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 medallion fobs were great for getting in your room. NO fishing for a key to get in. However, using that fob in other areas of the ship - not so smooth. In the casino - very frustrating - with a huge learning curve - that will cost you $$ if you're not careful. ALWAYS sign into your machine first - or your $$ goes to the person's account who played before you. I guess they assume no one travels with cash. Or that no one likes to play machines "anonymously" without having an account that the casino can track. So - not five stars because of level of dining service, too many people on boat excursion and casino usage of medallion.
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
Awesome lunch - beautiful gardensView All 11 Jewell Gardens Lunch Reviews
The guides on the train ride were very knowledgeable. The scenery was beautiful.View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
The suspension bridge was cool - very stable - nothing scary here. There is not much to do - but great picture opportunities.View All 72 Yukon Suspension Bridge Reviews
The staff was very knowledgeable. The copter ride was smooth and -- the view? WOWView All 138 Helicopter Tour Reviews
The helicoopter ride was cancelled in the morning. If you book a plane or copter ride - book it for AFTER 12pm - as you will get cancelled 80% of the time (per tour guide) as cloud coverage is very heavy in the morning on glaciers. Do a walking tour or inland tour in the am - and fly in the pm. We wound up not getting to enjoy our salmon bake - as our copter ride was cancelled iin the am - rescheduled in the pm - no offer to take us to our salmon bake BEFORE the ride. We were very disappointed!View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
I was pleasantly surprised we were supplied with gear to keep us nice and warm. Dress in layers though. I had a headband and gloves. The boats were the disappointment. The seat 3 people comfortable. It was my husband and I - we were paired with another couple. My husband got to enjoy the tour riding backwards on the hull of the boat - hanging on for dear life - as we bopped along the VERY choppy water. Unless you have 3 in your party - I'd try to finagle a way to get a boat to your self. The ride would be smoother - and more enjoyable. We did get to see seals and eagles. Our guy threw out some fish so we got great video of an eagle swooping down to grasp it. NO BEARS will be seen on this tour - NO MOOSE will be seen on this tour.View All 34 Zodiac Boat Reviews