Island Princess Cruise Review to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

Contributor Level: Purser

2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

2 out of 5

It's probably a great cruise if you're 70+

Sail Date: July 23, 2014

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Inside

I did the Alaskan cruise with my family on the Island Princess. We found the land portion of the tour to be hectic and our accommodations lackluster. Our rooms were what you would expect from any budget hotel, we got two double beds and a mini fridge. The sights were spectacular, but I don't really find this to be a reflection on Princess. All of Alaska is gorgeous, and we could have seen the same things on any other cruise line.


The cruise part of our vacation was equally average. We found that there really wasn't anything to DO on the cruise when you were in transit from one location to the next, the exception being of course the tour of glacier bay. Taking the cruise ship into glacier bay deserves a star in itself - it's amazing that a ship as large as the Princess is able to navigate the ice-ridden waters, and we got very up close and personal with quite an enormous specimen. However, other than that one day, we were left wanting for activities. This was due mostly to our age, I think. It was pretty apparent after a couple of days on our vacation that my parents in their fifties and my brother and I in our twenties were the minority. I say this as nicely as possible: Princess is an old person's cruise line. Most of the other passengers were 70 or older. As such, my family and I felt a bit alienated when it came to the activities, because trivia referred to events that we weren't alive for and BINGO is just not our thing. We ended up eating... and drinking... a lot.


That said, the staff on the Island Princess were phenomenal. They were very friendly (and young), energetic, and entertaining. One of the two stars are for them. We really enjoyed the personalities of our regular bar tenders and our waiter at dinner. The room keepers were also friendly and I enjoyed getting to know them - one caught me dancing in the hallway once and openly laughed at me, he said I reminded him of his daughter. Other than the staff, though, you're better off traveling with Carnival. There's nothing special about Princess.

Ship Quality
The Island Princess is refurbished, so it's nice, but it's also old.
Food and Dining
The food was great for the first two days, but there wasn't a lot of variety. It was mostly just: salmon, salmon, salmon. Particularly, the breakfast menu didn't change enough each day, and there was only one food court on the ship which was ALWAYS packed. Very hard to find a seat.
Cabin / Stateroom
It was tiny, but who cares, it was for sleeping.
Service and Staff
Marino, our waiter, was phenomenal. We picked anytime dining but after our first two nights, he made sure that we always ended up assigned to one of his tables. By the end of the cruise, he was giving us brain teasers to solve while waiting for our food to come out. We really enjoyed his company.
The only show we really liked was the comedy act. The dancing acts were neat, but not my thing, and the magician didn't do anything amazing and was trying a little too hard to be entertaining.
Children's Programs
I don't know really how these were because we didn't have any kids there, but I saw that they had a teens mixer every day.
Onboard Activities
This was the worst part of the cruise! There was nothing to do! Please, please, please provide some activities for your younger passengers or make it known that your cruise is specifically for older people. We felt alienated and bored.
Destinations and Excursions
Alaska is BEAUTIFUL! Despite everything else, this cruise was worth it because of the land tours. DO the ziplining, DO the helicopter ride, DO the glacier walkabout. You won't be sorry.
Whittier (Anchorage), Alaska
If you come in on I think Sunday like we did, there is an open air market with locals selling local goods. Definitely check it out, since it's going to be one of your best opportunities to find locally crafted goods.
Cruise Hubbard Glacier
Cruise Glacier Bay
Get a cabin with the balcony. You won't regret it. Be careful though, one of the sides of the ship, I think the port side, gets to see the glaciers best.
Skagway, Alaska
The Yukon suspension bridge isn't anything special, but driving that road or taking the train will give you some neat views. The bus that we took to the Yukon didn't go as far as the train, but the bus stopped to let us out and take pictures more often than the train stops.
Juneau, Alaska
Helicopter ride. There are some amazing views of the glaciers, ponds, waterfalls... it's just unreal. We did the dog sledding but I don't think it was worth the extra money.
Ketchikan, Alaska
Vancouver (Canada Place), British Columbia
We had amazing weather, and Vancour is a cool city, but we were burnt out and tired by the time we got here. So if you're going to Vancouver last, I would suggest booking a flight for maybe two or three hours after your boat arrives so you can just be on your way.


If you're going to Horizon for breakfast, go early, or you won't have a seat. Otherwise, go to the dining room. It doesn't take too long to get your breakfast and they always have seating. ABSOLUTELY get a cabin with a balcony if you can afford it, it's worth it for the tour of glacier bay.

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