Princess Alaskan Cruise

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#1
8 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
It was suggested I post my questions about Princess cruises here.

Hello
I have never cruised before, but husband and I would like to take a one way cruise (not round trip) to Alaska. My sister has cruised on Princess several times but never to Alaska. I have looked at the different ships- Island Princess and Coral Princess appear to be ones that have one way cruises.
We are able to travel on any date. Is one ship significantly better? Is one side of the ship better?
Sorry for all the questions- but would like feedback from cruise savvy people before talking to the cruise line. Thank you
#2
13,125 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
It is not quite that simple; the Golden also does one way and perhaps others.

I asked a similar question about a week ago and someone graciously documented the sizes of the various ships. We've done Alaska once, but wanted to do it again.
There is not a right or wrong side of the ship--you'll spend a lot of time on the open air decks getting a 360 degree panoramic view. What you can see from a balcony or porthole is nice, but not really the whole picture. We were told that the later in the year you wait, the warmer it is but also the rainier. That was not our experience. Our previous Alaska cruise was the last week of August and we had lovely weather. One day was rather "misty," but we had no rain for the entire week.

May and August will result in fewer kids on the ships, if that matters. I've done too many Disney cruises; I intentionally select "off season" or "end of season" cruises. As a bonus, they tend to be a little less costly.

Finally, if you can make your decision before midnight tonight, Princess has a nice special going--up to $300 in onboard credit (depending on length of cruise and category), complimentary gratuities (more money saved), free specialty dinner, and a $1 deposit. This special expires at midnight PST. No one can be sure what the next special might be, but the combination of onboard credit and gratuities makes this one pretty good.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show....php?t=2595109 This is my previous post asking largely the same question.
#3
Vancouver, Canada
59 Posts
Joined Nov 2013
I spoke to the CD on our first cruise and he suggested July and August for Alaska. Or look into the summer solstice? I was on the Island (Panama canal and 100% sold out) and found it fine but others found it crowded. I believe (please correct me if I'm wrong) but the Coral is the same size but less berths (so less crowded?).

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#4
Chico, California
11,220 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
CORAL. Definitely Coral rather than Island. Pretty much any Princess ship other than Island. As you can probably tell, Island Princess is my absolute last choice. Coral is my first choice no matter what other ships are doing the itinerary.
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Thrak

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#5
13,125 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by Thrak
CORAL. Definitely Coral rather than Island. Pretty much any Princess ship other than Island. As you can probably tell, Island Princess is my absolute last choice. Coral is my first choice no matter what other ships are doing the itinerary.
Want to tell us why? Although it does make me glad that I didn't book Island.
#6
2,025 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
The Coral Princess is a big consensus here.
We sailed on the Coral, May 2016.
Very nice cruise!!!
MDR (main dining room) was excellent!!!
Buffet - not so good... like, we avoided it.
Compared to other cruises, and other larger ships, the Coral Princess in Alaska is a more low-key experience.

To complicate things further, newer ships are now doing Alaska.

You are making the right choice to sail one-way!!!
Study the exact itineraries to choose North or South Bound.

We chose Southbound, which included Hubbard Glacier, as well as the ability to take a smaller boat tour of Prince William Sound and College Fjord, just before boarding the Coral Princess at Whittier. Could be slightly different now, but there are probably benefits of sailing Northbound as well. Perhaps the opportunity to take an excursion thru Tracy Arm Fjord.

We sailed late May... I wanted to do this so that there might be more snow and ice on the Alaskan Mountain Scenery.
May can sometimes be a drier month, but boy, did it ever rain!!! It rains a LOT on coastal Alaska. But, don't worry... is still amazing, no matter the weather.

This might seem overwhelming at first moment, but don't let that bother you... Once you get a basic handle on the ships and itineraries, you will be ready to choose and enjoy your cruise!!!
#7
Chico, California
11,220 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by moki'smommy
Want to tell us why? Although it does make me glad that I didn't book Island.
Coral and Island used to be essentially identical although they did add the International Cafe to Coral and never did add it to Island. Additionally they took the entire back part of Island and got rid of all the public spaces for more cabins. They added a ton of new cabins while decreasing the public space on the ship. Not only did we keep "running out of ship" when we headed aft, there were also hundreds more passengers and less public space. Not a good plan. Even when doing that insane and massive change they still didn't add the International Cafe. Mind boggling. Totally mind boggling. Coral is a great ship. Island is our absolute last choice. We would still sail Island Princess if it was the only ship doing the itinerary on the only dates we could sail. Otherwise... Nope, nope, nope.
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Thrak

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#8
Northern California
2,229 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
We also did a one way southbound cruise to Alaska from Whittier to Vancouver. We cruised close to the last cruise of the season in September. Many of the port days were warm, high 60s/low 70s. Not very "Alaska cold". Glacier bay was very cold but I vowed to go in May next time we did Alaska so that I could see more snow on the mountains to enjoy the cold of Alaska.
We were on the Coral and really liked it. We have not sailed on the Island as of yet but have heard many complaints about the increase of cabins and loss of public space. If another option were available I would take it before booking the Island.
#9
Columbia, Md
2,638 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
We're doing a one way on the Golden Princess this summer. We have been on it before and liked it.
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#10
13,125 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by dickinson
We're doing a one way on the Golden Princess this summer. We have been on it before and liked it.
Thanks for posting this. I just booked the Golden. It had the dates, itinerary, and cabin that I wanted. I've never been on any of the ships that are doing Alaska, so here's hoping.
#11
League City, TX
41,595 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by moki'smommy
Want to tell us why? Although it does make me glad that I didn't book Island.
When they modified the Island several years ago, they:
a) Added more cabins and at the same time reduced space in some common areas such as the library
b) Eliminated one show lounge as part of the adding of cabins
c) Eliminated several outside aft viewing areas
d) Eliminated the pool associated with the Sanctuary
e) Eliminated the aft portion of the outside of the Promenade deck so it is no longer possible to walk all around the ship on it
f) Did not put in an International Cafe which the Coral Princess has
#12
8 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
I want to thank everyone that took the time to respond to my questions. Your answers were informative and very helpful. I went ahead and booked the Coral Princess for an Alaskan cruise from Whittier to Vancouver on May 30th. I booked during their special which required only a one dollar deposit each.
I booked a mini suite club level D506. Any thoughts about the room I picked? I would rather book another time if the room is not in a good location. Again thank you all for your help.
#15
13,125 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by hopestocruise
I want to thank everyone that took the time to respond to my questions. Your answers were informative and very helpful. I went ahead and booked the Coral Princess for an Alaskan cruise from Whittier to Vancouver on May 30th. I booked during their special which required only a one dollar deposit each.
I booked a mini suite club level D506. Any thoughts about the room I picked? I would rather book another time if the room is not in a good location. Again thank you all for your help.
This looks like a good booking to me--good location, good cabin. We will be doing our first Club Class dining in a couple months, but there are some nice reviews on line.

If you read the fine print, you also should see an onboard credit along with complimentary specialty dining and gratuities. That makes this package a great deal as well as a good cruise.
#17
British Columbia
6,351 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Coral, varanda, portside, May, or early June, [dry time, less rain].A round trip would be best, otherwise you have to fly back. Portside, you will get a better comments while viewing the glaciers on the TV. Turn the sound up and stand on your veranda, with the door OPEN so that you can hear.
As an added tip take a large vacuum flask with you, and fill full of hot coffee to keep you warm.
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