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aussielozzie18

Royal Princess Alaska Cruise

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Hi.  About to book Alaskan cruise in August from Vancouver to Anchorage northbound.  Best price is with Royal Princess.  Haven't sailed with Princess before.  Any specific advice I need to know before I book with them?  Booking a balcony for 3.   Letting the cruise line select the cabin suggests an aft cabin on Medallion deck which looks good to me.  But is there a deck or room type we should avoid?.  Travelling with my adult children (22 & 20) I have done a tonne of research for Alaska both cruise and touring afterwards but clueless about Princess. Have cruised previously with Royal, Carnival and Holland America.  I know the regulars here favour Princess so I thought I would seek your tips.  Last question for now - any issues with booking cruise direct with Princess?

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Royal Princess is a large ship. Last year was its first season in Alaska and it faced a few issues due to its size. When it departs Vancouver it cruises on the west side of Vancouver Island instead of cruising through the Canadian section of the inside passage. The ship also departs Vancouver late sometimes as it needs specific tides to fit under he bridge. It also missed a few ports in windy weather where other ships docked without problems. Some people are avoiding the ship for Alaska itineraries. Apparently the ship has good facilities, but decide what is important to you.

 

We did a northbound cruise in 2015 with Princess and loved it. Glacier Bay was a highlight, so hopefully that is included in your itinerary. We booked directly with Princess and that worked out ok, but be aware that many of their call centre people do not have specialist cruising or Alaska knowledge. 

 

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2 hours ago, aussielozzie18 said:

Last question for now - any issues with booking cruise direct with Princess?

Contrary to other cruise lines like Royal and Carnival that have price parity rules in place, it seems like many times you can get substantially better pricing by shopping around different TA’s rather than by booking directly with Princess. At least that’s our personal experience. 
 

I’ll echo what has been mentioned before. The larger the ship in Alaska, the more limited the itinerary can be, as the ship can’t reach certain ports or navigate certain waterways. 

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What they all said.

Also, in general, Princess do Alaska very well. They have heaps of extra Alaskan activities on board and the shore excursions are well organised. Glacier Bay is a must on your itinerary.

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Thank you.  I chose this particular itinerary because it goes to Glacier Bay and college fjord.  However, after posting the question here, I read all the Royal reviews and the mention of the ship not getting into Juneau because of wind issues due to its size and not cruising the inside passage - as you mentioned - is a major concern.  Also, many reviews mention the food onboard is average. Think I might have to do a rethink.  Shame it is a very good price.

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1 hour ago, aussielozzie18 said:

Thank you.  I chose this particular itinerary because it goes to Glacier Bay and college fjord.  However, after posting the question here, I read all the Royal reviews and the mention of the ship not getting into Juneau because of wind issues due to its size and not cruising the inside passage - as you mentioned - is a major concern.  Also, many reviews mention the food onboard is average. Think I might have to do a rethink.  Shame it is a very good price.

We are looking at a similar itinerary because we want to land based stuff at Anchorage.  Currently I'm liking what I'm seeing of HAL itineraries - I think they are a bit older demographic than Princess - but I like the times in ports better - and they do inside passage and glacier bay both of which are non-negotiable for me. 

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1 minute ago, lissie said:

We are looking at a similar itinerary because we want to land based stuff at Anchorage.  Currently I'm liking what I'm seeing of HAL itineraries - I think they are a bit older demographic than Princess - but I like the times in ports better - and they do inside passage and glacier bay both of which are non-negotiable for me. 

I did a solo to PNG on HAL and loved it.

I can't seem to find availability for a balcony cabin for 3 for the dates I want though.  I am now looking at Radiance although it's a beautiful ship with lots of glass and my family love Royal, it does. Hubbard glacier.  Everywhere I have read is that for your first cruise to Alaska you must do Glacier Bay.

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2 hours ago, vozzie said:

What they all said.

Also, in general, Princess do Alaska very well. They have heaps of extra Alaskan activities on board and the shore excursions are well organised. Glacier Bay is a must on your itinerary.

The reason I considered Princess in the first place was because I kept reading that it is one of the best lines to cruise Alaska with so it's very disappointing that they have scheduled a ship that is not suited to the location.

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Two more points:

  • Can you change cruise dates to a more suitable ship? ...or HAL
  • Be aware that from around the middle of August, the dog sledding on snow options disappear as the dog camps in the snow fields close down...due lack of snow. If that is important to you, try and change to June/July.

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I've done two Inside Passage cruises with Celebrity (Solstice & Millennium) and they were both great with pre and post cruise options. This June I'm going again, this time with HAL. It will be my fifth cruise with them. HAL have a good variety of pre and post cruise options also, which look interesting depending on which direction you choose to travel.

I'd recommend a 2 or 3 night Denali stay on the way to or from Fairbanks. Can recommend a day long National Park tundra tour for that one, (private vehicles are not allowed). You travel in converted American school buses for that one.

For the youngsters, the Gizzly Falls Zip line in Skagway is a great excursion. My wife and I have done that. It has multiple zip lines through the forest, very safe and exciting. We were in our mid sixties at the time. Loved it. I think a visit to a dog sled establishment can be included.

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17 hours ago, aussielozzie18 said:

Thank you.  I chose this particular itinerary because it goes to Glacier Bay and college fjord.  However, after posting the question here, I read all the Royal reviews and the mention of the ship not getting into Juneau because of wind issues due to its size and not cruising the inside passage - as you mentioned - is a major concern.  Also, many reviews mention the food onboard is average. Think I might have to do a rethink.  Shame it is a very good price.

 

We spent 49 days on the Royal Princess around South America and found the food to be good 🙂

Edited by Kiwi_cruiser

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15 hours ago, vozzie said:

Two more points:

  • Can you change cruise dates to a more suitable ship? ...or HAL
  • Be aware that from around the middle of August, the dog sledding on snow options disappear as the dog camps in the snow fields close down...due lack of snow. If that is important to you, try and change to June/July.

Yes, my son was very disappointed when I told him the dog camp in snow closed for the season 2 weeks before our cruise.  I am secretly relieved not to be paying $600pp for this excursion.

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30 minutes ago, Kiwi_cruiser said:

 

We spent 49 days on the Royal Princess around South America and found the food to be good 🙂

That is great to hear.  My son loves his food.  I am looking forward to the afternoon teas on our scenic cruising days.  Daughter is vegetarian.  I read in a review that there were good options in the buffet.

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14 hours ago, lyndarra said:

I've done two Inside Passage cruises with Celebrity (Solstice & Millennium) and they were both great with pre and post cruise options. This June I'm going again, this time with HAL. It will be my fifth cruise with them. HAL have a good variety of pre and post cruise options also, which look interesting depending on which direction you choose to travel.

I'd recommend a 2 or 3 night Denali stay on the way to or from Fairbanks. Can recommend a day long National Park tundra tour for that one, (private vehicles are not allowed). You travel in converted American school buses for that one.

For the youngsters, the Gizzly Falls Zip line in Skagway is a great excursion. My wife and I have done that. It has multiple zip lines through the forest, very safe and exciting. We were in our mid sixties at the time. Loved it. I think a visit to a dog sled establishment can be included.

Thank you for this info.  If I was cruising solo I would go HAL again and do their post tour option but for our budget, I have taken the cheap option and booked with Princess.  Thanks for the tip re the zipling.  They have just started looking at the shore excursions and are like kids in a candy shop.  Bedazzled by all the options (& the prices lol).

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6 hours ago, aussielozzie18 said:

Thank you for this info.  If I was cruising solo I would go HAL again and do their post tour option but for our budget, I have taken the cheap option and booked with Princess.  Thanks for the tip re the zipling.  They have just started looking at the shore excursions and are like kids in a candy shop.  Bedazzled by all the options (& the prices lol).

That should have read Grizzly Falls not Gizzly Falls.

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