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Alaska is a beautiful place and getting there is more than half of the fun. The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship with many things to do, see or enjoy from early morning to late at night. Always book a balcony stateroom. We loved seeing the world go by without having to get dressed. Balconies are private but you can hear your neighbors clearly when you’re all on your balconies. We enjoyed sleeping with the balcony door ajar or wide open. The Royal had “smart casual” and “formal” nights. Most women were in dressy slacks and something sparkly on formal nights in Anytime Dining and men wore dark slacks with nice long sleeved button up shirts. In Traditional Dining, it was tuxedos and ball gowns. Smart casual meant no jeans or shorts so khakis/ dress slacks with nice shirts or blouses/sweaters were common for both men and women. It is a floating global community so be aware that there can be curious cultural behaviors that are new to many passengers. English was the primary language on our ship. Hygiene signs translated into Chinese, German and French would have been helpful so all passengers would wash their hands before every meal when entering the buffets or dining rooms. We did catch colds near the end of the cruise and noticed that staff had stopped supervising dining room hygiene on the third day. We seldom saw other passengers at the handwash stations after that third day. We walked around Ketchikan on our own. We visited Mendenhall Glacier National Park and Mt Roberts Tramway in Juneau. 90 minutes at Mendenhall is not enough time to walk to Nugget Falls for a closer glacier view and see the visitors’ center. Stay longer. The Tramway is amazing with a good restaurant at the top and fun hiking trails where we saw bears in the distance. In Skagway, we took a motorcoach to the Yukon Territory then rode the Skagway-Yukon Railroad back to Juneau from Fraser. Getting acquainted with the sled dogs in CarCrossing was a highlight. Skagway was a ghost town by 7:00 pm and that’s why the ship leaves by 8:00pm. From the ship, we took the Princess train from Wittier to Denali, stayed in Denali Princess Lodge then went by motorcoach to Fairbanks from which we flew home. The train was a wonderful day of travel but the highlight was the next day on a flightseeing tour which was 200 miles though the National Park including coming within 1/2 mile of Mt Denali/McKinley. Denali Lodge was tired, dark and dank. Food choices were limited at the resort. Traveling near the end of season means places are emptying their inventories so several menu items were not available in different restaurants near the Denali Lodge. Stay at the Princess Mt. McKinley Lodge instead of the Denali Lodge unless it gets renovated. Skip Fairbanks completely (tourist trap) and return to Anchorage for your flight.

Notes from First Time Cruisers

Royal Princess Cruise Review by KellyACanine

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Alaska is a beautiful place and getting there is more than half of the fun. The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship with many things to do, see or enjoy from early morning to late at night. Always book a balcony stateroom. We loved seeing the world go by without having to get dressed. Balconies are private but you can hear your neighbors clearly when you’re all on your balconies. We enjoyed sleeping with the balcony door ajar or wide open.

The Royal had “smart casual” and “formal” nights. Most women were in dressy slacks and something sparkly on formal nights in Anytime Dining and men wore dark slacks with nice long sleeved button up shirts. In Traditional Dining, it was tuxedos and ball gowns. Smart casual meant no jeans or shorts so khakis/ dress slacks with nice shirts or blouses/sweaters were common for both men and women.

It is a floating global community so be aware that there can be curious cultural behaviors that are new to many passengers. English was the primary language on our ship. Hygiene signs translated into Chinese, German and French would have been helpful so all passengers would wash their hands before every meal when entering the buffets or dining rooms. We did catch colds near the end of the cruise and noticed that staff had stopped supervising dining room hygiene on the third day. We seldom saw other passengers at the handwash stations after that third day.

We walked around Ketchikan on our own. We visited Mendenhall Glacier National Park and Mt Roberts Tramway in Juneau. 90 minutes at Mendenhall is not enough time to walk to Nugget Falls for a closer glacier view and see the visitors’ center. Stay longer. The Tramway is amazing with a good restaurant at the top and fun hiking trails where we saw bears in the distance. In Skagway, we took a motorcoach to the Yukon Territory then rode the Skagway-Yukon Railroad back to Juneau from Fraser. Getting acquainted with the sled dogs in CarCrossing was a highlight. Skagway was a ghost town by 7:00 pm and that’s why the ship leaves by 8:00pm.

From the ship, we took the Princess train from Wittier to Denali, stayed in Denali Princess Lodge then went by motorcoach to Fairbanks from which we flew home. The train was a wonderful day of travel but the highlight was the next day on a flightseeing tour which was 200 miles though the National Park including coming within 1/2 mile of Mt Denali/McKinley. Denali Lodge was tired, dark and dank. Food choices were limited at the resort. Traveling near the end of season means places are emptying their inventories so several menu items were not available in different restaurants near the Denali Lodge.

Stay at the Princess Mt. McKinley Lodge instead of the Denali Lodge unless it gets renovated. Skip Fairbanks completely (tourist trap) and return to Anchorage for your flight.
KellyACanine’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BD 10th Deck
We loved our cabin. The bed was very comfortable and the room attractively decorated.
The Royal Princess has plenty of storage in a stateroom: six drawers, 8 shelves (12” wide) and a 6’ closet with 30 hangers. Bathrooms are small but efficient including three shelves by the sink. The desk is lighted like a vanity and that is the only place you will find two electrical plugs/outlets. We took a non-surge protector with three outlets and two USB ports which proved handy. We stowed two 28” suitcases under the bed with ease. A small fridge was in every stateroom. Pre-cruise, we ordered a 12 pack of 16 oz bottled water, a six pack of 12 oz tonic water and a 375 ml bottle of gin (Totaling less than $34). The gin, tonic water and 8 water bottles fit in the fridge. We spent hours on the balcony both day and night enjoying the view. We kept our TV on the live feed from bridge cam so we could see what the captain was seeing. Our cabin steward was an amazing man who had been with the cruise line for 38 years!
Riviera Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

The Lotus Spa was lovely with excellent services but wait to schedule for a few days because they offer specials to fill their appointment book. if you buy something on the ship, you can return it or cancel the shipment until disembarkation regardless of what ship staff tell you. Just stand your ground and ask for a supervisor to assist you.

If you want to take the Operations Tour to see what happens in the background during a cruise, board as early as possible because it is offered once and to only 12-14 people. The day and time is announced only to those participating and the waitlist is long. On our cruise, it was $150 each and was given on the afternoon that we cruised beautiful Glacier Bay. We were glad we were on the wait list or we would have missed the glacier calving and the beauty of the day. Choose onboard activities carefully because you miss the beautiful Alaskan scenery every time you stay inside...day or night!