Island Princess Cruise Review by shenanybritt123
- Sail Date: May 2010
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Balcony
The main complaint I have is the food. The buffet was great for breakfast; the food was normal. They had french toast, waffles, eggs, hash browns, breads, cheeses, biscuits, fruit, etc. Lunch and dinner, however, were a different story. There was rarely anything that I would consider "normal." They always had salad, some sandwiches, and breads. Usually there were mashed potatoes and some type of meat. The other sides and such just seemed very fancy or oriental. It was very hard to get something plain, like a piece of grilled chicken or even just green beans. The food in the restaurant was very good, but it did take a while. Once again, nothing was plain...although I'm sure you could order it plain if you wanted. The restaurant is a good choice if you want a nice sit-down dinner and maybe want something to do for a while. We were usually in there about an hour and a half to two hours. Our waiters were always very attentive and made sure that our orders were correct and how we wanted. There were pizza and hamburger restaurants on the deck, which were very good. We usually did this or room service. Room service was also included in the anytime dining, and they had a couple more options than the other places. It was also very quick; the food usually arrived within 20 minutes. One other thing is that soda is not included in the price of the cruise. They have stickers to put on the room cards that allow you to get unlimited soda, but they cost about $4.50 a day.
Our room steward was very nice. It seemed like he was watching the room! Practically every time we had left the room, we came back and it was clean or the sheets were turned down.
Overall, this was a great cruise. Everything went according to plan in the ports as well. Once we got to Whittier, we took the train to Denali. The hotel here was very nice, but food was extremely expensive. I would highly recommend the Tundra Wilderness Tour that usually comes with the cruisetour...it's great for spotting wildlife. We also did a whitewater rafting tour. It was a lot of fun! We then took a bus to Fairbanks. This was where the first thing went wrong. We signed up for a North Pole tour the first night that was supposed to leave at 6:15. We were waiting outside the hotel at 6, but we saw no bus and were never called for the tour. Finally, about 6:30, I went inside to check on it. I was told by someone at the front desk that the bus had come and gone and they tried calling our room. I told them that we were told to be up front, and that when nobody answered the phone, I asked why they didn't call our name or the name of the tour outside. A lady at the Princess tour desk said that she and the tour director went outside looking for us. I told them we were on the opposite side of the walkway and she said "Well, we didn't look over there." Just flat-out admitted it...and there was no apology. The bus also didn't have a sign on it. I asked for a refund and was told it would be refunded in a couple weeks. I was mad, but at least they refunded it. The next day, when the tour bus came for the next group of people, I went up to the driver and told him that he needed to try harder when looking for his guests. He just kept saying he went around asking for us. How does that help to go around and ask people we don't know where we are? I don't know. But he wouldn't own up to not looking for us. Anyways, we went to Chena Hot Springs and had a great time. They have a cool ice museum and a nice restaurant (included in price). The riverboat tour was also very interesting.
We then started our drive up to Prudhoe Bay. We stopped in Coldfoot and stayed in a work camp. There are no tv's, so I would suggest taking one of the tours they offer (in particular, Anaktuvuk Pass). The next day we went up to Prudhoe Bay. We stayed in a work camp here, also. It was a very relaxed night. Then, we went up to the Arctic Ocean. It was still frozen so everyone got to go walk on the ice. We also got a flight back to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines just for us! It was nice to be back somewhere that dinner didn't cost $20 per person. Here, we stayed in Hotel Captain Cook...extremely nice. Our final day, we were supposed to do the 26 glacier cruise. Our paper said to be downstairs at 10:30. Luckily, I checked with the front desk and it was 9:30. We were downstairs at 9:15. At 10, the bus still "hadn't come," so I checked with the front desk and we were supposedly left off the list from Princess. However, unlike Fairbanks, the people here were MUCH more helpful than those in Fairbanks. I put in for a refund and we were also picked up by another tour (Explore Anchorage?) for free! We drove around the city and went to Wildberry Products, where we received lunch. It was great to do this instead of sitting around all day.
Aside from the two mistakes on the tours, everything was great! The main suggestion I have (if you do land tours) is to bring snacks! Because meals were so expensive, we sometimes just ate snacks for our meals. Snacks can get expensive too, so I would bring them from home.
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