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A trip of a lifetime. As we were traveling to Anchorage we flew over the Canadian Rockies. It was a beautiful clear day. The pilot pointed out the Rockies and Mount Logan. A breathtaking start to our vacation. In Anchorage the Princess transfers went smoothly and we quickly arrived at the Captain Cook Hotel. This is a lovely hotel with large comfortable rooms. We stayed here the 1st night and then, later the night between the landtour and the cruise. We ate in 2 restaurants in the hotel and one (the Corsair) across the street. The Pantry serves all 3 meals, but we only went there for breakfast- convenient and good- a full breakfast is about $12. The Corsair was very nice- after traveling all day from the midwest we were ready for dinner at 5pm our time, but the restaurants opened at 9pm our time! The staff of the Corsair all wore tuxes and most of the clients on a Monday night were casual. A well-presented chateaubriand dinner was about $100, but at that point we were so tired and so hungry that we found the service and food well worth it. The best food we had in Anchorage and the most memorable of the whole trip was found in the Whale Tail in the Captain Cook. Our waiter Adam brought us a long glass tray of Oysters Rockefeller. The best thing that I have eaten in a long, long time. We had one tray the 1st night and 2 when we returned the next week. The 2nd morning the Princess people took us to the train. The bus driver gave us an interesting commentary on the way, including darn good reasons for the "bridge to nowhere" (I get it, but I still don't want to pay for it). The train was great. I had cards and a book with me because people on the Alaska board had advised that it was a long (7-8 hours) and boring trip-no way! We stared out our window the entire time. The weather was clear and we even had perfect views of Mount McKinley. Some had also said that the restaurant on the train served a very good prime rib- we asked when we didn't see it on the menu and got blank stares- they claim that prime rib has never been available- so, at least not this year. Soups and sandwiches were good. This was a very pleasant trip. At the end of the ride we were given our room keys and bused to our buildings at the Princess Wilderness Resort at Denali. That evening we just nosed around . We had a great halibut dinner at the Salmon Bake restaurant across the street from building 10. This is not a buffet, but a menu restaurant- wavy floors and my husband advised me to skip the bathroom, but the food and service is good- I had good chowder as well. Our room at the resort was of average size. Two double beds, as there was not much room in the closet area we were glad to use the 2nd bed for our suitcases. New friends of ours went on the whitewater rafting tour on the Nenana River that evening. Jimmy and Linda had quite a time! For the next 2 weeks all I had to do is mention rafting to set Jimmy off! They had a thrilling time, but it was not stressed how COLD the water was. Even though they were wearing the special wetsuits, they got very cold and the icy water went down into their suits. They said that they were supposed to hold onto a metal bar, but their fingers got too cold to hold on. Later the tour providers had to help them out of the wetsuits . Linda said she had to have help tying her shoes. Definitely a memorable trip. The next day we went shopping across the street- end of the season bargains- and looked around the resort. We had breakfast at the dinner theater- it was a family style breakfast with a slide show about climbing the mountain. (The last morning we opted for a quick breakfast at the Canyon station because we were leaving from that location, and my husband said that he wished we had gone back to the 1st place- a much better value and a better breakfast). Our documents from the Previous November and repeated on update after update, had us on the early morning Tundra Wilderness Tour, but 10 days before we left they changed us to afternoon- tried, but no dice, stuck with afternoon. We left at 2pm. Our driver was Paul Christianson. He was very knowledgeable and interesting. We went over 60 miles and saw moose, caribou, 13 bears, a fox, and snowshoe hares. We got great pictures of all and had a grand time. When we stopped to take a picture of a hare chewing on one of those white warning signs, the driver opened the door and another bunny came up and started chewing on the rubber on the side of the bus door. That night we got back to the resort a few minutes before 10. We hopped across the street for a hamburger- I'd recommend splitting one- they are huge. (The boxed lunch on the TWT was something! When the 1st person tore open the package of reindeer sausage, the scent wafted throughout the bus and as one we said "What is that???" We were glad we took Subway subs!) The 3rd morning Princess Gene was our motorcoach driver to Fairbanks. He let us off in downtown Fairbanks for a 2 hour break- there are free computers in the visitor center so that you can e-mail your family. It is next to the bridge over the Chena River. We walked a couple blocks to an Italian restaurant and had a good lunch. After walking around town we went back to the Visitor Center- there is a huge statue of Alaskan people. Princess Gene