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65 Whittier to Alaska Cruise Reviews

Overall I was disappointed with the service we received. From everything I had heard and read I was expecting better service. I felt you are constantly nickel and dimed. we also had an unfortunate incident, we paid for the special coffee ... Read More
Overall I was disappointed with the service we received. From everything I had heard and read I was expecting better service. I felt you are constantly nickel and dimed. we also had an unfortunate incident, we paid for the special coffee card, planning on having cappochino coffees through out the week. First day at sea we had our first cup. Terrible, 3 times they tried to remake it. When we asked for a refund, they told us it was non refundable. No where on the card or the ad for it, did it state that. It took over 24 hours before they refunded us part of the monies for the card. We had to pay for the 2 cups of unacceptable coffee. Throughout the cruise, we were constantly approached to buy something. I felt like I was on a Carnival cruise. On a positive note, the entertainment was very good, they had excellent speakers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My DH and I chose the Star Princess because of the timing of the cruise. This was our first cruise and we wanted a very special one. We were going to renew our vows while in Alaska and splurged all the way, The Star Pro: The Star is ... Read More
My DH and I chose the Star Princess because of the timing of the cruise. This was our first cruise and we wanted a very special one. We were going to renew our vows while in Alaska and splurged all the way, The Star Pro: The Star is warm and charming. It is well maintained and clean. Con: The ship is dated with lots of gold decor. Suite C749 Pro: We chose suite C749 because we wanted the wake to be the first thing we heard in the morning and the last thing we heard at night. We were not disappointed. Lots and lots of storage space and the bathroom is big and comfortable. Con: The sofa in our cabin had slats of wood underneath the seat cushions and a block of wood under the sofa. The only thing we could figure out was the sofa was old and that was a way to keep from replacing the sofa itself. Captain and Crew Very nice and polite. Lots of smiles and hellos. Service at the Buffet Pro: The buffet service in the beginning was outstanding. Our glasses were never empty and the staff was on top of things. Con: That was for the first couple of days. After that, the staff would look at our empty glasses and walk right on by our table. This happened to us numerous times. The routine became us trying to find someone for refills. Buffet Pro: Hmmm!!! Con:I guess we thought the food would be like what was shown on the Princess video. We were wrong.There was no buffet of seafood or outstanding dishes. Macaroni and cheese was served twice. Mashed potatoes and gravy were served daily. We had a roasted pig one day and left over roasted pig the next day. They must have confused Alaska for Hawaii. Dessert was not spectacular and no works of art as shown on their video..To sum it up, I can go to a mom and pop restaurant at home and it would be a lot less expensive. Crown Grill Pro: It was the best food we had the entire week. Con: DH and I were put in the back corner on one end of the restaurant and everyone else was on the other side. There was NO ONE sitting anywhere near us. We had obviously been separated from the others.I have wished many times I had asked why they purposely made that decision. We were appropriately dressed so that wasn't the problem. I did wear tennis shoes and they must not have been considered "appropriate." If that was the reason. I would have raised my pant leg to show that a leg brace is attached to my shoe.Our experience was so distasteful that we ate at the buffet after that. Way to go Crown Grill!!! Entertainment Pro: The marriage game was fun. We missed the puppies :-( Con: The comedian wasn't near as funny as he thought he was. In MY opinion, he was insulting to the United States and certain groups of people in this country. He acted a little offended that he didn't receive a complete standing ovation.We would have left during the show but were up front and couldn't leave graciously. Excursions: Pro: The Red Saloon in Skagway was awesome!!! We then went into Canada and enjoyed every second of our trip. Our guide was pleasant and knowledgeable. Con: (not about Princess): I can't comment on the excursions in Juneau and Ketchikan because we didn't get to go. I am very slow going down steps because of my disability. A fellow passenger got inpatient with me and decided to go around me. She caused me to lose my balance and I took a really bad fall. I had (and still have) a horrible sprained ankle. After that, I was sporting a boot on one leg and a brace on the other and my mobility was restricted even more. Pro For Princess: Princess Cruise reimbursed us for our excursions. In spite of the cons, we did have a wonderful and magical cruise. We will sail with Princess again, but not on the Star. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We did the pre tour of Alaska first and joined the ship in Whittier. Princess were well organised on the tour and handled our luggage well. The embarkation process was smooth and quick. Luggage waiting on board and we went straight ... Read More
We did the pre tour of Alaska first and joined the ship in Whittier. Princess were well organised on the tour and handled our luggage well. The embarkation process was smooth and quick. Luggage waiting on board and we went straight to lunch before exploring. Cabins were comfortable, great walk in wardrobe with plenty of hangers. Ship was quite easy to get around, but it did have some of those lifs that only went to certain floors, but on the positive side it made you walk more. We had pre-booked th 8:15pm dining sitting but on boarding this had been changed to 7:30. This was a shame as it didn't align us with the shows, unless we went late and we didn't see many. What we did see, wasn't anything to write home about. Though others raved. The dining experience was OK, but only 2 other guests turned up for our fixed dining, so they were the only ones we got to chat too. Previously ships, there had been 8/10 people per table and we all moved around and it worked well. Buffet breakfast and lunch was good. As were the snack bars. Service was good, had no issues. Had some great excursions, they weren't cheap though. Overall we felt the ship was a little bit flat. It didn't excite us Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose to go on the Coral Princess as the ports were what we wanted and the prices better than the other ships leaving the same time. This was our first Princess cruise and with the exception of another (Ruby Princess that followed) ... Read More
We chose to go on the Coral Princess as the ports were what we wanted and the prices better than the other ships leaving the same time. This was our first Princess cruise and with the exception of another (Ruby Princess that followed) will be our last. Most of our fellow passengers were content so it must be my wife and I that did not have a wonderful experience. Perhaps we were expecting a more informative and relaxing entertainment. A string quartet and a Broadway show would have been nice as opposed to a hip hop productions meant for a younger audience. The food was not to our liking. I am allergic to sea food and 80% of the offering in soups, salads and entrees were seafood so my options were limited. In addition, the food was not well prepared or served at the correct temperature. Most of the food in the Lido was warmed over and appeared not to be fresh. I could be wrong, but it did not taste as if prepared recently, The service was excellent. Our room Stewart, dinning room servers and customer receptionist were great. I must admit, our views are probably not in the majority. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 21st cruise and our 3rd on Princess. I wish you could give 1/2 stars because I would have rated the cruise 3.5 but it did not deserve 4 stars. Remember that average or average plus is not the same as bad. Pros: The public ... Read More
This was our 21st cruise and our 3rd on Princess. I wish you could give 1/2 stars because I would have rated the cruise 3.5 but it did not deserve 4 stars. Remember that average or average plus is not the same as bad. Pros: The public areas were quite nice, the beverage package was a much better deal than the one on Celebrity, the Norman Love desserts were delicious, desserts in general were very good. i loved the escargot and the goat cheese soufflé appetizers and the lobster entree. Our mini suite had excellent storage and it was one of the most comfortable beds I've ever had on a cruise. The 2 nights that we spent in Vancouver with the tour to Victoria and Buchart gardens was outstanding. Cons: We had anytime dining and dined at 6PM (we had young children in our group). Dinner usually took at least 2 hours. The assistant waiters were responsible for getting the cocktails and my husband's request for Kahlua and cream resulted in some strange deliveries. The breakfast and lunch buffets were not as good as others we have had. Our cabin though spacious was "tired". When we were in port, we had to guess what deck we were leaving from. No announcements were made. There was no track so we had to walk outside on the Promenade deck. There was a horrible odor on the starboard side. Fortunately we were port. On 2 occasions members of our group ordered the salmon from the "always available" menu and it was so over cooked as to be inedible. Bottom line is there is a reason that Princess wins "best itinerary" awards but none for ships or food. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our third time on a Princess Cruise ship and our 21st cruise so far. The Coral Princess was a bit disappointing because of its “tired” look and feel in about 60% of the ship. The only reason we choose Princess for this ... Read More
