1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Diamond Princess
My husband and I just finished a Princess Cruise tour to Alaska, we did J- Copper River. We started the cruise tour on 5/24/09 and our sail date was 5/30/09.We flew into Fairbanks and landed about 8pm their time.   At the airport, we see the Princess Desk, so I go to check in while my husband goes to find the luggage. My experience started here.  The person working the desk handed me my packet and when I asked what we were to do next he answered somewhat irritated that we were to put the tags on the bags and then leave them behind him.  So, I went back to my husband to find our bags and figured we would figure it out.  We got our bags and put them were they were supposed to go, and listened to other people asking what next.  Many people did not know what hotel they there staying in - I had read the Princess info saying to contact your travel agent to find out.  It turns out that there were buses outside that we could not see from inside.  Day one-  we went on the tours that were booked for us by Princess- the riverboat and the gold mine. - if I had to make suggestions I would skip the riverboat, although they did have one of the best gift shops I had been in.  I would suggest the museum at the university.  Another couple said it was really interesting; we did not make it there.We were sitting on the bus waiting to go back to the hotel and I could hear what sounded like our names and them asking the bus driver to tell us to check with the Princess Desk.  The driver did not check to see if we were on his bus.So when we got back to the hotel, I decided to check with the tour desk, and sure enough it was us she was trying to reach.  Our pre-booked excursion was canceled and we could rebook another if we wanted.  We did rebook and we rebooked a tour that was not even originally open to us to book.  (when we were at home) Also this tour was more expensive. (bait and switch if you ask me)  Then we were informed that bc we pre-booked this excursion from home we would have to wait until we got back from Alaska and then start the process of getting a refund!!! Now mind you when we call to book this excursion they charged us right away.  OH! by the way the tour in question was an Artic Circle Fight, it was definitely worth the money (not twice) for the tour. -very interesting. We flew to Coldfoot and then took a tour in Wiseman, a town of 13, and learned about life there.Denali was great, but the hotel itself was disorganized and expensive.  We did the 8 hour wilderness tour thru the park and we did a white water rafting tour.  I thought both were work it. We also did a Heli hike with a company called ERA- we booked thru princess but I would try to contact them on your own - some of my best pictures are from that hike.We then took an 8 hour ride to the Copper River Princess Lodge.  We had booked another excursion with Princess for that night (a tour they had listed available for us to take) but there was no way we were going to make it - Wrangell- St Elias wilderness tour, it started at 5 pm.  While still in Denali we asked about it, they said if we missed it it would be taken care of at Copper River.  We got to Copper River at 5:45 pm , we went to the tour desk and they handed us a copy of a pre-book land excursion refund!!! They said it would take 2 weeks but they had started the paperwork.The next day we went on a Prince William Sound boat ride excursion.  This was beautiful and I would go again.  I think you would have to book with Princess though bc you are 2 hours away from the sound. the next day we boarded the Diamond Princess.  Boarding went smoothly and quickly.  Our overall ship experience  was ok.  I could not wait to get to Vancouver to get a good cup of coffee and some real food.  We have been on Princess before and their food is nothing special, but I did not expect anything different.  We had anytime dining and unless we went at 5 pm to eat, we waited on average 1/2 hour to eat. We finally did make reservations the last couple of nights but there were select time you were able to make the reservations.  Service in the dining rooms was better when you actually tipped the waiter yourself.(but that is all ships) Lastly, all the passengers that booked a hotel for Vancouver,BC after the cruise were the last to leave the ship and then we waited an hour to get a bus to take us 6 blocks.So now we are home and I have to write a letter to Princess to "start the process" to get refunded for the excursion.  In general the Fairbanks Princess people were the nicest. Even before the cruise I found those on the phone rude.  When we were booking the excursions for the land part the woman on the phone was rude, I thought. Several of the tour name all sound  alike so I was checking to make sure we both had the same tour and she started giving me attitude, I just was asking bc the prices did not match up, and she flip in her tone when she told me " I should be happy bc it was less than the brochure." I was kind of taken back bc I really was just verifying.  Another thing that has come in handy now that we need refunds, we asked to have an email verifying the tours. they were not going to send one  unless we asked.  Sadly Holland America was cheaper at the time of booking, I just felt Princess had the most Alaska options.

