Ship: The Sea Princess is a very small outdated ship that is getting redesigned and updated this year.
Passengers: Average age of the guests was about 75. Lots of walkers, wheelchairs, canes and oxygen tanks to maneuver around. Getting anywhere in a hurry is difficult. Elevators are painfully slow and almost always completely full. I climbed a LOT of stairs on this cruise.
Activities: Bring a book. On second thought bring 3. The activities schedule is extremely limited. One activity per time period and many of them were not activities at all (piano melodies from 2-3, GBLT get together from 3-4, car enthusiasts meet 4-4:30, etc). For anyone looking for lots of fun things to do during the day, this cruise is not for you. And you will find no solace in your stateroom. The TV offered a total of 6 watchable channels, two of which were all news. All the other channels are Princess advertising itself in various ways or the hand washing show about the proper More
way to wash your hands. There are no regular channels you would find on your tv at home on this ship.
Staterooms: Tiny, very crowded, 2 outlets, small closet and drawer space. It was adequate for just the 2 of us but I am used to Carnival whose rooms are double the size of these. I was initially going to bring an aero bed for my daughter to sleep on. Wouldn't have been able to blow it up if I tried. 18 inches of space from the end of the bed to the wall. My room attendant was wonderful and made us a towel animal each night even though they don't typically do this (you will only get a towel animal on formal nights).
Staff: In many instances, untrained. This got very frustrating at times on this cruise. A simple question like "which floor do we get off the ship on?" would yield 3 or 4 different answers. Our dinner waiter was terrible. I am used to my waiter knowing my name by day 2 of any cruise. By day 10 all the woman at my table were still being address as "lady". "You want more soup lady?" Very off-putting. We all had to switch plates often too since he would put the food in front of the wrong person or bring things to the table that nobody had ordered. I thought he was new. Turned out he has been with Princess for almost 3 years. This level of ineptitude was normal on this ship. If you brought up something that was making you unhappy, the response was defensive and condescending.
Food: Princess caters to a much older, mostly Asian, crowd so don't expect any level of gourmet cuisine. I heard more complaints about this from fellow passengers than any other thing. Everything was bland and unseasoned or soft (except the pancakes and waffles which were hard). The lunch buffet was a hodgepodge of ethnic (mostly Chinese) foods sort of thrown together in no pattern. Since I have no desire for, for example, fried fishballs and refried beans for lunch, I ate OFF the ship as often as possible to avoid it. Quality control at the buffett and in the dining rooms was non-existent. The one time I went to breakfast in the dining room I was served a hard omelet, burnt sausage and cold hash browns. I sent it back and got a hard omelet, slightly less burnt sausage and cold hash browns as a replacement. At dinner 3 of the exact same dishes would come out looking like 3 completely different things. There is a pizzeria on board that makes very good pizza (I know this because I ate it anytime we were stuck on board for lunch). Oh, and did you want some crab on your cruise to Alaska? Don't look for it here. I had to get it at the crab shack in Juneau. When a 7 year old looks at you and says "mom, I am not impressed with these pancakes" there is something seriously wrong with your food.
Excursions: The sled dog summer camp is excellent and the Great Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan is a blast. All the stops on this cruise were amazing but you can get them on any other line as well.
Other weird stuff that didn't make any sense: 1) Coffee is free from room service and the Lido deck but you get charged for it if you walk up to a bar. I was charged for hot chocolate 3 of the 7 days I ordered it from room service (they have no chocolate milk on board so I had to resort to this). I got it free upstairs. Why would a beverage cost money on one floor when it's free on another? 2) The paper towels in the public restrooms are often nowhere near the sinks. You will have Kleenex next to the sink and the paper towels hidden around a corner. Same with the cabins. The toilet paper is 3 feet away and the Kleenex is right next to you. Did the designer of this ship actually think about use? Don't really think so. 3) A portion of the smoking section being on deck 7. That is the only deck you can walk completely around. Many people used it as a jogging track so why would you put part of the smoking section there? I smoke and if I didn't, I wouldn't want to be running through a cloud of it on my morning run.
Camp for wee ones: My daughter loved it. There were a total of 40 kids on the whole ship aged 3-17. 15 of them were in her 3-7 year old camp. She spent most of her time there since there was nothing else for her to do except swim and it was too cold and rainy for that. She made some friends with such a small group to play with. Counselors are friendly.
Overall, a very disappointing experience. My fellow diners (who were 2 sets of grandparents) and I all agreed we would use a livelier and better managed line for our next trip to Alaska. Less