This was our third time on a Princess Cruise ship and our 21st cruise so far. The Coral Princess was a bit disappointing because of its “tired” look and feel in about 60% of the ship. The only reason we choose Princess for this cruise was the itinerary and the fact that our good friends were also joining their children who took a similar cruise on their honeymoon 10 years ago. The good parts were the size of the mini-suite and the amount of storage space in the room. Although the rooms are indeed looking a bit tired, we did have a very comfortable mattress. The Universe Lounge, Wheelhouse Bar, Explorer’s Lounge and Sabatini’s all looked like they were either fairly new or just refurbished. The Universe Lounge was a very nice place to relax and the Bayou Show was terrific. There was one nice thing in the Horizon Court Buffet, it you like your eggs made to order, you place your order and they give you a ticket with a number. You give this ticket to one of the roaming table waiters and they bring you your eggs! No waiting in line. This is a great idea. The bad parts were not all that bad but could have been much better. We had no hot water in our room (D506) on the first day but once we reported this to our room steward, the problem was corrected! The Horizon Court Buffet was adequate but we missed the little things like no skim milk by the coffee, (you had to get it back by the cereal which was the other end of the room!). No sandwich station at lunch, what’s up with that? Not enough seating – always a problem at the buffet. The elevators were another source of confusion. Only one set of elevators went to most floors. They also block the use of the central elevators during embarkation and disembarkation at ALL ports. All very confusing to the point of folks on the last day still saying, “how do I get there from here?”. The scenic cruising to Yakutat Bay and Glacier Bay were two of the highlights of the cruise. Having the park rangers aboard the ship while in Glacier Bay was a nice touch. The excursions we choose were all fairly expensive but well worth the money, in my opinion. If you get the chance to go whale watching and to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, take it. I would also highly recommend the nature walk and crab feast in Ketchikan. The White Pass train ride from Skagway was also full of beautiful scenery and breathtaking vistas. We also booked a hotel for two nights and an all day excursion to Vancouver Island, Butchart Gardens and Victoria. The hotel was the Four Seasons and that was simply top notch in every way. The excursion was a bit of a hassle at first since Princess made a typo on the reservation letter they gave us when we got to the hotel. The date they had printed was for our departure day and NOT the following day as it should have been. It took a few hours before they realized that it was a typo but it finally was corrected. I would suggest that anyone planning to book this post-cruise hotel and excursion, check with Princess before you leave home to confirm that they have the correct information. The excursion itself was great but a very long day. It started at 8:45 AM when we boarded the bus. We then stopped at 4 other hotels to pick up a handful of other passengers. From there the bus drove 45 minutes to the ferry port where we proceeded to board the ferry (on the bus). Once loaded we were free to leave the bus and roam the ferry which was very large. They had a full cafeteria and buffet lunch/dinner as well as a small snack bar. The ferry ride was an hour and 35 minutes. We then boarded the bus and drove to Butchart Gardens which was about 40 minutes away. We had two hours in the Gardens, if you get the chance to see this, don’t miss it. The bus then took us to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. The city itself is pretty magnificent and very European. After an hour and a half here we got back on the bus to drive back to the ferry terminal, which was about 50 minutes away, to catch the 7:00 PM ferry. The ferry ride back was another hour and 35 minutes so we returned to Vancouver around 8:50 PM. This time we were the first hotel stop so we arrived back at the hotel by around 9:30 PM roughly 13 hours after we left. We now had to get up at 5:00 AM to catch our flight home. A very long day! All-in-all I would rate this cruise somewhere in the middle of the 21 cruises we’ve taken to date. Certainly not the best or the worst but glad we did it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Food - The food on Anytime Dining was far from fine dining. The Ribeye that my husband had ordered was ok & another night he had Fillet Mignon which was not tender at all. 1st night I had Cod with lentils which was dry. Another night ... Read More
Food - The food on Anytime Dining was far from fine dining. The Ribeye that my husband had ordered was ok & another night he had Fillet Mignon which was not tender at all. 1st night I had Cod with lentils which was dry. Another night I had the King Crab legs which was really fresh. Also tried Chicken Pot Pie (recipe by Curtis Stone) was tasty but over salted. The buffet meals on 14th Floor, Horizon Cafe was not too bad but lacking in variety as compared to Celebrity ships. It was also frustrating that their area at Horizon Cafe was really limited & passengers were always standing/walking around looking for a place to sit during meal times. Their Specialty Restaurant, Sabitini's, was a great disappointment too. The double baked artichoke my husband ordered as an appetizer was tastier than the mozzarella on a bed of tomatoes was abit bland. We also ordered crispy squid which, in our opinion, was served like any fish & chips cafe. Our mains of Lobster was a great disappointment for a Specialty Restaurant. It was either steamed or boiled in their shell split & rested on a little sauce with a spoonful of barley (served like a risotto). The waiter on serving our lobsters removed the meat from their shells & set it on the sauce. For dessert, we tried tirimisu, chocolate creme brulee & a citrus tart. I liked the tart & my husband loved the others though he said the choc creme brulee tasted more like mousse. Apart from all the negatives, this itinerary on Star Princess is absolutely awesome & 1 of the best. So that already makes up for all the other unpleasant stuff. It was a trip of a lifetime & a MUST DO! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We considered only Princess & HA since only they have access to Glacier Bay; Princess seemed to be a bit cheaper than HA; Princess had excellent schedules & prices for airfare arrangements. We received free gratuities for using ... Read More
We considered only Princess & HA since only they have access to Glacier Bay; Princess seemed to be a bit cheaper than HA; Princess had excellent schedules & prices for airfare arrangements. We received free gratuities for using Princess air arrangements. We were assigned a room for wheelchair access which is very roomy. Cabin was generally nice and steward was [as always] superb. But there was constant faint sewage-like odor in our bathroom and often in the hall outside, 5:30 early seating seemed too early and we used anytime seating as a consequence. Formal sittings had excellent food and service and we as always ignored specialty restaurants. "Enrichment" lectures were, we thought, very good. We saw the first woman to win the Iditarod and she is a wonderful lecturer. Animal and flora lectures were also well appreciated. With a couple of exceptions entertainment fell flat and its scheduling was confusing. Current wisdom is that one should splurge for balcony for Alaskan scenery but I disagree. Everyone runs to 14th and 15th deck when glaciers are approached anyway. Inside room would have done as well. We arranged our own whale watching in Juno and the company -Harv and Marv- stiffed us. Next time we will suffer the higher price of shipboard excursions... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
One week on land, one on the ship to fulfill a dream of seeing Alaska. The land portion was excellent. Nice accommodations and got to see so much! The ship seemed much more about Botox and art auctions than Alaska. The naturalist was ... Read More
One week on land, one on the ship to fulfill a dream of seeing Alaska. The land portion was excellent. Nice accommodations and got to see so much! The ship seemed much more about Botox and art auctions than Alaska. The naturalist was hard to hear in most public areas and because it was cold and rainy, the top deck was not usable, making other viewing areas very crowded and difficult. A map of the ship detailing the many offerings would have been really helpful but was not provided. A listing of the tv stations, including which one featured the naturalist also would have been helpful. Food was very good and plentiful of course. Coffee was not great and unavailable one morning while water was shut off. Indoor pool closed for repairs during the last day at sea. "Princess at Sea" communication was nice. Turn phone on airplane mode with wifi on and it gave a list of activities as well as ability to text although still no map. Disembarkation involved many people sitting in corridors on the floor for long stretches. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first cruise with Princess, and our first to Alaska. We did a four day land tour before the cruise, all with Princess. We were a group of 12, some family, some friends. We were not very impressed with the land portion. ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Princess, and our first to Alaska. We did a four day land tour before the cruise, all with Princess. We were a group of 12, some family, some friends. We were not very impressed with the land portion. There were times when it was very disorganized, other times not much to do. There wasn't a lot of restaurants to choose from at the Princess lodges, and if you didn't have an excursion planned, a lot of down time. This may be ok for some, just not for everyone. Embarkation was ok, but the muster drill was very confusing. We were on deck seven, and had to go across the ship and down to deck six. We were directed wrong by crew twice trying to get there. The Island Princess was nice, except that they took away some of the front for cabins, so it made it inconvenient to go around in some areas. They have an area at the back of the ship that you have to pay to use, but it was very expensive. Would have liked to use that area since the front is blocked. We didn't use the pools much, as they start at 5'3' and go to 7'2'. At 5'2' myself, it made it hard to just go in and relax a little. They were also very warm, even the outdoor pool, and since we had exceptionally warm weather, it wasn't very refreshing. But that was just our experience. We like the cooler water, not the hot tubs. The ship looked very clean everywhere, and had nice areas to sit and relax, but mostly in the middle of the ship. We didn't use the exercise room, it doesn't have any windows. Our cabin was very nice, had plenty of closet and shelf space. The bathroom was adequate. The balcony was also very nice, with a good bit of room to move around. We had our divider opened between two of our rooms, and it made it even nicer. Our room steward, Alvin, was very good. But then we don't usually spend a lot of time in the cabin. We had early dining, 5:15. A little early for us, but the later one was too late. We always had hot food and most of it was very good. And our waiter, Noel, was excellent, and his helper, Erick, was very good. They worked very well together. The only problem we had was our seating arrangements. They divided us up into eight and four, and when I asked to have that changed, the people at the maître de area refused. That was very disappointing, as we like to use this time to share our day and talk about the next day. Now the buffet food was a different story. A lot of food we didn't like, a lot not even warm. But that's buffet food. We had a few hamburgers and fries, but it's on the deck above the buffet, and outside. Very windy and at times cold. But they were good, just got cold very quickly. Pizza was pretty good. We went to the steak house once, since we had a voucher. Everyone's steaks were good with the exception of one. It was a nice experience, but I wouldn't pay for it. I always had fish at dinner, and it was always very good. The entertainment was ok. The comedian was very good. The shows were ok. But the highlight was having a naturalist on board. He narrated from somewhere on the ship when we were at the glaciers and in other areas of interest. Most of the time the service was ok. Very good at dinner, just took a long time. But at times the service in the buffet was bad, and at other times there were so many just standing around talking. But the thing I noticed the most, was that most of them don't smile or say hello like on other ships. With the exception of the cleaning staff. They always smiled and said hello. We did the White Pass Railroad through the ship. We loved it. We were signed up for the dog sledding on a glacier in Juneau, but it was canceled due to fog. We then signed up for the dog sledding on land. A huge waste of money. And after waiting several hours to go on the tour, when we got there, we were first told it was overbooked, and we had to wait a half hour to find out if they would let us go. It was very frustrating. We went to the lumberjack show in Ketchican, which we would have enjoyed more if they hadn't given us seats on the side. We weren't able to see all of it. But that wasn't through Princess. Disembarkation was terrible. We had arrangements to go to the airport through Princess, and it was very disorganized and confusing. Looking back, we did enjoy the cruise part of our trip, but with the problems we had, it put a damper on things. We've never had so many problems on a cruise before. The highlight was seeing the glaciers, which we would have seen on any cruise. So the problems were with Princess. Would I cruise Princess again? Probably not if we had another choice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We are experienced cruisers and have generally gone with Celebrity. A friend booked this cruise with Princess to Alaska. The boat itself was clean and well laid out. Lots of little issues (broken lights, toilets not working etc) however ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers and have generally gone with Celebrity. A friend booked this cruise with Princess to Alaska. The boat itself was clean and well laid out. Lots of little issues (broken lights, toilets not working etc) however that indicated maintenance not being kept up. Boat was a bit tired but overall it was fine. (Except huge engine vibration when in reverse). Dining Room Food presentation was good. Food quality was only fair; frequently not hot, overcooked and dry. Certainly not up to Celebrity. Buffet set up is very poor. The buffet is quite small (way too small for the size of the ship) and you need to enter from only 1 point. Frequent long lineups. Extremely limited selection; no burgers/fries etc at lunch. Celebrity buffet was 2x bigger and much more selection. Entertainment was hit and miss. The comedian and magic show guy the worst I have ever seen on any boat. The stage shows were OK but everything lip synched. Shows were only 35 min long. They had a tribute guy (Donnie Ray something) doing blues/soul that was very good. Never once saw or heard from senior staff. Cruise director on stage for 30 sec before nightly entertainment, otherwise he too was nowhere to be seen. Overall this was a disappointing trip. Princess is not in the same league as Celebrity and so a lesson learned for us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My husband and I took a 15 day escorted cruise tour. The land portion was stellar but basically unescorted. Our quite seemed to disappear one we got our room keys. Our disappointed was reflected in his minimum tip. We boarded the ... Read More
My husband and I took a 15 day escorted cruise tour. The land portion was stellar but basically unescorted. Our quite seemed to disappear one we got our room keys. Our disappointed was reflected in his minimum tip. We boarded the Coral Princess in Whittier on June 3, 2015. We left Rainy Whittier into a gale. The first night and sea day were a little rough. This ship goes in for refurbishment in early 2016, but should have gone a few years ago. While spotlessly clean, its age was showing. We had a mini suite on D deck mid-ship and felt little motion in our cabin. The extra room was handy. I've cruised Princess before and the entertainment, food, and some staff didn't meet my expectations. The food was boring and always seemed covered in sauce. Our waiter didn't seem to understand the concept of on the side I planned and arranged all of the shore excursi and they went off without a hitch. I heard horror stories of Princess canceling tours at the last minute or people paying large sums of money for a trip that wasn't as advertised. If you are interested in dog sledding on a glacier do it from Skagway if possible. Juneau and Ketchikan have more than 300 days of rain annually. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
First things first: the weather was absolutely fabulous. So fine, we wouldn't go again to Alaska because everyone told us the seven days of sunshine and clear skies were a rare exception. So another trip would probably a disappoinment ... Read More
First things first: the weather was absolutely fabulous. So fine, we wouldn't go again to Alaska because everyone told us the seven days of sunshine and clear skies were a rare exception. So another trip would probably a disappoinment weatherwise. And the Alaskan landscape is just spectacular. Now for Princess' performance (we did seven previous cruises with Princess and our last one was with Celebrity, so we could compare): Transfer and check-in: It started in Anchorage where we tried to check in at the Egan Center as printed in our documentation. Turned out that check-in was moved to Dena'ina Center, which is some distance away. Luckily, our driver knew from a previous drive that same morning. No communication from Princess' site. Check-in took place in a vast and half empty conference room. It started at 11:00 a. m. We checked in at 11:50 a. m. and were given tickets for the 2:00 p. m. bus to Whittier. Apparently, the bus was only running every two hours! After a scenic ride with an entertaining lady in her 70's driving, we were finally at the ship around 3:45 p. m. Our luggage which we checked in in Anchorage did not arrive before 7:30 p. m. that night - seemingly all luggage was collected and taken to the ship after downtown check-in closed. Advice: to avoid wasting half a day, forget Princess' expensive transfer and look out for a local shuttle - cheaper, more frequently running and you can take your luggage with you. Check-in at the ship, though, was a breeze because of our Platinum status with Princess. Turned out that ship check-in had just started because they had to perform a thorough santiation because of a Noro outbreak on the previous cruise. So, in retrospect it didn't matter that Princess made us sit around in Anchorage for two hours, because otherwise we would have to sit around in even more boring Whittier. Cabin: Our cabin was the standard mini-suite we knew from our previous cruises - only this time with a stained sofa, a carpet torn at the edge of the balcony door and balcony furniture so dirty we never dared to sit on it during the cruise. Good location: close to everything, but quiet. Crowd: Pretty "young" for Princess, that means quite a number of people in their 50's. Almost exclusively English speaking (some French Canadians). The ship was far from sold out. Ship: In general, we found