Please do not book land excursions in advance with princess

Diamond Princess Cruise Review by figaro1996

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2009
  • Destination: Alaska
My husband and I just finished a Princess Cruise tour to Alaska, we did J- Copper River. We started the cruise tour on 5/24/09 and our sail date was 5/30/09.We flew into Fairbanks and landed about 8pm their time.   At the airport, we see the Princess Desk, so I go to check in while my husband goes to find the luggage. My experience started here.  The person working the desk handed me my packet and when I asked what we were to do next he answered somewhat irritated that we were to put the tags on the bags and then leave them behind him.  So, I went back to my husband to find our bags and figured we would figure it out.  We got our bags and put them were they were supposed to go, and listened to other people asking what next.  Many people did not know what hotel they there staying in - I had read the Princess info saying to contact your travel agent to find out.  It turns out that there were buses outside that we could not see from inside.  Day one-  we went on the tours that were booked for us by Princess- the riverboat and the gold mine. - if I had to make suggestions I would skip the riverboat, although they did have one of the best gift shops I had been in.  I would suggest the museum at the university.  Another couple said it was really interesting; we did not make it there.We were sitting on the bus waiting to go back to the hotel and I could hear what sounded like our names and them asking the bus driver to tell us to check with the Princess Desk.  The driver did not check to see if we were on his bus.So when we got back to the hotel, I decided to check with the tour desk, and sure enough it was us she was trying to reach.  Our pre-booked excursion was canceled and we could rebook another if we wanted.  We did rebook and we rebooked a tour that was not even originally open to us to book.  (when we were at home) Also this tour was more expensive. (bait and switch if you ask me)  Then we were informed that bc we pre-booked this excursion from home we would have to wait until we got back from Alaska and then start the process of getting a refund!!! Now mind you when we call to book this excursion they charged us right away.  OH! by the way the tour in question was an Artic Circle Fight, it was definitely worth the money (not twice) for the tour. -very interesting. We flew to Coldfoot and then took a tour in Wiseman, a town of 13, and learned about life there.Denali was great, but the hotel itself was disorganized and expensive.  We did the 8 hour wilderness tour thru the park and we did a white water rafting tour.  I thought both were work it. We also did a Heli hike with a company called ERA- we booked thru princess but I would try to contact them on your own - some of my best pictures are from that hike.We then took an 8 hour ride to the Copper River Princess Lodge.  We had booked another excursion with Princess for that night (a tour they had listed available for us to take) but there was no way we were going to make it - Wrangell- St Elias wilderness tour, it started at 5 pm.  While still in Denali we asked about it, they said if we missed it it would be taken care of at Copper River.  We got to Copper River at 5:45 pm , we went to the tour desk and they handed us a copy of a pre-book land excursion refund!!! They said it would take 2 weeks but they had started the paperwork.The next day we went on a Prince William Sound boat ride excursion.  This was beautiful and I would go again.  I think you would have to book with Princess though bc you are 2 hours away from the sound. the next day we boarded the Diamond Princess.  Boarding went smoothly and quickly.  Our overall ship experience  was ok.  I could not wait to get to Vancouver to get a good cup of coffee and some real food.  We have been on Princess before and their food is nothing special, but I did not expect anything different.  We had anytime dining and unless we went at 5 pm to eat, we waited on average 1/2 hour to eat. We finally did make reservations the last couple of nights but there were select time you were able to make the reservations.  Service in the dining rooms was better when you actually tipped the waiter yourself.(but that is all ships) Lastly, all the passengers that booked a hotel for Vancouver,BC after the cruise were the last to leave the ship and then we waited an hour to get a bus to take us 6 blocks.So now we are home and I have to write a letter to Princess to "start the process" to get refunded for the excursion.  In general the Fairbanks Princess people were the nicest. Even before the cruise I found those on the phone rude.  When we were booking the excursions for the land part the woman on the phone was rude, I thought. Several of the tour name all sound  alike so I was checking to make sure we both had the same tour and she started giving me attitude, I just was asking bc the prices did not match up, and she flip in her tone when she told me " I should be happy bc it was less than the brochure." I was kind of taken back bc I really was just verifying.  Another thing that has come in handy now that we need refunds, we asked to have an email verifying the tours. they were not going to send one  unless we asked. 

Sadly Holland America was cheaper at the time of booking, I just felt Princess had the most Alaska options.
figaro1996’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Diamond Princess price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin
cabin was great.  I would book a mini suite if I was to ever go on princess again, but that most likely will never happen.
  Diamond Princess Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews