May 2015 - Crown Princess to Alaska - Inside Passage
Anytime you put 3100 passengers of different cultures on a captive platform there will be "moments". The crew and staff of the Crown Princess went to great efforts to lessen these moments. The ship is big and nice with excellent food but that is expected. Many places to dine and varied activities but you are still captive on a boat during the cruising time. The towns and activities in Alaska were great and worth the effort. If you are a shopaholic then you will be in nirvana. The shore activities can keep you completely occupied if shopping is not your thing. Costs involved with everything, but again this is expected. The Tracy Arm fjord is a highlight for the cruise time. The Crown Princess shows that it has experience with cruising as this was a first time experience for us but they smoothed the way with better than expected communications. Take all the "extra" packages involved with moving luggage and yourselves to and from the boat. This removes much of the traveling hassle as you don't have to handle your luggage as they do the work for a small price. After listening to many war stories with passengers I definitely recommend getting to the boat (1) day early to remove the stress of getting to the boat on-time. Slows the pace and removes the stress. Prepare for long times for eating whether anytime of traditional as the quickest we had a meal was 75 minutes but most were 90 to 120 minutes. This may be a designed process to keep you occupied and slow down the pace but to us it just took much longer then needed to have a meal. Eat at the buffet and the only wait is the line to get started. Also if eating at the buffet have someone secure a table while the others get food. You can find yourself with a plate of food looking for a place to sit. The food is excellent and you will need to take the stairs or put on the pounds. Entertainment is pretty good to good and at times excellent. There is no censoring on any of the movies so be prepared for this if you have children or like us don't like a constant barrage of F bombs in your movies.
All in all a worthwhile experience and not as much of a hassle or the herd mentality experience that we were expecting. Prepare to be pampered by the crew of the Crown Princess as they have been trained and perform well. Princess has it's own docks so you never had to be tendered off the boat and they were usually ready to disembark about 30 minutes after port arrival. Their process is well honed and this was just the second journey this year for the Alaskan cruise. Have fun, we did.