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Michael

Age: 29

Occupation:Document Imaging

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Golden Princess

Sailing Date: 2013-06-30

Itinerary: Alaska

Overall, not a bad cruise. This was my first with Princess, so wasn't sure what to expect. Compared to Royal Caribbean, I think I like Royal Caribbean better, since that tends to be a more upbeat type of atmosphere. This cruise seemed to be a little more laid back than Royal Caribbean. On the flip side, there were some things I liked about Princess. The first is the muster stations are all in lounges, so you can actually sit down, as opposed to being out on the deck for 15-20 minutes. It's also nice that they only do photos in the dining rooms on formal nights, as opposed to every night.

For the Alaskan itineraries, the onboard naturalist, Kathy was good. She seemed very knowledgeable, and pointed out lots of fascinating things on our route. I do wish the Princess Patter (the newsletter) would have done a better job of promoting her shows in the theatre, as I missed one of them I wanted to see, since I didn't see it listed.

Food overall was good. I didn't think it was anything to rave about, until I got to the last couple nights, which was the lobster tail and jumbo prawns. Those were excellent, as were the mussels on the last night. A good selection of food, but the service was slow for breakfast that first morning, but they turned it around by the end of the cruise. I mainly went to the buffet for breakfast, except for that first morning.

I had an inside stateroom on the baja deck, two floors down from the Lido Deck. Staterooms are on the decks directly above and below, so there was no noise at night, except for the kids running on the same deck. I didn't feel like I was too cramped, either. The shower seemed more spacious than Royal Caribbean's inside rooms, which is another plus for Princess compared to RCI. There was one instance where my toilet didn't flush one morning, but that was quickly resolved within one hour. Not sure when the problem first occurred, as it was fine the night before. I noticed it around 8:15-8:30, and by 9:30 after I got back from breakfast, it was fixed.

It didn't seem like there were than many activities to choose from compared to Royal Caribbean. As I mentioned in the open, this seemed more scaled back than Royal Caribbean. I still found activities that interested me, mainly the bingo sessions. Also, it seemed that for the Movies Under the Stars, the Princess Patter was often wrong, as the movie didn't show when it was supposed to.

In Skagway, definitely try to do the White Pass and Yukon railroad at least up to the Klondike Summit. This was a great experience, as was the horseback riding excursion in Skagway if you like that type of thing. You may want to wait until you get to Juneau to decide what you want to do there, depending on what the weather is like. It was raining when we were there, and I booked a whale watching excursion. Most tours in Alaska go rain or shine, so keep that in mind if you go.

If you do go to a port on a holiday, I would recommend booking a ship's tour, so you don't have to worry about missing the ship. Example, we were in Skagway on the 4th of July, and on our way back to the ship after the morning horseback ride (there was another one in the afternoon), the driver said it took her 10 minutes to find a way through town back to the dock, where it usually only takes her under a minute.

A good vacation, and loved the scenery, especially the mountains and Tracy Arm Fjord. Only thing I would say is do some research so you know what to expect weather wise. We had only one really rainy day in Juneau, which can be expected there. We got lucky in Ketchikan, with a sunny day, as there's less than 30 of those a year from what I was told by Kathy, our onboard naturalist.

Not a bad trip overall, and not too bad that I wouldn't book Princess again, but I think I prefer Royal Caribbean.

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