We took the Southbound cruise from Wittier to Vancouver. We did a land vacation first and took the train from Denali to Wittier to board the ship. The embarkation process was flawless. A Princess representative came on board the train in Anchorage and checked us all in prior to getting to Wittier. Once we arrived in Wittier, we were able to go straight through to security and board the ship immediately.
We got on board kind of late, so there wasn’t much opportunity to explore before muster drill. After muster, we went back to our cabin and unpacked just what we needed for the night. Then, we headed to the Horizon Court to look for something to eat. Although the buffet area is very large, the selections and the food was just average. It was less than I expected. However, there is plenty of space to sit and it never felt crowded when we ate there, either that night or for any other meal. For the most part, we just ate breakfast there and stopped by for snacks after our excursions. The wait staff was very attentive in bringing drinks and bussing tables.
We had first seating for dinner in the main dining room. We like to eat early, but 5:00 was early, even for us. We had to rush to get there after some excursions. Again, the food was just average. I think that’s the best most of the cruise lines can do these days in order to put out decent food and be cost-effective. I know it was an Alaskan cruise, but I felt like there were too many seafood selections. Of course, had I liked seafood, I might have felt differently. I always found something on the menu, though. My favorite dinner was the short ribs. That meal was delicious. Service was very good. Salvadore and Ngurah, our wait team, were very customer-oriented and engaging. Salvadore was very accommodating with my requests for additional vegetables.
We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants. We did eat at Alfredo’s. The Hawaiin pizza was very good and the tiramisu was the best dessert on the ship. We also had pizza out on deck and it was very good, too.
We did an excursion in every port. We did the White Pass train ride, with panning for gold and a BBQ lunch in Skagway. The scenery on the train ride was gorgeous. We had fun panning for gold. I would have been a very poor prospector, though. Definitely not my calling. Lunch was good, with plenty to eat.
In Juneau, we did whale watching with a visit to Mendenhall Glacier. The whale watching trip was awesome. We saw several whales, including a mother and calf. We were lucky enough to see the calf breech. It was a lot of fun. Then, we took a bus to the glacier. It was disappointing that we only had an hour to visit. We didn’t have enough time to go to Nugget Falls, but we did go to the photo point and the visitor’s center. We got some good photos out of both parts of the trip.
At the last port, Ketchikan, we did an eagle quest, totem pole and light house tour. The boat ride was fun, the crew was great. We saw several eagles and nests. We saw the totem poles and lighthouse from the boat.
At all the ports, we were there long enough to get some shopping in after the excursions.
My favorite day on the ship was the scenic cruising of Glacier Bay. We saw a whale off the side of the ship and some harbor seals. The glaciers were incredible. I highly recommend an itinerary that includes Glacier Bay.
We attended some of the shows. We enjoyed the entertainment. We also attended some of the enrichment lectures. They were interesting, I’m disappointed that we missed Libby’s Iditarod presentation. We weren’t back from port yet. The puppies in the piazza were adorable but there were a lot of people wanting to hold them so we just watched from the higher deck overlooking the piazza.
The ship was nice. It never felt crowded and I never saw any lines. The crew was friendly. I liked the piazza. I loved the new mattresses and pillows in our cabin. I loved the medallion. It was so nice to hear the door unlock as we walked up to it. It made paying for things easier, too. We never used it to order drinks so I don’t know how well that worked. I hope they roll out the medallion to all their ships soon.
All good things must come to and end and the cruise certainly did with a horrible disembarkation process. We didn’t get off the ship until almost an hour past our scheduled departure time. There were delays along the way. To top it off, our luggage was not at the airport when we arrived. A large group of people on our bus had only about an hour until their flight. Princess had us start filling out lost luggage forms so they could ship our luggage to us. Luckily, the luggage arrived right before we had to check in for our flight. It was very stressful. Princess could have handled this better.
Princess definitely knows how to cruise Alaska. I would recommend them for an Alaskan cruise.
The layout of the cabin is odd, with so much space taken up by the closet. However, it worked out nicely because there was plenty of room for our things. We were glad to have the loveseat for extra seating. The balcony is small but it was fine for our needs. We loved sitting out there, even when it was cold. We had the new mattresses and pillows. They are so soft and comfortable. Our cabin was above the theater, but there was little noise since there weren’t production shows every night. Plus, we were so tired by the end of the day, noise didn’t matter at all. Our steward, Alex, was very attentive.
Gold panning was fun and BBQ lunch was good.
Beautiful scenery from the train, great commentary from the guides.View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
This was part of the whale watching excursion. The visit was not long enough for us to hike to Nugget Falls, which was disappointing but we did get some good photos.View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
Whale watching was great. Crew located several whales and stayed long enough at each spot to enable us to get great photos.View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
We saw a lot of eagles. The commentary was informative and the crew was great. They also provided hot chocolate and snacks.View All 69 Lighthouses, Totems and Eagles Reviews