Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Island Princess
Sailing Date: July 9th, 2006
First of all, I would like to state that this review is coming from a teenage point of view. I was 15 (actually, I turned 15 on the first night) on this cruise. This was my 6th cruise, having previously sailed with the Big Red Boat, Disney, and Royal Caribbean. This was my first Princess.
I'd also like to say that I'm leaving this review because when I was searching for reviews, I couldn't find anything from a kid's point of view. I had no idea what the teen center was like, or what there was to do on board for anyone under 21.
My family started the cruise after having already spent a week on land, on a package with Princess. It was one of the best things I've ever done. We went on the Heart of Alaska Princess Cruise tour. We visited Fairbanks, Mt. McKinley, and Anchorage, traveling in between the hotels by exclusive Princess trains. Everything we did was done through Princess, so we had no problems knowing where to go or anything. I highly recommend doing this tour, it is so beautiful, and informative. I also recommend doing the land portion first, because it makes sense. First, you do the more strenuous, traveling portion, then you go on the relaxing cruise.
As an added bonus, they were having trouble with the trains going from Mt. McKinley to the Anchorage. We had to take the bus. It actually took us about 3 hours less time to get there, and each person got $75 ship credit. Handy, if you want to buy something from the ship store. Things are a little pricey.
I'm sorry to say that I can't tell you much about embarkation/debarkation essentially because I didn't pay attention. I can tell you all about the ship.
I'll start with the room. My brother and I shared a mini suite with a balcony, that connected to my parents' room. Our balconies actually opened up so we had one long balcony, which was quite nice, because as I remember, the balcony was rather small on its own. The room was a very nice size for 2 people. We were quite comfortable. We had 2 twin beds, a desk, a TV, a refrigerator, and nightstands. Unfortunately, the bathroom was terribly small. I could barely turn around in the shower. (and I'm not large, if that's what you're thinking). I remember my grandparents got breakfast out on their balcony because it was their anniversary. They had champagne and pastries. They said it was very good and they really enjoyed it. Since it was my birthday, I got a sign on my door that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JACKIE. It made me really happy. And the steward, who was amazingly attentive, gave me extra chocolates. The steward, Rex, was so nice. Whenever I would see him in the halls, he would always greet me and my family by name.
Now, for the food. It was very good. I am
VERY picky, and I remember there was always something for me to eat. There was a
pool-side pizza place that was AMAZING. There were always lines there, but it
was worth it.
The teen center was awesome. They always had something for us to do. Some of the things I remember doing were Battle of the Sexes, the Dating Game, and Scavenger Hunts all over the ship. The staff who worked with us were so nice. They really related to us. And they were like our friends, not people who had to “watch” us.
Of course, since we were in Alaska, everywhere we looked, there were amazing things to see. We went past huge glaciers, and myself and a bunch of people I met were standing on the balcony looking at it, and a staff photographer came up and took a bunch of photos of us with the glacier as a beautiful backdrop. Of course, the pictures were for sale for a ridiculously high price, but it was very nice that he just came around and took pictures of people. It was a nice touch, and something I had never experienced before.
As a matter of fact, the whole staff on board were incredibly friendly. I don't remember meeting anyone who was unpleasant. My brother and I had the unlimited beverage plan, so we were always at the bar, getting sodas. We actually made friends with two very friendly bartenders, Mark and Trevor. They would make my brother special Shirley temples, and always give him extra cherries. It was little things like that that made this cruise stand out to me. I really recommend the unlimited drink plan, by the way. It only works for nonalcoholic drinks, but, if you drink sodas as much as my family does, it's really worth it. Plus, my brother and I always got sodas for my parents, because we had the plan, and no one knew the difference.
As for the excursions, they were amazing. Unfortunately, we couldn't go into Ketchikan because of the high winds. The excursion in Juneau especially stands out to me. It was absolutely breathtaking. We took a helicopter over 4 glaciers. I got to sit in the cockpit. We landed on the glacier and got to walk around and take pictures. They also taught us a lot about glaciers and the dangers. I remember that getting on and off the ship for excursions was easy. All we had to do was swipe our key cards when we got off, and then again when we got on.
All in all, this was the best cruise I've
ever been on. I loved it. I would recommend this for anyone.