Island Princess Cruise Review to Alaska


7+ cruises


Helpful Vote

3 out of 5

Not bad, not good!

Sail Date: August 31, 2016

Reviewed: 1 month ago

Traveled As: Singles/Friends

Room Type: Oceanview

Cabin: E511, E517

Food in dining room, not bad, Crew members not bad,   However, there's a young lady at the Gurest Relations desk that was not very friendly, ignored me even though she was the agent closest to the Elite/Suites line and kept taking guests in the regular line first.   I finally spoke up and told her that wasn't she supposed to help me since I was in the Elite line.   So, she sends the guest in front of her back in line and tells me to come forward.   Even then, she didn't apologize nor was she very friendly with me!

Princess has gone even further downhill since last year.   We had gone on one of their land tours prior to getting on board.  Their first lodge, Mt. McKinley, delivered my hardcase Samsonite with the side handle broken; I figured it would be okay since I still had the top handle. And one corner of it was cracked about 11/2 inches.  However, delivery at the next lodge, Denali, the top handle was also broken.   I reported it to the front desk and they sent maintenance to fix both.  Maintenance tried to fix both but was unable to do so and in the process broke the metal piece on the handles which hooks the handles onto the suitcase.  Maintenance delivered my suitcase and said that they were unable to fix and had duct taped both handles to that we could at least have something to hang onto for the rest of the trip.

     Apparently the duct tape did not hold because when my luggage was delivered to our room onboard the Island Princess the handles had come apart again!
     My fault that I did not do my research for the bus ride from Denali to Copper River lodge.   I did not know that it would take a 9-hour bus ride on unpaved road across a very isolated area of Alaska.   Not only was it unpaved but there were several areas along the way that they paved with huge potholes in it;  that caused me to have a sore neck and lower back for days.   The young bus driver was very nice but quite inexperienced.   After stopping for a little while, we started going again.   All of us on board started to smell a very strong burning odor and we saw thick gray-white smoke pass by both sides of the bus.  The driver then asks if we could smell something burning and all of us said 'Yes!!!'.   He pulls to the side and sees all that smoke coming from the back of the bus and tries to contact someone on his satellite phone.   Took a while, he finally contacts someone and that person tells him that he probably did not release his airbrakes properly and tells him how to do so once they cooled down.   On our way again, and it begins to rain.   Driver turns on wipers and so far, so good.   However, a few miles down the road, the wiper on the driver's side had fallen off and cannot find the screw.   He decides to take off the other wiper but does not have the tool to remove it so he starts asking us for something that we may have that would work.   No one has anything so that we had to wait 'til the rain let-up somewhat before driving on. 

     Princess always states onboard and in a letter given upon boarding, that washing your hands with soap and water for 20 sec. is so important to prevent illnesses and esp. norovirus.   The bus however, did not have soap,only hand sanitizer.   Eewww!!

     We used the same bus going from Copper River lodge to Valdez, which was a 31/2 ride.   Bus stunk and was not cleaned from the ride down to Copper River!!!!

     A couple days before getting off ship, we were given paperwork to fill and return asking us for our plans after getting off.   Since we had bought transfers from Whittier to Anchorage airport and our flight was at 12;30pm (Princess agent had confirmed that any flight after the noon hour would be fine) I went to Guest Relations and told them that I wanted to be on the 815 am bus since they had informed me that it would take approx. 11/2 hours to get there.   Night before, we were issued transfers for the 9:15am bus.   So the morning of disembarking,  I asked 2 other agents who were helping with disembarkation whether I would make our flight on time.   Both said that if they assigned us that time, they knew what they were doing.   Fine!   When we boarded the bus, the driver asks for flight schedules and I made sure that he heard that our flights leave at 12:30pm.   He said that he would try to get us there as fast as possible and also said that we were cutting it so close.   Alaska Air told us that if we did not check in 1 hour before our flight, we would not be able to get on.   The bus got us to the airport by 11:20 am but we couldn't check in until we had our checked luggage with us.   The bus driver however, did not tell us where Princess had delivered it earlier.   Alaska agent said to walk quickly to the far end of the terminal and it may be in a holding room there.   Ran there, found our 2 suitcases and got to the Alaska counter exactly on time--11:30am!!!  Stressful all the way 'til the gate!!!    We don't understand why Princess even bothers asking us our plans if they completely ignore what we tell them!!!!

Cabin / Stateroom
E511 mattress more slumped, water temperature while taking showers kept fluctuating, air-con thruout night continually goes from cool to hot
E517 water temp better but air-con was the same as E511; maintenance came in to check both rooms and finally said that at night, they put air-con in energy saver mode.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Ship Quality
Mattresses slump so that if you have back problems, ask for a board to put under mattress; helps somewhat.
Destinations and Excursions
Onboard Activities
Service and Staff
For most part, they are quite attentive; however, there are some that are lazy.
Food and Dining
Food better in the Dining Room.
Vancouver (Canada Place), British Columbia
Didn't have much time to enjoy; had to change rooms because 2nd segment was on a garantee
Take an unbrella!
Skagway, Alaska
Anchorage (Whittier)


If you really want to try Princess for the first time, pick a newer ship!

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