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I chose this land/sea tour because it gave me 2 full days at Denali. It began in Anchorage with a Princess rep. meeting me at the airport and taking me to the hotel. I had the afternoon free to explore Anchorage on my own. The 1st Princess excursion I was supposed to have was Gold Panning in the Wilderness at the McKinley Lodge. When I arrived I was informed it was cancelled, no explanation given. This left me wandering around with no options to fill the void since we would be there only that afternoon. The next morning we traveled by bus to Denali Lodge. I had cancelled the Princess canned History tour (received $100 refund) at Denali and through the Denali National Park Service (NPS) on line, bought a green shuttle bus ticket to the interior of the park. Best darn deal of the trip, the ticket cost $43. We went further into the park (and to some of the most scenic portions!) with excellent narratives given by the drivers. They even stopped the bus for wildlife viewing and photo ops. I was able to get off the bus that had taken me into the park and get on a different bus later in the afternoon when I was ready to go with no problem at all. The double decker train ride from Denali to Whitter (to board the ship) was beautiful. We saw Fall colors at their peak most of the way to the ship. The train was the way to go! I was somewhat disappointed with the cruise portion of the trip after the land tour. It was a constant sell job from the moment you stepped on deck and it did not let up. They were pushing jewelry, buy their jewelry on the ship or buy their jewelry at the ports at the Princess owned Diamond International shops. I would strongly suggest you avoid the whole jewelry sell job. Everything is overpriced and they try and rush you into a sale on pieces that may not be of certifiable quality. This is both on ship as well as at port. On a somewhat related note, other items that were sometimes 'suggested' you try were not disclosed as an additional cost item until it was too late. Buyer beware! Ask if there is a charge before saying yes. An additional note regarding the Island - the food is very bland. They give their dishes fancy names but everything that came out of the kitchens had no flavor, no matter what the dish was. I used the main dining room for dinner, the Horizon Court (buffet) for breakfast and ate at Sabitini's one night for dinner (had grilled steak as everything else looked awful). It was all the same, very bland. At Sabitini's several folks actually returned their first choice dish because it was not tasty and opted for the grilled steak instead. In the dining room for lunch I once ordered a hamburger and fries. The hamburger was hard and dry and the fries were limp. McDonald's does a better job with this simple order! The ports - Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan each had their own vibe. There were several nights where there were Northern Lights, however they were hidden by the cloud cover. I would like to strongly recommend the excursion tour to the Jewell Gardens with Glassblowing. It was a real hands on personal glass blowing experience (and they served lunch at no extra cost!) and then ship your personally made treasure back to your home. The size of the group is limited to 10, so look for it and book it early! The service overall all was average, there was not an area that stood out from the rest. This trip was done by a solo traveler in their 60's with no mobility problems.

Island Princess Alaska Southbound with Land tour (early Sept)

Island Princess Cruise Review by Charleen2

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
I chose this land/sea tour because it gave me 2 full days at Denali. It began in Anchorage with a Princess rep. meeting me at the airport and taking me to the hotel. I had the afternoon free to explore Anchorage on my own.

The 1st Princess excursion I was supposed to have was Gold Panning in the Wilderness at the McKinley Lodge. When I arrived I was informed it was cancelled, no explanation given. This left me wandering around with no options to fill the void since we would be there only that afternoon.

The next morning we traveled by bus to Denali Lodge. I had cancelled the Princess canned History tour (received $100 refund) at Denali and through the Denali National Park Service (NPS) on line, bought a green shuttle bus ticket to the interior of the park.

Best darn deal of the trip, the ticket cost $43. We went further into the park (and to some of the most scenic portions!) with excellent narratives given by the drivers. They even stopped the bus for wildlife viewing and photo ops. I was able to get off the bus that had taken me into the park and get on a different bus later in the afternoon when I was ready to go with no problem at all.

The double decker train ride from Denali to Whitter (to board the ship) was beautiful. We saw Fall colors at their peak most of the way to the ship. The train was the way to go!

I was somewhat disappointed with the cruise portion of the trip after the land tour. It was a constant sell job from the moment you stepped on deck and it did not let up. They were pushing jewelry, buy their jewelry on the ship or buy their jewelry at the ports at the Princess owned Diamond International shops. I would strongly suggest you avoid the whole jewelry sell job. Everything is overpriced and they try and rush you into a sale on pieces that may not be of certifiable quality. This is both on ship as well as at port.

On a somewhat related note, other items that were sometimes 'suggested' you try were not disclosed as an additional cost item until it was too late. Buyer beware! Ask if there is a charge before saying yes.

An additional note regarding the Island - the food is very bland. They give their dishes fancy names but everything that came out of the kitchens had no flavor, no matter what the dish was. I used the main dining room for dinner, the Horizon Court (buffet) for breakfast and ate at Sabitini's one night for dinner (had grilled steak as everything else looked awful). It was all the same, very bland. At Sabitini's several folks actually returned their first choice dish because it was not tasty and opted for the grilled steak instead.

In the dining room for lunch I once ordered a hamburger and fries. The hamburger was hard and dry and the fries were limp. McDonald's does a better job with this simple order!

The ports - Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan each had their own vibe. There were several nights where there were Northern Lights, however they were hidden by the cloud cover.

I would like to strongly recommend the excursion tour to the Jewell Gardens with Glassblowing. It was a real hands on personal glass blowing experience (and they served lunch at no extra cost!) and then ship your personally made treasure back to your home. The size of the group is limited to 10, so look for it and book it early!

The service overall all was average, there was not an area that stood out from the rest.

This trip was done by a solo traveler in their 60's with no mobility problems.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BF L719
Cabin was one of the new cabins added during the last dry dock. It is an aft balcony cabin on the Lido (14th) deck. The good - they were quiet, very quiet. It was roomy and the balcony was open to the deck above, not covered. The bad - for the most part there was very little vibration in the cabin. However when entering or leaving port the side stabilizers are directly below the cabin (on the hull) and would create lots of vibration. Also, if the seas became rough and they turned on the stabilizers, you definitely felt them.
The bathroom is a little step up closet. You can not turn around in the bathroom without opening the door to give yourself room for turning. Everything worked, lights, fridge, TV, outlets, etc.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews