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Princess Newbie-Coral Princess Alaska


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I'm usually over at the NCL boards. However, we just booked the Coral Princess for a June Alaska cruise/tour with 2 nights each at the Denali Princess and Mt. McKinley Princess Lodges. We are staying in a Mini-Suite and chose Anytime Dining.

 

So, did we make good choices? Tell me about the ship. How are these tours and lodges. Whatever info you can give me will be appreciated.

 

Thanks.

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We did this same cruise on the Coral. It's my favorite ship and this was ouir favorite cruise. You will enjoy this itinerary....the shore excursions are great. We went deep sea fishing in two of the ports and caught really large salmon. In one port (not sure which one) we went off roading in the Yukon. It was an amazing excursion. Our pictures are outstanding. The excursions were booked through Princess. We did the 5 night land tour. On the land tour portion my dh went white water rafting in Denali. He thoroughly enjoyed it. The lodges were very comfortable but the food prices were a bit pricey. Enjoy your trip!

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You are going to love the Coral. it is my favorite ship of the fleet. There is a site that a fellow CC'er made up for the Coral/Island class. Here it is:

 

http://mysite.verizon.net/res76zxu/princessbalconies/index.html

 

Also there is tons of info over on the Ports of Call board for alaska excursions. Anyway I think the coral is just the right size(1950) passengers. Have a good cruise.

 

Marilyn

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Thanks so much, so far.. For those who have traveled to Alaska in June, what is the weather like? Temp, rain fall, etc. Need to know what to bring. Being away from home for 2 weeks is a long period of time. I don't want to pack too much. Also, is there a laundry on the ship?

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Thanks so much, so far.. For those who have traveled to Alaska in June, what is the weather like? Temp, rain fall, etc. Need to know what to bring. Being away from home for 2 weeks is a long period of time. I don't want to pack too much. Also, is there a laundry on the ship?

 

Yes, there are laundry rooms on every deck. I always bring a roll of quarters for the machines, so I don't have to go to the front desk for change. Not sure of the current pricing - $1 or $1.25 a load - I guess I don't think about it because I always have enough change. I recommend bringing a sample size of laundry as often the machines that dispense laundry (for more quarters) are empty.

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You will love both the Denali Princess and Mt Mckinley lodges. The Denali, allthough they call it a "wilderness lodge" is just off a busy highway with a number of shopping places just across the street. The tour of Denali National Park is outstanding. Your chances of seeing wildlife is pretty good although when we went in September we only saw three moose in the distance and a snowshoe hare ! If your have the opportunity see the Music of Denali Dinner Show. It is great fun with a pretty good meal too boot. Mt Mckinley on the other hand is very much in the wilderness. They do not even have electricity in that part of Alaska. The lodge is run on 4 large generators. There is NOTHING out there, except the most spectacular scenery you will ever see, so you should probably plan to tour. You did not say if you are arriving by bus or train. If by train you arrive in Talkeetna and it is about an hour by bus. Your chances of seeing Mt Mckinley in June is probably pretty good. We did not see the mountain due to rain and fog. June should be decent weather but it rains a lot in Alaska so plan accordingly. Also keep in mind Alaska is VERY expensive. The meals at both lodges can be pricey. We traveled from Fairbanks to Whittier and food, even on the train, was a major expense. As far as we are concerned nobody does Alaska like Princess. Have a great trip

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5fathom....Thanks for the information. Unfortunately, we don't get to do the Mt McKinley part of the trip. We are doing the cruise from Vancouver to Whittier, the Catamaran to Valdez, Coach bus to Copper River, where we spend 2 nights at the Princess Wilderness Lodge and then coach to Denali at the Wilderness lodge for 2 nights, with a Tundra Wilderness Tour and then we take the Princess rail to Fairbanks for 2 more nights, where we ride a sternwheeler river boat and visit the Eldorado Gold Mind. Whew! I am tired already! We start our trip on Aug. 3.

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We did the Vancouver to Whittier route on the Coral a couple years ago and had a marvelous time! Our favorite excursion was in Skagway where we did a helicopter and Glacier trek. We rode in a helicopter and landed on a glacier where we were given time to walk around and explore. It was definitely worth our splurge!

