Jack & Maggie in Alaska
Crown Princess Cruise Review to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska
Sail Date: June 28, 2014
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: B607
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 3 years ago
First, Maggie and I really like The Princess line and have become Platinum members with our latest cruise on the Crown from Anchorage to Vancouver .Great advantages in cruising with this line whether it's your first cruise or your fiftieth. There is a great deal to love about the Crown Princess including the fact that Princess simply caters to a more sophisticated and mature audience than Carnival, RC, or most any other line. If you are in your 40's, 50's, 60's or 70's and take vacations without children, you know what I mean. It's not that children are not invited, there just does not seem like a lot for them to do. If you like the peaceful existance of being on a large ship while not feeling pressured to do or buy anything, then you will love The Crown or any of Princesses ships. It almost feels like the kind of experience we enjoyed thirty years ago when we first started cruising.
This trip was one of our favorites as we flew into Anchorage a day early and were able to explore and absorb the vastness and beauty of this incredible state. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to visit Denali and Mt McKinley three hours north of Anchorage. Those folks that we talked to who did go north said they loved the experience and would do it again in a heartbeat.
The next day we met at the airport for our bus ride to Whitier (about an hour). The problem we encountered from Princess was that we were not directed to the airport at a particular or specific time. It was very unclear as to how and where we were to get the bus to Whitier. The reps for Princess who met our plane told us just to show up at the airpor the next day before four pm. When we did get to the airport the next morning at about 11 am. We were told that it would be a three hour wait for the bus . Are you kidding me? The reps for princess should have handled it better. This will be one of my few complaints about this trip.
Once we boarded, our trip through the snow covered mountains and glaciers was mesmorizing; Maggie and I couldn't believe the extreme beauty that surrounded us and have never seen a part of the world so beautiful. The trip took more like an hour and a half and got us to the ship a little after four. We checked in and walked to town (less than half a mile). Town is a few trailers that cater to the fishing crowd and needn't be visited for anything. There was very little available to buy for cruisers at the General store which was in reality two small trailers that sold fishing goods, boat parts, hardware, bait, tackle and soda.
The air is so clean in Alaska that even when it rains, which is often, you want to take giant gulps because it is so refreshing. Once asea, we retired to our balcony room (a must on any cruise but most important on an Alaskan cruise. Generally you can be on your balcony at any time of the day in a shirt or a light jacket. Now the reason I say a balcony room is so important is this, the light of day lasts around twenty hours. Even when the sun does go down the sky is light and seems more like dusk than midnight. This was true for the first three or four days and as we got closer to Vancouver, the nights came earlier and became much darker. That first nitght though was incredible as Maggie and I snuck back outside to view the scenery at two in the morning.
If you take this cruise for the first time, nothing in the world will prepare you for your first glimpse of the Hubbard Glacier on day two. Words, pictures, video, nothing can do justice to the beauty of eyeing your first glacier up close and personal. The colors of Hubbard, reds, greens, grays, blues and more will astound even the most scrutinizing individual. We rushed to one of the top decks hoping to get a better view as the Crown Princess crept closer to the wonder before us. The bay waters were as calm as as could be and the silence was awe inspiring. I was not dressed adaquitely at first wearing only a shirt and a light sweater. We soon learned that if you are going to be on deck as you approach The Hubbard Glacier thru those icy waters you better be dressed for it. I came back with a heavy hooded sweatshirt, light jacket zipped fully up, stocking cap and heavy gloves. The ship will take you closer than you think possible to Hubbard. You can almost feel the crystal peaks and rivers of blue that run thru this glacier. The immensity of this natural wonder is forever ingrained in me. It's not true as I had previously been told, that if you see one glacier, youve seen them all. This glacier was seven mile long, but later that trip we saw a glacier that was sixty-five miles long and 4,000 feet high. The ship does a full 360 degree turn in the bay so that you are able to see and take pics of everything. Just when you think you have seen everything, we do another 360 turn and are able to view areas that you may have missed the first time. Sharply peaked Icebergs floated in the glasslike waters beneath us, cloud cover was so low that you could almost reach out and touch it and the eerie quiet made you feel as though you were in a different world completely. One of the true wonders still left in the world to enjoy.
The days that followed were just as inspiring as that first day. The three Stops we made, Skagway, Juneau and Kethikan were perfect and disembarking at these locations was and easy. I won't continue to bore you with specific details except to say that we went on a tour in each of the cities. Some good some not so. I would strongly advise not to do the White Summit bus tour with a stop at Liarsvill to do gold panning. Sounds like fun huh? boring, childish and a complete overcharged waiste of time. I would suggest though that you have to see the Mendenhal Glacier in Juneau. We took the bus tour through the cruise line and once there, were able to explore on our own. This was our best tour by far, especially if you walk down to the glacier and waterfall. Simply amazing, being able to touch the incredible water from the fall and see this glacier so up close.
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The Crown is a fantastic ship. I particularly like the fact that it's not gaudy, not full of irritating colors and not a carnival at sea. Instead the colors are muted, the wood trim is elegant and the crew and staff are well trained and extremely obliging. Try the Crown Grill at least one night.