Traveling with five small children, I was initially wary of an Alaskan cruise, but the Coral Princess and this experience overall has far exceeded my expectations. We were part of a large family trip - 37 of us! And, had my aunt not arranged this trip, I’m not sure I would have spent this time in Alaska. I’m so thankful that my family did the research to put us on this trip - specifically traveling from Whittier to Vancouver, visiting Glacier Bay (gorgeous!), and having additional days in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan.
My husband and I secured two junior suites with balconies to sleep the seven of us and we had more than enough space. A key feature of our rooms was the bathtubs ... it was nice to have a little more elbow room getting everyone ready for bed and ready for the day. Our rooms did not adjoin but that was not a problem.
Myself and two of my children have food allergies. We updated our cruise personalizer and noted the food allergies and it was never a problem. Specifically, my son has a wheat allergy and my daughter has celiac. We were overwhelmed with food options. On a previous cruise, we were only able to eat gluten-free if we were in the main dining room. For this cruise, food items were clearly labeled even at the buffet and most of the kitchen staff could answer questions. My kids could even order a gluten-free pizza! Joy! To make life easy, we did choose to eat dinner only in the dining room. We were pleased with our meals almost every evening. The head waiter brought us the next evening’s menu and had us make our selections a night ahead of time to make sure our dinner experience would be smooth the following night. At first, the system seemed odd, but we quickly got used to it and there were no food issues all week.
All five kids had some type of kids’ club option but my two middle kids - ages 8 and 10 - definitely used it the most. I loved that Princess allowed us to grant permission to kids 8 and over to sign themselves in and out of kids’ club. Woohoo! If you have responsible kids, this perk is for you.
I especially loved that the day we were in Glacier Bay (stunning!), the kids had a junior ranger session arranged just for them. So impressed!
Alaska wowed us every day. We arranged our own excursions to keep costs down and to have some more control over our agendas. For Skagway, we planned a full day trip to the Yukon Territory. Absolutely gorgeous scenery. For our day in Juneau, we went whales watching and then went to the Mendenhall Glacier. Don’t miss either of those! In Ketchikan, we were a little tired and just spent the day wandering around on our own. Also lovely.
The staff was exceptionally nice and attentive. The only issue we had was at breakfast - waitstaff would practically be clearing away our plates before we were even done - ostensibly to get us out of there so they could close down the dining room. Other than that, no issues.
I had a chance to visit the spa thanks to kids’ club! While the kids were occupied, my husband and I had a couples massage - excellent! I had a mani-pedi on another morning and while the relaxation experience of that treatment was expectional, the actual manicure lasted 24 hours and the pedicure lasted maybe 3 days. I’m wondering if it is the nail polish they use? I scheduled a polish change for my last cruise day so I wouldn’t get off the ship looking like I spent the week doing dishes.
We booked our cruise about a year in advance and took advantage of a sip and sail package. I was initially skeptical about the all you can drink idea but I was happy to have a drink with dinner and not worry about it and be able to get lattes at the International Cafe in the mornings or decaf Irish coffees at night without racking up individual drink charges.
I didn’t take advantage of much of the on board entertainment but my kids loved the movies on the pool deck at night, wrapped in blankets, and they attended a couple of performances. We all attended the karaoke night and it was so fun! Voice of the Ocean! Very good.
All in all, I highly recommend taking an Alaskan cruise and following an itinerary similar to ours. Princess does an excellent job! I understand why people keep coming back to Alaska. There’s nothing like it!
We loved our cabins! We stayed in C209 and C207. We slept three kids in one room - two singles and a pullout couch - and kept the other two with us - queen bed, bunk bed, and a pullout couch. Having a bathtub and two TVs were nice perks. It felt very comfortable to hang out, watch a show, play cards on the balcony, get ready for dinner, etc. We never felt crowded. Staying on the starboard side for a cruise from Whittier to Vancouver was a great choice. I felt like we had a bit of a walk to get to our cabin but it was always quiet! We had a huge closet and plenty of shelf space, as well. The rooms are small but really arranged very well.
Excellent motor coach tour from Anchorage to Whittier! Perfect stops for photos and great information.View All 5 Motorcoach Tour Reviews
If your cruise does not spend the day in Glacier Bay, don’t go!
I can’t recommend this Day long trip enough! We brought my kids -
Ages 3-13 - and my parents. We all loved it! Stunning scenery. Great stops for photos.View All 117 Scenic Drive Reviews
We stopped here as part of our van tour! Beautiful views.View All 72 Yukon Suspension Bridge Reviews
Schedule a bus tour to the Yukon!! Absolutely stunning.View All 137 Yukon Van Tour Reviews
Great family hike to Nugget Falls. Gorgeous views everywhere. Loved the visitor center. Also saw a momma bear and her cub trying to catch salmon for lunch! So much fun. Even in the rain. But it’s in a rainforest so ... duh. Should have known we would be rained on the whole time.View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
I can’t recommend Juneau Tours whale watching enough! So many whales! Awesome Captain and great naturalist on board.View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
Walked around! Kind of wish we had scheduled a tour to see more but my kids were wiped out.