On a late summer day, my trip took me from Valdez to Seaward, Alaska. While traveling, I could see the fire crack, bright red and full bloom along the highway. According to local people, winter would be coming soon, which will end the short summer Alaska. My morning had started at the port of Valdez and I was preparing to meet Princess Cruise Line's brand new ship, Island Princess.

When the Princess coach pulled into Seaward harbor, I could see the island princess long and sleek. I could not help thinking about how incredibly this ultra modern cruise ship is. It is powered by a gas turbine and has a passenger capacity of 1,970. This ship is 204 feet tall and is 964 feet tall. She is the new sister of the Princess Cruise Lines' Coral Princess. This 92,000-ton sister is not a follower as she has many own features. I would be on board for a southward cruise from Seward to Vancouver, B.C.

When I boarded the ship and began to explore, I was overwhelmed with the space and layout of this ship. In what is described as a "design twist", the Island Princess has two full decks of public spaces, opposite the traditional single Promenade Deck. I found the ship's four-story atrium alive with sophisticated colors and lighting. A visit to you would find a string quartet played by the Beatles 'Yesterday', after which you will be entertained by piano music coming from the Crooners Lounge.

If the space in the public spaces of the ship was not big enough, my cabin was also in a class of its own. I had a mini suite with a private balcony. This was a treat like nobody else. The mini suites with private balconies feature a double bed that converts into a queen size bed. The private balcony was so big that you wanted to invite everyone from home to home. It also has two TVs, because you wanted to cruise both the baseball and football match and during the Glacier Bay. Let's not forget the fridge, the bath with shower and shower, all packed in 323 square meters including balcony. To say this was great would be a huge understatement.

Our ship was planning to leave Seward Harbor from 22:00, much later than I had previously done. However, I was used to the very long days of sunlight giving Alaska's summer. While in Fairbanks days earlier, the sun would rise around 11:30 and go up at 3:30. Now that we were further south in Seward, it would be dark for sailing, but a much longer day than I was used to on the west coast of Florida.

It was dinnertime on board and we had chosen traditional dinner for our week-long cruise. One thing I learned was Princess Cruises, dining as a form of entertainment. Food preparation and presentation are taken very seriously. You only find the best quality food. In addition, the men and women who watch the ballet of buffets, afternoon tea and formal dining, live like a Broadway show.

We chose traditional dining, but Princess Cruises has what they call personal choice food. Only Princess offers this innovative approach to dining, allowing guests to dine how, when and with whom they want. Passengers can choose a restaurant style option that allows them to find the same flexibility in shore side establishments, or the traditional cruise dining experience with a designated dining area, table companions and waiting staff - no other cruise line offers both of these options.

Personalized dining also means that it is your choice to eat whenever you want. This means you can eat in a 24-hour restaurant. This is not "Denny's of the Sea", this is a great food choice cooked "A la" Minuet "to provide only the best food to its guests, and freshly served pizza served by the cutlery pool at Princess Pizza Pizzeria Many cruise lines have added special restaurants on board. Princess, who loves their food philosophy, offers more options than any other cruise line. The Island Princess offers two such specialty restaurants. The first is the Bayou Cafe, where passengers are traditional Cajun And Creole's influenced food and live jazz in the first New Orleans-themed restaurant at the sea, with a look and feel right from the French Quarter, offering a menu of dining options such as shrimp and shrimp, alligator ribs, gumbos and jambalaya, Not to mention that you need exotic cocktails. Covering costs ($ 8) includes free hurricane cocktail, then you will find Sabatini's, serving Italian dining and Seafood specialties and other traditional favorites serves flair in an authentic Trattoria-like setting. Sum.

Then you will find Sabatini's, serving Italian dining and seafood specialties and other traditional favorite’s flair in an authentic Trattoria-like setting. Some cruisers believe that the specialty restaurants are not worth the extra costs, or do not want to pay extra "extra" during a cruise. It is my experience that the price is worth it and most of the compensation goes directly to the staff in tips. So please do not go to these specialty restaurants because they are indeed special.

When my first day of day came, I was very impressed with all the activities that would be experienced on board. The Lotus Spa offers a wide range of treatments and massages at a number of good rates. The spa was very nicely decorated and had a caring staff. My companion, who crossed many times, said the staff was first class and the treatment was great. As I researched the ship further, I found that the internet cafe, which is outside the atrium, was great. They even had a table setup with coffee and cream for you to enjoy nearby. I enjoyed a lot of this touch. The cafe has beautiful leather chairs, and flat panel monitors that read e-mail or surf the internet pleasantly. The only downside is the connections going from time to time due to in Alaska.

A program that I found to be the most surprising was Princess's new Scholarship @ Sea Enrichment program. The program opened in early 2003 and the island princess is just the second ship to offer the program. She follows her sister ship Coral Princess in offering lessons in his state-of-the-art Universal Universal Lounge. During my cruise I went to a cooking demonstration given by the corporate executive chef Alfredo Marzi. It was like 'Emeril Live' or other great cooking programs. This included scent-a-vision, as you are in the public to smell the fresh garlic, wine and spices. I really enjoyed it and never saw a cooking demonstration like it used to be before. It was both educational and entertaining with a state-of-the-art presentation. Everyone had a perfect view, through big TVs and the great layout of the Universe Lounge. Later in the week I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Princess Cruise Lines' Fleet Commodore Moulin (ret). I was able to learn about his life at sea, from how it began to his retirement. It was fascinating and I was convinced that I preferred these types of programs on a cruise. I have not been a big gambler, so Bingo did not go with or even the art auction on board. So with these offers is great. I was even more surprised when I found out how much more was available. You can choose from approximately 20 courses per trip (six per day) from four core subjects - Culinary Arts, Fine Arts, Photography and Computer Technology. Italian cuisine, handmade pottery, digital travel photography, web page design, estate planning and watercolor techniques are just a few of the courses offered. All courses are free and passengers can as much as they wish. If you want to go through your boarding education, you can take less classes on board for $ 10.

As you might have been able to guess with all this entertainment, enrichment and food aboard, you would not want to leave the ship. On board the island, Princess was like living in a luxury resort. I know that many other cruise lines are striving, but Princess Cruises is presenting it at Island Princess today. Your days are filled with food, entertainment, gates and personal choices.

As the island princess ship in Vancouver and under the Lion's Gate Bridge drew me, I looked back and knew that I had something special. Because I had never been to Alaska, this trip was a trip like no other. I found Alaska to be truly a 'Wilderness Wonderland' and have a ship like the Island Princess because your platform for discovery is a must for this cruise addict.

 and many opportunity to win the cash.


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