Princess Cruises’ milestone 50th year sailing in Alaska has begun with the arrival of Ruby Princess into Ketchikan and Juneau last weekend. From May-September a record-breaking seven Princess ships will be completing Alaskan itineraries, marking the cruise line’s largest ever Alaska deployment.

Following Ruby’s arrival, Royal Princess will make her maiden voyage to Alaska on 11 May as the largest Princess ship to cruise Alaskan waters. The 330 metre-long, 141,000 tonne liner will also debut Princess MedallionClass™ in the region.

"Alaska continues to be a bucket-list destination for Australians and 1 in 3 people who cruise to Alaska cruise with Princess." said Princess Cruises’ Sales and Marketing Director, Nick Ferguson.

"Royal Princess’ deployment reflects the high interest in Fly Cruise to Alaska from Australian and New Zealand guests. We’re delighted in 2019 we can celebrate 50 years of cruising in the region by offering even more guests the chance to experience the awe-inspiring wilderness that is so unique to Alaska. It’s also a great opportunity for Australian and New Zealand guests to enjoy Ruby Princess before she arrives in Australia in October for our largest ever Australian and New Zealand season."

As the recognised cruise line leader, guests will have five homeports to choose from; Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Anchorage (Whittier) and the opportunity to see Alaska’s top two attractions, Glacier Bay and Denali National Parks on every cruise-tour.

Onboard, Princes has enhanced the award-winning North to Alaska! program. Guests will be immersed in local personalities, culture and cuisine including; Cook my Catch, an exclusive culinary program allowing guests to return from select Princess fishing excursions to have the chef prepare their very own catch of the day. Also offered, the crowd-favourite Puppies in the Piazza, where real Alaska sled dog puppies are brought on board, in Skagway, for guests to interact

New for 2019, as part of the Alaska cruisetour offerings, is the grand opening of Fannie Q’s Saloon at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. This new restaurant and bar, named after famed Alaskan pioneer Fannie Quigley, will showcase her story and locally inspired dishes in a modern saloon setting, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The new Fireside Patio also debuts with three firepits offering a new gathering place for guests to roast marshmallows, talk about their adventures and have a drink in the midnight sun. Light refreshments will be available for purchase at this new cozy spot. Last, newly named Grizzly Burger offers a fast-casual restaurant serving up the cruise line’s award-winning "Ernesto" burger, named "Best Burger at Sea" by Cruise Critic. This uniquely crafted ribeye burger was created exclusively for Princess by burger expert Chef Ernesto Uchimura.

New Onboard Guest Experiences

Northern Lights Planetarium – Gazing up at the Northern Lights is an unforgettable natural phenomenon. Now, guests have the opportunity to enter the indoor planetarium in the Princess Theater and look up at this aurora, a natural and colourful light display. McKinley the Moose – Introduced last week, McKinley, "Mac," the moose, is the plush character friend of Stanley. Stanley will be joined by Mac onboard Princess Cruises 2019 Alaska sailings starting in May. Life-size characters will make special appearances for photo opportunities with guests and during entertainment events.

Adventures Ashore – A number of new shore excursions in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Icy Strait Point will be available for guests to truly connect with the local nature, culture and adventures only found in Alaska, including:

 Hubbard Glacier & Wilderness Exploration – Hubbard Glacier

 Luxury Whale Watch by Yacht – Juneau

 Interactive Self-Guided Jeep Adventure – Juneau

 Ketchikan Pub Walk – Ketchikan

 Rainforest Trail Bike & Hike Adventure – Ketchikan

 Seafood Feast & Tribal Dance Show – Icy Strait Point

 Tree Top Adventure Park & Zipline – Icy Strait Point

 Adventure Park & ZipRider Combo – Icy Strait Point

 Wilderness Hike & Kayak Adventure – Icy Strait Point

 Discovering the Birds of Hoonah – Icy Strait Point

Local Guest Speakers – From naturalists, to a "Deadliest Catch" fisherman captain, to a world champion lumberjack and the first female winner of the Iditarod, guests will meet with local experts and hear first-hand how Alaska’s unique environment has fueled their lifestyles, passions and professions. A Taste of Alaska – With fresh menu offerings in the main dining rooms, guests will delight in seafood, such as salmon and crab, and locally inspired dishes. "Glacier Tea" & Beer Tastings - A new celebratory cocktail will also be served up - a take on a Long Island Ice Tea, topped off with Blue Curacao, similar to the brilliant glacier blue color found in Alaska. For beer lovers, a special Alaska beer tasting flight will be offered, featuring blends from Juneau-based Alaskan Brewing Company. Historical Alaska Display in the Piazza – Guests will enjoy a mini museum exhibit featuring notable images throughout the 50 years Princess Cruises has sailed to Alaska.