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Alaska Inside Passage on the Crown Princess Aug 6 2016


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This was our first cruise. We did Alaska Inside Passage on the Crown Princess Aug 6-13, 2016. We are an early 40's couple who traveled with my parents and his mom/aunt. Although this is our first cruise, we typically vacation at all inclusive resorts (usually in Mexico) so there was a familier feel to resort life/cruise ship life for us. Overall, we had a magnificent time. We weren't sure how we'd feel about cruising and after a few days were already talking about how nice it is to see the country like this, especially Europe (perhaps our next cruise in a few years!).

 

The rooms: D227, a mini-suite. While it was showing a little wear and tear in the bathroom, we found the room perfect. Good size balcony where two people could lay out. Bathroom huge with plenty of storage on the shelf so we didn't need to leave junk lying about. A walk-in closet with tons of hangers and big shelved area for folded items. We brought a hanging shoe-holder for storage and never unpacked it. The safe was on the small side but still adequate for my iPad (would not have been big enough for my laptop). Bed was ridiculously comfortable and huge. I would love to replace my bed and pillows at home with what I slept on for the last week! The couch wasn't the most comfortable but suitable. Two TV's. I knew TV channels would be limited but was surprised that there was no where to find Olympics coverage! Also, I was tickled by the fact that the "Love Boat" streamed continuously on one of the channels. There was a fridge and hair dryer. If you have long or thick hair bring your own hair dryer or just stand in the breeze on the balcony--it would be faster than using the one supplied in the cabin. Our room steward was OUTSTANDING. Our room constantly got tended to and Ador was always offering a friendly smile and hello every single time we went in and out of the room (I swear he must live in the hall way). He (well all staff on the ship really!) always was happy and cheerful whenever we interacted which must be a tough feat!

 

In retrospect, we didn't 'need' the mini-suite since we didn't use the living room/balcony much but we decided the extra room it affords you with a bigger bathroom/closet plus just the general openness of the room was worth it and would book the same way next time. I also loved being able to step onto the balcony each morning to discover where we were, what the landscape looked like and figure out how to dress.

 

The Food: we were anytime dining with All inclusive drink package. Never made reservations for anytime dining and never waited more than a few minutes for table. The dining room food was vastly superior to buffet with attentive servers (almost too attentive at times but that's ok) and more appetizing food. We found the buffet convenient but lacking variety compared to what we are used to at all-inclusive resorts. Drink service at buffet was slow (drinks other than water did not arrive until after done eating, usually). Would be nice if a fresh grill for protein was available and more fresh fruit/vegetables at buffet as well. Pizza grill outside made delicious pizza. Had dinner at crab shack one night and Prime Grill and both were very good. With AIDP, service was generally OK, although the bars did get a little stressed sometimes and one bar (Explorers) I swear ignored us for ten minutes when trying to get a refill.

 

The Ports:

-Juneau:rainy all day. LOTS of whales in the morning, but had to be up at 6 to view (not a problem, never really adjusted to Pacific Coast time and was up early anyways). Took shuttle to Mendenhall, walked to glacier. Ate lunch in town (at Salt, an upscale very tasty non-touristy restaurant) then walked to the Basin per recommendation of the locals and got outstanding views of waterfalls and forestry (big hills to go up but worth it!)

-Skagway: One heck of a windy port! Walked the town then took ship-sponsored excursion on train (3.5 hours) up the White Pass. AMAZING views but train trip got really long after about two hours and no stops. Informative tour guides and we learned a lot but next time would look into renting a car and taking nearly the same tour by road where we could stop, take photos, maybe grab a snack/drink.

-Glacier bay: Saw two glaciers. It was overcast and drippy which made the glaciers pretty but most of the surrounding mountains were hidden. Still magnificent! First glacier calved quite a bit as we were pulling up by it.

-Ketchikan: loved this little town! Took the walking trail per the visitor center recommendation so got to see Salmon swimming up creek, Totem poles, forestry, Creek Street. This was a short port stop and wish we could have stayed longer (7a until about noon I think). I also wished I would have booked the flight seeing tour I was toying with during this stop. By the time we got off ship and I realized what I was missing, it was too late to book and get back to ship on time.

