I just completed my second Alaska cruise and it was amazing but what will make this cruise stand out in my memory was the crew of the Royal Princess. For this trip, I joined five others so we had a group of six and two ended up in wheelchairs just before the cruise. That last fact (ended up in) was important because only one of them had a handicapped room. The cruiser with the wheelchair and non-handicap room could not even get his chair into the room on the first day. That was true until a crew member suggested a method that even allowed him to maneuver it without help. It was still tight in the room and I would suggest that anyone finding themselves in need of a last minute wheelchair try to get a better room and/or use a transit chair but what is important here is how helpful the crew of this ship was to mobility challenged cruisers. They were more amazing than the stunning Alaska scenery!!
The trip was a complete success and it was due both to the quite unique sights and sounds of Alaska and to the competence and kindness of the crew of the Royal Princess. Over and over no matter what the location (dining room, theater, Piazza, store or even cabin hallway) the crew always stepped in to help clear the way or make it easier for the wheelchair bound to relax and enjoy the event. This ship is a pure joy to be on. The events and entertainments are all great fun, without exception! Because of Princess's partnership with the Discovery channel, this cruise had interesting lectures and guest speakers that enhanced our enjoyment of the unique Alaska sights. With six people, came six different ideas of what "fun" meant and yet each of us found exactly what we needed on this cruise. I will sail Princess from now on. They not only offer great locations but they back up their offerings with great service and that makes a great vacation for everyone!
An interior cabin is the least expensive option offered but if you plan to enjoy the ship's entertainments, than all you really need is a place to sleep, shower and store your belongings. That was what I thought before I took this cruise. This room was compact but comfortably furnished. The bed was soft and the duvet was always freshly laundered. I slept like a baby every night. The shower was curtained instead of having a solid door but other than that, the bathroom was clean and ready for use every day. I had two hanging areas, two shelf stacks and lots of room to store my stuff. The arrangement allowed me to shower then step into my "dressing area" where my clothes were stored to dress. This was separated from the bed area by a wall, so I did not have to walk around naked and wet to gather my clothes and dress, everything I needed was right there outside the bathroom. The only exception to this is the hair dryer, which is permenantly attached in a drawer near the desk area. I adjusted to this easily by towel drying my hair and then sitting at the desk to do my hair and put on my make-up as the last step in my dressing routine. It worked fairly well but I would have liked to move a bit more during hair styling but it worked. The room worked well for me and I rested, showered and dressed in comfort every day.
In this port, we joined the ship and so my impression of the location was colored by the ease of our joining the ship and it was not easy. My brother found himself in a wheelchair just before our cruise and so he was unfamiliar with its use and nervous about how he would be able to move around. The port people seemed just as unfamiliar with the process as he was and it made things a bit chaotic but we managed to get him through the process and on to the bus to Whittier where everything changed for the better. The bus driver had us all laughing and relaxing immediately and when we got to the pier, the other staff helped my brother to get off the bus safely and into his wheelchair. The security area was a bit of a mess (long lines and pushing people who seemed unaware that a wheelchair cannot turn easily in a maze of bags and people) but again, the crew of the ship (when they finally arrived to help) just got us through and on to the ship with complete ease. The crew of this ship was amazing to my brother. They made his cruise a success!
This is a great place to walk on deck or to just sit and view the natural wonders that Alaska offers. However, it was raining and cold on deck so we had to opt for the "sit and view". We did find a great place in the Horizon Court that allowed us to see most of the Bay. It was not the same as seeing it up close and personal on the deck but we were warm and dry and for seniors, that was important.