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We chose this cruise on the recommendation of friends who took it a few years ago. We are members of an investment club, and it was suggested that we spend some of our profits before we are too old or able to enjoy it. There were 26 of us that took part in this cruise, some cruise veterans and some rookies. For my wife and I, it was our first cruise. We are the perfect example of why you schedule to arrive the day before your cruise departure, as our flight from Grand Rapids, MI was delayed 2 1/2 hours, which made us miss our connection in Chicago, so we did not arrive in Vancouver until 11:00 PM, 4 1/2 hours later than scheduled. We might not have met the cruise departure if we tried to travel the departure date. We understood from advance info that boarding of the ship was between 1:00 to 3:30 PM. We were actually able to drop off our luggage about 10:30 AM, do our pre-boarding check-in shortly thereafter, and were on board shortly after Noon, enjoying our first cocktail and buffet. We had the Sip & Sail promotion, so our beverages were included in the fare. Based on the advertised value of Sip & Sail of $394, it takes about six or seven drinks per day to "break even". Our group more than broke even. There was a great variety of beers, and huge selection of cocktails. We learned after a few days that there is a cocktail of the day. It made for nice variety. We learned of the "Wake Show" on the TV after a couple of days. Cruise director Lexi and members of her crew presented interesting and informative info for the day. It was helpful. It is on late at night and through the morning for a particular day. The on board activities kept you as busy and you chose to be. Trivia, sudoku, newly wed type game, and many other activities were enjoyable. Basketball, pickleball, miniature golf, shuffleboard, were all available. There were two pools, one saltwater and one freshwater. The freshwater pool was indoor. The weather we enjoyed was unexpectedly warm. It was in the 80's a few days. The sky was very clear, so mountain tops were clearly visible, which I understand is not always the case. There are plenty of bars, so it is not difficult to get a beverage. I found most of the bartenders to be prompt and helpful. My wife thought some of the bartenders were rude, but she got over it. There are only two places to smoke, an outdoor area above the Lido deck (level 14) and an the indoor Churchill Lounge on level 7. We did not do any shopping onboard, but there are jewelry shops and gift shops if there is interest. The Casino has several table games, and Texas Hold-em table and many slot machines. There is adequate opportunity to gamble if you wish. Several people in our travel group said the casino bar was the most fun bar on the ship, and the bartenders know your beverage preference shortly after you visited them. We chose the 5:15 scheduled dinner seating, which was in the Provence Dinning Room on the 6th level. I am not sure I would do that schedule in the future. Dinner was always a 2 to 2+ hour event. That length of time caused us to miss some activities scheduled for 7:00 to 7:45 PM. We entered College Fjord at about 5:30 PM, so to not miss the experience, we missed the 5:15 dinner. It was not a problem to go to the Anytime Dinning and get seated immediately, surprisingly in the Provence Dinning Room, despite the fact that most Anytime Dinning is in the Bordeaux Dinning Room on level 5. Most days we chose the seated breakfast in the Bordeaux Dinning Room. There is an option the have your own table or the share a table. We always chose the share a table, which allowed us to meet some of our fellow passengers from various areas in the USA but also countries around the world such as New Zealand, Austraila, the UK, and South Africa. At one breakfast we met passengers who informed us High Tea that takes place everyday, but was not advertised. I have never been to High Tea, so I had to attend. I feel more sophisticated. It is now one less item on my bucket list. The dinner menu selections offered a good variety. There was meat and seafood. My one seafood selection (I believe it was cod) was okay, but all the other choices were very good. My wife primarily ate a beef selection, and had no complaints. Getting alcoholic beverages at dinner was a slow process, but after a couple of days the waiter knew the probable drink selection, so you can pre-order the night before and get it a little sooner. The nightly entertainment that I attended was very good. The comedian one night was irreverent enough to be quite entertaining without being overboard. The three shows presented by the Island Princess Singers and Dancers were very professional and well done. On the Bayou was especially good, but the Motown music show and Encore were well done. If I understood Italian, the Encore opera would have been better. We did not do a paid excursion in Ketchikan, as a friend of ours had a friend who lives there who took us on a private tour. We ended up at the Arctic Bar there, and had a good time. In Juneau we did a nature walk to Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching. I misunderstood the excursion info and thought we would walk to the glacier, when in fact we walked to a lake formed by the glacier melting with a nice view of the glacier a few hundred yards away. Others in our travel group took a helicopter trip to the glacier, which they highly recommend. The whale watching portion of the excursion was okay. We saw several whales from a distance, but nothing as close as anticipated. Our tour guide, Sama, from Gastineau Guiding in Juneau was very informative, humorous, and quite attractive. If you get on a tour she guides, you will enjoy yourself. In Skagway, we took the White Pass Railroad. The railroad is a marvel to see on the edge of mountain cliffs, and up mountains, across trestles and through tunnels. The scenery is beautiful and the trip hard to fully describe. The only regrets we have about the cruise is that we saw no wildlife except one eagle. No bears, moose, mountain goats, caribu, etc. Also, we had hoped to do a flightseeing plane tour to Denali (Mt McKinley), but on the day we planned to go the flightseeing company informed us that due to cloud cover the mountain was not visible. I appreciated their honesty, so I could avoid paying about $800 to not see what i expected. Overall the cruise was everything I had hoped for, and look forward to doing another cruise in the not too distant future.

Splendid Cruise

Island Princess Cruise Review by lkgrandpa2

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
We chose this cruise on the recommendation of friends who took it a few years ago. We are members of an investment club, and it was suggested that we spend some of our profits before we are too old or able to enjoy it. There were 26 of us that took part in this cruise, some cruise veterans and some rookies. For my wife and I, it was our first cruise.

We are the perfect example of why you schedule to arrive the day before your cruise departure, as our flight from Grand Rapids, MI was delayed 2 1/2 hours, which made us miss our connection in Chicago, so we did not arrive in Vancouver until 11:00 PM, 4 1/2 hours later than scheduled. We might not have met the cruise departure if we tried to travel the departure date.

We understood from advance info that boarding of the ship was between 1:00 to 3:30 PM. We were actually able to drop off our luggage about 10:30 AM, do our pre-boarding check-in shortly thereafter, and were on board shortly after Noon, enjoying our first cocktail and buffet.

We had the Sip & Sail promotion, so our beverages were included in the fare. Based on the advertised value of Sip & Sail of $394, it takes about six or seven drinks per day to "break even". Our group more than broke even. There was a great variety of beers, and huge selection of cocktails. We learned after a few days that there is a cocktail of the day. It made for nice variety.

We learned of the "Wake Show" on the TV after a couple of days. Cruise director Lexi and members of her crew presented interesting and informative info for the day. It was helpful. It is on late at night and through the morning for a particular day.

The on board activities kept you as busy and you chose to be. Trivia, sudoku, newly wed type game, and many other activities were enjoyable. Basketball, pickleball, miniature golf, shuffleboard, were all available. There were two pools, one saltwater and one freshwater. The freshwater pool was indoor.

The weather we enjoyed was unexpectedly warm. It was in the 80's a few days. The sky was very clear, so mountain tops were clearly visible, which I understand is not always the case.

There are plenty of bars, so it is not difficult to get a beverage. I found most of the bartenders to be prompt and helpful. My wife thought some of the bartenders were rude, but she got over it.

There are only two places to smoke, an outdoor area above the Lido deck (level 14) and an the indoor Churchill Lounge on level 7.

We did not do any shopping onboard, but there are jewelry shops and gift shops if there is interest.

The Casino has several table games, and Texas Hold-em table and many slot machines. There is adequate opportunity to gamble if you wish. Several people in our travel group said the casino bar was the most fun bar on the ship, and the bartenders know your beverage preference shortly after you visited them.

We chose the 5:15 scheduled dinner seating, which was in the Provence Dinning Room on the 6th level. I am not sure I would do that schedule in the future. Dinner was always a 2 to 2+ hour event. That length of time caused us to miss some activities scheduled for 7:00 to 7:45 PM. We entered College Fjord at about 5:30 PM, so to not miss the experience, we missed the 5:15 dinner. It was not a problem to go to the Anytime Dinning and get seated immediately, surprisingly in the Provence Dinning Room, despite the fact that most Anytime Dinning is in the Bordeaux Dinning Room on level 5.

Most days we chose the seated breakfast in the Bordeaux Dinning Room. There is an option the have your own table or the share a table. We always chose the share a table, which allowed us to meet some of our fellow passengers from various areas in the USA but also countries around the world such as New Zealand, Austraila, the UK, and South Africa. At one breakfast we met passengers who informed us High Tea that takes place everyday, but was not advertised. I have never been to High Tea, so I had to attend. I feel more sophisticated. It is now one less item on my bucket list.

The dinner menu selections offered a good variety. There was meat and seafood. My one seafood selection (I believe it was cod) was okay, but all the other choices were very good. My wife primarily ate a beef selection, and had no complaints.

Getting alcoholic beverages at dinner was a slow process, but after a couple of days the waiter knew the probable drink selection, so you can pre-order the night before and get it a little sooner.

The nightly entertainment that I attended was very good. The comedian one night was irreverent enough to be quite entertaining without being overboard. The three shows presented by the Island Princess Singers and Dancers were very professional and well done. On the Bayou was especially good, but the Motown music show and Encore were well done. If I understood Italian, the Encore opera would have been better.

We did not do a paid excursion in Ketchikan, as a friend of ours had a friend who lives there who took us on a private tour. We ended up at the Arctic Bar there, and had a good time.

In Juneau we did a nature walk to Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching. I misunderstood the excursion info and thought we would walk to the glacier, when in fact we walked to a lake formed by the glacier melting with a nice view of the glacier a few hundred yards away. Others in our travel group took a helicopter trip to the glacier, which they highly recommend. The whale watching portion of the excursion was okay. We saw several whales from a distance, but nothing as close as anticipated.

Our tour guide, Sama, from Gastineau Guiding in Juneau was very informative, humorous, and quite attractive. If you get on a tour she guides, you will enjoy yourself.

In Skagway, we took the White Pass Railroad. The railroad is a marvel to see on the edge of mountain cliffs, and up mountains, across trestles and through tunnels. The scenery is beautiful and the trip hard to fully describe.

The only regrets we have about the cruise is that we saw no wildlife except one eagle. No bears, moose, mountain goats, caribu, etc. Also, we had hoped to do a flightseeing plane tour to Denali (Mt McKinley), but on the day we planned to go the flightseeing company informed us that due to cloud cover the mountain was not visible. I appreciated their honesty, so I could avoid paying about $800 to not see what i expected.

Overall the cruise was everything I had hoped for, and look forward to doing another cruise in the not too distant future.
lkgrandpa2’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MD D605
The cabin included a queen bed, fold-out couch, chair, two TV monitors, sliding glass door to a balcony with two chairs. It was comfortable and practical.
We were on Dolphin Deck (level 9, out 14 or 15 levels). a little Aft of midship. We found the ship to be very quite, which no engine noise. There was almost no sensation of "rocking".
We did not use our balcony much, but it was nice to have.
It was short walk either forward or aftward to the elevators. There are plenty of elevators, and wide stairways.
Caribe Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins