"General Alaska question: For Inside Passage is the port or starboard side better or does it make a difference?"
It should not really matter. The straits of the inside passage have land on both sides offering similar views, and the time spent outside the straits but in view of land probably will be about the same either way.
"Diamond question: Are there any rough deckplans out there for the Diamond yet?"
Preliminary deck plans should be available in the 2003 Princess Alaska brochure. You can order a copy of the brochure directly from Princess Cruises (1-800-PRINCES(s)).
"Some of the newer Princess ships have Family Cabins. I'm curious about the pricing of them compared to the combination of one balcony cabin & one inside cabin across the hall (2 people in each - have to put the teens somewhere). Does anyone know?"
"Family cabins" is not quite accurate. Rather, MV Grand Princess, MV Golden Princess, and MV Star Princss have two "family suites" each. According to Princess's description, each "family suite" (http://www.princess.com/onboard/flee..._rooms_fs.html
) "is actually two self-contained staterooms interconnecting through a large living room which leads to an oversized private balcony." In reality, it looks like there was some sort of problem with the location of what would have been the doorway into the forwardmost minisuites on the Dolphin Deck so they blocked it off, took out the partitions dividing what would have been separate sitting rooms and balconies, and reconfigured the head, closets, and bedroom of the affected minisuite into a bunk room (with twin upper and lower bunks) and additional closet space.
Fares for "family suites" are on par with the fares for minisutes, but are based upon quadruple occupancy rather than double occupancy. These fares obviously would be somewhat more expensive than standard cabins with or without balconies.
"I wish Princess had continued the sailings from San Francisco. They sold out so quickly I was hoping they'd get the hint."
The cruises operating round trip from Seattle next year should be an interesting experiment.
OTOH, I would like to see a "Pacific Northwest" itinerary operating round trip from San Francisco with ports of call in Victoria, Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland or perhaps round trip from Portland with ports of call in Victoria, Seattle, either Tacoma or Bremerton, and Vancouver....