Let me start with explaining why I only gave this a 3 out of 5. It started out great in that it was a pleasant surprise that we were able to board right after going through all the check in procedures to start taking advantage of the boats’ amenities. Get there early, as it does take a while to get through check-in/customs. Now, in my eyes, a cruise ship should be fit & ready to sail according to its itinerary that you paid for. Ours was not. Did we sail at 4:30 as scheduled, NO, did we sail at 7:00 pm, NO, did we sail as they said the delay would take til at midnight – NO. We sailed at 3:00 am of which at dinnertime the evening before while still in port but on the boat, they announced would have to change the itinerary as we would no longer be able to go to our first stop Juneau. REALLY, Juneau, the capital of Alaska and port probably 100% of the people were most looking forward to as it was only a 2 port stop and to be our most northern part of Alaska we were sailing to, so to look forward to excursions like the glaciers, dog sledding, seeing the wildlife, etc. Most, if not all, booked specifically to see “Alaska” and in changing Juneau to now go to Rupert, British Columbia as the alternate port was to say the least VERY DISAPPOINTING. If I’d of known of this change before sailing, and given the option of not going & getting our money back, I would gladly have rescheduled and used that money to book a future ALASKAN only cruise. So the small compensation we got for the “inconvenience” by no means made up for this loss.
Now, once we did sail, as far as rating the Island Princess for its amenities, restaurants, shows, cabin, staff, etc, I would rate it a 5+. Having said that, there is a lot of advertising for the boat shopping (and in ports) both in leaving paperwork at your cabin door and within the events listed in the Patter newsletter. We got caught up in going to some events that were nothing more than advertising and they get you by offering free items or free draws. Once we figured this out we could get on with some of the more fun/informative events. A lot of events overlap so you truly have to pick & choose which is better for you and not falling for these advertised events makes it easier to weed out. I wish in the Patter it would have listed the duration of events and a brief explanation of them. All the music and entertainers were top-notch. Cruise Director Natalie as announcer or host was an enhancement to all entertainment, she was high energy and so funny. The cooking demonstration with Exec Chef, Maitre d’Hotel & Natalie was so funny, followed by a galley tour, was one of our fave events.
The Naturalist Mark Harris gave great lectures. I only wish he would have narrated more landmarks along the way through the outside speakers on the deck (especially when whales or dolphins were nearby), or to know where we were, as spectacular sites when close to land.
Would highly recommend getting a cabin with a balcony. Even though you are not in your room much it is still great to go to bed or wake up looking out to see where you are and have all that light come in the room.
Boat docks right in Ketchican so just walked around town. Can get a walking tour map from Information Centre right when you get off the boat. Creek Street is very interesting and watch in the river there for seals catching salmon.
We were supposed to go to Juneau but got rerouted to Prince Rupert, very much a disappointment to say the least. No excursions I would want to do here so got off the boat for an hour just to walk around town but nothing to see or do so got back on the boat to take more advantage of its amenities.