We boarded the Island Princess in Vancouver. The Vancouver port is beautiful, but the embarkation process is spread out throughout the terminal. You went from one end to another end and back which didn't seem very efficient. It was very organized just not efficient.
In my opinion, the ship itself was the perfect size for an Alaska cruise, small and intimate. We had an aft balcony suite and I can't say enough about how wonderful it was. We could sit on the balcony comfortably most of the time, because the wind was blocked. Even in Glacier Bay we did not need heavy coats to enjoy the balcony.
We had Club Class anytime dining. The food was very good in the dining room and our wait staff were excellent. The buffet was ok, but it was hard finding a table and the variety was limited. The pizza on board was very good, great crust! We ate at the Bayou Cafe but not at Sabatini's. The Bayou food was good.
An aft balcony is the way to go for Alaska.