-Victoria: the biggest disappointment. Docked at 7pm and exited ship. Took local recommendation for dinner, service was slow, food on ship would have been better (and free) and with a short/late port dock, nothing really was open to see and the downtown area on a Friday night was crammed with other cruisers and locals so we hurried back to ship as soon as we could. I would have rather we stayed longer in Ketchikan and skipped Victoria altogether. Oh well, live and learn.

 

-Embark/Disembark process: Very smooth and organized, generally. Had to be out of room by 0800 on disembark and was not allowed off ship until 0945. They had dining available so we ate during that time and just waited patiently to get off the ship. We were flying home that night at 6:30pm and stowed our luggage at the hotel our family was staying at. Had I known better (or perhaps asked our travel agent) I would have booked a post-cruise tour of Seattle. They had shuttles that would pick you up at port, drive you around for or 4 hours (including stops at Space needle with passes), stow your luggage and then drop you off at airport at the end, all for about what we paid doing things on our own. As it was we took cab to hotel to drop off luggage, walked around a bit wishing we could be on a tour bus because we were tired, grabbed a drink/food (and more drinks and more food) and just wasted time until 4pm to take cab to airport.

 

The surprises and what we learned:

-We really like cruising and waking up everyday in a new place!

-We are used to relaxing, restful vacations (i.e., lay on beach and read for 7 days). Perhaps because this was Alaska and there was so much to see, we did not get that while on vacation. This is not a bad thing, just different than what we were used to and has required more rest on the backend when we got home.

-Got off the ship two days ago and still feel the wave of the ocean. Was not expecting this! I'm still a little dizzy and hope it clears up soon. Next time I'll get one of those ear patch things because I'm a little susceptible to motion sickness it seems

-Pay closer attention to port schedules for next cruise. Do we really want to exit ship if only there for 4 hours??

-Invest more time in excursion planning/research ahead of time. Due to work commitments, didn't really start this process until about 2 weeks before cruise and will definitely not do it this way next time!

-For Alaska, bring water-resistant pants/shoes. A raincoat or poncho won't keep you comfortable if your feet/legs get wet (and jeans/tennis shoes take a long time to dry). In fact, everybody said 'bring less clothes' and we perhaps took this a little to literally. Would bring more next time! Did laundry on the third day. I also found my NorthFace layered jacket to be so handy for warmth and dryness, but also for storage. One pocket for room key, others for phones/cameras, and they all zipped so I wouldn't lose things.

-Brought but didn't really need: hanging shoe-storage thingy, was plenty of storage for us in mini-suite. Bubba mugs with lids (these are the norm at all inclusive but seemed out of place on the cruise). Only used mugs once on Glacier Bay day when disposable drinkware prohibited on deck but could have just gone without (it DID keep the coffee and Baileys nicely warm that day though). Battery operated candles for room (it doesn't get dark until very late so really no need).

 

Thats about all I can think of right now! We had a wonderful trip with so many memories. I'm reviewing all my camera footage today and reliving all the beauty! So wonderful. Loved Alaska and this cruise.

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thanks for taking the time to post your review.

When did you wear the water proof pants? wondering if we need them, I dont' have a pair and being short it won't be the easiest purchase.

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I wore a pair of windbreaker/water resistant running pants over a pair of yoga pants in Juneau and Glacier Bay when it was rainy and cold. It made my day very tolerable! My cohorts in jeans were soggy and chilled to the bone, especially in Juneau where we were off boat all day taking walks and seeing sights. They had rain coats but their lower halves got wet, and with wet feet too they were pretty miserable at times.

 

Now, if you had to buy them and it's the only use you would have for them you could probably get by without (maybe wear more layers or stay out of the elements more) but my husband was kicking himself that he didn't pack the pair he had at home, lightweight and low volume that they would of been in the suitcase.

 

Hope this helps!

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