We wanted to take our family on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. My wife and I had taken this exact same itinerary 10 years ago and we knew from experience our family would enjoy it. Eleven of us did the land tour from Anchorage to Denali before the cruise, and then we were joined by 5 more at the ship for the cruise. We had a total of 16, 8 adults and 8 children. The land portion went great, Princess really handles the land portion well and we all enjoyed the McKinley and Denali lodges. Our rooms at both locations were very nice. We stayed in the newer A/B lodge at the top of the hill and our rooms were very modern and spacious. The train ride from Denali to Whittier was a highlight of the trip, especially since we got to see Denali mountain several times along the route. Lunch in the dining car was very good. They came around to see who wanted lunch and then came and got us as our time approached. Food was also very good--highly recommend the reindeer chili.
Embarkation at the ship was handled well. Princess reps boarded out train at Wasilla and we completed the embarkation process prior to arriving at Whittier. Even so, by the time we got off the train and into the terminal the lines were long going through security and that took awhile to get onboard. We had set dining at 7:30 pm with two tables to accommodate our family. Although we wanted earlier dining, this worked better for us as we were getting back from excursions late on several days. Dining seemed to take longer than usual so we started ordering our desserts when we received our entrees to ensure we made the 9:30 entertainment in the Princess Theater. We took multiple excursions and everyone enjoyed them. My favorite was the Denali flight and glacier landing from Talkeetna. Hint, if the pilot starts talking about the right seat being open during his preflight spiel, quickly raise your hand for that co-pilot seat. I did and I had fantastic views of the mountain and scenery from the front of the airplane. Puppies came onboard at Skagway and the lines were very long but they moved well. It took about 30 minutes for us to get our turn and then our pup slept the entire time. Glacier viewing was superb on the south bound trip. Onboard naturalists and part rangers gave informative and interesting talks about flora, fauna, and natural sights. Angelito, our cabin attendant, was the best ever. He went beyond what is normal to ensure our cruise was the most enjoyable one we've had. Disembarkation went very smoothly and there were lots of taxis available to take us to our hotel.
I had read previous reviews about the vibration noise in this cabin and can report that it is still there. Previous reviewers stated they put paper in the fixture above the king bed to stop the vibrating noise, and those pieces of paper are still there. I had to wedge my travel bedroom slippers behind the tv to stop it from vibrating so I could sleep. The vibration is only noticeable when the ship is under full steam so there were only 2 nights this was a problem. We really liked the balcony, which is curved toward the stern of the ship so you have a view to the rear of the ship. The ship was refurbished recently but they did not add new outlets. Not nearly enough available for charging electronics.
Great family experience and all of us found gold!
Great narrative by our guide, Jon Bon Golde. Beautiful scenery.
Off-road adventure, great views from top of mountain
Hop on hop off bus, Anchorage history museum, hiking.