I started a new blog about a month ago, but I never finished it. I thought I would work on it and finish it before we left to go on our Alaskan vacation. Didn’t happen with all of the hustle and bustle to pack and get ready to leave for two weeks. We had booked a cruise/land tour with Princess Cruises. We had been on an Alaskan cruise with Princess before, but this time we added the land tour and planned different port excursions. We started our trip in Vancouver, BC, Canada and ended in Fairbanks, AK.
I took my trusty iPad along with the intention of (maybe) finishing up my blog and posting it. So much for good intentions.
The cruise was awesome. Princess was celebrating 50 years of cruising to Alaska. We had a balcony room (which I highly recommend), and the weather was great. I have also cruised on Carnival. Princess is much better. Carnival food is okay. Princess food was fabulous. The service was outstanding. Our waiter and assistant waiter even knew what our drink orders would be and had them ready for when we got to the table. Our head waiter spoiled us with special dishes that were not on the menu. We didn’t see much of our stateroom steward, but we knew he came by our room several times a day. He quickly picked up on our schedule and came by when he knew he wouldn’t bother us. He kept our towels replaced, the room neat, and the bathroom spotless. He even organized my shoes. Anything I mentioned to him was quickly taken care of.
We loved watching the scenery from our balcony. We even saw Humpback whales one evening from the balcony. One whale was playfully slapping his tail on the water for a long time.
We always schedule excursions through Princess. My husband has a fear of returning to the ship late and them leaving without us. If we book through Princess, we are guaranteed not to be left behind. They have so many wonderful excursions.
However, when you are with a large group of people, there are germs. And it seems that no matter how much you wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer, someone will manage to spread germs on you. I caught a cold and cough on the ship. It was starting to make itself evident as we were disembarking. That totally ruined my enjoyment of the land tour part of our vacation. I spent the land tour taking Robitussin and popping cough drops.
The land tour is a great deal of traveling by train and bus. We traveled from Whittier (where we left the ship) to Anchorage and spent the night in Anchorage. The next morning we rode a train to Talkeetna. In Talkeetna we were supposed to take a float trip, but since my husband and I were both not feeling great and the weather was cool and damp, we decided to cancel. So we took the bus to Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.
The next day we took another bus to Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. Then we had a Jeep excursion on the Denali Highway. By this time, I’m exhausted, coughing, and feeling miserable. The next morning I opted not to go on the Denali Natural History Tour. Then it was another bus ride to Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge. Here we were going to spend two nights. By the time I got to Fairbanks I wanted to go see a doctor. The lady at the desk was so sweet. She told us of an urgent care clinic that was open until 8:00 PM and gave us vouchers for a taxi.
The biggest bummer for me was missing the Gold Dredge 8 and Sternwheeler Riverboat Cruise. I was just too exhausted and sick to go.
We got up at 4:30 AM the last morning to go to the airport and fly home.
Princess was quite organized. At each place, they gave us a welcome packet which included our room keys.
My assessment: the land tour is exhausting, especially if you’re sick. You do a lot of riding.
Lesson learned. When around a large group of people on a special vacation, wear a mask. If someone sneezes near your plate of food, get a new plate of food.
I still want to go on the Gold Dredge 8 & Sternwheeler Riverboat Cruise.