A Travellerspoint blog

Cruising to Alaska

Aboard the Island Princess

Stepping aboard the Island Princess was like being swept away in a completely isolated and self-indulgent world. Cut off from the news, email (I could not justify 75 cents per minute for internet!), and my cell phone, I became a victim of forced relaxation. Typically, I am perpetually in motion, tackling one task or another from the break of dawn until late into the night. Aboard the Island Princess I did my best to relax, but between the full schedule of lectures, lessons, and performances, it was easy to stay busy.


We embarked on our Alaska bound cruise ship in Vancouver, British Columbia at midday and set sail by late afternoon. As this was our first cruising experience, my husband and I spent the first day at sea getting acquainted with our surroundings. Our immediate impression was one of awe at the enormity of the ship and everything within it. Outdoor sports courts, pools, theaters, dance clubs, a casino, boutiques, restaurants, and the holy grail of cruising: the 24-hour, all-you-can-eat buffet, were all at our finger tips. We didn’t know what to do or eat first!


It was immediately apparent that eating was the number one priority for most of those onboard. Watching individuals return for second, third, and fourth helpings at the buffet really concerned me. Now, I am a total food junkie and I will devour just about anything in sight, but I also know my limits and I never bother with mediocre food. I will be completely honest, the cruise ship food was just average and although the food was free I found no reason to sit all day and eat (You’re surprised? I know, I was too!). I don’t want to completely criticize the food because there were a handful of delicious dishes, but overall, eating was definitely not the highlight of the cruise.


Cruises are essentially semi-inclusive, resorts of the sea and I would not recommend this form of travel for everyone. Although we ate free at several casual restaurants, all other upscale eateries were an additional cover charge. Alcoholic beverages, premium coffee and tea, and soda were not included. In addition, we were badgered at every corner to buy and spend more. All purchases were billed to the room, no cash or credit was accepted, and at the end of the trip a hefty bill awaits. Being thrifty travelers our wallets were not easily bruised, but the majority of travelers stared in disbelief at their grand total upon disembarking the ship.


A highlight of the cruising experience was attending some of the dozens of classes and lectures offered onboard. We particularly enjoyed learning about dog sled racing from first-time female Iditarod champion Libby Riddles. In addition, the cruise hosted an on ship naturalist David Hancock who presented daily lectures on Alaskan wildlife, geography, culture, and art. At various points during the cruise he would broadcast live commentary as we sailed through areas of particular interest.


The next few blog entries will give some insight into each port of call, our adventures in scenic glacier cruising, and finally our journey into Denali National Park. Stay tuned!


Posted by Jennylynn 18:52 Archived in USA Tagged cruises

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