Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Dawn Princess
Sailing Date: May 31st, 2007
Itinerary: Alaska Inside Pass
We sailed on the Dawn Princess from San Francisco to the Alaska Inside Passage on May 31 – June 10, 2007. The ports were: San Francisco; Ketchikan; Sitka; Juneau; Tracy Arm Fjord (cruising only); Victoria and back to San Francisco. This was a 10-day cruise.
The ship is an older ship (10 years old), but very well maintained. We had an outside balcony room, which I would recommend to anyone taking a cruise, especially an Alaskan cruise. Also, I would recommend being on the starboard side because that is the side that is coastal and the side that you dock on in most ports. You have the advantage of seeing the ports as you come into them.
Since this was a 10-day cruise with 6 days at sea, we were in our stateroom a lot just watching the beautiful scenery. We brought our binoculars, which we used every day to try and spot whales, dolphins, etc.
Being an older ship, there is not a lot of variety of things to do on the ship compared to the newer “mega” ships which offer rock climbing, ice skating rinks, movies under the sky, etc. If you want to have a huge variety of activities, I would suggest one of the newer “mega” ships. If you want a smaller more relaxing cruise where the concentration is more on the beauty of nature, I would suggest the Dawn Princess.
All Princess staff were very friendly and I feel did an excellent job at keeping everything running smoothly and gave excellent service. The food was excellent and the dining room experience (we had the second seating) was something we looked forward to every night. Our waiters did a great job at both serving us our meal and becoming friends that we looked forward to seeing every night.
Ketchikan – the day we were there it was absolutely gorgeous, sunny and in the low 70s. We did the Totem Bight Rain Forest/Totem Pole excursion and the Lumberjack show. Both were excellent. Of course, catching Ketchikan on a sunny day was a treat!
Sitka – it was a rainy day in Sitka. We did not do any shore excursions but just wandered around this quaint little town.
Juneau – the day started off very overcast with rain lurking, but it ended up lifting to a high overcast and was quite comfortable. We did the ERA helicopter glacier/dogsled tour. This was absolutely the highlight of our cruise. The helicopter takes you over the glaciers in a 20 minute ride (each way) and lands on a dogsled camp where you meet your musher and actually ride a dogsled for about 45 minutes. This truly was an experience of a lifetime that I recommend to anyone. We booked this through Princess and it was pricey, $499 per person, but well worth the experience.
Tracy Arm Fjord – this was scenic cruising through the Fjord from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. We just stood on our balcony and took in the beauty of this amazing place. I took over 150 pictures just at Tracy Arm Fjord. This is where your balcony and binoculars come in very handy.
Victoria – our last stop also was a beautiful sunny day. We just walked around Victoria and enjoyed the beauty of this town. We would have liked to have had more time in Victoria but the ship is only there from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.