Princess Cruise Line
A consistent winner in Alaska
Princess Cruise Line will be represented by 6 ships in Alaska during 2011.
Your shipmates: Princess Cruise line attracts a diverse cross-section of travelers. You’ll find everyone from singles to family groups. They will often be experienced cruisers and are very devoted to the brand.
- High quality consistent service
- Loads of balconies
- Very efficient shore excursion operation
- On Princesses’ larger ships you may experience some lines
Accommodations/Cabins: With a total of six ships sailing Alaska you might think selecting a cabin will be an overwhelming task. No worries mate! Princess cruise line classifies their staterooms into five types: interior, ocean view, balcony, mini-suite and suite. Princess pioneered the concept of affordable balconies on their ships and offers the highest percentage in the region. The balcony cabins are reasonably priced and are the way to go if you opt for Princess as your floating resort.
Princess cruise line cabins are attractively decorated and have plentiful storage. All staterooms have two twin beds convertible to queen, a refrigerator, TV, hair dryer, bathroom with shower and small sitting area. Mini-suites provide some nice extras: a separate sitting area with sofa bed, welcome glass of champagne, two TV’s and combination bathtub/shower. The suites are spacious and full of additional indulgences: fresh flowers, deluxe canapés, DVD/CD player with access to the DVD library, one complimentary mini-bar set-up, upgraded bathroom amenities, laundry and dry cleaning services and internet access. Suites onboard the Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess also include complimentary use of the Lotus Spa Thermal Suite. The suites are in short supply so book early.
Just a couple of things to note – on the Golden Princess there are two family suites (D105 and D106): interconnecting staterooms with a private balcony that sleep up to eight people each. Onboard the Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess the family suites (D104/D100 and D105/D101) sleep six. If you book a mini-suite on either the Coral Princess or Island Princess don’t assume you’ll have a balcony – ASK. Eight mini-suites on each ship fall into the oceanview category (no balcony).
Princess cruise line ships are some of the most accessible at sea. Coral Princess and Island Princess have twenty wheelchair accessible staterooms, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess have twenty-seven, Golden Princess has twenty-eight, and Sea Princess has nineteen.
Dining: Once again, it’s all up to you, an array of possibilities waits. If you want traditional assigned seating or the flexibility of choosing when and where you want to dine your choices abound. Princess cruise line menus are varied and feature regional Alaskan specialties. The food is well-prepared and flavorful.
All Princess cruise line vessels have specialty restaurants onboard however they will vary by ship. At Sabatini’s you’ll enjoy an authentic Italian experience, Sterling Steakhouse serves up steaks just the way you want and the Bayou Café and Steakhouse takes its inspiration from New Orleans offering Creole and Cajun dishes. From our experience the alternative restaurants are worth the price of admission.
One of our favorite features onboard Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess are the four themed restaurants for passengers interested in “anytime” dining. There is no additional charge and the themes are carried through to the menus while still offering the items available in the main dining room.
For casual fare there’s a 24-hour buffet, pizza, hot dogs, burgers, pastries and room service is always available. Children have their own menu and healthy lifestyle options are offered for any of you with dietary concerns. Just a heads up to you “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” crowd – most ships offer an ice cream bar but there is a minimal charge.
Entertainment: Princess Cruise line provides one of the industry’s most extensive entertainment programs. With multiple venues throughout the ships you can experience something different each night. Your evenings will be a nightly celebration filled with nonstop possibilities. You’ll find everything from Vegas-style revue shows to individual acts on the ships main stage, quieter light music for dancing or listening in the lounges, talented DJs and state-of-the-art sound systems in the dance clubs and casino excitement. Other options include karaoke and passenger participation shows. All of it is well produced and performed.
The Princess cruise line “Scholarship at Sea” program is also worth mentioning. These enrichment classes offer you the opportunity to learn and have fun doing it. Alaska’s history and culture, ship navigation, photography and computer skills are some examples of the topics available. Some classes may require a nominal fee.
Spa/Fitness: If you want to be pampered the Lotus Spa provides the essential variety of treatments. The Princes cruise line spa is operated by Steiner Leisure and services include a variety of massages, body wraps and facials. The aroma stone therapy massage is heavenly and falls into my best of category. The Salon has a wide variety of hair and nail services and will keep you looking your best. Treatments designed exclusively for men and teens are available too.
Princess cruise line gyms are designed to keep your fitness routine in shape offering state-of-the-art equipment, innovative classes and body assessments. Recently, Princess introduced “Fitness@Sea,” a new program. It offers the industry’s first in-room fitness program, fun yoga for kids and teens and new class offerings in the gym based on the lines new “Core, Balance, Strength” program. The program is hosted by celebrity trainer Gillian Clark. You can even support The Lance Armstrong Foundation, LIVESTRONG, by participating in a Tour de Spin class. A nominal fee will be charged for some classes.
The number of pools and hot tubs onboard varies by ship. Depending on what ship you select other activities include a sports court, golf simulators, mini-golf course, jogging-walking track, swim against the current lap pool, shuffleboard and deck chess set.
Junior Sailors: Kids give the Princess cruise line program rave reviews. All of the ships have dedicated youth facilities. The program is supervised and offers a wide range of activities to engage young adventurers. There are three age groups, Princess Pelicans ages 3 to 7, Shockwaves ages 8 to 12 and Remix ages 13 to 17.
Activities include arts and crafts, sports competitions, scavenger hunts, educational workshops, movies and the latest gaming. They even have their own events like disco nights, theme parties and their own special dinners. In Alaska, kids can even get involved with the Junior Ranger Program. A perfect complement to the nature they are witnessing.
Private babysitting is not available on any of the Princess cruise line ships. Group sitting is offered for children 3 to 12 from 10pm to 1am for a nominal fee. When the ships are in port complimentary supervised activities are available from 8am to 5pm for ages 3-17.
Cruise Tours: Princess Cruise Line is a true power player in Alaska. In conjunction with its affiliate Princess Tours they own lodges throughout the state, rail cars and motor coaches. Their cruise tours operate like a well-oiled machine which makes for a seamless transition from ship to land.
Princess has one of the widest selections of cruise tours available visiting different areas of the state. You may have a hard time deciding where to go…
Combined with the 7-night Voyage of the Glaciers cruise onboard one of three ships, Diamond Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess you have a choice of 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 night cruisetours by adding a 3-7 night land package. If you prefer the personal attention found on an escorted cruisetour those are available too (12, 13 and 15 night programs.)
There are also pre and post hotel packages available in the ports of Anchorage, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco.
The Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary is a 7-day cruise. It sails between Vancouver, B.C. and Whittier, Alaska traveling either northbound or southbound depending on your departure date.
There will be three ships sailing this route:
Diamond Princess - a 2,670 passenger vessel
Coral Princess - a 1,970 passenger vessel
Island Princess - a 1,970 passenger vessel
The 7-day Inside Passage Route sails rountrip out of Seattle with departures on Saturday and Sunday.
You'll have your choice of two ships for these sailings:
Golden Princess - a 2,600 passenger vessel
Sapphire Princess - a 2,670 passenger vessel
If you prefer to be at sea at little longer check out the 10-day Inside Passage itinerary sailing roundtrip from San Francisco.
Only one ship has this distinction:
Sea Princess - a 1,990 passenger vessel
If you are specifically interested in visiting a particular destination PLEASE pay close attention when booking this 10-day itinerary. Depending on the departure date you select your ports of call and port order may vary by your departure date.
|"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
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