took us to the Discovery Sternwheeler. If you go, (some in our crowd opted for other tours) get a window seat on the farside of the boat. When we went it was hard to see anything, the boat was full. At first we chose seats at the bow of the ship, it was so sunny that I was squinting too much, by then the seats that looked best-Portside outside, but with roof, were taken, so we got seats 2 and 3 next to the window. A Lot is shown from that side- the late Susan Butcher's home (her husband talks and runs some dogs for you), seaplanes (visible from all sides), and the native village- one of the girls cuts up fish. Even people with great views feel the need to stand and block the windows, so the boat ride itself was frustrating at times. There are TVs showing what is going on , but by then most people are standing and milling around trying to see, so make your move and get the seat you want and try to be kind to those around you. The Chena River Native Village was very interesting- Sisters Ida and Gracie were our guides and they were in a playful mood. Rita showed the beautiful chief coats that she and her mother make out of multiple furs. We also talked to a woman who has been in the Iditarod- she had some dogs with her, including puppies. After the tour we were taken to the Princess Riverside Resort- another lovely resort- here we were upgraded to a 2 bathroom suite. This resort is much fancier than the Denali one. The nicest place that we stayed out in Alaska. That night we took the free Pioneer Park shuttle bus to the Salmon Bake- this was neat! We walked through a mining tunnel and then came out into a grove. Very picturesque. It cost $31 each for dinner- there is a show as well, but we would have to hurry our meal to see it, so we passed. The side dishes are not much, but the prime rib, salmon and halibut were fantastic. We sat at a big picnic table outside, there are indoor tables if it is raining or too cold for you. It had been 80 degrees at noon, but it got cool in the evening. The next morning we had breakfast at the resort buffet and it was fine. We waited by the fire in the main lobby for Princess Grag to collect us. From now on we would spend more time with the other 34 people on our tour. We left the hotel at 7:30 AM. Greg drove us the 259 miles to Coldfoot. Along the way we made many photo stops and we also stopped at Joy, Alaska for an outhouse break and to shop- got a diet coke here and a little wooden bear. That outhouse sure has an interesting updraft! We stopped to walk along the pipeline and at the Arctic Circle and at Finger Mountain. Great photos including a caribou using the pipeline for shade. For lunch we went to the Hot Spot run by a former Playboy Bunny, Theresa, I think- still pretty hot! Greg radioed her when we were close and then again when we were 5 minutes away so that lunch would be ready- there was a choice of several types of hamburgers (with cheese, teriyaki, etc), a chicken sandwich, and something vegetarian. You got your own drink, chips, and cookies. After everyone had a chance to order and was served, Julie came around and asked if you wanted a milkshake- we were warned ahead of time not to inquire about milkshakes until she told you that you could. We told both ladies that we were told not to "poke the bear" and to be good or else! Lunch was very good- Theresa pre-cooks the burgers and then simmers them in beef broth , at the last radio message she flips them onto the grill to finish them off. After lunch and a trip around her buildings-we ate under a tarp between 2 shacks- we went to the "gift shop" and told her what we had- strictly on the honor system- lunch, 2 cheeseburgers, 1 bag of chips, coffee, 1 diet coke, and a milkshake-$32.50 plus tip. No complaints- I'm not sure how far her reach is. A very good lunch. We arrived in Coldfoot at 6pm. This is a very rustic place- basic, but clean. Greg asked some of us to take bedtime showers so that there would be enough hot water for morning showers. There was a dinner buffet- the general menu was only available after 9pm because of the number of us, so we had a Coldfoot Pilsner and then went to the ranger talk down the road- an interesting slide show about eagles. After that we had some good fried shrimp at the restaurant. We slept well and started the next day with Greg pounding on our doors to wake us up at 6:30am. There are no phones or TVs at Coldfoot. The walls are paper-thin, so keep the hanky-panky to a minimum here. Another buffet breakfast and then onto the bus. Great vistas today- we went through the Brooks Range and the Antigun Pass. We saw 3 wild herds of muskox, lots of caribou, and moose. Today we had a "box" lunch- there is nowhere to eat between Coldfoot and Deadhorse, so Greg pulled the bus to the side of the road and handed out ziplock bags for our lunches. The day before we picked our drink and sandwich- ham, roast beef, turkey, cheese, or peanut butter (no jelly), and a flavor of pop. We also got various small bags of chips and cookies- if you didn't like what you got, you could trade. Greg suggested that we hunker down by the side of the road- Charlie and I sat in the dirt and ate- everyone else had better sense and ate on the bus. My hands were freezing and I may have said "Charlie, you are killing me!!" After we ate our sandwiches we went back to the bus to eat our cookies. Greg found outhouses for us from time to time and there was bathroom on the bus- we never had to use it, so Greg must have had good timing, at least for the 2 of us. This day was my favorite of the whole vacation- the Brooks Range was magnificent and that was followed by the Northern Slope and the amazing Tundra. We got to Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay) about 7pm. We washed up in our rooms and then got into the buffet line along with the oil camp workers. They were very nice. The buffet was good- spaghetti, lasagna, and cod almondine that night. A salad bar with fruit as well. 5 or 6 choices for dessert (I had german chocolate cake), ice cream, and coffee, juices and pop. There is no booze in Deadhorse- workers are not allowed to have any and you can be arrested if you give or sell any to a worker- safety reasons- there are a lot of wild animals outside, the work is dangerous, and of course the winters are rough. We ate at long tables in the lunchroom. There is a large TV in there- workers have the remote, so don't even think about it! The rooms are a little nicer than Coldfoot, but maybe a little smaller. Still no phones, but a 13 inch TV- turned it on for a few minutes, but too bushed. There was a small digital clock with alarm- Greg can't bang on doors here- the workers are 12 hours on and 12 hours off, 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. That evening a young Yupik Girl,Sarah, (20 years old) spoke about life in her remote village and life working in the Arctic Caribou Inn kitchen. She was so sweet and giggly. There was also an older guy- Henry, about 35, I'm not sure what he does at the camp- he talked about drug abuse and suicide. He is from a remote village as well-you can get there by boat, airplane, or snow machine or ATV. We slept well again- it felt like sleeping in a snug box. No problems with the room- the arm chair was just in the way- no where to lay open the suitcase- 2 twin beds, 2 dressers, armchair, 1 nightstand, bathroom up one step-indoor-outdoor carpet everywhere- I laid down towels to walk on after showering and then straight to shoes! Up at 6:30am-luggage out by 7am. We had another breakfast buffet- not bad. Both in Coldfoot and here they have flavored creamers- a bit of luxury in the wild. After breakfast we went to the general store- a Napa parts store on the bottom and a general store upstairs- snacks, movies, clothes, fur hats ($500 for a fancy one), and sundry items. This is where the only cat in Deadhorse lives- John Denver. You can even buy a t-shirt with his picture on it. Cars in Deadhorse have no license plates (leased land- no where to go) and they always have the keys in the ignition-and are unlocked. This is in case you are being chased by a bear, moose, muskox, or caribou, you will be able to jump in the nearest car. There was a sign at the Inn- "don't go out alone". It was up mainly because the polar bears had been hanging around. Two in our group went out together and were charged by a caribou! It was pretty scary looking- the caribou had been scraping off the velvet on his antlers, so he was bloody and the velvet was hanging from the antlers like spanish moss. Later we drove around and spotted it. When we got back from the general store Grant the oil camp security guard talked to us and took us to his bus. He said that we couldn't go swimming in the Arctic Ocean that day because of the bear activity. We could not even take off our shoes to wade! I don't think he wanted to do the paperwork if one of us got killed. I had planned to swim- I had my swimsuit in my tote. Grant drove us through the security gate and then by the pump stations- very interesting. It was in the low 30s that day. We got to see and touch the Arctic Ocean. We collected thunder stones along the edge of the ocean- gray and black rocks with a circle of white around them. They told us that eskimo people consider them good luck. I found about a dozen. Back to the Inn- we identified our luggage for the Alaskan Airline official and then went to lunch- reindeer stew, chicken, beef casserole, all the extra stuff and great apple cobbler. Do you know the difference between reindeer and caribou? Reindeer are owned by someone and caribou are wild. After lunch Greg took us on another ride around Deadhorse- we saw more manufactured-home type buildings- offices and housing- they say the elite have fancier digs with gyms and theaters, but all in the same type buildings. Greg pointed out buildings with "refrigerated" foundations. We saw a "christmas tree", the piece on top of a drilled well where the pipes are attached. We also saw some caribou and trumpet swans. Princess Greg was a great driver and guide- he wrote the thesis for his masters degree about the Dalton Highway -a long and bouncy gravel road. He was knowledgeable and kind and funny. Greg put us on the plane on Monday afternoon and would hang out at the Arctic Caribou Inn until Thursday morning when he would return to the airport and pick up a new crowd. He was good to us- stopping any time we wanted- to take a better look at an animal or a mountain and he even turned the bus around to look for some wolves a passenger saw. That night we were back at the Captain Cook and feasting on oysters rockefeller. The next morning we had breakfast in the Pantry and got on buses heading to the Native Heritage Center and the on to Whittier. We scared our driver (Grandma Jo) with the song that Greg had taught us -"Off we go, like a herd of Turtles! Where we go nobody knows!" Our little group would do this from time to time- we lived to startle! Grandma Jo was a disappoint after all the great drivers that we had had, including the ones that just drove us to and from airports and trains. We learned a lot about her ex-husband, children, grand-children, and their significant others, but not much about the things we were going past. We arrived at the Heritage Center about 10 minutes too late to both go on the escorted tour and see the dance show, so we walked through the village on our own and then went to the dance- I am glad that we saw the dance- I can now do the "seal". This is a very interesting place and I would have preferred more time there. Next we got back on the bus and went to the tunnel-pretty cool. Embarkation was smooth and quick. We went straight to Emerald 712. Our travel with me luggage was there, so we settled in and I did laundry. We met Supatra, our stewardess. A nice girl from India. She did a fine job all week. We called for ice and had a cocktail on our balcony- I still had a little whiskey left over from the landtour. Charlie and I had spotted a liquor store across the street from the Captain Cook, so we had our own source throughout the 1st week. Our laundry was done by dinner time, but the meet suitcase wasn't there, so dinner in jeans. We shared table 128 in the Provence dining room, early traditional, with Teddie and Claude. They were celebrating their 57th anniversary and happened to be in cabin E714!!!! That NEVER happens unless you are traveling together! At our table were a family from Toronto, Ontario, Canada-Mom, Dad, Daughter and son-in-law. All nice people. Dinners were unremarkable. Food okay, service okay. Except on one night when it was awful- sat with dirty plates for so long that we finally left and got our dessert and coffee upstairs. Our balcony cabin was fine, 4 chairs and a table on the balcony, but the shower is just ridiculous- it is so small that the whole bathroom was flooded every night- you wouldn't think that I would have to long for the showers at Coldfoot or Deadhorse! The 1st morning we cruised into the College Fjords- a little fog as we started, but it cleared within 30 minutes. A wonderful day. We spent time on the balcony and then we went through the "secret" door on Baja deck- what a view-we spent 2 days there! Glacier Bay was spectacular as well. We never had any rain from the time we left home on August 18th until we got back on September 1st. Entertainment on board: bands not very good; hated the hypnotist; Garry Carson, the comedian/illusionst-quite good; Scot Wyler, comedian, good; Adrian Zmed, song and dance man- surprisingly good; cruise director-annoying. Not much late-night entertainment- pretty quiet after 11pm. The singer/dancers were not very good and the night the orchestra had a Big Band show people started leaving after the 2nd song- we left after the 3rd. We were led to believe that Princess was a class act, but the food, service in the dining rooms, and the entertainment were below par. We have been on the Norway, Costa , Carnival , and Royal Caribbean. My husband says no more Princess. The landtour portion was fabulous, with accommodations as expected, but the Coral Princess was less than we expected. Tours during Cruise: In Skagway we privately booked the White Pass Railway- train up and bus back- ours was a morning tour and I would recommend a later time- it was our only lasting foggy time- the bus ride back was better- the fog had lifted- BJ was a great driver and stopped for lots of photos. We had a choice of getting dropped off in town or back at the ship- we thought that we would do some shopping, but with 4 ships in town it was too busy for me. We walked back to the ship. Boy! What a long way. We stopped at the Skagway Fish Company and had a great halibut lunch. In Juneau we went on the Princess "Best of Juneau"- Mendenhall glacier followed by whale watching and then a salmon bake. Their salmon bake was not as good as the one in Fairbanks. We had a good time. The tour started at 8:20am and we were back at the ship at about 3pm- last boarding at 3:30pm, so no time to go to the Red Dog or to shop- I would trade the salmon bake for some time downtown. At Ketchikan we went on the Princess Totem Traditions tour- good driver/guide. Had lunch at the Ketchikan Fish Company- We DO NOT recommend this place- hard, dry fish. Checked out Creek Street- shopped there and at stores by the dock- late season- some good bargains. All in all we had a great trip- the best part was the land portion- saw beautiful sights every day for 15 days. Princess kept track of our stuff and delivered it to our rooms from Anchorage to Deadhorse to the ship. Some things on our ship bothered us- we have never had a Captain's party where the Captain doesn't come (he only goes to the late-sitting party on the Coral). I highly recommend Alaska- beautiful beyond words- the landtour-we never felt "herded"- we always felt cared for and special, especially after we headed north out of Fairbanks. We don't plan to ever set foot on a Princess ship again.

15 day Princess Arctic Cruisetour

Coral Princess Cruise Review by LaurieCM

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2008
  • Destination: Alaska
A trip of a lifetime. As we were traveling to Anchorage we flew over the Canadian Rockies. It was a beautiful clear day. The pilot pointed out the Rockies and Mount Logan. A breathtaking start to our vacation. In Anchorage the Princess transfers went smoothly and we quickly arrived at the Captain Cook Hotel. This is a lovely hotel with large comfortable rooms. We stayed here the 1st night and then, later the night between the landtour and the cruise. We ate in 2 restaurants in the hotel and one (the Corsair) across the street. The Pantry serves all 3 meals, but we only went there for breakfast- convenient and good- a full breakfast is about $12. The Corsair was very nice- after traveling all day from the midwest we were ready for dinner at 5pm our time, but the restaurants opened at 9pm our time! The staff of the Corsair all wore tuxes and most of the clients on a Monday night were casual. A well-presented chateaubriand dinner was about $100, but at that point we were so tired and so hungry that we found the service and food well worth it. The best food we had in Anchorage and the most memorable of the whole trip was found in the Whale Tail in the Captain Cook. Our waiter Adam brought us a long glass tray of Oysters Rockefeller. The best thing that I have eaten in a long, long time. We had one tray the 1st night and 2 when we returned the next week. The 2nd morning the Princess people took us to the train. The bus driver gave us an interesting commentary on the way, including darn good reasons for the "bridge to nowhere" (I get it, but I still don't want to pay for it). The train was great. I had cards and a book with me because people on the Alaska board had advised that it was a long (7-8 hours) and boring trip-no way! We stared out our window the entire time. The weather was clear and we even had perfect views of Mount McKinley. Some had also said that the restaurant on the train served a very good prime rib- we asked when we didn't see it on the menu and got blank stares- they claim that prime rib has never been available- so, at least not this year. Soups and sandwiches were good. This was a very pleasant trip. At the end of the ride we were given our room keys and bused to our buildings at the Princess Wilderness Resort at Denali. That evening we just nosed around . We had a great halibut dinner at the Salmon Bake restaurant across the street from building 10. This is not a buffet, but a menu restaurant- wavy floors and my husband advised me to skip the bathroom, but the food and service is good- I had good chowder as well. Our room at the resort was of average size. Two double beds, as there was not much room in the closet area we were glad to use the 2nd bed for our suitcases. New friends of ours went on the whitewater rafting tour on the Nenana River that evening. Jimmy and Linda had quite a time! For the next 2 weeks all I had to do is mention rafting to set Jimmy off! They had a thrilling time, but it was not stressed how COLD the water was. Even though they were wearing the special wetsuits, they got very cold and the icy water went down into their suits. They said that they were supposed to hold onto a metal bar, but their fingers got too cold to hold on. Later the tour providers had to help them out of the wetsuits . Linda said she had to have help tying her shoes. Definitely a memorable trip. The next day we went shopping across the street- end of the season bargains- and looked around the resort. We had breakfast at the dinner theater- it was a family style breakfast with a slide show about climbing the mountain. (The last morning we opted for a quick breakfast at the Canyon station because we were leaving from that location, and my husband said that he wished we had gone back to the 1st place- a much better value and a better breakfast). Our documents from the Previous November and repeated on update after update, had us on the early morning Tundra Wilderness Tour, but 10 days before we left they changed us to afternoon- tried, but no dice, stuck with afternoon. We left at 2pm. Our driver was Paul Christianson. He was very knowledgeable and interesting. We went over 60 miles and saw moose, caribou, 13 bears, a fox, and snowshoe hares. We got great pictures of all and had a grand time. When we stopped to take a picture of a hare chewing on one of those white warning signs, the driver opened the door and another bunny came up and started chewing on the rubber on the side of the bus door. That night we got back to the resort a few minutes before 10. We hopped across the street for a hamburger- I'd recommend splitting one- they are huge. (The boxed lunch on the TWT was something! When the 1st person tore open the package of reindeer sausage, the scent wafted throughout the bus and as one we said "What is that???" We were glad we took Subway subs!) The 3rd morning Princess Gene was our motorcoach driver to Fairbanks. He let us off in downtown Fairbanks for a 2 hour break- there are free computers in the visitor center so that you can e-mail your family. It is next to the bridge over the Chena River. We walked a couple blocks to an Italian restaurant and had a good lunch. After walking around town we went back to the Visitor Center- there is a huge statue of Alaskan people. Princess Gene took us to the Discovery Sternwheeler. If you go, (some in our crowd opted for other tours) get a window seat on the farside of the boat. When we went it was hard to see anything, the boat was full. At first we chose seats at the bow of the ship, it was so sunny that I was squinting too much, by then the seats that looked best-Portside outside, but with roof, were taken, so we got seats 2 and 3 next to the window. A Lot is shown from that side- the late Susan Butcher's home (her husband talks and runs some dogs for you), seaplanes (visible from all sides), and the native village- one of the girls cuts up fish. Even people with great views feel the need to stand and block the windows, so the boat ride itself was frustrating at times. There are TVs showing what is going on , but by then most people are standing and milling around trying to see, so make your move and get the seat you want and try to be kind to those around you. The Chena River Native Village was very interesting- Sisters Ida and Gracie were our guides and they were in a playful mood. Rita showed the beautiful chief coats that she and her mother make out of multiple furs. We also talked to a woman who has been in the Iditarod- she had some dogs with her, including puppies. After the tour we were taken to the Princess Riverside Resort- another lovely resort- here we were upgraded to a 2 bathroom suite. This resort is much fancier than the Denali one. The nicest place that we stayed out in Alaska. That night we took the free Pioneer Park shuttle bus to the Salmon Bake- this was neat! We walked through a mining tunnel and then came out into a grove. Very picturesque. It cost $31 each for dinner- there is a show as well, but we would have to hurry our meal to see it, so we passed. The side dishes are not much, but the prime rib, salmon and halibut were fantastic. We sat at a big picnic table outside, there are indoor tables if it is raining or too cold for you. It had been 80 degrees at noon, but it got cool in the evening. The next morning we had breakfast at the resort buffet and it was fine. We waited by the fire in the main lobby for Princess Grag to collect us. From now on we would spend more time with the other 34 people on our tour. We left the hotel at 7:30 AM. Greg drove us the 259 miles to Coldfoot. Along the way we made many photo stops and we also stopped at Joy, Alaska for an outhouse break and to shop- got a diet coke here and a little wooden bear. That outhouse sure has an interesting updraft! We stopped to walk along the pipeline and at the Arctic Circle and at Finger Mountain. Great photos including a caribou using the pipeline for shade. For lunch we went to the Hot Spot run by a former Playboy Bunny, Theresa, I think- still pretty hot! Greg radioed her when we were close and then again when we were 5 minutes away so that lunch would be ready- there was a choice of several types of hamburgers (with cheese, teriyaki, etc), a chicken sandwich, and something vegetarian. You got your own drink, chips, and cookies. After everyone had a chance to order and was served, Julie came around and asked if you wanted a milkshake- we were warned ahead of time not to inquire about milkshakes until she told you that you could. We told both ladies that we were told not to "poke the bear" and to be good or else! Lunch was very good- Theresa pre-cooks the burgers and then simmers them in beef broth , at the last radio message she flips them onto the grill to finish them off. After lunch and a trip around her buildings-we ate under a tarp between 2 shacks- we went to the "gift shop" and told her what we had- strictly on the honor system- lunch, 2 cheeseburgers, 1 bag of chips, coffee, 1 diet coke, and a milkshake-$32.50 plus tip. No complaints- I'm not sure how far her reach is. A very good lunch. We arrived in Coldfoot at 6pm. This is a very rustic place- basic, but clean. Greg asked some of us to take bedtime showers so that there would be enough hot water for morning showers. There was a dinner buffet- the general menu was only available after 9pm because of the number of us, so we had a Coldfoot Pilsner and then went to the ranger talk down the road- an interesting slide show about eagles. After that we had some good fried shrimp at the restaurant. We slept well and started the next day with Greg pounding on our doors to wake us up at 6:30am. There are no phones or TVs at Coldfoot. The walls are paper-thin, so keep the hanky-panky to a minimum here. Another buffet breakfast and then onto the bus. Great vistas today- we went through the Brooks Range and the Antigun Pass. We saw 3 wild herds of muskox, lots of caribou, and moose. Today we had a "box" lunch- there is nowhere to eat between Coldfoot and Deadhorse, so Greg pulled the bus to the side of the road and handed out ziplock bags for our lunches. The day before we picked our drink and sandwich- ham, roast beef, turkey, cheese, or peanut butter (no jelly), and a flavor of pop. We also got various small bags of chips and cookies- if you didn't like what you got, you could trade. Greg suggested that we hunker down by the side of the road- Charlie and I sat in the dirt and ate- everyone else had better sense and ate on the bus. My hands were freezing and I may have said "Charlie, you are killing me!!" After we ate our sandwiches we went back to the bus to eat our