My wife and I added this trip on to an inland photography workshop we attended up north (Lake Clarke Park). We hadn't seen the inland passage and wanted to enjoy a bit of luxury on the way home vs simply jumping on an airplane in Anchorage and fly back to Phoenix.
The Island Princess is smaller than some of the larger ships and included views of Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier, where other ships didn't go into these areas. So the timing and itinerary worked for us.
The embarkation was painless even having to take a coach from Anchorage to Whittier. Interesting driver/guide made the ride worthwhile. Very easy and quick to get into the room.
For perspective (and fairness) this was our 7th cruise but the first on a Princess ship. Our daughter worked on Celebrity for several years so we obviously chose her cruises. We have no other Princess ships with which to compare the Island. But compared to the other ships we've spent time on, the Island was older and it showed. There was no issue with it's cleanliness however. Older fixtures outside were painted over and our outside balcony light was hanging from a broken bracket. Also, on the third day, the device which ensured our cabin door shut fell off and was never fixed. The humidity on this trip was difficult to keep up with and there were blowers going in the passage ways constantly. There also was slight musky smell-probably due to the humidity. The floor of the cabin had raised areas which compressed when you walked on them. Sounds worse than it was. Just old but clean.
The service in the dining area was not close to what we were used to in terms of warm welcomes and friendly attitudes. Two servers were great (exceptional) but the others and the managers were dour. Just seemed unhappy being there. Bar servers were very good. The food was what we expected and the buffet area servers were much more accommodating than their dining room counterparts.
The one experience we had with the Princess tour support people was not good at all. We had signed up for a train ride in Skagway (turned out to be outstanding) and the 2 hour kayaking which went with it. There was rain and strong winds projected and we wanted to know if there were options if we felt it would be either unsafe or miserable to kayak. We were not asking to cancel or any concession. The individual either didn't speak English well or wasn't interested in getting involved in the complexity we were bringing to the table, because he merely repeated "must go rain or shine". We tried a couple of different ways to ask the question of what if we decide to forgo the kayak-can we just stay on the small bus or in a shelter or on the train. "must go rain or shine". Not an ambassador I would want representing my company.
The production entertainment was disappointing (but remember our daughter-she was a dancer and aerialist on Celebrity-so we are very likely biased). The talent was very good but the productions varied from mediocre to poor.
Now the good parts-the ports (and scenic cruising). Just outstanding! We loved the naturalist and guests who gave inland passage related information and stories. Saw whales, otters, seals, dolphins, puffins, etc. The ports were quaint and interesting. The history of Skagway is fascinating, Juneau, the only landlocked and foreign boardering Capital in the United States, has an incredible glacier view minutes from town, and thought Ketchikan was exactly what it should be-quaint and historic. Even the goofy lumberjack show was fun and memorable. As mentioned the excursion was exceptional (yup some rain and wind but not dangerous) so we paddled like crazy-great guides.
We would definitely recommend the inside passage cruise but are hesitant to recommend the Island Princess for the reasons above. Just average. If it's your only choice then you would likely find the ship would be ok.
Dated by clean. Great bed!