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We had a five night Princess land Tour prior to our cruise which is highly recommended. Princess put us in the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage the night before our cruise and very nice it is. The restaurant (fine dining) appears to be a little pretentious and pricey but we didn't eat there so it may be absolutely fantastic! We chose to go to a local restaurant and what we didn't do but should've was pre-book somewhere. If you think about it there could be many fellow cruisers in town and Anchorage ain't that big. Do yourself a favor, look up some restaurant reviews, decide where you want to go and book it. I won't say where we ended up, it was okay but I think we could have done better. Anyway up and breakfasted in the hotel coffee shop, Princess had set up a desk so that they could issue documents for the train trip to Whittier. About 9am we left on coaches for the rail depot which you could walk to. All the seats were assigned and luckily we had right hand seats which offered the best views on the journey. Huge amount of room, if it had been a plane it would have been at least business class! The journey took about 2 hours and was very scenic. You follow the Ocean and we saw some whales on the way down. You go through 2 tunnels and it seems that just after the second tunnel you come out and there is the boat waiting in Whittier Bay - pretty spectacular! The train pulls up directly in front of the boat and within minutes of getting off you are starting the embarkation process! We had a Penthouse Suite (Ibiza C408) on Caribe deck and as such we had preferential embarkation but to be honest although it was quicker the "normal" lines were moving quickly enough. By 12.15 we were on board and by 12.20 we were in our suite. I have to say it was excellent, very nicely furnished/laid out and a good position. The Balcony was huge and we had a jacuzzi tub/bath and separate shower and then in an adjacent room a toilet and basin. Loads of good quality toiletries too. The good thing about arriving so early was that we had lunch and then time to explore the boat before everyone else got on board. Food was excellent in all outlets, the boat was in fine order and the entertainment/shows we saw were very good. We had pre-booked spa treatments so we confirmed them - some times had changed and we booked Sabbatini's speciality restaurant for the first normal night, it was well worth it. The spa was expensive but hey we were on holiday! The days at sea were great, wonderful scenery and plenty to do on board. We were very lucky as we were at Glacier Bay on the 1st September and each year on that date the ban on large ships is lifted and we sailed right down to the Glacier face which was superb. We didn't know about this limit so we really lucked out there. There were 3 ports of call. Skagway where we had booked directly with Chilkoot Charters the Yukon/Carcross excursion which also took you up to Emerald Lake. This tour only started last year but it will really catch on, book it! The day is about 8 hours and you get a "lunch" included with a fantastic train journey on the way up and a coach back. Best views are on the L/H side and as there are no allocated seats try and get one. You cross over into Canada so passports needed! Juneau - We went our again directly booked with Harv and Marv. There were 5 of us travelling on this trip and we had a boat to ourselves. Superb morning and we saw Humpbacks, another type (sorry) eagles and seals. One whale came really close and dived right by our boat. We stopped at Mendenhall Glacier for 30 minutes on the way back. Ketchikan - Booked direct we went on a Sea Plane to Traitors Cove with Michelle of Island Wings. So many recommendations and now we see why. You must book these people as soon as you can. We saw a black bear (quite young) fishing in the river, very close, we were on a bridge. Very funny as he was obviously still learning what to do! Great pictures. Well I could go on but suffice to say it was everything and more. If there was one thing that really ticked me off on the cruise it was that we didn't see our steward for days, I kept paging him with no luck and then we are told he's been replaced and we finally see someone. The stateroom was always clean but we both felt a bit annoyed at the time. The weather was very very kind, a little rain at sea and in Juneau but out with the whales it was fine. Finally the age-old problem about formal wear. My friend and I decided that we would just take a lounge suit, not Tuxedo's and Alaska is definitely less formal than anywhere else. I think we could have just worn a shirt and trousers. Certainly we wore jeans most evenings. Would I cruise again with Princess? - Yes, would I cruise on the Sapphire? - Yes. Would I recommend both? Yes and Alaska? You bet! Happy cruising.

Baked Alaska!

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by teejaybee

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2008
  • Destination: Alaska
We had a five night Princess land Tour prior to our cruise which is highly recommended. Princess put us in the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage the night before our cruise and very nice it is. The restaurant (fine dining) appears to be a little pretentious and pricey but we didn't eat there so it may be absolutely fantastic! We chose to go to a local restaurant and what we didn't do but should've was pre-book somewhere. If you think about it there could be many fellow cruisers in town and Anchorage ain't that big. Do yourself a favor, look up some restaurant reviews, decide where you want to go and book it. I won't say where we ended up, it was okay but I think we could have done better.
Anyway up and breakfasted in the hotel coffee shop, Princess had set up a desk so that they could issue documents for the train trip to Whittier. About 9am we left on coaches for the rail depot which you could walk to. All the seats were assigned and luckily we had right hand seats which offered the best views on the journey. Huge amount of room, if it had been a plane it would have been at least business class! The journey took about 2 hours and was very scenic. You follow the Ocean and we saw some whales on the way down. You go through 2 tunnels and it seems that just after the second tunnel you come out and there is the boat waiting in Whittier Bay - pretty spectacular! The train pulls up directly in front of the boat and within minutes of getting off you are starting the embarkation process! We had a Penthouse Suite (Ibiza C408) on Caribe deck and as such we had preferential embarkation but to be honest although it was quicker the "normal" lines were moving quickly enough. By 12.15 we were on board and by 12.20 we were in our suite. I have to say it was excellent, very nicely furnished/laid out and a good position. The Balcony was huge and we had a jacuzzi tub/bath and separate shower and then in an adjacent room a toilet and basin. Loads of good quality toiletries too. The good thing about arriving so early was that we had lunch and then time to explore the boat before everyone else got on board. Food was excellent in all outlets, the boat was in fine order and the entertainment/shows we saw were very good. We had pre-booked spa treatments so we confirmed them - some times had changed and we booked Sabbatini's speciality restaurant for the first normal night, it was well worth it. The spa was expensive but hey we were on holiday! The days at sea were great, wonderful scenery and plenty to do on board. We were very lucky as we were at Glacier Bay on the 1st September and each year on that date the ban on large ships is lifted and we sailed right down to the Glacier face which was superb. We didn't know about this limit so we really lucked out there. There were 3 ports of call. Skagway where we had booked directly with Chilkoot Charters the Yukon/Carcross excursion which also took you up to Emerald Lake. This tour only started last year but it will really catch on, book it! The day is about 8 hours and you get a "lunch" included with a fantastic train journey on the way up and a coach back. Best views are on the L/H side and as there are no allocated seats try and get one. You cross over into Canada so passports needed! Juneau - We went our again directly booked with Harv and Marv. There were 5 of us travelling on this trip and we had a boat to ourselves. Superb morning and we saw Humpbacks, another type (sorry) eagles and seals. One whale came really close and dived right by our boat. We stopped at Mendenhall Glacier for 30 minutes on the way back. Ketchikan - Booked direct we went on a Sea Plane to Traitors Cove with Michelle of Island Wings. So many recommendations and now we see why. You must book these people as soon as you can. We saw a black bear (quite young) fishing in the river, very close, we were on a bridge. Very funny as he was obviously still learning what to do! Great pictures. Well I could go on but suffice to say it was everything and more. If there was one thing that really ticked me off on the cruise it was that we didn't see our steward for days, I kept paging him with no luck and then we are told he's been replaced and we finally see someone. The stateroom was always clean but we both felt a bit annoyed at the time. The weather was very very kind, a little rain at sea and in Juneau but out with the whales it was fine. Finally the age-old problem about formal wear. My friend and I decided that we would just take a lounge suit, not Tuxedo's and Alaska is definitely less formal than anywhere else. I think we could have just worn a shirt and trousers. Certainly we wore jeans most evenings. Would I cruise again with Princess? - Yes, would I cruise on the Sapphire? - Yes. Would I recommend both? Yes and Alaska? You bet! Happy cruising.
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