We chose this cruise because of the 2 days at sea sailing Glacier Bay. Our grandson wanted to see the Glaciers. We had been on an inside passage cruise on Norwegian 12 years ago before he was born. The glaciers are a not to be missed beautiful site. The itinerary was good. We used transfers and hotels all booked with Princess including air as a total package, made everything very simple.
So now you're going why the only 3 star rating - the ship was in poor condition, the upholstery on some seats in the theater was torn, the paint was peeling on the doorframe to our bathroom, the water regulator in the shower didn't work and it took them 4 days of a 7 day cruise before it was fixed, the first day we had no hot water at all, after they fixed it the first time it went from hot to cold on its' own for 3 days, then I asked for a supervisor and it finally got fixed, no apology from anyone. The kids camp had water spots in the ceiling as did the ceiling outside of the Bernini dining room, the gift shop had a bucket on the floor catching water from a condensate pipe, and a pipe in the dining room had the same problem, water shouldn't be inside a ship.
The carpet looked dirty in some areas. The wait staff in the dining rooms were pleasant and did their jobs, but weren't really friendly, I guess that's the downside of anytime dining. We have been on 13 cruises prior to this one, one other on Princess, 3 on Norwegian, and the rest on RCCL. The other major negative is they no longer brew real coffee in the dining room or the buffet, they use some kind of syrup, it is atrocious. The only way to get real coffee is to buy a coffee card for $31.00, and then stand in line to get coffee. The International Café had great sandwiches, salads and pastries, but sometimes the line for coffee was long and slow moving as they prepared specialty coffees as well. The pizza was pretty good, but after getting it you had to go into the buffet to get a drink, there were servers on the deck to bring drinks but only sometimes.
The cabin layout was nice, liked the open closet area, the bedding was fabulous, the best part of the whole ship. The paint peeling on the bathroom doorframe was a turnoff. We usually get a balcony cabin but for Alaska an oceanview works fine. Most of the onboard time we were up on the top deck getting a 360 view of the scenery. Our cabin steward kept everything in good order. The cabin was smaller than we were used to be but we weren't in it much so it was fine.
Absolutely breathtaking. A not to be missed experience.
The ship left from Whittier, we didn't sale until 8:30 in the evening. We had transfers from Anchorage and we had to meet the group at 9:00 am, therefore we had no time in Anchorage and way too much time in Whittier. There is nothing in Whittier, if you take this route take an excursion from Whittier or get there as close to sailing time as you can.
Vancouver is wonderful. We had a transfer from the ship to the Four Seasons Hotel. The hotel is attached to the Pacific Centre which has a 2 story shopping mall. One level is every high design boutique you can think of, designers who I have only seen in high fashio magazines as well as the typical ones you see in majors cities like Atlanta, was fun to look around. The view of the city when the ship pulls in is great. It is one of the biggest ports in the northern hemisphere, so quite an impressive site. We went to Stanley Park and saw the incredible totam poles. We went to Granville Island which among other things has a kids marketplace which was great for young kids especially. There were also beautiful, uniques artisan shops and 2 bead stores. We took the water taxi to the Plaza of Nations from there and walked over to Gastown, saw the steam clock and ate at The Water Street Cafe, pricey but good. If you have the time t is definitely worth spending a few days in Vancouver.