the Coral Princess to be in very good shape on our Panama cruise in spring 2013 - now, it is in bad need of a drydock. On our deck alone were two spots where water came dropping out the ceiling (in one spot even out of a lighting fixture!) and apart from placing buckets underneath nothing was done whatsoever about it. As on other Princess ships, on the Promenade Deck, constant re-painting was going on, so either the smell of paint or cigarette smoke constantly "enhanced" the fresh sea air. We found the ship's interior design already quite outdated on our first cruise 2008, but in the meantime it is just OLD reminding of a "Golden Girls" set from 1989. Celebrity did manage to "solsticize" all of their ships in a few years, why does Princess not start to "royalize"? It is badly needed. Food: The cramped Horizon Court Café buffet offered (as always) a buffet of cheap cantina style food served on plastic plates. Not an option. What a difference compared to Celebrity with freshly cooked, well presented and ever changing items served on real porcelain! The Main Dining Room served the usual princess fare - almost unchanged menus since our first cruise 2008. Always the same food regardless of season and routing, apart from just a few items created for Princess' 50th anniversary. Oh, wait! There was some Alaskan touch: they marked seafood items that are on the standard menu anyway with a "Alaska" logo as if they were specially created for this very routing. Apart from being boring, the food was not horrible, but just very badly presented. It was just food items somehow thrown on a plate. Again, Celebrity did a far better job serving dishes that looked as if they came from a very good restaurant ashore. Sad to say, the best food came of the Pool Deck pizza oven and from the Pool Grill. Staff: As always with Princess, the most grumpy ones are Security and Front Desk (not so at Celebrity). Front Desk staff (admittedly they have to deal with a lot of morons, but hey, that's their job) always have an attitude and Security seemingly think that they are in command of a boot camp. The only staff members attentive and welcoming are the ones that can hope for a personal tip at the end of the cruise: MDR waiters and cabin attendants. Everyone else is just bored and minding their own business. In the deserted Explorers' Lounge, every night, we had to go to the bar begging for another round of drinks because the waiters were chatting amongst each other. Noro: Because of the Noro outbreak on the previous cruise, the first five out of seven days enhanced hygiene procedures were in place, that meant no self-service at buffets, no bread baskets, no milk, salt and pepper on the tables. Fine with us, but it slowed down the service. In general, Princess would be better off taking care of Noro ***before*** there is an outbreak. With Celebrity, the staff would literally come after you with their portable hand sanitizers at the food outlet entrances and when coming from ashore on port days. With Princess, they place just hand sanitizers around the ship hoping someone would use them. Platinum Lounge: As always, we found our Platinum Lounge invitation in our stateroom informing us on the themed menus they would offer every night. Not only was there a mix-up on the invitaion (the Lounge is closed on the day of the Captain's Circle reception which was on another day than printed), turned ot that there was no buffet on the first five out of seven nights. Allegedly because of the Noro outbreak, but the buffet is always manned with a chef, so in my opinion no reason why he/she couldn't hand out the food as it is done in Horizon Court during a Noro situation. No communication from Princess whatsoever. No compensation. Just bad performance. Check-out: Very well organized and on time. Good job. Vancouver's cruise center is very convenient. Bottom line: In almost every respect, Princess is sub-par compared to Celebrity: interior design, staff attitude, food, communication (of course, no reaction by Princess to our concerns mentioned in the post-cruise questionnaire) . Too bad we spent a lot of money gaining Platinum status, but if there isn't a VERY attractive routing only Princess offers, we will take our money elsewhere in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
After spending our 25th wedding anniversary on The Pride Of America we were over the moon with this cruise so we thought why not go to Alaska and do the cruise back to Vancouver something on most peoples bucket list. Once again we had a ... Read More
After spending our 25th wedding anniversary on The Pride Of America we were over the moon with this cruise so we thought why not go to Alaska and do the cruise back to Vancouver something on most peoples bucket list. Once again we had a balcony room and like the other ship it was the same inside but this is where it ends. The buffet restaurant was the first place we went to the first night for dinner and Breakfast the next morning and the first thing we noticed was the lack of variety but for the next six nights it was basically the same with may be a change or two and not to mention running out of some food as well towards the end of the trip.The restaurants that you payed a cover charge were better but the ones that were on the complementary list the food was good but really who do you have to kill to get a drink with your meal.Basic restaurant rule's sit the customer down give them the menu take the drink order while they are looking at the menu IT"S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE NCL you are loosing money by not doing this.We had breakfast one morning in one of these places and had to explain four time that we wanted four slices of toast not french toast to the waitress who's command of the English language was not great don't get me wrong here service was great but please.The carpet in some place was thread bare and the linen looked old the whole ship looked tired.But the staff were friendly and helpful but I am sad to say I would not recommend this ship to my friends or family and I was not the only person on board not happy with the cruise or the ship also the time in port was not long enough Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
You would think that after paying over $10k for an Alaska CruiseTour that you should not have to pay extra to get a soda with your meal or have to spend $29 for a soda card, but not here. For "your convenience" they charge $11.50 ... Read More
You would think that after paying over $10k for an Alaska CruiseTour that you should not have to pay extra to get a soda with your meal or have to spend $29 for a soda card, but not here. For "your convenience" they charge $11.50 per person (children included) per day for tips for the room stewart and serving staff. This works out to a total "take" of $250k. If this was shared among the entire 1200 person crew (which it is not), each one gets a $200 "tip" per week. Then they say that if you wanted to put a little extra in an envelope for someone you should. They are always trying to sell you something, from art auctions to the constant push to buy jewelry. The seating and space in general around the central "piazza" is limited and then they have tables of junk (jewelry, t-shirts etc) for sale taking up the isles. These ships were designed for cruising in the warmer climates where many people can sit outside and around the pool. This is not an option when the temperature is 50 degrees with fog or a cold rain (typical Alaska). That is when you discover that the ship is sorely lacking in comfortable quiet public space (that is not in a bar!) to just sit an relax, watch the scenery or read a book. The rear portion of the ship experienced a constant vibration, even when in port. This, combined with the rolling of the ship when at sea, was accentuated by the 15th level aft location of the Horizon Buffet. We left a plate full of breakfast and never returned.The "anytime" dining rooms are located further forward and on the 5th and 6th level did not have as much of a problem, However, sit-down breakfast was limited to one dining room and closed at 9:30 AM, even when at sea when you might just want to sleep-in. The staff, while very courteous, was not very fluent in English, which made getting your request correct difficult. As you may guess, we did not enjoy cruising and will NEVER cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Given 3 weeks notice to book a lifelong dream of cruising Alaska, we made the best of it. We left our 3 children at home with the grandparents, and had a much deserved getaway, adults only, to Alaska. We flew from Florida the day before, ... Read More
Given 3 weeks notice to book a lifelong dream of cruising Alaska, we made the best of it. We left our 3 children at home with the grandparents, and had a much deserved getaway, adults only, to Alaska. We flew from Florida the day before, and spent the night in Anchorage which was expensive. We then took a Princess charter bus to Whittier, where we walked off the bus, walked into the terminal which was empty, and walked right on to the ship. It was the easiest embarkation we ever experienced. The food was typical buffet food. They do offer several varieties for each meal, however it seemed just average. The ship itself, seemed to be in nice condition. My thoughts are Princess attracts the elderly crowd, as the entertainment was geared for the elderly. I think the average age was in their 70-80's. We found the pizza on the pool deck to be very good, and found ourselves there almost every day for lunch, after walking through the buffet.The comedy show was the best show we saw on this trip. He was funny, and picked on anyone walking in late or anyone sitting up front. We had late dinner, which was recommended to me, so we could enjoy each port without having to rush back for dinner. This was a great tip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Every guest had access to our balcony from a large observation deck that obstructed our view. Very disappointing especially going through the glaciers. We were never notified about this in advance. We saved a lot of money to have a suite. ... Read More
