The Royal Princess is 19 decks of beauty and has been sailing since her inaugural cruise in 2013, only to be refurbished in 2018 to her current gorgeous state.
Steven and I have already donned our blue and pink bracelets which house our Medallion devices, a familiar technology since we sailed with the Enchanted Princess Maiden Voyage in November 2021. The MedallionClass app was already preloaded into our phones and are used throughout our journey to order our snacks, drinks, meals, and get directions wherever on the ship.
DISCLAIMER: the OceanMedallion is a tool that makes your life a lot easier aboard the ship and is truly the portal to your personalized vacation.
Our cabin was a deluxe suite, just like last time, with a King bed, small couch with coffee table, two TV’s (with a curtain in case either of us want our quiet time), and a balcony which served as the perfect vantage point while viewing Glacier Bay National Park.
Our first day (and a half) at sea was full of activities and socializing, due to the fact both our families joined us for the journey. This time around, we searched more around the interior of the ship since we’re sailing up the Pacific Coast towards Alaska, which at times leaves little to see.
We met Natalie, the Cruise Director while she was shooting an episode of the “Wake Show” in the Royal Princess’s modernized live TV studio, before two double espressos from the cafe and hitting up the library. Not to read, but for board games.
Speaking of games, we found one suitable for all ages. You’re probably guessing it. Bingo! This was actually the most fun I’ve ever had at playing Flamingo Bingo for the hosts were super outgoing and lively.
Afterwards, mandatory Sushi at “Ocean Terrace” which was the perfect snack before watching Robbie Printz’s standup in the Princess Theater, which was absolutely hilarious and a packed house.
On this journey, we took in as much live music as we could, and was delightfully surprised at the talents of their in-house musicians, playing everything from Classic Rock to Bossa Nova, some traditional acts, and a few very funny interactive ones.
Port of Calls
Can be considered the beginning of the Last Frontier and entry to the famed Inside Passage, which serve as some of the most jaw dropping views and wilderness in North America.
A small yet nice bus takes us up the mountain to our excursion, riding quads through the mountain to some epic views, and a small nature presentation. Steven drove for the first few minutes but handed over the wheel to me afterwards knowing this is one of my favorite past times.
We hit the trail’s peak that views the Hidden Passage from above, which is breathtaking.
The rest of the ride is a bit bumpy and a bit dusty, just enough to make that part enjoyable.
We head back to the ship, where Steven spots a bald eagle and ends up getting several photos and a video of this majestic animal.
We were told the town was historically overrun with gold prospectors brothels. Nowadays, it’s overrun with visitors in the summer months that enjoy activities like zip lining (like us) and who takes rides on the majestic White Pass Railroad (also like us).
We were surprised to see how popular this excursion was when we first boarded, and even more shocked to see how gorgeous the views were being up in the mountains on the classic cabooses pulling us along.
This was probably our favorite port of call, as we first traveled to an epic spot to take photographs of open, vast fields overlooking Mendenhall Glacier. It was the first I’ve ever seen, was beautiful from afar, and even more beautiful when we flew over the glacier via helicopter to Howling Dog Kennel camp atop.
Being on top of a glacier surrounded by mountains (in almost a tee shirt), amazing.
Being surrounded by Alaskan Huskies then going on a dog sledding ride around a glacier, even more amazing.
Holding the puppies before they’re set loose on the trails? EPIC. And lovable.
Glacier Bay National Park
is the bucket list visit. There’s no dis-embarking, there’s just views. And the views are simply amazing. I often say: show, don’t tell, when it comes to something this breathtaking, so I’ll leave you with the below photo and I urge you to check my Instagram for the videos we’ve put together.
Land Tours and Lodges
Who knew Princess Cruises owns several lodges in Alaska to lengthen the journeys of their guests?
We didn’t until now, and we’re very happy to travel inland to experience more of the marvelous.
We disembark in Anchorage, and travel by bus to the first lodge on the list, Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. The lodge is perched up on a mountain overlooking crystal blue rivers, with more mountains dominating the views.
What may be our favorite part was the large rustic cabins with wood burning fireplaces to offer up extra comfort and warmth, for you realize just how tight your space once was, and how big Alaska is.
Traveling further north, we stop at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, with the majestic views of Denali, North America’s highest mountains. McKinley Princess Lodge built an adorable treehouse with views of Hunter Mountains and Denali. Here’s a video below as a little treat.
Being this was our 10th day of traveling, we went to bed early to be fully energized for the next day. However, at 2 am we received a phone call from the front desk (which we requested) that the Northern Lights were screaming about the skies. It was the first time the both of us saw them, and hopefully not the last.
Our next lodge takes us closer to the monster of a mountain, right next to the border of the park. It’s here we spend two nights, for one day we take our park tour and the next have many choices of excursions.
The rooms were nice and felt like we were staying in log cabins. We were next to a loud yet relaxing river whose noises suggested we keep our doors open to enjoy the sounds of nature.
The tour is hosted via a renovated school bus that takes us into the park, making several stops for sites and even more if anyone on the bus calls out “STOP!” In case we see wildlife.
On this ride, we came across bears four times and Caribou a few. A grizzly even walked right past our bus window, acting like he barely noticed us.
This was also our second day in a row of lucking out to see Denali completely clear, which we were told only happens 15% of the days. We definitely got some good photos of the hill.
On day 2, our excursion was to actually take it easy at the lodge and relax for a bit. The sun was in and out, the river was running, and the leaves were changing colors. A few of our friends went on 4×4 adventures with a delectable, home style lunch, And others went on a plane ride around Denali’s peak.
We were told the ride is not for the faint of heart, but did produce some pretty epic footage.
Being we were hosted as a group (of around 20) and had so many stops and social gatherings, the folks who put this together did a ton of work to say the least. For as much and often as we moved around, we got to see and experience as much, most likely a lot more of one were to plan a trip like this on their own… plus, there’s nothing to worry about as we were in very good hands.
Alaska is a marvel of a state. It’s beauty should be witnessed by all curious adventurers, nature lovers, and just about anyone who is enamored by jaw-dropping landscapes.