cookies. Greg found outhouses for us from time to time and there was bathroom on the bus- we never had to use it, so Greg must have had good timing, at least for the 2 of us. This day was my favorite of the whole vacation- the Brooks Range was magnificent and that was followed by the Northern Slope and the amazing Tundra. We got to Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay) about 7pm. We washed up in our rooms and then got into the buffet line along with the oil camp workers. They were very nice. The buffet was good- spaghetti, lasagna, and cod almondine that night. A salad bar with fruit as well. 5 or 6 choices for dessert (I had german chocolate cake), ice cream, and coffee, juices and pop. There is no booze in Deadhorse- workers are not allowed to have any and you can be arrested if you give or sell any to a worker- safety reasons- there are a lot of wild animals outside, the work is dangerous, and of course the winters are rough. We ate at long tables in the lunchroom. There is a large TV in there- workers have the remote, so don't even think about it! The rooms are a little nicer than Coldfoot, but maybe a little smaller. Still no phones, but a 13 inch TV- turned it on for a few minutes, but too bushed. There was a small digital clock with alarm- Greg can't bang on doors here- the workers are 12 hours on and 12 hours off, 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. That evening a young Yupik Girl,Sarah, (20 years old) spoke about life in her remote village and life working in the Arctic Caribou Inn kitchen. She was so sweet and giggly. There was also an older guy- Henry, about 35, I'm not sure what he does at the camp- he talked about drug abuse and suicide. He is from a remote village as well-you can get there by boat, airplane, or snow machine or ATV. We slept well again- it felt like sleeping in a snug box. No problems with the room- the arm chair was just in the way- no where to lay open the suitcase- 2 twin beds, 2 dressers, armchair, 1 nightstand, bathroom up one step-indoor-outdoor carpet everywhere- I laid down towels to walk on after showering and then straight to shoes! Up at 6:30am-luggage out by 7am. We had another breakfast buffet- not bad. Both in Coldfoot and here they have flavored creamers- a bit of luxury in the wild. After breakfast we went to the general store- a Napa parts store on the bottom and a general store upstairs- snacks, movies, clothes, fur hats ($500 for a fancy one), and sundry items. This is where the only cat in Deadhorse lives- John Denver. You can even buy a t-shirt with his picture on it. Cars in Deadhorse have no license plates (leased land- no where to go) and they always have the keys in the ignition-and are unlocked. This is in case you are being chased by a bear, moose, muskox, or caribou, you will be able to jump in the nearest car. There was a sign at the Inn- "don't go out alone". It was up mainly because the polar bears had been hanging around. Two in our group went out together and were charged by a caribou! It was pretty scary looking- the caribou had been scraping off the velvet on his antlers, so he was bloody and the velvet was hanging from the antlers like spanish moss. Later we drove around and spotted it. When we got back from the general store Grant the oil camp security guard talked to us and took us to his bus. He said that we couldn't go swimming in the Arctic Ocean that day because of the bear activity. We could not even take off our shoes to wade! I don't think he wanted to do the paperwork if one of us got killed. I had planned to swim- I had my swimsuit in my tote. Grant drove us through the security gate and then by the pump stations- very interesting. It was in the low 30s that day. We got to see and touch the Arctic Ocean. We collected thunder stones along the edge of the ocean- gray and black rocks with a circle of white around them. They told us that eskimo people consider them good luck. I found about a dozen. Back to the Inn- we identified our luggage for the Alaskan Airline official and then went to lunch- reindeer stew, chicken, beef casserole, all the extra stuff and great apple cobbler. Do you know the difference between reindeer and caribou? Reindeer are owned by someone and caribou are wild. After lunch Greg took us on another ride around Deadhorse- we saw more manufactured-home type buildings- offices and housing- they say the elite have fancier digs with gyms and theaters, but all in the same type buildings. Greg pointed out buildings with "refrigerated" foundations. We saw a "christmas tree", the piece on top of a drilled well where the pipes are attached. We also saw some caribou and trumpet swans. Princess Greg was a great driver and guide- he wrote the thesis for his masters degree about the Dalton Highway -a long and bouncy gravel road. He was knowledgeable and kind and funny. Greg put us on the plane on Monday afternoon and would hang out at the Arctic Caribou Inn until Thursday morning when he would return to the airport and pick up a new crowd. He was good to us- stopping any time we wanted- to take a better look at an animal or a mountain and he even turned the bus around to look for some wolves a passenger saw. That night we were back at the Captain Cook and feasting on oysters rockefeller. The next morning we had breakfast in the Pantry and got on buses heading to the Native Heritage Center and the