This Alaskan cruise was inspired by our goal to reach all 50 states “2Gethers.” Hoonah was our first official stop on the ship in the state of Alaska since we began at the Port of Vancouver. It took us 5 years to travel to all of the states together, and it has been our favorite and most eye-opening travel goal so far.
Island Princess is a little bit older and smaller than some ships; however, it has gone through a recent renovation, which brought it up to par. They have a beautiful deck on the back with VIP seating options and private gazebos that you can rent out. We rented one for the whale watching and Glacier Bay day since we knew we would be outside most of that day. It was a little bit chilly while the boat was in motion being that it was the beginning of September, so the gazebo gave us a break from the wind.
We actually spent two full days at sea with a break in Glacier Bay for a few hours as well as College Fjord, both of which offer unique glacier views. You can hear the glaciers cracking while the boat is stopped as it echoes across the bay. These formations are quite spectacular up close and span such a large mass along the water’s edge that they are bit difficult to fathom. The seals hang out just beneath the towering compacted snow along with eagles, but the whales are further out due to the silt. The glaciers were definitely are favorite views from the ship.
The food on the ship was superb, and I hadn’t realized how much that makes a difference in the quality of the cruise experience. We enjoyed our Carnival cruise a couple years ago, but it wasn’t even in the same ballpark as Princess Cruises offerings. It’ll be tough to go with another cruise line besides Princess after our exceptional experience this go round.
The ship also had some nice features to cater to the colder climate like an indoor pool with a glass ceiling, which was a must with the wind chill. Since it is a smaller ship, it was able to maneuver through the smaller ports, which was great for towering mountain view’s on all sides. Lastly, we were able to pick from some fun excursions ahead of time like the Mendenhall Glacier and dog sledding in Skagway, which made the trip even more memorable.