Island Princess Cruise Review to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

4-6 cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful inner passage Alaska cruise

Sail Date: May 18, 2016

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

We had a terrific time on this cruise. Alaska was absolutely breathtaking and the Southbound/Northbound one-way trip allows you to see more places in less time. 


We booked an outer cabin with window, choosing to forego the balcony to spend more on top notch excursions. And they certainly were! While we certainly wouldn't have turned down a balcony, to enjoy the spectacular views from our own rooms even better, it was completely unnecessary. We noticed the balconies were often empty and the top decks were full, but still provided plenty of room to comfortably watch the glaciers and experiences the views and wildlife. 


Our favorite part of the cruise was the spending the day in the adults-only Sanctuary while in Glacier Bay National Park. An affordable price for reserved, spacious private seating and lounge, with blankets to keep you warm and meals and drinks served by your side all day long. We couldn't have felt more special and taken care of, and the other ~25 people who bought day passes were all wonderful to get to know, too. Be sure to visit the Sanctuary immediately upon boarding as the best seats and days will be quickly taken.


Our favorite excursion was the Heli, Hike & Rail combo in Skagway, AK. The company leading this expedition was top notch: professional, friendly, and informative. From the dock a quick shuttle bus drops your small group (we had 4 of us + guides) to the helicopter base. After your briefings you'll fly above the glaciers and mountain tops for 15 minutes before landing in the Tongass National Forest for a 4-5 mile round-trip hike along the raging Skagway River to a viewpoint of the Laughton glacier.


Recommendations on improvements to the cruise ship include that the buffet food could have been more interesting, and offered better options, or even changing options. Instead we found it lacking. Additionally, the nightly entertainment seemed to be missing any main performance. Maybe they hadn't yet finished rehearsals, as we were the first of the season, but the only entertainment seemed to be comedians, sales pitches, and bar/lounge singers.  Would have been great to have seen bigger and better performances.



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As soon as you board, explore the entire ship. Particularly the adult-only Sanctuary and reserve a full day. You'll love the privacy, comfort, and being taking care of while enjoying the beautiful views.

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