Fifty years ago this summer, the Princess Cruises ship Italia sailed from San Francisco to Alaska carrying 525 passengers. The line has been sailing the Inside Passage ever since, carrying more than than 5 million passengers to the 49th state.
Princess will mark its Alaskan golden jubilee this year by introducing new entertainment, shore excursions and restaurants on upcoming cruises. In addition, the line will celebrate the anniversary by sending seven ships to Alaska for the May-through-September season, marking the cruise line’s largest operations in the region.
Among the cruises available are 12-day round-trip voyages from Los Angeles, visiting the Inside Passage; Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, a UNESCO world heritage site; as well as Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway. Prices start at $999 per person, double occupancy, plus fees, taxes and port charges.
Round-trip Alaska cruises will also depart from Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver, Canada, this summer, ranging in length from seven to 12 days. The line offers a variety of cruise-tour options highlighting the state’s attractions, including Denali National Park.
Princess operates five wilderness lodges with more than 20 options for visitors.
New for 2019 is Fannie Q’s Saloon at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, named after an Alaskan pioneer, and two casual dining spots, Fireside Patio and Grizzly Burger. At Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, visitors will be able to hang out in a new tree house built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet’s "Treehouse Masters."
In addition, the line will offer new shore excursions in Juneau, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point, including visits to Hubbard Glacier, a luxury whale watching expedition by yacht, a self-guided Jeep trip in Juneau, and a rain forest bike-and-hike adventure in Ketchikan.
This season will also feature the Alaskan debut of Royal Princess, which features wearable-device technology. Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry, the OceanMedallion delivers personalized service and enables interactive entertainment.