First, please be there a day early if you are just doing the cruise. The ship leaves at 8pm, but you have to land at the airport by 4pm to make it thru the (one way every 30 minutes) tunnel. My sister was supposed to land at 1 pm, got delayed and landed at 6pm. She missed the ship and had to meet us 3 days later in Skagway. Now, Princess was wonderful. Helped her every step of the way and refunded her ship days, but plane hopping and hotels were absolutely not in the budget. We had trip insurance, but it doesn't cover mechanical problems with the plane, and the airlines have a 6 hr window before they comp you a hotel. Since she was only 5 hrs late, she had to do everything out of pocket. We are still irked at United for not putting her on a different airline which would have had her in Anchorage in time. We were able to get there a day early. Stayed at the Captain Cook Hotel and had no complaints. In fact the beds were amazing! The black out shades were sufficient and we didn't need the sleep masks we brought. Dinner was at the Glacier Brewhouse. Highly recommend it! The food was perfect and I fell in love with the Denali Red microbrew. Drank it everyday of the land tour. All the Princess Lodges carry their beer. We also visited the Alaska Museum and enjoyed it very much. FOOD: not that impressed with the sit down dinner. In fact, our last night we sent the steak back... It was tough, overcooked and had no flavor. The salmon was always good. My favorite was the pizza. In fact I ate it every lunch. The buffet had a good selection, but it was no better than other buffets I've eaten at. Not that impressed with the drink of the day either. Gave up after the second day. I purchased the kids soda card. Best thing ever. Now, I had to drink out of fish themed cup, but it was a double walled tumbler and came in handy. All you can drink soda, all you can drink milkshakes and malts, and all you can drink virgin cocktails which I enjoyed :). My sister purchased a coffee card. Not worth it. You basically got 1 drink free, but you had to drink 2 coffees a day and being in the ports all day, she just didn't drink that. She had 3 coffees left so she actually lost money.ENTERTAINMENT: we enjoyed the shows. Not the best singers, but the dancing was very good. There was a presentation by Shelley Gill on Iditarod dogs, Denali and other stuff. She was hysterical and very informative. Rangers came on board for Glacier Bay, and again.... Very informative. ROOM: We were in B603. Covered balcony and great views. The beds were decent, but the comforters need to be replaced. We used the 3rd bed that pulls down from the ceiling. It was just as comfortable as the others. Getting up was no problem, getting down the ladder took a while, but by day 3, I had it perfected. Tons of closet space and hangers. The bathroom had 3 shelves so our toiletries fit just fine. The shower is small, and it's tricky keeping the curtain inside. We flooded the bathroom more than once. There is a small shelf that holds 1 body wash and the ships shampoo and conditioner. That's it. The best tip I found on these boards was to bring the shower caddies that suctions to the wall. We needed that! Shaving your legs is tricky, but doable if you turn off the water. We also brought the over the door shoe hanger. We put our gloves and misc. in there, but honestly.... We didn't need it. There were plenty of drawers and desk space. It's mid ship, so we didn't have traffic noise and it was very smooth. We took Dramimine the first day just in case, but didn't need it at all.DISEMBRKMENT: actually, very smooth. Make sure you check your luggage tags the day before. They had us in the wrong group, but it was fixed quickly. Princess people direct you the whole way. We left at 7:30 for an 11am flight and had plenty of time. Picking up your luggage at Vancouver Airport is mass chaos. People directed you every step of the way, but it's just so much luggage and only one way in and out of the room. For the whole cruise, there's no crowds or lines, then boom..... Back to reality. Also make sure you call your credit card company before you travel. Canada is on the list of blocked countries for my Credit Union and I couldn't use that card to pay for my checked bags or anything else at the airports! If you are connecting thru Toronto, you pick up your luggage on the 3rd floor area G. It's right next to customs, which was smooth, but going thru security again took forever. EXCURSIONS: My only complaint is you don't know your excursion is cancelled till you go to check in. We had a 10 am tour that was cancelled, so we didn't have enough time to do another before our 1 pm tour. The tour director was there where you meet and was very helpful in getting us situated. We were never charged for the tours that were cancelled or the ones we cancelled so we could do the main one we wanted. So, have a back up plan :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Island Princess: Voyage of the Glaciers. Northbound. May 23-30, 2012. Pre-cruise: Our trip began with a cousin's reunion and two very rainy days in Vancouver. We stayed with my cousin who lives near Science World and Chinatown. ... Read More
Island Princess: Voyage of the Glaciers. Northbound. May 23-30, 2012. Pre-cruise: Our trip began with a cousin's reunion and two very rainy days in Vancouver. We stayed with my cousin who lives near Science World and Chinatown. From there we walked to Granville Island then returned by Sea Bus. The Japanese Udon bowl from the food court area on Granville was very welcome on such a wet day! The next day we explored the Anthropology Museum at the University of British Columbia, the nearby and exquisite Nitobe Memorial Garden, and the Van Dusen Gardens. Evening was dinner at Carderos in Coal Harbor followed by a drive along the Stanley Park sea wall. Cruise: On the advice of cousin we arrived at Canada Place for embarkation at 11:30 am. The luggage was quickly taken from us and we proceeded very efficiently through security, cruise card issuing, and onto the Island Princess (During this process water and orange juice were provided by Princess.) Our cabin was ready and after dumping hand baggage, calling the Dine Line for a 5:30 Anytime Dining table for two, we explored the ship. The smell of pizza on the lido deck quickly decided us that it was time for lunch. At the bar next to the pizza grill we purchased a coffee card and an insulated Princess mug. Massages were booked and we returned to our cabin for a snooze. Robert, our steward, welcomed us and made sure everything was to our liking. Sail-away was delayed by two hours due to a late flight with many Island Princess passengers. I thought this was highly considerate but it threw off our roll call plans of celebrating a 4:30 sail-away on the secret forward balcony on Baja deck. Some of us did meet and chatted until the drizzle forced us indoors. We arrived early at Muster Call, cruise cards were scanned, rules gone over, and life jackets were put on. Very smoothly done! The Dine Line reservation got us quickly into the Bordeaux dining room to an ocean view table and we had our first delicious meal of the cruise. Portions were just right for us to have an appetizer, main course, and dessert. The bread rolls were among the best I have ever had... Sail-away occurred while we were eating but we managed to get in some great shots of the sun on Vancouver while rain showers were all around. On returning to our cabin (D709) we felt lots of vibration from the engines and wondered if it would be like that throughout the trip so we took Bonine (just in case), put out the doorknob hanger order for room service breakfast and immediately went to sleep. The next morning the vibrations had calmed down and we spent a leisurely day exploring the ship, watching the coast, and reading. I even got to see a whale breach as I was scanning the sea with binocs. This was the first formal night. I did not pay much attention to who was specifically wearing what except that a comment from someone on CC popped into my head about the mode of dress being more "church or business than formal". I wore black Travellers pants and jacket with a sparkly top--DH had a black jacket, slacks, shirt and tie. DH would have been fine with just a shirt and tie. Ketchikan: I knew before we began that Ketchikan was the place that I would want to spend more time. We had a fabulous excursion with Lois Munch (Classic Tours) in her '55 powder blue and white Chevy. It was a glorious sunny day that allowed us to explore stair streets, totems, eagle nests, and plants. Lois directed us to Howling Wolf art gallery where we met a local artist who signed his prints for us. I learned so much with he and Lois about native culture and art. On the way back to the ship I had my first Alaska Amber beer--what a treat! Juneau: We awoke to pouring rain so out came the raincoats and we headed off to sign in with Orca whale watching before going to the Alaska State Museum in time for opening at 8:30 am. It was a Saturday so my plan of stopping for coffee did not work out as none of the coffee shops en-route opened until 9. The museum folks directed us to the grocery store behind the museum that had a great coffee bar and donut place. Orca picked us up at the museum at 10 and we went whale watching with Captain Larry. We saw several whales and finally one dove deep and showed his flukes? We continued on to Mendenhall in the Orca shuttle and went to some of the photo points--some of the group walked out to Nugget Falls but we were content investigating the visitor's center. As it was still raining Orca dropped us near Taku Smokeries store to pick up vacuum-packed salmon and jerky --delicious; Next-Door was the Twisted Fish restaurant where we had a small Twisted Fish pie pizza and another Alaskan Amber ale. Skagway: Train Day!!!! More drizzle than rain. We had arranged our day with Chilkoot Charters who picked us up after the security point on the dock for the short ride to the train. There were 9 of us in the front coach of the train. It was spectacular! The open-air parts at each end of the coach made for great photos. We were met in Fraser and went by small coach (seated about 24) to the Yukon. After stops for black bears, Dall Sheep, Mountain Goats, and Lake Bennett, lunch was at Caribou Crossing--very tender BBQ chicken, roast potato, coleslaw, rolls, and homemade donuts--yum... On the way back to town we stopped for lake views, a