 

We were also there in June, for the longest day of the year as well and were actually in a minisuite on Caribe. Our only small dilemma was the fact that there was still a little light that came through the bottom of the blinds. The only reason this was an issue is because we had our 2 sons with us and it was hard to explain to them why they had to go to sleep at 11pm and it was still light. In fact, one morning my one DS was up looking for his Nintendo and when I asked him what time it was, he said he assumed it was after 6 (the earliest he was allowed up). When I looked at a clock it was 3:30am. His response was "But it's light out!"

 

Either way, you will have an amazing time!

 

Have a great time!

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You have planned a magnificent trip. The sternwheeler and gold mine tours are both excellent. Princess originally booked us into the Fairbanks Princess but at the last minute moved us to the Bear Lodge. We were not happy about this until we saw the lodge. Bear Lodge was wonderful. The thing we got a kick out of was all the signs warning "Beware of Moose." These animals, who stand 7 feet tall at the shoulders, are extremely tempermental and are not to be messed with. They roam into the lodge area frequently. Downtown Fairbanks is nice if you get the chance. Shuttles run frequently from the lodges to downtown. Your 4 hour rail from Denali to Fairbanks will certainly be memorable. We were quite exhausted by time we reached Sapphire Princess in Whittier. We are in our late 60's but would do this adventure again without hesitation. Count on Princess taking good of you and enjoy every minute of your trip.

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The tour we booked is pretty inclusive (and a GREAT price). Here's the details:

 

Fly in to Seattle and Princess motor coaches us to Vancouver where we board Coral Princess.

 

Day 2 sea day

day 3 Ketchiken

day 4 Juneau

day 5 Skagway

day 6 cruise Glacier Bay

day 7 cruise College Fjord

day 8 disembark Whittier and 10 hr train to Denali. Overnight Denali Lodge

day 9 Denali natural history tour and overnight

day 10 motor coach to Mt. McKinley and overnight

day 11 overnight Mt. McKinley

day 12 motor coach to Anchorage where Princess flys us back to Seattle and puts us up overnight at the Doubletree Hotel

day 13 fly home.

 

It sounds like a great tour.

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Another Question. With the Anytime dining, you eat in the same place each night (one of the 2 main dining rooms) correct? You just go at whatever time you want? However, is it also the same menu as the "Traditional Seating" venue?

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Another Question. With the Anytime dining, you eat in the same place each night (one of the 2 main dining rooms) correct? You just go at whatever time you want? However, is it also the same menu as the "Traditional Seating" venue?

 

Yes and yes to both questions. The same menu for both places and the same dress code.

 

Marilyn

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Hi! last August my husband and I went on a Princess cruisetour- we were on the Coral after the 7 day land tour- ours was different than your choice- we went from Anchorage to Denali to Fairbanks to Coldfoot to Prudhoe Bay and then back to Anchorage before getting on the Coral at Whittier. Our cruise review is listed under Alaska and Princess Coral titled 15 day Alaskan Cruisetour or something close to that. We had a great time- we were prepared for the extra costs in Alaska, so no big surprises there. On the Coral we did not care for the food or most of the entertainment. It was great to go on the land tour first because the second week we would run into all the friends from that first week. We had never been on a bus/train tour before but I would definitely go again. Have a great time! And don't forget about the "secret" balcony on the Baja deck. Even though we had our own balcony you could not beat the view from that balcony as we entered Glacier Bay.:)

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Where is the secret balcony on the baja deck? Also questions for anyone that has gone on the KA6 tour with 2 nights Copper River Princess - what is the lodge like and what types of activities do you recommend? How is the drive from Copper River to the Denali Princess.

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Secret balcony-you go to the Baja deck and go all the way forward-this is mostly a cabin deck. You come to a door- there is a sign- it says emergency exit only or something like that--go through it. there is a very short hall and then another door- go through it and you will emerge onto a balcony that spands the front of the ship. It is a "secret" because it is not huge, so it could not holds hundreds of people. It is just below the bridge and the Captain waved to us. When we were there the largest amount of people was 20-25. There are no chairs, but the view is spectacular! The photographers came around on Glacier Bay day and took pictures of us- great! the glaciers right behind us! Some people worry about going through the "emergency only" door, but we asked and it is ok- they wouldn't be sending the photographers if they wanted you to leave. We had a good view from our cabin balcony but this was best because you could see every thing-forward, port and starboard! I found out about this by haunting the Princess and Alaskan boards and asking alot of questions- also reading the member reviews (we posted one , too).

