We're contemplating an Alaska northbound "Voyage of Glaciers" cruise. Princess has 4 ships on that route: Island, Sun, Coral and Dawn. We're thinking of a balcony and understand that Island Princess has more balconies than any of the others. We'll be traveling with teenagers (13, 17). Would appreciate information on your experiences/opinions of these ships.
We sailed the Island Princess northbound cruisetour September 4th, 2004 and had a great time. It was cool and sunny in every port (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway), and also bright and sunny in the glacier areas. Not sure of your time frame but we enjoyed the northbound route and weather during the first week of September.
We (2) enjoyed our balcony room (B-703) very much--the only way to do Alaska in MHO. It's so nice to have room service bring a nice pot of coffee early in the morning and just enjoy the balcony...the scenery never seems to stop. Not sure of the space requirements for four people but the balcony room was great for the two of us.
I have some photos if you would like to view them.
Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Re: Northbound Alaska ships
With the teens along, I would probably steer you towards the Island or the Coral....they are bigger and have some better amenities for the younger set - the Sun and Dawn are wonderful ships but I have heard many stories of the teen set being bored on these two ships. Also, going northbound, get a balcony stateroom on the starboard (right) side of the ship - you will have the land side to you for the majority of the cruise. I would suggest you and spouse in the balcony cabin with the kids across the hall from you in an inside. 4 people in a regular balcony cabin would be a squeeze imho.
Carnival Breeze with Ray Band Aerogirl 5/4/14!
Island and Coral are sister ships. They should have the same number of balconies. I've been on the Island and think it's a great ship. I've also been on the Sun and the Dawn, but it's been a while. The Island and Coral are newer and larger. I'd suggest one of them.
Thank you all very much for your help. We sailed on the Star Princess 2 yrs ago, Inside Passage w/a balcony room. The teens slept on the bunk beds above us. It's not as spacious as the cabin (non-balcony) on the Celebrity Century (Caribbean) but we did just fine as they were seldom in the cabin except to shower, change and sleep. The Island or Coral sounds large enough with hopefully enough activities to keep them entertained.
I took the Dawn NB to Seward/Anchorage in '03. Had a great time (parents went along also & had balcony which was very small but nice) but....
We had all been to Alaska on a cruise before (NCL & RCCL) & were VERY disappointed because the Dawn was too large a ship to get close to the glaciers.
When I went with a group in Aug. ;01, the highlight of the trip was freezing on deck listening to the glaciers calve -it sounded like a war going on. My parents who went with RCCL about 12 years ago said the same experience.
On the Dawn, we went outside in street clothes & were very comfortable & heard no noise & never got close to the glaciers compared to the smaller ships.
Other pax who had been to Alaska on smaller ships were equally disappointed. First timers to Alaska had no idea what they missed.
I agree, I was to Alaska on the Song of Norway and haven't been back for that reason. I know I'll cruise there again but can't duplicate that small ship cruise. It was great, we were there the first week of May, weather wonderful, only ship in the ports, no crowds, now I hear people say how crowded it is.
We sailed on the Island to Alaska with the Princess pre-cruise package through the Rockies. We would thoroughly recommend the cruise and the tour. We had a balcony on Baja deck and the balcony was great for Glacier Bay. Some of the cruises don't go here but we thought this was the highlight. We have just returned yesterday from a Panama Canal cruise on the Coral. This time we had a balcony on Caribe deck and think Caribe deck is even better as the balconies are larger so suggest Island or Coral on Caribe deck with a balcony for your trip to Alaska.
We found the food to be outstandingly good. I have read complaints about it on these boards but we found the meals in the dining room (especially the lobster, beef and souffles!) and in the Horizon Buffet to be consistently good. We have never eaten so much lobster! We also had a meal in Sabatinis and we enjoyed this too. Can't really comment much on the entertainment as we don't tend to go to much as we are always so tired in the evenings, even on sea days! How can you get so tired relaxing all day!
Took the CORAL: on the land/sea tour pkg in Aug. Had a balcony mini-suite bout mid-ship, LOVED IT. Infact my wife and I thought the room, service, food and ship were the greatest.
This was our 1st cruise ever and now we're do'n the Southern Carib out of P.R. in three weeks and in 06 we're do'n the Mediterrenean. That's how much we love cruise'n and Princess.
The Island or Coral sounds interesting, just found out these are the only ships with real kilns, would be great for our kid who will finish a year of ceramics at school. Can't wait to book for next year.