desert, waterfalls, and Ptarmigan (the Alaska state bird). Our guide was excellent and ensured we had a personalized memorable day. We chose to be dropped off near the center of Skagway and wandered through the town before heading back to the ship. Glacier Bay and College Fjord: The scenery was stunning! We spent most of our time watching from our balcony or the aft balcony in awe. We saw brown bears on the way into College Fjord as well as sea otters and sea lions. The only critter left on my must-see list was Moose! Whittier: Disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. You are assigned a group based on what you are doing post cruise. We were in the Red group that was going to Anchorage airport for early flights or car rental pick up. The rain was blowing sideways when we got off the ship but Princess had mostly covered walkways. Our driver gave us lots of info about the area as we drove into the city including the "hooligan" run that was occurring (it's a smelt like fish caught in hand nets) with the Bald Eagles lined up on the edge of the bay. Post Cruise: Rental car was picked up, ULU Factory visited, and the next phase of our adventure started. We chose to stay at the Alyeska Hotel that is between Anchorage and Whittier; it has a beautiful setting. On the way there we stopped at the Wildlife Conservation Center and had fun seeing a training session with a Kodiak bear playing with antlers and Brown Bears eating fresh salmon. They had a large gift shop with good prices on t-shirts. Our big treat that evening was to eat at the Seven Glaciers restaurant at the top of the Tramway. The next day we went to Seward and visited the Sea Life Center--still rain showers. I had arranged for the Puffin Encounter where to we had a behind the scenes tour and went into the Avian exhibit to feed the sea birds--oh my! Sea lion "teenagers" were playing in the bay as we left and on our way back we saw my last critter in the wild--Moose in a meadow! The next morning we awoke to sparkling snow and brilliant sunshine and headed off to Palmer where we would meet my second cousin and her family. On the way we stopped along Turnagain Arm and at Elkutna to see the spirit houses. Glenn Highway was magnificent in the sunshine and the drive to our final overnight location at Sheep Mountain Lodge was amazing. Our last night was spent over a delicious meal of fresh halibut at the lodge restaurant celebrating with the Alaska cousins. After a full breakfast we slowly drove back to Anchorage stopping for a hike by the Matanuska Glacier and a tour of the Musk Ox farm. After an early meal at the Alaska Brew House we headed to the airport and the overnight flight home. It was a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Our cruise on the Island Princess was very nice and we had fantastic sunny weather all the way until the last full day. Princess had a naturalist on board, who spotted animals and did mini lectures, which was nice. Our room was always ... Read More
Our cruise on the Island Princess was very nice and we had fantastic sunny weather all the way until the last full day. Princess had a naturalist on board, who spotted animals and did mini lectures, which was nice. Our room was always clean, new towels, cookies at night, candy on pillows. Some of the things we didn't like: the laundry rooms were in disrepair; SMOKING!!; commercialization of the ports was ridiculous and the onboard shopping thing was just nuts. We felt like Princess had it's hand in our pockets all the time! Let's face it, unless you have the bucks, this byline they go by 'escape completely' is unattainable. More ping pong tables would be an asset as all the teens tie them up all day long. We also felt like we were very uninformed about how things went. We eventually figured it out, but maybe a little flyer 'new cruiser tips' would be good. Food. Supper in the anytime dining 'Bordeaux' was great. We didn't want to go formal, so two nights we had to eat elsewhere. Sabatinis and the Bayou Cafe were not an option as $20 times 4 when you have two little kids who won't eat much is a waste. Forget dinner in the Horizon cafe. YUK. Pizza is excellent. Coffee is awful. We never got the complete scoop on the drink cards. My kids have never had soda, so that didn't seem like a good idea. Coffee card for that yukky coffee? no thanks. But then when I went to get one of those (free) midget ice cream cones, there were a lot of other items, not for free. !? no prices listed though. We did not book any port activities with Princess, but I did a lot of research and we did great things at lesser prices. All our port activities were SUPER! All in all, a great time, but I wouldn't be adverse to checking out another cruise line next time. Oh, and disembarkation. We had an 11:30 flight, so Princess had all of us early flights gather in the Bayou at 6:30 AM. They pick up your baggage the night before. All the people moving part went fabulously, but then we waited an hour at the airport for the truck to deliver the bags. Not so good at the baggage moving part. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Where to begin. After spending a year planning this trip, I have to say that knowledge, research, and planning pay off. It was great to know what we wanted to see, and to seek out the best ways to experience this beautiful state and ... Read More
Where to begin. After spending a year planning this trip, I have to say that knowledge, research, and planning pay off. It was great to know what we wanted to see, and to seek out the best ways to experience this beautiful state and coastline. Land tour: We had a guided land tour, spending a night in Anchorage, 2 at the McKinley Princess Lodge, and 2 at the Denali Princess Lodge. It was important to spend 2 nights there to be able to see more of the national park, without the limitations of travel on the second day. On arrival at the lodge, we had lunch in the informal restaurant. The food was very good, and the service was fine. We were fortunate to view the peak of Denali for about a half hour. I found it interesting how people come to work in Alaska from so many places, and stay (in-season) year after year. The rooms are adequate, and the grounds have a retreat-like atmosphere. This was great for resting after busy travel-time. My husband loves ATV's, so we did the four-wheeler adventure the first morning and had pure fun. The owners and guide were locals, and it was great to learn about the flora, fauna, and lifestyle. All of the gear and rain protection was provided, and if I can learn anyone can. We drove through a few streams, along rough paths, and the guide set a pace that was doable. It was a small group, and very manageable. We then took the shuttle into Talkeetna for lunch. It is a quaint town. We ate at the Roadhouse, sharing our table with some locals, and trying the waitress's recommendations for food and local brew. The peanut butter balls came highly recommended, and served as a carry-out dessert as we continued to enjoy the town. The Denali Arts Council has an open air art show on weekends. It was nice browsing through some of the artisans booths and choosing a couple items as gifts. We were disappointed that our flightseeing tour with glacier landing was cancelled due to weather, but glad that the air tour companies there are honest and safety-concious. We departed the next morning for the Denali Princess Lodge. We went to the Music of Denali dinner theater with friends and our tour group, and it was delightful. The food was picnic fare and served family style (all-you-can-eat). The performers had wonderful voices, and it reminded me of a very good high school musical. :) The pianist had played on Broadway, and set the tone during dinner with great, familiar tunes. The next day was busy, starting early with the Tundra Wilderness Tour. We saw a lot of wildlife, and the driver/guide did a great job with the videography for those who may not have the best view. She would stop if wildlife was spotted, and stay until everyone had their fill. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, and alone worth the trip. After supper, we went on the Husky Homestead tour, delighted that Jeff King picked us up in the van from the lodge. I highly recommend this experience for people of all ages. It is so much more than a "pet the puppy" experience, although you receive a puppy as you step off the van. You learn about the Iditarod from the master. It is great to learn how he trains for the race, prepares and cares for the dogs, and of his passion for the lifestyle, He still does many of the presentations himself. Highly recommended. He has written a book, artwork by his wife, and they have both signed them. I had them personalized for gifts, and had someone take our picture with Jeff to make it even more personal. Great guy, and an honor to meet him. The next morning we were off in the domed train to Whittier. It is a long, beautiful ride. Lunch on the train is reasonable, and they have you sign a wait list during busy seating times in the dining car. They also had some items they served in the domed area. Princess staff came aboard prior to arrival at Whittier, checked passports and boarding documents. Prior to arrival at Whittier, they give you everything you need for boarding, so you are on the ship straightaway on arrival. We had a wonderful balcony mini-suite on the end of the mid-ship bumpout. Our daughter had arranged for chocolate covered strawberries, and they were there on arrival. The balcony was smaller, but the view was exceptional! We spent a lot of time there, just admiring the scenery. After all, that is what we came for! The mini suite bathroom has a full tub, which is a great plus according to those who have just the shower stall. There was plenty of storage and closet space, room for the luggage under the bed, and a safe in the room. The steward service was very good, and we could count on the cabin being serviced twice daily. The Princess Patters arrived the evening before for the following day, so that is great for those of you who love to plan life aboard the ship. The webcam channel (42) played classical music, and the naturalist or staff would announce wildlife or other special sightings. It's a great reason to keep your balcony door open for the ambiance and information. My husband loved the buffet. (He is a buffet lover, so in his heaven). I had to make him dress up for formal night to celebrate our anniversary, and have a picture pouring at the champagne waterfall event. (I always wanted to do that). The photo came out so good, I bought it. We ate at the Anytime dining restaurant three times. Service and food was always good, and I tried caviar and escargot for the first time. I also had the pizza twice which was good. We had the champagne breakfast one morning and it was tasty, and too much food for 2 people. We lost a little bit of money in the casino, but we only brought what we could afford to lose. We pre-purchased an internet package and got extra minutes doing it that way. Very few problems with internet access although it was slower that what you probably have at home. But that was expected. The internet cafe manager was very helpful. The library area and card room have good areas to read a book or play a game, while viewing the scenery. The Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) were generally simulcast on TV for you movie lovers who don't want to brave the elements/cool air. You can always stop by and get some popcorn, and a couple blankets to take up to your room balcony.