Every guest had access to our balcony from a large observation deck that obstructed our view. Very disappointing especially going through the glaciers. We were never notified about this in advance. We saved a lot of money to have a suite. People on the observation could look into our bedroom and living area. The only privacy we had was to keep our curtains shut. When we complained we were offered a smaller room, the next day, or a bottle of wine. If we were on our balcony we could touch the people on the observation deck. They also took our cushions, from the sofa, to be refurbished because it was our rooms turn. We spent a whole day looking at a sofa with missing cushions. The Casino smoke radiated to many areas of the ship where vendors were selling jewelry & clothing. Crew members were fooling around. They were in public areas and disturbed guests especially in the Adagio Lounge, during the string quartet performances. There were also crew members conduction business in Sabitini's during breakfast. We could hear their whole conversation. The Crown Grill (Specialty Restaurant) disturbed guests, who paid extra, with loud singing (Happy Birthday). The meal was delicious. Our head server was cold and impersonal. The ass. server was wonderful. There were fifteen members in our party and the Crown Princess made special reservations for thirteen to eat at Sabitini's, another specialty restaurant. We were excluded because we had a suite and received a picture frame instead. They told us that if we returned the frame, and a voucher for a photo, we could eat with the rest of our group. Really!!!!! We took the frame and voucher down to guest services and offered to return it. Food was adequate at best. Beware, if you are thinking about a suite to ask about the privacy & safety. We only chose Princess because our friends would only go on Princess. We did an Alaskan Cruise with Celebrity and had a perfect suite with a butler....Same price. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I am so disappointed to see what has happened to Princess. This was my 12th cruise, and 7th with Princess. It is not the same. Here you have it: Dining - anytime dining apparently does not mean ANYtime dining as 2 nights we were given a ... Read More
I am so disappointed to see what has happened to Princess. This was my 12th cruise, and 7th with Princess. It is not the same. Here you have it: Dining - anytime dining apparently does not mean ANYtime dining as 2 nights we were given a pager to wait for a table. On 3 separate breakfast / lunch occasions the horizon Court was completely full and there was nowhere to sit. The food was the worst I have ever experienced on a cruise and variety lacked, esp if you wanted fruits and vegetables. And if you like decent white wine this cruise is not for you - I have never seen a more pathetic wine list (best bottle a $40 Chardonnay). Stateroom - the furnishings and size of the balcony rooms are nice and accommodating, but shampoo is horrendous (listen to me when I tell you it's worth it to bring your own) and towels are terrible. Playroom was pretty lame for our 3 year old boy - virtually no cars, trains, or trucks anywhere. Very few toys he was interested in. Staff seems tired. Princess needs some new management. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Recently came off the Sun's Southbound inside passage (6/30). Due to past experiences NCL WOULD NOT have been our first choice. We were accompanying a friend who had made this his Birthday trip. First the good; Embarkation and ... Read More
Recently came off the Sun's Southbound inside passage (6/30). Due to past experiences NCL WOULD NOT have been our first choice. We were accompanying a friend who had made this his Birthday trip. First the good; Embarkation and disembarkation are done smoothly and very efficiently(could be the ports). Tender operations at Icy Strait Point/Hoonah excellent NO line ups. Liked the ship and layout. Specialty dining is very good-excellent, Cagney's (Steakhouse) and La Cucina(Italian) BUT extra $$. Now the not so good; Dining room "service" is "spoty" at BEST. Restaurant 101 - take the drink/beverage order first. It's surprising that the way cruise ships "nickel and dime" you for everything that it would be so difficult to get a glass of wine. We had to ask twice before we got a glass of wine. We even had to ask for water more then once. Out of the 5 nights in the main dining rooms did we come out saying those guys did a great job. Perhaps a dedicated bar person to rotate around X amount of tables to take the pressure off the wait staff. The main dining room menu choices are limited almost "forcing" you to the specialty restaurants where of course you have too pay extra. We were never informed what the special was had to ask each time. Food quality was OK-Good at best. I'm all for casual dining but you SHOULD have limitations. Other then the first and last nights(un-packing/packing) T-shirts and shorts ? REALLY ?? Not once on the entire cruise did I feel anybody exceeded my expectations on service. Past cruises we've had wait staff/stewards that were out of this world. Here nada. Perhaps with the "freestyle cruising" you don't make connections with the wait staff. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was our first cruise (although we have done 3 trans-Atlantic crossings on Cunard). We chose NCL because of the timing and the fact that we wanted to disembark in Vancouver. Embarkation was quick-thank goodness- because it was pouring ... Read More
This was our first cruise (although we have done 3 trans-Atlantic crossings on Cunard). We chose NCL because of the timing and the fact that we wanted to disembark in Vancouver. Embarkation was quick-thank goodness- because it was pouring rain, winds were 40 knots and there was almost no covering for the passengers as they approached the ship. So we began our trip wet and cold-but then things got even wetter. On the first morning of our trip, the toilet overflowed. It was literally Niagara Falls in there-the carpet was instantly soaked along with some of our belongings. We were throwing our things on the bed, looking for our water shoes, keeping our electronic devices dry-if it wasn't happening to us, it would be funny....The response was quick and they actually replaced the carpet but all of our things (which we had so meticulously unpacked for a 7 night stay) were strewn and stowed anywhere dry. We were moved to an inside stateroom (their emergency cabin) but I felt ill because I need the fresh air, even on a big ship. They moved us again as the repairs were being made until we were finally able to re-enter our cabin and try and figure out where everything was. A toilet can overflow on any ship, but the crew was singularly neutral-their apologies seemed insincere and there was not even the slightest attempt to "make up" with a free meal at one of their specialty restaurants or something similar-that is, until I said something and the service rep said: I was just going to offer that to you. Sure. The free-style dining experience was certainly not our style. Even their very causal dress code was not enforced in the "upscale" restaurants. Something quite incongruous about a waiter draping a napkin across your lap, saying "Madame" while the people around you are in flip-flops and T-shirts saying "I survived the Alaskan zip line" . The staff were friendly but not particularly helpful-mostly because very few spoke English well enough to answer all but the simplest questions. As a monoglot myself, I truly understand how hard it is to learn a foreign language. However, none of our waiters were able to answer questions about how a dish was prepared or even identify foods in the buffet line! Our bad luck? Maybe, but from our steward to the waiters to the people helping with excursions we experienced some major communication gaps. However, once food appeared it was quite good. The wine selection in the restaurants was more than adequate and they will cork a wine for you and bring it to any restaurant you are eating in. We ended up eating in specialty restaurants for 4 nights-in retrospect we should have bought the dining package but we had no way of knowing how rushed and difficult the service would be in the main dining rooms. The shore excursions were the high point of our experience. We enjoyed all four ports. However, all people going on an excursions were rounded up in their entertainment lounge before disembarking. The purpose of marshaling all those people into one room at 15 minute increments was never revealed to us. You sat there while someone yelled out the name of the excursion; people raised their hands and at the end of each 15 minute period, EVERYONE in the room got up and walked to the gangway together, not in separated groups. Once off the ship, each person was on their own to find the appropriate person holding a placard with the name of their excursion on it, Why gather people if there was no attempt to divide us into our tour groups? Besides the excursions the only other high point on the cruise was that we were participants in one of the games that was led by the cruise director. She was terrific and always made a point of saying hello to us and asking about our day whenever she saw us on the ship. There were, unfortunately, many more relatively small things that occurred that taken together made this an experience we are unlikely to repeat.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a seven day Alaskan cruise on the Island Princess departing Whittier, Alaska on June 25th. After reading several CC reviews we made the decision to book our own port ... Read More
