July 3 – July 14. Your experience may have been worse or better, but this is mine.
If you are going to do an Alaskan Cruise, you really should include the landtour, we saw sights you can only see from the ship and sights only from land…I feel you would miss too much if you didn’t do the landtour piece.
Princess is very organized, it takes a lot to impress me, and I was impressed with the organization from start to finish. We used Princess for our flights, we saved $1000 by going through them, we also used them for all our transfers. Our luggage was always where it was supposed to be, when it was supposed to be there. Very impressive!
The ship: Princess Island was ok. We were on Aloha Deck A418, right below the lido deck, but near the elevator. During the day you can hear the activity above us, but at night, it was fairly quiet. Our stateroom should have been cleaner upon arrival, however I brought my own wipes and cleaned all the surfaces which honestly needed it. I understand the quick turnaround between passengers, but there were coffee drips on surfaces. The bathroom door, and telephone, were a little gross. I recommend taking disinfectant wipes, even for just peace of mind of wiping down everything you may touch. Our room Steward was very nice and helpful, we tipped above what we prepaid. Our bed and pillows were very comfortable, we actually slept very well. If you are going to Alaska, you really need a balcony, we loved ours. We saw whales, sea otters, eagles, sea lions, seals, puffins and more!
The food on ship was nothing to brag about, however with that being said, we didn’t go away hungry and we both gained a few pounds. We did not care for the hamburger station, the pizza or swirls. Which saved us many calories! We ate in the MDR twice, (FYI: NO SHORTS in the MDR) we liked the food, however the wait staff we had didn’t seem to have personalities, and it took so long, so we chose to eat most of our meals at the Horizon (buffet), outside of the Horizon were hand washing stations, I loved this! We ate at the Bayou Café once, the meal was ok, the desserts there were fabulous! We purchased the coffee card, the specialty coffees were good.
The workout facility is nice.
The production shows were very good! The costumes were amazing, and to think those players had to learn 3 shows is impressive.
We did go to the Sanctuary even though we had a balcony. I recommend the Sanctuary on Glacier days. It’s really relaxing, we were catered to, and you can see both sides and it is not crowded. We loved the experience!
I feel the staff on the ship could have been more friendly, most were none memorable, except for Anthony who managed the Sanctuary, we loved him!
The Landtour: We enjoyed the lodges, with the exception of Mt. McKinley Wilderness Lodge. We were in building 19, the carpet in the hall was pure black filth and the walls were banged up. Our room was dirty, not filthy, but dirty. Be prepared to have lots of money for meals, so much more costly than I expected, however the food was really good. The train ride after disembarking from ship to the lodge was great, the Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park is well worth the upgraded cost. We saw Moose with babies, Goats/Sheep, Grizzlies, Eagles and more! Denali and Fairbanks lodges were very nice. The beds in the lodges were ok, the pillows were terrible, and we didn’t sleep very well, but it’s be expected I guess. The riverboat in Fairbanks was interesting and fun. We enjoyed the village and presentations.
Packing: I’m an over packer, I like being prepared for anything, and I was. You do need to pack for 3 seasons, for sure. We needed our hoodies, sweaters, down vests, hats and gloves for walking on the decks of the ships in the morning and evenings. Some of the ports were downright hot, especially Hoonoh, walking the mile or so into town was hot. I’ve heard a lot of negative comments with regards to this port, but you see true Alaskan village, I would say not worth a whole day, unless you take an excursion.
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