(we did) I have to say there were people in the pool/hot tub most of the time (not us). Being on the ship was our down time, so we didn't fill it with shows, activities, etc. We enjoyed the view. Speaking of views, there were great areas on baja deck (and others also) fore and aft for viewing. Brave it and go out those doors. Absolutely wonderful, and a great way to meet the few people who know about them. :) We did the Ultimate Ship Tour on the morning of the final sea day. It was wonderful to learn more about how the ship and it's crew work and live. It was an honor to meet the captain, see the bridge, the production area, the galley areas, the engine control area, the area where they dock the ship from. Everyone was friendly and informative. There were tasty treats and drinks presented along the way. Later in our room, we received plush bathrobes, chefs jackets, and photos of our tour group with various staff from areas we visited. Well worth the "excursion" price for the 3-hour tour. One word to describe Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier...AWESOME! Find yourself a front row seat and enjoy some of the most spectacular views you've ever witnessed. We were fortunate enough to see calving, seals floating on the icebergs, sea otters, gulls, whales in some of the entrance areas... I wouldn't have missed a moment of it. They pilot the ship so both sides can view the areas, and speak to wildlife that they note. While in Skagway, we really wanted to see Emerald Lake, so went with Chilkoot Tours to take a van ride up, eat a BBQ lunch at Carcross, do a fun little dogcart ride, and then ride the train back from Fraser. This could easily be done by driving yourself in a rental car, or with other vendors also. It was wonderful to see all the scenery, get good photo opportunities, and learn about the history of the town, gold rush, characters, and the trail. In Juneau we took the MGT bus out to Mendenhall Glacier. Absolutely beautiful, especially the icebergs floating in the water. There had been a recent historic event with some flooding near the glacier that we were able to learn more about through staff talks and photos. The visitors center is a great place to visit. We didn't have time to hike, as we then went with Harv and Marv's on a whale watch. Binoculars were provided, and the captain did a great job. The smaller boats with 6 or less passengers was appealing to us, but the whales will be there despite the size of the boat so it doesn't make a difference. All of the tour companies know where to go, and how to find the whales. We were fortunate enough to witness a group of humpbacks bubble netting. Quite a happening, and better than the best fireworks I've ever seen. In Ketchikan we wanted to go to Anan, and Dave with Family Air had permits for the day. He did a nice job piloting his floatplane through the misty areas to the entry area for Anan Wildlife Observatory. This was the highlight of our trip. We hiked along a 1/2 mile boardwalked path with many steps into the observation deck area. Get your camera ready. Honestly, you don't even need binoculars...the bear are that close. You may even meet them on the path on your way back and forth. The ranger briefs you on what to do should you encounter a bear. There is a second ranger at the deck. Bear would come within feet of the deck, including moms with cubs. We were fortunate to see both black and brown bear with cubs, countless eagles, and bear catching salmon in the stream...awesome, like I said before. We were able to be there for 3 hours before needing to make the hike back to the entry to meet Dave again for the trip back. So, our experience was fabulous and meant to be once in a lifetime, BUT I can think of many other things I'd like to do should we see Alaska again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Introduction: DH and I are 1st time cruisers; 67 & 56 respectively. 1st trip to Alaska, we wanted everything 'easy' and we couldn't have asked for any better service than what we got with Princess. We decided to ... Read More
Introduction: DH and I are 1st time cruisers; 67 & 56 respectively. 1st trip to Alaska, we wanted everything 'easy' and we couldn't have asked for any better service than what we got with Princess. We decided to 'go for it' and after much research on CC, we did the 12 day Crusietour (5 land/7 cruise). We booked an AA mini-suite, (C504) midship, Deck 10 (Caribe) on the Island Princess, SB from Whittier to Vancouver, June 8 to 15. Our land tour began June 3 in Fairbanks.We booked ourselves from upstate NY to Seattle, WA . We had 2 nights at the Mayflower Park Hotel located only 3 blocks from the Pikes Market, and adjoining the Westlake Mall and access to both the monorail to the Seattle Center (Space Needle) and the light-rail. We used the Shuttle Express to/from the airport for a web reserved discount of $54 r/t for the both of us and 4 pieces of luggage. Great location, rooms are smaller than newer hotels, but staff was helpful, friendly and accommodating. Loved the convenience of being able to walk anywhere. Also, business district city busses are free, so we saved on a Hop on/Hop off tour bus. Ate at the Market (Lowells the 1st night; The Pink Door for the 2nd - OUTSTANDING!) Picked up some fresh cooked prawns and fruit and picnicked for lunch.Booked through Princess for air travel between Seattle and Fairbanks. Arrived in Fairbanks and left our worries behind. Princess took care of EVERYTHING! At the airport, they gave us a welcome envelope that included our room keys, luggage tags ( "come with me tonight" and "meet me at the ship"), itinerary for the next day, time to leave luggage outside (6:00 am), time to get bus to Discovery Riverboat trip and bus # to Denali Princess Lodge. This same scenario repeated itself over the course of the next days travels. A Princess Rep would get on the bus and hand out our envelopes with all information required printed on the front. Travel by coach - comfortable, like a regular charter bus. Small storage bins above seats, room at feet; storage in belly of bus for larger items. Travel by train - 2 different types of trains. Our 1st experience was the McKinley Explorer, a double decker, dome car with front facing, wide cushioned seats. Ample room at feet for small bags & carry ons; storage available below prior to getting on train for larger items. Did see some 'airline' sized carryon bags that were stowed underneath. This was between the Denali Princess and the McKinley Princess lodges. The 2nd train (between McKinley Lodge and Whittier), was the McKinley Express. This is also a dome care, but one level, bench seat style facing each other over a table. NO SPACE AT ALL! We crammed our backpacks in at our feet - a VERY uncomfortable 5 hour trip! The lady seated opposite us (we were facing forward) said she'd get sick riding backwards, so my DH switched with her. They did offer storage as well in the club car, but I traveled with my computer and didn't want to risk it being bounced around and damaged. Dining car available on the 1st train; limited menu on the 2nd. Not supposed to bring on own food, but we didn't know that and we'd brought our own sandwiches with us! No one said anything.Lodging - Fairbanks Princess Lodge: 5 min. trip from airport. Located on river, nice rooms, spacious and clean. Small gift shop, ate in Pub for dinner first night; had buffet for breakfast the next morning. Very satisfied with both. Would have liked 2 nights in Fairbanks, some interesting tours near by we didn't have time for. Shuttle bus into Fairbanks available for $5 pp. We didn't take it, but saw several people lined up for it.Princess Denali Lodge: 3 hr trip from Fairbanks by coach. Had a great guide/driver, who pointed out many points of interest and interesting side stories along the way. Those on the 2nd coach to Denali had a more 'sedate' driver/guide who hardly spoke. Main lodge is near road; across the street from a 'strip' of shops and places to eat. Pizza place, Subway (24 hrs), Salmon Bake rest. Ate at the lodge's pub the 1st night (just chowder and appetizers). Had dinner at the Salmon Bake the following night and breakfast there the morning before leaving for the McKinley Lodge. Heard different comments regarding the dinner show (from 'cute' to 'hokey'). Rooms are spread out in different buildings, shuttle constantly running through, but hardly ever saw anyone using it. Several gift shops between the main lodge and the rooms. Newer buildings (#10/11) are up a slight hill. Our room was in a Bldg near the restaurant. Comfortable, flat screen TV, quiet - quite satisfied. Took the Tundra Wilderness Tour the following morning. DO NOT bother with the Natural History tour. Your first 15 miles are essentially the 'public' areas of the park - with the exception of a mother moose and her twin calves near the entrance of the park - there was virtually no wildlife that we saw - even the drive is limited in the views. We probably went in about 25 miles before we began to see anything. NOTE: the busses look like a school bus on the outside; the seats are NOT bench style - they are more like the coach/charter bus seat, a bit more narrow. Open shelving above for storage. Try to sit (either side) either right below one of the drop down video screens or one row back. They are spaced out about 1 every 