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Age: 62


Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Coral Princess

Sailing Date: 2010-09-4

Itinerary: Alaska Northbound

First let me say that our previous experience was on a smaller ship and although economical turned out to be more of a luxury adventure cruise than Princess delivered. While the Coral Princess is a well maintained and precisely captained and crewed ship I didn't come away feeling that I had experienced all that a cruise can and should be. The arrivals at each port were spot-on and as smooth and flawless as the seas could permit... and the seas were very kind to us for this trip. If that were the total measure of the cruise experience it would have been a 5 star cruise. For us, the cruise experience it rates somwhwere in the 2 - 2 1/2 star rating.

We were greeted upon our arrival at the departure greeting hall with a warm glass of watered-down orange juice substitute. Turns out this is what was served along with the watered-down apple juice, iced tea and an instant coffee-like drink at all meals. Real Coffee, soft drinks and of course alcoholic beverages are cost-add-ons. Calibrate your expectaions on this first impression and you won't be disappointed.

The offered optional (cost add-on) tours were satisfactory and equal to the shorside offerings as they were the same but with a small princess commission. The tour that the onboard Naturalist/Historian tried to steer us away from turned out to be the best of the trip. Constant commercials for future cruises, spa treatments and of course shopping for jewelry and diamonds served to further tarnish the experience as you were forced to the "Princess Commercial Sales" channel at high volume when the cabin TV was turned on. This hardly fit in with our expectation of enjoying the relaxation of a cruise between opportunities to explore and discover all that Alaska has to offer. I've heard the cruise referred to as the "Spa/Shopping/Jewelry Cruise"... a fitting description.

The best part - ALASKA itself. Fortunately, it's essentially impossible to spoil the phenominal experience of the wilderness, sights,sounds and beauty of Alaska.

As others have commented, the presentation exceeded the quality of the offerings. The entre's were at most average both in the dining rooms and the buffet. The desserts looked great but were disappointing... The best part of the meals were the fresh fruit offerings.

The stateroom was fine. everything worked and was spotless when we arrived and was maintained to that standard by the steward throughout the cruise. If you don't care for rock-hard beds you may not cre for the stateroom sleeping accomodations. I recall sleeping on a similarly hard bed (a barely padded mat) in India... and like the india mat, it was merely rock-hard and did not include the feared "bed of nails" Like most of the standard class staterooms on the ship, it was "compact"

The on-board historian was apparently most interested in pushing the shopping and jewelry sales downtown. While the meager offering of pre-arrival port and tour descriptions were generally adequate, they were hardly stellar.

The few shows we attended were well done and entertaining.

Beyond the ship's library most activities outside the sales presentations, cruise hype and the above mentioned Naturalist/Historian briefings were again cost add-ons.

We didn't take the 2 hour flight to the fjord from Ketchikan... we may have missed a good one there.

The 8 hour combo Photo and Train tour from Skagway to the Yukon Territory was amazing, excellent background by our Driver/Guide and a chance to get the real flavor of Alaska.

Do spend the $7pp each way to visit the Mendenahll Glaciar...

Alaska is Amazing, we'll be back... but I doubt we'll be aboard the Coral Princess again. Having experienced what a cruise can be we found this cruise to be lacking in what makes a cruise a wonderful experience...

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