My wife and I cruised on the Royal to celebrate our 45th anniversary and 20 years of cruising. (Our 1st cruise, to celebrate our 25th, was a Princess Alaskan cruisetour.) Inside Passage. This was our 5th time cruising the I had looked at Alaskan cruises earlier in the year but the prices were ridiculously high. In late May saw a post on CC about P's prices dropping. Sure enough prices had dramatically dropped. We booked a balcony guarantee for under $500 pp with my casino discount. We got upgraded to a deluxe balcony cabin when the cabin was assigned, D144. Turned out to be a good location, ,ainly because portside and forward. I don't know about other ships but on the Royal for the best and longest glacier views in Glacier Bay and College Fjord you want portside cabins and preferably forward of the hump/ The captain did not seem to give equal viewing time to the starboard cabins.
I booked our airline flights through EZ Air. Airfare from Ft Lauderdale was more than the cruise fare, $630 pp. We left on the 5th and flew to Vancouver. We stayed at the Quality Inn Airport South. Good hotel with an airport shuttle. There is a London Drug store 2 blocks away and a liquor store another block. I picked up wine and soda Saturday morning. We took the hotel shuttle back to the airport and took the SkyTrain to the Waterfront Station for $13+ CAN. Came out the station, turned right, walked 2 blocks uphill and turned right into Canada Place plaza. Walked down the sidewalk to the cruise terminal (well marked), dropped off 1 bag and headed to the ship. Getting on around 1pm was easy just go from line to line.
The cruise went well. We only had 1 sunny day when we were in Skagway. Otherwise cool and cloudy. Glacier Bay and College Fjord were cold and windy. The views were very good. It had been 11 years since last being on an Alaskan cruise. Lots more ships in the ports but never seemed over whelming crowded. In Ketchican and Skagway we walked around. I visited the Totem Heritage Center and Tongass museum in K. I liked the totem museum better. Both are small and inexpensive. In Juneau, we booked Juneau Tours and Whale Watching's 9:30 am whale watching tour. That went well; not crowded and saw whales. I walked to the Alaska State Museum and went through it. I enjoyed it and gave a good overview of A's history.
The ship goes on the west side of Vancouver Island. We ate in the MDR twice: 1st night and crab leg night (Juneau for us). We had ATD. The Alaskan flare to the menus was nice since this was our 4th P cruise within a year. (Menus are getting stale.) The crab legs in the MDR were very good and served with drawn butter if requested. Nice size serving. The last night I ate in the MDR to get the mussels (stingy portion but enough) and the apple pie. We did Crab Shack the night after crab legs in the MDR. The legs are bigger and were very good. Otherwise we ate in the Horizon Court.
I did not go to any shows or enrichment lectures so can't comment on them. Medallion is OK though no Disney experience. I'm not sure why they don't put all of the features in one app rather than 3 plus Ocean Concierge, which is the same as princess@sea. Some features didn't work but the door always open so .... The drink app gave each of us 1 free drink so check it out. The drink order feature doesn't work in the MDR.
We took the P shuttle to the Anchorage airport and picked up a rental car. We drove to Portage Glacier and too the cruise to view the glacier ($34 pp w/coupon). We got a close view. We then drove to Seward and checked into Marina Motel (1 star). We had dinner at Exit Glacier Salmon Bake (4 stars). Anne had crab legs and I had salmon. Sunday we checked out, went to church, checked out Seward, had lunch at The Highliner (very good). We drove up to Exit Glacier and I did the short hike to the view point. Unfortunately, the rain was picking up and skipped the Alaskan Wild Life Conservation Center. Maybe another trip. We drove to Anchorage, hit a couple of shops and headed to the airport. We had a red eye home. Obviously arrived home safely.
We had a good cruise and glad we made the trip. Let me know if you have any questions.