4/5 rows. It made a difference a couple of times to see the wildlife up closer. NOTE: 'box lunch' includes: reindeer sausage (looks like kielbasa), bag of baby carrots, bag of granola, 1 oz pkg of cheese, 1 bottle of water, 1 sliced white roll.) Bathroom breaks were every 90-120 min. Nice, clean facilities - not what I expected. One stop even has a small gift shop!! Wildlife viewing is different every trip. Appreciate what you DO see! We saw everything but bears - bus behind us? Saw the bears! Oh well! The views are breathtaking!Some took shuttle back to Visitor's center - we didn't because DH wasn't feeling well, but others said it was great - do it if you can.HINT - taking the train from Denali to McKinley? Don't wait for the scheduled bus - crowded and mayhem at the main lodge. Hop on one of the free shuttles to the Visitors' Center, cross the street and you're at the train station! Princess has their clients wait in covered shelters to the left of the main station. Holland America has theirs wait in a more open area towards the center. A Princess rep will tell you which shelter to wait in based upon the name of the railcar you are assigned to.We had a great 'guide' on the train and had a great day of weather - as we rounded a bend, he pointed out that "the mountain is OUT!" Sure enough, Mt McKinley (Denali to the locals) was clear and bright! An incredible and impressive sight. We counted ourselves very fortunate to get to see it!!McKinley Princess Lodge - REMOTE! A good hour drive by coach after arriving by train in Talkeetna. Some chose to stay in town and catch the hourly shuttle back to the lodge later. NOTE: You are allowed one "FREE" roundtrip on the coach. If you stay in town upon arrival, you can catch the shuttle back at no cost. If you take the shuttle into Talkeetna and back the same day (like we did on our 'free' day), it is $10 roundtrip pp. The town is SMALL! Only about a dozen buildings. If you can, catch some of the lectures/presentations back at the lodge before exploring the town. We went to the one about "Bush Pilots" and then went into town. It really gave a lot of background info on some local legends. Visit the historical museum, and if you have time, walk over to the town cemetery. There are gravesites there that have plane propellers instead of headstones! Eat at the "Roadhouse" - it's family style seating, good food and the building is pretty interesting itself.Our room was located in one of the several lodge style buildings throughout the grounds. We were right near the 20,320 Restaurant. This is the only place we ate on property - breakfast and dinner. Prices were reasonable and service good. The main lodge had a good sized gift shop, a HUGE common area with large windows and a large deck area with plenty of seating to see the mountains. They have 4 or 5 computers available in the 'internet' lounge, but wireless was easily available on your own equipment. Not in the rooms, however. Again, Princess made everything easy. Bus to the train the next day was on time and our driver was a doll! Train to Whittier - only issue on entire trip. The McKinley Express is (as I described above) not as a comfortable mode of transportation. It did go past some beautiful scenery though. Arrival at Whittier - I should mention that we stopped shortly in Anchorage where Princess rep's boarded the train - one to each car. They went seat by seat and scanned everyone's passports. Answered questions and explained how embarkation would work. When we arrived in Whittier, and before leaving the railcar, we received our Cruise Cards! Simply walked off the train, followed the walkway to the security building (there were about 400 of us on the train, so that did take about 20 minutes or so to get through), continued to the ship where they scanned our card at the entryway and the 'machine' took our photo! Onboard at last! Barely walked in when our room steward, Robert, came by, introduced himself, pointed out that the egg crate and distilled water (for DH Cpap machine) were already in our cabin, confirmed our requests for robes, showed us how to request service, explained the breakfast room service card. Within 15 min. or so it was time to go to the muster drill. Crew and staff were posted everywhere to direct people, instructions were short and sweet and then everyone disbursed again.Got our bearings and headed to the buffet where it was a bit crowded and crazy to say the least. Buffet lines were slow moving (some seemed to be filling up a week's worth of food - perhaps they were afraid the ship would run out!). Eventually we got our 'light' supper and then did a quick cursory tour of the ship, unpacked and settled in for the night.1st day of cruise was spent getting a massage, attending the CC Meet and Greet (Thanks Jody!), having lunch in the Bordeaux . It was also the first formal night, but because we were also cruising to Hubbard Glacier, we made a decision to forgo the dinner to watch the glacier instead. HOWEVER, due to heavy ice floe and heavy fog setting in, the Captain decided for safety sake to stop eight miles away (still pretty impressive from what we could see) and turned around earlier. Problem solved - dressed for dinner. We preferred eating our meals in the dining room. Enjoyed the service, the quality of food and the ambiance. We had a lunch in Horizon Court once and on an early tour excursion in Juneau, we had room service (mostly breaks, fruits, cereals, juices and an 'egg mcmuffin' style sandwich. DH had room service bring coffee, juice and fruit each morning. Always on time or early. Always delivered with a smile and 'good morning'! Had pizza a couple of times as a snack. Actually pretty good! Had ice cream cones a couple of times as well. I'm a big diet soda drinker, so we sprung for a soda package ($36 for the length of the cruise, unlimited). Had no trouble getting it at the buffett, dining room or any of the bars open throughout the ship. I saw some people walking around with their 'coke' souvenir mug to have it filled up, but I just showed my cruise card with the sticker on it. NOTE: got my cruise card punched in the casino and the cashier put it on a lanyard for me. VERY handy!Glacier Bay was outstanding - weather was perfect, glaciers were calving, Rangers on board were great!Skagway - DH didn't want to do the train, so we opted for the bus trip over the summit and Liarsville. Beautiful scenery. Liarsville was cute. A B+ overall. Went back to the ship for lunch, then met up with our guide for the "Good Times Girls walking tour". Also a B+ (although DH would probably give it an A+!!). Juneau - booked our own tour with Harv & Marv's. OUTSTANDING! They book no more than 6 pax per ship, so imagine our surprise when we were the ONLY TWO on our tour! We had Captain Liz, who did a WONDERFUL job of getting us to the whales fast and pointing out great shots. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day! I HIGHLY recommend H&M! Ketchican - the first 'drizzly' day we had all week! Still, not wet enough to need much more than a good waterproof jacket and baseball cap. We took the self-guided tour through town (pick up right at the dock at the Visitor Center). The first thing we did, though, was head to the Post Office to mail packages of gifts we'd been buying all along. What I didn't know, until I read it in the Patter, is that you have to meet with a Custom's agent ON THE SHIP prior to taking any packages off to be mailed. About a dozen pax and crew waited for the agent to arrive in the Provence DR. She did a cursory check of the opened packages and then you sealed it and she put the customs inspection tape on it. I don't know if this is something that people bypass by not packing boxes and just carrying things off, but we didn't want to take any chances. Also, stopped by the Library/Museum. Nice museum and the library offers 30 minutes free wifi if you have your own laptop. They also have some PC's available, but I overhead the librarian tell a fellow pax that they would have to wait an hour to use it.Ultimate Ship Tour - yes, we sprung for the $150 pp and LOVED IT! Only one dozen permitted on the tour (we had ten total). Got to see the galley's, coolers, laundry, medical center, mooring, engineer room, walk the "M1" secret corridor on deck 3 from forward to aft, and finished up in the Bridge with the Captain. Not long after the 3.5 hr tour, we received 2 heavy terry cloth robes, 2 chef's coats, autographed photos taken at the different locations. A great experience!Vancouver - arrived in dock on time. Disembarkation was relatively quick. Our group was given the place (Universal Lounge) and time (8:20). We departed the ship about 8:30, went right through Canadian customs, found our luggage, got in a cab and by 9:00 we were at the West End Guest House B&B only about 4 blocks from Canada Place. Dropped off our luggage, picked up the Vancouver Trolley and toured the city. Caught a couple of comedian shows, but generally, we were pretty tired in the evenings and would spend a quiet night in our cabin.A wonderful experience and can't find a negative thing to say about Princess! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Mom, Dad and 18-year old disgruntled son dragged away from electronic devices for a vacation arrived in Vancouver a day before the cruise left, and spent the day sightseeing, shopping and dining. The bellman from our hotel carted our 6 ... Read More