on to Whittier. We scared our driver (Grandma Jo) with the song that Greg had taught us -"Off we go, like a herd of Turtles! Where we go nobody knows!" Our little group would do this from time to time- we lived to startle! Grandma Jo was a disappoint after all the great drivers that we had had, including the ones that just drove us to and from airports and trains. We learned a lot about her ex-husband, children, grand-children, and their significant others, but not much about the things we were going past. We arrived at the Heritage Center about 10 minutes too late to both go on the escorted tour and see the dance show, so we walked through the village on our own and then went to the dance- I am glad that we saw the dance- I can now do the "seal". This is a very interesting place and I would have preferred more time there. Next we got back on the bus and went to the tunnel-pretty cool. Embarkation was smooth and quick. We went straight to Emerald 712. Our travel with me luggage was there, so we settled in and I did laundry. We met Supatra, our stewardess. A nice girl from India. She did a fine job all week. We called for ice and had a cocktail on our balcony- I still had a little whiskey left over from the landtour. Charlie and I had spotted a liquor store across the street from the Captain Cook, so we had our own source throughout the 1st week. Our laundry was done by dinner time, but the meet suitcase wasn't there, so dinner in jeans. We shared table 128 in the Provence dining room, early traditional, with Teddie and Claude. They were celebrating their 57th anniversary and happened to be in cabin E714!!!! That NEVER happens unless you are traveling together! At our table were a family from Toronto, Ontario, Canada-Mom, Dad, Daughter and son-in-law. All nice people. Dinners were unremarkable. Food okay, service okay. Except on one night when it was awful- sat with dirty plates for so long that we finally left and got our dessert and coffee upstairs. Our balcony cabin was fine, 4 chairs and a table on the balcony, but the shower is just ridiculous- it is so small that the whole bathroom was flooded every night- you wouldn't think that I would have to long for the showers at Coldfoot or Deadhorse! The 1st morning we cruised into the College Fjords- a little fog as we started, but it cleared within 30 minutes. A wonderful day. We spent time on the balcony and then we went through the "secret" door on Baja deck- what a view-we spent 2 days there! Glacier Bay was spectacular as well. We never had any rain from the time we left home on August 18th until we got back on September 1st. Entertainment on board: bands not very good; hated the hypnotist; Garry Carson, the comedian/illusionst-quite good; Scot Wyler, comedian, good; Adrian Zmed, song and dance man- surprisingly good; cruise director-annoying. Not much late-night entertainment- pretty quiet after 11pm. The singer/dancers were not very good and the night the orchestra had a Big Band show people started leaving after the 2nd song- we left after the 3rd. We were led to believe that Princess was a class act, but the food, service in the dining rooms, and the entertainment were below par. We have been on the Norway, Costa , Carnival , and Royal Caribbean. My husband says no more Princess. The landtour portion was fabulous, with accommodations as expected, but the Coral Princess was less than we expected. Tours during Cruise: In Skagway we privately booked the White Pass Railway- train up and bus back- ours was a morning tour and I would recommend a later time- it was our only lasting foggy time- the bus ride back was better- the fog had lifted- BJ was a great driver and stopped for lots of photos. We had a choice of getting dropped off in town or back at the ship- we thought that we would do some shopping, but with 4 ships in town it was too busy for me. We walked back to the ship. Boy! What a long way. We stopped at the Skagway Fish Company and had a great halibut lunch. In Juneau we went on the Princess "Best of Juneau"- Mendenhall glacier followed by whale watching and then a salmon bake. Their salmon bake was not as good as the one in Fairbanks. We had a good time. The tour started at 8:20am and we were back at the ship at about 3pm- last boarding at 3:30pm, so no time to go to the Red Dog or to shop- I would trade the salmon bake for some time downtown. At Ketchikan we went on the Princess Totem Traditions tour- good driver/guide. Had lunch at the Ketchikan Fish Company- We DO NOT recommend this place- hard, dry fish. Checked out Creek Street- shopped there and at stores by the dock- late season- some good bargains. All in all we had a great trip- the best part was the land portion- saw beautiful sights every day for 15 days. Princess kept track of our stuff and delivered it to our rooms from Anchorage to Deadhorse to the ship. Some things on our ship bothered us- we have never had a Captain's party where the Captain doesn't come (he only goes to the late-sitting party on the Coral). I highly recommend Alaska- beautiful beyond words- the landtour-we never felt "herded"- we always felt cared for and special, especially after we headed north out of Fairbanks. We don't plan to ever set foot on a Princess ship again.
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Cabin Review

Cabin E712
horrible, tiny shower
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