2 Whittier to Alaska Princess Sun Princess Cruise Reviews

Family of five with three children ages 13, 12 and nine. We spent three days pre cruise in Anchorage, then sailed on the Sun Princess southbound on 6/27. Bought Princess transfers from airport. We were on the first shuttle to Whittier. ... Read More
Family of five with three children ages 13, 12 and nine. We spent three days pre cruise in Anchorage, then sailed on the Sun Princess southbound on 6/27. Bought Princess transfers from airport. We were on the first shuttle to Whittier. Driver was pleasant and informative. Had a five minute wait at the tunnel. Once off the bus we waited maybe ten minutes in line. Paperwork went smoothly and we were on the ship. Had lunch in Horizon court and explored the ship. Yes, she shows signs of age-worn carpet and nicks in the dressers, but she was very clean. The crew was friendly and service was terrific. We had two cabins, an inside triple and an outside balcony on Aloha deck. Our room steward was amazing. The towels were always fresh, no matter how many showers we took. The beds were made while we were at breakfast and the beds turned down while we were at dinner. We had traditional dining, early seating. We had a table to ourselves which was fine. I would have liked tablemates so that we could share our excursions over dinner. Food was very good. Halibut and Lobster was the best I'd ever had. The asparagus soup and the garlic soup were exquisite. We occasionally eat at a fancy French restaurant at home, and the food in the dining room was comparable. We tried Verdi's pizza for lunch-very good pizza, but a long wait the day we were there. We ate at Sterling Steakhouse one night and very much enjoyed our filet and three desserts. The Horizon court had all the basics for breakfast and lunch. The lunch menu varied-Italian dishes one day, Asian another, but you could always get salads, soups, fruit, bread, etc. No excuse to go hungry here. As far as entertainment went, we tended to go to the comedians. All were funny, with the comedian/juggler and the comedian/ventriloquist being hilarious and appropriate for families. Wasn't interested in the review shows so I can't comment on them. It was nice to sit and listen to the strings and the piano player in the lounges. Both my husband and I had a Swedish massage in the Lotus Spa. It was 50 minutes long for $109.00. It was relaxing. Yes, there was a push for me to buy a body oil, but when I said no, that was the end of it. Our three daughters enjoyed the kids program. Technically, they were to be in three different group: 8-10, 11-12, and 13-17. Our recently turned 13 year old REALLY wanted to be in the teen group, but when she compared the activities (coffee bar, video games, Karaoke, disco) to the 12 year olds (card games, science activities, making shark tooth necklaces) she decided to go with her sister to the younger program. Much of the time all the 8-12 year olds were together for activities. My advice to Princess is to consider a slightly different different division of ages. There is a tremendous social difference between 8 and 12 years olds, and probably an even greater difference between the 13 and 17 year olds. Maybe they could do a 8-11, 12-14, and a 15-17 year grouping. In any event, all three girls wanted to go to the program every chance they had. We let them check out together and meet us for lunch or back at the room before dinner. College Fjord-a beautiful sunny day. We had a balcony so we ordered room service and enjoyed breakfast while watching the scenery. The balcony was plenty big enough for the five of us. We had the TV on to the channel 36 and we could hear the naturalist. She was very informative about the glaciers and wildlife. At 10:00 the kids were off to the Fun Zone and my husband and I went up on deck. There were swimmers in the pools and people about but it never felt crowded. Too many icebergs to get close to the glacier, but what we saw was amazing. Glacier Bay- Spent lost of time on deck in the afternoon in front of the Glaciers. The ship slowly rotated from side to side so all could see and take pictures. It was raining a bit-more like a sprinkle so you didn't have that blinding sun off the glaciers like yesterday. There was some small calving. We enjoyed several hours outside, and the Baileys Irish Cream and Hot chocolate was fun to drink. While looking through the binoculars, I spotted 6 kayaks in the water below. Amazing, the extremes of huge ship next to kayak. I also spotted the green tents on shore, so those people were really experiencing the wild. For this trip, I wanted my hot showers and gourmet meals along with my scenery, though my husband wouldn't mind roughing it in the future. Skagway-Cloudy today and cool for us-mid to high 50's. We did the 8:15 White Pass Railway. Very pretty and informative. I think everyone should try this once. At the summit we were above the clouds and saw the sun-the last we would see of it on this trip. We had lunch back on the ship, then took an afternoon excursion called "Chilkoot Trail Hike and Float" through Southeast Tours. Highly recommend this adventure. We had a private guide take us two miles up the Chilkoot trail. The first 1/4 mile was uphill, then it was flat and easy. He was very knowledgeable about the terrain, the wildlife and the plants. He had my tired/quiet girls perked up in no time as he showed them all the edible berries and wild things along the trail. We saw eagles nests and bear claw marks. The watermelon berries were a favorite and very plentiful. We then floated 45 minutes down the Taiya River. We had a delicious snack of smoked salmon, cheese, seasoned crackers and cookies. Hard to believe there were 4 ships in Skagway that day because we saw no one else on the River. This was my husbands favorite excursion, and the cheapest! Even the girls really liked it. Juneau-We went with Captain Larry and Orca Enterprises for Whale Watching. An extra for us, it was the maiden voyage of his brand new boat the Awesome Odysea. It is big, clean and PURPLE. Larry and Carol were excited and in good moods. We saw humpbacks breaching, lots of tails and fins, a council of eagles and sea lions. It was kind of special to be one of the first to try the new boat. It seats 40, but we only had 20. It was a slow day in Juneau with only 2 ships in port. A snack of salmon, cheese and crackers and coffee or juice was also provided. We were given purple caps with the Orca logo on it for being the first customers. Ketchikan-We went with Michelle at Island Wings for a floatplane over Misty Fjords. It was misty, but perfect flying weather-smooth. The sights were breathtaking. MIchelle landed her plane at a remote lake and we spent about 30 minutes taking in the quiet. She was informative and friendly. Back to the ship for lunch, then out in the rain to walk about town. This was my favorite port. Overall impressions: This was an unforgettable vacation. We figured we might not get to Alaska again for quite a while (not because we don't want to, but because we have a long list of places to see) so we splurged. In addition to the above excursions we did a helicopter/dogsled out of Girdwood during out pre-cruise stay in Anchorage. It was an expensive trip, but worth every penny. The Sun Princess in now "our Ship" and we were sad to see her set sail again without us. I can't complain about a single thing. Should time and money be no issue, we would sail her and to Alaska again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
My profile: My wife and I are 30 years old. We are very out going people that like to do many different activities. This was our 5th cruise, so we are not rookies. We love to eat gourmet food and participate in many of the cruise events. ... Read More
My profile: My wife and I are 30 years old. We are very out going people that like to do many different activities. This was our 5th cruise, so we are not rookies. We love to eat gourmet food and participate in many of the cruise events. Trip description: Whittier College Fjord Glacier Bay Skagway Juneau Ketchikan Vancouver High level Review: Alaska is a cruise vacation biased to the older generation. The average age I witnessed was around 50-60. Don't expect a wild crazy party environment like you experience in the Caribbean or Mexico. This is a peaceful quiet site seeing and wild life watching cruise. The glaciers in College Fjord and Glacier Bay were amazing! You have to go out on deck and look at them because you will never see anything like that anywhere else. Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan are all very small towns. To really experience Alaska you need to join tours. Helicopters, trains, small boats, and float planes are all great ways to do this. I strongly recommend joining these types of tours rather than just walking around town through all the tourist trap shopping stores. The food was very good at dinner each night. (You can trust me on this because I ate 2 or 3 main entrees at each meal) The 24 hour buffet is a joke late at night. They only offer tiny deserts and snacks. Entertainment varied night to night. The "broadway style" singers and dancers sang out of tune. Some of the comedians were very funny, but with a ethic diverse audience, american humor did not always work. Bingo always packed the lounges, but the casino never filled up much. A wide variety of music always could be heard from the many lounges on the ship. With all these things said, we enjoyed this relaxing trip a lot. Next time we plan on bringing family and friends to create a big group. We noticed many multi-generation families on board. They seemed to be having the most fun because cruises offer so many different activities for wide age group. Food: Every time you enter a restaurant, you will be required to clean your hands with an alcohol fluid. This is to avoid the spread of any diseases on board the ship. Breakfast was the same each day in the buffet and the dining room. Room service only contained a continental menu. Lunch was nothing special either. The pizzeria and the grill near the pool were great ways of getting a snack. At dinner, the positives were definitely the seafood. Alaska crab legs, lobster tail, and the many fresh fishes are a must! I always had a meat dish and a seafood dish each night. The portions are fairly small, so you can eat the whole menu if you like. The kitchen got to know me as the skinny guy that ate more than the big people. The souffles were excellent for dessert, they had a different kind each night. The salads and salad dressing all tasted the same. I recommend signing up for the fixed seating rather than the anytime. You will get the same waiter each time and better service. The wait staff in the anytime dining room was very "cold" and "rude" at times to many of the customers. Tips are already fixed to $6.50 a day through your cruise card, so they don't need to earn it from you. If you drink a lot of soda, purchase a "soda card" on the first day of the cruise. College Fjord Stand on the top decks near the pool that allow you to walk all around the ship. The glaciers surround the boat, and the captain will turn the ship many times. Glacier Bay I suggest avoiding the crowds on the top decks this day and viewing them on the Aloha and Baja decks. Walk all the way to the front of the ship and go through a set of doors. There is a small porch in which to view the glaciers and get amazing pictures. Take your photos here because nobody will be there. Skagway We did the dog sledding helicopter tour with Temsco "www.temscoair.com" I reserved this directly with Temsco and saved $100 compared to the the cruise offering. The other people on the helicopter reserved through the ship. It was a very fun tour and I highly recommend it.(note this tour can be done in Juneau also) Skagway is a very small town, so I suggest walking around to the many shops. Juneau We joined the Orca Enterprises, Captain Larry, whale watching tour. "www.orcaenterprises.com" I strongly recommend reserving this boat tour rather than the cruise ships tour because it is more personal. They only take out 25 people in a small boat built specifically for whale watching. The famous Captain Larry can spot a whale 4 miles away, and actually guarantees your money back if you don't see whales on this trip. The scientist on board was very knowledgeable and polite also. In the afternoon we took the Mt Roberts Trainway up to the top of the mountain to go hiking. I suggest bringing some bug spray. The view is very nice, but we got bored fairly quickly up there and came back down. Note, that you should only go up the train if it is a clear day. Ketchikan We reserved a sea kayaking tour of Orca's Cove. "www.kayakketchikan.com" We didn't see much wild life, but the paddling and personal attention we got from the guide was great. On the way to the cove, we saw 4 killer whales! It rains a lot there, so bring your umbrella and rain gear. The cruise ships port right in the middle of town, so you can go back and forth to your ship all day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
Sun Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 4.0

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