Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Golden Princess
Sailing Date: August 4th, 2007
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
My family of four (wife, two teenage
daughters, 16 and 13, and myself) just returned from a week-long cruise to
Alaska. This was our second cruise on Princess, the other being a trip to the
Caribbean two years ago.
In brief, the cruise was great and we had a fantastic time.
We experienced a check-in time of about 20 minutes. Once we got to the counter, we got our keycards and got on the ship quickly. Our bags were transferred automatically from the airport and got to our rooms promptly.
We had two rooms, one with a balcony, the other an inside room. My wife really liked the balcony and we had terrific views throughout the journey. I would sign up for a balcony room again the next time we go, it was worth it.
Overall, the food was pretty good, not great, not bad. I'm not a picky eater. The buffet always had nice fresh fruit, a nice salad bar and good sweets. The rest of the prepared food was hit or miss, I found the simpler items to be better and the more complex items to be not so good or to be somewhat bland and thus not worth the calories. The dinners were good, the best part was that we didn't have to cook or clean! We liked several of the desserts, since we don't eat those at home. The dishes at dinner were also hit-or-miss, some were good, others not that great; the salads were always good. The wait staff was generally efficient and friendly. There was one evening when we had to wait an hour and fifteen minutes, but that was our fault for not making a reservation. Any time we made a reservation, we were promptly seated. No complaints whatsoever about any of the staff we encountered, everyone was friendly and provided nice service, especially the cabin attendants.
We liked the entertainment, including the Broadway-like shows, the comedians (Kevin Hughes, in particular, was funny), Michael the naturalist was uplifting, Princess Pop Star (American Idol like show) was fun, etc. While on board, we did many things, including using the exercise room and taking exercise classes, swimming in the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi-ing, playing ping pong and miniature golf, my kids playing in the arcade room, game room, teen club, doing the afternoon tea, you name it, there's plenty to do while on board.
As to excursions, we did the taste of Juneau, which took us to a brewery, a cooking show and the Mendenhall Glacier, where we saw some bears, which was cool. It was a good tour, we liked all of it. In Skagway, we took a boat to a beach and then a canoe ride to the Davidson Glacier. The people operating the tour were informative and friendly and we saw whales on the way. In Ketchikan, we did the Eagles and Lighthouse tour, where we did see a lot of bald eagles. We also saw a lot of whales all during the cruise. Although not an excursion, the day in Tracy's Arm was the scenic highlight of the trip, we had a beautiful day of sunshine and the whole day was magical. It made the pictures from the cruise brochure look real. In Victoria, we did a tour of Butchart Gardens, it was a great tour and time, even though you only have a few hours, it's worth it.
Overall, the weather was overcast and sometimes rainy for a little more than half the cruise and partly or fully sunny for the rest. This was a little better than expected. My wife and I lived in Juneau for two years about 25 years ago so we were expecting rainy weather and it was a little nicer than expected.
The ship ride was quite steady, nobody got seasick. Someone mentioned that six weeks ago, on the first day, the seas were rough and 400 of the crew got seasick, but during our cruise, it was very smooth sailing all the way.
The demographic of the cruise was distinctly older. The teen club coordinator said there were 210 teens on board, so no shortage of kids for my kids to interact with, but definitely lots of seniors on board.
Disembarkation was a piece of cake. We got a ticket that allowed us to take our own bags off and we got off at our scheduled time, no problem.
Again, overall, it was a great trip. There were little things that might bother some people but we were on vacation and we also realized that people were just trying to have fun and/or do their jobs, so there's no reason to get upset. We were all sad when the cruise was over, we didn't want to go home. If you get a chance to go on this cruise, I strongly recommend it, you will have a fun time.