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Since I had not done a cruise in years, this ship was a real surprise. Very clean lines and spotless and elegant interiors. Near the glaciers they can spin the ship on its axis to allow all cabins to view the glacier from their balconies, which most cabins have. Very spacious cabins, particularly for the mini-suites. Layout is nice throughout with good access to almost everything. Having ongoing naturalist and ship particular channels on closed-circuit is wonderful when cruising near the shorelines. However, the downside was the dining. With the norwalk virus ever on the prowl, they were draconian in their hygiene, requiring everyone entering any dining facility to wash with an alcohol wash. I didn't mind this as I'm a bit of a hygiene fuss myself, but then they went the extra step of not allowing anyone to even get their own food in the buffet. This brought buffet service to a crawl and made getting something as simple as a cup of coffee a painful endeavor. The food itself was generally not bad, but not exactly four star either. I guess feeding a zillion people at a time and still getting food that is properly prepared and served is not easy, but other lines seem to do this a bit better. Simple suggestion here would be to move all beverage service away from the rest of the buffet and allow better access. No one is going to stick their hand in a 198 degree pot of coffee or tea and contaminate it. To add insult to injury I had to pay for soda ($22 for 7 days worth). Service, both in-cabin and dining, was spotty. Some staff were courteous, friendly, and helpful. Others were snooty and churlish day-in day-out. I think they have some training issues they need to deal with. Their standard you-pay-unless-you-demand-otherwise method of doing tips contributes to this as well. Most staff know they are going to get about the same whether they are nice or not. Since they have a passenger identification card for every passenger I don't understand why they couldn't just set up some kiosks around that allow passengers to insert their card, punch up the staff-person's name they wish to tip, and enter the amount. Bingo, on-demand tipping! Overall, not a bad cruise to take. Beware the ninja soda-card salesman though! He has a future in the insurance industry.

Island Princess - Alaska

Island Princess Cruise Review by George DeJenna

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2004
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Since I had not done a cruise in years, this ship was a real surprise. Very clean lines and spotless and elegant interiors. Near the glaciers they can spin the ship on its axis to allow all cabins to view the glacier from their balconies, which most cabins have. Very spacious cabins, particularly for the mini-suites. Layout is nice throughout with good access to almost everything. Having ongoing naturalist and ship particular channels on closed-circuit is wonderful when cruising near the shorelines.
However, the downside was the dining. With the norwalk virus ever on the prowl, they were draconian in their hygiene, requiring everyone entering any dining facility to wash with an alcohol wash. I didn't mind this as I'm a bit of a hygiene fuss myself, but then they went the extra step of not allowing anyone to even get their own food in the buffet. This brought buffet service to a crawl and made getting something as simple as a cup of coffee a painful endeavor. The food itself was generally not bad, but not exactly four star either. I guess feeding a zillion people at a time and still getting food that is properly prepared and served is not easy, but other lines seem to do this a bit better. Simple suggestion here would be to move all beverage service away from the rest of the buffet and allow better access. No one is going to stick their hand in a 198 degree pot of coffee or tea and contaminate it. To add insult to injury I had to pay for soda ($22 for 7 days worth).
Service, both in-cabin and dining, was spotty. Some staff were courteous, friendly, and helpful. Others were snooty and churlish day-in day-out. I think they have some training issues they need to deal with. Their standard you-pay-unless-you-demand-otherwise method of doing tips contributes to this as well. Most staff know they are going to get about the same whether they are nice or not. Since they have a passenger identification card for every passenger I don't understand why they couldn't just set up some kiosks around that allow passengers to insert their card, punch up the staff-person's name they wish to tip, and enter the amount. Bingo, on-demand tipping!
Overall, not a bad cruise to take. Beware the ninja soda-card salesman though! He has a future in the insurance industry.
George DeJenna’s Full Rating Summary
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