Mom, Dad and 18-year old disgruntled son dragged away from electronic devices for a vacation arrived in Vancouver a day before the cruise left, and spent the day sightseeing, shopping and dining. The bellman from our hotel carted our 6 bags (yes, 6, we overpacked) all the way to the Canada Place luggage drop. He got a very nice tip, as did the disabled man handling the luggage on the pier. (We bypassed the unionized longshoremen.) Princess really has all its logistics under control. Very impressive, very well thought out. Hotel chains could learn some lessons from Princess. Our mini-suite on the Island Princess seemed very small at first, so I put our name on a list with the purser for an upgrade to a full suite if one became available. (I think she was humoring me, but politely, as the suites were taken.) After we unloaded our 6 bags, I realized that they could all fit under the bed, and voila, plenty of room. We were located mid-ship in the "bulge". This would seem to be the best location to avoid the ship's motion. The Island Princess is relatively narrow, and swayed side to side in the calm seas leaving Vancouver, probably due to a cross-wind on the tall superstructure. At certain speeds there was a slight two cycle per second shake to the ship, but since we are from California, it felt like a small earthquake which we could ignore easily. The bow had a lot of motion when we were in the open seas, so we avoided the theatre. The stern had noise and shook, so we avoided the lounge shows in the stern. Too bad, we missed bingo. We had the 6 pm seating, which turned out to be the right time for us. We sat with a very pleasant couple. We missed about half of our reserved dinners due to shore excursions, but the food at the 24-hour Horizon Court was just fine. My wife is a retired executive chef, and thought the food quality and food preparation on the ship, with a few exceptions, was very good. The service was uniformly excellent. We were impressed with the ability of the wait staff in Horizon Court to keep things moving and under control. A minor point was that the buffet lacked caesar salad dressing. But there was a caesar salad station where a cook would make your salad to order. Very nice, except the dressing at this station wasn't on ice and in fact was near hot food. We are non-smokers, and were gratified that our stateroom had no left over smoke from any prior occupants. There were only a few places on board where the alarming odor of cigarette smoke was noticeable: near the Churchill Lounge, in the Wheelhouse Bar, the Patisserie, and of course the casino. (Casino usually nearly empty, very tight slots.) Several areas on open deck were unobtrusively set aside for smokers, as signalled by the ashtrays provided. Best drinks were at the Crooners Bar. On days at sea, we played cards and board games in the card room one deck up, and the waiter would come up to provide service. It was like staying at a new luxury hotel. We went on shore excursions at every port. Probably pricier than doing it yourself, but again, the logistics went smoothly, and if the official Princess excursion is late returning, they will hold the ship. As it was, the ship left the dock a few minutes early at every port. Helped make the point that we had to be on board on time. Excursions: salmon fishing (slow day); flying to an island to fly-fish for Dolly Varden trout (highlight of the trip); panning for gold; eagle river jet boat trip; and on the way to Anchorage airport, Portage glacier and wildlife rescue visit. Everyone we talked to enjoyed their excursions. And we had no rain. None. Mostly cloudy and quite windy, but we had sunny afternoons everywhere, including College Fjord. We'd do this trip again. I'd leave today in fact, and do it all over again. Our only real gripe was with the aggressive salesmanship of poor quality jewelry and watches. To be fair, it was worse on shore: every port was thick with jewelry stores selling jewelry of uncertain ancestry. So they must be doing good business, and people on these cruises must buy this stuff. Beat's me why. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
This was a family cruise - my husband and I (mid-40s) and 3 kids (20, 18 and 5). We selected a cruise because we thought there would be something for all ages. The travel agent selected the Island Princess, and she made a fantastic choice. ... Read More
This was a family cruise - my husband and I (mid-40s) and 3 kids (20, 18 and 5). We selected a cruise because we thought there would be something for all ages. The travel agent selected the Island Princess, and she made a fantastic choice. Overall, the Island Princess met or exceeded our expectations in almost every area. The land portion of the trip was not quite as great, which I will explain below. The cruise stopped in Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and then Whittier. The boat left on Monday; we flew to Vancouver and stayed at the Pan-Pacific the night before. I HIGHLY recommend staying at the Pan-Pacific. It's a great hotel, and you can't beat the location. Best of all, they will take your bags directly from your room to the ship - no shlepping bags! We got both a city view and a harbor view - the harbor view was not worth the extra money. The harbor view room was MUCH smaller than the city view, and not as nice. Embarkation was pretty smooth - a little bit of sit and wait around, but overall was pretty good. Most of our bags were in our rooms when we got them, except for one. Our son's bag wasn't there - finally after several hours we called and they said they had held it because he packed a knife on it (we were unaware he had done so). They held the knife, and delivered the bag. The ship is beautiful, and well maintained. My husband and I and our 5 year old had a mini-suite with balcony and the other 2 kids had their own inside cabin. The mini-suite was perfect for us - but there's no way we could have put the older kids in the room also. For one, the sleeper sofa was about the right size for a 5-10 year old, but there's no way the teenagers would have fit on it. Plus it was HORRIBLY uncomfortable if you were over about 70 pounds. But, the mini-suite worked great, and the room steward made towel animals for our daughter, so she was thrilled. Dining: The dining rooms were fantastic - the food was excellent. We had anytime dining, which worked great for us. There are lines if you go about 7pm, but before or after seemed to get right in. We ate one lunch in the Horizon Court buffet and it was not good. However, we ate most breakfasts there also, and breakfasts were great. Our advice - they have everything you need for breakfast (they will custom make eggs, plus french toast, waffles, etc). I would steer clear for lunch and dinner though. Kids club: The folks who ran it were VERY nice. The bad part is that the club is at the absolute end of the boat (the stern), so the vibration and the noise was a little tough. Our daughter wanted to go some days, and cried on the others so much that we didn't take her. They aren't open during meals, except for the two formal nights, when they serve the kids dinner. She had a blast on those nights. Overall, the program is really good though. Activities: My husband and I were pretty mellow, and mainly hung out in the Crooner's Bar and went to the magic show. The Crooner's bar is nice and relaxing. Overall the magic show was good - the magician was very good, but it was a little too over the top as far as showmanship. The kids spent every waking hour doing something - dancing, hot tubbing, going to shows. (they went to every show on board). They had a BLAST. Weather: overall, it was good weather - lows in the 40s to highs in the 60s. As many others have suggested, layer your clothes, and bring rain gear! overall, it was pretty nice, although Glacier Bay and College Fjord were COLD so be prepared (hats, mittens were helpful) Excursions: We did a few. In Ketchikan, my husband and son did the zipline excursion. They said it was fun, but you only actually zipline for something like 5 minutes of the 4 hour tour. (The rest was transportation, and waiting on the platforms for others to zipline). Juneau: We tried to do the helicopter/dog sled excursion, but it was cancelled due to weather (we tried to do it the next day in Skagway, and it was also cancelled). Instead we did the helicopter ride with glacier landing, and then later did the Evening Whale Quest. The helicopter/glacier landing was fun - the ride was beautiful, but you only get about 5-10 minutes to stand on the glacier. Still was very very cool, and the pilot was fun. The whale watch was good - dinner was great, and we saw both orcas and humpbacks, which apparently is unusual. In Skagway, when our dog sled glacier outing was cancelled, we ended up on the sled dog summer camp excursion with a bunch of people from the Carnival ship in dock. This was great fun - you go for a ride on a sled pulled by dogs, and then got to pet the puppies and dogs. All 3 kids LOVED this. Disembarkation was a breeze - we were first off due to going on the cruise tour and needing to get the train to McKinley. Cruise Tour: I would probably not recommend going through Princess. Rather, if you want to do this portion, rent a car and do it on your own. This was pretty much a big hassle and the Princess accommodations on land ranged from great to "you gotta be kidding me". Our biggest pet peeve was that events were poorly timed (luggage pick up was 7am, check out 11am but you didn't leave until 3pm for example). McKinley Princess Lodge: avoid it. Ok rooms, but there is NOTHING to do here. You do get a chance to look at McKinley, but we all felt it was a waste of time. Denali Princess Lodge: VERY nice - worth staying there on your own. I wish we would have skipped the McKinley lodge and spent another day here. We took the Explore Denali tour, which was the shortest. We didn't think the 5 year old would make a 6-8 hour bus ride. The tour was nice, you got out and walked around for a while and we got to see McKinley again. If we weren't travelling with such a young kid, we probably would have done one of the longer ones. Overall though, the tour was very nice. We also did the Sled Dog camp in Denali (free). You can pet the dogs and they talk about the dogs. Fairbanks Princess Lodge: ugh. Was a slightly nice Motel 6. We didn't do the Princess shuttle to the airport, as it would have required us to have our bags ready 12 hours before the flight left. The hotel has a free shuttle. Staff: overall, the Princess staff on board and in all the lodges was truly excellent. They were all helpful and accommodating and VERY customer focused. In summary, fantastic trip - would definitely do the cruise again, but would skip the land tour. If you do the land tour, I would agree with others on here that said do the land portion first, and then have the end of your vacation to just relax on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Pre-trip: Our excellent journey actually began 2 days before our departure when we received an e-mail from Princess advising us that we had been upgraded to a full suite! We then departed from the east coast to Anchorage on June 17,2010 ... Read More
