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Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Whittier --> Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks. Vancouver looked like a nice city to visit. We should have left a day earlier and stayed one night there before the cruise. Boarding the ship was smooth - no lines. The Coral is probably the smallest cruise ship I have been on but it was very nice. The grill and pizza place was where we at most of the time. The few times we tried the dining room it took forever to get our food. We've been on a lot of cruises and this was the first time we had experienced this. The staff all spoke very good english and were very helpful. The entertainment was very Vegas-like. I could take it or leave it. A nice touch was that they offered beer from Alaskan Brewing. Most cruises I have taken it is the usual light, fizzy yellow beers offered with the token Guinness. The shopping was pretty bad. Every stop had the same 5 or 6 stores offering the exact same stuff. They also had the same jewellery stores at every stop - who cruises to Alaska to buy jewelery??? We started looking for the locally owned/operated stores and gave them our business. Most of the stored have something indicating that they are locally owned/operated. DO NOT expect fast internet anywhere on this trip. I had to do some work on the trip and the connection was very slow. I even brought my Verizon usb modem and I did not get 3G anywhere so it was very slow as well. Ketchikan was nice and we did the Canopy tour excursion. It was fun but I will book all excursions outside of Princess next time. More options and better prices. I would recommend the canopy tour. Juneau was smaller than I thought and it rained a bit here. We took the tram and hiked in the rain. We had booked a helicopter and dogsled excursion trough Princess but it was cancelled due to clouds/visibility. We walked down the dock and found Era tours. They had a helicopter and dogsled tour that went to the Norris and Taku glaciers and DogWorld instead of Mendenhall like everyone else. We saved more than $100 per person and still got to do the helicopter and dogselds. We got spectacular views of the glaciers and we able to meet/pet/mush the dogs. It was a highlight of our trip! Skagway was a bit boring but the Skagway Brewpub was worth a visit. Food and beer were both excellent. We also took the Gold Rush trip and that was a waste of our time. Glacier Bay and College Fjord were both amazing as expected. We found that there were small decks on the front and back of the ship on the Caribe, Baja and Aloha decks that almost no one seemed to know about. We had spectacular views of the glaciers and did not have to fight for a position to see them. We also used our balcony. It was a bit cloudy but I still took some great pics. The stop at the Animal Preserve outside of Whittier on he way to Anchorage was nice and I would recommend it. They take in injured animals and nurse them back to health. A lot to see here. . Anchorage was a nice stop. They had a street festival going on and we walked around and enjoyed the city. I recommend the Snow Goose for good beer. We didn't get a chance to try the Glacier brewpub - it was packed. The Captain Cook hotel was very nice and had a great view. Doing the tour after the cruise worked out better for us. The train ride from Anchorage to Denali was painful. It took forever to get there and the seating was cramped. If we had taken the train before the cruise it would have put a damper on the rest of the trip. The Denali lodge was horrible. The rooms were easily the worst we stayed in on any trip we have taken. Paper thin walls and cheap furnishings. We could hear the people on either side of us snoring and if they were moving around at all we could hear it. There were not many food choices there either. The best option is to go across the street and get breakfast/coffee/dinner/beer over there instead of at the lodge. They offer a $14 breakfast buffet or a muffin and coffee - that's it. I'm not eating $14 worth of food for breakfast. We ate at the Salmon Bake twice and got coffee across the street. We also booked a white water rafting trip at Denali Outdoor Center and had a great time. I would recommend this one even though the water was fast and 36 degrees. They gave us drysuits so we were not cold or wet at the end. Our package included a 5 hour 15 mile bus trip into the park. There was no way I was sitting for 5 hours on a bus to only go 15 miles into the park. The desk at the lodge was pushing the upgrade to the Tundra tour. We passed on that and went to the visitors center and traded our tour tickets for a shuttle pass. The shuttle buses go a lot further into the park and have experienced and knowledgeable drivers. They stopped for wildlife sightings and made the trip fun. I would recommend not buying a tour from Princess and getting a shuttle pass instead. We rode with the somewhat famous John Allen. The bus to Fairbanks was ok. The driver stopped at Parks Monument which is really a rock on the side of the highway - nothing to see here folks. It could have been skipped since there was nothing there and we were almost into Fairbanks by that time. Fairbanks was a nice little town. Our room at the Bear Lodge was nice and it had 2 good places to eat within walking distance - Ichiban Noodle and Geraldo's. Both were very good. We took the riverboat tour and this was fun. We saw Lance Mackey and Susan Butcher's dog camp and got to see how the natives lived. It was a long and fun trip. I took 10 gigs of photos and videos.We saw glaciers, whales, moose, caribou, musk ox, bears, eagles, owls, seals, sea otters and learned a lot about the culture of the natives. I would do a few things different if I cruise to Alaska again but we enjoyed it overall.

