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Old 06-11-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
Angrypenguin
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A DISer's Alaskan cruise on...Princess? *Gasp* Updated 6/24 with new pics



Hi all,
My wife and I recently went on the “Voyage of the Glaciers” cruise on Princess Cruise Line, and I thought it’d be beneficial to share our experiences with you guys in case there are others deciding between taking an Alaskan cruise through Disney or another company.

This was our second cruise, our first being a 4 night Bahamas cruise on the Disney Dream last year. We initially wanted to do the Disney Alaskan cruise, but the price point seemed too high. For our Princess cruise, we got a balcony state room for 1300 each (2600 total), and the most inexpensive Disney cruise that I could find for a Balcony (cat 7A) was around 4100. Since we believed that Alaska was the draw this time, instead of the actual cruise part, we decided to give Princess a try.

Check-in Process: Draw. Coincidentally, our embarkation day was the same as the Disney Wonder. It’s always hard to see other people happily getting on a Disney cruise, and as we were at the cruise terminal, I had wondered if we had made a mistake. All cruisers use the same terminal in Vancouver, so the process is the same for everyone until you go through customs. Once that was done, Disney passengers went left, and we went right into a holding area which was really drab and boring. Disney had a separate holding area, and we could hear the Disney music from the other part of the terminal!

Ship: We were on the Island princess, which is 10(?) years old. Since our previous cruise was the Disney Dream, a much larger, newer, and more grand ship, it seems unfair to compare the two, and we’ve never been on the Wonder/Magic, which is more similar in size and age. However, the ship was clean; the theming wasn’t very detailed, but it was “nice.” No Disney touches or magic, but it did its job. One thing we didn’t like, however, was that we felt like they were trying to sell us something everywhere we turned. It became almost a little insulting.

Service: This is really where we noticed a difference. Disney’s service is by far better (it’s not even close). Not to say that the Princess staff is bad, they’re fine, but that’s all: “fine.” We noticed a few moments of unprofessional behavior, (agitated wait staff, etc.) but they did their job.
Entertainment: Princess caters to an older clientele than Disney. And by older, I mean we were two of only a handful of people on the ship that didn’t qualify for the AARP. Not that it’s bad, but just be aware that entertainment options will probably reflect accordingly.

Itinerary: Excellent. We hit the same ports as Disney would (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagaway) but the big difference is that Princess is permitted to go into Glacier Bay and College Fjord, which I believe were the highlights of the trip.

We did have a great time, and everyone will need to make their own decision on sailing with another cruise line. I just wanted to share our experiences in case anyone was considering it.

And now, some pictures!
Cruise terminal. Notice the Disney Wonder on the other side!

IMG_0199 by kevinkyen, on Flickr

IMG_0315-2 by kevinkyen, on Flickr
My wife on the float plane on our way to Misty Fjord!

IMG_0435 by kevinkyen, on Flickr

A lake turning into a waterfall off the side of the mountain

IMG_0538 by kevinkyen, on Flickr

Our plane landed near a little dock inside a Fjord

IMG_0553 by kevinkyen, on Flickr

Orcas!

IMG_1186 by kevinkyen, on Flickr

Humpback diving

whale_tail3 by kevinkyen, on Flickr

Glacier Bay!

IMG_1665 by kevinkyen, on Flickr


IMG_1587 by kevinkyen, on Flickr

Calving glacier

IMG_0084 by kevinkyen, on Flickr

Tons more pictures for those interested in my Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinkyen/sets
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New 2013 Alaskan pics Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4

Wedding pics here, here, and here

Disney World pictures here and here and here


My flickr: www.flickr.com/kevinkyen

Last edited by Angrypenguin; 06-24-2013 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
lisettemac
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Wow! Those pictures are amazing! Thanks for the comparison and glad you enjoyed the trip.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:43 PM   #3
lisettemac
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Uh, when did you take this cruise?? You're wearing much heavier clothing than we were planning to pack for our July sailing.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:47 PM   #4
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Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures!!
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:51 PM   #5
MikeAndNick
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We did the Princess Alaska Cruise out of San Francisco and loved it. It was not Disney but it was only $2000 (2 people) for a 10 day cruise and we had no airfare because we cruised round trip out of San Francisco. Some of the time you have to do Non-Disney.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:06 PM   #6
martinm
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Did the cruise out of SF go into Glacier Bay?