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a seven day Alaskan cruise on the Island Princess departing Whittier, Alaska on June 25th. After reading several CC reviews we made the decision to book our own port transfers from Anchorage to Whittier directly with the Alaska Railroad. Checking our luggage to the ship was easy with porters at the train station, so the next time we saw our luggage in was in our state room after boarding. The check in process was extremely easy, from the time we showed them our boarding information to boarding the ships was only about 10 minutes. After getting on the ship we found our way to the room and the luggage showed up shortly after our arrival. The weather conditions were cold and rainy, but when Whittier is one of the rainiest ports on the cruise what can you expect. We ate breakfast and lunch most days at the Horizon Court because it convenience and the food quality was good. My wife is a soup and salad person and I like the taste of a good Asian curry or stir fry if it’s available. One of the breakfast items we has which was outstanding was the mini quiche that are prepared and ready for the early risers. The wait staff in the Horizon Court, in most cases, were friendly, unless you wanted something out of the ordinary. We chose to purchase the All You Can Drink Pass (~$49 /day/person) that allowed us to drink anything we wanted under $10. On average a coffee was $2.75-$3.00, a beer was $4.00-5.00 and a Martini was $8.50 - 9.00, so depending on what you drink it may or may not make sense to purchase the pass. Prior to departing, I pre-booked a couples massage which was changed by the SPA to a time that wasn't convenient and when we tried to reschedule the receptionist became very rude. My wife inquired about getting her hair blow dried for our anniversary and the receptionist asked "Do you want it washed?" which totally caught us off guard. After this incident, we cancelled our spa reservations and chose to save our money and do something else, which we found later that day. One of the employees in the Sanctuary approached us while having lunch to let us know about a special they were running for our day in Glacier Bay. They were offering a package that included specialty drinks, lunch, photos, and a reserved chase lounge or cabana for only $60 per person which was probably one of the best activities we did on the ship. Princess normally gets $20 for a half day and $40 for the full day. The staff in the Sanctuary was outstanding. Marvin and Milos two of the staff members made our day, a very special occasion. In Skagway we purchased the Glacier and Whale Watching Excursion which was a little overpriced, but definitely an adventure. My only word of advice is take lots of Bug Spray, lots a mesquites and flies to contend with. In Juno we did the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching Excursion which was great, although the time at the glacier was like going to any national park with lots of tourist and not having enough time. The highlight of the excursions was in Ketchikan where we did the crab fest and adventure which included about 1 hour of unlimited crab consumption, beverages and cheese cake at the end of meal. During the excursion Emily our excursion narrator, pulled of the nearly impossible by getting a Bald Eagle to swoop in from a nearby tree and retrieve a fish that was floating on top of the water very near the boat. What an awesome experience. Our evenings were quite busy with great entertainment and activities on the ship. We chose to eat dinner two of the night in the Bayou Café which cooked one of the best steaks we’ve every had. The 8 ounce tenderloin and 22 ounce porterhouse were outstanding. Very tender, well seasoned and never over cooked. The vegetables that come with the meal are a little to be desired, but the focal point was the steak. In preparation from our trip I purchased the Anniversary Package which included champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne glasses and free 8X10 photo which was pre-order and delivered without incident when we call for it during the 3rd day of our trip. The issue came when my son and daughter in law ordered us a bottle of wine, cheese tray and $50 ship board credit, He ordered the package when we departed and it was supposed to be delivered on our actual anniversary day as a surprise. The day after our anniversary he inquired about the package which was never delivered. Upon inquiring with the Customer Service Desk on 3 different occasions we were told that it wasn't on the ship and did not exist. After exhausting our efforts with the customer service desk, we called a supervisor who confirmed the package had been ordered on the 29th and would be delivered ASAP. After several hours of waiting and follow-up phone calls, the package still never arrived. Prior to leaving our room for dinner our last night on the ship, I made one last phone call to the supervisor who said the wine and cheese would be delivered to the restaurant for dinner. It arrived when we arrived, but it came with no apologies from the staff and the $50 credit that was purchased with the package has never shown up. Prior to our departure our travel agent advised us to take advantage of the future cruise deposit opportunities and any special deals that Princess may be offering during the cruise which were outstanding, but after our experience with Customer Service we chose not to do anything relative to a future cruise. This is our 4th cruise and 2nd with Princess and as Captain Circle Members would have expected an additional level of follow-up and focus from the staff. The ship while showing a little bit of its age is still in great shape and the cabin while small was clean and well maintained. I know that Princess believes is Outstanding Customer Service which was not part of our experience on this cruise and will most likely affect any decisions we make on cruising in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise and upon finding a good deal online, our group of six (ages 24-67) booked our three inside cabins less than three weeks before embarkation through Costco. We were assigned three rooms that ... Read More
We have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise and upon finding a good deal online, our group of six (ages 24-67) booked our three inside cabins less than three weeks before embarkation through Costco. We were assigned three rooms that happened to be handicapped rooms. Two of the rooms (E717 and E714) were very spacious with sitting areas complete of a second TV, minibar, and a sofa. I read somewhere that people have described this layout as an "inside mini suite". The third room (E706) was smaller, without the sitting area, but still bigger than other inside cabins. All three rooms were very close to the elevators and the dining rooms. It was easy getting to all areas of the ship since the Emerald deck (deck #8) goes the entire length of the ship so we could easily walk to the very front or the very aft of the ship then take the elevators or stairs up to wherever we want to go. Overall very comparable to Carnival -- except the towel animals were missing :D. FOOD: It seems that on port days the offerings for sit-down dinners were better than other days. We had surf & turf one day with king crab legs as appetizers, and lobsters and escargot on another day. For breakfast, the buffet usually has all the selections offered by the sit-down breakfast. But for dinner, the dining rooms had better offerings than the buffet. We especially liked the shrimps, very good quality every time. We also visited Alfredo's Pizzeria -- very good thin-crust pizzas indeed. At the pool area in the afternoons, we'd happened upon reindeer chili (so-so), fish & shrimp kebab (loved it!), sandwiches, etc. The bratwurst station near the pool was pretty good too, but I don't think I enjoyed any of their chowders offered anywhere, in the dining room, at the buffet or at the afternoon stations. We brought six bottles of wines with us but we ended up only drinking three. After eating so much alcohol seemed like extra calories we didn't need to consume. We did order occasional beers with our pizzas though :). ENTERTAINMENT: Dance & song shows were very mediocre. We are from NYC so we have high standards. The stand-up comedian (Duncan?) was the highlight; his ADHD persona was very funny indeed. Some people liked the international crew show but we also thought it was just so-so. The crew director's fiddler on the roof segment was quite good though. Our family friend enjoyed the karaoke hours and oldies in Club Fusion. We got into the hot tub and watched Oz at Movies Under the Stars. It was very enjoyable and kind of funny since everyone else on the lounge chairs was hiding under winter jackets and blankets while we were in our swimsuits. They had relatively new movies rotating on TV so sometimes we actually stayed in our rooms and watched Iron Man 3, Skyfall, Wreck It Ralph, and Quartet. ANCHORAGE/WHITTIER: We flew into Anchorage and stayed the night at Springhill Suites University Lake which had an airport shuttle that could also take you anywhere into downtown area. It was a nice rest and breakfast was plentiful, and we took a walk around the lake after breakfast before we took their shuttle to the other Springhill Suites downtown to be picked up by Alaska Cruise Transportation shuttle to Whittier. The University Lake location seemed much nicer and newer than the Downtown one. The bus ride was pretty smooth, and it stopped at a scenic spot and again at a wildlife reserve so we were able to have lunch and see some caribou and moose before the cruise even began. It was an economical and painless way to connect to the cruise. EMBARKATION: Embarkation was quite efficient and smooth. We had to unload the luggage from the shuttle bus onto the receiving area. It was a rainy day so it would've been nice if the staff could get the luggage directly from the bus since the bus parked right in front of the receiving station and the staff had raincoats on and we didn't. No big deals though, it was just a matter of taking the luggage from the left of us and passing it to the right. Just the rain made it kind of annoying. The line wasn't long at 2:45pm, and after filling out a quick info sheet we were onboard in 15min. Luggage was delivered after dinner. HUBBARD GLACIER: It was a cold day when we got to Hubbard Glacier. Our cabins had no windows, so we went up to the Horizon Buffet area on deck 14 early and sat down at a table for six which allowed us to drink tea and eat all day while enjoying the scenery indoors. Later on two of us ventured outside to take pictures, and decided to follow the two brave souls in the hot tub to enjoy the view from the back of the ship. It was a very good decision and we got great views of the enormous glacier and calving while relaxing in hot water. The cold and windy day meant we had the hot tub to ourselves (there were two hot tubs at the AFT, deck 16, so the other couple had a hot tub to themselves, and we had the other). GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK: The park ranger talk was so well attended we had to sit on the steps and some of us decided to skip it. But it was the best ranger talk we'd heard, and everyone had the same sentiment. We again got a table near the buffet. It was a sunny day so unfortunately we could not get the hot tub to ourselves so we just stayed around the table and walked around the ship some times to get better shots. SKAGWAY: We booked the Emerald Lake tour with Dyea Dave and opted to take the scenic train back from Fraser. Debbie drove our 21-passenger shuttle and was very friendly and knowledgeable. She made frequent stops for us to take photos, and the Emerald Lake was indeed very special, well worth the long ride. We were very happy to have taken the train back even though the price of the train ride was more than the tour. As amazing as the scenic spots were during the tour, the scenery for the train portion was even better! We stayed between the cars and leaned out to take tons of photos. I'd say sit on the right side going back to Skagway -- most of the scenery is on the right side. JUNEAU: our parents went whale watching with Harv & Marv. They didn't seem very enthusiastic about their experience although we read good reviews. Their friend, afraid of being sea sick, opted to stay on the ship and enjoyed a leisurely day. Three of us children went on a glacier trek with Above and Beyond Alaska tours with Chelsea. There were two other people in our group so it was a very intimate hike with just six people overall. We loved this excursion! It was physical but not too strenuous, and where else do we get a chance to walk on a glacier??? We started the hike at 8:30am and got to Mendenhall glacier around 10:30am. After snacking and putting on our crampons we were on the ice by 11am. We walked all around and visited an ice cave (so cool!), filled up our water bottles with glacier water, then got off the glacier at 1pm. We made our way back just before the ship took off at 3:20pm. We are not very experienced hikers (we had to buy hiking boots just for this excursion -- our KEEN boots worked very well), but Chealsea is very experienced so we felt safe the entire way. KETCHIKAN: It was a drizzling day and we were glad that we booked with Ketchikan Taxi Cab Tours who picked us up at the Discovery Center 5 min away from where our ship docked. We got the town map from visitor info center as we got off the ship. David took us to spots where we could see eagles perching on trees near the hatchery, salmon jumping out of the water, Totem Bight Park, took us berry picking and tasting, and answered tons of questions we had about the area and his former life as a commercial fisherman. We also caught a glimpse of the arrival of Native Americans who paddled all the way from Vancouver (the last of such event was 15 years ago). We all enjoyed the tour tremendously and would highly recommend booking with Ketchikan Taxi Cab Tours. The van was very nimble and we were able to stop wherever we pleased. David dropped us off at Creek Street at the end and we got some souvenir shopping done. DISEMBARKATION & CUSTOMS: We missed the chance to do self help check out for 7:30am disembarkation because we didn't read the disembarkation request form until after it had to be turned in. It's ok because we didn't want to carry our own luggage around that morning anyways and we wanted to eat breakfast before we left the ship. So we were assigned to leave at 9:55am. We had to clear our rooms by 8am, so we headed up to the buffet and hung out until 9:40am. We were able to leave the ship soon after we got to our designated waiting/meeting spot, picked up our luggage at the designated area where they had carts available, and got on a cab to go out our hotel near the airport at Richmond (cab fare $40). Very smooth I'd say. Very relaxing vacation, overate as predicted, but finally could cross off "Alaskan Cruise" off our bucket list! :) Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
For the most part, it was a wonderful experience. Cherished memories. Memories made within our group. NOT because of Princess staff. The ship and offerings were beautiful and fun. The entertainment was a lot of fun. We enjoyed the movies ... Read More
For the most part, it was a wonderful experience. Cherished memories. Memories made within our group. NOT because of Princess staff. The ship and offerings were beautiful and fun. The entertainment was a lot of fun. We enjoyed the movies under the stars. Shows and movie in the Princess theater were a great way to spend the evening. Breakfast at Sabatini's was relaxing and delicious. The service was top notch it was an incredible early morning experience. In Skagway, we took the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad excursion to the top of the mountain. It was relaxing, informative, and beautiful. We took a ton of beautiful pictures. Be aware the return trip is along the same track as on the way up. You see each point of interest twice. In Juneau there was free transportation from the terminal to Wal-Mart. Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan are beautiful and friendly. We chose leisurely walk around and enjoy each port. The souvenir shopping was a lot of fun if you like little gadgets. There are lots and lots of other items to purchase. We also saw a lot of food and clothing items. With great anticipation of our adventure, I spoke with several Princess Representatives. Most of the information I received was accurate and only fueled my excitement and anticipation. I asked over several calls about the best time to arrive to meet the transfer from Anchorage airport to the cruise terminal in Whittler. (We flew in a few days prior) I wanted to limit our wait time. I was told transfers directly from the airport to the ship leave starting at noon and leave about ever 1/2 hour so there should never be much of a wait. I asked that notation be made on our reservation that we will arrive to take the noon shuttle. We arrived at the airport about 11:20 am in anticipation of catching the noon shuttle. The female was pleasant but told us we had to wait for the 1:00 pm shuttle. Of course we did...but over 1 1/2 hours waiting in the airport? Embarkation was unbelievably smooth and quick. YIPPIE. Our cabin was absolutely beautiful as we anticipated! It was fabulous and exactly what we planned as we were celebrating with our group and anticipated spending lots of time in our cabin. Our cabin steward was attentive, and wonderful. He was crucial in making our in cabin experience wonderful. Along with his normal/usual duties, Allan kept us in ice & clean glasses, helped decorate for the celebration. He made restaurants aware of the events which allowed from birthday cakes at dinner. Thank you...Thank you...Thank you Allan. We were advised the cover at two of the restaurants was waived for the first two nights. We decided not to take advantage of those offers because we chose to spend time with members of our group. It seems that privilege could/should have been available to use at our discretion at any time throughout the cruise. When making our reservations at the Sterling Steakhouse, the Matre D was incredibly rude. I asked his name, he covered his nametag and repeated his name twice very quickly. It was something like Demitri. We enjoyed our meal at the Sterling Steakhouse during our reserved time. Our server Chip and other staff were very attentive. The steaks were incredible absolutely incredible. I decided to use the automated kiosk to check the balance due. Though I followed the directions on the kiosk, no report was received. I attempted this several times, a nearby crewmember assisted with the same results. The screen was dark on the other kiosk. He directed me to an adjacent desk for assistance. At the desk I explained what happened. The female seemed unhappy because of the interruption and explained the directions for using the kiosk in less than pleasant tone. I explained again it was inoperative. She exhaled sharply before swiping my card and generating the requested report. (I learned of an error on the report which was promptly corrected by another staff member) I approached the grill at the Horizon court at the same time as a male. We both requested sandwiches. A second male arrived and placed an order for a sandwich. When the first two sandwiches were ready. The person working the grill gave the first male French fries he just removed from the fryer. He looked at me, dumped the fresh fries in the holding area, mixed them with the fries that had been there, and gave me a batch. He told the male behind me "It will be a couple of minutes for fresh fries (There were more fries in the holding area than I was given) the male behind me told him that he will wait. Our group regularly enjoyed breakfast at the Horizon buffet. The made to order omelets and fresh fruit were spectacular. Often our group would choose a table. Several individuals