Adventure in Alaska

Coral Princess Cruise Review by elj4176

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2010
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Whittier --> Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks. Vancouver looked like a nice city to visit. We should have left a day earlier and stayed one night there before the cruise. Boarding the ship was smooth - no lines. The Coral is probably the smallest cruise ship I have been on but it was very nice. The grill and pizza place was where we at most of the time. The few times we tried the dining room it took forever to get our food. We've been on a lot of cruises and this was the first time we had experienced this. The staff all spoke very good english and were very helpful. The entertainment was very Vegas-like. I could take it or leave it. A nice touch was that they offered beer from Alaskan Brewing. Most cruises I have taken it is the usual light, fizzy yellow beers offered with the token Guinness. The shopping was pretty bad. Every stop had the same 5 or 6 stores offering the exact same stuff. They also had the same jewellery stores at every stop - who cruises to Alaska to buy jewelery??? We started looking for the locally owned/operated stores and gave them our business. Most of the stored have something indicating that they are locally owned/operated.
DO NOT expect fast internet anywhere on this trip. I had to do some work on the trip and the connection was very slow. I even brought my Verizon usb modem and I did not get 3G anywhere so it was very slow as well.
Ketchikan was nice and we did the Canopy tour excursion. It was fun but I will book all excursions outside of Princess next time. More options and better prices. I would recommend the canopy tour.
Juneau was smaller than I thought and it rained a bit here. We took the tram and hiked in the rain. We had booked a helicopter and dogsled excursion trough Princess but it was cancelled due to clouds/visibility. We walked down the dock and found Era tours. They had a helicopter and dogsled tour that went to the Norris and Taku glaciers and DogWorld instead of Mendenhall like everyone else. We saved more than $100 per person and still got to do the helicopter and dogselds. We got spectacular views of the glaciers and we able to meet/pet/mush the dogs. It was a highlight of our trip!
Skagway was a bit boring but the Skagway Brewpub was worth a visit. Food and beer were both excellent. We also took the Gold Rush trip and that was a waste of our time.
Glacier Bay and College Fjord were both amazing as expected. We found that there were small decks on the front and back of the ship on the Caribe, Baja and Aloha decks that almost no one seemed to know about. We had spectacular views of the glaciers and did not have to fight for a position to see them. We also used our balcony. It was a bit cloudy but I still took some great pics.
The stop at the Animal Preserve outside of Whittier on he way to Anchorage was nice and I would recommend it. They take in injured animals and nurse them back to health. A lot to see here. . Anchorage was a nice stop. They had a street festival going on and we walked around and enjoyed the city. I recommend the Snow Goose for good beer. We didn't get a chance to try the Glacier brewpub - it was packed. The Captain Cook hotel was very nice and had a great view.
Doing the tour after the cruise worked out better for us. The train ride from Anchorage to Denali was painful. It took forever to get there and the seating was cramped. If we had taken the train before the cruise it would have put a damper on the rest of the trip.
The Denali lodge was horrible. The rooms were easily the worst we stayed in on any trip we have taken. Paper thin walls and cheap furnishings. We could hear the people on either side of us snoring and if they were moving around at all we could hear it. There were not many food choices there either. The best option is to go across the street and get breakfast/coffee/dinner/beer over there instead of at the lodge. They offer a $14 breakfast buffet or a muffin and coffee - that's it. I'm not eating $14 worth of food for breakfast. We ate at the Salmon Bake twice and got coffee across the street. We also booked a white water rafting trip at Denali Outdoor Center and had a great time. I would recommend this one even though the water was fast and 36 degrees. They gave us drysuits so we were not cold or wet at the end. Our package included a 5 hour 15 mile bus trip into the park. There was no way I was sitting for 5 hours on a bus to only go 15 miles into the park. The desk at the lodge was pushing the upgrade to the Tundra tour. We passed on that and went to the visitors center and traded our tour tickets for a shuttle pass. The shuttle buses go a lot further into the park and have experienced and knowledgeable drivers. They stopped for wildlife sightings and made the trip fun. I would recommend not buying a tour from Princess and getting a shuttle pass instead. We rode with the somewhat famous John Allen. The bus to Fairbanks was ok. The driver stopped at Parks Monument which is really a rock on the side of the highway - nothing to see here folks. It could have been skipped since there was nothing there and we were almost into Fairbanks by that time. Fairbanks was a nice little town. Our room at the Bear Lodge was nice and it had 2 good places to eat within walking distance - Ichiban Noodle and Geraldo's. Both were very good. We took the riverboat tour and this was fun. We saw Lance Mackey and Susan Butcher's dog camp and got to see how the natives lived. It was a long and fun trip. I took 10 gigs of photos and videos.We saw glaciers, whales, moose, caribou, musk ox, bears, eagles, owls, seals, sea otters and learned a lot about the culture of the natives. I would do a few things different if I cruise to Alaska again but we enjoyed it overall.
elj4176’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BC 626
We were originally booked on the Aloha deck with an uncovered balcony. We got this changed to C626 which is right next to the stairs and elevators. We never heard any noise from either so that was good. The balcony was half-covered and was nice when it was raining. I could step back and still get good pics/views of the glaciers and scenery.
The was a faint odor in the room but I'm not sure what it was. Seemed to be coming from the drapes. Shower was very small. I'm not a large person and I had trouble showering in there.
Most of the activities on the ship are on the middle decks so if you like to take the stairs keep that in mind instead of booking on a higher deck. There is a door at the back of the ship in the Caribe deck that opens onto a small deck that was not crowded at all. We could get good views of the glaciers from there.
Good room. I would book it again.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins