This question came into All Things Cruise and here is how I answered it:
We are booked for a 14-night Land/Sea Cruise on the Island Princess and I would like to know how I can make the most of our time on this trip and how to optimize our time on the ship. There are four of us traveling (two couples.)
First, pardon our delay in answering your query. We are just getting this personal advice gig up and running and still have a few kinks to work out.
First, congratulations on booking your cruise to Alaska on Princess. This company has been sailing in Alaska for the longest amount of time and runs excellent Alaska programs. You are going to have a wonderful anniversary celebration.
Here are some suggestions for maximizing your experience:
Do your homework. Read up a bit on the history of Alaska and the ports you will be visiting. It is really nice to have a map of the Inside Passage with you when you are sailing through it so I suggest you buy one of these in advance. You can buy these online or in some travel bookstores.
Choose your shore excursions carefully and book them in advance so you are not disappointed. Most people love the experience of walking on a glacier.
Take advantage of the specialty restaurants on board. As you are going to be celebrating your anniversary, be sure to plan a special dinner or two with your friends in one of these lovely restaurants. Make your reservations early, on the website in advance if possible, or on the day you board the ship.
If you are not happy with your dining companions (if you are at a table larger than four) or where your table is situated, do know that you can go to the maitre d’ and ask for a change. Do not hesitate to do this if you are unhappy in any way…it can make a huge difference in the quality of your cruise.
Be sure to bring good binoculars. Alaska is all about the scenery and the animals and birds you will see.
Also, bring good bug repellant for the land portion of your trip. Remember that the state bird of Alaska is the mosquito.