Before I go much further, this book simply MUST have a review. I cannot recommend this highly enough!!! You can buy it online – for a little less than what it costs on board ($18.99 onboard) but you run the risk that the map (one of the BEST parts of the book) will be missing. That’s the reason I opted to just wait until we were on board to get ours. The drawback to that, of course, is that I didn’t have it to read and prepare with beforehand. However, we just got up early each morning and went to the back of Horizon Court (next to the Terrace Pool) where we sat in complete solitude….got a cup of coffee and sat there reading… while looking at mountains, water, beautiful sunrises. It was a PERFECT setting for devouring my treasure in preparation for the day.
This book (and the naturalist on board) MADE our cruise what it was. As I mentioned, we’re never happier than when reading or learning something new about a destination we’re visiting. Well, this book is over 300 pgs of information about ports and things you’re sailing past, tips on the best places to see wildlife, info ABOUT that wildlife and of course, beautiful photographs.
It begins by listing the various Princess cruise itineraries – along with the page numbers where information on that particular day/port/sail location can be found. The book actually followed a Northbound route page by page, but for SB, it’s very easy to ‘find’ the pages that relate to where you are – just by using that ‘index’ in the front of the book....or of course, working your way through the book backwards…not really that hard to do, once you get the hang of it. For cruises out of Cali, there is information about San Francisco, but the ‘best’ information will start once you reach the Seattle area…..maybe Day 2?? Or day 3??? (idk for certain as I've never sailed that itinerary )
Section By Section:
The first chapter is an overview of Alaska from the 'numbers' to seasons…to locals and history. There’s a section on 'Hiking in Alaska' and it ends with pages on ‘Vancouver for a Day’, ‘Seattle for a Day’ and ‘San Francisco for a Day’.
Next are the sections on sailing days. Pages that only apply to Vancouver or Seattle sailings are earmarked with “V” or “S”. You can easily thumb through to find the pages you want. Most of the information however, is fitting to all cruises as they all tend to go the same places...and sail somewhat close to the same routes.
Each port has its own chapter with the recommended things to see in that port....maybe even a few things you haven't thought about or knew about. Between those port sections are the 'sailing' sections detailing the probable or possible wildlife viewing areas and interesting points to see en route. (there were some lighthouses we learned about in the book that we then were on the lookout for and were able to spot....nice!)
Also interspersed within these sections are Wildlife Profiles – giving information on animals such as the orca, black bear, bald eagle, humpback whale…and the list goes on and on. There were 10 Wildlife Profile sections that I counted.
Field guides are sprinkled throughout the book as well –topics such as 'Alaska’s Salmon', 'Totem Poles', 'Wildflowers', 'Glaciers', 'Shorebirds' (and more….)
An added bonus that I was surprised to see was coverage of Alaska’s Heartland: Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, Denali, Talkeetna, Fairbanks, and more.
I just LOVED this book!!!! (kind of obvious??? ) Just be sure to take magnets to put the map on the stateroom wall for easy reference…especially in a balcony cabin....though I would use it in an Interior too… along with the TV set on the bridge camera channel.
One more thing….on the front page of the Patters each day, in the Navigation section, they would refer to areas we sailed through...or would sail through…along with page #/paragraph # in the book for more information. The naturalist on board refered to the book OFTEN as well. It's almost as if the book is a ‘guide’ for everyone on the cruise…..By Day 3, you see LOTS of people walking around with their copy. Well worth the $19 to purchase!!
To Princess Marketing Dept: Please mail my commission check to.....