I would like to start off by thanking everyone for their help in the last few months that answered all my crazy questions.
We just returned from our week long cruise northbound to Alaska from Vancouver. We had the most perfect weather possible, not a drop of rain until we were sitting at the airport in Anchorage waiting to come home. Mostly sunny every day. It was even warm enough that we had a swim/hot tub experience in Juneau and could lay out on the loungers to dry off instead of running to our cabin to get changed.
We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and the ship (for the most part). Our favorite parts were Glacier Bay and College Fjord. The ports were fine, just very touristy. (listed below all together) They all want your money and the stores in each port sold pretty much the same stuff, so shop first day and I wouldn't bother the rest. We found Juneau the nicest for walking along the board walk. I enjoyed trying the duck fart at the Red Dog Saloon. And it was nice getting a blackmail picture of hubby with Dolly on Creek Street. Going up in the funicular was a bit of a let down, not much up top really. We were on this cruise for the cruise not excursions as limited funds so only did one. In Skagway we did the "Summit, Yukon Suspension Bridge, Salmon Bar b q." It was ok, nice driver but he drove so slow we didn't have time to really look at either of the two stops. He never even mentioned the summit and no stops for photos. The suspension bridge, by the time we went to the wash room (long lines) and grabbed a coffee to have while walking around all we got to do was walk half way across and then head back to the bus. (oh yea had to buy a quick souvenir. At the bar b que by the time you went through the line for food and ate we had maybe 10 - 15 minutes to wander around liarsville. Couldn't gold pan or really look at the little town at all. Would I do it again No, would I recommend it probably not. If you have the money or the time take the train or a trip that actually goes into the Yukon and the Lake (can't remember the name).
Oh yea, don't forget any of your camera equipment. Hubby forgot charging cable for our little movie camera, none on ship and no camera stores in Ketchikan or Juneau. Luckily one in Skagway and they didn't charge an arm and a leg either.
Now for the ship. No smells as some have said, we did see some leaking, actually there was a big one one day just down the hall from our cabin and when I reported it they said they would send someone to check it out. If they did it was quite a while before they did as we went out again a couple of hours later and it was still leaking and the carpet was soaked in that area.
We had cabin B744 and I would recommend that cabin to anyone who wants a balcony. It is at least 40 sq ft larger that the average balcony completely covered and is the last one on the side of deck 11. It looks up the side of the ship toward the front as well as out the side. It can be a little cool at times but they you just have to sit back and look out the side like other cabins. It doesn't cost any more than the other cabins in it's category and is fantastic. We had booked an inside cabin but got the deal when they offered up balconys for a steal. Boy am I glad we did, I really didn't expect we would be out there much but we were out everyday for awhile. We spent half of the time out their in Glacier Bay, and most while in College Fjord. For those that say you need a starboard balcony going northbound I would say not at all, I think port is better as you get the better views going into both Glacier Bay and College Fjord while the commentary is going on. Coming out they stop the commentary when the good viewing would be on the starboard side. And as for just travelling there is land on both sides most of the time so it doesn't matter. Just my opinion.
The part we don't like about Golden Princess is the fact it is chopped up. And the Piazza area deck 5 is quite small and crowded. Most times we went there there wasn't any seating. So after a few tries we never went back. Not all elevators went where we wanted to go and a few places don't have elevators going to them at all. I use a walker so that was extremely inconvenient. If you went in an elevator to say deck 6 aft and wanted to get to mid ships you were out of luck so had to wait for an elevator again to go up to 7 and walk their (this often too awhile). It took most of the week to get all that figured out.
The shows were fantastic in our opinion. We saw most of them. Found singing and dancing very good. My husband is hard of hearing and they have a system in place where they loan you an apparatus that is hooked up to the performers and he could hear perfectly. Probably better than me. You just have to give advance notice, go to Passenger services and ask to speak to Production Manager and tell him you want them and then they reserve you seats (a big advantage) as the apparatus only works in certain areas.
We only went to the dining room one night, we had my time dining or what ever it is called. MDR was ok. We are more casual eaters not appetizers and such. But we did like the buffet and other than lunch day one it was good, never had trouble getting seating, not always the best seats but it was fine. Food good, never went hungry for sure. Sometimes not hot though, in fact cold on occasion. We had burgers a couple of times too. Not sure why people say the pizza is fantastic on Princess I didn't enjoy it at all. And only 3 types. Had one piece and never went back. Also the Fettucini Alfredo is supposed to be amazing, I found it ok but wouldn't rave about it.
As we had originally booked an inside cabin I had all kinds of things planned to do outside of the cabin, like going to Skywalkers to read and watch the scenery go by, only stopped in their twice but it sure is nice up their. So with the balcony cabin we didn't do what was planned but still had a great cruise. Would I recommend it absolutely. Would I recommend Princess. Sure for older people, I think younger people could be bored on Princess. And kids definitely. There were some and they didn't look like they were enjoying themselves (kids that is) Adults will make the most of it. Would I recommend a balcony. Absolutely, probably more on an Alaskan cruise than any other as there is way more to see than on any other cruise where all you see is ocean.
So I hope I have helped some and given back some advice that I have received. If you have any questions I will try and help you.
Keep on cruisin.