Pre-trip: Our excellent journey actually began 2 days before our departure when we received an e-mail from Princess advising us that we had been upgraded to a full suite! We then departed from the east coast to Anchorage on June 17,2010 for our 12 night cruisetour. We'd booked our own air travel on Alaska Airlines, taking advantage of the Alaska Airlines credit card $99 companion ticket to travel first class for 2 for just over the price we would have paid for 2 coach fares. It was well worth the extra money to fly first class on such a long trip. Alaska Airlines was an outstanding flight experience. Land Tour: We arrived in Anchorage and found our Princess transfer to our lodging at the Hotel Captain Cook. We found this hotel to be adequate with a smallish room in the original hotel tower. We found it odd that the common areas of the hotel had air conditioning, but our room did not (even inquired about it at the front desk and they confirmed no AC in guest rooms). It was a bit warm, but we made it work by opening the window. Even though the time difference made it a very long day for us, we decided to venture out to see some of Anchorage. We found ourselves at Glacier Brewhouse, enjoying some snacks and beer brewed on-site, which was all very enjoyable. The weather was warm, so we walked around the city a bit from there, marveling at all of the beautiful snow-topped mountains that seemed to surround the city. We browsed in the local shops and found a souvenir shop that seemed to have everything, Trader Jacks (I think), with some items made locally and some overseas. We were generally pleased with the prices. We then found another spot, Rumrunners, to have another local brew and watch a basketball game. We enjoyed our low key afternoon/evening in Anchorage. The next morning we arose early to have our bags out in order for them to be picked up for transit to the Princess MT. McKinley Lodge. We boarded a coach for a very short trip to the train station, where we boarded our Princess railcars to travel to the lodge. The railcars were very nice, with the seating on the second level in domed cars. Shortly after we set out, we saw a moose just off the tracks and then we were treated to an airshow by the fighter jets stationed at the airbase just outside of Anchorage. The train ride was pretty, taking us through wooded areas and over streams. The guide did a nice job narrating and pointing out items of interest as we went. We enjoyed a nice breakfast in the dining car below. We pulled in to the Talkeetna station shortly after noon. We decided to stay in Talkeetna and explore rather than immediately heading out to the lodge. Talkeetna is a tiny little town with essentially one main street. We explored some of the local shops, most of which appeared to have locally-made items. We also found another brewhouse, The Denali Brewing Company. We had lunch at one of the local cafes. We then caught one of the regularly-scheduled coaches heading back to the Lodge, which took approximately one hour travel time. We'd already received our keys, so went directly to our room in one of the small buildings that surround the main lodge. We found our room basic and clean, with 2 double beds. No cause for complaint, but certainly not a well-appointed room. The main lodge was spectacular, with a huge central stone fireplace and a big porch off the Mckinley-facing side that was lined with benches and adirondack chairs perfect for mountain viewing. When we arrived, part of the mountain was visible and we enjoyed just taking in the view and the wilderness. One of the walking paths below the lodge was closed in the evening due to the presence of a mother moose and her baby who were munching on leaves near the path. It was a neat sight through the binoculars. We had dinner one of the on-site restaurants and found the food to be good. The next morning we had a good breakfast in the lodge's main dining room and then explored the various walking paths on the property. All were a very easy walk. We chose not to do any optional excursions while at the McKinley lodge and elected to just sit on the porch enjoying the views. In the afternoon, we boarded a coach for the trip to Denali Princess lodge. Upon arrival, we were given our keys and found our room to be in one of the new buildings on property. Again, we found the room to be basic and clean, but nothing special. It would have been nice to have the opportunity to elect (and pay for) upgraded room accommodations. We explored the many souvenir shops that are across from the lodge, most of which seemed to be selling items made overseas rather than in Alaska, and all seemed to be of the "tourist trap" type. However we did buy a few decent t-shirts and other trinkets. We returned to the lodge and had a wonderful dinner at the main restaurant. The next morning we arose early and had breakfast at the buffet on-site. It took quite awhile to get served drinks and the buffet food was just fair. We then embarked on our Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali. The buses are operated by Aramark and are school buses rather than nice coaches. Overall, they were fairly comfortable. We had a knowledgeable tour guide who had been doing tours in the park for several summer seasons. The ride in the park was beautiful, with so many different types of scenery, from dense woods to tundra grasslands to rocky mountains. We got to see quite a bit of wildlife once we got further into the park, including lots of caribou and Dahl sheep, a fox and her baby right near the bus, a golden eagle soaring near a mountain peak, a wolf sleeping near the entrance to its den and a mother bear and her 2 young cubs off on the side of slope. It was a terrific trip into the park and well worth the full day on a school bus. That evening we had pizza at the on-site pizza place, which was not great pizza. We then ventured off-property to the outlook, which is across the street and up a very steep incline from the lodge property (you can call for a pick-up). We enjoyed a beautiful view of the park while sipping some of the local Alaskan beers. The following morning we had our bags out early for pick-up and then boarded buses to the train station. We boarded the train for a very long ride to Whitier to meet the ship. We were paired up at our table with a very nice older couple from north of Chicago and really enjoyed talking with them throughout the trip. We had a gloriously sunny day for the trip and as the train wound down on its travels, there were a number of beautiful vantage points from which we could see Mt. McKinley (Denali as the locals call the mountain) in all its full, uncovered beauty. It was one of the most spectacular sights that either of us had ever seen and the train slowed a number of times for passengers to be able to take pictures. Even some of the guides and staff on the train were taking pictures and telling us it was one of the most clear shots they'd seen while working on the train. It was a long train ride, but manageable with the dining car for a nice lunch and the bar for some tasty drinks. Embarkation: All of the pre-boarding was actually done on the train when we picked up several princess employees in Anchorage who handled all of the pre-board paperwork, checked our passports and handed out our cruise cards. We pulled into Whitier, went through security and were on the ship within 15 or 20 minutes. Cruising: Suite: Upon entering the ship, we were directed to our suite, D701, the Seychelles Suite. It was absolutely beautiful and very spacious. It had a nice marble-tiled entryway which then entered into the living room, which had a roomy desk area across from the wet bar and refrigerator, which had been stocked with complimentary beverages. The living room had a TV, nice sized sofa and armchair and a cocktail table and side table that held a beautiful arrangement of flowers. The living room had a set of balcony doors leading out to our double balcony, set with a table and chairs as well as lounge chairs. Back in the suite the living room was separated from the bedroom by a set of heavy draperies that could be pulled at night to accommodate different sleeping patterns. The bedroom was roomy with a large queen-sized bed and two side tables, another TV, a big mirrored dressing table with a lighted make-up mirror and plenty of storage for all of our clothes and belongings. There was a huge walk-in closet for all of our hanging clothes as well. The bathroom was huge, actually separated into two sections, one for the sink and toilet, separated by a door from the area for the jetted jacuzzi tub and large glass-walled shower. The extra bathroom space was very nice. We met our cabin steward, Chet, who brought us a glass of champagne to celebrate our arrival. We watched from our balcony as the ship pulled off from the dock. Shortly after we did the obligatory muster drill, then began exploring the ship. We had a cocktail up on the lido deck at the pool area. The dining had been changed since it was the first night on board, so we decided to have a late dinner at the buffet rather than the main dining room. We did not find the buffet food to be very good. We're used to buffets in Vegas where there are many more selections and both the selection and quality were lacking in the buffet. We discovered Crooners martini bar and enjoyed a wonderful late-night cocktail. Our second day on board was a sea day and the first of our formal nights. We started the day by having breakfast at Sabatini's, a perk for Suite guests. We enjoyed this immensely. The food was excellent and the service, by our waiter Sebastian, was outstanding. We did breakfast at Sabatini's most days when we didn't have an early port excursion. We were surprised that there were not many others who took advantage of this wonderful experience. We spent the day exploring the ship and finding all of the main entertainment areas, dining areas, lounges and pool areas. We found the ship very easy to navigate and get around. We spent the day leisurely napping and also had a very good lunch in the main dining room. We dressed early for dinner and took part in the evening cocktail hour that is held for elite and suite guests. We were surprised to find that very few people attended this cocktail reception, which was surprising given that they put out some very nice hors d'oeuvres. We enjoyed the service from the Italian chef, Eduardo, who oversaw the event. We took part in this several evenings during the cruise. We decided to have formal portraits taken by the ships photography staff. That evening they were having a contest. If you had your picture taken at all of the photography stations, you could enter a drawing to win a $300 photo package. We