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