I have to say straight away that the natural beauty of Alaska is GREAT, and reading the following review should not deter anyone from going to see such a wonderful place. Looking over the side of the ship to see Pacific White-Sided dolphins and Orca whales playing in the ship's wake is a real thrill. The train ride in Skagway is Great - The Glaciers are AWESOME.
So for the Natural Beauty part - Alaska REALLY ticks all the boxes.
We did tour Denali park an Anchorage on our own - had a great time. On morning of Sept 11 we dropped off the car at the airport, took a taxi to Alaska RR station and got the train ride to Whittier. It was a really neat to see whales, seals and eagles along the way as the train travels along the waterfront. And we weren't even on the ship yet! Cool!
Now for the Princess part...did we come back "new"?... not really. More like "disappointed".
We had paid extra for the full "suite" experience because we were looking forward to the nice amenities Princess would provide to us - wowzer we were surprised...
The main problem wasn't that the balcony decking in suite C703 was broken with sharp holes - ask me how easy it is to get bloody feet if you're not wearing shoes. The balcony roof leaked in the rain and dribbled water down the sliding glass door into the room. The shower didn't work (trudge up 3 flights to the spa to get a shower), the hair dryer wasn't working, there were other people's clothes left in the drawers (the room was cleaned that well prior to our arrival) and the bed was worn out years ago.
The main problem was that after we talked to the room steward & the front desk on the ship...and then calling the front desk and even trying to call the Princess main landline from Skagway: Absolutely nothing got fixed.
OH - the front desk told us they'd have maintenance crew up there right away. They were pleasant enough. And we did see maintenance crews working on everyone else's bathroom. Apparently they didn't like us though since our room never got serviced. We tried asking several times....nothing.
The only contact I've had with Princess since then was I got in touch with their "Customer Relations" department - and they say it'll be at least 10 WEEKS before anyone at Princess will get in touch with us.
That's how much Princess cares really cares about their customers. They need to do better.
Just keep that in mind if you book Princess... I would highly highly recommend you get a newer or more recently refurbished ship. The size and design of Coral is OK, but boy - at least for C703 - that lady needs to go in for some TLC.
As noted above, the balcony decking was very broken, and right off the bat I walked into the room, kicked off my shoes and stepped out onto the balcony - felt something funny - then looked down. Uggh. The decking is all broken with sharp holes, and I found out how easy it is to get your feet all bloodied up. We had a lot of rainy weather and the overhead balcony section dribbled water down the door glass into the room. The Balcony furniture had sopping wet & moldy cushions - for a trip to Alaska you're better off with metal and plastic decking furniture that won't stay wet and get moldy.
The shower drain wasn't working, nor was the hair dryer. The bed was really worn out and lumpy.
Never did see the room steward after the first day - and come to think of it I think we went thru two or three stewards. We kept getting other passengers mail, and we kept having to bring it back to the front desk. We tried calling room steward directly several times but that never worked.
I know I'm complaining about everything, so I'll stop there. It gets better later on, when just about everyone on the ship got sick...but we'll save that for another time.
What was good about the room? Let's see. Well, the sliding door didn't leak water when it wasn't raining! And we could see the pretty scenery outside!
Bottom line: Was a suite worth the extra expense? For us it turned out to be sort of disaster on that cruise, but if they got things patched together so the shower worked it could be really nice. We loved having access to the spa, and that turned out to be essential to get a shower.
Took the Glacier Explorer train form Anchorage to Whittier - Highly recommended. The train gets to the ship around 12:05pm, and some of the buses from airport won't get there until hours later. So if you want to get on the ship early - take the train - even if you stay the night before in Anchorage it is worth it.
This really isn't at Glacier Bay but at Hubbard Glacier. The excursion boat was overcrowded and as a photographer - it wasn't easy to get a glacier photo without three rows of people in front of you. My wife liked being a little closer to the glacier though. The excursion was cut short when a passenger had a medical emergency / injury, and the excursion boat had to head back to ship quickly. It seemed like both the ship and excursion boat did a good job getting the passenger back to proper medical care.
In the end - for us the glacier view from the ship was just as good as what you'd see from excursion boat, if not better. We didn't feel it was worth the $589 for two people - at least not on that rainy & foggy day. Our hearts go out to the injured passenger and hope everyone is OK.
Princess did give us a partial refund on the excursion. I'm not sure I'd do it again though.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Took the Skagway train ride in luxury car at the very back of the train. WORTH EVERY PENNY!! Yes, some people say the luxury car goes the same way as the rest of the train... and they are not wrong.
BUT what you get on the luxury car is the back platform that gives you an expansive view from the rear of the train. Essential for great photography opportunities and we even snapped a photo of a black bear crossing the tracks right after the train passed by.
The train ride itself is GREAT no matter what car you're in - but if you can afford it and want to get some good photos - get the luxury car!! Plus you get beer and goodies along the way.
We would give this experience about 45 stars if we could. Fun Day!!View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
We had a really sunny clear day - I wouldn't do this if you can;t see the top of the tram from the boat...and really you can easily get tickets at the tram for the same price as on the ship. I would wait until you see what the weather is like before buying tram tickets.
Otherwise the tram ride is really smooth and beautiful - and it was amazing how far we could see. There are several hiking options at the top and a nature center...We really spent more time exploring more than we though we would, and we enjoyed every minute.
Then we went back down the hill and enjoyed massages at the Lotus Spa on Coral Princess at reduced "Port Day" pricing. Fun day for us!!View All 263 Mount Roberts Tramway Reviews