would visit the buffet while others waited at the table in hopes of having coffee, water and juice ready when the others returned. Rarely did we receive timely or non-requested service. It was difficult to watch other parties take their seats after us and promptly receive staff attention where they received coffee, juice or water. Often we regularly had to flag someone down for service or self-service. It was truly a disheartening experience to which we did not look forward. But we had to eat and dining options were limited. While waiting for disembarkation directions, a female announced from outside the restaurant that our group was ready to disembark. She stated, if our luggage tag was what she called to see her for directions. I approached her outside the location as directed and asked for directions/instructions. In a less than pleasant tone, she asked if my entire party was ready. I explained my partner was in the restroom and I would like to have the instructions when she is ready. The female told me to come ask her again when my party was ready. Within a couple of minutes we were ready and searched the area. The female was nowhere to be found. We disembarked following the crowd. In the terminal, it was determined we were in the incorrect location. We were directed through and around several barriers to the correct location. Once aboard the transfer our driver told us about the only woman forklift driver in the terminal. Two weeks in a row she carried and spilled cantaloupes as she drove. He ended by chuckling and telling us that she is no longer works for Princess. What was the point of the story? What was the point in telling us the driver was a woman? We were advised several times we will receive feedback forms from Princess within a couple of days of disembarkation. The importance of Princess receiving that information was emphasized No one in our group has received and such documentation. I have emailed customer service twice. Our disembarkation was Saturday August 17. Based on our overall experience, this was the last time I will look to Princess for a wonderful overall vacation experience.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We have travelled on Carnival three times and loved it! Usually there newest ship, the latest being lasy sept. in the Medditeranean on the Magic. We chose Princess at our agents reccommendation as they are rated as number one for Alaska ... Read More
We have travelled on Carnival three times and loved it! Usually there newest ship, the latest being lasy sept. in the Medditeranean on the Magic. We chose Princess at our agents reccommendation as they are rated as number one for Alaska cruises. We booked the land add-on pre-cruise with a night in Anchorage, a night at Mckinley Lodge, and two nights in Denali with a 9 hour train back to Whittier. The land portion was a highlight! I would suggest if you are going it should be mandatory! Made the rest anti-climatic. Beautiful Lodges, Great views and country and the train dropped us of in front of the ship, you miss a lot by not not doing this! The Sapphire Princess itself is a nice and somewhat classier ship decor wise than Carnival. The rooms were much smaller than Carnival, first thing I noticed walking in was the smallness, Carnival has room for a couch and coffee table in all Balcony rooms here you could barely walk around the bed let alone have a sofa at the foot! Carnival has the convenience of looking at your sail card balances and purchases on your in-room T.V., You can also book last minute tours with a click of the remote and even preview the tour by watching a video of it! On Princess your statement comes the morning you disembark! How do you remember what or when you made a purchase? the only option was to line up at the desk or go to a kiosk and print off a copy ahead of time. Seems small but it was an unexpected inconvenience I assumed all ships hwould have the technology. Next were the captains announcements, although rooms and baths were wired with speakers, no announcements came over them. Another really dumb and inconvenient decision. If you had the tv on and were lucky enough to think you heard talking in the hall you would run for the door and open it to hear the last part of the announcement, while waving at everyone else in the hall wearing your towell! Speaking of towells, if you wanted a robe you had to call and order one, they werent provided in the room otherwise. On Carnival, all three ships, our room stewards knew when we dined and always did the room then, we never seen him it was always done when we returned. On This cruise we were told to put our "please service room" card on the door handle when out. We would go out a couple hours, come back, still not cleaned. It was really not a well run department. On carnival we would get one free bag of wash done, not so here, although it isnt expected. But when you book a 4 or 5 night pre-cruise package if anytime it would be appreciated it would be now. The dining room service was very lackluster! and everyone we met agreed so it wasn't just our waiters. I have to say on Carnival if one person asked for oil to dip bread in one bight, every night after it was already on the table when you arrived. On Princess we would order a bottle of white wine with Dinner and every night we would arrive and the half bottle was nowhere to be found, we were asked nightly if we had any leftover, we said yes, then they got it. This was a real dissapointment! Not once, but every night. So much for service. So overall the cruise itself was a dissapointment. But the land portion was amazing! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
My wife and I took the southbound cruise with a two day poststay in Vancouver. LAND PORTION: We began our 4 day land stay in Fairbanks and worked south. All of the properties were very good. Fairbanks was a short stop with the Riverboat ... Read More
My wife and I took the southbound cruise with a two day poststay in Vancouver. LAND PORTION: We began our 4 day land stay in Fairbanks and worked south. All of the properties were very good. Fairbanks was a short stop with the Riverboat Discovery tour which was a good introduction to Alaska. We stayed at the River's Edge in Fairbanks for one night. The luggage was moved seamlessly from one stop to another. At Denali, take the extended Tundra Wilderness tour if you want to see the wildlife. Our guide said studies have been completed and only 7% of the wildlife sightings occur on the shorter version. Also, it's important to plan your trip depending on what you want to see. The bears in Denali eat berries, not salmon. So they really don't show up well until August when the blueberries ripen. Also, if you go in May, you may not see bear or moose because they are both in the forest--one to give birth and the other to find the young ones for food. Talkeetna is a quaint town. The box lunch provided by the park service is horrid. Pack some snacks. We did a float trip in Talkeetna which was relaxing, but no wildlife. The town is neat. The scenery is great, however. We went from Denali to McKinley on the train. Great scenery, but 4 hours is about all I wanted. The train hauled Princess, Royal Carib, and Holland cars. EMBARKATION: Don't believe what you read about an easy entry to the ship from the train in Whittier. Ours was a 5 hour ride to get there from Talkeetna. Princess does check you in on board, but we had over a one hour wait for security once we got there. The Captain was calling for muster as we walked on board. I would opt for a motor coach transfer instead of the train. It's quicker and will get you there sooner. CRUISE: The cabin was smaller than most, and I hate shower curtains! I'm 5'10", 185 and could hardly function in the shower. I never got soap below my knees all week! We were on Baja deck with a balcony. For dinner,we had fixed seating. To do it again, I would opt for anytime dining because you never know when you might want to be out for scenery or wildlife (although not much wildlife to see). We seemed to be dining whenever something was spotted. We should have used that as an opportunity to get away from our server. She was not pleasant to have, so we only ate in the dining room on three nights. I thought the food was good, but the Horizon Court selections have gone down since our last Princess cruise in terms of quality and variety. Unless you plan on shore excursions that MAY see wildlife, you won't see much on the cruise unless you are good at spotting something moving about two miles away. We saw whales spouting and a few porpoise for all week. Even the comedian made fun of the naturalist's sightings. SKAGWAY, JUNEAU, KETCHIKAN: Each was remarkably different than the other. We enjoyed the city of Skagway most for walking around. I don't know how anyone can live in Ketchikan. It's the fourth wettest place on the face of the earth. Any tour you take there will be hindered by rain, clouds and mist. They don't call it Misty Fjords for nothing. We took the Eagle Preserve trip in Skagway. Quite expensive at $199 each to see three eagles and a few salmon. Our whale watching in Juneau was the best. Lots of humpbacks and more eagles than we saw on the Eagle Preserve in Skagway. However, whales are not easily seen until mid-July or later due to their food source not being around yet. HINT: If your tour voucher says Wildlife Not Guaranteed, you won't see much, if any. Princess does some misleading wording in describing their excursions, so buyer beware. The whale watching offered $100 back if no whales. DISEMBARK AND VANCOUVER: Disembarking was smooth, but we had to wait 45 minutes for the bus to our hotel. We stayed at the Westin Bayshore which is a great location. All in all, if you want to go to Alaska for the scenery, go for it. If you want wildlife, head to Yellowstone or Rocky Mountain National Park. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012

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