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Thanks so much for all the info so far. We are prepared for the extra costs of meals at the lodges and on the train. Speaking of these, how is the train ride? I understand that it is approx. 10 hours. Can you get up and walk around? Is there a lounge for cocktails? Also, the Denali Lodge and Mt. McKinley Lodge, are these nice with plenty to do?

 

If anyone has photos, that would be great!

 

Thanks.

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Thanks so much for all the info so far. We are prepared for the extra costs of meals at the lodges and on the train. Speaking of these, how is the train ride? I understand that it is approx. 10 hours. Can you get up and walk around? Is there a lounge for cocktails? Also, the Denali Lodge and Mt. McKinley Lodge, are these nice with plenty to do?

 

If anyone has photos, that would be great!

 

Thanks.

 

Our land tour consisted of two different trains. The one from Whittier to Denali was (I think) an Alaska Railway car. Sorry no photos of this. It was nothing fancy but certainly adequate. Bathroom, a limited selection of lunch choices and drinks (beer, pop, etc. I don't recall mixed drinks but not sure). The Denali to McKinley leg was on a Princess domed rail car with a seating area on the upper level where the domed windows are and a dining room on the lower level (both pictured below). We had lunch in the dr. It was good. On the upper level you could get just about any drink from the bar. On both, good commentary by a live person on what we were seeing and plenty of room to move around. I don't think we spent 10 hours in one leg but we did spend quite a bit of time.

 

Denali Lodge - The Denali Lodge was ok. Our room was fine. The atmosphere was hectic, on a busy road, and more like where kids would go for camp, rather than adults traveling to Alaska. It was across the street from a couple of fast food places. We grabbed some snacks there for the long day on the Tundra Wilderness tour. The King Salmon restaurant at Denali Lodge was very good and there was a deck out back where you could sit and have a drink and enjoy the scenery. The park was very close for hiking, etc. and there were shuttles going to and from the park.

 

McKinely - More lodge like with a great common area where you can sit by the fireplace or on the deck to "watch" the mountain. The restaurant 20,320 was very good for dinner and breakfast. Pricey but not outrageous. There's not much to do here on your own. We signed up the Denali Wilderness hike, which was wonderful and where we were able to see "The Great One" out on a clear day. Outstanding hike and guide! Here is a link to the offered activities. http://www.princesslodges.com/mckinley-denali-hike.htm We preferred this property because of the lodge atmosphere and the fact that it was actually in the wilderness.

 

Great experience! Hope this helps!

 

Tammy :)

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Thanks for the info. As usual, Cruise Critic has given me tremndous information. I was over at the Alaska boards this morning and discovered that the Denali Natural History Tour (which is included in our cruise tour) is not very good. based on recommendations, I canceled this tour and booked on my own the Denali Wilderness Tundra tour early in the morning.

 

Thank you.

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When at Mt McKinley you are very isolated and not much to do. The little town of Talkeetna that you are bused in from there is not much to do but go through a few shops. If you are as fortunate as we were you will get a beautiful view of Mt Mckinley but they say that doesn't happen too often. Since you are 2 days at Denali, I would cancel the Natural History Tour and go with the Tundra Wilderness Tour. It is well worth the extra $. It is approx 8 hours in length and takes you further into the park. The NHT is not worth the time and effort. It was from 6am to 11am and the highlight was the guide. You should be able to get a credit from Princess if you cancel the NHT. There is a Subway across from the Denali Lodge so take advantage of that and take subs to eat while in transit.

Enjoy.

 

 

Thanks so much for all the info so far. We are prepared for the extra costs of meals at the lodges and on the train. Speaking of these, how is the train ride? I understand that it is approx. 10 hours. Can you get up and walk around? Is there a lounge for cocktails? Also, the Denali Lodge and Mt. McKinley Lodge, are these nice with plenty to do?

 

If anyone has photos, that would be great!

 

Thanks.

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While you are at the McKinley lodge try to book the helicopter tour. We didn't try until after we saw some pictures from a kid who did, but by then it was too late. Now we're going to have to do another trip there so we can fly over and around the mountain.

 

On second thought, if you skip the helio tour you'll have a great excuse to go back.

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