May 14, 2007
We have sailed before on Celebrity, HAL and Princess to Alaska and are great Alaskan cruise fans. After the almost unbelievable treatment last year on the May 7, 2006 Summit we had a great deal of trepidation before this cruise. For anyone that is interested I will post a review of that cruise on the Celebrity cruise review board on this cruise forum. Fortunately, all of our fears went away after just a few days of cruising and we made all ports and were on time for every port.
The boarding process was very smooth and we had plenty of time for lunch before exploring the ship.
We were booked in a mini-suite aft and had a great cabin and close to most activities. We had sailed on the Island Princess a few years ago and the condition was just as good as it was a few years ago. The cabin was well appointed and quite comfortable. You usually have to request robes, if you want them, because of the massive amount of things to be washed on changeover day and the robes seem to have a low priority.
The service in the main dining and elsewhere was excellent. The food was some of the best that we had ever had on any cruise ship. The one downer was that the price of photos onboard is way over the top, at about $20 for each picture. The shows were very good with a very enthusiastic cast. Spent some time in the casino and it was very well run with a good selection of games and slot machines. This unfortunately, did not result in any windfalls for us!
Did not take any of the ship's tours and just went on our own when in port. One thing that I can recommend is renting a car in Skagway and driving to Emerald Lake. We have done this many time and it is always enjoyable.
All in all it was one of our best cruises ever and I feel that Princess really does have an interest in showing off Alaska. The disembarkation process, which I always dread, was the smoothest that I have ever seen. We were called at exactly the time that Princess had said that we would disembark. We walked off the ship and our buss was sitting right at the gangway and we were on our way in five minutes. We took the Princess transfers from Whittier to the Anchorage airport where we picked up a rental car.
After the cruise we rented a car for a week and drove to Kenai, Valdez and Denali. The weather through the two weeks was very nice with only part of one day that it rained. The temperature in Fairbanks the day that we were there hit a record high of ninety something.
In summary, I think Princess is a great choice for an Alaskan cruise and offers a great cruising experience.