We were asked to join a group of family that were planning this trip with their friends. We traveled as a party of 16 - and had a blast!! We booked a land and sea package and added 2.5 additional days in Vancouver, BC. I wish we would have added more time in Vancouver. It is a wonderful city - with so much to offer if you like to hike, bike, eat and drink!
We booked an excursion in every port we stopped in. The train, suspension bridge and garden lunch in Skagway was a delight. In Juneau, we were sadly disappointed to find that most morning plane or helicopter rides are cancelled due to low cloud coverage. We had booked a helicopter ride to Mendehall Glacier followed by a salmon bake. Since my husband and I had to "split" our preferences for this excursion, my husband (and actually me too!!) were disappointed that our tour was cancelled in the morning because of cloud coverage - so we were rescheduled for the afternoon which meant we had to give up the salmon bake. We were refunded $60 - which irritated me a bit - as the salmon bake itself is $60 a piece. So......for Juneau........book any "flight" tours after 12pm! In Ketchikan, we chose the backwater tour - a wonderful tour that took us in a little rubber boat (w/motor) through some inlets to check out seals, eagles. Never saw a bear or moose. The boats accommodate 3 people comfortably. However, they book the rafts to accommodate 4 people. My husband was lucky enough to get perched on the side of the boat - hanging on and riding backwards. The water was rough - and he spent the majority of his boat ride getting beat up by the pounding of the boat - and unable to anticipate the waves - as he was riding backwards. If you book this cruise, demand no more that 3 people be in your boat.
The ship was wonderful - the comedians were off the charts!.. Service was excellent everywhere. The staff is well trained and very professional. I was disappointed in our dining service - disappointed with Princess cruises - not our staff. There should be more servers working the evening dining room. You'll see staff tripping over themselves in the buffet dining room - not so in the main dining room. We dined as a group of 16 - in Concerto - my time dining. Drink service was very slow. I don't believe it is a reflection on the staff - just that staff has been given more tables to serve than they can adequately serve - and perhaps the bar is too far away? If you didn't order 2 drinks at the same time - and preferred a glass of wine for dinner let's say - you needed to order it when you ordered your pre-dinner cocktail - or that "dinner" cocktail would be served AFTER you were done with dinner. Somehow Princess needs to work the kinks out with that.
The view was astonishing from our balcony! The Glacier Bay was the highlight of our trip.
To see glaciers calving, seals perched on an icebergs - was off the charts! Our room was always tidy - and I kid you not - we never saw our room steward - he was stealth like!! We had a balcony cabin. We have traveled other cruise lines in a jr suite - so was surprised at how tight our accommodations were. Would definitely travel in a suite next cruise with Princess!
The Glaciers WERE off the charts. We viewed from our balcony - Bring binocuars