Star Princess Cruise Review by cdnjma
- Sail Date: August 2012
- Destination: Alaska
Husband has to say that Princess is definitely one of the better cruise lines he has sailed on. We had a smooth & organized embarkation, although a little lengthy wait to board with the initial conga-line of passengers. We immediately went to our room & our baggage was already there. Our cabin steward (Russel B) could not do enough for us & once he found out we wanted ice in the room, it was refreshed daily without asking. We loved the balcony & the views, even in the mist/rain. Our bathroom was spacious & had plenty of under-counter storage for toiletry bags, etc. Closet & shelf space for clothes was way more than we needed. The safe also had plenty of room. Bed was very comfortable & mini-suite was more spacious than we expected.
The weather was not that good, misty most of the time, with intermittent rain. Tracy Arm Fjord was breathtaking. Our helicopter excursion in Juneau to Mendenhall Glacier was cancelled due to weather, but we improvised with a Mt. Roberts Tramway ride & The Alaska String Band happened to be performing in their theatre. What an unexpected treat! Overall, we could not have had a better time on board.
The one serious improvement for Princess -- extend the Victoria BC stop-over to include daylight hours. It could be done easily by steaming faster south once departing AK. Our only complaint and the very short evening stop-over in Victoria (due to the Jones Act requiring a token foreign port stop before the end of cruise). For those who haven't seen Victoria, very disappointing. That is the only thing we would change & should have been extended, or have the ship arrive earlier than 6-7pm.
Comfortable sofa and chair in sitting area. We often ordered breakfast and watched The Wake Show as we ate and had coffee before our day started.
The balcony had two lounge chairs and a table. Chairs are comfortable. Plenty of room to walk around or look out over the railing. Only negative was someone on an upper deck had been smoking one morning and flicked at least 3 cigarettes over the rail, which landed on our balcony. One of them burned the table top. Ship's staff canvassed some of the upper decks, but of course, nobody owned up to smoking and throwing the butts over the side.
Although the mini-suite balconies are totally open to upper decks, it didn't bother us (as it did some reviewers). Most passengers were doing as we did, looking out and enjoying the views, even in the fog and drizzle.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Mount Roberts TramwayWe were supposed to take the Mendenhall Glacier helicopter tour, but due to weather, all excursions involving flights were cancelled. We ended up taking the shuttle into town and getting tickets at the Mount Roberts Tramway. The ride up/down is spectacular and we saw plenty of Bald Eagles.View All 169 Mount Roberts Tramway Reviews
Once up on Mt. Roberts, we saw a notice that The Alaska String Band was performing in their theater, for free. We went in, and were amazed. This family group of parents, two daughters and a son, all play multiple instruments, and have beautiful singing voices. They narrated part of the time on the history of Alaska, the native-style clothing they were wearing, and some of their personal stories. We were so impressed, that we made a point to buy one of their DVDs after the concert was finished. If you have a chance to see The Alaska String Band, or Google them, do so.
We took the nature walk part way up the mountain, and saw another Bald Eagle up close. This one was injured and is permanently in captivity. Beautiful creature up close. The views along the nature walk and scenic overlooks are spectacular.
Duck TourA "Willie Nelson" look-alike drove the duck boat. Very entertaining banter between he and the tour guide. We saw salmon spawning, got a nice, informative tour of the town (including the 1800's red-light district and history of it), and a tour of the harbor area. Worth the money and time. Enjoyable excursion.View All 98 Duck Tour Reviews
Lumberjack ShowLumberjack show was rather lame. Mostly boring. Good for little kids. Skip it and go on a different excursion.View All 196 Lumberjack Show Reviews
White Pass Scenic RailwayThis has been given a "3" rating due to the weather. The early excursion should have been cancelled, like the helicopter flights in Juneau the day prior. Most of the views as we traversed the rails were blocked by heavy fog. Occasional photos were not distorted by the low-lying fog. On the return leg, the sun started to burn through the fog about half-way back to Skagway. People who had signed up for the later excursions would have gotten a much better scenic ride.View All 801 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
After that, we walked into town for a short look-see, then wandered back to the ship.