Alaska was a bucket list destination for us, not just a cruise but also a land tour. Princess Cruises offers cruisetours incorporating a cruise with a land tour. We selected the Connoisseur Tour as it included most meals on the tour as well as the services of a tour director. The additional cost above their unescorted tour is approx $900.00 per person. The cruise part of out trip was very good, no problems and delivered what we expected. Rooms on the ship were a bit dated and could do with a refurbishment but the ship amenities and facilities were certainly up to scratch. we sailed Club Class and had no waiting times in the dining room or any specialty restaurants. Ports of call were all interesting, the towns quirky, Glacier Bay and College Fjord were spectacular. The land portion of the tour however didn't live up to expectations. First the tour director. Our director did not deliver any real value or insight during our tour. Her input included handing out check in information envelopes at each lodge and making dinner reservations at the lodge restaurant on the first night at 2 of the 3 lodges. All of this could have been easily managed direct by the lodge check in staff on our arrival. Apart from the 2 dinner reservations and a couple of pre-arranged tour group meals (not arranged by our director anyway), we were left to arrange our own meals direct with the eateries at each lodge which often meant putting our name on a list and waiting up to 1 hour for a table to become available. On one very cool night we were even placed at an outdoor table for dinner - not acceptable. Given that we had paid to be on a Connoisseur tour, we expected better service than that. We should have had pre-tour bookings for all meals rather than have to take our chances with all the other travellers at the lodge. Princess really need to review their staff numbers and facilities to make sure they can actually cater for the very high number of guests that they happily pile into their lodges. Regarding the lodges, they are all owned by Princess and staffed with seasonal workers from across the globe, some who do not have a very good grasp of the English language. In general, the service received at the lodges was below expectations. The cleanliness of the rooms left a bit to be desired - we even found hair and eyelashes on the pillows in one of our rooms - suggests the bedding was not changed! They are also located in relatively remote areas away from other shops/restaurants etc so there is no real alternative but to eat, drink and spend all your money at their lodges. My advice is to NOT take a Connoisseur tour but rather one of their unescorted tours which includes basically the same itinerary and you're not locked in to 3 course dinners each night (after waiting for a table) - buy and pay only for what you want. You'd save money. The tour direct too is not worth the additional cost, doesn't deliver any value or enhance your experience. Another word of advice, don't take the last cruisetour of the season. Pricess started closing down services in the Fairbanks lodge while we were still there for a couple of days post-tour. It was like we were the last house guests and were in their way of closing down for winter. In summary, cruise great, land tour average to below expectations. Maybe if you want to do a land tour of Alaska, do your homework of local tour operators that run land tours and book with one of them.
Decor and furnishings are a little bit dated and could do with refurbishment. Bathroom was a little bit small, no room for 2 people to be in there at one time. Wardrobe area was adequate without being spacious. Bed was very comfortable but sofa, while not terrible, could do with replacement. Overall it was comfortable.
Good. was basically just a bus transfer to the visitor centre for 2.5 hours to do your own thing, then a bus transfer back tot he ship.
Pretty expensive 4 minute ride up to the top of the mountain. Your ticket is good for the day but once you've been up once, you don't need to go up again.
Scenery was exceptional and train ride a little scary in a few spots - well worth the experience. Then on to Carcross by coach for lunch stop and then back to the ship. Good day trip
Amazing scenery and the captain took the ship in closer to the face of the glacier than normal.
Disembarked here then took a train straight to Talkeetna - didn't see Whittier
More like a walk than a hike but very enjoyable with a very informative guide.