After 7 wonderful days on our river cruise with A-ROSA VIVA in France, the holiday went even further for us. From Paris we flew directly to Vancouver to take a 7-day ocean cruise with the Royal Princess along the coast of Alaska 🙂
Table of contents
How to get from Vancouver Airport to the Port?
Our Air Canada flight from Paris to Vancouver took about 10 hours. Pretty punctual we landed at Vancouver International Airport at 10 a.m. The airport is the second largest airport in Canada after Toronto and is located about 15 kilometers south of the city of Vancouver on the island of Sea Island.
To get from Vancouver Airport to the Port (Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal) and to our ship Royal Princess, there are 3 options:
(1) According to official data, a taxi costs 35 CAD and takes between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the traffic.
(2) Metro is much cheaper:The Canada Line leaves directly at the airport and you can drive to the port in just under 30 minutes. Here, the trip costs only 5.75 CAD per person.
(3) Of course, the most convenient is the arranged bus transfer via Princess Cruises, which can be booked in advance via the website.
At the airport – after you have fetched your suitcases – you simply follow the “Princess Cruises” signs. Here you come to a collection point, where you can drop off your luggage and this is then delivered comfortably and free of charge to the cabin. Then you just have to get on the corresponding bus, enjoy the ride and you’re there. Buses leave regularly every 20 to 30 minutes, so you usually don’t have a long wait.
Canada Place Pier – The cruise port in Vancouver
Canada Place is located in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown, right on the Harbourfront, and is a kind of multi-purpose facility. In addition to the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal, it also houses The FlyOver Canada, a Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Hotel, the Port Authority and the World Trade Centre.
The Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal is considered the most passenger-friendly cruise port in North America and is the starting point for cruises through the scenic Inside Passage and Glacier Bay National Park of Alaska, as it is the closest cruise port off Alaska. There are a variety of ships with different departure dates and itineraries departing from Vancouver. Cruise companies sailing from Vancouver include Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International and many others.
The special thing about an Alaska Cruise with start in Vancouver is that you already have to enterthe USA in the Cruise Ship Terminal. After we had done the official check-in at Princess and received our boarding passes, we went on to “Security & U.S. Customs and Border Protection”. Before you board the ship, you have to enter the USA directly.
Our cruise ship Royal Princess
330 meters long, over 36 meters wide, 1,780 passenger cabins with up to 3,600 guests, 1,346 crew members, 19 decks, 10 pools, countless restaurants – the Royal Princess of the U.S. shipping company Princess Cruises is a cruise ship of superlatives. In 2013, the Royal Princess was christened by Duchess Kate and set sail; In 2016, the ship was modernised.
The deck plan & cabin plan
The Royal Princess’s guest and crew cabins, entertainment facilities and restaurants are spread over 19 decks.
Our balcony cabin on the Royal Princess
At the Royal Princess we were accommodated in a balcony cabin of category BE. Our approximately 20 m2 cabin was located on deck 11 (Baja) on the port side (left side) relatively close to the bow of the ship.
If you enter the cabin, the bathroom is located directly on the left, which is quite small but still sufficient. Between the bathroom and the bedroom there is a kind of walk-in closet with shelves, hanging options and a safe. There is also a desk with chair in the bedroom and a small closet on the opposite side, which houses the fridge.
The most beautiful was the private balcony with seating furniture, from which we could always admire the passing landscape.
The outdoor areas of the ship
The Royal Princess’s large outdoor area is spread over decks 16 to 19. In addition to the various swimming and whirl pools as well as outdoor bars, the highlight here is certainly the big cinema screen, where one (or more) movie under the stars is shown every day.
On Sun-Deck 17 is the Sanctuary, an open-air oasis of well-beingwhere you will find peace and relaxation and which is an alternative to the public areas on board. This service is paid extra to guests (20 USD for half a day), i.e. the use of this area is not included in the travel price. If you want to stay fit on board, you can use the jogging track, the table tennis tables, a golf training area, the basketball court or the indoor gym. There are plenty of ways to retrain the extra calories on board.
Unfortunately, we only found our favorite place on board relatively late on the cruise: the outdoor area on the Plaza Deck on Deck 5. Here there are beautiful seating furniture on which you can relax wonderfully and let your gaze wander into the distance – and that relatively close to the water. On the SeaWalk on deck 16 you are almost 40 meters above the sea. And the best at the outdoor area on deck 5: Hardly any other guest was here 🙂
We found the SeaWalk on board really cool, which is located at about 40 meters altitude. We already knew such a SkyWalk from another cruise ship, but it’s a new experience to walk over it every time the wild ocean rushes under one. It’s definitely a great idea!
On sea days and in the evening, the on-board casino was always well filled. Whether you’re playing roulette or blackjack with other passengers at the gaming tables, trying your luck on the one-armed bandits, or buying a scratchcard after another, there are a variety of ways to spend time on different budgets.