had our picture taken at all of the stations and turned in our prize card and the next morning, when selecting some pictures, learned that we had been drawn for the prize. We received a CD of our selection of formal portraits and 5 8x10 prints. We were thrilled. We also attended the Captain's Champagne Reception that evening which was nicely done with a Champagne waterfall. We had a very nice dinner at the main dining room. We had elected the anytime dining room and had not problem getting a table at approximately 8:00, even requesting a table for two. After dinner we went over to the bar at the Bayou Cafe to listen to Jean Mac sing songs from the American Songbook. We danced and really enjoyed the music. Later we found the casino and found the gaming to be adequate, with roulette for me and video poker for my husband. The dealers were very nice, although throughout the cruise I didn't find that many other players at the roulette table. Over the course of the cruise, between the 2 of us, we actually walked away from the casino with an extra $500 or so over what we'd started with, which was nice. We also did check out the Wheelhouse Bar, which was nearly deserted most of our voyage. There was a band called Nova, and they were just okay. I don't think we ever saw more than one or two couples dancing. We ended our evening at Crooners with the terrific entertainment by Dan Oliver who was great on the piano and had a wonderful singing voice. We met our favorite cocktail waiter Enrique, who provided us excellent service throughout the cruise. The cosmos made by the Crooners bar staff were excellent. The next day was the trip into Glacier Bay. We had our morning breakfast at Sabatinis and then attended the Glacier Bay Park Ranger presentation in the Princess Theater. It was a very interesting presentation about the glaciers and history of glacier bay. The day was rainy, but we braved the elements and went up on the open deck. It was well worth the cold and rain. The captain was able to pull in quite close to the Margerie clagier and we were able to hear and see it calve off ice several times. We saw a seal pull out on a small iceberg. The glacier was simply awe-inspiring. The captain then spun the ship around, so we retreated to our cabin where we could continue to see the glacier from our covered balcony while enjoying a yummy hot tody. We were also visited by a gull who decided that he like the railing of our covered balcony as well. Glacier bay was a wonderful day. That night we enjoyed a good dinner in the main dining room as well as the entertainment and cocktails at crooners. Our next day was in the port of Skagway. We had an early breakfast at the buffet, which we found to be quite good, with made to order eggs and omelettes and a good selection of fresh pastries. The coffee however, was awful. We were scheduled to go on the very first helicopter glacier landing flight of the day. However, with significant fog, the first trip was cancelled. They were able to book us on an 11:00 flight with the hopes that he fog would lift. Until the flight, we walked around town a bit. Skagway is a fun little town, with one main street full of small shops. We then presented back for our excursion and luckily it was able to fly. We hopped aboard a helicopter and took a 20 to 25 minute flight out to the glacier. We landed on the glacier and did a 20 minute trek around the glacier looking at the different melt formations, the running water, which appears a beautiful blue and the rocks and other items that get picked up and dragged around by the moving glacier. It was a very cool experience. We then re-boarded the helicopters and flew back to the base. The helicopter flight in both directions covered some very beautiful scenery. We were transported back to town just in time for our next excursion out to a summer sled dog camp. We were met by our nice guide Tini (Christine) and took a bit of a drive up out of town to Dyea where the sled dog camp is located. We then broke up into groups and boarded small wheeled carts, holding about 6 people each. The musher gave the command and were were off, pulled by a pack of 18 dogs. The dogs were absolutely amazing. All slight in build and clearly very athletic. They just couldn't wait to run. There was one who would bark like mad and jump up and down in line while waiting, clearly ready to do his job. We learned that the dogs were owned by our musher on board who had run the iditarod race several times, placing well with some of the very same dogs pulling our cart. We then returned to the musher's center for a brief history of dog sledding. Then we got to spend time with a group of young husky pups. They were absolutely beautiful and so much fun. Then it was back to town. We really enjoyed both excursions in Skagway. We finished up our day in Skagway with a pizza and beer at the Red Onion, a former brothel turned bar that maintains its original brothel theme. The pizza was good and the atmosphere very fun and light. The it was back to the ship. We finished off our day on ship with a nice dinner, some casino play and drinks at Crooners. The next day was another early port day, this time in Juneau. We had pre-planned excursion called Whales, Bears & Glaciers. We took a short van ride to a small harbor on the outskirts of Juneau where we boarded a small boat. The Captain then headed out in search of whales and other sea life. As we were pulling out of the harbor, we passed a small pebbled beach on which there was what we were told was a "parliament" of eagles. There were approximately a dozen or more eagles all feeding on halibut. The were simply beautiful, some adults with full white-feathered heads, some juveniles who had not yet gotten their white heads. We then moved into the open water and very shortly spotted the plume from a whale's blow hole. We slowed down and were able to see 2 whales off a bit in the distance, with their humped backs occasionally cresting out of the water followed by their big tails. We continued on our way, seeing a few small seals poking their heads out of the water and then a group of sea lions who had pulled themselves out of the water on to a navigational buoy to enjoy the sun while others barked around in the water clamoring for a spot. We then continued on and saw a group of porpoises that came right up to the boat, jumping and playing along beside the boat as we moved through the water. They actually looked like small killer whales, with similar coloring and markings. Last, we saw a humpback whale calf who came very close to our boat and was having a great time just playing. He was rolling around and pulling his fins out of the water. His mother also came fairly close to us and he continued to play. It was a fabulous whale watch. We then landed on a island, which were later told was twice the size of Rhode Island, with a human population of 950 and a bear population of 3500. We then got on a 15 person van with a guide who was a local young man who had grown up on the island. He was very informative about life on the island, wildlife and growing up in Alaska and shared many great stories. We got out at a wooded path where we walked along a raised plank path through dense woods. Our guide showed us some signs indicating bear had been through recently including claw marks on trees and hair left from the bear rubbing its back against a tree as well as bear droppings on the path. He noted that it was not yet salmon season and that the bears were still in mating season, during which they are constantly on the move. As we came out into a clearing at the end of the path at the water, we saw a small deer and an eagle. We returned to the van and shortly after heading out, just ahead on the logging road, was a large brown bear. Our guide pulled up further on the road and stopped where the bear had crossed the road. There right beside us, on a small rise next to the road, was the bear. He was no more than 8 feet from us. He'd climbed the small rise and had turned sideways and was just staring at us. He was so beautiful. He looked at us for about a minute or so, then turned, walked off and disappeared into the woods. Our guide said that the bear looked to be fairly young, maybe 4 years old and that it is likely that the bear had never seen humans before, which is why he turned to look at us. It was such a cool experience. We then continued on our way for another half hour or so, then arrived at a small airfield. We boarded a small plane that took us up for a 25 minute flight over the Juneau icefields. We saw what looks, from the air, like rivers of ice, that surround Juneau. It was absolutely stunning. We landed back at the Juneau airport and boarded a bus that brought us back to the ship. Back on board the ship, we returned to our suite and prepared for our second formal night. We had a lovely dinner in the main dining room with three other couples at our table and then closed our day at our usual crooners. The next day we awoke to a steady rain in the port of Ketchikan. We had originally planned to do the Great Alaska Lumberjack Show, which we decided to forego due to the rain and wind. Our main goal in town was to finish up our gift shopping, which was easily achieved in Ketchican's many shops. There were many jewelers in town, similar to what one sees when visiting Caribbean ports. We steered clear of those and stayed with the local shops. We found some nice local-made gifts and souvenirs. As soon as we finised shopping, we re-boarded the ship. We dried off and warmed up, then hit the pizza counter by the pool for lunch. We grabbed drinks from the buffet, sat under the covered section near the pool and found the pizza to be very good. We napped and had a leisurely afternoon. We invited in some frineds that we'd met on the land tour into our suite for pre-dinner cocktails, which was very easy to do since we had such a large living room in our suite and also were able to order a tray of canapes every evening as part of the suite perks. For dinner we went to the Bayou Cafe, which we found to be quite good. I had a fabulous spicy grilled shrimp appetizer and we both had steaks as our entree. The food was well done and the service very good. In the eventing, we went to the early Comedy show in the Princess Theater. Kevin Hughes was the comedian and he was pretty funny. Overall we enjoyed the show. We went to the late showing of the International Crew Show in the Princess Theater, which