For the Fourth of July weekend, we decided to do something different this year. My family of five decided that an Alaskan cruise was a NEW adventure and excellent choice. We took our 7 year old daughter, and my wife's parents with us (healthy seniors in the late 70's.) This was our first time cruising, so we had HIGH expectations!
The ship: I was unsure about the SUN Princess since it is not the newest ship on the Princess line. No problem there. It was not crowded, everything was clean and in excellent shape.
The room: We had inside cabins with no upgrade. Since we were rarely in our rooms, it did not matter to me. The fridge was handy, and the room attendant was there immediately answering all of our questions.
The food: We choose Personal Choice Dining. It worked out well for my family. We DO NOT like to dress up to eat. I used the dining room more than the rest of my family, and preferred to sit alone or asked for a table for two. NO PROBLEMS! We usually had a reservation for dinner "just in case," and often we would change that as well, to a more convenient time. Again, NO PROBLEM! I highly recommend Personal Choice dining.
Personally, I have a difficult time eating with strangers. I have nothing in common with old grumpy seniors that have cruised many times and complain all the time. (We did see our share on this cruise!) But, having a young family the ship's crew went out of there way to accommodate us. The food and the food staff EXCEEDED our expectations very time.
The pizza place was great too! I had "heard"' that the pizza was really bad. THAT IS NOT TRUE! It was pleasant, fun, and my daughter loved it.
Horizon Court's 24 hour a day food, was OKAY, but not great. It was better than eating at Denney, but the dining room food was so much better, that I wondered WHY folks choose to eat there. But, my wife and in laws liked Horizon Court, so, it is probably a matter of taste.
The tour of the ship's kitchen was fun.
The SPA: This was an excellent place. We all enjoyed the hot tubs, and the excercise classes.
Boarding: VERY EASY! We used the internet to post all of the paperwork in advance. Within five minutes we were on board and going up to your rooms.
Dislikes: The entertainment was nothing to write home about. We saw very little wildlife. Yes, a few eagles here in there, but no bears or whales.
It took over 5 hours for them to deliver our bags to our cabin. I was disappointed. Be certain to take a carry on bag with you when you board. We wanted our exercise and swim suits immediately, and had to wait a long time...since we packed them in our suitcases.
Likes: The crew. Every staff member was friendly, and said YES to every question or request. Glacier Bay. Stiing in the hot tub watching the glaciers calving was a once in a life time experience.
Off shore excurisions: The float plane trip in Ketchican was an incredible experince. Alaskan towns are very much the same. Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier has an incredible National Park Visitor's Center, and is a MUST SEE!
We loved Alaska. When in doubt, stay on the boat. Many of the ports look the same. Princess exceeded our high expectations, and it was a great value for the money.