The Theatre & Entertainment Shows
The entertainment at the Royal Princess is very important. Every evening there are great performances in the theatre, in which the show ensemble shows its singing and dancing skills at its best. We particularly liked the show “Voice of the Ocean“, in which the best singing talent was sought among the passengers. For the amateur singers it was definitely a great chance to sing on such a big stage in front of an even bigger audience.
In addition to the theatre, there are also lounges with live music, a nightclub and a TV studio.
Other facilities on board
The heart of the ship is the atrium, which extends over three decks. The floors are connected by four glass lifts and two curved marble staircases. There is plenty of space for strolling and places for culinary delights, such as an ice cream café or Alfredo’s pizzeria. Centrally located are also the souvenir shop, the library, the internet café, the Video & Photo Gallery, reception, vinothek and piazza and of course the Lotus Spa.
The food on board the Royal Princess
Culinary we were well catered for at the Royal Princess. Basically, you can choose between different variants when eating:
(1) Traditional Dining: If you choose this option, you will go to a typical a la carte restaurant with traditional menus served daily at set times during the entire cruise by the same waiter. The dining rooms of the Allegro and Concerto restaurants are available for this purpose.
(2) Anytime Dining: If you choose Anytime Dining, you can go to the Symphony Restaurant or Concerto Restaurant at any time between 5 pm and 9.30 pm and choose your food a la-carte freely.
(3) Specialty Restaurant: If you like the extra and want to have served excellent local specialities as well as selected gourmet dishes, you can choose one of the specialty restaurants: Crown Grill, Sabatini’s or Crab Shack. Because special service is offered here, you have to pay an extra fee.
(4) Casual Dining: Definitely our favorite – every day! Because we like to be able to choose the food at the buffet and just try our way. Furthermore, there is no strict dress code here. Horizon Court is the large buffet restaurant on board royal princess, which is open almost continuously. Every evening here is under a typical country motto, so that you have eaten once in a week all over the world. There was even a “Bayrian evening” on our trip with pretzels, white sausages, sauerkraut and roasts 😉 It definitely tasted really good here! In the Horizon Court there are by the way several tap stations where you could use free water, iced tea, tea and coffee.
We usually ate dessert in the cafe “The Pastry”, which is right next to the Horizon Court.
If you choose to cruise with Princess Cruises, you should be aware that the drinks are not included in the price. Various beverage packages are offered for purchase, such as
(1) Premier Beverage Package: Includes all individual drinks up to USD 12 and costs a whopping USD 59.99 per day per person.
(2) Premier Coffee & Soda Package: Includes all soft drinks, coffee, tea, fruit juices, mocktails and hot chocolate for USD 19.99 per day and per person.
(3) Classic Soda Package: We have already decided in advance for a Classic Soda Package, which you have to purchase for 9.99 USD per day and per person. With this package you can enjoy all soft drinks as well as fruit juices, mocktails and smoothies in all bars & restaurants on board.
(4) 5-for-4 Beer Package: Five bottles of beer for the price of four bottles.
Image video of the Royal Princess
On YouTube we found a small image video of the Royal Princess:
The Ocean Medallion by Princess Cruises
Instead of a conventional boarding pass, you get a so-called “Ocean Medallion” on the Royal Princess. The Medallion is a small wearable the size of a coin and can be comfortably worn as a pendant or bracelet. The included chip allows contactless use for a digital service on board and serves as proof of identification, means of payment and cabin keys. For example, you use the Ocean Medallion to check in and check out at the security on a land walk, you open your own cabin door automatically and without contact, you can place beverage orders (almost) anywhere on the ship via smartphone app or locate other family members.
All travelogues from our Alaska CruiseOur cruise on the Royal Princess took us for a week along the coast from Vancouver north to Whittier (Anchorage). On this great cruise adventure around the northernmost state of the USA we visited the cities of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. We also took a scenic cruise in Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord with breathtaking views of Alaska's glaciers.
Day 1: Visa – Entry to Canada (eTA Application) & to the USA (ESTA Application)
Day 1: Vancouver – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots (Canada)
Day 1: Royal Princess – Our ship for the Alaska Cruise
Day 2: Day at Sea
Day 3: Ketchikan – Totemp poles, bald eagles & salmon (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – Things to do in the capital of Alaska (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – Orcas and humpback whales at Whale Watching (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – A trip to mendenhall Glacier (USA)
Day 5: Skagway – A walk through the old gold mining town (USA)
Day 5: Skagway – Musher’s Camp & Dog Sled Adventure (USA)
Day 5: Haines – Bears and bald eagles on the Chilkoot River (USA)
Day 6: Glacier Bay National Park – A Scenic Cruise in Alaska (USA)
Day 7: College Fjord – A Scenic Cruise & Arrival in Whittier (USA)
Day 8: Anchorage – Seward Highway & Alaska Wildlife Center (USA)