Cruise Ship: Sea Princess
Cruise Destination: Alaska - Inside Passage
Cruise Dates: June 1 - June 10, 2010
Guest Contributor: Lisa
We traveled on the Sea Princess with Princess Cruise Lines on an 11 day cruise to Alaska's inside passage. Leaving from San Francisco on a beautiful sunny day and drinking Mai Tai's on the Lido deck definitely started the cruise on a high note.
Our room was an exterior deluxe stateroom on the Caribe deck (9th deck). There was plenty of closet and drawer space. There is only one outlet above the desk so bring an extension cord if you want to use or charge more than one device at a time. No clock in room and when you get too far out at sea you can't count on your cell phone to give you an accurate time. Also, there is a one hour time change about midway through the 10-day cruise and the time on my cell phone was not always on the same schedule as the ship's clock.
My biggest tip would be to read the Princess Patter that comes to your room in the evening - it tells of the next day's events. Especially helpful on cruising days so you can find things to do on board the ship.
The gym is nice but small. One advantage to cruisng to Alaska is that most of the passengers were over 55 and there usually isn't a line for the treadmills at the gym. The night life was a bit sedate but we enjoyed Larry Dunsmore's show in the Crooners Lounge. He played piano and kept us chuckling with his frequent quips. The dance shows were also good.
Another piece of advice is to book shore excursions. Skagway and Ketchican were very quaint towns but you can tour them by foot in a few hours. If you really want to see Alaska book an excursion out of town. Please note that to do the White Pass railway tour you need a passport even though they will let you onboard the ship with a driver's license and an American birth certificate, they will not let you into the Yukon territory without a passport.
The dinners in the dining room were excellent, and we did anytime dining and rarely had to wait for a table as we were open to dining with our fellow passengers. We met some interesting people at dinner, many who had toured Alaska more than once. The buffet was good but not great. The formal lunch in the dining room was better but it was a lot faster to hit the buffet if you were in a hurry to get on shore. No jeans allowed in the dining room on formal nights. We saw the range from super formal wear to upscale dresses and sports coats.
Although we were blessed to have excellent weather the whole way through the cruise. I heard some passengers complain of sea sickness on a few nights at sea. I don't get motion sickness myself so I can't really relate.
All in all I'd say we had a good time. It is not a "singles" cruise but quite romantic to do with that special someone. The drinks were pricey and we had to buy bottled water for our stateroom. A fellow passenger told me that she pours wine into large clear plastic water bottles and then packed the bottles in her suitcase. You do have a mini fridge in your room to keep white wine chilled.
Most of the staff was pleasant, a few seemed edgy from the long hours. Overall I'd give the Sea Princess and the cruise to Alaska a B plus. A few more activities on board would help as I'd imagine in bad weather, your choices would be really limited for onboard entertainment. Having great weather the whole time really enhanced our experience.