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Alaska review-Star Princess northbound May26-June2

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This was our 5th cruise to Alaska on Princess. All have been southbound with one of them being r/t from Seattle. Our 1st was in 2011, the most recent was 2016.

 

Traveling from upstate New York, we flew into Seattle a couple days early and rented a one-way car and drove to Vancouver the day before the cruise. We stayed at the Abercrom Inn near the airport and rented an Enterprise car that we could drop off 1 block away and walk back to the hotel.

 

We took a cab to the port at 9:00am the next morning (approx. $37 CAD). We arrived to the port early, but not too early to drop off our luggage and head upstairs. The process has changed in that you 1st check in with the cruiseline (Holland America Niew Amsterdam was in port with us), then you are sent to security and US CBP. It was all very quick and efficient and we were then directed to the Elite boarding lounge. We were on board by 11:30am.

 

We dropped off our carryons and headed to the Portofino MDR on deck 6 for the lunch (12 noon till 1:30).

 

I then went to the Deck 5 MDR to meet with the Maitre 'd to confirm our table request for '2'. (the back page of the "Patter" will tell you location/time he is meeting). We got there early, but was still #7 on the wait list to see him. When we spoke with him, he told me our assigned table was a table for 6 in the Amalfi MDR at the 1st traditional seating @ 5:30. I had requested over a year ago for the 'early' seating for 5:15. I had a 'confirmed' dining request on my personalizer every since. The Maitre 'd curtly told me that my request was "just that - a request" and that he had absolutely NO tables for 2 available. I didn't argue, but courteously asked that should one become available, we would prefer it. That 1st evening, we met our tablemates, who were all very nice and they all explained that they, too, had requested seating for '2'. I explained to them about seeing the Maitre'd to see if they could be changed. I don't know what happened because the next day, we received a card in our cabin that our original request was available and we were moved to the Portofino MDR at 5:15 at a table for 2. We wound up having the absolutely BEST wait staff EVER! from that 2nd night onward!!

 

**Muster drill was held around 4:00pm - YOU DO NOT take your life vests with you any longer! (yeah!)

 

They were showing many 'newer' movies either in MUTS or on the cabin TV. Although I wish the TV's were like the ones on the Regal where you can stop a movie and then go back to see the rest of it later.

 

Miguel Washington, a comic - a GREAT comic! had 3 shows that we went to see. The production shows were enjoyable and a singer called "Tea cake" was absolutely stunning in her Whitney Houston covers.

 

We found the northbound cruise to be very enjoyable! We weren't sure about it because we'd always done southbound, but I'd do northbound again.

 

The ship's staff and crew went above and beyond! From the Captain on down! Captain Tuvo is most visible and personable captain we've sailed with! It's obvious that he loves his ship, his crew and his job because it is reflected in all his staff! Captain "Bye Bye" is a gem and a wonderful representative of Princess Cruises!

 

We had great weather (except in Ketchikan - but it IS a rain forest!!). We did the Duck Tour there and it was quite fun and funny!

 

Juneau was a wonderful weather day, but we had no tours booked. For those interested, we highly recommend Harv & Marv whale watch. We've done them 4 times! We brought items to the post office to ship home and spent time at the Red Dog saloon. Excellent margarita and BBQ beef sandwich.

 

Skagway we did (for the 3rd time) Dyea Dave's tour to Emerald Lake. Another gorgeous weather day and a fun tour guide, Emily.

 

Glacier Bay NP did not disappoint. We had room service to our cabin and enjoyed the scenery from our balcony. The naturalist was very informative as well as the park rangers. We did head up to Deck 14 to see their display and walk around the top side of the ship.

 

College Fjord was just as welcoming and beautiful.

 

We arrived in Whittier around midnight, but disembarkation began around 6:00am for pax traveling to one of the 5 Princess lodges for their post-cruise land tours. The train(s) were literally right outside the ship!

 

We took a Princess shuttle bus to Anchorage airport to pick up our rental car and were doing our own 'land tour' with a night in Talkeetna and then 2 nights at the Denali Princess Lodge at the Denali National Park (5 hour drive from Anchorage).

 

I had booked the NP Shuttle to Eilson Ranger station in the park for 8:00am the next day. We saw the many Tundra Wilderness Tours and Natural History tour buses picking pax up at the lodge, as well as those buses taking pax to the train station for their next stop on their tour. The Denali Princess Lodge is about 1 mile north of the park entrance and there is a paved path there if you like to walk. There are several shops across the street in 'glitter gulch'. If you have not yet booked anything there I strongly suggest doing the Tundra Wilderness Tour as opposed to the Natural History tour. The TWT goes about 55 miles into the park (no private vehicles permitted) and you have many more opportunities to see wildlife. The NHT goes only about 20 miles. Not to say there's no wildlife, but it may be limited. The NP shuttle buses to Eilson go about 65 miles, cost $40 + NP entrance fee of $10 without a senior or access pass. The advantage over the TWT is the $$, you drive the same route, see the same scenery, may or may not see the same wildlife. The tour does offer a small box lunch and drop down screens for upclose wildlife sightings that are a distance away from the road. Do your research - the best advice I can give anybody considering an Alaskan cruise and/or land tour.

 

We did the Princess 5 day landtour during our 1st cruise. We've done our own tours for the rest of them. Alaska is relatively easy to travel (only 1 major highway - Anchorage to Fairbanks). Get a lot of information from cruise critic regarding tours, locations, etc. Weather can change in an instant. This trip, we had magnificent clear blue skies and saw Denali clearly for 4 days in a row! We were very fortunate also to see a lot of wildlife. Every trip has been different and you just appreciate what you do get to see. We always go the last week of May and 1st week of June. We've always had relatively dry weather. Too early for salmon or bears eating salmon, but it fits our schedule. Later in the summer or September tends to be rainier.

I will try to attach some photos next.

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3fd0909681e9b645156db7085eeee243.jpg

 

Grizzly mom and the kids. On NPS shuttle to Eilson station.

 

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Beautiful days with 4 ‘mountain is out’ views!

 

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Dandelion lunch in the Yukon!

 

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Views that don’t quit!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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We did the Duck Tour there and it was quite fun and funny!

Good to hear you enjoyed this. I booked it for our cruise, but was having 2nd thoughts.

Thank You.

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Wow beautiful pictures!

Thanks! We were VERY fortunate to see multiple wildlife up close to get nice shots and the clear, sunny days made the trip even more enjoyable.

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Good to hear you enjoyed this. I booked it for our cruise, but was having 2nd thoughts.

Thank You.

We’d previously done other trips in Ketchikan and thought this one would be something different. If you are still planning, I would probably give the Deadliest Catch tour first choice, a little pricey but extremely informative.

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Nice review and photos! Your Alaska reviews helped me when planning our June 2016 Alaska trip.

 

We have been considering the Sky Princess for a cruise in January 2020.

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We sailed with you! Out of 13 cruises this may have been our favorite!!! The weather was amazing...Getting to see Denali to the top...All of the wildlife... I already want to go back next summer. Our 5 year old made a Capt Tuvo reference tonight. We were mentioning him in a conversation and she said she had to go do something “soooo, bye bye.”

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Thanks! We were VERY fortunate to see multiple wildlife up close to get nice shots and the clear, sunny days made the trip even more enjoyable.

 

What's the weather like at the various ports of call, as we will be also doing a NB cruise at the end of Aug and my understanding that temperature wise it should be in the mid 60's.

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Nice review and photos! Your Alaska reviews helped me when planning our June 2016 Alaska trip.

 

We have been considering the Sky Princess for a cruise in January 2020.

 

Thank you! I'm so glad I was able to help you plan for your cruise in 2016! We were excited to try out the new Sky P. so we jumped on one of the Jan 2020 trips! Hope you enjoy planning for it!

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We sailed with you! Out of 13 cruises this may have been our favorite!!! The weather was amazing...Getting to see Denali to the top...All of the wildlife... I already want to go back next summer. Our 5 year old made a Capt Tuvo reference tonight. We were mentioning him in a conversation and she said she had to go do something “soooo, bye bye.”

Haha! That's too cute!! I bet a LOT of us went home saying "bye bye" to friends and family!;p

It was probably OUR favorite cruise as well! I wish I could take Cpt Tuvo on ALL of them with us! The weather was the most ideal we've had yet!

Hope you get to return to Alaska - it's one of those places that you can't just do it all in one trip! And I'm sure your little 'Captain Bye Bye' will enjoy it as well!

Barb

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What's the weather like at the various ports of call, as we will be also doing a NB cruise at the end of Aug and my understanding that temperature wise it should be in the mid 60's.

 

Because the weather up there changes so frequently, I keep track of the different ports starting about 2 weeks prior to going to get an idea of the weather systems moving through - but no guarantees!!

We've only been there the end of May/beginning June and have had weather from the mid 50's all the way to the mid 80's over all 5 cruises. We prepare with layers and good rain gear. The ONLY time I've had to 'bundle' up was while cruising through the glaciers - but if you take excursions to the glaciers in the other ports, you would probably need warmer clothing.

Have fun planning! It's a trip you won't forget!

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Haha! That's too cute!! I bet a LOT of us went home saying "bye bye" to friends and family!;p

It was probably OUR favorite cruise as well! I wish I could take Cpt Tuvo on ALL of them with us! The weather was the most ideal we've had yet!

Hope you get to return to Alaska - it's one of those places that you can't just do it all in one trip! And I'm sure your little 'Captain Bye Bye' will enjoy it as well!

Barb

yes!!! Our last trip to Alaska was nothing compared to this. The weather was incredible. We haven’t figured out if it was just the weather, being 10 years older, a livelier ship, a personable captain or what that made the difference!

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Wow beautiful pictures!

Breathtaking pictures! What camera and lenses were used for these pictures?

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Breathtaking pictures! What camera and lenses were used for these pictures?

 

Thank you! I used a Nikon Coolpix L840. No extra lenses. The wildlife we saw were literally either on the road with us or right on the shoulders!

For the scenery, I just used the telephoto option.

I’m only a ‘mom’ photographer! (As my son called me years ago!):D No special knowledge other than look, focus, press and HOPE! Haha!

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Thanks we are doing Northbound next May and trying to decide on best options to bring to get great photos. We are also from New York and love your “handle”!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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