We have sailed on the Island Princess twice, once to Hawaii (2005) and once as a Coastal cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver (stops at Ketchikan and Sitka)(2006). We are sailing on her again in March back to Hawaii. We love Princess and the Island is one of our favorite ships. The service is great. When doing the coastal cruise the maitre 'd remembered us from our Hawaii cruise and treated us like royalty. (His name is something similar to Dominic, great guy)
The food is outstanding, best we've ever had on Princess and that's saying alot.
Golden Princess 2008 (Hawaii)
Caribbean Princess 2008
Norwegian Gem 2007 (Transatlantic)
Island Princess 2007 (Hawaii)
Caribbean Princess 2006 (Caribbean)
Diamond Princess 2006 (Coastal)
Island Princess 2006 (Coastal)
Splendour of the Seas 2006 (Caribbean)
Island Princess 2005 (Hawaii)
Rhapsody of the Seas 2005 (Caribbean)
Sapphire Princess 2005 (Mexico)
Caribbean Princess 2004 (Caribbean)
Star Princess 2004 (Europe / Transatlantic)
Golden Princess 2003 (Caribbean)
Golden Princess 2003 (Transatlantic)
Golden Princess 2003 (Transatlantic)
Monarch of the Seas 2002 (Caribbean)
Rhapsody of the Seas 2000 (Mexico)
One more thought about the Island Princess, which in my view applies to all Princess ships.
We are firm believers in booking a mini-suite with balcony preferably Dolphin deck aft of mid-ship, port side. The reason for that particular location is of course less rocking in high seas, and port side usually provides the better views depending on the particular cruise. An example is Fort Lauderdale where from the port side, before sail-away, you can watch all the private yaughts sailing in and out of the harbour.
The balcony is absolutely wonderful and can be uses for many purposes weather permitting. We enjoy sitting out there and watching the sea drift by. Morning coffee is a highlight.
The mini-suite provides that little extra space for company or just hanging around. The sitting area with the second TV gives you some breathing room that a regular cabin does not. The mini-suite usually comes with a bath tub/shower so you have room to breath in the biffy.
The mini-suite with balcony costs a few extra bucks but in my mind, well worth it.
I'll second Bob & Bew on the mini-suite;
for the modest extra cost, you really get a lot more. The tub and larger bathroom alone are worth it. Plus you get more closet space (really nice on longer trips), the sitting area, and second T.V.. Having continental breakfast from room service on your own large balcony is just priceless.
One thought on location (not to disagree with Bob & Bev); on Island Princess and Coral Princess we like the mini-suites on Baja deck, foreword: you have less foot traffic past your cabin, you don't have any balconies above you, you are steps from the open deck that gives you a fantastic view foreword, you are closer to the buffet, dining rooms and show lounge(but not directly above it), and the cabins are slightly larger than even the other mini-suites. The motion may be slightly more noticeable but it has never bothered us--in fact I like it.
But diablo, you are sure to have a great cruise whichever cabin you book.
We are taking our first Princess cruise on the Island Princess departing Whittier, Alaska on 5/21. It's good to hear the nice comments about the Island. We booked our cruise last month and didn't have much selection as far as cabins were concerned. We were lucky to even get a balcony cabin at all!
We have been on four RCCL cruises and two Celebrity, so Princess is new to us. We had read that Princess has the best cruisetours in Alaska. We will have a five day land tour and then the seven day cruise. This is our first Alaskan cruise. We can't wait!
You are in for a treat in Alaska. We did not do the cruise you are on in May, but we did a land tour by motorhome, and ended up doing a glacier tour out of Whittier by local catamaran through Prince William Sound. Absolutely spectacular!
I don't know how you plan to get to Whittier from Anchorage, and assume you will be travelling by train or bus.
There is only one way into Whittier, and that is THROUGH a huge mountain. They have built a 2 1/2 mile tunnel through this mountain wide enough to accomodate a train, bus, motorhome etc, one way at a time. They take turns going in and out, because there is only one lane. Everything is controlled by computer. I believe trains have priority. (ha)
We were in a rented motorhome, and I am claustophobic (sp?)so I was not sure I could handle the tunnel. We parked in a campground the night previous just outside the entrance to the tunnel, and I had two beer with breakfast the morning we crossed and I did just fine. The lane was just wide enough to accomodate our rental with about 12" to spare on each side. The trip back through the tunnel was no problem.
Whittier is just a small village, with little shops for the tourists. Prince William Sound and the glaciers are something else.
Bring your camera and warm clothes. The weather is unpredictable, but the views are majestic.