I live here too and cannot go to Canada
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
Angrypenguin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisettemac View Post
Wow! Those pictures are amazing! Thanks for the comparison and glad you enjoyed the trip.
Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisettemac View Post
Uh, when did you take this cruise?? You're wearing much heavier clothing than we were planning to pack for our July sailing.
We just got back last week. Our cruise was from 5/7-6/3; it should be warmer by the time you go (I hope!). Plus, while we both grew up in Michigan, spending the past 9 years in Southern California kind of thinned our blood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeAndNick View Post
We did the Princess Alaska Cruise out of San Francisco and loved it. It was not Disney but it was only $2000 (2 people) for a 10 day cruise and we had no airfare because we cruised round trip out of San Francisco. Some of the time you have to do Non-Disney.
Sometimes you do! Although it does make me appreciate Disney again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *pixie* View Post
Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures!!
Thank you!
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New 2013 Alaskan pics Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4

Wedding pics here, here, and here

Disney World pictures here and here and here


My flickr: www.flickr.com/kevinkyen
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisettemac
Uh, when did you take this cruise?? You're wearing much heavier clothing than we were planning to pack for our July sailing.
It is COLD in Alaska, even in Summer.

When I cruised one year in June, our day in Juneau was 80 degrees. We did the Mendenhall Glacier walk in Juneau and had to wear winter coats, gloves, and boots up there. It was in the 40s, even though it was near 80 in the city down below.

Our day in Glacier Bay the high was 45 and it drizzled all day. They served hot cocoa out on deck.

Alaska is highly unpredictable with summer weather. You better take at least a sweatshirt and a GOOD rain jacket for everyone (gloves and hat optional).
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:54 PM   #9
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Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing!! We head out on the Wonder next Monday. Can't wait.
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Last edited by Jewell24; 06-11-2013 at 07:00 PM. Reason: Found the answer to my question.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:10 PM   #10
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The temperatur dramatically drops anytime you get close to a glacier. I went last august and was mostly fine (although I'm from Victoria BC, so our weather is more comparable) but we definitely bundled up when we got near the glaciers. A good hoodie is great to have.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:38 PM   #11
lisettemac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLgal View Post
Alaska is highly unpredictable with summer weather. You better take at least a sweatshirt and a GOOD rain jacket for everyone (gloves and hat optional).
Our plan was to take fleeces and a rain coat/wind breaker that could go over it. But the OP had on down jackets, ski hats and gloves. A hoodie or a sweatshirt was our plan, I just didn't know if I would want more like a ski jacket/hat/gloves.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisettemac View Post
Our plan was to take fleeces and a rain coat/wind breaker that could go over it. But the OP had on down jackets, ski hats and gloves. A hoodie or a sweatshirt was our plan, I just didn't know if I would want more like a ski jacket/hat/gloves.
We've only been to Alaska at the end of May/beginning of June and mid-late September, but I'll point out that that part of Alaska is considered a rain forest. The weather, regardless of the time of year, is variable (to the extreme). The saying goes, "If you don't like the weather, wait 30 minutes."

For the most part you want to dress in layers. An undershirt of some sort (either long underwear, or a tshirt), a blouse or light shirt, jacket, fleece, and rain PROOF gear. You want to wear things that can be taken off (or added to) as necessary.

The general opinion is that you don't need that down jacket as long as you have the layers. Now, I'm in the group that wears my down jacket (heck, I wear it in southern California for football games ), because I don't do cold well. And all my pictures on our most recent Alaska cruise, that seems to be the only clothes I have.

Gloves and hat are a good addition, if you were going into Glacier Bay, but DCL doesn't go there, so it's your call on those things.
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Last edited by PrincessShmoo; 06-11-2013 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jewell24 View Post
Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing!! We head out on the Wonder next Monday. Can't wait.
Thanks, you'll have a wonderful time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilion View Post
The temperatur dramatically drops anytime you get close to a glacier. I went last august and was mostly fine (although I'm from Victoria BC, so our weather is more comparable) but we definitely bundled up when we got near the glaciers. A good hoodie is great to have.
I agree, the hoodie/fleece was excellent. I had that underneath my waterproof jacket and it worked wonderfully (it did rain on us when we were in Skagaway)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisettemac View Post
Our plan was to take fleeces and a rain coat/wind breaker that could go over it. But the OP had on down jackets, ski hats and gloves. A hoodie or a sweatshirt was our plan, I just didn't know if I would want more like a ski jacket/hat/gloves.
I also recommend getting a base layer of some sort. I found an underarmour coldgear baselayer on clearance and it worked great.
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New 2013 Alaskan pics Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4

Wedding pics here, here, and here

Disney World pictures here and here and here


My flickr: www.flickr.com/kevinkyen
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:47 PM   #14
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Talking

Ok, that decided it. My next DSLR is going to be a Canon, come he!! or high water!! I love my D90, but your photos are much crisper than my camera ever gets.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:03 PM   #15
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Excited to read this. I want to go to Alaska but really want to see Glacier Bay.

Jill in CO
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