was sort of hokey, but fun too. We finished the night at our usual crooners. The next day was our final full sea day We had our final breakfast at Sabatini's where we continued to experience great food and outstanding service. We took a long walk around the Promenade deck and spotted whales and porpoises off the ship. We ate lunch from the Grill counter on the pool deck and found the simple burgers and fries to be good. In the afternoon, we packed our bags in preparation for having them out in the hall that evening and shopped a bit in the on-board shops, picking up some Princess-themed souvenirs at sale prices. We had made reservations for dinner at Sabatini's that evening and arranged to be served by our favorite waiter, Sebastian. Sabatini's has a really neat way of doing dinner service, where you choose your entree and then they bring you platters of all of the salads and appetizers with small tastes for you to try. It was wonderful. We really enjoyed the food and the way it was served. That evening we found all of our special crew that we got to know and gave them special tips. It was nice to be able to let them know how special they had made our trip. We then visited the casino, again taking away some winnings and closed out our night at crooners. The following day we had an early breakfast in the main dining room and then proceeded with our hand-carried luggage to the wheelhouse bar, the designated area for suite guests, where they had good coffee and juice out for us. We heard our designated pick-up color and number and proceeded down the gangway and through the customs area. We then boarded our Princess transfer to the airport. I was glad that we did the Princess tansfers, as we never had to handle our bags until we got to the airport. The whole process was very smooth and quick. We had a wonderful trip overall and would not hesitate to do the Alaska cruisetour again with Princess. We did purchase future cruise credis and are working on planning our next Priness adventure. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We took the Seattle package for our cruisetour. We rode a bus to Vancouver to start the cruise and at the end of the tour we flew from Alaska to Seattle, spent the night at the Doubletree before going home. The bus was held up at the ... Read More
We took the Seattle package for our cruisetour. We rode a bus to Vancouver to start the cruise and at the end of the tour we flew from Alaska to Seattle, spent the night at the Doubletree before going home. The bus was held up at the Seatac airport and didn't leave until 10:45am. The embarkation process was a bit over whelming but we were first timers so that could have been the problem. Once on the ship, I met our cabin steward and was told that the egg crate mattress cover and our robes were not available until tomorrow morning. He did empty our refrig and put on a top sheet for the bed. I asked for wine glasses and he told me he would call room service for me. I felt bad, I really didn't know I had to call room service. But other than that snag it was great. We ate at the buffet, the dining room, pizza, the grill and had room service once. All was good. The buffet had MANY choices. I ended up taking little bites of many things. There were at least a dozen desserts to chose from. And the service in the dining room was excellent. The dining room had several different things to select from and the portions were not overly large. So you could order an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert without feeling stuffed. I bought the Ultimate Drink Card and was pleased with my purchase. I had a smoothie every day for breakfast. There were always things to do, entertainment, lectures, etc. The crew tried to please you. We went on a land tour, very nice and organized. They gave you packets at each stop with your room keys so didn't have to check in - Nice. We saw Mt McKinley it its full glory for the day and a half we were there. We went to Denali and saw wildlife. The only hitch was at Denali, the men in our group did the Black Diamond ATV ride and were hugely disappointed. It was not worth the $$. The ride was short, they really just went up a hill and around a small trail. The rain/mud slickers they gave them to wear were dirty with mud splashes. We thought it would be in a part of Denali but it was just a piece of property down the road. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our first time going on a cruise, and Princess did a great job. They had quite a bit of entertainment on the ship every single night...including movies, shows, and fun games. The tv inside the stateroom also had tons of shows and ... Read More
This was our first time going on a cruise, and Princess did a great job. They had quite a bit of entertainment on the ship every single night...including movies, shows, and fun games. The tv inside the stateroom also had tons of shows and movies on. If there wasn't any entertainment on the ship you were interested in, there was always something on tv. Plus, with a balcony stateroom, it's great to be able to stay in the room and choose when to go inside/outside; especially since it's freezing outside in Alaska! The main complaint I have is the food. The buffet was great for breakfast; the food was normal. They had french toast, waffles, eggs, hash browns, breads, cheeses, biscuits, fruit, etc. Lunch and dinner, however, were a different story. There was rarely anything that I would consider "normal." They always had salad, some sandwiches, and breads. Usually there were mashed potatoes and some type of meat. The other sides and such just seemed very fancy or oriental. It was very hard to get something plain, like a piece of grilled chicken or even just green beans. The food in the restaurant was very good, but it did take a while. Once again, nothing was plain...although I'm sure you could order it plain if you wanted. The restaurant is a good choice if you want a nice sit-down dinner and maybe want something to do for a while. We were usually in there about an hour and a half to two hours. Our waiters were always very attentive and made sure that our orders were correct and how we wanted. There were pizza and hamburger restaurants on the deck, which were very good. We usually did this or room service. Room service was also included in the anytime dining, and they had a couple more options than the other places. It was also very quick; the food usually arrived within 20 minutes. One other thing is that soda is not included in the price of the cruise. They have stickers to put on the room cards that allow you to get unlimited soda, but they cost about $4.50 a day. Our room steward was very nice. It seemed like he was watching the room! Practically every time we had left the room, we came back and it was clean or the sheets were turned down. Overall, this was a great cruise. Everything went according to plan in the ports as well. Once we got to Whittier, we took the train to Denali. The hotel here was very nice, but food was extremely expensive. I would highly recommend the Tundra Wilderness Tour that usually comes with the cruisetour...it's great for spotting wildlife. We also did a whitewater rafting tour. It was a lot of fun! We then took a bus to Fairbanks. This was where the first thing went wrong. We signed up for a North Pole tour the first night that was supposed to leave at 6:15. We were waiting outside the hotel at 6, but we saw no bus and were never called for the tour. Finally, about 6:30, I went inside to check on it. I was told by someone at the front desk that the bus had come and gone and they tried calling our room. I told them that we were told to be up front, and that when nobody answered the phone, I asked why they didn't call our name or the name of the tour outside. A lady at the Princess tour desk said that she and the tour director went outside looking for us. I told them we were on the opposite side of the walkway and she said "Well, we didn't look over there." Just flat-out admitted it...and there was no apology. The bus also didn't have a sign on it. I asked for a refund and was told it would be refunded in a couple weeks. I was mad, but at least they refunded it. The next day, when the tour bus came for the next group of people, I went up to the driver and told him that he needed to try harder when looking for his guests. He just kept saying he went around asking for us. How does that help to go around and ask people we don't know where we are? I don't know. But he wouldn't own up to not looking for us. Anyways, we went to Chena Hot Springs and had a great time. They have a cool ice museum and a nice restaurant (included in price). The riverboat tour was also very interesting. We then started our drive up to Prudhoe Bay. We stopped in Coldfoot and stayed in a work camp. There are no tv's, so I would suggest taking one of the tours they offer (in particular, Anaktuvuk Pass). The next day we went up to Prudhoe Bay. We stayed in a work camp here, also. It was a very relaxed night. Then, we went up to the Arctic Ocean. It was still frozen so everyone got to go walk on the ice. We also got a flight back to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines just for us! It was nice to be back somewhere that dinner didn't cost $20 per person. Here, we stayed in Hotel Captain Cook...extremely nice. Our final day, we were supposed to do the 26 glacier cruise. Our paper said to be downstairs at 10:30. Luckily, I checked with the front desk and it was 9:30. We were downstairs at 9:15. At 10, the bus still "hadn't come," so I checked with the front desk and we were supposedly left off the list from Princess. However, unlike Fairbanks, the people here were MUCH more helpful than those in Fairbanks. I put in for a refund and we were also picked up by another tour (Explore Anchorage?) for free! We drove around the city and went to Wildberry Products, where we received lunch. It was great to do this instead of sitting around all day. Aside from the two mistakes on the tours, everything was great! The main suggestion I have (if you do land tours) is to bring snacks! Because meals were so expensive, we sometimes just ate snacks for our meals. Snacks can get expensive too, so I would bring them from home. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010

Top Island Princess Itineraries

Island Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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